Expanding Capacity to Believe

by Rick
Expanding Capacity to Believe

Jesus said, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes” (Mark 9:23 GW). I come across people all the time that introduce themselves as “believers,” but adamantly refuse to believe, for whatever reason, truths and promises from the bible for their lives.  If we refuse to believe that God can or will do something for us, even though there is biblical evidence for it, then we are simply cutting ourselves off from that possibility.  Our lack of belief does not change God; it simply limits us from receiving from God in that area.

Look at Mark 9:23 again.  Jesus said, “…everything is possible for the person who believes.”  As we prepare for 2006, I believe this series will help us elevate our thinking towards God and our expectations for the New Year.  In this series we will cover the following areas:

1.  God has no limits – He cannot fail

2.  God desires to overcome our limits with His limitless ability

3.  What we believe determines what we are available to receive

4.  We limit what our limitless God can do for us through our belief system

5.  As we expand our capacity to believe, we release God to freely operate in our lives

  • Expand Your Capacity to Believe (Learning from Joshua)
  • God Sits on the Circle of the Earth
  • Do you Believe you can do what God said you can do?
  • Who said they were Grasshoppers?
  • God wants you to Believe!
  • Confidence and Courage
  • The Obedience Factor
  • Mastering Your Mouth
  • Keep God’s Word in Your Mouth
  • Keep God’s Word in Your Mouth (Part II) – Speaking Positive
  • Mastering Your Mind
  • Elevate Your Thinking
  • Elevate Your Thinking (Part II)
  • Mastering Your Methods
  • God Will Bless what you DO!
  • The Bible is a Life-Book to Live!
  • Success God’s Way
  • You are Setting Your Own Course
  • God wants you to Prosper
  • Is Your Success Good?
  • Learning from Mephibosheth
  • Who said you were a Dead Dog?
  • Don’t Judge Your Future by Your Past
  • Kings vs. Presidents
  • You have Access to the King of Glory
  • Partakers of an Eternal Covenant
  • From Rejected to Accepted
  • Learning from Gideon
  • God Declares the End from the Beginning
  • Do You Know What’s In You?
  • Don’t disqualify yourself if God has already Qualified You!
  • Dream Big Dreams!
  • Sweatless Victory
  • Start Where You Are
  • Your Experiences with God build Your Confidence in Him
  • It Doesn’t Take Long
  • God Wants Maximum Glory
  • Believers Overcome Fear
  • If it’s God’s will its God’s Bill
  • If it’s God’s will its God’s Bill (Part II)
  • Learning from Naaman
  • Belief can get you past your ‘but’
  • Natural Connections do not guarantee a Spiritual Blessing
  • Pride – the Silent Killer
  • Taking a Bold Step of Faith
  • Learning from Abraham
  • The Call of Abraham
  • Expressing Outwardly what you feel Inwardly
  • Faith vs. Fear: The Choice is Yours
  • Walking with God is a Process
  • Stress Free Living
  • What are you able to See?
  • Supernatural Boldness
  • Keeping your Priorities in Order
  • Building up you Belief System
  • Do you have time for God?
  • God takes Covenant Seriously
  • Consistency and Perseverance bring Breakthrough and Blessing
  • God’s Plan vs. Your Plan
  • Your Will, Your Bill
  • You will reap what you sow
  • The Power of Identity
  • You must receive the Promises of God by Faith
  • The God of the Spiritual Blessing
  • The Blessing of knowing The true God
  • God-part vs. Man-part
  • Blessed to be a Blessing
  • You’re Still Going to have that Baby!
  • Obedience unlocks Blessing
  • Is there anything too hard for God?
  • Don’t make fresh decisions based upon out-dated information
  • The Space between the Promise and the Performance
  • Don’t forget the Father once He gives you your Baby
  • Beyond Everyone’s Expectations
  • Do You Believe?
  • Break in Series – the Events Leading up to Jesus’ Resurrection:
  • Remember what Jesus did for You!
  • No Weapon formed Against you will Prosper
  • Total Death for Total Life
  • An Equivalent Ransom
  • Christianity is the Only Religion that touts an Empty Grave
  • Learning from Abraham (cont.)
  • Your Faith makes you an heir to the Promise of Abraham
  • You can do what Abraham did
  • Your Decisions can get your Past Your Limitations
  • Faith that Factors out Limits
  • What is the focus of Your Faith?
  • We Study the “Then” to deal with the “Now”
  • Your Outlook will determine Your Outcome
  • God’s instruction is always equal to His injection
  • Faith never sees Failure
  • The Greatest Heritage
  • Faith that gets past Feelings
  • Death and Life are in Your Tongue
  • Looking Back to Look Forward
  • Believers always Expect the Best
  • A Servant’s Prayer
  • Watch, Pray, and Listen
  • Words of Praise, Words of Faith
  • God can do more with you Once you get Started
  • The Spoken Blessing
  • From Abraham to You
  • Lessons from Abraham
  • Making the Messages Real
  • Learning from Isaac
  • Different person, Same Challenge
  • The Purpose of the Series
  • Don’t Judge Your Future by Your Past
  • Making Wise Decisions
  • New Method, Same God
  • Apply Your Faith to Your Famine
  • Apply Your Faith to Your Famine (Part II)
  • Believe the Blessing and Walk in Love
  • Because of Abraham and Because of Jesus
  • Remain Faithful, Believe in God, and Walk in Love
  • Tradition can make the Word of God of None Effect
  • Celebrating God for All Things!
  • Your Yesterday does not Dictate Your Tomorrow
  • The Power of a Spoken Blessing
  • Learning from Jacob
  • One Encounter with God can Change Your life Forever
  • Turning the corner from Lip Service to Action
  • Believe in yourself and in your God
  • Staying Focused and Remaining in Faith
  • One Idea from God can turn Your Financial Outlook Around
  • When God becomes Personal to You
  • Do Whatever God tells you to Do
  • Fear will lead to you make Poor Decisions
  • Believing God for His Benefits
  • Don’t expect Favor without Labor
  • Believe God is a God of His Word
  • Don’t wait for life to schedule your time with God
  • Admitting where you are and holding on for a change
  • God Can do what you Can’t
  • The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Going back to God Forward
  • Believing for the best for Your Children
  • Personal Testimony
  • Real Challenges – Real God
  • Learning from Joseph
  • Dreaming Big Dreams!
  • The attack is against the Dream!
  • No attack from the world can stop a God’s plan for Your Life
  • There is No Limit to what God can do
  • Know Your Parameters
  • Your God is Bigger than Your Problem
  • Expect to be Blessed
  • Overcoming the Fear of Failure
  • Your Preparation will show up in your Performance
  • Walking in Fearless Confidence
  • Stepping out in the Realm of Faith
  • Crossing the Faith Line
  • Walking in Excellence with a Fearless Confidence
  • Your Faith sets God’s Plan in Motion
  • Both the Look and the License
  • God is a King, not a President
  • Perseverance in the Process
  • God can bless Your Work!
  • Letting Go to Lay Hold!
  • God did not bring You this far to Fail
  • Switching Systems
  • Applying Your Faith to Your Famine
  • Overcoming Fear
  • God is a God of Progression not Regression
  • Refuse to Abort Your Dream!
  • Your Actions Matter
  • Passing the Test, the Second Time Around
  • Look past the Pain and focus on the Promise
  • Both Kings and Priests
  • The Purpose of Your Prosperity
  • Holy Garments out of Flawed Material
  • God is Still in Control!
  • The Blessing is the Difference Maker
  • Learning at Every Level
  • Please God
  • Faith and Frustration
  • Believe the Love
  • Remaining Focused in Awkward Situations
  • A Feast in the Midst of a Famine!
  • Progressively Getting Better in God
  • Exposing the Love
  • It’s never too late in God!
  • September 11th Poem – Unstoppable
  • Guilt-Free Living
  • Seeing God’s Hand in Your Situation
  • Blessed to Offer and Alternative
  • Being Open to Receive
  • Getting to the point where you can Believe!
  • Believing without Seeing, So we can see what we Believe
  • The Blessing is Always Working
  • King Jehovah will make His Word Good!
  • Unshakable Confidence!
  • Old Testament Review
  • Old Testament Review Part I
  • Old Testament Review Part II
  • Old Testament Review Part III
  • Old Testament Review Part IV
  • Old Testament Review Part V
  • Learning from Mary
  • There are No Impossibilities in God – Period!
  • The Power of a Point of Reference
  • Agreeing with and Accepting God’s Word
  • Blessed is the Person who Believes
  • One Word from God can change Your Life!
  • Expanding Your Belief Through the Miracles of Jesus
  • The Healing of a Leper – The God of Compassion
  • The Centurion – Great Faith
  • A Paralyzed man and his friends – Is Your Faith Visible
  • Jairus and His Daughter
  • From Religion to Relationship
  • An Earnest Confession
  • Be Not Afraid, Only Believe!
  • Choosing Faith over Fear
  • Believing in spite of Logic, Reason, and Evidence
  • Creating the Right Environment
  • The Woman with the Issue of Blood
  • Battered and Bruised, But still Believing
  • The Audacity of Hope
  • Belief + Speech + Action = Results
  • Imitate Faith, not Methods
  • Two Blind Men
  • Do You Believe God Can
  • You will Become what you Believe!
  • Peter Walking on Water
  • Dare to be a Peter
  • If you lose your focus you will lose your Faith!
  • Consistent Faith
  • Steady!
  • Tailor Made Blessings
  • Faith that Causes God to Move
  • Internally Settled Confidence
  • Getting Your Hopes Up in God!
  • Believing God above natural Logic
  • Believing in the Goodness of God
  • Believing the Word by Faith
  • Seeking God’s face, not just His hand
  • Overcoming Excuses
  • Tell Your Story and Give God the Glory!
  • Developing a Thankful Heart!
  • Lessons from Lazarus
  • New Grounds for Believing
  • New Grounds for Believing – Part II
  • There is Nothing too hard for God!
  • Believing God to be a Difference Maker
  • Operating in Fearless Confidence
  • God is a RIGHT NOW God!
  • I Am a Believer!
  • Believing in a God that Cares!
  • Rolling Away Your Own Stone – in Faith!
  • If You Believe
  • Redirecting the Glory back to God
  • Believing God to be Alive and Free
  • It’s Never too late for a Turnaround
  • Protection from Haters
  • Connecting with a Point-of-Reference
  • Christmas Messages
  • Believing God to be Blessed to be a Blessing
  • The Gift of God
  • No Room
  • The True CHRISTmas Story

God Sits on the Circle of the Earth (top of page)

(Isa 40:22 KJV)  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  It is fitting that after traveling through several countries the Lord would lead me to this text for this morning.  God sits on the circle of the earth.  Think about that for a moment.  Mankind may have traveled to the moon, sent probes to Mars, and have telescopes that can see throughout the Milky Way, but our life is limited to this planet.  Everything humans do, we do within the confines of the earth.  Students in the US are taught that there are seven continents, while students in Europe are taught that there are six (North and South America combined), but whether you count six or seven continents, it does not matter; God sits on them all.  From the jungles of Panama to the deserts of the Middle East, the plains of Africa to the North Pole, God is still God.  Isaiah says that all the inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers to God.

Kids, especially boys, like to brag on their Dads.  One boy might say, “My Dad is great at basketball.”  Another boy, without wanting to be outdone, would reply, “Well, my Dad is the greatest.  He can dunk.”  The first boy would come back with, “Well, my Dad can dunk one handed, from behind, with his eyes closed, using his left hand.”  And this goes on and on.  While much of this playground banter is an exaggeration between little boys, we can never exaggerate on God.  The only thing that God cannot do is lie (Titus 1:2).  Other than that, we can go on and brag on our God.  He spoke to chaos and created order, to nothing and created everything.  He flung the stars in the sky.  He put the burning in the sun, the singing in a bird, the roaring in a lion, the fragrance in a flower, the swimming in a fish, and the buzzing in a bee.  The beauty is that the same God that did all these things also put the dreaming in your heart.  The purpose of this series is to remind us that God can do anything.  Once we solidify this truth in our hearts we will elevate our thinking and dream big dreams.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your dreams can never exceed God’s capabilities.  Do you have plans for 2006?  Are these your plans or have you prayed about them?  If you have not spent time in prayer with God about 2006, then your plans are probably too small.  When you allow God to truly lead, guide, and direct you, He normally takes us you far beyond your wildest dreams.  Remember that our God, the one who sits on the circle of the earth, is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think (Eph 3:20).

Prepare for 2006 in prayer.  Dream big dreams and watch God bring them to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You sit on the circle of the earth.  You have all things in and under control.  You have all power, all dominion, all might, and all authority.  There is nothing You cannot do.  You are my God and beside You there is no other.  I trust is in You.  I believe in You so much that I believe You can cause me to go places I have never gone, to do things I have never done.  Lead, guide, and direct me.  Show me what You would have me to do in 2006.  You not only give me big dreams, but You also give me the ability, grace, and favor to bring them to pass!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Do you Believe you can do what God said you can do? (top of page)

(Num 14:11 KJV)  And the Lord said unto Moses, “How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be before they believe me…”

First of all, let me start off by sharing my desire for you for to have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  It is my prayer that God will elevate your thinking this year and that you will have the discipline to do your part in the manifestation of His will for your life in 2006.

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by looking at the nation of Israel when it was time for them to expand their capacity to believe.  These people had been in bondage for 400 years and the Lord delivered them out from captivity with the wealth of the Egyptians.  They were newly free, they had great possessions, and God wanted them to prosper even more by possessing the land He promised to Abraham to give them.  This was the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey.  God told Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites” (Num 13:2).  There is the promise!  The Lord was giving them this land.  It was already a done deal.  Moses was to pick out a leader from each of the 12 tribes of Israel and they were to collect intelligence about the people and bring back fruit from the land.

“They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community… reported… showed them the fruit of the land.”  They said, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.”  But, this is where their faith stopped.  They did not have confidence in the promise (Word) the Lord had spoken to give them the land.  They went on to say, “But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large…”  Caleb believed God.  He silenced the people and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  However, the doubting spies counter attacked and said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are… they are of great size… we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (see 13:26-33).

The people believed the 10 doubting spies and said, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (14:4).  Moses was frustrated.  Joshua and Caleb tried to tell the people that they could do it, but the people chose to believe the doubting spies.  The Lord went ask, “How long will it before they believe me?” God wanted His people to walk into Canaan and possess the land.  Canaan was God’s best for them.  Canaan was His desire, but God’s blessings often require our participation and courage.  Canaan was as good as theirs, but it was inhabited.  The possession of the promise would require courage and belief in themselves and in God.  God could not bless them, because of their unbelief.  Joshua and Caleb were the only two men (out of millions) that believed and they were the only two to eventually take possession of the land.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must prepare yourself to receive the promises of God in 2006.  No matter how big the promises may seem, if you can believe it, you can receive it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You and Your promises.  I can have what You say I can have.  I can do what You say I can do.  I can be what You say I can be.  I can go where You say I can go.  I do not hinder Your blessing on my life, because of unbelief.  I believe and I receive in 2006!  This is the year of Total Fulfillment!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Who said they were Grasshoppers? (top of page)

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I feel led this morning to revisit yesterday’s story.  12 spies went into the land.  Two believed they could take it and 10 did not.  When Caleb said, “Let’s go… I know we can do it!”  The other men replied, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.”  If this was all they said it would have been bad enough, but they went on to spread scary rumors among the people, saying, “…everybody we saw was huge.. giants… alongside them we felt like grasshoppers.  And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers” (see Numbers 13:30-33).  Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets that apply to our lives today:

1.       Believing God will often put you in the minority:  Many Christians today are so accustomed to participating in “religious activity” without any real manifestation of God that they criticize those that have the audacity to literally believe God and His Word.  Those who believe they can receive and do what the Bible says they can receive and do are often labeled as fanatics, even within the Christian community.  So just know up front that if you are ready to expand your capacity to believe God and to expect the blessings of God to flow in your life, you will probably be in the minority.  In spite of the fact that 10 out of 12 were against them, Joshua and Caleb did not doubt.  Even when the rumors spread and millions doubted God, Joshua and Caleb remained in faith.  What was the result?  Millions died in the wilderness without ever possessing the promise of God for them.  Joshua and Caleb were the only two of that generation to receive that promise.  Are you ready to believe even when it is unpopular?

2.       Doubting God leads to fear:  Doubt is the precursor of fear.  Once you doubt God for one moment, you open the door to fear in your life.  Remember, faith moves God, fear moves satan.  Faith is having confidence in God and His Word.  Fear is having confidence in satan and his word.  God said the land was theirs, but they doubted when they saw the obstacle they had to overcome to receive the promise (the inhabitants).  Once doubt was present, fear creeped right in.  Successful Christians doubt their doubts and have faith in their faith.

3.       Fear messes with your mind:  Faith will cause you to look at a giant and say, like Caleb, “Let’s go… I know we can do it!”  On the other hand, fear will cause you to look at the same giant and say, “we felt like grasshoppers.”  Even worse, they went on to imagine that the giants saw them as grasshoppers as well.  If you are going to receive God’s blessing and do great things for God in His kingdom you must overcome the grasshopper mentality.  The grasshopper mentality looks at obstacles and looses heart.  The giant-killer mentality (also remember David and Goliath) looks obstacles and sees an opportunity for God to manifest His glory through you.

4.       Doubt and fear are the fruit, but unbelief is the root:  When you operate in doubt and allow fear to overtake you, it is truly because you do not believe God.  If you believed God and believed the Bible, then you would not believe the thoughts of doubt, fear, and failure.  There are constants thoughts running through your mind; thoughts from God, satan, and you.  You must sift your thoughts through the filter of faith – the Word of God – so you can know which thoughts to receive and which ones to reject (2nd Corinthians 10:3-5).  If unchecked, the wrong thoughts will lead to failure and will keep you from the promises of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You and I believe Your Word.  No matter how many people doubt You, I am not one of them.  I walk in faith and not fear.  I walk in trust and not doubt.  I sift my thoughts through the filter of faith.  I am a giant-killer in Your kingdom.  I overcome every hindrance, every obstacle, and every attack.  2006 is the best year of my life.  Forward ever, backward never!  The best is yet to come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

God wants you to Believe! (top of page)

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  For the last couple of days we have looked at the way Joshua and Caleb overcame the grasshopper mentality to believe God was able to give them the land of Canaan.  Some 40 years later, Moses and his generation of Israelites were dead.  Joshua and Caleb were still alive and Joshua was the new leader of the nation.  The instructions given to Joshua at this critical time pertain to us as we prepare for our new year.  Over the next few days we will investigate the first chapter of Joshua.

God started off my telling Joshua, “My servant Moses is dead.  Now you must lead Israel across the Jordan River into the land I’m giving to all of you” (Jos 1:.2).  Why is this important?  Because it connotes timing.  We live out our lives out in seasons and in increments of days.  There are different seasons for different things.  For planning purposes, most people seek to devise annual plans.  I teach that we should seek God for an “annual vision” that, if followed, will incrementally take us towards His “overall vision” for our lives.  That being the case, January is a critical month.  It is a month where many seek God for clear vision, direction, and guidance for the year.  So, As God helped Joshua know that it was the right time, I am encouraging you to expand your capacity to believe at this critical time in your life.

God further encouraged Joshua by saying, “Joshua, I will always be with you and help you as I helped Moses, and no one will ever be able to defeat you”(v.5).  What was God doing?  He was expanding Joshua’s capacity to believe.  By making this statement, Joshua began to think back over all the things God had done for Moses.  God blessed Moses in many ways.  No doubt Joshua thought of the time when they were sandwiched between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s Army.  The nation of Israel was facing sure death; by sword or by water.  All Moses had was a stick (his rod) and his unrelenting belief in his God.  He stretched out that stick, God parted the Red Sea, the entire nation walked across on dry ground, and God then allowed the waters to collapse on Pharaoh’s army.  Or what about the time when Joshua led the battle against the Amalekites?  Moses was on the top of the hill with that same ole’ stick.  Joshua and his soldiers were able to destroy the Amalekites, because Moses was holding his stick up towards God; as a symbol of their covenant with Him.  And the list can go on and on.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that what the reminder did for Joshua, it can do for us.  God has me to get up in the morning to send out messages over email to encourage you like He encouraged Joshua.  God wants to flood your mind with thoughts of victory through the accounts of David vs. Goliath, Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal, Gideon’s 300 vs. three nations, Daniel and the lion’s den, the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace, and etc.  God does not play favorites (Acts 10:34).  What He did for them, He can do for you.  So, if God could feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, He can provide for you and your household.  If He healed a woman who was bleeding for 12 years, He can deal with your medical ailment.  If He took twelve relatively uneducated and unpopular men and used them to change the course of history, He can use you to do great things.  The message for this morning is simple:God wants you to believe!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe!  I know You have done extraordinary things with ordinary people.  I believe You will do great things in my life.  I believe You will give me clear vision, direction, and guidance for this year.  I believe this will be the greatest year of my life.  I believe it will require diligence and hard work on my part, but I also believe that if I do my part, You will do yours.  I am encouraged by what You did for others and I am excited about what You will do for me and through me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Confidence and Courage (top of page)

(Joshua 1:6 NIV)  “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We left off yesterday at the fifth verse of the first chapter of Joshua and we look at the sixth verse today.

The possession of the Promised Land was no menial task.  Joshua had to conquer the logistical challenge of moving millions of people across the Jordan River and the tactical challenge of overtaking the inhabitants of the land; inhabitants that were giants of men.  In our text for this morning God gave Joshua two keys to ensure success: strength (confidence) and courage.

1.       Strength:  This was not a reference to physical strength.  Joshua would no longer be required to lead the men with a sword.  He was now a spiritual leader.  The strength he now required was a complete confidence in God.  Joshua had to be rooted and grounded in an overwhelming inner confidence that God would give them the land.  Likewise, we must be equipped with this kind of strength; a strength that withstands the mental lapses of fear, doubt, and unbelief.  Our strength comes from our confidence in God and His power.

2.       Courage:  40 years earlier, Joshua believed that God would give them the land.  His faith was strong, but he also had a different position.  He had “follower” faith.  He was simply one of 12 spies and Moses was their true leader.  Some 40 years later, he was now the leader and he needed a different level of faith.  The Israelites had not fought a battle in 40 years.  The entire nation was under the age of 40.  No one, except for Joshua and Caleb, had ever yielded a sword in combat.  The entire Army was untested.  Joshua needed exceptional faith and he needed exceptional courage, if his unproven soldiers were to destroy the giants of Canaan.  Joshua could not really trust in his soldiers, but he could trust in His God.  His courage came from his relationship with God and the confidence he had in the Word the Lord had spoken.  He knew that God would stand behind His Word.  Likewise, we must also have an unremitting and unrelenting confidence in God’s Word and the courage to look opposition in the face and remain unmoved.  Even under seemingly impossible circumstances, if you believe God has spoken a Word to you – either in prayer, through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, etc. – then you must stand firm on that Word.  If you have confidence in God and the courage to overcome fear, doubt, and unbelief, you will expand your capacity to believe God and you will experience great victories this year.

So what does this mean to you today? It means you must have confidence in God’s and the courage to overcome your inner doubts.  Once you believe that God can and have faith that He will, you open yourself up for God to move mightily in your life.  Confidence and courage help expand your capacity to believe God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am strong in faith.  I have unrelenting confidence in You and in Your Word.  I know You will do what You said You will do.  You cannot lie and You cannot fail.  No matter what it looks like, my confidence is in You.  I also have courage to overcome every obstacle and every opposition.  No matter what challenges I face in 2006, I know that I will come out victorious, because Your hand is upon my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

The Obedience Factor (top of page)

(Joshua 1:7 NIV)  “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

This morning we continue our new series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We left off yesterday at the sixth verse of the first chapter of Joshua and we look at the seventh verse today.

The instructions the Lord gave Joshua in this verse should serve as a sobering reality for those that think that coming to God will mean automatic blessing without any substantial effort on their part.  I call this “The Obedience Factor” because obedience is the key that unlocks the favor of God upon our lives.

God had already promised Joshua and the Israelites the land.  God was obligated to His Word, but that does not mean that He was willing to overlook sin and disobedience.  In addition to being strong (confident) and courageous, the Lord instructed Joshua to do “all the law.”  Joshua could not pick and choose.  He could not say, “Well, I like this verse, but I will ignore that verse.”  He was to obey it all.  Joshua was required to do everything right that he knew to do.  If he obeyed God, he would receive the promises that he believed.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that sin will hinder God’s blessings from flowing in your life.  I have heard many older believers say, “God does not bless mess.”  I agree with that statement.  You can expand your capacity to believe, read your bible every day, confess the blessings of God over your life, and go to church every time the doors are open; but if you consistently operate in sin and neglect the obedience factor, all that activity will be futile.

I know this is not my normal “You can do it” type message, but messages like this are very important.  I am obligated to share the whole counsel of God.  God wants you to believe.  God wants to bless you.  But God is not willing to turn a blind eye to sin and disobedience.  The good news is that if you are obedient and you expand your capacity to believe God, our text says that you will be successful everywhere you go.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I obey You and Your Word.  As I know better, I declare that I do better.  I abstain from sin.  I do not turn from Your instructions.  My obedience unlocks Your blessing and Your favor upon my life.  I declare, by faith, that I am successful everywhere I go, because I believe and do what Your Word commands me to believe and do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Keep God’s Word in Your Mouth (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  As we prepare for 2006 we have been looking at the specific instructions the Lord gave Joshua as he prepared to enter the Promised Land.  This was the most demanding endeavor of his life.  He was in the support role for years, but Moses was dead and he was facing the challenge of leading an entire nation of young Israelites into “taking” what the Lord had said was theirs.  I have taught many lessons from this verse.  It is the only verse in the King James Version of the Bible that has the word “success” in it.  God helped Joshua understand that he could literally “make” his own way prosperous if he did three things: spoke the Word (mastering your mouth), thought the Word (mastering your mind), and performed the Word (mastering your methods).  We will break each of these keys down over the next few messages.

The first key God told Joshua in this verse was to keep the Word of God in his mouth.  In other words, Joshua was to speak the Word constantly.  His success was tied to his speech and the same applies to us today.  I add a confession to the end of every message, because I believe you should confess (openly declare) the Word of God over your life.  If you declare defeat, you receive defeat.  If you declare victory, you receive victory.  Solomon said, “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth… Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:20,21).

Why is it important to align our speech with God’s Word?  Because God is not obligated to perform our Word, but He is obligated to perform His.  Jeremiah had a conversation with God and God said, “I am watching to make sure that my words come true” (Jer 1:12 GW).  We can say, “I will be there at 3 o’clock” and then show up at 3:30.  Or we can say, “Call me and I will come right over” and then never show up.  We are human and are finite and frail.  I can make mistakes, because I am a man; but God is not a man, He does not lie, and if He speaks something, He makes it good (Num 23:19).  What do you think God does all day?  He watches over His Word to make sure it comes true!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that, like Joshua, your success is tied to your speech.  Speak life and your will receive life.  Speak death and you will receive death.  The choice is yours.  If you keep the Word of God in your mouth you will position yourself for a blessed 2006.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  The power of death and life are in my tongue.  I reap what I sow.  I sow Your Word and reap a renewed mind.  My renewed mind will bring renewed thoughts.  My renewed thoughts will bring renewed actions.  My renewed actions will bring renewed results.  I enjoy a good harvest this day and everyday, because I sow good seed.  I speak Your Word and agree with Your opinion of me.  I am not a failure; I am a success.  My family is blessed, my children are blessed, my career is blessed, my body is healthy, my mind is at rest, and I am ready for this day; because You have made me ready!  Lord, be it unto me, according to Your Word!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Keep God’s Word in Your Mouth (Part II) – Speaking Positive (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I mentioned three success keys that the Lord gave Joshua in this verse.  The first one was to keep the Word of God in his mouth.  I felt led to stay there again this morning.

Why was it so important that Joshua keep the Word (the promises) of God in his mouth?  Because the nation of Israel was about to experience the greatest change of their lives.  Joshua and Caleb were the only people still alive from the previous generation.  They were born in slavery and did not know what it was like to experience “Abraham like” blessings.  The stories were passed down from generation to generation, but all they knew was slavery, then the wilderness.  The rest of the people (millions in number) were born in the wilderness.  God fed them manna from heaven every day.  Manna was all they had ever eaten.  No matter how good of a picture Joshua and Caleb painted for them of Canaan, the “Land flowing with milk and honey,” they still did not really know what they were about to receive.  They had never tasted a grape, or a fig, or a steak.  This was a huge change.  This is why it was so critically important for Joshua to speak success and not failure, victory and not defeat, faith and not doubt.

People don’t like change and when they think about change, they normally expect things to change for the worse.  You get strange looks from others when you begin to speak positive and expect great things to happen.  Let’s use my trip for an example.  I got up early and prayed.  I sent out Today’s Word and asked for your prayers as well.  I expected God to honor my prayer and bring us home safely and quickly.  We were not manifested on any flights and were basically looking to get on any US bound aircraft with available seats.  This can be a great challenge, but I expected nothing but favor.  I had already prayed and I knew that others were praying as well.  We missed a flight that could have taken us from Iraq, to Kuwait, to Baltimore.  Some of the people on the trip with me we speaking negative.  I believed God.  I expected my confession to outweigh theirs.  I knew God would bless us.  We were informed of another flight, but we did not have a lot of time to get out bags.  Once again, some were speaking negative.  I kept answering them back with positive words.  No one is surprised when you say things like, “We are going to be stuck here for days,” but they look at you strange when you say, “We are getting out of here and God will give us the best possible itinerary.”  Well, long story short.  We got on a flight with few passengers from Iraq, to Spain, to Georgia.  Guess what?  I live in Georgia.  Praise God!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that, like Joshua, whenever you prepare for great things to happen in your life, you will have to overcome the doubt and unbelief of nay-sayers.  Don’t let the negativity of others weigh you down.  Stand firm on the promises of God.  Speak life and not death, blessing and not cursing, and success and not failure.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  The power of death and life are in my tongue.  I choose to expect to be blessed and I make my words line up with my expectation.  I do not speak any negative over my life, nor the lives of my family members.  I speak life and not death and I receive Your favor.  I expand my capacity to believe and I expect to receive greater things in 2006!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Elevate Your Thinking (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  The Lord gave Joshua three success keys in this verse.  We have discussed the first.  For the next few days we will discuss the second: thinking about the Word day and night.

Why was it important for Joshua to constantly think about the Word?  Remember, he was facing the greatest challenge of his life.  He was to lead millions of people to a new land; a land they had never seen, with an army that had never fought.  I am sure there were people doubting their ability to “take possession” of the land, while others were happy with the status quo; wandering around in the wilderness and eating manna from heaven.  To be successful in both leading the people and possessing the land, Joshua had to keep his thought life in order.  The success of Israel would not be determined by the strength of the infantryman or the skill of the swordsman, the battle would ultimately be won or lost in Joshua’s mind.  If Joshua looked through the lens of his mind’s eye and saw himself defeated, then they would have been defeated before they ever got started.  Joshua had to look through the lens of his mind’s eye and see victory and victory alone.  That is why God told him to meditate on His Word (promises) day and night.  If Joshua could elevate his thinking, he could lead the people to victory.

Some years ago I was in a military unit that prepared to receive our Commanding General as a guest speaker.  In preparation for his visit, my commander had a sign posted with the word “Warfighter” on it.  This is a common term in the military.  Our Commanding General, however, was no common man.  He came in, saw the sign, and immediately made reference to it in his introduction.  He said, “We are not Warfighters, we are War-winners!  If called upon, we are here to annihilate threat, blow things up, tear down governments, and leave nothing but a pile of rubble if need be.  We are not here to fight wars, we are here to win!”  This man is now a Four-Star General.  I may not like his choice of words, but I do like his attitude.  God was telling Joshua to think like a winner.  Dr. I. V. Hilliard, a pastor of one of the largest congregations in the United States, said that one of his mentors (Dr. C. L. Jackson) taught him early in ministry that he was only limited by what he could believe God could do through him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are not here to fight, you are here to win!  Does this mean that believers don’t face challenges?  Absolutely not!  Was it does mean is that God wants you to face every challenge with the mind of a winner.  If you meditate on the Word of God day and night, you will never see a challenge and think failure.”  You will always look at a challenge and remember the promises of God.  Elevate your thinking and get ready to make 2006 the best year of your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You have made me more than a conqueror in You.  I overcome every challenge, obstacle, and hindrance.  I am was not Born-Again to fight.  I was Born-Again to win.  I am a winner and not a loser.  I am a victor and not a victim.  My mind is set on success and I will not allow anything nor anyone to make me think otherwise.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Elevate Your Thinking (Part II) (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we dealt with “thinking about the Word day and night.”  This is a very important aspect of our success.  The success of Israel was contingent upon the thinking of Joshua.

If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’re right! Why is this the case?  It is because your thoughts shape your decisions, your decisions dictate your actions, and God either blesses you or judges you based upon what you do or fail to do.  It all starts in the mind.  Our thought life is so important that I did an entire series onMastering Your Mind.  Many Christian authors have approached this subject.  James Allen said, “You are today where you thoughts have brought you.  You will be tomorrow where you thoughts take you.”  Dr. Miles Munroe said, “You are a grand sum total of your decisions.”  Since our actions are results of our decisions and our decisions are results of our thoughts, we can see why our thoughts are important.  Dr. John Maxwell said, “One of the reasons people don’t achieve their dreams is that they desire to change their results without changing their thinking.”

Your thinking is directly tied to your success in Christ.  If you come to God as a fool and don’t change the way you think, but you want God to bless you with a business; then all you will be is a fool with a business.  You know what the result is going to be when a fool runs a business – failure!  If you come to God as a womanizer and don’t change the way you think about women, but you want Him to bless you with a wife, then you will be a womanizer with a wife.  You know what the results of that will be – failure!  And I could go on.  We must have the desire and the discipline to change our thinking if we are to experience the best God has to offer.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God will not force Himself upon you because He has limited Himself to work within the framework of your decisions.  He will never override your human will.  So then, there is a direct link between what you think, what you believe, the decisions that you make, and what you will be able to accomplish in life through the power of God.  Elevate your thinking and you will elevate your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk in Your love and Your grace today.  I fill my mind with things that are true, not lies; things that are noble, not naughty; things that are beautiful, not ugly; with the best and not the worst.  I sow faith thoughts and reap faith actions.  I sow faith actions and reap faith habits.  I sow faith habits and reap my destiny!.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

God Will Bless what you DO! (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We have identified three success keys in our text for this morning and we have already covered the first two: 1. Keeping God’s Word in your mouth and 2. Keeping God’s Word we in your mind.  This morning we look at the third and possibly the most important: doing what the Word of God says.

You can read the Bible every day, read Bible-based emails, pray all day long, and discuss the Word of God with your friends ‘till your blue in the face, but it does no good if you do not intend on “doing” what you read and discuss.  Your learning must turn into living.  The Lord told Joshua that his success was tied to his speech (keeping the Word in his mouth), his thoughts (meditating on the Word day and night) and his actions (observing to do all that is written therein).  Joshua could have daydreamed about leading the people into Canaan, he could have talked about it with everyone he met, but he would have never experienced God’s best until he stopped talking and started acting.

This is January and most of you are making plans for the year.  That is a good thing.  You should pray and seek God for direction for this year; but after you have a plan, it will eventually come time for you to put your plan into action. You can theorize, hypothesize, strategize, and analyze all year long; but it will not get you anywhere unless you put some action behind your planning.  Yes, God is looking for people to renew their minds, but He also expects renewed thinking to lead to renewed acting.  James said it best when he said, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup – where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?  I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department; I’ll handle the works department.”  Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove” (James 2:14-18 MSG).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is looking for you to put action behind your words.  You can think blessed and speak blessed, but until you start acting blessed you will not see that favor of God move upon your life as you desire.  Put some action behind your thoughts and you will experience the greatest year of your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I think about Your promises.  I also speak Your promises over my life.  However, I do not stop there.  I allow my learning to turn into living.  I live out what You have instilled in me.  My actions line up with Your Word and I declare that You bless everything I do in Your name and for Your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

The Bible is a Life-Book to Live! (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Part of expanding your capacity to believe God is expanding your relationship with His Word.  We have learned thus far that we must speak and think the Word constantly.  The focus of yesterday’s message was the matter of moving beyond mere thought and speech to action.  Although we may frequent Bible Studies, the bible is not a textbook to study; it is a life-book to live.  Our learning must turn in to living.  The Bible is the #1 All-time best-seller.  More people have read it than any other book in history; but reading it alone does not ensure a changed life.  We must turn the corner from information to application if we expect to see the true power of God manifested in our lives.

Smith Wigglesworth said, “The Bible is the Word of God.  It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality.  Read it through, write it down, pray it in…”  If he would have stopped there many would fail to get the “total” picture.  However, Wigglesworth went on to say, “… work it out, and then pass it on.”  These last few words take us from mere rhetoric to life-changing action.  To “work it out” is to apply it’s truths to your personal situations; thereby experience not just the Word of God, but the God of the Word.

The Bible is the sacred book that we read, study, and preach.  More importantly, the Bible is also the sacred book that we follow, obey, and live.  I often times say, “Everything is not in the bible” and I get funny looks.  Well, the Bible does not tell us how to change a tire or load Windows XP on a computer.  No, the Bible does not contain everything, but it does contain everything we need to live a victorious life in the earth.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God expects you to turn the corner from information to application.  Why go to church every Sunday and Bible study every Wednesday if you do not plan on “doing” what you learn?  If you fail to put some action behind the Word of God you will never experience the God of the Word.  So, step out in faith.  Attempt to do what you know cannot be done without God and watch Him show up.  My Pastor (Bishop R.B. Peoples Sr.) often says, “God can do more with you, once you get started!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I get started today.  I move beyond just talking about all the great things I am praying and believing You for.  I declare, by faith, that I will put some action behind my words.  I step out in faith and I expect You to honor Your Word.  You will never fail me, nor leave me without support.  I expect 2006 to be the best year of my life, but I also know that nothing great will happen without me doing something.  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  I have great expectations.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

You are Setting Your Own Course (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I trust that this series has been a blessing to you thus far.  By now it is clear to us that Joshua is about to embark on the greatest endeavor of his life.  In preparation for conquering Canaan the Lord instructed him to be courageous (v.6), obedient (v.7), to speak the Word (v.8), think the Word (v.8), and perform the Word (v.8).  The next statement is very important.  God went on to say, “For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous.”  There are two words I need to focus on in that statement: “then” and “make.”  The word “then” is a contingent clause.  It is connector that is based upon the fulfillment of a requirement.  There is an implied “If” to the beginning of this statement; meaning that “if” all the previous conditions are met, “then” the following is applicable.  The previous conditions in this case are Joshua being courageous, obedient; and speaking, thinking, and doing the Word.  If Joshua did all these things, “then” he would experience the following, “thou shalt make thy way prosperous.”  The language God used is very interesting.  God says that Joshua is literally making his own way prosperous when he meets the conditions for blessing set in the Word.  If Joshua failed to meet the conditions, he would not conquer Canaan.  It would be not God’s fault, because God had everything in place for him to do it.  It still required Joshua’s action.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God does not force His will upon you.  God made us all free moral agents.  The Word of God is full of promises, warnings, and instructions.  If we heed the warnings and follow the instructions we will enjoy the outcome of the promises.  If we ignore the warning and reject the instructions we will not experience the manifestation of the promises.  As a matter of fact, there are very specific promises for the unfaithful.  When we ignore God’s instructions, we fall into that category and the outcome is not pleasant.

We have a choice, just like Joshua did.  If we choose to live like heathen, walk in sin, and clothe ourselves in unrighteousness, we will experience the judgment of God.  However, if we choose to abstain from sin, walk in the Spirit, live by faith, and clothe ourselves in the righteousness of God – made available to us through the blood of Jesus – we will experience God’s blessing.

The choice is yours.  You set your own course.  What will you decide?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I choose life and not death, blessing and not cursing, favor and not judgment.  I am confident in You and in Your ability.  I am obedient to You and to Your Word.  I speak the Word daily over my life and my circumstances.  I think the Word continually and it increases my capacity to believe You.  I do the Word every day.  My thoughts become my actions.  I walk by faith, under the leadership of Your Spirit, and I declare that in so doing, I am making my way prosperous and will enjoy good success..  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

God wants you to Prosper (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we dealt with the fact that if Joshua operated in courage (v.6), was obedient (v.7), spoke the Word (v.8), thought the Word (v.8), and performed the Word (v.8); that he would literally be “making” his own way prosperous.  That being the case, we need to understand the word “prosperous.”  This text was originally written in Hebrew.  The Hebrew word used is “tsâlach.”  This word means to push forward; to break out; to go over, be good, be profitable.  In English we normally deal with Webster’s dictionary.  Webster’s dictionary defines “prosperous” as: Having success; flourishing; well-to-do; well-off.  Webster also defines “prosper” as: To be fortunate or successful, to thrive.

Why do I bring out the definitions?  Because definitions are important when we are attempting to communicate concepts.  If you and I have different understandings of the terms used, then we will have a misconception in the communication.  It is the same with God.  When you read the Bible you need to understand what God was saying, to whom, and for what purpose; before you attempt to relate it to yourself today.  If not, there can easily be a misconception.

God wanted Joshua to succeed.  Joshua’s mission was to lead millions of people across the Jordan River and into a land inhabited with giants.  After coming into the land, Joshua was to lead the people in a series of battles where they would literally take over the land by force.  This was no menial task, but God was clear to Joshua if he did his part, God would be there to ensure he succeeded.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to prosper.  Yes, He still requires you to do your part.  You must abstain from sin, study the Word, pray for direction, and develop an intimate relationship with Him.  But the point is that you need not question whether or not God wants you to prosper.  He desires for you to be prosperous in every area of your life.  Don’t make the common mistake many make today and attempt to relate this to money.  Of course, God does want you to be struggling to pay your light bill or to purchase food for your family, but prosperity is much more than money.  God wants you to be healthy, to have a wonderful marriage, to be a great parent, to be the “go-to” person at work, to be an example in your community, and to be a light to a dark, dying, and decaying world.

Your light does not shine well if all people see in you is problems.  God wants you to be successful in every area of your life so that you can bring glory to His Kingdom!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I do not struggle with whether or not You want me to prosper.  I know You do.  I now, by faith, declare that I will do my part.  I abstain from sin and the very appearance of evil.  I study Your Word and pray for direction.  You lead, guide, and direct me this day and every day.  I was Born-Again a winner and not a loser; a success and not a failure.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Is Your Success Good? (top of page)

(Joshua 1:8 KJV)  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We have been learning from this scripture for over a week now; this is one verse that you should seek to memorize.  I call it “God’s formula for success.”  Having stated that, it is interesting that this is the only verse in the Bible that contains the word “success.”  If asked, most people will tell you that they are pursuing success, although many cannot define it.

Webster’s dictionary defines success as: the favorable or prosperous termination of any thing attempted; a termination which answers the purpose intended; properly in a good sense, but often in a bad sense; the gaining of fame or prosperity; the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.  Webster’s dictionary varies in its definition and so does the common person.  The definition makes reference to the accomplishment of purpose, the attainment of wealth, and to both good and possibly bad outcomes.  This vagueness promotes ambiguity concerning success in the world.  Success can mean lots of things to lots of people, but God was not ambiguous in the text.  In context, God clearly told Joshua that if he operated in courage (v.6), was obedient (v.7), spoke the Word (v.8), thought the Word (v.8), and performed the Word (v.8); that he would literally be make his own way prosperous and that he would enjoy “good success.”  Good success comes from God.  The quantifier “good” attached to success helps us understand that this success is attained God’s way.  The combination of the words “good” and “God” are found in 129 verses in the Bible.  Why?  Because our God is a good God and He desires good success for His children.

What is the difference between good and bad success?  I define good success as success that results from actions that are pleasing to God.  I am often asked, “How do I know if what I am doing is pleasing to God?”  I always answer with a reference back to the Word of God.  If you are doing something that does not line up with the Word of God, then you are not pleasing God and whatever the outcome, it will not be good success.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to prosper, but He wants you to do it His way.  He does not want you to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the top.  He wants you to work hard at your assigned tasks, while operating in His principles and precepts.  If you do this, you will make your way prosperous and you will literally achieve good success!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe I can achieve great things in life.  I believe I will accomplish every assigned task in greatness.  I believe I can succeed in everything I do.  I make this declaration of faith, because I know that my actions are tied to the principles and precepts I find in Your Word.  As I live a life that is pleasing to You and I seek to work hard at everything You allow me to do, I make my way prosperous and I achieve Good success.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Who said you were a Dead Dog? (top of page)

(2nd Sam 9:8 CEV)  Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, “Why should you care about me? I’m worth no more than a dead dog.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We dealt with the story of the Israelites taking possession of the Promised Land for the last three weeks.  I could go on with that story, but I felt a release this morning to shift to another power-packed story.  I will introduce you to the story this morning and we will then investigate it further.

David lived an interesting life.  He was the youngest of eight boys and somewhat overlooked by his family.  He was resigned to tending the sheep, but the Lord taught him many lessons in his years as a shepherd.  While he was still a teenager a prophet came to his father’s house and anointing him king in front of all his brothers.  The actual appointment as king would not come for many years and not after many trials.  Many of those trials were imposed upon him by the previous king (Saul).  David had an exceptional friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan.  This friendship caused them to make a covenant with each other (see 1st Samuel 20:16).  This covenant was not just between the two men, but it also included their families.

God was true to His Word and eventually the trials passed, David became the reigning king, and things were finally going great for David and his family.  It was at this point that he remembered the covenant he made with Jonathan.  Although Jonathan was no longer alive, the covenant remained.  David asked, “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family?  If so, I’d like to show him some kindness in honor of Jonathan.”  One of the older servants was there and told David that Jonathan had a living son; but that he was lame.  It was a sad story.  When the word came to the palace that King Saul was dead, everyone scattered.  Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, was under the care of his nurse.  She grabbed the five year old boy and hurried to get out of the palace.  In her haste she dropped the little prince and he was maimed in both his feet.  He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he grew up and established a life in the city of Lo-debar.  Interestingly enough, Lo-debar means “a place of no pasture,” “a barren place.”

As soon as David was told that Jonathan’s son was living in Lo-debar he commanded his servants to get him.  When Mephibosheth, who was once comfortable around royalty, came before King David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David.  David said, “Mephibosheth.” “Yes sir,” he replied.  “Don’t be frightened,” said David.  “I’d like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan.  To begin with, I’m returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul.  Furthermore, from now on you’ll take all your meals at my table.”  This is where we get to our text and Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, “Why should you care about me?  I’m worth no more than a dead dog.”

We will break down this story over the next few days, but for this morning think about Mephibosheth’s mentality.  Who told him he was worth no more than a dead dog?  He used to be royalty and he acted like it, but circumstances changed his outlook on life.  So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are who you think you are!  Never ever think of yourself as anything less than a child of the Most High God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe Your Word.  I believe I am a king’s kid, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, a chosen generation.  I have been selected by You, because of Your covenant, to be a light in a dark, dying, and decaying world.  I will let Your light shine through me this day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Don’t Judge Your Future by Your Past (top of page)

(2nd Sam 9:8 CEV)  Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, “Why should you care about me? I’m worth no more than a dead dog.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we laid the foundation for the story of Mephibosheth.  Even after the King told him that he would return all the properties of his grandfather and that he would be a guest at the King’s table, we see that he still thought of himself as a “dead dog” and a person unworthy of such treatment.  Many Christians today have the same problem.  They may not call themselves a dead dog, but they feel unworthy of the blessings and promises of God.

Why would a person who was once heir to the thrown make such a statement?  Dr. I. V. Hilliard says that there are four main factors that shape our value and belief system.  Let’s take a look at the four and how they apply to Mephibosheth’s life:

1.       Social Environment:  Mephibosheth was taken from the palace to live in Lo-debar.  I already stated that Lo-debar was a dry and barren place.  He went from the place of pleasure and plenty to the place of unrest and lack.

2.       Credible Authority Figures:  Mephibosheth’s father Jonathan and his grandfather Saul were dead.  They were his connection to greatness and a faint memory of childhood bliss.

3.       Repetitious Information:  You eventually believe what you consistently receive.  This is why it is very important to protect your “ear gate.”  Mephibosheth was more than likely – because of his environment – exposed to conversations of failure, frustration, and disappointment.  The people around him were associated with Saul’s regime and probably talked about the “good ‘ole times;” without any hope of future success.

4.       Personal Experiences:  Our personal experiences make the most impact on our belief system.  Mephibosheth experienced a string of unfortunate events.  He lost his royal grandfather at a young age, he was dropped and maimed at the same time, and he was taken to live in an unproductive and uncreative environment.  Since the age of five, all he knew was struggle.

I know this all paints a pretty bad picture, but here comes the good news.  The reigning King remembered that he had a covenant with Mephibosheth’s father.  Even though his father was dead, the covenant remained intact.  King David was obligated to fulfill the covenant.  The King was willing to bless Mephibosheth and turn his life around.  Although King David was obligated to fulfill his part of the covenant, Mephibosheth still had a role in the matter.  He needed to look beyond his past and see hope for his future.  Mephibosheth needed to do two things: recognize the authority of the King and receive the blessing from the throne.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to bless you.  There are hundreds of promises that pertain to you because of the covenants established in the Word of God.  The promises will never change your life, however, if you are not willing to: 1. recognize the authority of God and the validity of the scriptures and 2. receivethe blessings by faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I do not let my past dictate my future.  I look beyond disappointment, frustration, and pain.  I look unto Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of my faith.  I revamp my belief system through the Word of God.  I look forward and not backward.  Forward ever, backward never.  The blessings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Jesus are mine!  I recognize Your authority and I receive Your blessings, by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Kings vs. Presidents (top of page)

(2nd Sam 9:8 CEV)  David said, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll be kind to you because Jonathan was your father. I’m going to give you back the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul. Besides that, you will always eat with me at my table.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We have been dealing with the story of Mephibosheth for the last few days.  This morning I feel led to deal with the fact that David was a King and not a President or a Prime Minister.  Why is this important?  Let’s see some key differences:

1.       Establishment:  Humans are elected President or Prime Minister, but one must be born into royalty.  Normally the person(s) that established your authority have a say in how you carry it out.  In the case of Presidents and Prime Ministers this role is executed by the people.  If they people do not approve, changes are normally made.  Since Kings are born and not elected there is no tie to external pressures for administration.

2.       Rule:  Presidents and Prime Ministers govern, Kings rule.  There is a big difference.  Presidents and Prime Ministers have checks and balances.  Their word may not be final.  They can be impeached for critical mistakes.  Kings do not have checks and balances.  They rule with absolute authority.  Their word is final.

3.       Tenure:  Presidents and Prime Ministers govern for set terms of office.  This is basically a “job” for them.  When their tenure is over they must move aside and allow the next elected official to govern.  Kings rule until they die.  They never move aside and submit to another human’s rule while they are still living.  Kings are born as royalty and they die as rulers.

4.       Limitations:  Presidents and Prime Ministers do not own the land.  They simply govern and establish policies.  Kings are referred to as Lord.  Why?  Because they own their kingdom.  The more land they own, the bigger the kingdom.

Why is this important?  Because David was a King and not an elected official.  If a President or Prime Minister promises land to someone, they might wind up in prison.  They can be investigated and brought up on charges of conspiracy and fraud.  However, King’s can give away land because they own it.  Mephibosheth was able to receive the offer, because it was made from a credible source – the thrown of a King.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  God owns all the silver and the gold (Hag 2:8) in the world, the cattle upon a thousand hills (Ps 50:10), and the entire earth for that matter (Ps 24:1).  God is not an elected official.  God’s cannot be checked or balanced.  His Word is final.  He has complete rule.

What this also means is that you can receive the Word of God and all the promises therein, because they come from a credible source.  They do not come from someone who cannot carry out what He has promised.  God is the King of Glory.  Expand your capacity to believe Him and your life will never be the same.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I acknowledge Your reign and Your rule.  Everything is Yours.  You have complete authority, rule, and dominion.  You have the power and the ability to execute every promise found in your Word.  I believe You can and I have the faith that You will manifest Your glory, peace, power, and provision in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

You have Access to the King of Glory (top of page)

(Ps 24:9,10 CEV)  Open the ancient gates, so that the glorious king may come in.  Who is this glorious king?  He is our LORD, the All-Powerful!

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I laid out some of the differences between Kings and Presidents or Prime Ministers and I pointed out that God is a King.  I felt led to stay on this topic this morning and further emphasize why this is important in expanding our capacity to believe God.

Those that understand royalty understand why it is very difficult to get an audience with the throne.  The average person cannot gain access to a King.  The royal court ensured that access to a King was controlled, because whatever a King says has to be done and it was oftentimes irreversible.  In Daniel, for example, those jealous of Daniel’s relationship with King Darius tricked the King into signing a decree that they knew Daniel would violate.  Once Daniel did they brought to the King’s attention and he was obligated to have Daniel thrown in the lion’s den.  He loved Daniel, but as a King, he could not go against his Word.

Those that truly understand a King’s position were very excited when given an opportunity to address one.  They knew that the King could speak “one word” and change their lives for ever.  Those of us that understand God to be the King of Glory know that God can speak “one word” to us, at any given time, and change our lives forever.  That is why you must expand your capacity to believe.  There are many Christians that are Born-Again, but they do not believe God can or will change their circumstances.  They have no expectancy, anticipation, or hope.  They have resigned themselves to a life of mediocrity.  If these people truly understood the fact that they have access to the King of Glory everyday through prayer, they would elevate their expectations and believe that He can and will change their lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must believe.  You must believe that God is the King of Glory.  You must believe that He can speak “one word” to you – through prayer, the Bible, or someone else – and turn your life around instantly.  If you really believe that the King of Glory is in you, on you, and with you, it is hard to walk around with low self-esteem and low expectations.

Increase your capacity to believe.  Know that you have access to the King of Glory.  Know that He wants you to be complete and whole in every area of your life.  Know that He is greater than any force against you and that no one can stop His power from flowing in Your life, once you access it through your relationship with Him.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  You are greater than any attack, hindrance, or demonic force.  You are the King of Glory.  You are my righteous authority.  You are my God and I ascribe to no other gods but You.  I acknowledge Your presence and power this morning and I declare that Your hand and favor is in me, on me, and with me.  I go forth as an emissary of the King of Glory and I declare that everything I do is blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Partakers of an Eternal Covenant (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Mephibosheth.  King David called over one of his servants (Ziba) that used to serve Mephibosheth’s grandfather (Saul) and told him that he and his entire house (15 sons and 20 servants) would now work for Mephibosheth.  They were to work Mephibosheth’s newly restored land and bring him the provisions from it.  Mephibosheth himself would take all his meals at the King’s table (see 2nd Sam 9:9,10).

This is one of the greatest stories of redemption in the Bible.  Here you have a man that was born royalty, but lost his regal connection through a series of unfortunate events.  Everything he lost was restored through a covenant that was established with his blood line.  He lived beneath his means while he was ignorant of the covenant.  However, once he was made aware of the covenant he was able to receive a complete restoration to his rightful place in a position of prominence and stature.

The same hold true for us.  We are all born ignorant of the covenants established in the Word of God.  God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to make of him a great nation (Gen 12:2,3) and that the covenant would transfer to his seed (Gen 17:6,7).  God blessed Abraham and made him very rich; everything he did was successful (Gen 24:1).  God then extended and offered that same blessing to his descendants if they would hear His voice and obey His Word (Deut 28:1).  This obedience would mean that their businesses and farms would be successful (Deut 28:3), they would have many children and would harvest large crops (v.4), they would have plenty of bread to eat and experience success in their daily work (vv.:5,6);  they would overcome their enemies (v.7), their harvests would be so large that their storehouses would be full (v.8), they would have plenty of money to lend to other nations and would have no need to borrow any themselves (v.12), they would be leaders among the nations and followers, and they would be wealthy and powerful, not poor and weak (v.13).  Paul went on to tell us that every Born-Again believer has been baptized into Christ and has put on Christ.  In Christ, there is no distinction between Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.  We are all one in Christ Jesus.  Our connection to Christ makes us Abraham’s seed and spiritual heirs to the promises established for Abraham’s descendants (Gal 2:27-29).  Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews tells us that the covenant we have with Christ is a better covenant with better promises (Heb 8:6).

Mephibosheth’s life was changed when he was made aware of the covenant attached to his bloodline.  His knowledge of the covenant opened him up to the possibility of receiving the benefits of the covenant.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God has established a covenant of blessings in His Word for you.  Your knowledge of the covenant opens you up to the possibility of receiving the benefits of it.  For it to change your life, however, you must believe that you are part of the bloodline and therefore and heir to a better covenant with better promises.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  Everything You promised Abraham and Jesus is for me.  I am an heir and a joint-heir with Christ.  The natural blessings of Abraham and the spiritual blessings of Jesus are all part of my inheritance.  I receive them, by faith, and I declare that my life will never be the same.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

From Rejected to Accepted (top of page)

(2nd Sam 9:13 NIV)  And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Mephibosheth.  Yesterday we discussed how King David restored Saul’s land and his servants to Mephibosheth.  This was an example of God’s provision.  Outward provision does no good, however, if your mentality is not also restored.  Mephibosheth was born royalty, but he had not been around the crown since the age of five.  His thinking needed to be elevated.  Even though the King had given him land and servants, he needed to be changed from the inside out.  What was King David’s answer for a crippled man with a low self-esteem?  In the wisdom of God, David had Mephibosheth eat all his meals at the King’s table.  Why?  Because this would accomplish two things:

1.       Cover his weakness:  Mephibosheth’s greatest issue was his crippled feet.  Although David was not anointed to heal him, he did the next best thing: he covered his weakness by having Mephibosheth to sit at the King’s table.  Dignitaries that were fortunate enough to eat with the King would never know that Mephibosheth had a weakness, because the King’s table covered it.  David was taking Mephibosheth’s troubled past and putting it behind him.

2.       Elevate his thinking:  Once Mephibosheth felt comfortable operating as an “equal” with royalty and dignitaries he could no longer feel sorry for himself.  His weakness was hid under the majesty of the throne and his thinking was elevated to match his new position of honor.  David changed Mephibosheth’s financial balance sheet when he gave him the land, he changed his level of responsibility when he gave him the servants, but he changed his life when he covered his weakness and placed him in a position of honor.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to cover your weaknesses, give you a position of royalty, and elevate your thinking.  Don’t focus on what you cannot do.  Allow God to cover your weaknesses from your enemies and focus on your strengths in Him.  I will close with the words of Paul.  Please read these verses carefully, “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1st Peter 2:9,10 MSG).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I may have come to you damaged, but I am still destined.  I may have come rejected, but now I am accepted.  I cast my cares, anxieties, worries, and concerns upon You.  You spread Your wings over me and keep me secure.  Your faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall.  You cover my weaknesses and present me faultless before the world.  You empower me to prosper for You have made me a holy instrument in Your hands.  I may have been nothing, but now I am somebody.  I may have been rejected, but now I am accepted.  I sit at Your table and I walk with my head held high.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

God Declares the End from the Beginning (top of page)

(Judges 6:12 MSG)  The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by transitioning to another Old Testament story that exemplifies the importance of believing.  The book of Judges chronicles a turbulent time for the nation of Israel.  They had righteous and unrighteous leaders and the state of the nation reflected the spiritual state of the leaders.  Judges 6 opens with the Israelites disobeying the Lord.  Their disobedience caused the Lord to remove His protection from them and the nation of Midian controlled them for seven years.  This was a terrible time for Israel.  The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves.  Every time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites swarmed in, set up tents, and let their livestock eat the crops to the ground.  The Midianites also stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys.  There were so many Midianites that the Bible likens them to a “swarm of locusts.”  After the Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, the Israelites finally repented and asked the Lord for help.  The Lord sent a prophet to them with this message: “I am the LORD God of Israel, so listen to what I say.  You were slaves in Egypt, but I set you free and led you out of Egypt into this land.  And when nations here made life miserable for you, I rescued you and helped you get rid of them and take their land.  I am your God, and I told you not to worship Amorite gods, even though you are living in the land of the Amorites.  But you refused to listen.”  Even after this harsh prophecy, the Lord accepted their plea for help and sent an angel to a man He selected to lead the Israelites out of their oppression.  Who do you think the Lord chose?  Did he find the strongest, meanest, and most skilled warrior?  Of course not.  The Lord sent the angel to a man named Gideon.  What was he doing when the angel met him?  He was in a shallow pit, under a tree, threshing grain.  This was an unusual place to thresh grain; it was normally done on a wood floor or a hard surface, causing it to be a noisy process.  Gideon did it under a tree because he was hiding from the Midianites.  So the Lord picked an unknown farmer who was hiding under a tree to lead a revolution.  What’s the first thing the Lord needed to deal with?  No question, it was Gideon’s mentality.  Gideon needed to see himself as God saw him.  So the angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!”  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       God still judges sin:  Sin will cause you to live without the protection and favor of the Lord.

2.       God still accepts repentance:  If you earnestly repent before God, He will restore you.

3.       God declares the end from the beginning:  The angel did not speak to Gideon’s present condition.  He did not say, “Gideon, you coward!” Or, “Gideon, you big chicken!”  No, God looked at a scared farmer and spoke a fearless General into manifestation.

4.       If must believe God’s opinion of us:  We will see in this story that Gideon’s opinion of himself was literally transformed and he became the mighty warrior that God saw, because he was willing to believe God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your opinion of me.  I am who You say that I am.  I can do what You say that I can do.  I can be what You say that I can be.  You can turn weaklings into warriors and cowards into leaders.  I believe You can elevate me into becoming the person that You desire for me to be.  I accept, by faith, whatever You speak into my life and though my beginning may be small, I know that I will greatly increase.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Do You Know What’s In You? (top of page)

(Judges 6:14 NIV)  The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Gideon.  The Lord sent an angel to Gideon, a farmer, who was hiding under a tree and the angel said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!”  Gideon’s mentality was not ready for that statement.  If he was to become was God said, then he would certainly have to expand his capacity to believe.  His first reaction was to complain.  Gideon said, “But sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’  But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”  Many of us can understand his complaining.  We, like Gideon, would like to blame everything – good or bad – on God.  As I stated yesterday, however, their plight was a result of their sin.  God did not cause them to be in their situation, God simply removed His protection, because of their sin.  This should serve as a warning to all.  Stop blaming God for everything that happens and search yourself to ensure that you are free from blessing blockers.

I wanted to deal with the 15th verse this morning, but the Lord stopped me at verse 14.  The Lord’s answer to Gideon was powerful.  Let’s break this verse down into two areas:

1.       Your Ability:  God said, “Go in the strength you have…”  These words stopped me in my tracks this morning.  It is a reminder that God knows everything about us.  He knows our strengths and our weaknesses.  Every hair on our head is numbered (Mat 10:30).  He knows what we can do before He gives us the assignment.  He is qualified to make statements like, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Is 54:17), because he understands the weapon and He understands us.  He takes both into consideration before He makes such declarations.  This helps us understand His statement to Gideon.  We cannot clearly see why God selected Gideon.  When we look at Gideon all we see is a scared farmer, but God saw a mighty warrior.  Why?  Because God had already placed the mighty warrior in Gideon.  God knew what was in him and what it would take to get it out of him.

2.       God’s Ability:  God also asked, “Am I not sending you?”  This is a powerful question because it was a reminder to Gideon and it also serves as a reminder to us that God knows what He is doing.  If He knows the end from the beginning – and He does – then we can trust Him to be accurate with every assignment.  God was basically telling Gideon that He would be with him.  The guarantee of His presence also meant a guarantee of His power.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must see yourself as God sees you.  What do you see when you look in the mirror?  While you are answering that, ask yourself, what does God see when He looks at me?  What strength has He put down in you that you are not using?  What ability has He blessed you with that you are not maximizing?  The Word of the Lord for you this morning is: Go in the strength you have and I will be with you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your opinion of me.  You have blessed me with abilities that I have yet to use.  I declare, by faith, that I maximize the abilities You have placed in me and I go forward today with the confidence and boldness that comes from knowing that You are in me, on me, with me, and for me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Don’t disqualify yourself if God has already Qualified You! (top of page)

(Judges 6:15 MSG)  Gideon said to him, “Me, my master?  How and with what could I ever save Israel?  Look at me.  My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Gideon.  The Lord saw something in Gideon, told him to go in the strength that he had, and then promised to go with him.  What a mighty setup!  Think about that for a moment.  Place yourself in his shoes.  Imagine yourself as part of a nation that was birthed out of the promises of God.  Your nation had a rich heritage of Godly blessings.  However, because of sin, God removed His hedge of protection and your nation had been under siege for seven years.  One day the Lord sends an angel to you, while you are somewhat hiding, and the angel speaks a direct Word from the Lord Himself.  The Lord calls you a mighty warrior and tells you to go with the power that you already have and He promises to be with you.  What would you do?  Would you jump up and say, “Let’s go Lord.  I am ready to take them all”?  You would if your belief system would allow it.  I have done many series on operating in faith, but you cannot even get to faith if you do not believe something is possible for you.  Gideon’s belief system was not ready for God’s declaration.  Many today find themselves in the same boat.  They go to church Sunday after Sunday, but they do not really believe that they can do the exploits promised to us in the Word of God, through the power of God, for the glory of God.

Gideon’s reply was sad, but it is common.  He said, “Me, my master?  How and with what could I ever save Israel?  Look at me.  My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.”  God had already expressed His opinion of Gideon.  Gideon’s reply shows that He was still operating under “some other” opinion of himself.  Some people see his reply and call it humility.  I call it false humility.  For example: I have observed several Pastors give assignments to members of their congregations where the members reply with statements like, “Who me, Pastor?  I am not worthy.  I cannot do that.  Who am I?  I’m just an ‘ole poor sinner, saved by grace.”  God is not pleased with such statements.  God gives us assignments for the same reason He gave Gideon the assignment; because He has already placed in us, all we need to eb successful.  Furthermore, God has already expressed His opinion of us in His Word.  We are ambassadors for His Kingdom (2 Cor 5:20); we are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor 5:21); we are a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Pet 2:9); we are the people of God (1 Pet 2:10); we are joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17); we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37); and I could go on and on.  The Bible is chock-full of promises and declarations of who we are.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must believe God’s opinion of you if you are to maximize your purpose in life before you die.  God is in the business of doing extraordinary things with ordinary people.  God knew who Gideon was before He assigned him; flaws, failures, and all.  God took all that into consideration before He qualified him for the assignment.  Don’t be like Gideon and attempt to disqualify yourself.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe Your opinion of me.  I activate Your presence, power, and peace in my life.  I make myself available for Your use.  You are bigger than anything that will come my way.  You enable me to accomplish every task in excellence and victory.  There is nothing too big for me, because You are in me and with me.  You chose me when I would not choose myself.  You selected me for service and equipped me for greatness.  I am not a weakling, I am a mighty warrior!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Dream Big Dreams! (top of page)

(Judges 6:15 MSG)  Gideon said to him, “Me, my master?  How and with what could I ever save Israel?  Look at me.  My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  God had great plans for Gideon, but look at the Gideon’s opinion of himself.  Gideon was basically telling God that he was the most insignificant person in the most insignificant family in his entire tribe.  For God to use Gideon to lead the people out of the bondage He would have to elevate his thinking.  In follow-on messages we will see that God allowed Gideon to go through a series of tests before he could believe God to the point where he was ready to lead an Army into battle.

As soon as I woke up this morning – and I get up early – the Lord reminded me of Gideon’s condition in the text and then reminded me of my childhood.  I am a first generation American, born to immigrant parents, and raised in East New York, Brooklyn.  For those of you that do not know, East New York in the 1970s and 1980s was one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States.  In school we were often quoted demoralizing statistics and reminded how difficult it was, as minorities in the ghetto, to overcome the odds.  Most of my friends believed the statistics and soon became them.  We grew up around alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, crack-cocaine, PCP, heroin, murder, and etc.  The opportunities to do wrong were plenteous and the motivation to do right was scarce.  Amazingly enough, I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette; much less tried drugs.  Why?  Because God placed something down in me that made me dream of greatness and I have a mother that lived greatness before my eyes.

As children we attempted to live our lives as normal as normal could be.  We played “tag” and “hide and go seek,” like other kids.  The difference was that we played in abandoned buildings and empty lots full of broken bottles and broken dreams.  I remember sitting on a stoop (front stairs) of an abandoned building and dreaming of still being alive when I turned 18.  If I was still alive, I dreamed of getting out of the ghetto and doing something “great” with my life.  Whenever I shared my dreams with my friends they laughed.  They were blinded by the harsh realities of our environment.  I did not know it at the time, but I was a dreamer who was born of a dreamer.  My mother was also laughed at when she and her cousin told their friends and family that they were going to the United States someday.  Somehow, they overcome the ridicule and made the journey to a new country and a new life.

In many ways I can relate to Gideon.  I know it is hard to dream big dreams when you are surrounded by failure.  But the Lord put something down in Gideon; just like He did with my mother and me.  God took Gideon through a series of experiences before he was ready to truly believe God for greatness and God did the same thing in my mother and in me.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it is alright to be honest with God.  Tell God where you are and share your concerns with Him.  He will take you through whatever you need to go through to expand your capacity to believe Him; so you can fulfill the dreams He has placed in you.  When I left Korea on of my soldiers gave me a keepsake box with a placard on it that says, “Dream Big Dreams and make them come true!”  That box sits on my desk and I smile every time I look at it.  I remind you this morning, like it reminds me, to dream big dreams!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I dream big dreams.  Your dreams in me help me overcome my background and my lineage.  I see myself performing great things in Your Kingdom.  I don’t have to understand how and when, but I simply believe and have faith that I will.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Sweatless Victory (top of page)

(Judges 6:16 GNB)  The Lord answered, “You can do it because I will help you.  You will crush the Midianites as easily as if they were only one man.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Gideon.  Yesterday I focused on how Gideon’s mentality had to change to lead a revolution against the Midianites.  In this morning’s text we see something that is common in scripture; the Lord gave Gideon a promise of presence, provision, and power.  Gideon questioned his own ability to carry out this great task for God.  Let’s take a closer look at God’s response:

1.       God is our source:  God said, “You can do it because I will help you.”  God was helping Gideon internalize the reality that the same God that parted the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptians, and caused the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down for his ancestors was going to literally be with him and help him.  The issue of God’s help is very important in our Christian walk, because God never gives us assignments that we can carry out without Him.  God’s assignments are always too big for us and always cause us to be dependant on His power.  Gideon knew that he could not defeat the Midianites, but he also knew that God could.  When God promised Gideon that he would be with him it helped Gideon calm his fears and it was the first step in expanding his capacity to believe.  God has made a similar promise to every Born-Again believer; He promised never to leave us, nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).  The internalization of the reality of His presence is a critical step in overcoming fear and expanding our capacity to believe.

2.       Sweatless Victory:  God went on to say, “You will crush the Midianites as easily as if they were only one man.”  If Gideon attempted to assemble and army on his own and start a revolution the result would be catastrophic.  The fact that God was involved, however, meant that the victory would come swift and it would come easy.  Gideon did not have much confidence, but he did have enough to believe he could defeat one man.  God met him where he was and painted a picture of an easy victory that would elevate his thinking and his capacity to believe.  This notion of a sweatless victory reminds me of a story in Luke 5 where Jesus told Peter to launch his boat into the deep waters and to put his nets down for a catch.  Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  The word translated “worked hard” in Peter’s response is a word that literally means “to sweat.”  Peter was an expert fisherman and he put all his human efforts into a full nights work, to no avail.  However, after receiving a Word from Jesus, he simply did what Jesus said and he wound up catching two boats full of fish.  What’s the point?  The point is that your human efforts can only take you but so far and they will cause you to sweat and work hard, but when God is involved He can give you a “sweatless victory.”

So what does this mean to you today? Very simply it means that God is with you and His presence can bring you sweatless victories that far surpass anything you could have done on your own.  Human ability is limited, God’s ability is infinite.  Your obedience to His Word and your willingness to believe He can do great things in your life will open you up to possibilities you previously thought impossible.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I verbalize my confidence in You and in Your Word.  I visualize myself doing great things for Your Kingdom and for Your glory.  I internalize a sweatless victory and I receive it by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Start Where You Are (top of page)

(Judges 6:24 KJV)  Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah Shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Gideon.  This is an awesome story, because many of us can relate to Gideon’s quest towards belief and faith.  Gideon did not just take what God said (Carte Blanche) and go out to destroy the Midianites.  He had to expand his capacity to believe.  The Lord’s angel had just promised Gideon a sure victory; but Gideon’s belief system was not ready to receive it and act upon it.  Gideon told the angel, “It’s hard to believe that I’m actually talking to the Lord.  Please do something so I’ll know that you really are the Lord; and wait here until I bring you an offering.”  The Bible says that the Lord (not the angel) answered, “All right, I’ll wait.”  At this point I believe that Gideon was not sure what to do.  He knew that he wanted to present God an offering, but he was not clear on how to do it.  Furthermore, he was not a priest and he did not have an altar; but he knew he wanted to offer God something.  So Gideon went home, killed a goat, boiled the meat, made thin bread, and then placed the meat in a basket and the broth in a clay pot.  He took the meat, the broth, and the bread and placed them under the big tree.  God’s angel said, “Gideon, put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them.”  Gideon did as he was told.  The angel then touched the meat and the bread with his stick.  Flames jumped from the rock and consumed the offering.  Gideon was surprised at what he saw and before he realized it, the angel was gone.  That’s when it dawned on Gideon that it was really God’s angel before him.  He then thought that if he had really seen God’s angel face to face that he might possibly die.  But the Lord spoke to Gideon – this time there was no angel and no question that it was God – and said, “Calm down!  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  You’re not going to die.”  Gideon – the same guy that was unclear with what to do before – somehow got real clarity after hearing from God directly.  He built an altar and for worshiping the Lord and called it “Jehovah Shalom.”  Jehovah Shalom literally means, “The Lord our Peace.”

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

1.       Don’t attempt to get anything from God without first having a relationship with Him. Before Gideon attempted to become the “mighty warrior” the Lord called him, he wanted to know for sure that it was God.

2.       Sacrifice (offering) is a critical part of our walk with God.   Gideon was unclear on what to do, but he knew that it was appropriate to offer something to God.

3.       Worship is expected in the presence of the Lord.  As soon as Gideon realized that he was dealing with God Himself, he built an altar and worshipped the Lord.

4.       Start today, where you are, wherever that may be.  Gideon did not have all the answers yet.  He had never experienced anything like this before.  He was not sure on what to do and how to do it, but he made and effort and God was pleased with it.

Expanding your capacity to believe God means that you are willing to start where you are.  Once you allow God to help you to get to the point where nothing is unbelievable, nothing will be impossible!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I don’t have all the answers today.  I don’t know everything I need to know to do all that You expect me to do, but I believe You.  I start where I am and I believe that You will progressively take me towards Your expected end for my life.  My journey of expanded belief starts today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Experiences with God build Your Confidence in Him (top of page)

(Judges 6:39 CEV)  But Gideon prayed to God again. ” Don’t be angry at me,” Gideon said. ” Let me try this just one more time, so I’ll really be sure you’ll help me. Only this time, let the wool be dry and the stone floor be wet with dew.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up Gideon’s story where we left off yesterday.  After Gideon worshipped God, the Lord instructed him to destroy an altar that was set up to worship Baal (a false God).  This is important because God will always require us to deal with the issues of sin,before He uses us for His glory.  Gideon tore down the altar and it caused an uproar in the town.  The people wanted Gideon killed because of it, but Gideon’s father told the people to let Baal fight his own battles.  If Baal was truly a god he could deal with Gideon.  This is important for us as well, because it gives us to know that if God is for us, we have nothing to be afraid of.  Baal could not touch Gideon.

Then came the true test; the Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern nations got together, crossed the Jordan River, invaded the land of Israel, and set up camp in Jezreel Valley.  This was the last straw.  The Lord’s Spirit came upon Gideon and Gideon blew a trumpet to tell the men in the Abiezer clan to follow him.  This is important because Gideon did not attempt to move for God until the Spirit of the Lord led him to.  He also sent messengers to the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, asking for the men to join his army.  Before Gideon went any further he needed to expand his capacity to believe.  He was making progress, but his belief system was still not where it needed to be if he was going to lead the revolution.  He needed to be completely confident.

Gideon prayed to God, “I know that you promised to help me rescue Israel, but I need proof.  Tonight I’ll put some wool on the stone floor of that threshing-place over there.  If you really will help me rescue Israel, then tomorrow morning let there be dew on the wool, but let the stone floor be dry.”  That’s exactly what happened.  Gideon got up early the next morning and checked the wool.  The floor was dry and the wool was so wet that he squeezed enough water out of it to fill a bowl.  Gideon was building his confidence, but he was still not there.  Gideon prayed again to God again, “Don’t be angry with me, let me try this just one more time, so I’ll really be sure you’ll help me.  Only this time, let the wool be dry and the stone floor be wet with dew.”  That night God made the stone floor wet with dew, but he kept the wool dry.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God will build your capacity to believe through your experiences with Him.  I don’t advocate putting God through tests of wool and water, but I do advocate taking the time to recognize the ways that God has painstakingly overlooked our insecurities in an attempt to help us believe.  Think back to the all questions you have had for God over the years and you will see your Gideon experience.  Gideon needed to build his confidence in God and so do you.  Once you sincerely believe God and His Word you will be able to be used of Him mightily and for His glory.  Gideon went on to greatness and so can you.  Are you expanding your capacity to believe?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I thank You for your grace and your patience with me.  You have answered my questions and calmed my concerns.  I look back and recognize all that You have done in my life.  My experiences build up my confidence in You.  I am fully persuaded that what You have promised, You will also perform in my life.  I walk into this day and this weekend with confidence, boldness, and belief!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

It Doesn’t Take Long (top of page)

(Judges 7:8 CEV)  Then Gideon gave these orders, “You three hundred men stay here. The rest of you may go home, but leave your food and trumpets with us.” Gideon’s army camp was on top of a hill overlooking the Midianite camp in the valley.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking where we left off with the story of Gideon.  Friday we saw Gideon put God through a few tests as he was building up his capacity to believe.  This morning we see a new Gideon.  After his capacity to believe was elevated, we no longer see a coward, but a champion.  Chapter 7 opens with Gideon getting up in the morning ready to lead his assembled army against the Midianites.  He had not realized it, but 32,000 men responded to the call to war.  So now the guy that was hiding under a tree a few days earlier was a de-facto Commanding General.  What’s the first thing God did with his new General?  He exposed the reason why he allowed Gideon to build his belief system.  This would be no ordinary fight.  God told Gideon that he had too many men, He said, “Gideon, your army is too big.  I can’t let you win with this many soldiers. The Israelites would think that they had won the battle all by themselves and that I didn’t have anything to do with it.  So call your troops together and tell them that anyone who is really afraid can leave Mount Gilead and go home.”  Gideon did as God said and 22,000 left immediately.  Would God be comfortable with 10,000?  No.  God said, “Gideon, you still have too many soldiers.  Take them down to the spring and I’ll test them.  I’ll tell you which ones can go along with you and which ones must go back home.”  Gideon led his army down to the spring; the Lord told him, “Watch how each man gets a drink of water.  Then divide them into two groups – those who lap the water like a dog and those who kneel down to drink.”  300 men scooped up water in their hands and lapped it, and 9,700 knelt to get a drink.  Then the Lord said, “Gideon, your army will be made up of everyone who lapped the water from their hands.  Send the others home.  I’m going to rescue Israel by helping you and your army of 300 defeat the Midianites.”  Then Gideon gave these orders, “You three hundred men stay here.  The rest of you may go home, but leave your food and trumpets with us.”

Isn’t that awesome?  The same guy that was a scared farmer a few days before was now acting like a confident General and it was all because he received a Word from God and he expanded his capacity to believe.  If you read this story again you never see Gideon doubt.  He did not question God one bit.  He did not stumble in fear or unbelief.  He sent 20,000 home on the first cut and then 9,700 home on the second cut and he was not concerned at all.  Why?  Because he had already experienced God in his life to the point where he was no longer a doubter; he was a believer!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it doesn’t take long for God to transform you from a coward to a champion.  All it takes is belief.  Are you a doubter or a believer?  I know you may call yourself a believer, but do you really believe?  When you look back over your life, can you think of instances where God has been there for you?  If so, then shouldn’t you be able to trust Him today in whatever you are facing?  Gideon’s experiences transformed his capacity to believe and so should yours.  If you can believe you will be able to receive!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I look back over the many times You have manifested Your glory in my life.  My past experiences solidify my belief system.  I do not and will not doubt any longer.  I am not a doubter, I am a believer and nothing shall be impossible to me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God Wants Maximum Glory (top of page)

(Judges 7:2 CEV)  The LORD said, “Gideon, your army is too big. I can’t let you win with this many soldiers. The Israelites would think that they had won the battle all by themselves and that I didn’t have anything to do with it.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  This morning I led to go back to our text.  God made Gideon send the men home was because his army was too big and there was a possibility that Gideon would give the army the credit for the victory and not God.  God never wants His work confused with man’s, so He oftentimes sets up situations where we know we would fail without Him; causing us to give Him maximum glory!

About five years ago my wife and I were seeking God for direction.  My wife was not satisfied with her job in the Army and wanted to be a nurse.  She contemplated getting out and going to school or requesting one of two special medical programs the military offers to Enlisted soldiers to become Medical Officers.  Everyone she spoke to told her that she would not be selected into the special programs because she was in the Supply field and did not have a medical background.  She was discouraged.  We fasted and prayed and the Lord spoke a Word to me in prayer that changed everything.  The Lord told me that she would be selected to be a nurse and that she would serve in the Army Nurse Corps.  He began to show me how she would minister to people in places that I (as a preacher) could not go.  He showed me how she would have legal access to places that my Pastor could not go.  I saw her laying hands on the sick and watching them recover and encouraging the downtrodden.  I shared this with my wife and we believed God together that this would come to pass.  The first step was to get the packet together.  It required several letters of recommendation.  One of my friends at the time offered to get a letter of recommendation from a retired Army Nurse Corps General he knew.  He said this letter would guarantee her selection.  My wife and I were very excited about the letter.

Around the same time I taught a series on Today’s Word from the Lazarus account.  The emphasis of the series circled around the fact that Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead for four days before He raised him up, because God wanted maximum glory out of the situation.  My capacity to believe was elevated in the series and God quickly gave me an opportunity to exercise my belief.  I was in prayer one morning and the Lord told me not to get the letter.  I immediately understood why.  My wife and I had already placed our confidence in a letter from a retired General and God did not want His glory going to some letter.  I told my friend that although I appreciated the gesture, I could not use the letter.  He said, “Isabella will not get selected without it.”  That was all I needed to hear.  I knew God would get the glory now.  Needless to say, she got selected, went to one of the best nursing schools in the country, and is currently serving as a nurse; where she ministers to the sick and God is using her mightily.  Guess what?  He gets all the glory for whatever He allows her to do in the hospital.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to expand your capacity to believe for a reason.  Once you are able to believe God for the unbelievable, He is able to perform the seemingly impossible in your life.  And always remember to give God the glory (credit) for everything He does in your life.  Impossible situations are setups for maximum glory!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  The more I am able to believe, the more You will allow me to receive.  I believe the seemingly unbelievable and I receive the seemingly impossible.  I declare, by faith, in advance, that I will always give You the glory for everything You do in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believers Overcome Fear (top of page)

(Judges 7:15 CEV)  As soon as Gideon heard about the dream and what it meant, he bowed down to praise God. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Let’s go! The Lord is going to let us defeat the Midianite army.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Gideon.  In the 8th verse Gideon believed God enough to make the final cut and send 9,700 soldiers home.  He was left with 300 soldiers and his trust in God.  He had made great strides in believing over the last few days, but he was not completely convinced yet.  That night, the LORD told Gideon, “Get up!  Attack the Midianite camp.  I am going to let you defeat them, but if you’re still afraid, you and your servant Purah should sneak down to their camp.  When you hear what the Midianites are saying, you’ll be brave enough to attack.”  Wow.  Look at the grace of God.  Even after all God had allowed Gideon to experience He knew that Gideon still needed a little more assurance.  Sure enough, Gideon took God up on His offer.

Gideon and Purah worked their way to the edge of the enemy camp where soldiers were on guard duty.  The camp was huge.  The Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern nations covered the valley like a swarm of locusts.  Think about that for a moment.  Gideon had 300 soldiers and they were about to fight the armies of Midian, Amelek, and several other eastern nations.  Remember, nothing is impossible to them that believe.  They looked out and the Bible says that it would be easier to count the grains of sand on a beach than to count their camels.  This was no easy task.  But remember, God promised Gideon that he would hear something that he needed to hear to encourage him.  Gideon sneaked up close enough to hear the guards.  One guard told another, “I had a dream about a flat loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into our camp.  It hit the headquarters tent, and the tent flipped over and fell down.”  The other soldier answered, “Your dream must have been about Gideon, the Israelite commander.  It means God will let him and his army defeat the Midianite army and everyone else in our camp.”  That was exactly what Gideon needed to hear.  He bowed down and praised God.  Then he went back to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Let’s go! The Lord is going to let us defeat the Midianite army.”

What happened?  God allowed Gideon one final experience that expanded his capacity to believe to the point where he could lead the men into battle without the hint of fear.  This is important because fear is a paralyzing force.  Fear moves satan just like faith moves God.  Gideon was about to exercise faith and he also realized that the guards would spread the rumor about the dream and instill fear in their camp.

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

1.       Your experiences with God should expand your capacity to believe.

2.       Your belief system should enable you to operate in faith.

3.       You must overcome fear, because fear is a paralyzing force that will cripple you from doing what God expects you to do.

4.       Fear cancels out faith, but faith also cancels out fear!

5.       Fear moves satan; faith moves God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Every experience with You expands my capacity to believe.  The more I believe the more I am able to receive.  My belief system is being revamped by this series and I am now able to believe things I never thought previously possible for me.  I believe and I do not doubt.  I operate in faith and I overcome fear.  I am Your child and I can do all that You expect me to do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

If it’s God’s will its God’s Bill (top of page)

(Judges 7:22 CEV)  And blew their trumpets again. As they did, the Lord made the enemy soldiers pull out their swords and start fighting each other.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Gideon.  Yesterday we saw how God allowed Gideon one last experience that would elevate his belief system to the point where he could confidently lead 300 men into battle against the armies of several countries.  His confidence solidified, Gideon was ready to put his trust in God and operate by faith for a victory.

The guy who was a scared farmer just days before his encounter with God was now an anointed commander that received insight from God on how to lead his 300 to victory.  Gideon divided his little army into three companies of 100 men and he gave each soldier a trumpet and a large clay jar with a burning torch inside.  Remember when he sent majority of the soldiers home?  He instructed them to leave their trumpets behind; we can now see why.  Gideon spoke to the men and said, “When we get to the enemy camp, spread out and surround it.  Then wait for me to blow a signal on my trumpet.  As soon as you hear it, blow your trumpets and shout, `Fight for the LORD! Fight for Gideon!’ ” Gideon and his group reached the edge of the enemy camp a few hours after dark; just after the guard’s shift change.  Gideon and his soldiers blew their trumpets and smashed the clay jars that were hiding the torches.  The rest of Gideon’s soldiers blew the trumpets they were holding in their right hands.  Then they smashed the jars and held the burning torches in their left hands.  Everyone shouted, “Fight with your swords for the LORD and for Gideon!”  This tactic confused the enemy and fear overtook them; they started yelling and tried to run away.  Gideon’s troops stayed in their positions surrounding the camp and boxed them in.  This is where the supernatural took over.  As they blew their trumpets again the Lord made the enemy soldiers pull out their swords and start fighting each other.  The rest, as they say, is history.

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

1.       God’s way will always require the supernatural: 300 vs. several countries.

2.       God’s way will always require you to believe the seemingly unbelievable.

3.       If it’s God’s will its God’s bill.  God is obligated to release provision where He has established vision.

4.       God can do more with you once you get started.  Gideon went through a series of experiences to elevate his belief system, but once it was elevated, he got started.  You can analyze, theorize, hypothesize, and strategize all you want; but God is waiting on you to get started.

5.       God will give you the wisdom you need to carry out the mission.  Gideon knew about farming, not fighting; but that did not stop him.  God gave Gideon the wisdom he needed to carry out the mission.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  My trust and confidence is completely in You.  I will step out in faith on the things that You have instructed me to do and I expect the supernatural to show up and help me.  I know You can do more with me once I get started, so today I declare that I will get started, by faith.  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

If it’s God’s will its God’s Bill (Part II) (top of page)

(Judges 7:22 CEV)  And blew their trumpets again. As they did, the Lord made the enemy soldiers pull out their swords and start fighting each other.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.” Last night I called my wife from the Atlanta airport.  As part of our conversation I asked her if she had read Today’s Word.  She had not because her normal routine was interrupted.  I offered to read the message to her over the phone and she welcomed the request.  She says that she prefers me reading it to her than reading it herself.  I read the message and she was blessed.

My wife and I have different ministry gifts, but we are both called nonetheless.  She often mentions her amazement that I am able to “come up with” a Word from the Lord every morning.  Last night she told me that she prays for me daily to receive a Word and the Lord reminded that Today’s Word ministry is an example of the message from yesterday – “If it’s God’s will its God’s bill!”  The Lord had me to start this ministry in 1997 with eight of my friends.  I praise God that the list is close to 1400 now and I am believing for 2000 this year.  The point is that I get up every morning, pray for and in several areas, and then sit down at my computer.  I am never concerned about “coming up with a message” and I have never, not once, not been able to send out a message because I did not have anything to say.  Why?  Because I understand that I am not the manufacturer, but simply a distribution center.

What is the point?  The point is that I, like Gideon, simply step out in faith every day.  I did not start this ministry on my own.  This was not my idea.  This was God’s idea and thus His will.  Since it is His will, then He has the bill and He will always takes care of it.  I have oftentimes sat down in front of my computer and said to God, “Lord, I am present for duty.  I don’t know what to say, but You do.  What do you want to share with Your people today?”  And guess what?  He has never failed.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there is a liberating force behind walking by faith.  When you know you are doing what God told you to do – which will always require the supernatural – you are free from worry and anxiety, because your total trust and confidence is in Him.

What has God told you to do that you have been worrying about?  If God really told you to do it, then He will make sure you have everything you need to bring it to pass.  Stop worrying and start trusting!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I overcome fear, doubt, unbelief, and worry.  I doubt my doubts this morning I release faith in my faith.  My confidence is in You alone to bring every promise to pass in my life.  I know it cannot be done without You, so I refuse to worry about it.  I trust, I believe, I have faith, and I will receive!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Belief can get you past your ‘but’ (top of page)

(2nd Kings 5:1 CEV)  Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army.  The Lord had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much.  Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up a new story.  2ndKings 5 tells the interesting story of this Syrian commander named Naaman.  He was a great man in the sight of his king and his soldiers; having the respect of superiors and subordinates alike.  He was a masterful military commander and a valiant soldier who had been used of God to lead his men into and win several battles.  The text says that he was a brave soldier, but behind the armor, behind the façade, and behind the image; this man had serious problem.  After the accolades listed in the text we find the word that plagued Naaman and plagues many of us today – the wordbut.  Yes, he was a great commander; yes, he was a great military tactician; but he was a leper.  His armor covered up his leprosy.  Leprosy was a terrible disease that started in one area and gradually spread all over the body, crusting the skin with white scales, causing terrible sores and swellings.  From the skin the disease would then eat inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.  This was a dreadful condition, especially for someone so highly regarded.

One day the Syrian troops raided Israel and took a young girl who later became a servant of Naaman’s wife.  This girl must have seen Naaman exposed, because she approached Naaman’s wife and said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”  Naaman was a man of stature and prominence; a man of position and power.  Naaman took orders only from the king and could have had the young girl killed for meddling, but Naaman looked beyond his position, realized his problem, and jumped on this glimpse of hope.  What was happening?  Naaman was expanding his capacity to believe.  He knew that his rank, reputation, and respect were great, but they could not deal with his issue.  He may not have believed that he would ever be cured before he heard the message from the young girl, but he was then willing to believe it was possible.  We will stop here for today.

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

1.  People love to put a ‘but’ behind your name:  Naaman was this, Naaman was that, but he was a leper.  People state what they really feel behind the word but.  Don’t allow people to label you and confine you into their box.  If you can believe, you can get beyond your ‘but.’

2.  Be willing to receive from anyone:  Naaman swallowed his pride and receive a word from his servant.  Don’t ever get too big that you cannot learn from someone you are positioned over.

3.  You are who you are when no one else is around:  It is great to get accolades from others.  It’s an ego boost to be recognized for your efforts.  It is wonderful to be regarded as one of the best in your field.  But who people say you are and the person you really are, are seldom the same person.  You are who you are when no one else is around.  When you take off your armor and night, do you like what you see?

4.  Belief can get you past your ‘but’:  Being cured of Leprosy is not as easy as getting past a head cold.  This was a debilitating disease with no known cure.  All the evidence was against him, but Naaman was willing to believe one word from a servant of God and that one word was what he needed to begin to expand his capacity to believe.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I am not defined by the perceptions of others, but am rather defined by the Word of God.  I am who the Word says that I am and I can do what the Word says that I can do.  I will not allow pride to keep me from Your best.  I strip myself of pride and allow you to show me my areas of weakness and I resolve to get past them today through belief and faith.  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Natural Connections do not guarantee a Spiritual Blessing (top of page)

(2nd Kings 5:5 CEV)  The king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.” Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Naaman.  Naaman received a glimmer of hope and expanded his capacity to believe when his young servant told him that he could be healed of leprosy if he visited the prophet in Samaria.  The mere fact that Naaman received the possibility proves that he was operating in belief.  Being healed of leprosy was virtually impossible without the intervention of the supernatural.  The problem was that Naaman approached the situation from the world’s system.  Instead of submitting himself to the prophet and seeking a relationship with God, Naaman approached the situation like he would anything else in his life; through his connections.  Naaman had a close relationship with his king and his military conquests must have made him a rich man.  He decided to use money and politics as his means to his breakthrough.

Naaman approached the king of Syria and shared what his servant told him.  The king decided to give Naaman a letter that he could hand carry to the king of Israel.  The letter said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you.  Would you cure him of his leprosy?”  The logic was that they could experience a smooth transition if they kept this in political channels.  They assumed the king of Israel would instruct the prophet to heal Naaman.  The problem with this logic is that spiritual things do not always line up with politics.  Naaman took the letter and he was so desperate to receive his breakthrough that he also brought along 750 lbs. of silver, 150 lbs. of gold, and ten new outfits.  Just so you don’t overlook how much money this was, let’s do some math.  I checked on the internet this morning and a once of gold currently cost about $550.00.  At that rate, a pound would cost $8,800.00 and 150 pounds would cost $1.32 million.  A once of silver is running about $10.00.  At that rate, a pound would cost $160.00 and 750 pounds would cost $120,000.  Then there are the ten new outfits; we don’t know how much they cost, but we can assume he did not get them from a thrift store.

What’s the point?  Naaman wanted healing from a spiritual man, but he was attempting to receive it through natural channels.  Although he had a letter from a king and almost $1.5M dollars, he would soon find out that the prophet was not interested in operating in his system.  He would have to submit to the prophet’s system if he was to receive his breakthrough.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should never attempt to manipulate God’s system with worldly tactics.  Things that seem logical in the workplace may be an insult in church.  I appreciate the necessity of “networking” in the workplace, but you can’t network your way to a blessing.  When you come to God you must come with outstretched hands and a pure heart.  If you feel like God has not been answering your prayers, then maybe you have been coming the wrong way.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe and I expect to receive.  I know, however, that I will not receive spiritual things with natural tactics.  I don’t come to You with tactics, maneuvers, or schemes.  I simply come with a heart of expectation, a mind that is stayed on You, and a life that is rooted in Your love and Your Word.  I come through spiritual channels and I expect to walk in Your blessing today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Pride – the Silent Killer (top of page)

(2nd Kings 5:12 CEV)  But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me?  I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Naaman.  Yesterday we saw how Naaman tried to receive a spiritual blessing through his natural connections.  He took the letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel, but the Israelite king thought it was a setup.  He knew he did not have the ability to heal Naaman and he thought this situation would escalate to a conflict.  Elisha the prophet heard about the situation and sent word to the king saying, “Why are you so afraid?  Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”  Naaman left with his horses, chariots, and small fortune.  He arrived at the door of Elisha’s house.  Elisha sent a servant out to say to Naaman, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River.  Then you’ll be completely cured.”  This was a Word from the man of God; a Word from God Himself.  But Naaman let pride take over.  He stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me.  What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel.  I could have washed in them and been cured.”

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

1.       Offence will stifle belief.  Naaman was offended because Elisha did not come out to address him directly.  He thought – by virtue of his position, connections, and wealth – that he deserved better treatment.  The same guy that was seemingly ready to believe the impossible (being healed of leprosy), allowed offense to change his demeanor and his expectation.  You must be careful to not allow yourself to be easily offended.  Once you are in offense, you will not believe God for your breakthrough.

2.       God’s ways do not always line up with your expectations.  Naaman had a picture of the way “he wanted” to get healed.  He said, “I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me.”  It is good to have great expectations and even an anticipatory mental picture of what you are believing God for; but never allow your expectation to limit God.  Expect God to show up in your life, but know that He may not do it exactly the way that you expect.

3.       Pride is the silent killer.  His offence caused him to question the Word from God, saying, “What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River?”  Naaman allowed himself to place his opinion and his thinking above God’s opinion and God’s thinking.  Unless he humbled himself and released that pride he would never receive from God.  I call this the silent killer because pride is something hinders many believers in secret.  You may operate in pride for a long time without others noticing, but rest assured that God notices.  He expects you to always honor His Word and to never have the audacity to place your opinion above His.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe, I expect, I anticipate, I look forward to Your glory being manifested in my life; but I do not allow my expectation to hinder Your manifestation.  I have high expectations, but I am always willing to receive the manifestation of Your grace in whatever way that You bring it.  Your Word is above my word.  Your opinion is above my opinion.  Your decisions are above my decisions.  You sit on the throne of my life.  It is You that have made me and not me myself.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Taking a Bold Step of Faith (top of page)

(2nd Kings 5:14 CEV)  Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking where we left off in the story of Naaman.  Naaman had allowed pride to set in and he got offended.  While he was in offence one of his servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it.  So why don’t you do what he said?  Go wash and be cured.”  The servant was right.  Naaman was prepared to give over a million dollars for his breakthrough and he came with an incredible expectation, but his offence almost made him miss out on his blessing.  The prophet gave him a Word from the Lord.  Sure, Words from God do not always make sense.  God does not have to make sense, because God is spiritual, not sensual.  Faith requires you to operate without any sense-realm evidence (Heb 11:1 AMP).  So now Naaman had a decision to make.  Would he humble himself and obey the Word the Lord spoken through the prophet or would he continue in pride and return home a leper?  This is important because it was Naaman’s decision.  God will not force you to be blessed, just like He does not force you to be cursed.  Your life – in many ways – is a grand sum total of your decisions.

Naaman made the right decision and chose to obey the Word of the Lord.  He walked down to the muddy Jordan River, waded out into the water, and he dipped seven times.  Remember that God can do more with your once you get started.  Naaman would not have done this if he did not believe something was going to happen.  His belief intact and his obedience in action, Naaman was supernaturally healed.  We are not sure when, but while he was performing what the Lord told him to do; he was healed of an incurable disease.  He had the audacity to believe that something virtually impossible was possible for him, so he was able to receive what he believed.  God renewed his skin to the point where it was like a baby’s.

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

1.       Nothing is impossible for the person who believes (Mark 9:23).  If you can believe the unbelievable, you can receive the impossible.

2.       God’s instructions will not always make sense and oftentimes require us to take bold steps of faith; without any sense-realm evidence to support our actions.  God is a Spirit and does not necessarily communicate with us through our senses.

3.       Pride can keep you from your blessing, just like obedience can get you to it.

4.       The choice is yours.  If you choose to obey God you will be blessed.  If you choose to disobey you will miss out on the blessing.  Either way, God will honor your decision.

5.       God can do more with you once you get started.  Take your bold step of faith today.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe what others call unbelievable.  I believe what some even call impossible.  I believe that You are able to do great things in my life and my belief unlocks Your possibilities for me.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I do not allow the lack of sense-realm evidence to keep me from expecting my breakthrough.  I have high expectations and I believe they will become manifestations in my life.  I receive whatever You tell me to do and I take bold steps of faith to bring it to pass.  My life is shaped by my decisions and I decide to walk in belief, faith, and obedience.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Call of Abraham (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.” This week we start our journey through the life of Abram (later known as Abraham).  Genesis 12 opens with the Lord speaking to Abram and making him a great promise.  The Lord said, “Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.  I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation.  You will become famous and be a blessing to others.  I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you.  Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you” (12:1-3 CEV).

All we know about Abram at this point is that he was a 75 yr. old man living in Haran without any children.  The people of Haran were known for being idol worshippers and praying to many gods.  God selected a 75 yr. old barren man in a spiritually and morally corrupt environment to start a legacy that still lives on today.  I oftentimes say that God is in the business of making holy garments out of flawed material.  Let’s take a closer look at Abram’s call:

1.       Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.  I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation:  In a previous message I mentioned four key contributors to your belief system.  One of them was your environment.  God knew that He needed to get Abram out of his environment if he was to become the man He needed him to be.  Leaving family and friends is difficult and would be a great sacrifice for Abram, but God promised to recompense the sacrifice by making a great nation out of him.  He would sow his nation in order to reap a nation of his own.

2.       You will become famous and be a blessing to others:  The second portion of the promise deals with two opposites: self and selflessness.  God promised to make Abram’s name famous.  We don’t know if Abram needed to hear this for his own self-esteem, but it is quite possible, being that he was barren at 75.  In biblical times your children were your legacy and his chances were getting slimmer and slimmer every day as his age progressed.  The second portion of the promise deals with being a blessing to others.  This let Abram know that he could really make a difference in someone else’s life and that this journey was not just for him.

3.       I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you:  Asking a 75 yr. old man to leave everything he knows for an unknown place can be unnerving.  The desert is unforgiving and has there are many dangers inherent to desert travel; but God promised Abram protection and favor.

4.       Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you:  If everything up to this point was not enough to make someone doubt, look at this statement.  God promised and unknown and untested man that every single human being on the planet would be blessed because of him.  Wow!  That certainly caused Abram to have to expand his capacity to believe.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should never judge your future by your past.  It means that you should trust God to meet you where you are – speaking what you need to hear.  And it means that you should believe you will reap a harvest for every sacrificial seed you sow into the kingdom of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I know You can make holy garments out of flawed material.  I believe I can overcome my past to do great things in Your kingdom, by Your grace.  I step out in faith today and I believe that I will reap whatever I sow.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Expressing Outwardly what you feel Inwardly (top of page)

(Gen 12:7 CEV)  But the Lord appeared to Abram and promised, “I will give this land to your family forever.” Abram then built an altar there for the Lord.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Abraham.  Yesterday we saw how God called Abraham to leave his nation for a land that He would show him.  In the fourth verse we see that Abram was able to receive the call of God in his heart to the point where he got his wife and they gathered up all their possessions and departed Haran.  Just like that.  Abram had an encounter with God and he mustered up the faith required to leave everything he knew behind, because he now believed that a God he could not see was going to lead him to a place he did not know.  However, he did make one mistake; Abram brought along his nephew Lot.   It would cost him later, but not to the point where it would endanger him from receiving the promise of God.  So this 75 yr. old man, his wife, nephew, servants, and possessions started out on a journey of faith and belief.  Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem.  The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time, but Lord appeared to Abram and promised, “I will give this land to your family forever.”  This was it.  This was the land that God promised to show him.  What would Abram do?  I can imagine him looking around and thinking, “This is the land that the Lord will give me.  I came out here not knowing where I would go and I somehow showed up at the right place.  Wow.  He is giving me all this land.  He will make a nation out of me here.  What should I do for Him?  What can I do for my God?”  It was there, in the land of Canaan – the Promised Land – that Abram, a man from a land of many gods and a people that worshipped idols, built and altar to the Lord.  What was he doing?  He was solidifying his resolve to worship only one God and expressing outwardly what he was feeling inwardly.

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

1.       Your walk with God will always require faith.  You cannot release faith in something that you do not believe.  Abram believed and he stepped out in faith.  If we expand our capacity to believe we will be more prone to operate in faith.  You cannot please God without faith (Heb 11:6) and God expects us to walk by faith and not just our physical sight (2 Cor 5:7).

2.       Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes:  Recognize your mistakes, repent, and move forward.  Abram several mistakes and you will see the same in the lives of most of the great Bible characters.  This does not mean that you have license to be irresponsible, but it does mean that you cannot move forward while you are looking back.  Forward ever, backward never!

3.       Express outwardly what you feel inwardly:  Abram was a man that was completely new to God and His ways.  All he knew was what he had just experienced, but he had experienced enough to know that he should express his gratitude to an invisible God in a tangible way.  He built an altar to worship the Lord.  If Abram was prepared to worship the Lord at this stage in his walk with God, how much more should you?  How long have you been walking with the Lord?  How many times has He showed up in your life?  Should you not have something inwardly that you want to express to God outwardly?  Express your gratitude in praise and worship!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I believe in a God that I cannot see and I believe that You will lead me to places that I do not know, to do things that I have not done.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I am completely submitted to Your leadership in my life.  I move past my mistakes and I move forward in belief and faith.  I worship You in all that I do and express outwardly what I feel inwardly.  This day and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith vs. Fear: The Choice is Yours (top of page)

(Gen 12:13 CEV)  “Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  Yesterday we saw how Abram arrived in Canaan and built an altar there to worship the Lord.  Abram left there and traveled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai.  Guess what he did there?  He built another altar and worshiped the Lord.  He was learning to express his gratitude towards his newly found invisible God in a real and tangible way.  Some time later Abram took off again and headed toward the Southern Desert.  This was not a very fertile place so Abram led his group of people to Egypt and decided to live there for a while.  At this stage Abram was attempting to walk by faith, but he was still relatively new to God and since he was the “Father of Faith,” he had no point of reference.  He did not have a Bible to read or a preaching tape to listen to.  He was blazing a new trail and still not completely confident in his unseen God.  Just before they got to Egypt Abram looked at his wife and said, “Sarai, you are really beautiful!”  That is very nice to say and it would have been even nicer if he stopped there, but he went on to say, “When the Egyptians see how lovely you are, they will murder me because I am your husband.  But they won’t kill you.  Please save my life by saying that you are my sister. What was he doing?  He was asking his wife to lie because he was afraid and his trust was not yet solidified in God.  He was expanding his capacity to believe, but it was not at the level that God needed it to be yet.

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

1.       Doubt is the forerunner for fear:  Abram had recently received a mighty promise from God; a promise that included protection.  That single promise caused him to leave his family and everything he knew.  He stepped out of his comfort zone by faith and started his walk with God.  He even began to worship and unseen God and things seemed to be going great.  At some point Abram allowed doubt to creep in.  He considered his wife’s beauty and he also considered what he knew of the Egyptians.  He allowed doubt to convolute his belief and he was quickly on the path to doing something wrong.  See, if the enemy can get you to doubt God’s promises, then you will eventually succumb to fear.

2.       Fear and faith are reciprocal forces:  Just like faith pleases God, fear pleases satan.  Just like faith is having confidence in God and His Word, fear is having confidence in satan and his word.  God had already spoken to Abram and told him that he would be protected.  I believe satan later spoke to Abram and told him that he would be killed in Egypt.  Abram had a choice to make.  If he put his confidence in God’s Word he would operate in faith.  If he put his confidence in satan’s word he would operate in fear.  The ultimate choice was his.  Likewise, it is the same with us.  The exact same thing happens every day.  God speaks to us via His Word, the Holy Spirit, the church, other people, circumstances, and etc.  Satan then speaks to us and tells us something opposite to what God said.  The choice is then ours.  If we believe God we will operate in faith.  If we believe satan we will operate in fear.  That’s why we must expand our capacity to believe.  Faith cancels fear, just like fear cancels faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  No fear here!  You are the Lord of Lords and I release my faith to the point where I take the limits off of You today.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  There is nothing You cannot do and I know it is Your will that I operate like You in the earth.  I will walk in consistent faith and I overcome fear in every area of my life.  Nothing and no one can stop me when I believe and operate in consistent faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Walking with God is a Process (top of page)

(Gen 13:4 CEV)  Where he had earlier camped and built an altar.  There he worshiped the Lord.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  Yesterday we saw how Abram told his wife Sarai to say, “Please save my life by sayingthat you are my sister.”  The key there was that Abram was looking to Sarai and not to God for protection.  His focus was misguided.  He allowed fear to enter his heart.  Fear opens a door for the enemy.  So sure enough, as soon as Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was.  The king’s officials told him about her, and she was taken to his house.  What was happening?  The same thing that Abram feared had come upon him.  The king treated Abram well because of Sarai, and Abram was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels.  He received material things, but he was out of the will of God.  The true promise of God would come through Sarai and she was no longer with him.  The Lord intervened – by His grace – and suddenly the king and everyone in his palace were diseased.  Somehow the king knew that this had something to do with Sarai so he sent for Abram and said, “What have you done to me?  Why didn’t you tell me Sarai was your wife?”  The king went on to tell Abram and Sarai to take their possessions and leave.  Abram and Sarai took everything they owned and went to the Southern Desert.  Lot went with them.  By now Abram was very rich.  He owned many cattle, sheep, and goats, and had a lot of silver and gold; but he was a bit confused.  Abram moved from place to place in the Southern Desert.  Finally, he went north and set up his tents between Bethel and Ai, where he had earlier camped and built an altar.  There he worshiped the Lord.

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

1.       Fear opens a door for satan to operate in your life.  The same thing that Abram feared came upon him.  This also happened to Job (Job 3:25) and others.  You must resolve to cancel out fear.

2.       Thank God for grace and mercy:  Grace is God giving you what you do not deserve and mercy is God not giving you what you do deserve.  We see both in operation in the life of Abram at this point.  We ought to thank God continually for both His grace and mercy.

3.       Establish some altars in your life:  In biblical times an altar was a place of worship and sacrifice, but it was also a physical place of remembrance.  They established altars to remind them of what God had done.  After Abram made a mistake in Egypt – although the Lord turned it around for his good – Abram went back to the place where he had established an altar and he worshipped the Lord there.  God has done so much for you.  You should establish some altars, some places of remembrance in your life, that you can go back to in your mind.  These places help you get refocused enough to worship the Lord, in order to move forward.

4.       Walking with God is a process:  Abram made mistakes and we all do.  Expanding your capacity to believe means that you will submit yourself to the growth process with a resolve to overcome mistakes and move forward.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I denounce fear in my life.  No fear here!  I thank You for Your grace and mercy in operation in my life.  I thank You for the many times You have blessed me and I establish altars in my heart and in my mind that will help me to find clarity when I am confused.  I submit myself to the process of growth and I expand my capacity to believe.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Stress Free Living (top of page)

(Gen 13:9 CEV)  “There is plenty of land for you to choose from.  Let’s separate.  If you go north, I’ll go south; if you go south, I’ll go north.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Abraham.  After Abram returned to his place of worship he realized that the combination of his sheep, goats, and cattle; along with Lot’s, were too much for the land to handle.  Remember, God never told him to bring Lot along. That was his decision and now he had to deal with it.  Additionally, the men who took care of Abram’s animals and the ones who took care of Lot’s animals started arguing.  Abram said to Lot, “We are close relatives.  We shouldn’t argue, and our men shouldn’t be fighting one another.  There is plenty of land for you to choose from.  Let’s separate. If you go north, I’ll go south; if you go south, I’ll go north.”  Wow.  Look at the boldness and the confidence that Abram had after worshipping the Lord.  He knew that the hand of the Lord was upon him and that he would be blessed anywhere he went.  He was expanding his capacity to believe and he had the confidence to allow Lot to choose.  Lot jumped on that opportunity.  He looked around and realized that there was plenty of water in the Jordan Valley and that the land was green and plush all the way to Zoar.  He made his decision based upon what he could see; Abram was making his decisions based on what he could believe.  Lot chose the whole Jordan Valley for himself and as he started east.  Lot did not know it, but he was heading for the area surrounding Sodom and his decision would wind up being and unwise choice.  Abram stayed in the land of Canaan.

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

1.       God’s will, God’s bill:  I have taught this principle already in this series.  When you are doing what God told you to do, then God is obligated to bless it.  If it is His will, then He will see it as His bill.  However, the opposite is also true.  God did not tell Abram to bring Lot along and Abram chose to do that on his own.  When we make decisions outside of God we have to live with them, good or bad.  Abram’s decision caused him to have to deal with a logistical (not enough land) and social (fighting) problem.  Our will, our bill.

2.       Where is your trust?:  Abram left his time of worship with an increased boost of confidence in his newly found God.  He was expanding his capacity to believe.  His confidence was not in Lot’s decision, but rather in God.  When you truly trust God you live a stress-free life.  You don’t have to worry about the decisions that others make, you simply believe that the blessing of the Lord is upon you and that you will be blessed everywhere you go; no matter where it winds up being.  I have been to Iraq twice and Kuwait once in the last year.  I also do lots of traveling in the US.  I am never concerned.  I know God has purpose for every trip.  I simply go with confidence and boldness and I trust that the blessing of the Lord is upon me no matter where I may go.  I jokingly tell people that wherever I sit is the head of the table; even if the table happens to be round.  They get a laugh out of it, but I believe it’s true.  When you know who you are in Christ you walk around with an inner confidence that exudes greatness every where you go.  That confidence enables you to make every environment a stress free environment for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I denounce fear, doubt, and unbelief.  My confidence is rooted and grounded in You.  I have no need to worry about what man can do to me.  No matter what decisions are made in my workplace or in my family, I know that I am still blessed and will continue to be.  I cast my care upon You and I live a worriless and stress free life.  I declare that this day is stress free and ease filled.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

What are you able to See? (top of page)

(Gen 13:15 CEV)  I will give you and your family all the land you can see. It will be theirs forever!

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Abraham.  After Abram and Lot went their separate ways, Abram was in the position God originally intended for him to be in.  Now alone, God spoke to Abram and said, “Look around to the north, south, east, and west.  I will give you and your family all the land you can see.  It will be theirs forever!”  Think about that for a moment.  God told Abram that He would give him all the land he could “see.”  I don’t believe this was limited to physical sight.  Although Israel is one of the smallest nations on the planet (only about 8,000 square miles), I do not believe Abram was physically able to see that far.  This was a matter of his belief system.  What was Abram willing to believe God for?  Remember, I started off this series with the words of Jesus in Mark 9:23 where he said, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”  There are no impossibilities in God, but our ability to tap into God’s ability is limited by what we are able to believe.

Abram would be able to receive whatever he was able to believe and see through the lens of faith.  God went on to say, “I will give you more descendants than there are specks of dust on the earth, and someday it will be easier to count the specks of dust than to count your descendants.”  What was God doing now?  God was expanding his capacity to believe.  God was giving Abram a mental picture of abundance.  He was explaining a supernatural blessing in a natural way.  Abram understood dust so God came down to his level so that he could understand the magnitude of the blessing.  After getting Abram to “think big,” God said, “Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you.”  What was Abram supposed to do now?  He was to walk back and forth across the land and envision himself – a 75 year old man without any children – becoming a leader of a nation whose descendants would eventually become as the specs of dust on the ground.  Can you see him?  There he was, walking around, seeing beyond where he eyes could look.  That is the power of belief!

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

1.       If you can believe, you can receive:  There are no impossibilities in God, but we oftentimes limit God by our limited capacity to believe.  God is limitless.  There is nothing God cannot do.  However, most Christians puts limits on a limitless God and then attribute their inability to receive to God by making statements like, “Well, this must be God’s will.”  No, God’s Word is God’s will.  Stop putting limits on a limitless God, search God’s Word, expand your capacity to believe, and you will see God do great things in your life.

2.       You must be able to see beyond your sight:  Abram had to be able to see beyond his physical eyes.  He had to look through the lens of faith.  Likewise, we will not be able to do great things in God if we are limited in our ability to see; not physically, but spiritually.  What do you “see” yourself doing this year?  If you are able to believe it, you will be able to receive it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I see beyond where my eyes can look.  I take a few moments today to look into 2006.  I see myself doing things I have never done and I do them all by faith.  I am an instrument of Your anointing and a vessel of Your love.  I expand my capacity to believe and I therefore expand my ability to receive.  2006 will be the best year I have ever experienced.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Supernatural Boldness (top of page)

(Gen 14:14 CEV)  that his nephew Lot had been taken away. Three hundred eighteen of Abram’s servants were fighting men, so he took them and followed the enemy as far north as the city of Dan.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off on yesterday.  After hearing a mighty promise from God Abram took down his tents and went to live near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar in honor of the Lord and worshipped there.  It looked like everything was coming together for Abram, but remember Lot decided to go live in Sodom.  Just about this time the kings of Babylonia, Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim attacked the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela.  This was a conflict involving 9 nations.  Several battles were fought and the culminating battle occurred in the Siddim Valley.  All 9 armies converged in the valley.  The Siddim Valley was full of tar pits and when the troops of Sodom and Gomorrah attempted to run away, many fell into the pits and were trapped.  Others escaped to the hill country.  Their enemies took everything of value from Sodom and Gomorrah, including their food supplies.  They also captured Abram’s nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom. They took him and his possessions and then left.

At this time Abram was doing well and still living near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron.  By this time he had befriended Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner.  Someone who had escaped from the battle came to Hebron and told Abram that his nephew Lot had been captured.  What would Abram do?  He knew he was in the will of God.  He was doing well, prospering and worshipping the Lord.  He did not have an army, much less “armies” like the enemy. But Abram had the supernatural confidence that comes from knowing that God is with you.  He rounded up his male servants that were of fighting age and they numbered 318 men.  He led them as they followed the enemy as far north as the city of Dan.  That night Abram, the farmer, acted more like a military General.  He divided up his forces into groups, attacked the enemy from all sides, and won a great victory.  Some of the enemy escaped to the town of Hobah north of Damascus.  Abram could not find his nephew Lot so he went after the fleeing troops.  Sure enough, Abram caught up to them, found Lot, and brought back Lot, Lot’s possessions, the women and everyone else who had been captured.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you foster your relationship with God and you expand your capacity to believe, you will receive a supernatural boldness to attempt things you would have never attempted previously.  Several armies fell in the Siddim Valley, but Abram did not allow that to deter him.  He simply believed God was with him and he believed that he would win.  Guess what?  He received exactly what he believed!  What enemy is standing against you this morning?  Are you seemingly outnumbered?  It does not matter. You + God = Victory! If you can believe you will be able to receive.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I foster my relationship with You daily through prayer, study, praise, and worship.  The closer I get to You, the more I know that there are no impossibilities in You.  The more I believe in Your ability, the more I trust You can release Your ability on my ability, causing me to be able to do what I could not do with my ability alone.  I trust Your supernatural ability and I therefore take bold steps of faith to accomplish all that You have me to do this year.  2006 is the best year of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Keeping your Priorities in Order (top of page)

(Gen 14:22,23 CEV)  Abram answered: The Lord God Most High made the heavens and the earth.  And I have promised him that I won’t keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread.  Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Abram had the boldness to lead 318 servant into a mighty military victory.  After Abram returned the king of Sodom was waiting for him in the Shaveh Valley, which is also known as King’s Valley.  Abram had done with a small group of farmers what Sodom’s trained army could not do.  King Melchizedek of Salem was also there.  This man was a priest of God Most High.  He approached Abram and said, “I bless you in the name of God Most High, creator of heaven and earth.  All praise belongs to God Most High for helping you defeat your enemies.”  That is interesting, because Melchizedek’s statement is proof that God was the reason for his victory.  Abram and the 318 men could not have done what they did without the favor and the hand of God.  Melchizedek made sure he knew that it was God that gave him the victory.  What would Abram do in acknowledgement God’s work in his life?  Abram gave Melchizedek (the priest) a tenth of everything he received from the battle.  This is the first instance of the practice of tithing in the bible.

The king of Sodom was standing by and wanted to express his appreciation.  He said to Abram, “All I want are my people.  You can keep everything else.”  But Abram answered, “The Lord God Most High made the heavens and the earth.  And I have promised him that I wouldn’t keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread.  Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich.  Let my share be the food that my men have eaten.  But Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre went with me, so give them their share of what we brought back.”  Here is another interesting statement.  Abram now exposes a conversation that he had with God before he entered into battle.  His primary purpose was to get his nephew back, but God is not in the business of doing things “small scale.”  Getting his nephew back would also mean getting a lot more with him.  Abram now let’s us know that he promised God up frontnot to take anything for himself.  All he would do was honor God with a tenth of everything, ensure his servants were physically (food) taken care of, and ensure his friends (Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre) were paid for their services.  This is very important, because it shows that Abram’s priorities were in order.  Right after this, chapter 15 opens with a new blessing.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that expanding your capacity to believe God means that you keep your priorities in order.  People get “funny” when you talk about money; especially in church.  This should not be the case.  If you truly trust God and want to honor Him with your life and living, then you should want to show your honor to Him in every area of your life.  If you don’t honor God in the area of your finances then you really need to expand your capacity to believe.  Arbam received a mighty victory, but it was because he expressed to God up front that his priorities were in order and that he trusted God to be his source.  Do you look at God as simply another resource or do you truly trust Him as your source?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I trust You with every area of my life.  I seek You first, Your kingdom and Your righteousness.  I don’t chase after things.  I chase You and I keep my priorities straight.  When I chase You with a pure heart, then things chase me, I don’t have to chase them.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Building up you Belief System (top of page)

(Gen 15:6 AMP)  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Abram had his priorities in order and had the proper perspective on his wealth.  Chapter 15 opens with the Lord speaking to Abram in a vision.  The Lord said, “Abram, don’t be afraid!  I will protect you and reward you greatly.”  Abram was pretty comfortable in that area.  He was wealthy and the Lord had just given him a supernatural victory.  Abram did have a need in one area, he said, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children.  And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own.  You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”  Abram was sharing his heart, but he was also sharing his doubts.  God had already said that his descendants would be as the dust of the earth.  Like many of us, Abram needed a little help.  The Lord replied, “No, he won’t!  You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.”  To help Abram expand his capacity to believe the Lord took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars.  That’s how many descendants you will have.”  What was God doing?  He was giving Abram a mental picture of an abundant heritage.  Abram’s concern was that he might die without leaving a lineage.  God spoke a Word to him and promised him a lineage and then helped paint the picture for him.  Why?  To build up his belief system.  Can you see Abram out there?  He is looking up at the stars, amazed at how many there are and even more amazed that God was going to make his lineage so great.  This was exactly what Abram needed.  He had enough.  He was ready. Abram believed (trusted in, relied on) the Lord and it was counted to him as righteousness.

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

1.       God desires to protect us and reward us greatly:  God told Abram, “Abram, don’t be afraid!  I will protect you and reward you greatly.”  This was and still is God’s desire.  Some people walk around with the notion that God somehow wants them to suffer, or to be sick, or to go through struggle after struggle.  We need to get past this.  We are His children.  God is a good God and He desires good things for us.  Like Abram, however, we must have the capacity to believe and receive His blessings by faith.

2.       It’s OK to share our heart with God:  Abram expressed his concern that his servant would get everything and he was specific when he told God that he wanted children.  We can also come to God in prayer and share our concerns with Him, but we must be willing to hear and receive whatever He says.

3.       God will help expand our capacity to believe:  God did not get upset with Abram for not having the capacity to believe His first promise.  God even took it further by showing Abram the stars and helping him to believe he would have children and leave a lineage.  If we would allow God the time He would speak to us through Bible study, worship experiences, our Pastors, emails like this, and etc.  God is speaking, are you listening?

4.       The more we believe, the more we are able to receive:  The problem was not God’s promise, but rather Abram’s belief.  Many Christians today suffer from the same problem.  If you are not able to believe, you will not be able to receive.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I know You will protect and reward me today.  I have no doubt that Your hand is upon me and it causes me to prosper.  I share my concerns, but I do it with an expectation to hear something that will enable me to get past them.  I believe and I declare that I will receive.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Do you have time for God? (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how God helped build Abram’s belief system by having him to look up at the stars.  This morning I have come to a passage in the text covers several verses.  If I give you the verses in small chunks it might be confusing.  I feel led to share the entire event, but then take my time (over a few messages) teaching several things the Lord wants me to bring out from this passage.  The following are verses 7-20 from the 15th chapter of Genesis (Contemporary English Version):

The LORD said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”  Abram asked, “LORD God, how can I know the land will be mine?”  Then the LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”  Abram obeyed the LORD. Then he cut the animals in half and laid the two halves of each animal opposite each other on the ground. But he did not cut the doves and pigeons in half.  And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away.  As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening.  Then the LORD said: Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.  But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them.  They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years. But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.  Four generations later, your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here be so sinful that they deserve to be punished.  Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal.  At that time the LORD made an agreement with Abram and told him: I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River. They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

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

1.       God is a God of Progression:  Our walk with God should be progressive in nature.  When we come to God we will not know everything we need to know about Him, but if we progressively seek Him, He will incrementally reveal Himself to us and we will find ourselves growing more and more confident.  Even after all he had been through and after clearly hearing from God several times, Abram said, “LORD God, how can I know the land will be mine?”  He wanted to believe, but he still did not have the clarity he was looking for.  Likewise, many of us want to believe, but we are seeking clarity.  Do what Abram did.  He kept asking and God kept answering.  If you are diligent, you will grow and expand your capacity to believe.

2.       We must make time for God:  This was a two day ordeal.  God pointed out the stars to Abram on the first night and then spoke to him in a vision during the second night.  Throughout this two day encounter Abram freed himself of all distracters; he spoke with God, offered a sacrifice, saw a vision, and received clarity.  That would not have happened if he had not made the effort and the sacrifice to get away from people to spend time with God.  You say you want clarity in your life.  Are you willing to make time to spend time with God?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I make time to spend time with You.  I free myself of all distracters and I dedicate some time for You.  I need clarity in my life and I declare that I will receive that clarity as I spend time with You.  In this time You will expand my capacity to believe; therefore expanding my ability to receive!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God takes Covenant Seriously (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last Friday we ended off by sharing a couple of nuggets from Genesis 15:7-20.  We will continue in this same passage for the next couple of days:

The LORD said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”  Abram asked, “LORD God, how can I know the land will be mine?”  Then the LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”  Abram obeyed the LORD. Then he cut the animals in half and laid the two halves of each animal opposite each other on the ground. But he did not cut the doves and pigeons in half.  And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away.  As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening.  Then the LORD said: Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.  But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them.  They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years. But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.  Four generations later, your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here be so sinful that they deserve to be punished.  Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal.  At that time the LORD made an agreement with Abram and told him: I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River. They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Cutting the animals in half, spreading the carcasses, and walking in between them was a custom of time that was practiced between those entering into covenant; signifying that a similar fate would come upon whomever broke the covenant.  This case is obviously a bit different.  God Himself would not come down and walk through the carcasses with Abram, but He did it symbolically.  The smoking pot symbolized the fate of those that would come against Abram’s descendants.  The flaming fire symbolized the presence of God upon Abram’s descendants as they moved forward with Him.  God also used fire as a symbol of His presence at the burning bush (Ex 3:1-3), Elijah’s fire (1 King 18:38), and the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  This vision was not to serve as a warning to Abram, but rather was an encouragement. God was showing him how both he and his descendants would receive deliverance from their enemies and direction from their Lord.  This helped him expand his capacity to believe.  This is important to us because Moses said, “God is no mere human!  He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind.  God always keeps his promises” (Num 23:19).  Paul also explained in the New Testament (a.k.a. New Covenant) that if we are in Christ we are also part of Abraham’s family, and heirs to the covenant promises made to Abraham (Gal 3:29).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is a God of covenant.  He promised deliverance and direction to Abraham and his descendants.  If we are in Christ, we qualify! We can believe God to provide us both deliverance from our enemies and direction towards our destiny; this day and every day.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am in Christ and therefore Abraham’s seed.  My relationship with Christ makes me and heir according the promises You made Abraham.  The writer of Hebrews also told me that I have a better covenant with better promises.  I enter into this day with deliverance, direction, and so much more!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Consistency and Perseverance bring Breakthrough and Blessing (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We have been on Genesis 15:7-20 for a couple of days.  I feel led to bring out two more nuggets from this text before we move on.

“… I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them.  They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years.  But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.  Four generations later, your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here be so sinful that they deserve to be punished.  Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal.  At that time the LORD made an agreement with Abram and told him: I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River. They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

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

1.       God is capable of providing specifics:  When God originally called Abram out of his country He did not give him any specifics.  He said, “”Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  This has caused many preachers to preach a variety of sermons on the act of “stepping out by faith.”  I also teach that God requires us to take bold steps of faith, but our text also let’s us know that God does reveal Himself to us in many levels.  God told Abram the exact number of years his descendants would have to wait before they took possession of the land, the names of 10 tribes that they would have to conquer in the process, and the geographical borders of the Promised Land.  This helps us know that God will some times require us to take bold steps of faith without much information and other times He will specifically tell us the outcome.  In either case, faith is required.

2.       We may not always understand God’s timing:  There were several contributing factors involved in God’s timing in this case.  God promised the land to Abram, but only because He foreknew of the wickedness of the inhabitants of the land (Deut 9:1-6).  He also gave them a 400 year opportunity to repent.  It was only after this that the Lord would allow Abram’s descendants to take possession of the land.  God later explained through Solomon that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”  Believers today read scriptures like that and get excited, but that also connotes that your blessing may be tied up with someone else for the moment.  The timing of you receiving is dependant upon your faith and God’s patience with the other people.  The point is that you may not always understand everything when it comes to God.  Furthermore, God may not give you the specifics all the time; but God does require you to operate in faith in every area of your life.  To do this you must expand your capacity to believe and move forward, by faith, daily.  Know that your labor is not in vain (1 Cor 15:58) and that you will reap when the time if right, if you don’t give up (Gal 6:9).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for the revelation that You have given me.  I walk out, by faith, in accordance with what I know.  The more I know the more I do.  I declare that I will take bold steps of faith in my life, with specifics or without specifics.  Either way, I walk by faith and not by sight.  I have an inner confidence that my labor is not in vain and that I will reap if I do not give up or quit.  My consistency and perseverance brings my breakthrough and blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God’s Plan vs. Your Plan (top of page)

(Gen 16:2 MSG)  Sarai said to Abram, “GOD has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Genesis chapter 16 opens by letting us know that Abram and his household had been in Canaan for 10 years and Sarai still did not have any children.  This means that he was now 85 yrs. old and she was 75 yrs. old and they were still waiting on the promise of God.  Sarai, like most believers today, got frustrated in the space between the promise and the performance.  She could not take it any longer.  It looked to her as if God’s plan was not working, so she came up with a plan of her own.  She approached her husband and said, “GOD has not seen fit to let me have a child.  Sleep with my maid.  Maybe I can get a family from her.” Let’s break this down:

1.       GOD has not seen fit to let me have a child:  This was a big mistake.  Sarai was plainly speaking against God’s promise.  She was disqualifying herself from having what God had already qualified her for.  Your tongue has the power of death and life (Prov 18:20).  Never speak against the promises of God for you.  Just like belief opens you up to the possibility of success and enables you to operate in faith, doubt opens you up to the possibility of failure and enables you to operate in fear.  It had been 10 years and Sarai doubted God.  Never allow doubt to creep into your life.  No matter how long the space between the promise and the performance is, stand in belief and faith; not doubt, fear, and unbelief.

2.       Sleep with my maid:  God does not need us to make up alternate plans.  Sarai dismissed the plan of God and conjured up a plan of her own; a recipe for disaster.  Listen, I understand that living your life by faith and standing on the promises of God is not always easy.  While you are boldly waiting on the manifestation of the promises in your life, people (even well-intentioned) may approach you and say things like, “Well, you just never know.  Maybe this is not God’s will for you.  Maybe God will bless you some other way.”  And the list could go on.  The problem is that Abram had received a promise from God and God cannot negate His Word (Num 23:19). So stand on the promises of God by faith.  No matter how long it takes, keep on believing and remain in faith.  In due season you shall reap, if you do not give up or quit (Gal 6:9).

3.       Maybe I can get a family from her:  God’s plans have words like “surely, certainly, and definitely” associated with them.  Man’s plans have words like “maybe, possibly, and perhaps” associated with them.  Which group of words do you want to deal with?  I refuse to live a life full of maybes.  Standing on the promises of God brings confidence, boldness, and certainty.  Making up your own plans, apart from God, always leads to uncertainly, reservation, and doubt.

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is simple.  Stand on the promises of God, no matter how long it takes, and refuse to allow doubt to enter your mind.  Doubt your doubts and have faith in your faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I never disqualify myself from something that You have already qualified me for.  I stand on Your promises by faith and I believe I receive when I pray.  I know there is oftentimes a space between the promise and the performance and I declare that I remain in bold faith in that space, no matter how long it takes.  I do not come up with my own plans, but I rather stand boldly upon Yours.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Will, Your Bill (top of page)

(Gen 16:6 MSG)  “You decide,” said Abram. “Your maid is your business.” Sarai was abusive to Hagar and she ran away.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Sarai became impatient with God and came up with her own plan for having children, since it had been 10 years and God’s promise had not manifested itself.  One thing that I did not mention yesterday was the latter part of the 2nd verse.  It says, “Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.”  It was bad enough that Sarai conjured up this plan, but we see that Abram (the father of faith) agreed with it and slept with Hagar.  Guess what?  As soon as he slept with Hagar she got pregnant.  So what do you think would happen now?  Do you think they would live happily ever after?  Did everything work as planned?  Did Hagar happily and quietly have her baby and then give him over to Sarai?  NO!  Why?  Because God was not in it.

Earlier in this series I shared a lesson entitled, “God’s Will, God’s Bill.”  The premise of that lesson was that if God tells you to do something, then He is obligated to bless it.  The problem comes when we ask God to bless something that He had no part in.  If you do something that is clearly your will, then it will also be your bill; meaning that the result, good or bad, will be on you.

As soon as Hagar found out she was pregnant she started looking down on Sarai.  Sarai took this hard.  She went to her husband and said, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse.  I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May GOD decide which of us is right.”  See, she was not concerned about God when she was making her own decision, but as soon as things started going badly, then she wants God in it.  Abram said, “You decide, your maid is your business.”  Abram wanted nothing to do with the situation, although he had everything to do with it.  Sarai blamed Abram, Abram blamed Sarai, and neither one was willing to take responsibility.  Sarai took her frustrations out on Hagar and treated her so badly that she wound up running away.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you will reap what you sow.  If you allow God to lead, guide, and direct you; you will live a life peace and prosperity.  Will you have challenges?  Or course, but you will also have the assurance that comes from knowing that You are doing the Lord’s will and since it’s His will, it will also be His bill.  He will grace (empower) you to overcome every hindrance and conquer every challenge.  However, if you choose to make your decisions without the counsel of God (His Spirit, Word, Pastors, etc.), then you will not have His grace upon you when the challenges come and you will have a much harder life.

What decisions have you made without God that have caused you problems?  You can repent today and ask God to lead you from this moment forward.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I don’t allow frustration to lead me into making the wrong decisions.  I declare that my decisions are decisions that line up with Your Word, decisions that are birthed out of prayer, and/or decisions that are a result of the leadership of the Holy Spirit or Godly leaders in my life.  My life is the grand sum total of my decisions and my decisions, from this point forward, will be God-based and God-blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

You will reap what you sow (top of page)

(Gen 16:15-16 CEV)  Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we discussed the problems that arise when we choose to make plans without God; plans that are not based upon His wisdom.  We discussed the rift that arose between Hagar and Sarai and how Hagar wound up running away.  Hagar stopped to rest at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur.  While she was there the angel of the LORD came to her and asked, “Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going?”  She answered, “I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.”  The angel said, “Go back to Sarai and serve her.  I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, because I have heard your cry for help;” Ishmael means “God hears.”  The angel went on to say, “Later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all.”  This is interesting, because this was not so much a blessing of her womb, but rather of Abram’s seed.  Even though Abram made a mistake, God had already promised to bless his seed and cause it to multiply.  The angel continued, “But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”  And so Abram was 86 yrs. old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.

I will walk softly through this text, as I do not seek to offend anyone, but I feel led to bring out a point.  Abram and Sarai made a mistake.  They should have never doubted God and attempted to have children another way.  Their mistake produced a child.  This child, in accordance with the text, would be a child that would fight everyone and everyone would fight him.  It is common knowledge that Muslims (Islam) are the descendants of Ishmael.  God’s Word, spoken through the angel in the text, has come to pass.  Furthermore, looking back through history we see that the descendants of Ishmaels have been staunch enemies of Israel and continue to be so.  Yes, we can have peace summits and political forums, but the strife between the Jew and the Muslim started with two women in a tent in Canaan and the end is not in sight.  It’s been several thousand years and the descendants of Abram are still dealing with the repercussions of his decision.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God expects you to stand on His promises by belief and faith.  When you allow doubt, fear, and unbelief to cause us to make ungodly decisions you will have to deal with the repercussions.  Our life is a grand sum total of our decisions.  Good or bad, we will reap what we sow.

If you have not been making the right decisions then you know it is time to make some changes.  Expand your capacity to believe God, make Godly decisions, decisions based upon and rooted in the Word of God, and you will experience the best year of your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I don’t allow frustration to lead me into making the wrong decisions.  I declare that my decisions are decisions that line up with Your Word, decisions that are birthed out of prayer, and/or decisions that are a result of the leadership of the Holy Spirit or Godly leaders in my life.  My life is the grand sum total of my decisions and my decisions, from this point forward, will be God-based and God-blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Power of Identity (top of page)

(Gen 17:4,5 CEV)  I promise that you will be the father of many nations.  That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  14 years transpire between the end of chapter 16 and the opening of chapter 17 and Abram is now 99 yrs. old.  It had been 24 yrs. since he took his bold step of faith and left Haran to walk with the Lord.  He had experienced many victories and was abundantly blessed, but the promise of becoming a great nation had not yet come to pass.  The only child Abram fathered came from Hagar and he was still waiting to have children through his wife Sarai.  The Lord appears to Abram says, “I am God All-Powerful.  If you obey me and always do right, I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.”  Abram did what most would do if God manifested Himself before them; Abram fell flat on his face.  God went on to say, “I promise that you will be the father of many nations.  That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham.”

In biblical times your name was very important.  Names were representative of your character, attributes, and nature.  Abram meant “exalted father.”  At this point Abram technically fit that name.  He was a father and he was blessed.  God added one Hebrew letter to Abram’s name and changed it to Abraham.  This name is more specific and it means, “Father of many nations.”

The Jews have given God many names, one of which is the most sacred.  The name that we use in English as Yehovah (or Jehovah) is also referred to as the Tetragrammaton, (or word of four letters.  In Hebrew Yehovah (YeHoVaH) is spelled without the vowels; hence having only four letters.  It was one of these letters that God added to Abram’s name.  Some scholars believe that it was added for the sake of dignity, God associating Abraham more closely to himself, by thus imparting to him a portion of his own name.  Whatever the reason, this was a clear departure from Abram “doing” to Abraham “being.”  God had blessed Abram with many possessions to this point, but now the greatest blessing came; the blessing of identity.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the greatest blessing is the blessing of knowing who you are in God.  You can seek God for “things” all you want, but the possession of material blessing is only a partial and lesser blessing.  The true blessing comes when you understand your identity in and with God. Once you know who you are, you don’t pursue the blessing; the blessing is already on you.  Everything you do is blessed when you understand your covenant with God, His covenant with you, and your righteous inheritance.

Do you know who you are? If not, spend time with God in prayer and ask Him to show you your true identity in Him.  If you know who you are, then you should walk into this day with your head held high and with an overwhelming confidence that comes from understanding your relationship with God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know who I am and whose I am.  I graduate from doing to being.  I get beyond religion and step into the reality of my relationship with You.  I have a spiritual heritage, a spiritual covenant, and a spiritual inheritance.  I boldly accept my identity in You and I will not allow anyone to influence me into believing that I am anything less that whom You have made me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

You must receive the Promises of God by Faith (top of page)

(Gen 17:5 KJV)  “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  In stead of moving forward this morning, I felt led to stick with the fifth verse of the 17th chapter this morning.  We discussed the name change yesterday and this morning I want to cover the latter part of the fifth verse.  God said, “For a father of many nations have I made thee.”

God changed his name to be the father of many nations and declared that He had already made Abram this, without Abram having any children of the promise.  To Abram this had not happened yet, but to God it was already a done deal.  See, we live in time, but God lives in eternity.  God is not confined by time.  Paul said, “As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed” (Romans 4:17 AMP).  Paul attempts to explain the way that God operates and says that God speaks of nonexistent things that He has promised, as though they already exist.  The reason why this is true is because God is not limited by time.  If God promised to do something and He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), then in His realm the thing is just as good as done.  That’s why God speaks in the past tense in this verse and says He had “made” Abram – as if it was already done – the father of many nations.

Romans chapter 4 also tells us that 99 year old Abraham had to look beyond his old age and the deadness of Sarah’s womb and believe a seemingly unbelievable thing.  In spite of the fact that it had been 24 years since he received the promise and he did not have any children of the promise, in spite of the fact that Sarah was 90 years old and had never had a child, and in spite of the fact that no one else was having children at that age at the time,Abraham still believed God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the promises of God must be received by faith.  Hope says, “I will have it next week.”  Faith says, “I have it right now.”  Abram had to receive this promise in his heart so strong that he would literally go around telling people, “Hello, my name is no longer Abram, but Abraham.”  By doing this he was introducing himself as the “Father of many nations,” even though everyone knew that he and Sarah did not have any children yet.  What am I saying?  I am saying that faith receives a promise steps out on that promise like you already have it!

What promise have you received from God that you have not boldly stood upon?  The longer you take to receive it by faith (without any sense realm evidence) the longer it will take to manifest.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I receive Your promises by faith.  I am whom You say that I am.  I can have what You say that I can have.  I can go where You say that I can go.  I can do what You say that I can do.  There are no impossibilities in You and there will be no impossibilities in me, because of my belief.  I can believe and all things are possible for me.  I stop limiting my limitless God.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The God of the Spiritual Blessing (top of page)

(Gen 17:7 KJV)  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  You have seen thus far in this series that God spoke to Abram, led him away from his family, and promised to bless him with land and with children.  It has been 24 years, Abram is now 99 yrs. old (his wife 90 yrs. old) and by this point he is very rich in material things, but he does not have any children of the promise.  In Genesis chapters 12 through 16 we see the God of the material blessing, but in chapter 17 we see the God of the Spiritual blessing.  We have already discussed Abram’s name change to Abraham, but there is a lot more we will cover in this chapter.  We will discuss Sarai’s name change to Sarah, the sealing of the covenant with a physical sign (circumcision), and the promise of Spiritual blessing to Abraham’s seed.  This morning we will focus on the latter.

After changing Abram’s name to Abraham, God told Abraham that He would make him exceedingly fruitful.  He assured him that nations of people would come out of him, but this time God was a bit more specific and told him that some of those people would also be kings.  This is where it gets good.  God not only promised to bless Abraham with nations and kings, but that the covenant He established with Abraham would be passed to his descendants.  Abraham – the man who was concerned about having children; because he had money, but no lineage – was now promised by the same God that had changed his life that he would not only have children, but that his lineage would experience his God.  God promised to be a God to Abraham, but also to his seed after him and that this covenant would be an everlasting covenant.

This was no small promise.  Remember that Abram, back in chapter 15 told God, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children.”  Having children was Abraham’s burning desire, but we also have to remember that Abraham lived in a time where people worshipped thousands of gods.  Abraham’s father was an idol worshipper.  So having children would not mean much if his children went back to idol worship.  What good would it be to experience God in the way that Abraham did, if his children would not experience the same blessing?  God answered that for Abraham and promised to not only be His God, but the God of his descendants as well.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things: 1). It means that God knows our concerns before we express them.  2). It means that God is not a God of the temporary.  3). It means that God does not do anything small scale.  4). It means that there is nothing too hard for God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You exceeded Abraham’s wildest expectations.  You are still blessing people today because of what You told Him.  Paul told us in the New Testament that You are able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.  I release Your hand over my life.  Your hand comes for judgment and for blessing.  I pray that You judge my enemies and bless all that I put my hands to do.  I walk in Your favor and I know that You will cause me to prosper and to do it in such a way that will exceed my wildest dreams.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Blessing of knowing The true God (top of page)

(Gen 17:7 KJV)  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  This morning’s message flows in the same vein as yesterdays.  The God that sought out Abram, blessed him, and changed his name to Abraham, also promised to be the God of his descendants.  To fully understand this we must put ourselves in Abraham’s position.  He grew up in a time where most people either worshipped idols or other people.  Jewish history tells us that his father actually made idols.  So think about that for a moment.  Abraham saw his father make idols out of wood or other materials and then watched as people purchased them, carried them around, and worshipped them as their god.  For Abraham to now have a relationship and a covenant with the one true and living God was no small ordeal.  His life had significantly changed since he came in contact with God and his God had also promised to make him a father of many nations and kings.  The promise now to “be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee,” was a big deal.  God was saying that Abraham’s descendants would experience the same intimacy, security, favor, and blessing that he had experienced and more importantly, they would not be a people without a God.

Have you ever had an in-depth conversation with a person that does not believe in God?  Sure, they may seem outwardly polished and secure, but when you start probing and asking deep questions their stability starts to falter.  Many have told me that they secretly desire the peace, confidence, and inner-certainty that believers possess.  I have been a Christian for 10 years now and I cannot, nor do I want to, imagine my life without God.  That is why it is so important for us to share Christ with a dying and decaying world.  We are not Godless, we are God’s people and He is our God.  We are in Christ and are therefore Abraham’s seed; making us heirs to the promises and blessing of Abraham (Gal 3:29).  We are also partakers of the New Covenant that also gives us access to the Holy Spirit.  The Hebrew writer says that this is a “better covenant” with “better promises” (Heb 8:6).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can face this day with the confidence of knowing that you are not a Godless person.  You have a relationship with the only true God and He has a relationship with you.  He knows you by name.  Every hair on your head is numbered.  He spends time thinking about you (Ps 8:4) and He has plans for you (Jer 29:11).  You are a child of covenant, a child of promise, a child of favor, a child of blessing, a child of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not a Godless person.  I know You and You know me.  I am an heir to the covenant promises of Abraham and I am also a joint-heir with Jesus the Christ.  I have both the natural and spiritual blessings operating in my life.  I am covered by the blood of Jesus, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and called according to Your plan and purpose for my life.  I cast away uncertainty and I walk with the boldness, confidence, and assurance that comes from knowing that You are my God and I am Your child.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God-part vs. Man-part (top of page)

(Gen 17:13 NLT)  All must be circumcised.  Your bodies will thus bear the mark of my everlasting covenant

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Today we get into Abraham’s part in the covenant.  God said, “Your part of the agreement is to obey the terms of the covenant.  You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.  This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: each male among you must be circumcised; the flesh of his foreskin must be cut off.  This will be a sign that you and they have accepted this covenant. Every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth.  This applies not only to members of your family, but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.  All must be circumcised.  Your bodies will thus bear the mark of my everlasting covenant.  Anyone who refuses to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for violating the covenant.”

Abraham had been through a lot in 24 years with God.  He had received a new name, lived in a new land, won many victories, was significantly wealthy, healthy, and blessed.  Now he had to expand his capacity to believe to physically mar his body.  Men understand that this is not an easy thing.  For a grown man to cut the foreskin of his penis – himself – takes serious commitment.  The commitment was required because God was shifting Abraham from a “good life” of natural blessings to the “God life” of spiritual blessing.  The removal of the foreskin was a symbol of the removal of the old man and the breaking forth of the new.  Unlike the covenant with Noah, where God made a rainbow appear, man would have to seal this covenant.  Noah could not make the rainbow appear, but Abraham and every male of his household had to physically seal the covenant themselves.  Making the decision, sealing the covenant, making the sacrifice, Abraham would now be ready to father the holy seed.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you always have a part in God’s provision.  Abraham had to choose to seal the covenant and we must also choose to obey God.  Once again, it all comes down to our decisions.  It is God’s will that every man be saved, but He will not force anyone to accept Him.  After salvation the same holds true.  God wants His children to be healed, healthy, blessed, and prosperous; but He will not force you to live that way.  You can choose to ignore the principles and precepts of His Word and live beneath your spiritual covenant, just like you can choose to observe them and walk in blessing, favor, and increase.

Abraham had to believe that there was a blessing in “choosing” to circumcise himself.  Likewise, you must believe there is a blessing for you if you choose to deny your impulses for sin and walk in accordance with the Word of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe.  My belief enables me to make proper decisions.  Even when my natural impulses go against the principles and precepts lined out in Your Word, I declare that I will override my impulses and choose to obey You.  I fulfill my part.  I live a life that is pleasing to You.  I walk in Your Word, will, and way.  I fulfill the man-part and I believe You will fulfill the God-part.  I enter into this day with great expectations.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Blessed to be a Blessing (top of page)

(Gen 17:12 CEV)  From now on, your family must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old…

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Friday we closed out the week by discussing the circumcision.  Before we move on from this very important event I feel led to bring out a few quick nuggets I did not mention last week.  Abraham had to:

1.       Make a decision for himself:  It is obvious that Abraham had to circumcise himself and I pointed out Friday that this was no easy task for a grown man.  Nevertheless, at the instruction of God, Abraham marred his body as a physical sign of a spiritual covenant.

2.       Make a decision for his household:  Abraham was also commanded to have every man and boy of his household (hundreds of them) to be circumcised.  This meant Abraham had to expand his capacity to believe to become a spiritual leader to everyone under his influence.  To this point he led them naturally, but he would now also become a leader in spiritual matters.  God was blessing Abraham to be a blessing to those in his household.  Who has God given you influence over?  Who has God blessed you to be a blessing to?  Are you doing it?  Are you providing the spiritual insight the Lord has imparted to you?  Wanting to be blessed is a selfish desire if the purpose of the blessing is not to impact the lives of others as well.

3.       Make a decision for his children:  This is a big one.  Abraham and every man of his household had to make a voluntary decision to circumcise themselves, but the commandment to circumcise eight day-old boys meant a greater responsibility fell on the parents.  The child became a passive recipient of the decision of the parent.  Herein we find the lesson of parental responsibility.  There are many scriptures that teach us, as parents, to educate our children in the way of the Lord.  Every parent has a responsibility from God to make an impartation of righteousness into their children.  What have you been teaching your children?

4.       Walk by faith:  Although Abraham did not have any children from Sarai, he still had to instruct the men of his household to circumcise their children.  In effect, while he was being a blessing to them he was also sowing a seed in his area of need.  He was being a blessing to their children and in turn he would reap blessed children himself.  Always sow seeds in your area of need.  You will always reap what you sow (Gal 6:7).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that expanding your capacity to believe God enables you to make spiritual decisions that will impact others.  It takes the focus off of merely seeking God for a blessing (selfishness) and puts the focus on seeking God to become a blessing (selflessness).  What has God given you that He expects you to pass on to others?  Are you passing it on?  The blessing of the Lord is too good to keep to yourself.  Realize you have been blessed to be a blessing and share the goodness of God with someone today.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe to the point where I now make decisions that will not only impact me, but also all those You have blessed me to be a blessing to.  I train my children in the way that they should go and I believe, by faith, that they will grow up to be the children You have destined for them to be.  I also submit myself to be a blessing to everyone You need me to be a blessing to; today and every day.  You lead me to those You want to impact and I declare that I will be used of You to touch others for Your glory.  I am blessed to be a blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

You’re Still Going to have that Baby! (top of page)

(Gen 17:17 MSG)  Abraham fell flat on his face.  And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son?  And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We have covered a lot in the 17th chapter of Genesis thus far; Abraham received a name change, another reassurance of the promise, and instructions on how to seal the covenant (circumcision).  God did not stop there.  He went on to change Sarai’s name to Sarah.  Sarah means princess and it is a befitting name because she would become the mother of many nations and kings.  At this point the reality of everything the Lord said began to sink in.  It was almost too much for Abraham to process.  What he longed for was finally going to come to pass.  It was almost unbelievable.  Abraham fell flat on his face.  He began to worship the Lord.  The reality of the goodness of God was overwhelming.  He thought, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son?  And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?” The goodness of God was so strong in his heart that all he could do was laugh.  Picture that.  Can you see him?  He is a wealthy old man (100 years old), lying face down before an invisible God, worshipping and laughing.  God’s goodness was almost too much to bear.

Abraham was not a super-hero.  He did not have a cape or any super-human abilities.  He was simply a man like everyone else, but he had the ability to believe God, even when it did not make sense.  If God had called Abraham out of his country and blessed him with a promised family in a couple of weeks it would not have required Abraham to believe the way that He did.  God always wants maximum glory out of every situation.  Just like when Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead for four days (see John 11) and his body was stinking before He raised him from the dead.  God oftentimes waits until the situation is right, until the setting is beyond human ability, until the person can no longer do it themselves, before He manifests His glory and turns hopeless situations around.  There is no evidence that Abraham did anything to hinder the promise for 25 years.  It just simply worked out that way.  25 years later, when he was beyond physical ability and Sarah’s womb was seemingly dead, God still promised to give them a baby.

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

1.       You’re still going to have that baby:  Delay does not mean denial.  If God promised you something, then stand on His promise, no matter how long it takes.

2.       Believe the unbelievable:  It if is common then it will not require faith.  If Abraham was 30 yrs. old and Sarah was 25 yrs. old, then we would not be discussing this promise this morning.  The fact that a 100 yr. old man had a baby with a 90 yr. old barren woman is the point.  Nothing is impossible to them that believe.  If you are able to believe it, you will be able to receive it.  You are only limited by your belief system.  That’s why you must expand your capacity to believe.

3.       God will make you laugh:  Get this notion out of your head that God wants to make you suffer.  God is a good God and He wants to bless his children.  His desire is for you to be blessed to the point where you can do nothing but laugh!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe to the point where I receive the seemingly impossible.  I resurrect my dead dreams this morning.  I will not allow the enemy to make me abort them any further.  I am still going to have my baby and I stand on Your promises to bring them to pass.  Thinking about Your promises makes my heart glad and I laugh with excitement, joy, and expectation this morning.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Today Might be Your Day (top of page)

(Gen 17:21 CEV)  “But your son Isaac will be born about this time next year, and the promise I am making to you and your family will be for him and his descendants forever.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Abraham left his country with a barren wife 24 years prior to this encounter with God.  The only child he fathered to this point was a child of his servant.  God finally gave him the specific promise he longed to hear – he was going to have a baby by Sarah.  In the middle of all of this, with the many things that were probably racing through his mind, Abraham pleaded for Ishmael; he wanted Ishmael blessed.  The Lord said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.  And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.”  This is where we get to our text.  The Lord said, “But your son Isaac will be born about this time next year, and the promise I am making to you and your family will be for him and his descendants forever.

Imagine that.  Abraham woke up that morning like every other morning.  He did not know that he would hear the words he was waiting on for 24 years.  God changed both his and his wife’s names, gave him specific instructions on how to seal the covenant (circumcision), pronounced a blessing over his living son (Ishmael), gave him the name of the son of the promise (Isaac), and then told him that Isaac would be born “about this time next year.”  Wow!  What a day.  What a blessing.  What a turn-around.  God showed up and turned Abraham’s seemingly hopeless situation around in one fell-swoop and He did it all by simply speaking words.

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

1.       You never know when your breakthrough is coming:  You should face every day with great expectations.  If you are standing in faith for something from God, keep on believing and remain in faith daily.  Face every day like it will be your day for your turn around.

2.       Never underestimate the power of a Word from God:  All of this happened with “words.”  God changed Abram’s name with a word, gave him the instructions for the circumcision in words, pronounced a blessing over Ishmael with words, named the son of promise with words, and told him exactly when Isaac would manifest with words.  No, Abraham did not physically have Isaac in his hands yet, but that made no difference.  As far as Abraham was concerned, he could already see Isaac running around.  That is the power that comes from expanding your capacity to believe God.  Once you do you are able to receive a Word from God and walk in it as if you already have it.  God may not speak to you like He did to Abraham, but you might receive your “Word” from God while reading your bible, sitting in a bible study, hearing a sermon, while in prayer, in one of my messages, or from another Christian.  No matter how it comes, never underestimate the power of a Word from God.  One Word from God can turn your hopeless situation around.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I enter each day with great expectations.  I expect to be blessed.  I expect You to make Your Word good.  I expect the manifestation of Your promises in my life.  I expect favor to shield me.  I also know that Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  I live by Your Word.  I stand on every Word I receive from You and I know that one Word from You can turn any hopeless situation around.  There are no impossibilities in You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Obedience unlocks Blessing (top of page)

(Gen 17:23-27 CEV)  On that same day Abraham obeyed God by circumcising Ishmael. Abraham was also circumcised, and so were all other men and boys in his household, including his servants and slaves. He was ninety-nine years old at the time, and his son Ishmael was thirteen.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I pray this series is blessing you to see that you can do what biblical characters did.  They did not have superhero suits with superhuman power. They were simply men and women that believed and obeyed God.  It is very important to point out that they did both (believe and obey).  It does you no good to expand your capacity to believe if you are not willing to obey what God enables you to see.  The obedience factor is the key that has unlocked blessing, favor, and increase in the lives of biblical characters and subsequent believers through the centuries.  We have been exploring Abraham’s life over the last few weeks.  Let’s take a quick recap of his obedience.

We first hear Abram in Genesis chapter 11.  Chapter 12 opens with God saying to him, “Leave your country…” (v.1).  What was Abram’s response?  The fourth verse says, “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.”  In chapter 15 the Lord revealed Himself to Abram in an illustration that required natural animals.  The Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon” (v.9).  The very next verse says, “Abram brought all these to him…”  In the 17th chapter the Lord reiterated the promise of children through Sarah and wanted to seal the covenant through a physical sign.  The Lord said, “Every male among you shall be circumcised” (v.10).  Our text tells us that Abraham circumcised himself, his son, and every man and boy of his entire household on the SAME DAY.  Do you see a pattern?  What was the key to Abraham’s walk with God?  Why was he the father of faith?  Why are we still discussing him today?  Because he believed an invisible God would bless him in a tangible way and he obeyed what the invisible God told him.  Furthermore, he did it without any point of reference.  Meaning that Abraham did not have a bible to read, a pastor to talk to, a church to worship in, or fellow believers to count on.

Thus far in this series we have discuss Joshua, Mephibosheth, Gideon, Naaman, and Abraham.  What was the key to their success?  It was simply believing God and obeying what God said.  Dr. Mike Murdock says, “Obedience is the only thing God has ever required of man.”  My prayer is that this series will help you expand your capacity to believe so that you will have the propensity to obey.  The point being that you will probably not obey something you do not believe in.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that you must obey God if you expect His blessing, favor, and increase to flow in your life.  God does not expect you to do anything that He has not already equipped you to do.  If you can simply believe and obey you will experience the favor of God.  Have you been obeying God?  If not, today can be your day for a turn-around!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  As my ability to believe increases, my tendency to obey will increase.  I train myself to obey my invisible God, with expectations that He will manifest Himself in a tangible way in my life.  I believe and obey and I do it by faith.  My obedience unlocks God’s blessing over me and my household.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Is there anything too hard for God? (top of page)

(Gen 18:13,14 MSG)  God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me?  Have a baby?  An old woman like me?’  Is anything too hard for God?  I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Genesis chapter 18 opens with a hot summer afternoon where Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre.  The Lord appeared to him.  Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby.  He quickly ran to meet them, bowed with his face to the ground, and said, “Please come to my home where I can serve you.  I’ll have some water brought, so you can wash your feet, and then you can rest under the tree.  Let me get you some food to give you strength before you leave.  I would be honored to serve you.”  It is obvious that Abraham was a courteous and generous host.  The men accepted the offer.  Abraham did not know it, but he would receive a word from the Lord through one of these men.

Abraham quickly went to his tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry!  Get a large sack of flour and make some bread.”  He then rushed off to his herd of cattle and picked out one of the best calves, which his servant quickly prepared.  He then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.  While they were eating and the men asked, “Where is your wife Sarah?”  “She is right there in the tent,” Abraham answered.  The Lord then spoke through one of the guests and said, “I’ll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son.”  Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent.  Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children.  Sarah laughed and said to herself, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?”  This is where the Lord asked, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby?  An old woman like me?’  Is anything too hard for God?…”  That is the question for this morning.  Is there anything too hard for God?  The obvious answer is NO!

Expanding your capacity to believe enables you to take your mental and traditional limits off of an unlimited God.  The bible is full of impossibilities becoming reality.  That is why I preach and teach the way that I do.  I don’t hold back.  God expects us to preach and teach the fact that impossibilities are possible in Him.  There is absolutely nothing too impossible for Him.  God can revive a dead womb; just like He can heal a broken marriage, redirect a wayward child, restore a backslider, cancel cancer, override AIDS, resurrect lifeless situations, and turn hopeless situations around.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your situation still has hope.  The mere fact that you are still living – that air is flowing in your lungs and blood is flowing in your veins – is evidence that God is not through with you.  If you are still living, then God is still able.  There is nothing too hard for Him.  Stop limiting a limitless God. Expand your capacity to believe and you will expand your capacity to receive!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I know there is nothing too hard for You.  I look at every situation through the lens of faith and I receive the reality of Your presence, peace, power, and glory.  I do not give up.  I stand in belief and faith and I expect to walk in blessing, favor, increase; in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Don’t make fresh decisions based upon out-dated information (top of page)

(Gen 20:13 MSG)  When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father’s home, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I’m your brother.’

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I pray this series is being a blessing to you.  As you can see, most biblical characters were just ordinary people that God enabled to do extraordinary things. In Abraham, for example, we have learned both what to do and what not to do.  This morning’s lesson is an example of what not to do.

Back in Genesis 12 we saw how Abram feared the Egyptians and told his wife (and half sister) to say that she was his sister (conveniently leaving out the wife part).  He was operating in fear and not in faith.  Abram said, “Please save my life by saying that you are my sister” (Gen 12:13).  We fast forward about 25 years and we Abraham make the same mistake again.

In Genesis 20 we find Abraham in Gerar.  Abraham told everyone there that his wife Sarah was his sister.  Just like what happened in Egypt, King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him.  God came to Abimelech in a dream and revealed to him that Sarah was a married woman.  He had not slept with her and pleaded before the Lord that nothing would happen to him.  He did not take a married woman on purpose.  He was going off of wrong information.  God told Abimelech, “I know you are innocent.  That’s why I kept you from sleeping with Sarah and doing anything wrong.  Her husband is a prophet.  Let her go back to him, and his prayers will save you from death.  But if you don’t return her, you and all your people will die.”  Early the next morning Abimelech sent for his officials and told them what happened.  He then called in Abraham and said: “Look what you’ve done to us!  What have I ever done to you?  Why did you make me and my nation guilty of such a terrible sin?  What were you thinking when you did this?”  Abraham answered: “I did it because I didn’t think any of you respected God, and I was sure that someone would kill me to get my wife.  Besides, she is my half sister.  We have the same father, but different mothers. When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father’s home, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I’m your brother.’”

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

1.       Don’t live in the past:  I understand how Abram made the mistake he made in chapter 12, but in chapter 20 he had been walking with the Lord for almost 25 years.  God is a God of progression.  If you know better, God will expect you to do better.  Abraham made a decision based off of a statement he made to Sarah 25 years earlier.  Don’t make the same mistake.  Don’t make fresh decisions based upon out-dated information.

2.       Fear will cause faith failures:  In both chapters 12 and 20 Abraham was afraid.  Fear and faith are reciprocal forces; they cannot operate at the same time.  Fear cancels faith, just like faith cancels fear.  Fear will cause your faith to fail, just like faith will cause your fear to fail.  Which one will you choose today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe and the more I move forward in You, the more I am able to make proper decisions.  I do not make today’s decisions based upon out-dated information.  I use the latest information and revelation I have received in You to make the best possible decisions; thereby causing my way to be prosperous.  I overcome fear and I operate in faith, in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Space between the Promise and the Performance (top of page)

(Gen 21:1 NIV)  Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” and we arrive at a much anticipated segment of the story of Abraham.  In the 21st chapter we find the birth of the promised son (Isaac).  Our text says that God did for Sarah what He promised to do.  It is also worth mentioning that this was also a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham.

It all started with a call and a promise to Abram in chapter 12.  It has taken us five weeks (25 messages) to cover the span between chapters 12 and 20.  These chapters chronicle 25 years in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.  Think about that for a moment.  It is always great when God gives you a promise in the morning and makes it manifest in the afternoon.  Even if it does not come the same day, most of us can wait a few days; maybe even a week.  But what happens when your promise takes a lot longer than you expected?  Will you give up?  Will you stop believing?  Will you throw in your faith towel?

Over the last 25 messages I have pointed out the several times that God reiterated the promise to Abraham.  Time after time, God reassured him that he would be the father of many nations.  Sure, it did not always look like it.  As a matter of fact, things were seemingly getting worse.  Sarah’s womb was apparently dead.  She was past child bearing age.  He was almost 100 years old.  They had been walking with God for over 20 years.  The average person would have given up.  But that is why we call Abraham the father of faith.  Without a bible to read, a pastor to counsel with, a choir to sing him happy, or a fellow believer to keep him encouraged; Abraham believed.  All he had was God and a promise.  Sure, he had his ups and downs; but he kept believing that God would do what He said He would do. He might have been delayed, but he was not denied.  25 years later, at 100 years of age, God did what He had promised to do!

This is how it normally is with us.  Of course, God can immediately provide the manifestation of every promise, but that is not the norm.  There is oftentimes a space between the promise and the performance.  It is in this space that we must remain faithful and firm.  I call this the “grace for the space.”  God can give us the ability to remain in belief and faith while we are expectantly awaiting the manifestation of His promise.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must never give up on a promise from God.  No matter how long it takes and no matter how bad the situation seemingly gets, continue to stand on God’s promise and continue to believe that He will bring it to pass.  I will close with the words of Moses this morning, “God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind.  Does He speak and not do what He says?  Does He promise and not come through?” (Numbers 23:19 MSG).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I know that delay does not mean denial.  I stand in belief and faith, no matter how long it takes.  I stand on Your promises and I do not lower my level of expectation.  I enter into this day with great expectations and consistent faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Don’t forget the Father once He gives you your Baby (top of page)

(Gen 21:3,4 CEV)  Abraham named his son Isaac, and when the boy was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, just as the Lord had commanded.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off yesterday.  Abraham was 100 years old when his promised son was born.  With the first mention of the manifestation of the promise we immediately find out two things: Abraham named his son Isaac and he circumcised him on the eighth day.  Why is this important?  Because in Genesis 17:12 God commanded Abraham to circumcise every eight day-old male child and in 17:19 God told him that Sarah would have a baby and that the boy’s name would be Isaac.  This seems like a small thing, but it is not small at all.  As soon as Abraham received the manifestation of the promise He did exactly what God told him to do.  He did not deviate or digress.  He simply did what God said.

This series is about learning to believe God at a greater level in your life.  Many people are aggressive in their belief while they are standing in faith for the manifestation of the promise.  The mistake that is oftentimes made, however, is that they get overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment when they finally receive the fulfillment of the promise and they focus so much on what they just received that they forget about God.  I have seen it happen many times.  People say they need transportation and they are believing God for a vehicle, but when God blesses them with the vehicle, they focus more on the vehicle than on God.  The same can be said for a job, a promotion, a house, a spouse, or etc.

We learn a very important lesson from Abraham this morning.  He and Sarah waited 25 years for their baby.  I am sure they were overwhelmed with emotions and exceedingly glad.  However, they did not allow their emotions to cloud their judgment.  Abraham named the boy Isaac, just as God instructed him to; and on the eighth day he circumcised the boy, just as God commanded him.  What is the point?  Abraham did not allow his baby to keep him from his God.  His priorities were still in order.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God wants to know that your priorities are in order.  Can God give you your baby (whatever that may be) without a concern of you losing your focus?  If God gives you your baby, will you set all your attention on the baby and forget about Him?  If so, you may never see the baby until your priorities are in order.

Many wives are overwhelmed with the joy of having a baby.  They focus so much attention on the newborn that their husbands are neglected.  But if they ever want another baby, they will have to go back to the person that enabled them to have the baby in the first place.  Don’t forget the Father once He gives you your baby!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have my priorities in order.  I trust You to manifest Your glory by blessing me with what I am standing in belief and faith for and I declare, in advanced, that I will not allow what You bless me with to keep me from You.  You are bigger than any thing or anybody in life.  I put nothing before You.  No baby You bless me with will ever keep me from honoring my Heavenly Father.  I honor You in all things and at all times.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Beyond Everyone’s Expectations (top of page)

(Gen 21:7 GW)  “Who would have predicted to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?  Yet, I have given him a son in his old age.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off yesterday.  Now that we know how Abraham reacted to the birth of his son (obedience), let’s see how Sarah reacted.  Sarah said, “God has blessed me with laughter,” Isaac means laughter and this is the name God gave him because both Abraham and Sarah laughed in joy at the possibility of having a baby in their old age.  She went on to say, “… and all who get the news will laugh with me!”  In other words, she was so overwhelmingly glad that she expected her delight to spill over to all those who heard the good news.  Sarah’s next statement seems to crystallize the magnitude of the blessing.  She said, “Who would have predicted to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?  Yet, I have given him a son in his old age.” This was Sarah’s way of saying that her blessing (having a baby at 90 years old) was beyond human logic or reason.  No one around her would have predicted it to happen.  No one she knew expected her to ever have a baby.  Everyone that knew Sarah knew her as a blessed, but barren woman.

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

1.  God has no limits:  There are many things that God does that are not logical, rational, or reasonable; but with God all things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23).

2.  God has a plan for you:  God said in Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (29:11).  He had a plan for Abraham and Sarah, He had a plan for Jeremiah, and He has a plan for you.  When you expand your capacity to believe, God is able to reveal His plan to you.  Once you find it, you will need the discipline to follow and finish it.  Along the way, however, you will encounter people who might say things like, “Who would have thought that you….?”  Or, “I never thought you would amount to…”  That is basically what Sarah was saying.  No one around her would have ever imagined her life to work out the way that it did.  Her society had low expectations of her, but God’s plan for our lives will oftentimes exceed everyone’s expectations.  So don’t get bogged down by the low expectations of those around you.  Believe God, dream big dreams, and God will enable you to exceed everyone’s expectations.

3.  Celebrate every victory:  Sarah did not have a nonchalant attitude about having this baby.  This was a big deal.  This is what she longed for all her life.  She celebrated.  She laughed, and she expected those around her to laugh with her.  She expressed her gratitude to God.  Likewise, we should do the same.  When God blesses us we should not overlook His goodness and fail to praise Him.  Share your testimony.  Tell your story!  Tell others of the goodness of God in your life.  Are you ashamed of what God is doing for you?  If you are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe and my belief enables me to elevate my level of expectation.  I do not live my life based upon the expectations of others.  I trust You and I believe that You will do great things in my life.  I believe Your Word where You said that You are able to do exceedingly abundant above all that I could ask or think according to the power that works in me (Eph 3:20).  I expect Your goodness to exceed everyone’s expectations, even my own.  Your blessing upon my life is so good that it makes me laugh.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Do You Believe? (top of page)

(Rom 4:2,3 KJV)  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.  For what saith the Scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by crossing over to the New Testament this morning.  In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome he explained how God was made available to all people through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and was no longer limited to the Jew.  Paul also went to great lengths to drive home the point that we are justified by faith and not works.  In the third chapter he explained that if we could be justified by works, then we would have something to brag about; but we can’t.  We must come to God in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; nothing to brag about there.  All we can do is glory in what He did and thank God that we are made right (righteous) through His blood.

It is in this light that Paul arrives at the fourth chapter.  He brings up Abraham as an example.  He explains that if Abraham were justified by works, then he would have really had something to brag about.  However, Abraham did not have that testimony.  As we have seen over the last few weeks, Abraham made mistakes like all of us.  He never performed one miracle.  He never raised anyone from the dead.  He never healed anyone of leprosy.  He never walked on water.  So what did Abraham do?  He had the ability to believe God! He believed a God he could not see would give him a visible baby and make him the father of many nations.  Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 15 to see the text that Paul is quoting.  God led Abraham outside one evening and said, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (verses 5 and 6).  Just like that.  God gave Abraham a promise, Abraham believed it, and God counted it to him as righteousness.  In other words, God was pleased with Abraham because of his willingness and capacity to believe.

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

1. The relationship between work and faith:  Many believers today misunderstand the relationship between work and faith.  They think that they can work their way to heaven; thinking they should work to build their faith.  First of all, if we could work our way to heaven Jesus would not have had to die.  Second of all, our works should be a manifestation of the reality of our faith.  We should do Godly works because of our relationship with God, not to attain it.

2.  The relationship between belief and faith:  I list belief and faith separately.  Belief is opening yourself up to the possibility of something in your life.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  Belief says it can, faith says it will.  Belief says it is possible, faith says it is done.  You need both in operation in your life in your walk with God.  The bible teaches us, in four different books, to “live by faith” (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38).  However, you will never release your faith for something you do not believe.  The purpose of this series is to expand your capacity to believe so you can increase your ability to live by faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe and my belief system enables me to operate in faith in every area of my life.  I know that I am not justified by works.  I do not seek to do good to have a relationship with You.  My works are birthed out of my relationship with You.  I, like Abraham, believe in an invisible God and I believe my invisible God will manifest Himself in a tangible way in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Remember what Jesus did for You! (top of page)

(John 18:22 MSG)  When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”

The vision of Today’s Word is to instruct, inspire, evangelize, and encourage.  I felt led to take a break this week from our current series to instruct and inspire you concerning the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This upcoming Sunday is what the world calls “Easter” and the church calls “The Resurrection.”  I can’t cover it all in five days, but I will give you a short recap of the events leading up to the most important event in history.

Jesus prayed his well known prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat 26:39).  He left the garden and walked into the betrayal of Judas.  Peter tried to stop the arrest and cut a man’s ear off.  Jesus suffered it to be and gave himself over to the authorities.  Jesus was arrested without a charge or a witnesses.  They took Him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest.  Peter, who had already denied Jesus to a little girl, stood outside in the cold with the authorities.  They started a fire and stood around it to warm themselves as the interrogation began inside. Annas interrogated Jesus regarding His disciples and His teachings.  Jesus answered, “I have spoken freely in front of everyone.  And I have always taught in our meeting places and in the temple, where all of our people come together.  I have not said anything in secret.  Why are you questioning me?  Why don’t you ask the people who heard me? They know what I have said.”  When He said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!

Let’s be honest.  When we think of Jesus we think of the miraculous Jesus.  We think of the God-man that stopped a funeral precession and raised a widow’s only son from the dead.  We think of the God-man who looked out at a vast crowd (5,000 men, not counting the women and children), had compassion upon them, and fed them all with a little boy’s lunch (2 fish and 5 loaves of bread).  We think of the God-man who showed up at His friends’ house (Mary and Martha) after their brother (Lazarus) was dead for four days and whose body was already stinking.  He had so much compassion for them that He cried with them before He raised their brother back to life.  We think of the God-man who walked on water and met the disciples in the fourth watch of the night (3am-6am), when they were tired, frustrated, and fearful.  We think of the God-man who met a woman in church who wanted to straighten herself up, but she couldn’t.  She had been bent over for 18 years, but Jesus healed her that day.  Yes, we often times think of the miraculous Jesus, the powerful Jesus, the water-walking Jesus, the wonder-working Jesus.  But what about the Jesus that was whipped for us?  What about the Jesus that was beaten for us?  What about the Jesus – in our text – that was slapped in the face for us?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this week we take some time to remember the Jesus that was battered, beaten, and bruised for us.  He died so that we could live.  Remember that today when you face something you think is unbearable.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for sending Your Son to die that I might live.  I acknowledge the life of Jesus and I acknowledge it all.  He stepped down from glory and bore my pain that I might step up from my pain and bear His glory.  I remember what Jesus did for me and I honor Him in all that I do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

No Weapon formed Against you will Prosper (top of page)

(John 18:32 CEV)  And so what Jesus said about his death would soon come true.

This morning we continue our short recap of the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Yesterday we left Jesus with Annas.  Annas sent Jesus to his son-in-law (the other High Priest), Caiaphas.  After being questioned by Caiaphas Jesus was taken to the Roman governor’s (Pilate) house.  By this time it was early in the morning.  Jesus had been erroneously tried and found guilty, in the middle of the night, and all the while not one charge or one witness had been brought against Him.  Pilate came out and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”  They answered, “He is a criminal! That’s why we brought him to you.”  Pilate told them, “Take him and judge him by your own laws.”  But the Jews knew that they were not authorized to have anyone executed.  They wanted blood.  They wanted Jesus dead.  They wanted to get back to their normal lives – as they thought.  The Jews replied, “We are not allowed to put anyone to death.”  This is where we pick up our text.  And so what Jesus said about his death would soon come true.  Jesus gave his disciples fair warning of his death.  Jesus would hang on a tree to become sin for us and to fulfill prophecy.

Let’s briefly recap the life of Jesus.  He was born in Bethlehem and was then taken to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him as a baby.  This was an attack to destroy Him before He ever got started.  After Herod’s death He was brought back to and raised in Nazareth.  We don’t hear anything about Him between the ages of 12 and 30.  He shows up and 30 yrs. old, is baptized, and immediately led into the desert to be tempted of satan.  Satan tried to stop Him before His ministry ever got started.  Jesus comes back and starts preaching the Kingdom of God.  Before you know it, the blind can see, the lame can walk, the death can hear, the dumb can speak, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  Satan is furious.  He works through the religious leadership of the time and manipulates them through their pride to finagle a way to kill Jesus.  They tried Him in the middle of the night without a witness, a charge, or a testimony.  They were doing all they could to kill Him, but once again, satan’s plan would backfire.  Paul later said that if he knew better he would have never had Jesus killed (1 Cor 2:8).  Jesus was at peace the entire time because He knew that He would still come out on top of this situation.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you walk with God, no weapon formed against you will prosper (Is 54:17).  It does not mean that the weapon will not be formed.  It does not mean that there will not be attacks against you.  What it does mean is that the enemy will not be successful in his attempts.  It all worked out for Jesus and it will all work out for us, if we continue to walk with God and in accordance with His Word.

Jesus faced many attacks and still came out victorious.  He is our example.  No matter what you are facing this morning you can have peace in knowing that when you are walking with God you will always come out on top!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for solidifying Your peace in my heart this morning.  I realize that many weapons were formed against Jesus, but they did not prosper.  I also realize that I have the same favor.  No matter what comes my way today or any day, I have the confidence in knowing that You are with me, in me, on me, and for me.  You are greater than anything I will ever face!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Total Death for Total Life (top of page)

(John 19:34 MSG)  One of the soldiers stabbed him in the side with his spear. Blood and water gushed out.

This morning we continue our brief recap of the events surrounding Jesus’ death by moving past the mock trials and fast forwarding to the cross.  After the erroneous conviction they beat Jesus and flogged Him 39 times with a cat of nine-tails.  Each lash felt like 9 lashes.  The lashes had bits of metal and stone sewn into them.  The pieces of metal and stone sunk into Jesus’ back with each lash and they ripped pieces of His flesh off as the skilled torturer pulled the whip back.  They made a mock crown out of thorns and pushed it down into His head so that they thorns drove into His skull.  In this battered and bruised condition they made Him carry His own cross up Golgotha’s hill and then nailed Him to it.  Think about that for a moment.  Look at your manicured hands and pampered feet.  Now picture a railroad tie and imagine it being thrust into your hands and feet with a sledge hammer.  If that were not enough, they took His beaten, bruised, and nailed body and erected it as they elevated the cross.  Can you see Him? The hole for the cross was already prepared.  The weight is now painfully shifting between His upper and lower bodies.  They then locate the prepared hole and let the cross drop into it, rattling Jesus’ bones as it fell into place.  He tries to support Himself with His legs, but the position of His nailed feet makes it almost impossible.  He tries to lift Himself up with His arms, but His nailed hands make this excruciatingly painful.  For three hours He hung on the there (from noon to 3pm) in total darkness.  The sun refused to shine while the Son was shining.  Around 3pm, after enduring this brutal procedure, He cried “It is finished!”  With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

The next day was a special Sabbath and the Jews could not touch anything dead during this time.  They knew they only had three hours to get the bodies off of the crosses and into the tombs.  They asked Pilate to have the legs of the men broken and the bodies taken down.  This would ensure that all three men were dead.  The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who had been crucified with Jesus.  However, when they got to Him they believed that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs.  They did need to verify His death.  So one of the soldiers stabbed him in the side with his spear.  Blood and water gushed out.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus was completely dead.  His death was no hoax and His blood was surely shed.  Yes, He completely died a horrible death, but He also completely rose on the third day in a glorious resurrection!  He conquered death so that we could do the same.  Paul said that part of his aim in life was to know Jesus in the power of His Resurrection (Phil 3:10).  This Sunday is not about colored eggs or bunny rabbits, it’s about a Savior who died for our sin and rose for our life.  He conquered death for us.  So no matter how dead your dreams, goals, marriage, career, etc.; may seem, know that through Christ, you can bounce back and experience Resurrection Power!  Jesus was totally dead, but He came back from total death to provide total life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for sending Your only begotten Son to die that I might live.  Jesus was completely dead, but You resurrected Him to complete and total life.  I flow in that same vein this morning and I speak to every dead issue in my life and pronounce resurrection.  I speak to darkness and pronounce light, I speak to chaos and pronounce order.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I believe You can turn my hopeless situations around and I receive my breakthrough by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

An Equivalent Ransom (top of page)

(Eph 1:7 KJV)  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

This morning we continue our brief recap of the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Yesterday we discussed Jesus’ death and this morning we take a glimpse at what his death gave us access to.

A few years ago Mel Gibson starred in a movie entitled “Ransom.”  It was a thriller where a rich man’s son was kidnapped and kept by his captors until a large sum of money was paid.  The tagline to the movie was ‘Someone is going to pay!’  The movie took a twist and Mel Gibson’s character decided not to pay the ransom to the captors, but to rather offer it as a reward to anyone who would turn them in.  In our real life drama, we were all born captured, in need of a ransom to be paid.  It is not that we had freedom and that our freedom was taken away at some point, but rather that we were born as bound to sin as the child was bound to his captors in the movie.  We were born with a death sentence, because of what Adam did in the garden.  We needed someone to pay our ransom before we could receive our freedom.  The problem is that our ransom could not be paid with money.  Our payment would involve the shedding of blood.  Our text speaks of “redemption through his blood.”  The person referenced in this text is Jesus.  Webster defines redemption as the repurchase of captured goods or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent ransom.  The key words are “equivalent ransom.”  The blood of an animal was shed in the garden when Adam sinned.  This served as a “ransom” for sin, but the blood of the animal was not equivalent to the blood of the transgressor.  This pattern was repeated every year, under the law, with the sacrifice of an atonement lamb, as a covering for sin; and the PASSOVER lamb, as a covering for death.  In both cases this ritual had to be repeated annually, because the ransom was not equivalent to the transgressor.

The only suitable payment for our life would have to be another human life.  Someone would actually have to trade their life for ours before we would be able to escape the clutches of sin and death (our captors).  Luke told us (Acts 20:28) that Jesus purchased (redeemed) us with His own blood.  Jesus became both the atonement lamb (offering for sin) and the PASSOVER lamb (offering for death) at the same time.  He was our equivalent payment!  Glory to God.  Our ransom has been paid.  We now have redemption and freedom through His blood!

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

1.       All human beings were born captured by sin and satan because of the actions of Adam in the garden (Eph 2:1-3, Ro 3:23).

2.       The blood of lambs, goats, and calves served as a temporary solution to a permanent problem (Heb 9:12).

3.       God sent His own Son (the Last Adam) to die in our stead, paying an equivalent ransom and delivering us from the power of sin and satan (Gal 3:13, 1 Jn 1:7, Rev 5:9).

4.       The Ransom is paid, the captor has been defeated and the captured have been released – Hallelujah!  That’s what this Sunday is all about!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am covered by the blood of Jesus.  Jesus paid the price that I could not afford for a debt that He did not owe.  He died that I might live.  He laid down His righteousness and clothed Himself with my sin that I would lay down my sin and clothe myself in His righteousness.  I enter this day as a cleansed, delivered, purified, and set apart warrior in the Kingdom of God.  I do not entangle myself again with sin and satan.  I am redeemed and have been bought with a price.  I honor You with my life and actions!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Christianity is the Only Religion that touts an Empty Grave (top of page)

(1 Cor 15:22 MSG)  Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.

This morning we conclude our brief recap of the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection.  I know these kinds of messages are not very exciting to many people, but without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we would have no hope.  There would be no Christianity.  There would be no Born-Again experience.  There would be no gospel.  Remember that this Sunday while TV commercials are full colored eggs and bunny rabbits, and while churches are full of new suits and colorful hats.  Beyond the misconceptions and pageantry, Sunday is about remembering Jesus and how He conquered death by rising from the dead on the third day in fulfillment of the scriptures.

Paul summed this all up nicely in 1st Corinthians 15.  He said, “Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling.  If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection?  If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ.  And face it – if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors.  Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ – sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.  If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead.  And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever.  It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves.  If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.  But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.  There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man.  Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ“(1 Cor 15:12-22 MSG).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Christ did die, the Father did raise Him from the dead, we do have eternal life in Christ once we are Born-Again, death has no dominion over us, satan is defeated, and our efforts as believers are not in vain.  This is no joke and no hoax.  Jesus Christ is the only religious figure – of all the world religions – that claims to still be alive.  Mohammed, Buddha, Gandhi, and etc. are all in the grave, but Christ is not.  Christianity is the only religion that touts an empty grave.  That’s why you can be a Muslim without ever meeting Mohammed and you can be a Buddhist without ever meeting Buddha, but if you are going to be a Christian, you have to meet Christ for yourself!  Once you meet Him, He washes your sins with his blood and makes you a king and priest in the earth (Rev 1:5,6).  Enter this day and this weekend with your head held high and your heart solidified in the reality that Jesus is alive and you are alive in Him!  He has made you royalty.  Act like it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am convinced that Your Son Jesus died and was raised from the dead.  I have no doubt.  My faith is rooted in His resurrection and the fact that He conquered satan, hell, and the grave gives me a renewed strength today.  You made me a king and a priest in the earth.  I conquer as a king and I hear from the Holy Spirit as a priest.  I provide both strength and wisdom for my family.  I do not take the resurrection lightly.  Jesus, your dying for me was not in vain.  I honor You with my life and living.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Your Faith makes you an heir to the Promise of Abraham (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  We have shared many truths concerning Abraham’s life thus far.  Let’s do a short recap:

1.       Abraham started out as a man who did not know much about God, but simply believed that a God he could not see would bless him in a tangible way.

2.       He made mistakes, like most people, and his mistakes proved that he was no super-human; but simply a man that believed God and sought to operate by faith.

3.       He kept believing that God would do what He said and make him the father of many nations, even though it took 25 years for the first child (Isaac) of the promise to be born.

4.       He did not allow the blessing of the baby to keep him from the Daddy (God), the source of the blessing.

We fast-forward into the New Testament (Romans 4) and we find Paul speaking of Abraham.  Paul explains that Abraham was circumcised, but that his acceptance with God did not come because of a physical act.  Abraham was accepted by God because of his faith.  This makes Abraham the father of all who operate in faith, whether circumcised or not.  This includes you and it is a big deal; because Paul explains that if Abraham is your father, then you are in his lineage and you have a right to walk in the promise given to him and his descendants.  God promised Abraham and his descendants that he would give them the world.  This promise wasn’t made because Abraham obeyed a law, but because his faith in God made him acceptable.  Paul explained that if Abraham and his descendants were given this promise because they had obeyed a law, then faith would mean nothing, and the promise would be worthless (v.14).  This gives us to know that the promise of Abraham is not tied to the Jewish law, but rather to those who operate by faith.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must expand your capacity to believe, so you can walk by faith and accept the blessing of Abraham.  Belief says “It’s possible.”  Faith says, “It’s done!”  We see both in operation in Abraham’s life.  Likewise, we must operate in both.  You will never operate in faith for something you cannot believe.  Once you believe it, then you can release faith for it.  Abraham started in belief, but ended up in faith.  Where are you this morning?  Are you a believer who walks in faith?  If so, then you should realize that the blessing of Abraham is yours, by faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You made a covenant with Abraham and promised to make of him a great nation.  You promised that he would be blessed to be a blessing (Gen 12:2,3).  You promised that nations and kings would come out of him.  You established Your covenant with him and his seed and promised to make this everlasting covenant (Gen 17:6,7).  You blessed Abraham and made him wealthy and successful (Gen 24:1).  You extended and offered that same blessing to his descendants if they would hear Your voice and obey Your Word (Duet 28:1).  I hear your voice and I obey Your Word.  I am a Born-Again believer.  I believe and I have faith.  I was baptized into Christ and have put on Christ.  In Christ, there is no distinction between Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.  We are all one in Christ Jesus.  I belong to Christ and am therefore Abraham’s seed and a spiritual heir according to the promise. (Gal 2:27-29).  The Promises of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Jesus are mine!  I walk into this day knowing that You are my God and I am Your child.  Like Abraham, I believe a God I cannot see will bless me in a tangible way.  I am blessed in every area and facet of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

You can do what Abraham did (top of page)

(Rom 4:17 MSG)  We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Abraham.  What made Abraham special?  What made him the father of many nations?  Paul says here that it was not that Abraham got God’s attention by living like a saint.  He did not become a monk and lock himself up in a monastery.  He did not pray 24 hours a day on a holy mountain.  He did not shave his head, wear special robes, or do anything to look different.  If he had done any of these things then we would probably not be able to identify with him.  If you are reading this message then chances are that you live a pretty “normal” Christian life.  You probably associate yourself with friends and family, are more than likely a member of a local church, and you are seeking to live a life that is pleasing to God.  That’s why you and I can identify with Abraham.  We are like he was and we can tap into what he tapped into to live an extraordinary life in God.

Paul says that God made something out of Abraham when he was a “nobody”.  Is that what you are secretly hoping for?  Don’t you want a closer relationship with God?  If you are a regular reader of Today’s Word, then I think you do.  You want more from God and you want to give more to God.  That being the case, this text has something for you.

What was Abraham’s secret to success?  Our text says that he dared to trust (believe) God to do what only God could do.  He believed that God would raise his dead situation (no children) back to life and he believed it all based on a Word! He believed that with one Word God could make something out of nothing.  He believed that with one Word God could turn his hopeless situation around.  He believed that with one Word God could put a “Yes” where the world put a “no.”  He believed that with one Word God could change what “was” into what “should be.”  He received a Word from God and he had the audacity to believe it.  Even though it did not make sense, it was not natural, and it was not the norm, he believed God anyway!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God can do the same for you.  Abraham did not have anything you do not have.  He was a common guy, but he learned to believe the uncommon and to have faith in the unseen.  He believed a God he could not see could bless him in ways that he could.  What about you?  Do you believe?  You are only limited by your capacity to believe.  What situation is seemingly dead in your life?  No matter what it looks like, know that one Word from God can turn your hopeless situation around.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I take my limits off of my limitless God.  There is nothing too hard for you.  I believe You can turn my seemingly hopeless situation around.  As a matter of fact, I extend past belief this morning and I start releasing my faith for it.  Belief says it is possible, faith says it is done.  I declare, by faith, that I have what I have been waiting on for so long.  Like Abraham, I believe and like Abraham, I will receive.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Decisions can get your Past Your Limitations (top of page)

(Rom 4:18 MSG)  When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  Paul’s commentary on Abraham’s actions helps us clearly see what he did and how it applies to our lives.  Let’s take a closer look at this text:

1.       When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway:  I have oftentimes said that God wants “maximum glory” out of every situation.  How much glory would God get if He only did what humans already had the ability to do?  It makes no sense to ask God to do – for you – what He has already equipped you to do.  God’s work begins where our work ends.  His limitless ability is often released when we have reached our limits.  We do what we can and God does what we can’t.  Now we can better understand Paul’s statement.  Everything was hopeless from a human perspective, but Abraham knew that God was not limited to human ability.  Abraham had to ability to believe and his belief took him past his limitations.  What limitations are you facing this morning?  Just because you cannot do it, it does not mean that it cannot get done.  There is nothing too hard for God.  Why not look your circumstances in the face and believe God anyway?

2.       Deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do:  Belief and faith are choices.  Belief is you choosing to consider that God can.  Faith is you choosing to establish in your heart that God will.  Doubt is you choosing to consider that God might not make it happen.  Unbelief is you choosing to establish in your heart that it will not happen for you.  In every case, the choice is yours.  Our life is a grand-sum-total of our decisions.  Now we can better understand Paul’s statement.  Abraham’s secret to success what that he simply “decided” to live his life upon the basis of what God said and not upon the basis of his limitations.  We can do the same thing.  Many believers today do not have an audible promise from God to stand on, but they do have the written promises in the Word of God.  God is as obligated and committed to His written Word than He is to any spoken Word.  We all have the ability to choose to live our lives upon the basis of what God said and not our limitations.  God’s promises or your limits; which one will you choose?

3.       And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” God did it.  God was true to His word.  God said what He meant and He meant what He said.  God remained true to His word to Abraham and He will remain true to His word to us.  God will always back up His promises.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can choose to operate in belief and faith or you can choose to operate in doubt and unbelief.  Either way, your life will be a result of your decisions.  If you choose to operate in belief and faith, your decision will catapult you past your limitations.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I choose to operate in belief and faith.  I believe You can and I have faith that You will.  My belief gets me past my limitations.  I declare that l will do all that I can and trust You to do what I cannot.  I look at hopeless situations head on and I choose to believe anyway.  There is nothing too hard for You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith that Factors out Limits (top of page)

(Rom 4:19 MSG)  Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  I trust you have seen by now that what separated Abraham from his contemporaries was his ability to believe in a God he could not see and his resilience to keep on believing, even when the circumstances looked hopeless.  Can the same be said of you?

Think about Abraham’s situation for a moment.  He is about 100 yrs. old and his wife is about 90 yrs. old.  Abraham is well past the “normal” child producing age and Sarah has never had a baby in her life.  Both sides of the equation were flawed and the probability of this couple producing a baby was slim-to-none; if not impossible.  Get the picture?  Understand the equation?  Now, add to it a promise from God.  God not only promised that they would have a child, but that they would become the fathers of many nations and kings.  When you factor in a promise from God you must also factor out the limiting dynamics that were previously considered.  Paul says that Abraham did not focus on his limitations, nor did he focus on the limitations of Sarah.  Humanly speaking, Abraham was unreasonable, his expectation was unnatural, his hope was unusual; and it all stemmed from a capacity to believe that was (and still is) uncommon.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God can do for you what He did for Abraham.  God does not play favorites.  God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but He is a respecter of faith.  If you want Abraham-like results you will need Abraham-like faith.  However, you will never exercise Abraham-like faith, until you expand your capacity to believe and you take your limits off of your limitless God.

What limits have you factored into your faith equation?  The message for you this morning is to remove the limits from the equation.  Stop factoring in what God has already factored out.  What you see as a hurdle, God sees as a greater aspect of your testimony.  When it is done you will be able to say, “In spite of…,” “God did…”  But you will never have that testimony, unless you expand your capacity to believe!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I choose to believe You and Your Word over any hindrances, obstacles, or limitations in my life.  I factor in Your Word and I factor out limits.  My faith gets me past my flaws.  No matter what it looks like, I refuse to say my situation is hopeless.  Like Abraham, I have uncommon faith and I receive uncommon results.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

What is the focus of Your Faith? (top of page)

(Rom 4:20 KJV)  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off in the story of Abraham.  Let’s take a closer look at our text:

1.       He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief:  There is a difference between a nonbeliever and an unbeliever.  A nonbeliever does not believe something at all.  They have not developed any capacity to believe in a particular area.  An unbeliever has the capacity to believe, but they make a “decision” not to.  Abraham made his “big” decision when God led him away from his family.  That proved that he had the capacity to believe God.  In this series we have seen how he made mistakes along the way, but Paul tells us that he never – at any point – threw in the towel on his belief.  He never stopped expecting to become the father of many nations.  He did not know how God was going to do it, but he did not it was going to happen.  Application: If you are reading this message you are more than likely a Born-Again believer.  You believe in your invisible God that blesses in visible ways.  Never allow yourself to get to the stage of unbelief with God.  If you know that God can, but you simply fail to believe that He will, you will never receive from God (in that area).  If God promised it, He will do it.  God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

2.       but was strong in faith:  I have defined faith as an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  Abraham definitely fits that definition.  There are different levels of faith and Abraham was at the top.  He stood on a Word for over 25 years.  He refused to accept any thoughts in his mind that God was not going to do what He said He would do.  Sure, we have seen that he had to expand his capacity to believe, but we have also seen that he exercised his faith to the max capacity of his belief, at every level.  The more he was able to believe, the more he stood in faith.  Application: It is the same with us.  We don’t all start out at strong faith, but we are all dealt “the measure of faith” (Rom 12:3).  Our faith should grow as we expand our capacity to believe God.

3.       giving glory to God:  This is the key.  Abraham was not standing on his ability, but rather God’s ability; and he was not looking to be blessed just for himself, but God had promised that he would be blessed to be a blessing.  God said that all the families of the world would be blessed through him (Gen 12:3).  Abraham wanted to bring glory to God by being a blessing to others.  Application:  What are you expecting God to do in your life?  Now, what are you going to do with it when you get it?  Is your motivation to bring glory to God or to bring glory to yourself?  Pride will keep you from receiving from God.  James said, “Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons” (4:3).  Remember to keep the proper perspective when exercising your faith.  Your focus should be to bring glory to God and His kingdom, not just to get money or fame.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the more you can believe, the more you can stand in faith for.  The more you stand in faith, the more God will do in your life.  The more God does in your life, the more glory He expects to get from it.  The focus of your faith should be to bring glory to God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I do not stagger at Your promises through unbelief.  I am strong in faith and not doubt.  I stand on Your promises and I believe that You will make them good in my life.  The focus of my faith is to bring glory to Your name!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

We Study the “Then” to deal with the “Now” (top of page)

(Rom 4:24 CEV)  They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Some may question the relevance of studying the life of Abraham.  There are many believers that ignore the Old Testament altogether; claiming that New Testament believers should simply focus on studying New Testament principles.  However, you cannot truly understand the New Testament without the Old.  We must study the entire truth to live entire lives before God.

Paul points out a great benefit to studying the life of Abraham.  He says that Abraham’s uncommon capacity to believe that God could revive the deadness of Sarah’s womb and the deadness of his own body was imputed to him as righteousness (v.22).  Meaning God accepted Abraham as right because of his ability to believe in the God of the impossible.  “But these words were not written only for Abraham.”  Paul goes on to say, “They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life.  God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.”  Get the picture?  Just like Abraham was made acceptable to God because of his capacity to believe and operate in faith, we also become acceptable to God because of our capacity to believe and our faith.  The difference is that Abraham’s righteousness came because of what he believed God would do (future), but our righteousness comes as a result of believing what God has done (past).

The event that separates Jesus from every other religious figure in history is the resurrection.  If you do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you are not a Christian.  We study stories like that of Abraham to solidify in our belief system in knowing that there is no too hard for God.  Just like He put life in the deadness of Abraham and Sarah’s bodies, He put life back into Jesus’ body after three nights and three days.  If you can believe that, then you should be able to believe that God can deal with whatever you are facing this morning.  Our issues seem to pale in comparison.  We serve a God of no limits.  Surely, He can do what we need Him to do in our lives.  Remember, He is only limited by our capacity to believe.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God has gone to great lengths to provide us the 66 books of the Bible, so that we could expand our capacity to believe to the point where we can face every day with a fearless confidence in our limitless God.  If you believe what God did for Abraham and you believe God resurrected Jesus from the dead, will you not believe that God will turn your situation around?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer.  I believe what You did for Abraham.  I believe what You did for Jesus.  I believe what You have provided for us in Your Word.  I believe every miracle, every story, and every account.  My belief in what has happened helps elevate my belief for what will happen.  I face this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Outlook will determine Your Outcome (top of page)

(Gen 22:5 CEV)  “He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We leave Romans and head back to Genesis to deal with the final Abrahamic episode in this series.

We know that it took 25 years of waiting and believing for Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac.  We don’t know anything about Isaac’s childhood, but it is safe to imagine that he was raised well.  Surely Abraham taught him about God and told him what God had done for them.  Some time later, when Isaac was probably a teenager, the Lord tested Abraham’s faith.  The Lord spoke to Abraham.  “Here I am, Lord” he answered.  The Lord said, “Go get Isaac, your only son, the one you dearly love!  Take him to the land of Moriah, and I will show you a mountain where you must sacrifice him to me on the fires of an altar.”  Where did that come from?  Seemingly out of the blue the Lord asks Abraham to sacrifice the thing he loved the most.  Surely, Abraham was rich in possessions, but nothing compared to Isaac.  Isaac was his son of the promise.  Isaac was the reminder of God’s faithfulness.  Isaac was the object of his love; and now God was asking Abraham to kill the son He had given him.

What would Abraham do?  Would he attempt to reason with God?  Would he cry out before the Lord and ask for mercy?  Would he deny God’s request and put Isaac above God?  Abraham did nothing of the sort.  The text does not even hint of a hesitation.  Abraham simply got up early the next morning and chopped wood for the fire.  He put a saddle on his donkey and left with Isaac and two servants for the place where God had told him to go.  It took three days to get there.  When Abraham finally saw the place afar off he was ready to leave his servants behind and take his son to do what the Lord had commanded him to do.  But remember, this test was a faith test.  James tells also teaches us in the New Testament that our faith will be tested (James 1:3).  This is where we see Abraham’s level of faith in operation.  He looks at his situation through the lens of faith and speaks the language of faith.  Read Abraham’s words carefully.  Abraham said, He says to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey, while my son and I go over there to worship.  We will come back.”  Did you see it?  God plainly commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son.  The instructions were clearly understood.  Abraham had the knife for the sacrifice and the wood for the fire with him.  But none of this mattered.  Abraham’s capacity to believe was so high that he had a fearless confidence (faith) that the two of them would go up the mountain and the two of them would return.  He did not know how God was going to do it, but he knew it would happen.  Abraham was sure that this would not be the end of Isaac.  Wow!  That is faith in action.

So what does this mean to you today? We will break this verse down tomorrow, but for today, I will simply say that your outlook will determine your outcome.  Abraham looked at his situation through the lens of faith and his perspective enabled him to overcome it.  How do you see your situation?  Do you see it as impossible or doable? Either way, your outlook will determine your outcome.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer.  I look at every situation through the lens of faith.  I know there are no impossibilities in You.  No matter how impossible a situation may seem, I release my faith that You will enable me to come out victorious.  My outlook determines my outcome.  I see faith, speak faith, live faith, and overcome by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God’s instruction is always equal to His injection (top of page)

(Gen 22:5 CEV)  “He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off yesterday.  We know that Abraham reacted in faith, but why?  Abraham had walked with God for over 40 years and was able to make decisions of faith, based upon what he already knew about God.  What did he know?  Let’s think about that for a moment:

1.       Abraham knew God to be faithful:  Abraham knew a God that was faithful to His Word, to the point where He kept a 25 year old promise for a son.  He knew God had protected and provided for him for about 40 years.  God never lied to him and in all the years he knew God.  God always said what He meant and He meant what He said.  Why was this important?  Because Abraham was over 115 years old by now and unless God was going to bless him with more children at this juncture in his life, Isaac would have to carry the bloodline of promise.  God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but Abraham’s faith was telling him that Isaac could not see the end on that mountain.  Even if Isaac died, Abraham believed that God would raise him back up.  No matter what, Abraham knew too much about God to believe Isaac was die and not live.

2.       Abraham knew God required obedience:  Abraham had learned this lesson many years earlier.  He knew not to question God.  As soon as God said go, Abraham went.  He did not debate, dispute, or murmur.  Abraham knew that obedience was the key to blessing with God and he simply obeyed, believing that he would find in a blessing in this weird situation.

3.       Abraham knew God required faith:  Abraham had also learned that God requires faith (confidence in Him).  Abraham had already passed the faith test by believing God for Isaac for 25 years.  Faith was no problem for him now.  He gathered the wood for the sacrifice in faith, started out on the journey in faith, and spoke faith the entire way.  He told the servants that he and the boy would go up and that he and the boy would come back.  He had no doubt.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God’s instruction will always be equal to His injection.  Let me clarify.  God will never expect you to do something that He has not already equipped you to do.  God gave Abraham a mind-blowing task, but it was only because He already knew what Abraham could handle.  He knew that Abraham knew what to do with such an unreasonable request.  God knew that Abraham would react in faith, because He had helped him to develop his faith level over the years.

How much do you know God?  The more you know, the more God will expect you to do.  Just like Abraham had to make decisions based upon what he knew, will have to do the same.  God will expect us to do what He has already equipped us to do.  His instruction will always equal His injection.  So if you are facing something seemingly impossible this morning, know that God trusts you to handle it! You can do it.  You can make it.  Believe.  See faith.  Speak faith.  You will come out victorious.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer.  I look at every situation through the lens of faith.  If I am facing it, then I know I can handle it.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I look back over what I know of You, God, and I make decisions based upon that knowledge.  I see faith, speak faith, live faith, and overcome by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith never sees Failure (top of page)

(Gen 22:8 NIV)  Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off yesterday in the story of Abraham.  Abraham and Isaac left the servants behind; they took the wood, the coals, and the knife and continued on.  It is obvious that Abraham had trained Isaac to worship the Lord with sacrifices, because Isaac was familiar with the process.  The teenager looked around and said, “Father, the coals and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  Isaac was no fool.  He knew that you could not properly worship the Lord without offering Him anything.  Little did he know; he was the offering.  Abraham’s faith at this point is outstanding.  Some believers mistakenly think that faith is a New Testament phenomenon; but faith is all throughout the Old Testament and Abraham is a great example of it.  Not only had Abraham already told the servants that he and the boy would return, but he now makes another bold declaration of faith.  He knows quite well that God told him to sacrifice the boy, but he releases words of faith again and declares that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”  God had not promised that to Abraham, but that was Abraham’s expectation.  His capacity to believe was so strong that he did not allow himself to think failure or death at any point.  He believed nothing but success and life and that is exactly what he and the boy experienced.  Tomorrow we will see that Abraham received exactly what he said he would.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you truly believe God you will never look at any situation and see failure.  There is no failure in God.  We can examine the text over and over and we will not see Abraham doubting or crying.  He did not operate in fear at all.  Those of us that have children understand how grave of a request this was.  Sacrificing your only son?  This was no easy task, but Abraham knew enough about God to believe that somehow this would work out alright.  He thought positive and spoke positive the entire time.  Now, I am not teaching mere positive thinking.  Abraham’s positive attitude was birthed out of his relationship with God.  This was more than merely positive thinking, this was faith and faith does not see failure.

Are you facing a challenge this morning?  If so, what do you see?  How do you see yourself coming through it?  Do you see failure and defeat or success and victory?  Oftentimes, what you see will determine what you receive.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and I continually expand my capacity to believe.  My belief is solidified in my relationship with You.  I know, from experience, that You are a good God and that You will never lead me the wrong way.  Therefore, I face every challenge with a fearless confidence that I will come out on top.  My faith does not allow me to see failure.  I see victory, success, and triumph in everything I do and my attitude will determine my altitude.  I can do all things through Christ and everything I do is blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Greatest Heritage (top of page)

(Gen 22:9 CEV)  When they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it.  Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Abraham.  We closed out last week by pointing out that Isaac was familiar with the worship practice of animal sacrifice.  He quickly realized that they had all the elements for the sacrifice, except the important sacrifice itself.  When he asked his Dad about it, Abraham spoke faith and said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  They continued on to the place God led Abraham and quickly prepared themselves for the sacrifice.  Our text tells us that Abraham built an altar, placed the wood on it, and then tied up his son and put him on the wood.  This easily overlooked text tells us many things.  Remember, Abraham was about 115 yrs. old at this point and Isaac was a teenager.  What does it tell us?

1.       Abraham taught Isaac how to properly worship the Lord:  As previously stated, Isaac was familiar with the practice of animal sacrifice.  This was part of their worship experience.  Sons learn a great deal (by instruction or by association) from their time with their fathers.  Fathers that expand their capacity to believe God are fathers that can teach their sons (or daughters) to properly worship the Lord.  It may not sound manly, but teaching your children to worship your God is one of the manliest things a man can do.

2.       Abraham taught Isaac about faith:  Isaac had to know about faith, because it took faith for him to allow his elderly father to tie him up.  He willingly participated in the process.  He learned about faith from his Dad and this gives us an example of what to teach our kids.

3.       Isaac had faith in God and his father:  Isaac undoubtedly saw God show up in seemingly impossible circumstances for his father.  Time after time, even though Abraham did not know how something was going to happen, he believed God and he stood in faith.  Isaac did what most boys do and imitated his father.  He flexed his own faith muscles.  Isaac displayed trust, not only his God, but also in his father.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the greatest heritage you can pass down to your children is a heritage of faith.  Some things are taught and others are caught; meaning that your children will learn from both your words and actions.  They are watching and listening to you.  What will they hear and see?  Will they learn to operate in fear, doubt, and unbelief or will they learn great lessons of belief and faith?  By expanding your capacity to believe, you are affecting much more than just you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and I expand my capacity to believe.  My children see great things in me.  They hear me speak the language of faith.  They see me look at every challenge through the lens of faith.  They watch as I face every obstacle with an unrelenting belief that You will see me through it.  I leave a heritage for my children and it is a heritage of faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith that gets past Feelings (top of page)

(Gen 22:10 MSG)  Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Abraham.  Yesterday I commented on how Isaac operated in faith to the point where he participated in the preparation of his own possible sacrifice.  The next verse proves that Abraham was ready and willing to do the unthinkable.  Abraham looked down at his tied up son, the son he waited 25 years to receive, and had to decide between faith and feelings.  His feelings told him that he could never harm his own flesh.  His faith told him that the same God that gave him Isaac would raise Isaac back to life if necessary.  His feelings told him that he loved his son to much to do it.  His faith told him that his love for God was proven by obedience.  The text does not say it, but I am sure there were several thoughts flowing through his brain.  This was no easy task, but his faith overrode his feelings and he displayed one of the greatest acts of faith documented in the bible.  Abraham reached out the knife and prepared to kill his son.  Several thousand years later the writer of the book of Hebrews commented on this event and said, “Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family.  But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, because he was sure that God could raise people to life.  This was just like getting Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:17-19 CEV).  The Hebrew writer attributes Abraham’s act of faith to his inner confidence that God could raise Isaac back to life.

Our Christian walk is a walk of faith.  The Bible teaches us to walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), live by faith (Ro 1:17), fight by faith (1 Tim 6:12), pray by faith (James 5:15), and overcome by faith (1 Jn 5:4).  We are to do everything we do by faith, in faith, and through faith!  But the purpose of this series is to point out that you will never exercise faith in something that you do not believe.  Abraham exercised faith, because he believed that God was able to restore life to dead situations; which God had proven to him by giving him Isaac at such an old age.

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

1.       The more you know about God the more you will be able to believe.

2.       The more you believe the more you will be able to exercise faith for.

3.       The more you exercise your faith the greater your faith will be developed.

4.       The more you develop your faith the more you will be able to overcome the feelings of fear, doubt, and unbelief.

5.       Once you overcome the feelings of failure, you are on your way to overcoming failure altogether!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and I expand my capacity to believe.  As I increase my capacity to believe, I am also increasing by ability to operate in faith.  I develop my faith walk and I therefore live a life that is pleasing in Your sight.  My faith enables me to get past feelings of fear, doubt, and unbelief.  As I overcome feelings of failure I overcome failure itself; and I do it by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Death and Life are in Your Tongue (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we left off with Abraham raising the knife to kill his only son.  All of a sudden, the Lord’s angel spoke from heaven and said, “Abraham!  Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered.  “Don’t hurt the boy or harm him in any way!” the angel said.  “Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son.”  Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the bushes.  He immediately knew why the ram was there; because back in the 8thverse Abraham said to Isaac, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”  Perceiving that the ram was a manifestation of what he believed God for and what he spoke with his own words, Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it in place of his son.

I could address this text from several different angles, but I feel led this morning to focus in on what Abraham said. God could have blessed Abraham in several different ways, but He chose to bless Abraham according to what Abraham spoke with his own words.  Abraham said that God would provide a sacrifice and God did exactly what he said.  It is very important for us to understand the power of our words.  Solomon taught us that, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov 18:21).  Jesus further explained that if your words and your belief are coupled together, you can have what you say.  He said, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:23,24).  This pattern is repeated all through the bible and it is clearly seen in Jesus’ miracles.  Jesus healed people in many different ways, but if you look closely you will see many of the people received exactly what they said they would.  In other words, God moved in accordance with their own words.  A centurion came to Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant who way lying home sick.  Jesus was about to go to the man’s house to heal the servant when the centurion said, “speak the word only and my servant will be healed” (Mat 8:8).  Guess what Jesus did?  He healed the servant by speaking a word only.  Another time a man named Jairus asked Jesus to come to his house and lay hands on his daughter so that she could be healed and live (Mark 5:23).  Jesus could have merely spoken a word, but that is not what Jairus declared with his own mouth.  So guess what Jesus did?  Jesus went to Jairus’ house, laid hand on the girl, and resurrected her from the dead.  Why did He do it that way?  Because that is what Jairus said.  The same can be said of Abraham.  God provided a ram for Abraham, just as Abraham believed and declared with his own mouth.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should learn to choose your words wisely.  The power of death and life are in your tongue.  I have done a couple of series on the website about this topic (Mastering Your Mouth and The Revelation of Your Confession).  This is no small matter.  Speak life and receive life.  Speak death and receive death.  Speak faith and receive success.  Speak fear and receive failure.  What will you speak today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your Word and I choose to line up my words with Your Word.  I speak life and not death, blessing and not cursing, success and not failure, faith and not fear.  I do not allow any corrupt communication to proceed from out of my mouth, but only that which is good, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Looking Back to Look Forward (top of page)

(Gen 22:14 CEV)  Abraham named that place “The Lord Will Provide.” And even now people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we learned that God provided an animal for the sacrifice, just as Abraham had previously declared in faith.  Our text for this morning states that Abraham named the place where this happened, “The Lord will Provide,” also more commonly known as “Jehovah-Jireh” (Hebrew).  This is interesting because “Jehovah-Jireh” is commonly listed in the redemptive names of God.  I included it in my series on the names of God.  But a closer look at this text reveals that Abraham did not give that name to God per say, but rather to the place.  This was a sort of memorial established remember a special place that the Lord led Abraham, where he acted in faith, and where the Lord responded to his faith with supernatural provision.  Let’s see how we can learn from Abraham’s actions:

1.       We should have some memorials in our lives:  When I say memorials, I don’t mean that we should live in the past; but I do mean that we should be able to point out the memorable things that God has done for us.  The Israelites established altars in the Old Testament to remind themselves and their descendants of the great things God had done for them.  We all face challenging times and when difficulties come, it is good to be able to go back to a point in our lives where God showed up and showed out.  The reminder of what He did helps us remain in faith for what He will do.  Remembering what God has done for you will help you expand your capacity to believe.

2.       We should understand our places of provision:  Abraham named that place “Jehovah-Jireh.”  That was a place where God responded to His faith, spoke to him from heaven, and provided for him.  Looking at it from that light, I can ask, do you have any places of provision in your life?  Do you have a place where God responds to your faith, speaks to you from heaven, and provides?  It could be your church, a certain ministry, a certain place of prayer, etc.  Whatever the case, you should have a place (or places) in your life that you can turn to and know that you will hear from God and receive provision (spiritual or natural).  Never underestimate or under appreciate the places of provision the Lord has provided for you.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can expand your capacity to believe by remembering the great things God has done for you.  No matter what you are facing this morning, if you take a few moments to think back and remind yourself of the great things God has already done for you, it will energize and revitalize your expectation for breakthrough.  God is the God of the past, present, and future.  He is the God of the already, the God of the right now, and the God of the not yet.  The God of your previous victories will be the God of your future successes!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I do not take Your provision and Your grace lightly.  I establish altars and memorials in my mind and heart.  I remember what You have done for me and the places where You have done it.  I honor You as my God and I also respect the places of provision You have established in my life.  I don’t look back to go back, I look back to go forward.  Forward ever, backward never.  The best is yet to come.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believers always Expect the Best (top of page)

(Gen 24:7 CEV)  “… When you go back there, the Lord will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  In Genesis 23 Sarah’s death is recorded; she was 127 yrs. old.  Abraham attempted to purchase a burial plot for Sarah, but the Hittites did not want to take his money.  The favor of the Lord was so strong that although he had the money, they wanted to bless him with the plot.  Abraham persisted and purchased the lot for his wife and buried her.  Genesis 24 opens by telling us that Abraham was now a very old man and the Lord had made him rich and successful in everything he did (v.1).  He sensed it was time to get Isaac a wife.  The custom of the time was to arrange marriages.  Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, “Solemnly promise me in the name of the Lord, who rules heaven and earth, that you won’t choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan.  Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives.”  The servant asked, “What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?”  “No!” Abraham answered.  “Don’t ever do that, no matter what.  The Lord who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever.  When you go back there, the Lord will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son.  If the woman refuses to come along, you don’t have to keep this promise.  But don’t ever take my son back there.”

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.       Walking with God will cause favor to operate in your life:  God can raise up people to use their power, ability, and influence to help you.  That is the favor of the Lord.  It was in operation in the life of Abraham and it can be in operation in your life, if you obey God and walk according to His Word.  I oftentimes say that favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime.

2.       We have a part in the matter:  Abraham wanted a wife for his son, but he did not wait for God to drop a wife out of the sky.  He did his part.  Even when his servant was skeptical (what if the young woman refuses), Abraham was confident.  Abraham believed the Lord would send and angel ahead of the servant to prepare the way.  Abraham also relied on God to the point where he admitted that if the woman refused to come along, the servant was free.  What was he doing?  He was believing God to favor the situation and admitting that if God did not do His part, it would not get done.  However, he only said this after making sure he was fulfilling his part of the matter.  So it is with you.  You must do you part and expect God to do His.  Do what you can do and expect Him to do what you cannot.  Don’t sit around thinking your blessing will come to your bedroom; do everything you can to prepare yourself to be blessed and God will favor the rest.

3.       What do you have to lose? It costs you nothing to believe, to expect great things, to dream big dreams.  Abraham believed the best.  He expected everything to work out well and guess what?  They did!  They did because he believed and nothing is impossible to them that believe (Mark 9:23).  We are now Abraham’s seed (Gal 3:29) and we can experience the same blessing.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I dream big dreams.  I have great expectations.  I believe You will favor me today and everyday.  I declare that You are raising up people who will use their power, their ability, and their influence to help me.  I do what I can and I expect You to do what I cannot.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

A Servant’s Prayer (top of page)

(Gen 24:12 CEV)  The servant prayed…

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last week we left off with Abraham giving instructions to his most trusted servant to go back to his home land to find a wife for his son Isaac.  This morning we see that Abraham’s servant quickly loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with valuable gifts and set out for Aram-Naharaim (a city in northern Syria) where Abraham’s brother Nahor lived.  When he got there he let the camels rest near the well outside the city.  It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water.  The scene was set.  He had a plan.  He was going to position himself and the camels near the water and see if any of the women would be kind enough to get water – which represents life – for both he and the camels.  The plan in place, the servant did something that many believers today neglect; he prayed.  Listen to his prayer, “You, Lord, are the God of my master Abraham. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today.  The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water, and I’ll ask one of them for a drink.  If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I’ll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.”

What can we learn from this prayer?

1.       It was in conversational tone:  Prayer should not be canned or ritualistic.  There are no examples of effective prayer in scripture where people prayed the same words every day and received results.  Jesus said that we should not use “vain repetitions” (Mat 6:7) in our prayers.  This was an average guy.  He was a servant of Abraham.  He was not famous and was no miracle worker, but he knew to pray to God in a conversational tone.  Read his prayer.  It was not fancy, it was not overly religious, but it was effective.  Have conversations with God in prayer.

2.       It was based on what he knew to be God’s will:  He knew God had already promised to create a great family through Abraham and his seed.  He deemed this act to line up with the promise and he reminded God of what He already established to be His will.  We can do the same thing when we pray in accordance with the Word of God; which is also the will of God.

3.       It was based on a devised plan:  The servant was not lazy.  He gathered the camels and the goods, traveled the distance, devised a plan, and asked God to favor it.  God is not the in business of blessing laziness.  Don’t expect God to do everything for you.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that expanding your capacity to believe will enable you to devise creative plans through your relationship with God, to hold conversations with Him (in prayer), and to expect Him to perform in accordance with what He has already promised (His Word).  Have you had a conversation (prayer) with God today?  If not, it’s not too late.  Pray and ask God to favor your day and what you must get done, just as this servant did.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I converse with You daily in prayer and I now come boldly to Your throne, standing on Your promises.  You said in Joshua 1:8 that I should never allow Your Word to depart from my mouth and I speak Your Word constantly.  You said that I should think about Your Word day and night and I meditate on it continually.  You said that I should observe to do all that is written therein and I live my life in accordance with Your commandments.  You finally said that in so doing I would make my way prosperous and I would enjoy good success.  I expect a prosperous way and good success today.  Release Your favor.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Watch, Pray, and Listen (top of page)

(Gen 24:21 AMP)  The man stood gazing at her in silence, waiting to know if the Lord had made his trip prosperous.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last week we dealt with a seasoned old man (Abraham) that had walked with God for over 40 years and had elevated his capacity to the believe to the point where he was willing to kill his own son, because he believed the Lord would raise him back to life.  I know many believers today are not at the point where they can relate to the faith level of Abraham, but yesterday we discussed Abraham’s servant; with whom many can relate.  He received a mission to go back to Abraham’s homeland to find a wife for his son Isaac.  The servant was not a faith giant.  We don’t know anything about him prior to this, but the servant did what we must all do when we don’t know what to do; he prayed.  He asked God to reveal to him which young lady would be the one and he devised a plan to approach a well around the time when the young ladies would come out to get water.  He was going to ask a young lady for water and see if she would provide water for both he and his camels.  Water was both a symbol and a requirement for life.

Before the servant even finished praying Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.  She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.  Part of Abraham’s instructions to his servant was to pick a young lady from his household.  The servant had no way of knowing that Rebekah was part of Abraham’s family, but that is how God works.  She was a very beautiful young woman; a virgin.  She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.  The servant made his move.  He approached her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”  “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar and gave him a drink.  Then, without the servant saying anything, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.”   So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for not one, but all his camels.  Don’t you love it when it works out that way?  Even then, the servant was not sure.  He did not want to assume anything.  Our text tells us that he stood there “gazing at her in silence, waiting to know if the Lord had made his trip prosperous.”  What was he waiting for?  He was waiting for some sort of assurance: an inner peace, a still small voice, an internal witness; something.  Can you identify with him?  Have you ever been there?  Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to know for sure that God was moving?  Most of us have and we can learn from this situation.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that like this servant, we should remain silent and prayerful when we are not sure if something is of God or not.  The more we walk with God, the more we will hear His voice (an inner witness, a still small voice, a revealed knowledge, etc.), and the more we will be able to believe and exercise faith in; but we all have to start somewhere.  This servant was not a “super-saint.”  He was an average guy that was simply attempting to be led of God.  Learn from him.  Watch, pray, and listen.  God will lead you as He led this servant.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am learning to walk by faith and not by sight.  I am learning to expand my capacity to believe.  I learn from this servant this morning.  I have an advantage over him.  I am a Born-Again believer and Your Holy Spirit lives in me.  I ask that You lead, guide, and direct me today.  When I am not sure about something I will watch, pray, and listen; with an expectation to hear and know.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Words of Praise, Words of Faith (top of page)

(Gen 24:27 CEV)  “I thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham!  You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We know Abraham’s servant was on a mission to find Isaac a son.  He arrived in Abraham’s homeland and was led to a young lady that he believed was an answer to his prayer (providing water for both he and his camels).  While the young lady was still watering the camels the servant decided to give her some gifts.  He gave her expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets that he brought along for the girl he expected to find.  Then he said, “Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”  She answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah.  We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels.”  This sort of hospitality sounds a bit out of place in today’s dangerous society, but it was more commonplace in their time.  The important part of the girl’s response was the family names.  The servant recognized the names, which he probably learned from Abraham, and his response to finding a girl from the right family is our focus for this morning’s message.  Remember, Abraham was the father of faith and this servant was simply learning to walk by faith.  The servant takes a step of faith before he even gets to Rebekah’s house.  He takes a moment to bow his head and say, “I thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham!  You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”

The servant did something we can all learn from.  He praised God for leading him to the right family.  This is very important, but it is common.  Many people praise God for what He has done (past tense) in their lives.  Anyone can praise God after the fact.  This is not to say that we should not praise God for what He has already done.  That is absolutely appropriate, but this servant takes it a step further.  Without meeting the girl’s family, without knowing what they will say, without even knowing if she was willing to leave her country to take a husband in a far away land, the servant praises God in advance what favoring the situation.  He prayed, “You have led me to his relatives,” but he did not stop there.  He went on to say, “and kept your promise to him.”  This servant praised God in advance for the expected outcome.  That is faith.  Remember, however, that he would have never spoken those words of praise and faith if he did not believe God.  He believed it, he spoke it, and we will see that he received it.  The awesome part of this portion of the story is that this guy was merely a servant.  He did not have a title or a super track record of walking with God.  What he did have was a capacity to believe and a willingness to speak words of faith in advance with an expectation that God would bring the manifestation.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should speak words of praise and words of faith daily.  This is what I call “Pre-Performance Praise.”  Get in the habit of praising God before He does what You expect Him to do.  Your praise will be an expression of your trust and confidence in Him.  What are you expecting from God this morning?  Why not praise Him in advance?  If you really believe God, you don’t have to wait to you see it to say it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I speak words of praise and words of faith daily.  I praise You in advanced for the things I am expecting in my life.  I don’t have to see it to believe and say it.  I believe and say it to see it.  I express my confidence in You by the words I speak and the praise I give.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God can do more with you Once you get Started (top of page)

(Gen 24:50,51 NIV)  Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.  Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  We know Abraham’s servant was on a mission to find Isaac a son and he believed he was on the right path.  He ran into a beautiful young woman, gave the girl gifts and asked if he could stay with her family.  Rebekah took the stranger home and her brother Laban came out to meet him.  The first thing Laban said to the servant is interesting.  He said, “The Lord has brought you safely here.  Come home with me. There’s no need for you to keep on standing outside.  I have a room ready for you in our house, and there’s also a place for your camels.”  Wow!  Talk about favor.  The servant did not have to do anything.  Laban was already talking about the “Lord” and welcoming him in.  Laban and his father Bethuel sat down to hear the servant.  The servant told them everything: how the Lord blessed Abraham, Abraham’s instructions to him, his prayer at the well, Rebekah’s answer to the prayer, and etc.  After laying it all out, the servant came to the point and said, “Now please tell me if you are willing to do the right thing for my master.  Will you treat him fairly, or do I have to look for another young woman?”  That’s it.  He did all he could do.  He was at the end of his ability.  If this thing was going to work out, God would have to favor the situation.  He did what he could and he depended on God to do what he couldn’t.  So what do you think happened?  Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.  Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”

The servant had no way of knowing that this family would speak of the “Lord” upon his arrival.  He had no indication that people from Abraham’s homeland worshipped the Lord.  When Abraham left, some 40 years earlier, they were idol worshippers.  He also did not know how easy or difficult the negotiation was going to be.  All he knew was that the God of Abraham was on his side and that he simply had to do his part.  Once he did, everything else fell in place.  That’s favor.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God can do more with you once you get started.  Solomon said, “When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand” (Prov 16:7 MSG).  Paul said, “So, what do you think?  With God on our side like this, how can we lose?” (Rom 8:31 MSG).  I could quote several other scriptures that connote victory and favor for those that walk with God and seek to fulfill His will in the earth.  The point is that God does not need to favor you if you are not doing anything.  This servant did his part and you will have to do yours.  What have you been waiting for God to do for you that requires your action?  Unless you do your part, He will not do His.  He can do more with you once you get started!  Do your part and He will favor it.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I come to you in the name of Your dear Son.  Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest over my profession, and what I profess is the Word of God concerning favor over my life.  I operate in integrity and seek to do good in Your sight daily; as a result, I obtain favor from You.  Your favor is life and it endures for a lifetime.  I declare that I will stop procrastinating over things I know I have a part in.  I do my part I trust You will favor me with Your part.  You being for me, who can be against me?  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Spoken Blessing (top of page)

(Gen 24:60 KJV)  And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, “Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how God favored Abraham’s servant and everything seemingly fell into place.  Abraham’s servant took the opportunity to give gifts to Rebekah. her brother, and mother.  The next morning the servant told Rebekah’s mother and brother that he wanted to go, but like any family, they were not ready for their little girl to leave.  They asked if Rebekah could stay an additional week or ten days.  The servant pleaded with them to leave.  So they asked Rebekah and she agreed to leave with the servant.  So they agreed to let Rebekah and an old family servant woman leave immediately with Abraham’s servant and his men.  However, before they allowed her to leave, they did something that we can learn from today; they blessed Rebekah.  You may be wondering what that means.  Whether or not they anointed her with oil, or bowed down before her, or performed some sort of ritualistic ceremony, or laid hands on her, or etc.  No. They simply spoke words over her; words that would eventually come true.

Think about that for a moment.  This was well before what people call today “name-it and claim-it;” before any teachings on confession for possession; before any religious practices established by the Catholic or Protestant churches; before any of the rituals set in place by Moses and the Levitical priesthood; even before the ten commandments; we see an example of a person speaking words over another in the form of a blessing.  To bless means to “empower to succeed” or “empower to prosper.”  Walking in the blessing means that you are walking in that empowerment.  Rebekah’s family spoke words of empowerment over her for her success and the success of her unborn children and those words came to pass.  Before the veneer of religion we see a pure biblical principle that has been practiced for thousands of years and we would do well in practicing the same in our lives.  Before we do, let’s think about how this applies to your capacity to believe.  Simply put, Rebekah’s family would have never spoken the words of blessing over her if they did not believe the words would make a difference.  They believed and they spoke.  Paul flows in this same vein in the New Testament when he said, “We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe” (2nd Corinthians 4:13, Paul quoted Psalm 116:10).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you would do well to learn to speak blessings over your children, household, marriage, career, and etc.  However, the words you speak mean nothing if you do not believe them.  The best way to couple belief with your words is to speak the Word of God over your life.  You believe the Word of God, so speaking the Word over your life, in belief with faith, will enable you to receive what you believe.  This is no gimmick.  The power of death and life is in your tongue (Prov 18:21).  That’s why I close each message with a confession.  Make this confession over your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I received Jesus as my Lord by simply speaking words and believing what I said, in accordance with Your Word.  I use that same principle in my life in every area.  I declare that my children are blessed and prosperous.  They grow up and flourish in everything they put their hands to do.  My marriage is wonderful.  My affection is towards my spouse and no one else.  My career is excellent and promotion comes from you.  Everything I put my hands to do succeeds and I pass that blessing on with words.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

From Abraham to You (top of page)

(Gen 25:7 NIV)  Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  This is the 49th message on the life of Abraham; one message short of 10 weeks.  I trust you have learned a lot about the “Father of the faithful” and that you have been able to apply some of principles from his life to yours.  This morning we see how Abraham died an old and fulfilled man.  Abraham’s servant brought Rebekah home, Isaac married her, and his mother (Sarah) died shortly thereafter (Gen 24:67).  Abraham went on to take another wife and have six more children.  So he had Ishmael before Isaac and six others after Isaac.  The bulk of his inheritance went to Isaac (God’s chosen), but while he was still living he made sure his other children were aptly taken care of.

Abraham is honored today by Jews, Muslims, and Christians all over the world; billions of people.  What did he do to deserve this?  He simply believed God for a family.  He did not heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the blind to see, or the lame to walk.  He did not kill giants, overthrow governments, conquer kingdoms, or lead a revolution.  He did not write any books, declare any prophecy, or operate in any spiritual gifts.  He simply believed in a God he could not see and he did it without any point-of-reference.  He did not have the bible to read for instruction, a hymnal to reference for worship songs, a church to go to for fellowship, or a Pastor to sit under for guidance.  Without the testimony of the stories of the bible, like Daniel and the lion’s den, David and Goliath, the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, Elijah’s showdown at Mount Carmel, the woman with the issue of blood, the man possessed with a legion of demons in the land of Gad, Lazarus raised from the dead, and etc.; Abraham had a capacity to believe that a God he could not see would bless him in a way that he could.  Living in a time of idol worship, in a place of idolaters, and raised in a family that made idols, Abraham heard a Word from God and had the audacity to believe it, respond to it, and leave his country and everything he knew at the age of 75.  He stepped out by faith and we are still honoring him for it today.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can do more than Abraham did.  You have a clear advantage.  As a Born-Again believer you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you.  Moreover, you have the written Word of God (you probably own several bibles), a church to attend, a Pastor to consult with, members to fellowship with, and the testimony of thousands of years of believers.  If Abraham did what he did without any of these things, then what is impossible for you?  The Word is now available in your email box, streaming on the internet, on podcasts, CD, cassette tape, etc.  What are you doing with the access you have to God’s instruction? If you know better, God will expect you to do better.  Two questions: 1. Are you learning the Word through means God has made available for you?  2. Are you turning your learning into living?  You must turn the corner from information to application if God’s Word is going to make a true difference in your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I take advantage of the time that I live in.  I have access to Your Word and Your instruction like no else in history.  If Abraham could do all He did without any point-of-reference, I declare that I will seek to do all that I can in You, with all the advantages and opportunities You have presented to me.  Your work in my life is not in vain.  I will learn and I will turn my learning into living.  I will give You a return on Your investment in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Lessons from Abraham (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” and we wrap up our section on Abraham.  I trust you have learned a great deal about and from Abraham over the last 10 weeks.  A thorough recap would take several days, but I felt led this morning to simply share a few thoughts about this pioneer of faith and how it applies to us:

1.       One person can make a difference:  In the midst of a godless and immoral time God selected one person (Abraham) to change the earth.  God promised to bless all the families of the earth through one man and guess what?  He did.  What will you allow God to do through you?

2.       God wants to be personal:  God led Abraham away from the worship of inanimate objects so He could foster a personal and intimate relationship with him.  God took the time to listen to Abraham, understand his concerns, and meet his needs and He is looking for the same with us.  God is a not a neither distant nor despondent God.  He is an intimate, loving, and caring heavenly father.  He will draw close to you if you will draw close to Him.

3.       God is in it for the long haul:  It took 25 years, but God came through with Isaac.  God was committed to Abraham for the long haul and He is the same way with us.  Paul taught us to be certain that since God was the one that started the work in us, He will continue to work on us and in us until the work is complete (Phil 1:6).  It may look like God gave up on you, but rest assured that He never will.  Call upon Him and He will answer.

4.       God’s blessings are not limited to the spiritual realm:  We live in a time where some have taken advantage of the supposed “prosperity gospel” and others have demonized it.  The fact is that God is our source.  Bottom-line.  He is not just our source for spiritual blessings, but for natural ones as well.  God made Abraham a rich man in this earth and promised to pass that blessing to his descendants.  Paul said that if we are in Christ, that we are Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the “promise.”  The “promise” given to Abraham also included natural things.  Prosperity is not limited to money, but it does include it.  I was raised on welfare and I know first hand that being poor does not make one more or less spiritual.  You don’t’ have to be poor to honor God, nor do you have to be rich, you must simply seek to honor God in every area of your life and know that He will bless you for it: spiritually, physically, professionally, socially, and financially.

5.       God wants us to be different:  This is one theme that is all through the bible.  God’s people were not like everyone else.  Abraham was called away from his family to develop his relationship with God.  If he would have stayed in his old environment it would have been difficult to change into the person God wanted him to be.  You cannot grow without changing and your change will oftentimes require a separation from your old environment; a separation that will promote your transformation.  When you say you have moved for change, be careful not to hang out at your old address.  The more you hang out there, the less likely you will be to change.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I learn from Abraham and I know that one person can make a difference.  I declare that I will become a difference maker in my generation.  Use me for Your glory.  I have a personal and intimate relationship with You, Lord.  I draw close to You and You draw close to me.  You are committed to me and I am committed to You.  You bless me in every area of my life and I walk in that blessing without reservation.  You call me to be different and I declare that I am.  I am light in a dark, dying, and decaying world.  Your light shines through me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Making the Messages Real (top of page)

This morning we take a break from our normal format.  I am reading a book on the call of Oral Roberts.  It is an old book (published in 1971), but it has blessed me greatly.  Let me share a few words I read this morning about Roberts’ sermons that made me think of ministry:

He never talks above their heads.  He talks to their eyes.  He probes their hearts… He is down to earth.  They understand his language.  He never bores them with theological hairsplitting.  With him, salvation is being saved.  Healing is being healed.  Holiness is getting right and living right.  Jesus is the Savior of the world.  Our God is a good God, and the devil is a bad devil… What the man preaches is faith in God… His style of preaching is pointed and positive.  Only a minimum of time is spent preaching against things.  He preaches for something… His sermons are not sensational, but they are dramatic.  He can assemble a group of people on the platform, put them through the paces of conversation and action, and make you see the thing he is talking about.  His dramatic description of the dice game at the foot of the cross is an example of this.  There is no cross there; there are no gambling soldiers there.  And yet you see them all.  The characters come to life and you see them clearly.”

In those few words I see myself, my ministry, and my call.  When I preach and teach I seek to paint a picture upon the canvas of the minds of the people; a picture they can understand and identify with; a picture too real to ignore, to clear to distort, and too true to dismiss.  So it is with this ministry.  I don’t hold a microphone in my hands every morning, nor do I stand behind a pulpit and in front of the people.  I simply get up, get before God, pray for you, sit in front of a computer, and seek to paint the picture of the bible text in your mind’s eye in such a way that it will impact your day.  In this series alone we have discussed the mentality of the 12 spies on a recon mission into Canaan; the thought pattern of a new leader (Joshua) as he prepared to lead the people in to the Promised Land; the mind of man (Mephibosheth) whose royal life fell apart, but who God restored through David; the transformation of a man (Gideon) from a wimp who did not believe in himself into a warrior that led a revolution; the humbling experience of a man (Naaman) who seemed outwardly impressive to everyone, but who was hiding an issue behind his armor; and finally a man (Abraham) who at the tender age of 75 ventured off from everything he knew for a land he could only imagine because he believed in a God he could not see.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this ministry is for you.  It means that these messages are designed to instruct, inspire, and encourage you.  It means that the bible is relevant for today.  And it means that you can learn from the world of “then,” and apply your learning to your living for “now.”

I don’t write to impress, but to impact.  It is my prayer that the text comes alive to you and that the experience you have for a few minutes in front of a computer screen will change your day for the better.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have learned that the bible is not a textbook to study, but rather a lifebook to live.  It comes alive to me as I read it in these messages, as I read it in my personal quiet time, and as I hear it taught and preached.  I lose myself for a few minutes as I delve into the bible stories and I come out with a renewed vigor, drive, and determination for each day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Different person, Same Challenge (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” and we transition to another biblical character: Isaac, the son of Abraham.  We know that Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for Isaac.  He was the son of promise and he received the bulk of the inheritance of Abraham.  We also know that Abraham arranged for Isaac to be married before he died.  Isaac was 40 yrs. old when he married Rebekah.

So the stage is set.  Abraham and Sarah are dead.  Isaac is heir to the promise of God.  He is recently married.  What will we learn about him?  What does the bible document of his life?  What is the first thing we find out?  We read that Isaac had to face a challenge his father faced.  He and his wife tried year after year to have children, but to no avail.  Rebekah was barren.  So here he is.  He is heir to the promise to give birth to nations of kings and priests, but he and his wife try for almost 20 years and they cannot have any children.  The Bible does not say anything about Isaac’s relationship with God during this time.  It does not document whether he worshipped, prayed, fasted, etc.  We don’t know.  What we do know is that around the 19 year mark Isaac prayed to the Lord for Rebekah to have children.  He knew what God could do.  He was the product of a barren womb.  He was the product of a miracle of God.  He was living proof that God could bless his wife with children.  The bible says that Isaac prayed and the Lord answered his prayer.  Isaac was 60 years old when his wife gave birth to twins.

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

1.       God does not have any grandchildren:  This means that Isaac had to have his own relationship with God; he could not live off of his father’s relationship.  It does not matter who your parents are.  They could be the most powerful instruments in the Body of Christ in the earth, but their relationship will not grant you a pass to heaven.  You have to foster a relationship with God for yourself.  God is a loving and caring heavenly father to His children; but that is the point.  You have to be His child (directly), not his grandchild (indirectly).

2.       Knowing God does not exonerate us from challenges:  Isaac was the heir to the promise that started it all.  We can call him the “prince of the promise.”  But regardless of his status in God, he still faced challenges.  Like us all, he had to believe God, stand in faith, and expect God to enable him to overcome his challenge.  Don’t think that becoming a Christian means you will be exonerated from every challenge in life.  It simply means that you have the ability, in Christ, to overcome every challenge, hindrance, and obstacle; by faith!

3.       We should learn lessons from those that have gone before us:  Isaac did well by learning from his father.  We can do well by learning from those that have gone before us.  Paul looked back at the events of the Old Testament and said, “Now these things were for an example to us…” (1 Cor 10:6).  Learn from the lessons from the bible and from the Christian examples around you.  Learn how they overcame a challenge.  Exercise like faith and you will receive like results.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that I cannot live my life off of my parents’ relationship with You.  I foster my own intimate and personal relationship.  My relationship with You enables me to overcome every challenge, hindrance, and obstacle.  I also learn from those that have gone before me, both the biblical and living examples.  I learn from what they did and I walk in like precious faith.  I enter into this day knowing that I have a relationship with You, I am empowered to prosper, and I equipped with the knowledge of those that have gone before me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Purpose of the Series (top of page)

(Mark 9:23 GW)  Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” and before we get into the life of Isaac I feel led to reiterate the purpose of this series.  I believe it is healthy for all believers to experience a level of dissatisfaction from time to time.  Let me explain.  It is far too easy to get complacent; especially for those of us who live in the Untied States.  Comfort promotes laziness and if we are not careful, we can get stagnant.

This series is designed to remind you that all things are possible for those of us who believe.  If we can believe it, it is possible that we can receive it.  If we don’t believe it, it is simply impossible for us.  Case in point: by the 1950s, track and field running times had been documented for hundreds of years; dating back to the Greek games.  There was no record of anyone ever running a mile in under 4 minutes.  Dating back to the beginning of all recorded athletic history, not one human being had accomplished this feat.  It was considered humanly impossible.  Why?  Because no one believed they could do it.  On May 6th, 1954, the Englishman Roger Bannister did the seemingly impossible and ran the first sub-four-minute mile in recorded history (3 min. 59.4 sec.).  Wow!  He did what no had ever done.  In hundreds of years of runners not one person had done it.  How long do you think his record stood?  Not even two months.  Six weeks later, John Landy, an Australian, ran a mile in 3 minutes and 58 seconds and broke Bannister’s record.  Why?  Because once Bannister did it, he believed he could.  Since 1954 over a thousand runners have followed suit.  Once they expanded their capacity to believe they were able to receive the seemingly impossible.

Being reminded of how God enabled Naaman to overcome an incurable disease (leprosy), how He empowered Gideon to rise above insurmountable odds (300 vs. several armies), and how He blessed Abraham with a baby after both he and his wife were past the child bearing age (100 and 90 respectively), should revitalize our dreams, desires, and beliefs.  Like John Landy, once I realize what is possible, I am able to expand my capacity to believe and reach out to achieve bigger, better, and greater things.  This series has invigorated my desire to do great things in God and it has helped elevate my expectations in life.  Sure, I send out encouraging emails, teach and preach the Word of God, and know I will Pastor a church some day; but I am no longer satisfied with that.  In this series God has expanded my capacity to believe for an international ministry that will teach the Word, but will also feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and minister to the sick in several nations.  Like Abraham, I don’t know how it is going to happen, but I believe that it will.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are only limited by your capacity to believe.  God is a God of no limits.  You limit Him when you fail to believe what He desires for you to receive.  Take the limits off.  Expand your capacity to believe.  What God has done for and through others should help you realize what is possible in your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Teach me.  Show me.  Lead me.  Guide me.  Direct me.  Speak to me.  I want to know what You want to do in my life and I declare that as You reveal it to me, I am able to receive it and launch out in it.  I will no longer limit Your work in my life by my inability to believe.  You enable me to dream big dreams and You empower me to bring them to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Don’t Judge Your Future by Your Past (top of page)

(Gen 25:27 BBE)  And the boys came to full growth; and Esau became a man of the open country, an expert bowman; but Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  The last time we discussed Isaac I pointed out that he and his wife had to overcome a similar challenge to that of his parents – the barrenness of Rebekah’s womb.  Isaac and Rebekah were married for 19 years before the Lord answered Isaac’s prayer for children.  When God answered He did so with twins.  Before Rebekah gave birth, she could feel the twins fighting in her belly.  Finally, she asked the Lord why her twins were fighting and the Lord told her, “Your two sons will become two separate nations.  The younger of the two will be stronger, and the older son will be his servant.”  Remember this statement; it will be important later on in this message.

Rebekah went on to carry the twins full-term.  The first baby to come out would be considered the older of the two.  He was covered with red hair and was named Esau; meaning reddish.  The second baby grabbed on to his brother’s heel and was named Jacob; meaning trickster.  Jacob and Esau grew up and developed their individual characteristics.  Esau loved the outdoors and became a strong avid hunter; an expert with the bow.  Jacob on the other hand, was a quiet man, a man who preferred living indoors.  Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob.  Esau prepared the meat of wild animals for his father and his father loved him for it.  Jacob was his mother’s favorite son.  He was more of an indoors-type of man and he spent a lot of time with his mother.  In modern terms he was a sort of “Momma’s Boy.”

Now, you may be wondering why I am taking the time to point these things out.  Why is this important?  It is important because God – who knows the end from the beginning – had already told Rebekah that the younger boy (Jacob) would be stronger than the older (Esau) and that the older would serve the younger.  At this stage in their lives no one would guess it.  It seemed as though Esau was a man’s man and Jacob was just an average guy.  We will see later on in this series that God would go on to use Jacob to give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not judge your future by your past; nor the future of anyone else for that matter.  From the outside looking in it looked like Esau would go on to do great things for God and that Jacob would go on to live a life of mediocrity.  Naturally speaking, Jacob had several things going against him: he was not the first born, he did not have overwhelming strength, and he was not favored in the sight of his father.  Humanly speaking, the odds were against him, but thank God that He does not play the odds.  God had a plan for Jacob and He has a plan for you.  No matter who you are and no matter what you have done (or failed to do); don’t judge your future by your past.  Dream big dreams, seek God for big things, and watch Him turn your seemingly mediocre life into an extraordinary journey.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I will not judge my future by my past.  I look forward ever, backward never.  I am determined to become the person You have destined me to be.  No matter who may have counted me out, You have counted me in.  My future looks great and I step into it with great expectations.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Making Wise Decisions (top of page)

(Gen 25:34 GNB)  Then Jacob gave him some bread and some of the soup. He ate and drank and then got up and left.  That was all Esau cared about his rights as the first-born son.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we discussed how Esau and Jacob grew up and became identifiably different.  One day Esau, the hunter, came home from the field starving of hunger and Jacob, the homebody, was at home cooking lentil stew.  Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starving to death!  Give me some of that stew right now!”  Jacob said, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.”  It is obvious that Jacob understood the blessing that came with being the first born.  He was born disadvantaged, but he did not allow his position to keep him from dreaming.  He wanted the blessing badly and he jumped on an opportunity to get it.  What do you think Esau did?  Did he appreciate his position enough to value it?  I guess not.  Esau said, “I’m about to die, what good will those rights do me?”  Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!”  That’s exactly what Esau did.  Our text says that Esau ate and drank and then got up and left; not truly caring about his rights as the first-born son.

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

1.       Never make permanent decisions based on temporary conditions:  It is unrealistic to think that Esau was literally going to die of starvation.  He was simply very hungry, but he allowed his temporary condition to shape a permanent decision.  Don’t be like Esau.  Think of the long-term ramifications of your decisions.  I stress this point when dealing with our youth.  Decisions to have pre-marital sex, to get tattoos, or to have shotgun weddings are often decisions that are made based upon temporary conditions, but they are decisions that have long term ramifications.  Be led of the Spirit, spend time in prayer, and think through big decisions.  This way God will expose many of your conditions as temporary and enable you to choose wisely.

2.       Value your position:  I bring this point out when I am talking to people who are third, fourth, firth, etc. generation Christians or third, fourth, fifth, etc. generation Americans.  There is an overwhelming excitement that is birthed in the person has never heard of Jesus and then accepts Him as Lord and Savior.  This excitement sometimes eludes those who were seemingly “born” in the church.  The same holds true for the person who scratches and claws their way through the bureaucracy of the immigration process and is granted access to the United States.  My mother was one of these people.  I am a first generation American and I was raised by a mother who valued the opportunities this country affords its citizens.  I saw a glimmer of hope in eye every day.  Even though I was raised on public assistance I knew we were living better than many in the world.  Why?  Because my mother valued her rights as a new citizen.  Like those that don’t value the benefits of their citizenship in the Kingdom of God, or the US, Esau devalued his position as the first born.  Don’t make the same mistake.  Understand your position and value it.

3.       Never accept defeat:  I don’t condone Jacob’s methods, but I appreciate his tenacity and ingenuity.  He did not grow up with a, “I am second best” mentality.  He did not grow up with a chip on his shoulder because he was the second born.  He had a desire to receive the blessing from his father and he jumped at the opportunity when it came.  Don’t make excuses for the life you have been given.  Make the most of every opportunity.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You enable me to choose wisely.  I never make permanent decisions based on temporary conditions.  I also value my citizenship in the Kingdom of God.  I understand the benefits that come along with my position and I do not disregard them.  I never accept defeat.  I have a hunger and thirst for big things and I am ever-looking for Godly opportunities to bring them to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

New Method, Same God (top of page)

(Gen 26:6 MSG)  So Isaac stayed put in Gerar.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” and move our attention back to Isaac.  Genesis chapter 26 opens by letting us know that Isaac was facing a famine in the land, similar to the famine his father (Abraham) faced in Genesis 12.  Isaac was living in Gerar.  Although his father faced his famine before Isaac was born, the text leads us to believe that Isaac knew what his father did to deal with his famine.  God led Abraham to Egypt during his famine stage.  However, God appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt; stay where I tell you.  Stay here in this land and I’ll be with you and bless you.  I’m giving you and your children all these lands, fulfilling the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.  I’ll make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky and give them all these lands.  All the nations of the Earth will get a blessing for themselves through your descendants.”  What was God doing?  God was expanding his capacity to believe.  Other than God blessing Isaac and Rebekah with children, we don’t know much about Isaac’s relationship with God.  We don’t know where his faith level was.  Surely we can conclude that he was not at the same level of faith that Abraham was at when he died.  Isaac was on his own and he had to learn to trust God for himself.

Isaac was facing a famine.  What did he know?  He knew that his father faced a similar famine and that God blessed his father by providing for him in Egypt during the time of the famine.  God now comes to Isaac and tells him not to go to Egypt and to stay in place.  He then promised to bless him in the midst of the famine.  Lots of things were probably going through Isaac’s head.  But what God went on to say is the kicker.  God explained why Abraham was so blessed.  He said, “Because Abraham obeyed my summons and kept my charge – my commands, my guidelines, my teachings.”  What was God doing now?  He was helping Isaac realize that the blessing his father enjoyed was not tied to a location (Egypt), but rather to an attitude of obedience.  If he obeyed God he would be blessed.  So what do you think Isaac did?  He was a quick learner.  Our text says that he stayed put in Gerar.

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

1.       Don’t marry the method:  Isaac had to learn that he did not have to go down to Egypt during his famine, just because his father did.  The lesson here is that God is not tied to one method.  This is a big issue for church folk.  They get so accustomed to a ritual or routine in the church that they think it sacrilegious to change.  Remember the purpose and the principle behind what you are doing and allow God to lead you to new methods of accomplishing the same purpose.

2.       Understand the role of obedience:  God helped Isaac understand the true reason for Abraham’s success – he simply obeyed God.  If we learn this simple lesson we will enjoy the blessing of God.

3.       Learn from previous examples:  As soon as Isaac learned that Abraham’s blessing was tied to his obedience, he obeyed.  He learned the lesson and that is what this series is all about.  As you learn how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and etc. expanded their capacity to believe, you will have the opportunity to learn from their example and do the same.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe.  I know I am not the only person to face a personal famine.  Others have conquered dry seasons and I will do the same.  I don’t marry a method, but I keep my focus on the purpose behind what I do.  I am open to new methods and new things.  I learn from those that have gone before me and I declare that my obedience unlocks Your blessing in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Apply Your Faith to Your Famine (top of page)

(Gen 26:12 GW)  Isaac planted crops in that land.  In that same year he harvested a hundred times as much as he had planted because the LORD had blessed him.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with Isaac.  Yesterday we discussed how Isaac faced a famine, just like his father did.  He knew the Lord blessed his father (Abraham) in the midst of the famine.  He was learning to trust God for himself and to develop his own relationship with God.  God told him to stay in Gerar during the famine and not to go to Egypt as his father had done.  Isaac operated in faith and stayed put.  He believed the Lord would keep him through the time of famine, although I am sure that he did not know how.  I have heard people say that we must trust God, even when we cannot trace Him.  Meaning that we don’t know how He is going to do something, but we simply believe that he will.  I believe Isaac was in this position.  Everyone was facing a famine.  The land was not producing.  It was probably not raining.  No one was receiving a harvest on planted crops.  It was a time of barrenness.

So what do you think Isaac did in the midst of the famine?  Did he factor in the fact that everyone was experiencing lack?  Did he give up all hope because of what the economy looked like?  Did he wait in his tent and expect God to drop blessings out of the sky?  No.  He did none of these things.  He knew that he could not factor in what God had already factored out.  He knew that he should not give up hope, because he was doing what God told him to do.  And he also knew that he could not just sit around and expect blessings to fall out the sky; knowing that faith requires work.  So what did he do?  Isaac planted a crop in the midst of the famine and expected God to bless it.  Guess what?  God did.  God caused Isaac to receive a hundredfold harvest on the seed sown and God did it in the midst of a famine.  The next verses say that Isaac continued to be successful in that land and became very rich.  He owned so many flocks, herds, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him.  This not only served as a witness to the Philistines, but it also served as a boost for Isaac.  This helped expand his capacity to believe.

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

1.       God is your source:  Those that are familiar with living the life of a farmer know that enduring a famine is not small matter.  Humanly speaking, the land was their source, but Isaac had to learn to trust God more than he trusted the land.  Likewise, we must learn to rely on God as our source.  Fluctuating economies drive people to make erratic decisions, but as believers, our trust, belief, and faith must be in God as our source.

2.       Your faith must be coupled with action:  Isaac did not just sit around.  He did something and God blessed his doing.  The blessing of God is not an excuse for laziness.  We must all couple our faith with action.  James told us that faith without works is literally dead faith.

3.       God is not opposed to wealth:  There are several examples in scripture of people that God made wealthy.  The issue is not having things, but rather the things having you.  Keep the proper perspective.  Put God first and use what He blesses you with as a witness and as a tool in the Kingdom of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I apply my faith to my famine.  I trust You more than I trust the economy or anything else.  I seek You for wisdom concerning what to do and I step out in faith and action to do those things.  I also declare that I honor You in every area of my life.  I don’t allow things to keep me from You, but I rather use everything You bless me with as a witness and as a tool to be a blessing to others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Apply Your Faith to Your Famine (Part II) (top of page)

(Is 43:19 KJV)  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

This morning I felt led to piggy back off of yesterday’s message.  The fact that Isaac was able to receive a hundredfold harvest on his crop in the midst of a famine is directly applicable to my current road trip.  I am at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California.  This post is literally in the middle of nowhere.  It provides an optional training location for desert scenarios, but for a person who is out here for a few weeks, it can make for a desolate place.  I am accustomed to being on the road, but my travels are normally limited to weekdays and I am normally home for the weekends.  Being away from my family and my church for a few weeks could make for the proverbial “dry season.”

I have taken this time to work on my first book, which is coming along, praise God.  I have also asked God to reveal to me the purpose for this trip.  Of course, I have a military obligation, but God never sends me somewhere where He does not have a greater purpose.  While here, God has used me to minister to several people one-on-one.  The Lord used me to lead one young man back to Him in a prayer of rededication.  He is using me to minister to a brother that has allowed the flame of his relationship with Christ to burn dim.  God is using me help a young minister expand his capacity to believe.  And God also used me yesterday to encourage and pray with two sisters that were frustrated with their present situation.  I was able to share with them what Isaac did.  Isaac was not happy that he was in a famine, but he could not leave because God told him to stay.  The point being that since God told him to stay; God had purpose wrapped up in Isaac’s problem.  God then caused Isaac to reap a harvest in the midst of a famine and used it as a witness for Him.  I was able to share with them that God could bless them in the midst of their circumstances.  Their part was to apply their faith to their famine.  After praying with them the Lord reveled to me that He was doing the same with me.  I did not want to come out here.  My wife is almost 8 months pregnant and I did not want to leave her for two weeks.  The location made it worse.  But God has blessed me in this desert place.  Not only has God used me to get back to one-on-one ministry with several people, but He has also allowed me to fellowship with a brother I had not seen in several years.  This brother gave his life to Christ the same day I did (August 27th, 1995), in the same service (Camp Doha, Kuwait Gospel Service).  He lives out here and I have been able to fellowship with him and meet several of his co-workers who have received Today’s Word for many years.  They were excited about meeting me in person and spending time with them was a true blessing for me.

Why do I share this with you?  Because God wants you to know that your faith can turn any famine around.  Isaac was blessed in the middle of a dry place and I have experienced the same.  God can provide rivers in the desert, if you would only believe.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should enter every day with great expectations.  You are not always going to be where you desire to be (physically or spiritually), but God can reveal His purpose for everything He permits you to experience.  We serve a God that can make rivers flow in a desert.  Can He not bless you where you are this morning?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I apply my faith to my famine.  I may not always like where I am, but I will always enter each day with an attitude of gratitude.  I expect great things and I am looking for rivers to flow in every desert place in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believe the Blessing and Walk in Love (top of page)

(Gen 26:22 CEV)  Finally, they dug one more well.  There was no quarreling this time, and the well was named “Lots of Room,” because the LORD had given them room and would make them very successful.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with Isaac.  In the last message I shared about Isaac I pointed out that he found himself in a middle of a famine, God told him to stay put, and God blessed him with a hundredfold harvest.  Isaac became very wealthy in the midst of barrenness.  In fact, the Philistines grew jealous of the large number of Isaac’s sheep, goats, and servants.  Their envy boiled over to the point where the Philistines kicked him out  Their king, Abimelech said, “Isaac, I want you to leave our country.  You have become too powerful to stay here.”

Isaac left and settled in Gerar Valley.  He had his servants dig out the wells that his father Abraham dug; wells that the Philistines had filled in because of their envy.  They were what our young people today call, “haters.”  While his servants dug in the valley they found a spring-fed well.  This is the best water.  Guess what happened?  The shepherds of the Gerar Valley came out and quarreled with Isaac’s shepherds and claimed the water belonged to them.  So the well was named “Quarrel,” because they had quarreled with Isaac.  Isaac’s servants dug another well, and the shepherds also quarreled about that one.  So that well was named “Jealous.”  Our text for this morning tells us that Isaac had his servants did one more well.  Finally, there was no quarreling.  This well was named “Lots of Room,” because the Lord had given them room and would make them very successful.

Now, think about Isaac’s attitude through this experience.  He was in a famine and he believed God enough to stay there.  God blessed him in the midst of a famine.  He got kicked out of Philistine, but he believed God would bless him in the desert, so he ordered his servants to dig a well.  There was an argument over the first well.  No problem.  Isaac did not fight or fuss.  He knew his God was bigger than a spring-fed well.  So he went on to another location.  That too, was disputed.  Once again, Isaac’s faith was not in any specific location, it was in His God.  He got to the third location and finally, no one contested it.  This well was in the optimal location.  The Lord had given them lots of room and Isaac knew the Lord would make them very successful.

So what does this mean to you today? Expanding your capacity to believe means that you believe God and You believe His blessing is upon you, no matter where you are and no matter the circumstances.  Wherever Isaac went he knew that he took the blessing with him.  Likewise, we must believe the blessing upon our lives and we should expect to be blessed, no matter where we physically are.  It does not matter if I am at home in Georgia, in California, Kuwait, Iraq, or any place else.  I know the blessing and the favor of God is upon my life and I believe I will walk in that blessing where ever I go.  I jokingly tell people that where ever I sit is the head of the table, even if the table is round.  I say that jokingly, but what I mean is that I believe the blessing of God is upon my life.  Do you? If you do, you will face each day with an attitude of excellence.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I enter this day and every day with the proper attitude.  I know that Your blessing is upon me and it is not limited to a physical location.  Not matter where I go, I take Your blessing with me and on me.  I am blessed and highly favored.  No matter what people attempt to do to me, they cannot stop Your blessing upon my life.  I walk in love, even if attacked.  I move forward and I trust in You.  I am blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Because of Abraham and Because of Jesus (top of page)

(Gen 26:24 CEV)  Where the Lord appeared to him that night and told him, “Don’t be afraid!  I am the God who was worshiped by your father Abraham, my servant.  I will be with you and bless you, and because of Abraham I will give you many descendants.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking where we left off yesterday with Isaac.  We know that Isaac was blessed in spite of the numerous attempts to keep him down.  He found lots of room and a well to provide his household plenty of water.  Isaac then went on to Beersheba and encountered the Lord there.  The Lord spoke to him and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the God who was worshiped by your father Abraham, my servant. I will be with you and bless you, and because of Abraham I will give you many descendants.”  I want to focus in on something very important that God told Isaac.  He said that he would be blessed with many descendants “because of Abraham.”  Although Isaac would attempt to do his best and although Isaac wanted to please God, God reassured him that the blessing and the favor upon his life was because of something bigger than just him.  God was blessing Isaac because of the covenant He established with Abraham.  Talk about expanding your capacity to believe.  This helped Isaac breathe a sigh of relief.  Not that he would or could use this as an excuse to live a life unpleasing to God, but knowing that he was a smaller part of a bigger purpose relieved some of the pressures of his life.  As soon as God said this to Isaac he built and altar and worshipped the Lord.  What was he doing?  He was thanking God for being so good to him, especially when the blessing and favor were upon his life because of his heritage, more than his righteousness.

Why is this important to us?  You may be thinking, “I have nothing to do with Abraham.  I was born in Brooklyn, or Alabama, or Jamaica, or etc.”  The point is not where you were born or the family you were born into.  The point is whether or not you are Born-Again.  Once you are Born-Again by the Spirit of God you are in Christ.  Paul said, “Since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises” (Galatians 3:29 MSG).  Your connection with Christ also connects you with the promises given to Abraham.  Furthermore, in addition to the promises of the old covenant (Abraham), being Born-Again also connects you with the promises of the new covenant (Jesus the Christ).  The writer of Hebrews said, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).  Think about that!  You are an heir of a better covenant that is based upon better promises.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the reality of your new found heritage in Christ should cause you to dream bigger dreams and expand your capacity to believe.  Maybe you were born into a family or into circumstances that caused you to think small, the minute you were Born-Again you were connected with a new family and a new heritage.  God wants to bless you and it is not just because you are so righteous.  He wants to bless you because of Abraham and because of Jesus! But you have to be willing to believe you are part of this new heritage and to walk in it with confidence and boldness.  Not because of who you are, but because of “whose” you are!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I now better understand who I am and whose I am.  I may have been born one way, but I was Born-Again a better way.  I am in Christ and my relationship with Christ connects me both with Christ and with Abraham.  I walk in the blessings of Abraham and in the blessing of Christ.  You bless me because of something much greater than just me and I worship and praise You for that today and every day!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Remain Faithful, Believe in God, and Walk in Love (top of page)

(Gen 26:33 MSG)  Isaac named the well Sheba (Oath), and that’s the name of the city, Beersheba (Oath-Well), to this day.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking where we left off yesterday with Isaac.  We know that the Lord assured Isaac that he would be blessed because of the covenant He established with his father Abraham.  Isaac thanked God for that reassurance and expressed his thanksgiving by building altar from which to worship the Lord in the middle of the desert.  Remember, he was in the desert because King Abimelech kicked him out of Gerar because he was so blessed.  To make matters worse, Abimelech had his men fill in the wells that Abraham dug in the desert before kicking them out.  Earlier this week I explained how Isaac overlooked this challenge, kept he right attitude, and ordered his men to dig new wells.

The bible says that after Isaac worshipped the Lord at the altar his servants started digging another well.  While they were digging King Abimelech, his advisor (Ahuzzath), and his army commander (Phicol) showed up.  Isaac was surprised and asked, “Why are you here?  Didn’t you send me away because you hated me?”  They answered, “We now know for certain that the Lord is with you, and we have decided there needs to be a peace treaty between you and us.  So let’s make a solemn agreement not to harm each other. Remember, we have never hurt you, and when we sent you away, we let you go in peace.  The Lord has truly blessed you.”  Why did Abimelech say this?  Because he realized that he was being blessed by simply having Isaac live in his country.  As soon as Isaac left, the blessing left.  He came to make peace.  He wanted the blessing back.

Isaac could have held a grudge.  He could have repaid evil with evil and kicked Abimelech out of his tent, but he did not.  Once again, Isaac operated in love.  Isaac went so far as to throw a big feast for them.  The next morning they established an oath together and later that same day Isaac’s servants struck water with the new well they were digging.

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

1.       You should be an asset, not a liability, wherever you go.

2.       You should bring the blessing of God to your workplace, family, community, and to everyone you come in contact with.

3.       People should be the better for having associated with you.

4.       God can fight your battles; your part is to believe and trust Him.

5.       When your ways please the Lord He can make – even your enemies – to be at peace with you (Prov 16:7).

6.       God can provide rivers in the desert (Is 43:19).

7.       Your part is to remain faithful, believe in God, and walk in love.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I am an asset and not a liability.  I am a blessing, not a burden, everywhere I go.  I make every environment better, because of Your favor upon my life.  When people come up against me I will not fight against them.  I will not repay evil with evil.  I walk in love and believe You to handle anyone or anything that comes up against me.  You provide for me wherever I go, because I remain faithful, I believe You, and I walk in love every day and in every way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Tradition can make the Word of God of None Effect (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Isaac.  Genesis 27 opens with Isaac becoming old and almost blind.  He sensed that his time on the earth was drawing to a close and he wanted to pass on the blessing of God.  As we have discussed in this series, the blessing was and is a serious thing.  He was prepared to speak words over his son, believing that mere words, spoken in faith, would release a supernatural blessing on his son that would continue the favor and increase of God on the bloodline.  Isaac was familiar with this, because his father Abraham blessed him before he died.  What is interesting is that Isaac called in his first-born son Esau, and not Jacob.  He told Esau, “I am old and might die at any time.  So take your bow and arrows, then go out in the fields, and kill a wild animal.  Cook some of that tasty food that I love so much and bring it to me. I want to eat it once more and give you my blessing before I die.”

I say it is interesting that he called Esau and not Jacob, because – although Esau was the eldest son – there were extenuating circumstances that should have broken the tradition of blessing the firstborn. If anyone should have been familiar with extenuating circumstances it should have been Isaac.  He was a living example of breaking tradition.  His father Abraham made a mistake, did not trust God, and wound up having a baby before receiving the promised child from God.  This meant that his firstborn (Ishmael), under tradition, should have been the one that received the blessing.  But Abraham understood God enough to know that he needed to bless Isaac and not Ishmael.  Now, let’s look at the extenuating circumstances in this case.  The Lord spoke to Rebekah while she was pregnant with the boys and told her that the older would serve the younger (Gen 25:23).  Furthermore, Esau sold his birthright to Isaac for a bowl of stew (Gen 25:33).  This meant that Isaac should have been calling for Jacob, not Esau.

Some believe that Isaac simply did not know about the Word God spoke to Rebekah or the selling of the birthright between the boys.  I am not sure if he knew or not, but I was led this morning to bring up a point about tradition.  Even if Isaac knew about both incidents he might have still been moved to bless the eldest son.  Why?  Because that was the tradition.  Tradition is a powerful thing.  In many cases tradition is good, but tradition must never outweigh a move of God.  Jesus was talking to people who seemed to have changed their understanding of the commandment of God to honor their parents; changing God’s Word to meet their custom.  It did not happen over night, but it happened over time, because of tradition.  One person changed a little, the next a little more, and etc.  Jesus was upset with their condition and said that they literally had made the Word of God of “none effect” through their tradition (Mark 7:13).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should honor time tested traditions, but only if they line up with the Word of God.  It also means that you have to be willing to go against tradition if you sense (believe) God leading you another way.  Who would rather please, God or man?  Just because it was always done that way does not mean God is limited to working that way forever.  Sense God, believe His Word, and do what He leads you to do, even if it is against your tradition!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I expand my capacity to believe You.  I am your sheep and I hear Your voice.  I am not limited to simply living out the routine of my forefathers.  I am open to believe what You tell me to do and to carry it out, even if it breaks tradition!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Celebrating God for All Things! (top of page)

(Luke 2:11-13 CEV)  This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born… you will find him dressed in baby clothes… Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God…

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  However, this morning’s message is not based upon the life of Isaac.  I pause from his life this morning to share a message from my own.  I met my wife, the former Isabella Toussaint, on a deployment to Bosnia.  Midway through our year long deployment the Lord started revealing things to me about Isabella and I grew a godly and physical attraction towards and for her.  I was led to talk to her about it, one thing led to another, and 18 months later we were married.  We discussed having children, but we wanted the children to come in God’s timing.  She was an enlisted noncommissioned officer and had dreams of becoming an officer.  After praying and fasting, the Lord led us to submit an application packet for her to become an officer and a nurse.  That is a testimony in and of itself; needless to say, she was selected.  She went to one of the best nursing schools in nation, was the president of her nursing class, and graduated as an anointed and prepared nurse.  She was promoted to an officer and we moved to Georgia.  By this point we had been married for almost five years and we had been holding off on having children.

We finally sensed it was the right time and we began attempting to have a child.  Month after month passed and nothing seemingly happened, but we remained in faith.  Isabella endured some physical challenges throughout process, but we remained in faith.  We continued to believe God and refused to believe anything else.  After what seemed like a very long time for us, Isabella became pregnant.  We praised God and honored Him for what He had done.  During this time the Lord spoke me and let me know that we were having a boy and that he would carry the ministry flame birthed in my life.  Because of this, Isabella and I decided to name him Joshua.  Like the Joshua that continued what Moses started with the nation of Israel.  Furthermore, because of the challenges we faced along the way, I was reminded of the Biblical experience of Jacob and Rachel.  Rachel wanted to name her son “Benoni,” which means, “Son of sorrow.”  But Jacob named the boy, “Benjamin,” which means, “Son of my right hand.”  So we selected Benjamin to be his middle name.  This weekend my wife and I hosted a grand celebration in honor of the soon-to-be-born Joshua Benjamin Piña.  We did not want to hold a traditional “Baby Shower.”  This was about honoring God for blessing us with a child.

In a time where the word “pregnancy” is negatively associated with: illegitimacy, financial burdens, unwelcome responsibility, and etc.; I was led to share a message to remind you that the miracle of human reproduction is a gift from God.  It is to be praised and celebrated.  In our text, angels came down from heaven to celebrate Jesus’ arrival.  I don’t claim my child to be Jesus, but I will also not neglect to equate his arrival with blessing, delight, joy and pleasure.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you don’t have to approach anything like the world does.  As Christians, we are not limited to the status quo.  We ought to dream big dreams and then have big celebrations when they become reality.  That’s expanding your capacity to believe God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe.  I do not allow the world to dictate what and how I celebrate.  I dream big dreams and I have big celebrations to honor You from bringing them to pass in my life.  I am only limited by my capacity to believe and from now on, I will expand that daily!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Yesterday does not Dictate Your Tomorrow (top of page)

(Gen 27:23 CEV)  And so Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking where we left in the story of Isaac.  By this time Isaac was old and almost blind.  He called in his first-born son Esau, told him that he might die at any time, and asked him to go out to the fields, kill a wild animal, cook it, and to bring it to him.  Isaac wanted to bless Esau before he died.  Rebekah overheard the conversation and told Jacob what was going on.  Rebekah then instructed Jacob to kill two of his best young goats.  Her plan was to cook the goats, give the food to Jacob, and then have Jacob present the food to his father so Jacob could receive the blessing and not Esau.  Jacob did not like the plan.  He pointed out the fact that he was a smooth skinned man and that his brother was hairy.  Jacob said, “If my father touches me and realizes I am trying to trick him, he will put a curse on me instead of giving me a blessing.”  Rebekah insisted, “Just do what I say and bring me the meat.”  Jacob did and his mother cooked the tasty food his father liked.  That was only part of the challenge.  To overcome the rest Rebekah dressed Jacob in Esau’s best clothes and she also covered the smooth part of his hands and neck with goatskins; an attempt to make him hairy.  This sounds like some out of the movies.

Jacob took the food in to his father and said, “Father, here I am.”  “Which one of my sons are you?” his father asked.  Without skipping a beat Jacob replied, “I am Esau, your first-born, and I have done what you told me.  Please sit up and eat the meat I have brought.  Then you can give me your blessing.”  Wow!  That was a straight lie.  Isaac thought it strange that he had gotten back so quickly.  When Isaac questioned Jacob (whom he believed to be Esau) about it, Jacob said, “The Lord your God was kind to me.”  Lying is bad enough, but now he included God in his lies.  Isaac asked Jacob to come closer so he could touch him and find out if he was really Esau.  He sensed something was not right.  His father touched him and said, “You sound like Jacob, but your hands feel hairy like Esau’s.”  And so Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau.

In this story we see Jacob to be a lying, conniving, deceitful person.  He and his mother were co-conspirators in literally stealing a blessing.  But guess what?  Jacob went on to father the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel.  His name is listed in the lineage of Jesus (Mat 1:2).  His name is also recorded in the “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11).  He recovered from this.  Through developing an intimate relationship with God he was able to change his character and his life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your yesterday does not have to dictate your tomorrow.  Reading about a lying, conniving, and deceitful person that was able to turn his life around in God should spring forth hope in your life.  No matter what you have done and no matter how bad you thought you were or are; God can still use you.  If you believe that He can, He will.  If you allow Him to, He can help transform you into a mighty instrument in His hands.  The fact that you are still living is evidence that He still wants to use you.  If you are willing, He is able!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I release myself to You afresh this morning.  I repent for past mistakes and I declare that I look forward and not backward from now on.  I ask You to forgive me and for You to help me forgive myself.  I receive God and self forgiveness and I move forward to become the person You desire for me to be.  I refuse to allow my yesterday to dictate my tomorrow.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Power of a Spoken Blessing (top of page)

(Gen 27:28,29 CEV)  “God will bless you, my son, with dew from heaven and with fertile fields, rich with grain and grapes.  Nations will be your servants and bow down to you.  You will rule over your brothers, and they will kneel at your feet.  Anyone who curses you will be cursed; anyone who blesses you will be blessed.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we discussed the elaborate deception orchestrated by Rebekah and Jacob.  This would ultimately tear the family apart.  Esau would turn on Jacob, Jacob would flee, and Rebekah would never see Jacob again; all this for a stolen blessing.

What all went wrong?  Esau broke the covenant he established with Jacob to sell him the birthright for a bowl of soup (Gen 25:34); all because he wanted the blessing after all.  Rebekah went against her own husband, devised an elaborate scheme that included a duplicate meal, Esau’s clothes, and the skins of a goat; all to ensure Jacob got the blessing.  Jacob lied twice to his father, to his face, just to get the blessing.

This all seems drastic.  Deception, lies, distrust, and schemes, all to get the blessing.  When everything was said and done, the blessing was nothing more than words spoken by a father over a son.  Isaac spoke three sentences over Jacob.  That’s it. There were no fireworks, no backfliips, no voice from heaven, no parting of the Red Sea, and no thunder or lightning.  It all came down to a father speaking words of blessing over his son.

What’s the point? The point is that your tongue is a very powerful instrument. It can either call down blessings (success) from heaven or bring curses (failure) into your life. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21). We must be very careful to speak life and not death.  Many children have dreams, hopes, and aspirations of becoming judges, lawyers, doctors, business owners, successful athletes, ministers, and etc.  Unfortunately, many of these dreams are destroyed in their own homes by the words of their own parents.  Many abort their dreams because of words like: “You will never amount to anything,” or “You are stupid.”  Not only can words affect our children, but our families, workplaces, marriages, finances, and every area of our lives can be affected by words.  If there areas in your life that need changing, your tongue is the best tool to use to bring about that transformation.  Solomon said, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim” (Proverbs 15:4 MSG).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we must be very careful to speak life and not death over our children, families, careers, marriages, finances, churches, and etc.  If Isaac’s family went through all they went through to receive a spoken blessing, we should take the words we speak and the words spoken over us more seriously.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe there is power of death and life in the tongue.  I now speak a spoken blessing over my own life.  I am in Christ.  My relationship with Christ makes me Abraham’s seed.  Being Abraham’s seed I am an heir to His promise.  The same blessing spoken over Jacob, the blessing of Abraham, applies to me.  I am blessed from heaven.  Everything I sow brings forth and abundant harvest.  I am created to dominate and not to be dominated.  You bless those who bless me and curse those that curse me.  I receive the blessing by faith and I walk it out in love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

One Encounter with God can Change Your life Forever (top of page)

(Gen 28:16 CEV)  Jacob woke up suddenly and thought, “The Lord is in this place, and I didn’t even know it.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we discussed how Jacob literally stole his father’s blessing from his brother.  This tore the family apart.  Esau wanted to kill him because of it.  Jacob’s parents had no other option but to send him away.  Before leaving, however, his father gave him some advice on where to go and what family to marry from.  So Jacob left the town of Beersheba and started out for Haran.  At sunset he stopped for the night and went to sleep.  This would be a night that would change his life forever.  In a dream he saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it.  This account is commonly referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder.”  In the dream the Lord was standing beside the ladder and said: “I am the Lord God who was worshiped by Abraham and Isaac.  I will give to you and your family the land on which you are now sleeping.  Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust.  Your family will be a blessing to all people.  Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land.  I won’t leave you – I will do all I have promised.”  This was another reiteration of the promise.  The same thing God did for Abraham and for Isaac He was now doing for Jacob.  God was letting him know that the blessing was now on him.  He was the keeper of the flame.

Jacob woke up suddenly and thought, “The Lord is in this place, and I didn’t even know it.”  Jacob was raised under the blessing of God and he never really acknowledged it for himself.  He was the grandson of Abraham and the son of Isaac.  It’s not like these were some distant historical figures.  He heard first hand the accounts of what God did for his father and grandfather, but it never sunk in until he had an encounter with God for himself.

What an indictment on religion!   Religion can get you in the proximity of ritual, but you are never going to be truly changed until you develop a relationship with God for yourself.  Jacob was raised with the blessing of God on his family.  Surely he was around when his father worshipped the Lord.  He was there when his family was prospering in the middle of a famine.  But the point is that he acknowledged, with his own lips, that he never really knew God.  God was around him, but he never acknowledged God for himself.  However, after this encounter with God, he would never be the same.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as a believer you must acknowledge and believe the reality of God for yourself.  God is not some distant, unconnected, and unrelated force that is locked up in the pages of a dusty Bible or in the catacombs of a religious organization.  God is a loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father that wants a personal and intimate relationship with you.  Seek His face.  Believe you will encounter God in a true and personal way.  One encounter with God can take you from a stoic and dispassionate world of religion to a living and personal relationship with your loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I want to know You intimately.  I seek Your face and You reveal Yourself to me.  I don’t want the testimony that Jacob had.  I don’t want to be surrounded by You and not even know it.  I declare that I encounter You today and that I develop a personal relationship with You as my loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Turning the corner from Lip Service to Action (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by making a full shift from Isaac to Jacob.  Yesterday we discussed how Jacob had an encounter with God and came to the realization that God had His hand on Jacob’s family his entire life without him even knowing it.  Jacob arose with a new-found reverence for God.  He immediately took the stone he had used for his pillow and poured oil over it.  No doubt he had seen his father use oil in his worship practices, but it was now Jacob’s time to make his relationship personal.  He christened the place Bethel (The House of God).  Jacob then vowed a vow saying, “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, and brings me back in one piece to my father’s house, this God will be my God.  This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives.  And everything you give me, I’ll return a tenth to you.”  (see Gen 28:17-22).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you get serious about God you:

1.       You go from talking to doing:  Jacob heard about God all his life and surely he talked about God with his family, but it was not until he became serious about God that he turned the corner from lip service to action.  Talking about God does not honor Him; we honor Him with our actions.  Can people merely hear God in your conversation or can they also see God in your actions?

2.       You become a worshipper:  Jacob did something he had never done – he poured oil on a rock and dedicated it to God.  Becoming a worshipper does not mean that you have to sing all the songs or dance around your church, but it does mean that you should have some form of expression to God of your love, respect, honor, and adoration for Him.  How do you express your reverence for God?  However you express it is your form of worship.

3.       You acknowledge God in every area of your life:  God is not just he God of the spectacular, but He is also the God of the practical.  Jacob asked God to provide food, clothing, and protection.  God is in the business of providing these practical matters, just as He is in the business of healing sickness and disease.  The point is that you should not just call upon God when something is drastically wrong, He can help you in your daily life.

4.       You honor God in the area of your finances:  This is how I know Jacob was a transformed man.  People can talk about God all day long, they can go to church several times a week, they can listen to gospel music ‘till its coming out of their ears, but they are not truly committed to God until they are committed in the area of their finances.  This is a small thing for those of us who honor God from all our increase, but it is a huge obstacle for those that have never honored God financially.  Jacob made it clear right up front that he would acknowledge the fact that everything he received came from God.  He made a vow to express his acknowledgment by giving God back a tenth of everything God would give him.  The Bible says, “Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14 MSG).  Do you honor God financially?  If not, you may need to expand your capacity to believe.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am more than a human being, I am a human doing.  Moreover, I am a Christian doing.  I don’t merely provide You lip service.  I honor You with my actions.  I worship You and I acknowledge You in every area of my life.  I know that You provide everything I need and I give back unto You from the things You give unto me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believe in yourself and in your God (top of page)

(Gen 30:29 MSG)  Jacob replied, “You know well what my work has meant to you and how your livestock has flourished under my care.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jacob.  Jacob, with his new found commitment to God, set out to the land of his fathers, in search of a life.  He met with Laban, his mother’s brother, and was immediately drawn to the beauty of Rachel, Laban’s younger daughter.  Jacob made an agreement to work for Laban for seven years for the right to marry Rachel, but when the wedding night came, Laban tricked the trickster and gave him Leah (the older sister) instead.  Jacob reaped what he had sown and had to work an additional seven years for Rachel.  Nevertheless, he prospered.  During this time Jacob also had to deal with the challenges that both his father and grandfather faced – having a barren wife.  Rachel could not bear children and she wound up doing what Jacob’s grandmother (Sarah) had done – she asked Jacob to lay with her maidservant in an attempt to experience child labor by proxy.  However, the Lord did bless and Rachel, like Sarah and Rebekah before her, won her bought with barrenness and had a child; his name was Joseph.

After Joseph was born, Jacob spoke to Laban saying, “Let me go back home.  Give me my wives and children for whom I’ve served you.  You know how hard I’ve worked for you.”  But Laban said, “If you please, I have learned through divine inquiry that God has blessed me because of you.”  He knew that the blessing on Jacob had overflowed to his entire household.  He did not want to lose Jacob, because he knew he would be losing the source of his blessing.  Laban said, “Name your wages.  I’ll pay you.”  Jacob, knowing his worth, replied, “You know well what my work has meant to you and how your livestock has flourished under my care.  The little you had when I arrived has increased greatly; everything I did resulted in blessings for you.  Isn’t it about time that I do something for my own family?

Tomorrow we will see that plan that God gave Jacob in order to bless him, but for this morning’s message the point is that Jacob knew his value, he believed in himself, and he believed in his God.  He knew that he was not blessed simply because he was living with Laban.  As a matter of fact, he believed that Laban was blessed because of him.  Jacob knew that the blessing of God was upon him and that he would be blessed wherever he went.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must believe in yourself as well as in your God and His blessing upon your life.  Unfortunately, there are many people that believe in God, but still have a low self-esteem.  Jacob did not.  Jacob stood up to Laban and spoke with self-confidence, boldness, and assertion.  He knew he was an asset and not a liability, a blessing and not a curse, a winner and not a loser, and he knew that God was the source of it all.  So know your worth, believe in yourself, believe in your God, and speak with confidence, boldness, and assertion.  A Christian should never have a low self-esteem.  Enter this day with your head held high.  You are a child of the Most-High God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that I am an asset and not a liability.  I am a winner and not a loser.  I am the victor and not the victim.  I am the conqueror and not he conquered.  I am the head and not the tail.  I make every organization I connect with better and stronger.  Your blessing is on me and everything I touch becomes blessed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Staying Focused and Remaining in Faith (top of page)

(Gen 30:3 AMP)  And she said, See here, take my maid Bilhah and have intercourse with her; and [when the baby comes] she shall deliver it upon my knees, that I by her may also have children.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I feel led to back up a few verses in the 30th chapter of Genesis to bring out a reoccurring theme in the lineage of Abraham.  Abraham’s story started with a promise from God to bless him with many descendants who would in turn bless the entire earth (Gen 12:2,3).  In this series we saw how there was a space between the promise and the performance and how Abraham tried for 25 years to have a baby with Sarah.  Sarah got frustrated in the process and tried to circumvent God’s promise by providing Abraham another woman (Hagar) for him to have a child with.  However, the promise of God was still between Abraham and Sarah and they finally had a child and named him Isaac.  Abraham transferred the blessing to Isaac.

Isaac had the blessing, but he still faced some challenges.  Isaac tried for 20 years to have a baby with his wife Rebekah.  They finally had twins and named them Esau and Jacob.  Isaac transferred the blessing to Jacob.  Once again, Jacob had the blessing, but he would also face some challenges.  He and his favorite wife (Rachel) tried and tried to have kids for many years.  In Genesis 30 Rachel got to breaking point.  She told her husband Jacob, “I’ll die if you don’t give me some children!”  But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don’t blame me!  I’m not God.”  What do we see here?  We see a family that is in possession of the promise of God to reproduce, facing the challenges of doing just that.  Rachel got to the point where she did what Sarah did and gave her husband her servant to lay with.  Rachel even took it a step further.  She wanted her servant Bilhah to lay with her husband, get pregnant, and then have the baby on her own knees, as if she were having the baby herself; as if she could take credit for it.  Rachel would finally two boys (Joseph and Benjamin), but she was challenged nonetheless.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that being a Christian does not exonerate you from facing challenges.  No one was more “blessed” (other than Jesus) than Abraham.  He was the father of faith.  He received the blessing directly from God and he passed that blessing down.  The blessing of Abraham had to do with bringing forth children and we can see that that was a challenge for his family.  They had the blessing, they had the promise, they were doing what they needed to do (physically), but it was still a challenge.  If it was a challenge for them, we can also expect to face challenges in our lives.

No matter the promise you are standing on – healing, peace, protection, provision, increase, promotion; for your kids, family, marriage, etc. – the battle will be in your mind.  Each time frustration set in it was because the person took their mind off of the promise and focused on the problem.  Keep your mind focused (Is 26:3), keep your heart set, and keep on believing that God will do what He said in He will do!  There may be a space between the promise and the performance, but it will come to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I stay focused and I remain in faith.  I looked passed my problem and I focus on Your promises.  I know my walk with You will include some challenges, but I believe, by faith, that I overcome every challenge set before me and I come out victorious.  No matter how long it takes, I still believe I will receive.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

One Idea from God can turn Your Financial Outlook Around (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by investigating one of the most intriguing steps of faith in the Bible.  As mentioned in Monday’s message, Jacob knew his worth.  He knew that the blessing of Abraham was on him, but for many years he had submitted to working for his father-in-law.  Meanwhile, his father-in-law cheated him over the years; changing his wages ten times (31:7).  Jacob did not make it an issue, he kept believing in God, and he sensed it was time for a change.  When he told Laban that he wanted to leave Laban obviously did not want the blessing to leave his house (and business).  Jacob had make Laban very rich.  Laban offered Jacob money to stay, but Jacob had a better idea; a faith-based idea that would change his financial situation drastically.  Jacob had a dream about spotted and speckled animals and he was visited by the angel of the Lord (31:10-13).  After this dream and visitation Jacob told Laban, “I don’t want you to pay me anything.  Just do one thing, and I’ll take care of your sheep and goats.  Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled and the black lambs.  That’s all you need to give me.”  This accomplished a couple of things: (1) it put Jacob’s money in lambs and (2) the color of the lambs meant they could be easily identified and separated.  Laban accepted quickly because there were few lambs that fit this strange category (spotted, speckled, and black).  Laban thought that Jacob had made a business error, but unbeknownst to him, Jacob was operating by faith.

His money now in lambs, Jacob devised a plan.  He cut branches from poplar, almond, and evergreen trees.  He then peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled.  Then he put the branches where the animals would see them while they were drinking from the water trough.  Why?  Because they mated in that area. Jacob believed that if the sheep and goats were looking at the spotted and speckled branches while they mated, that their offspring would come out spotted and speckled.  Talk about expanding your capacity to believe!  Also, since he already had spotted and specked animals, he put those animals in front of the other animals that were mating – for the same reason.  Furthermore, he was wise enough not to do this for all animals, but only for the strong ones.  When the weak ones were mating, he never showed them the spotted and speckled branches or animals.  Guess what?  It worked.  After time Jacob had all the strong and healthy animals and Laban got what was left.  So Jacob become rich, he acquired huge flocks, and lots of servants (see Genesis 30:32-43).

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

1.       God wants His children to be blessed and that includes financial stability.

2.       God can provide us wisdom in business and in every area of life.

3.       God’s ideas will not always make sense, but they will require faith.

4.       One Word (or idea) from God can turn any situation around.

5.       We must always remember to honor God in every area of our lives – to include our finances.  Jacob was blessed, but Jacob had already made a vow (Gen 28:22) to honor God with a tenth of everything that he received.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your wisdom operating in every area of my life.  You are my source.  I rely on You and You alone.  I honor You in every area of my life, including my finances.  I sow seeds of faith and I believe I reap harvests of increase.  Your wisdom in my life is the difference-maker for me and my family.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

When God becomes Personal to You (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Genesis 31 opens with Jacob overhearing Laban’s sons complaining, “Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father.”  They were alright with Jacob while their father was taking advantage of him, but when Jacob started prospering, they changed.  Jacob noticed that Laban had also changed.  One day the Lord spoke to Jacob and said, “Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will bless you.”  This season was over.  It was time to move on.  Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah and he told them, “Your father isn’t as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshiped has been on my side.  You know that I have worked hard for your father and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time after time.  But God has protected me.  When your father said the speckled sheep would be my wages, the animals started having speckled sheep.  And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, the animals came out spotted.  That’s how God has taken sheep and goats from your father and given them to me.”  Jacob then went on to explain the way the Lord spoke to him a dream about the spotted and speckled animals.  What is interesting is the way that the Lord introduced himself to Jacob in the dream.

When Jacob had his first dream, the one referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder,” the Lord identified Himself to Jacob as “The Lord of Abraham and Isaac” (Gen 28:13); in other words, the Lord of his forefathers.  The experience changed Jacob’s life.  He marked it by pouring oil on the rock where his head was laid when he had the dream and he called that place “Bethel;” which means, “The House of God.”  Now, fast forward many years and we get to our current dream.  In this dream the Lord does not identify Himself as the God of his forefathers, but rather as a more personal God.  God said, “I am the God you worshiped at Bethel, when you poured olive oil on a rock and made a promise to me” (Gen 31:13).  It was the reality and the power of this dream that enabled Jacob to boldly execute the plan of the spotted and speckled animals.  It was a financially risky scheme, but Jacob carried it out with fearless confidence because he knew the plan came from his personal God.  God was no longer a God that his forefathers worshipped, but rather now his own.  God was no longer the God of Abraham and Isaac, but He was now the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! God was personal, God was powerful, and God was real.  No wonder he was not concerned about what Laban would do to him.  Jacob knew that his personal God was on his side and no one could defeat him!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must know God for yourself.  It means that once God becomes personal to you, you can carry out His will with fearless confidence.  It means that a personal relationship with God overrides fear of man.  And it means that a personal relationship with God can change you from the inside out – Jacob was no longer a conniving, deceitful, trickster; he was now an honest, hard-working, and powerful man of God.  Is God personal to you?  If so, in what ways has your personal relationship changed your life?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are personal to me.  I do not look at You as merely the God of my forefathers.  You are my God and I am Your child. I have my own relationship with You.  You know me by name.  You know the experiences we have had together.  You can identify me by the experiences we have had.  Our relationship enables me to walk with a fearless confidence.  I am not afraid of what any man can do to me.  I accept Your will and I carry our Your plans with boldness, confidence, and peace.  You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus, and ________ (insert your name).  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Do Whatever God tells you to Do (top of page)

(Gen 31:16 CEV)  Now do whatever God tells you to do.  Even the property God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us and our children.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how God had become personal to Jacob.  He took the message he received from his personal God and expressed it to his wives.  He explained how their father had tricked him over the years and how God had blessed him by transferring the wealth of their father to him (with the spotted and speckled animals).  Now, this could have been a sticky situation.  Jacob was dealing with two women and talking to them about their own father.  But when you are being led by God He seems to make even the most crooked paths straight.  His two wives agreed with him, supported him, and said, “Do whatever God tells you to do…”  I wanted to go further in the story this morning, but I can’t get past those seven words, “Do whatever God tells you to do.”  I can identify with this passage because my wife tells me those same seven words all the time.  She trusts me to hear from God to lead my family, just as Jacob’s wives trusted him.

This also brings up a point that I discuss with people all the time.  People ask me, “How can I hear from God?”  “How do I know that it is His voice?”  Well, this could be a series in and of itself, but for this morning I will share a few scriptures that you can stand on to believe God to hear from Him.  Jesus, in referring to Himself as a shepherd and us as sheep said, “When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice.  The sheep will not follow strangers.  They don’t recognize a stranger’s voice, and they run away” (John 10:4,5).  He went on to say, “My sheep recognize my voice.  I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).  If the Bible did not say that we could hear His voice I would not teach it, but it does.  Furthermore, we have learned so far that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob heard from God in divine encounters.  They had visitations from God, whereas we have a habitation with God.  This is a big advantage.  God visited them, but He lives in every Born-Again believer.  Every person that has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord (Rom 10:9,10) and expressed faith in Him has received the promise Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13) and is born from above (John 3:3).

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “If you love me, you will do as I command.  Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:15,16).  Jesus also said, “The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth.  The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own.  He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen.  The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you” (John 16:13,14).

So what does this mean to you today? (1) God speaks to His children/sheep and He expects you to know His voice, (2) God lives in you in the form of the Holy Spirit, (3) part of the role of the Holy Spirit is to speak to you, (4) you can develop the confidence of God and your own family as you learn to hear from Him and do what He says, (5) if you don’t believe you can hear from God, you never will.  Believe and receive.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your sheep and I know Your voice.  Whether it comes by a clear audible voice, a still small voice, or simply an internal knowing, I declare that I believe I can hear from You and I expect I will.  I hear from You and I do whatever You tell me to do!  My hearing and doing changes my life forever.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Fear will lead to you make Poor Decisions (top of page)

(Gen 31:31 CEV)  Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last week we saw how Jacob’s wives were supporting him to do whatever he was led to do.  Jacob, not really being motivated by God, took everything he owned and left for the home of his father Isaac (Canaan).  After being with Laban for 20 years Jacob decided to leave like a thief in the night.  His poor decision making poured over to his family, because Rachel decided to steal some of her father’s household idols (gods) on her way out.  So Jacob, without so much as leaving a note, left with his entire family and possessions.  He led his household over the Euphrates River and they headed for the hill country of Gilead.

After Laban realized that Jacob was gone he gathered some of his relatives and set after him.  It took them seven days, but they caught up to Jacob in Gilead.  God knew that Laban was furious and was apt to harm to Jacob so He appeared to Laban in a dream the night before he caught up to Jacob and said, “Don’t say a word to Jacob.  Don’t make a threat or a promise.”  Laban went to meet Jacob in Gilead and said: “Look what you’ve done!  You’ve tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper.  Why did you sneak away without telling me?  I would have given you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines and harps.  You didn’t even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters good-by.  That was really foolish.  I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped has warned me not to make any threats or promises.  I can understand why you were eager to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?”  Jacob did not know anything about the idols, but he did reveal the motivating force behind his actions (fear).  Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force.”

This series is about expanding your capacity to believe.  The more you are able to believe God, the more you will be able to release your faith for.  I have defined faith as, “an expression of confidence in God and His Word.”  Fear is faith’s reciprocal force.  Fear is faith perverted.  Fear is, “an expression of confidence in satan and his word.”  If Jacob truly believed God he would have operated in faith and handled the situation completely different.  If he had expressed confidence in God (faith) he could have easily approached Laban and told him what his intentions were.  He had worked for Laban for 20 years; Laban was his father-in-law, the father of his wives, and grandfather of his children.  This was no way to end their relationship.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it is not the will of God for you to operate in fear.  Fear will lead you to make poor decisions.  Fear keeps you from standing on the promises of God.  Fear is an expression of your confidence in satan and not in God.  Expanding your capacity to believe God means that you are more apt to express your confidence in God (faith) and not in any negative thought the enemy may bring your way.  Believe God, stand in faith, and make good decisions.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am motivated by faith and not fear.  I filter every thought in my head through the filter of Your Word.  If it is a thought that lines up with Your Word, I receive it, stand on it, and express my confidence in it; thereby operating in faith.  If it is a thought that does not line up with Your Word, I choose to ignore it and not to allow it to shape my decisions.  I believe You, I stand in faith, and I make good decisions!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing God for His Benefits (top of page)

(Gen 31:24 CEV)  But God appeared to Laban in a dream that night and warned, “Don’t say a word to Jacob.  Don’t make a threat or a promise.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I mentioned how Laban set after Jacob with some of his relatives after he realized he was gone, how it took them several days to catch up to Jacob, and how Laban was furious.  Laban was at the point where he was ready to physically hurt Jacob for attempting to leave with his daughters and grandchildren without saying a word.  It is dangerous when a grown man is at his boiling point.  You never really know what might happen.  Knowing this, God intervened.  He spoke to Laban before he caught up to Jacob and said, “Don’t say a word to Jacob.  Don’t make a threat or a promise.”  I don’t think this meant that he could not speak to Jacob, because he did, but I believe this was a warning to Laban not to do Jacob any harm.  Laban took heed to the warning and when he finally caught up to Jacob he said, “… You didn’t even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters good-by.  That was really foolish.  I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped has warned me not to make any threats or promises.”  So we can see that Laban was prepared to do Jacob harm, but he held back because of the intervention of God.

I was led to go back to this portion of the passage this morning to bring out three key benefits to walking with God:

1.  Grace:  Grace has been defined many ways.  One definition is that grace is God giving you what you do not deserve.  In this case Jacob experienced grace.  Although God told him to leave, Jacob did not leave the right way.  He operated in fear (31:31), not faith, and caused turmoil because of it.  But God intervened anyway.  Thank God for His grace.

2.  Mercy:  Mercy also has several definitions.  One definition for mercy is God not giving you what you do deserve.  Not only did God give Jacob what he did not deserve (grace), but he also withheld some things that he possibly did deserve (mercy).  I am sure you can testify of both grace and mercy operating in your life.

3.  Favor:  The definition I use for favor is God raising up people who use their power, ability, and influence to help me in ways I cannot help myself.  We also see favor in operation in this story.  God intervened in Laban’s life so that Laban would favor Jacob by not causing him physical harm.  Just like God can supernaturally order events to bless us with either grace or mercy, God can also intervene through the lives of people and cause us to be favored in any situation.  It can be with your boss, family members, children, a complete stranger, etc.; God can touch the heart of someone to use their power, ability, and influence to help you.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should believe God to bridge the gap from Jacob to your own life.  Jacob was not perfect, but God still blessed him, because he had the blessing of Abraham on his life.  Likewise, if you are Born-Again, you have the blessing of Abraham and Jesus on your life.  You can expect grace, mercy, and favor to be in operation in your life.  These are some of the benefits of walking with God.  Believe them and receive them.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a twice born believer.  I am in Christ and am therefore Abraham’s seed.  I thank You in advance for Your grace to bless me when I don’t even deserve it, Your mercy to keep me from receiving what I do deserve, and Your favor in operation in the lives of others who use their power, ability, and influence to help me; even when they don’t know why they are helping me.  I believe and I receive.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Don’t expect Favor without Labor (top of page)

(Gen 31:42 CEV)  “…But God saw my hard work…”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Laban caught up to Jacob, confronted him about the missing idols, and asked if he could search for them.  Rachel hid them, Laban searched, and he did not find them.  Jacob, not knowing that anyone had done anything wrong, became very angry and took the opportunity to vent.  Jacob told Laban of how he had worked faithfully for 20 years; seven years for each wife and six years for the animals.  Jacob reminded Laban of how he charged him (full price) for every animal that was killed by a wild animal, no matter if it happened day or night; how he sweated through the hot days and endured the cold of the desert nights; and how he never said anything during the 10 times he changed his wages along the years.  Jacob went on to say, “If the fearsome God worshiped by Abraham and my father Isaac had not been on my side, you would have sent me away without a thing.  But God saw my hard work, and he knew the trouble I was in, so he helped me.  Then last night he told you how wrong you were.”

Jacob came to Laban with nothing but the clothes on his back, a brother on his tail, and a God on his side.  All he had was the blessing of Abraham, passed down to him by his father, and his commitment to honor God with a tenth of everything he received.  He left Laban’s house as a rich man, with a big family, lots of animals, and lots of servants.  This is all that “feel good” preachers would like to share.  I believe in success, victory, and prosperity in God, but I am not foolish enough to think that it comes overnight and without lots of effort.  Jacob worked hard for 20 years.  He was faithful to God and faithful to Laban, even when Laban was not treating him right.  He knew that God would work it out eventually and He did.  God honored Jacob’s hard work and faithfulness and he blessed him to be the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

You can look throughout both the Old and New Testaments and you will find that God never used lazy people for anything great.  He used lots of ordinary people to do extraordinary things, but these were faithful and hard working people.  Don’t think that we are the first people to keep a busy schedule.  They were all busy and all had to put in their fair share of work and effort and then expected God to do the rest.  I have been relatively successful in the military – on pace to get promoted to CW4 in less than 18 years of service – but it has not come because I sat at home and prayed for promotion.  Yes, I pray, but I also know it takes work.  I do my part and I then ask God to favor me with His.  His favor, coupled with my effort, have made me one of the most respected persons in my field.  Praise God!  But it did and still does require my effort.  It is the same in the ministry.  I have been a Christian for just under 11 years.  God has used me to do great things in this short time span, but it has not come without countless hours of prayer and study.  Ministry requires lots of work.  We do our part and we then expect God to do His (favor).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that being a Christian does not exonerate you from hard work.  You can’t believe your way to success without coupling work with your belief.  Believe God, dream big dreams, but be willing to put in the work it will require to bring them to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer.  I have great expectations.  I have big dreams in life.  But I am not foolish enough to believe that they will manifest themselves without effort.  I do my part and I expect You to favor the rest.  Favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime, but I also know that You require labor before You release favor.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believe God is a God of His Word (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Genesis 31 ends with Jacob and Laban making peace.  With that confrontation behind him, Jacob now prepared for a possibly explosive confrontation.  20 years earlier Jacob left his home on the run from his brother Esau; the brother he stole the blessing from.  I am Jacob would have rather avoided Esau, but God instructed Jacob to go back home, so he believed God had a plan.

Jacob sent messengers ahead to Edom to meet with Esau.  Jacob told them to greet him and to ask for kindness.  His message shows his disposition.  He was being overly cautious.  Jacob was not sure if Esau was still upset.  The last time he saw Esau his brother wanted to kill him.  I am sure he was hoping his messengers returned with good news.  No doubt he wanted them to say, “Jacob, your brother said, ‘Praise God, I love my brother and I can’t wait to see him.’ “  But when the messengers returned, they told Jacob, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is heading this way with 400 men.”  Whoa!  That did not look too promising.  Jacob was afraid.  He did not know what to do.  He divided his camp into two groups and he then did what we should all do when we don’t know what to do; he prayed.  His prayer, “You, Lord, are the God who was worshiped by my grandfather Abraham and by my father Isaac.  You told me to return home to my family, and you promised to be with me and make me successful.  I don’t deserve all the good things you have done for me, your servant. When I first crossed the Jordan, I had only my walking stick, but now I have two large groups of people and animals.  Please rescue me from my brother. I am afraid he will come and attack not only me, but my wives and children as well.  But you have promised that I would be a success and that someday it will be as hard to count my descendants as it is to count the stars in the sky.”  (see Genesis 32:1-12).

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean some golden nuggets from this prayer:

1.  Ensure that you are not in sin, or disobedience, when attempting to pray.  Jacob reminded God that he was doing exactly what he told him to do.  He was in God’s will.

2.  Enter into prayer in thanksgiving.  Jacob expressed praise to God for having been so good to him.  We should be ever mindful to thank God for His goodness and His mercy.  It is a good practice to start our prayer out this way.

3.  Be specific.  When teaching my kids to pray over our dinner meals they would often pray for lots of things and then forget to pray for the food.  Don’t get so ‘fancy’ in your prayer that you forget to pray for what you were supposed to be praying for.  Jacob was clear; he wanted a rescue from his brother.

4.  Remind God of His promises in prayer.  You must believe that God is a God of His Word.  God is not obligated to perform your word, but He is obligated to perform His Word (His promises).  Twice, in that short prayer, Jacob reminded God of His promises.  Even when he was unsure of what was going to happen; he found solace in knowing that God had promised him something and that God would not go back on His Word.  We would do well in learning this lesson and reminding God of His promises in prayer.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer.  I believe You and I believe Your promises.  I know You through Your Word.  Your Word expresses to me Your character, attributes, and nature.  Your Word teaches me what to expect and what not to expect.  Your Word expresses to me what You have promised and what You desire for me.  I learn Your Word, I believe Your Word, I pray in accordance with Your Word, and I have great expectations that You will do what You have promised You would do in my life and in the lives of others.  I believe You are a God of Your Word.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Don’t wait for life to schedule your time with God (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Jacob prayed in earnest over his situation.  He was concerned about meeting Esau.  The next morning he chose to attempt to win Esau over with gifts.  He sent 220 goats, 220 sheep, 30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, and 30 donkeys.  Talk about an offering.  This was a very expensive gift.  He broke up the animals into three herds and told the servants in charge of each herd to say to Esau, “These animals are from my servant Jacob, who is coming this way.  He is sending them as a gift to his master Esau.”  Jacob was hoping that by the time the third herd arrived that Esau’s anger would be turned to kindness.  He wanted Esau to be glad to see him when they met.  The gifts went on ahead of him and Jacob spent the night in camp.

Jacob still did not feel safe so he moved his family in the middle of the night.  He took his wives, his 11 children, and everything he owned across to the other side of the Jabbok River.  Jacob then came back and spent the rest of the night alone.  Can you see him?  His skin is leather-like from all the time he spent in the sun caring for animals.  His face is worn from stress his current fear is dishing out.  His camp is barren as a result of his own decisions to send everyone away.  His mind is racing through the failures and the successes of his life.  His heart is pounding from the uncertainty of what Esau would do.  He had made decisions – good and bad.  He had both dishonored and honored God.  He started out rough, but his life and his relationship with God had taken a turn for the better.  He was there because God told him to go home.  And when it was all said and done, when his thoughts came slowed down, when he looked around, he was in the middle of the desert and he was all alone.  At that point the number of camels, cattle, sheep, donkeys, gold, and silver he owned meant nothing.  He was attempting to do right (follow God), but he was unsure of his future.  It was at this point that God sent and angel to wrestle with him.  At his lowest point, God intervened to bring about a change that would transform Jacob’s life forever.  At his lowest point God made the greatest impact (see Genesis 32:16-24).

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

1.  We all need some alone time with God.  Life today is absolutely hectic.  Technology has enabled us to do more in the same amount of time, but that means that we are constantly on the go.  Slow down from time to time.  Get some good sleep.  Get quality rest and spend quality one-on-one time with God.

2.  Don’t wait for life to order your schedule.  Jacob did not plan this encounter with God, but he could have.  If he had setup an altar and spent some time in worship we don’t know what might have happened.  God could have moved another way.  He might not have had to send his family and his servants away.  But because he did not schedule time for God, life ordered his schedule to where God could spend time with him.  Don’t wait for life to order your schedule with an overwhelming situation before you spend time with God.  Order your own schedule and spend time with God daily.  You can either get up in the morning and allow your prayer to order your day or you will find that your day will wind up ordering your prayer.  The choice is yours.  Spend time with God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I don’t have to wait for a terrible situation to spend time with You.  I honor You daily.  My prayer orders my day and I don’t allow my day to order my prayer.  I tell my day what kind of day it is going to be.  I don’t wait ‘till something bad happens to pray.  I love You, I spend time with You, and You honor me by leading, guiding, directing, and blessing me today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Admitting where you are and holding on for a change (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last week we ended off the week by painting the picture of how Jacob found himself alone.  He sent his servants ahead of him to take gifts to his brother Esau, in hopes that the gifts would help Esau receive him well.  He sent his family across the river, because he was afraid that something might happen to them, and he found himself in the middle of the desert all alone.

At this point that God showed up.  A man presented himself to Jacob and wrestled with him all night.  Jacob somehow perceived that this man was from God.  The text does not tell us how, but Jacob knew this was no ordinary man.  He sensed this was his opportunity for a breakthrough.  He was at his lowest point.  His servants ahead of him, his family behind him, and an uncertain encounter with his brother awaiting him, Jacob was desperate.  He left his country 20 years earlier as a conniving trickster with nothing more than his staff (a stick) and he was returning with a family, servants, and wealth.  But who was Jacob?  Had he changed in those 20 years?  He was returning with more “stuff,” but was he returning with more character?  I believe these were the questions that Jacob wrestled with before he wrestled with the man.  He was taking inventory of his life when the strange man approached and started wrestling with him.  Jacob, perceiving that this man came from God, struggled with him for dear life.  Jacob wrestled with him until daybreak.  When the man saw that Jacob would not let go he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.  Even after the injury Jacob was relentless.  The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”  Jacob was desperate enough to told on ‘till he got his blessing.  He refused to quit.  Then the man asked the heart-wrenching question, “What is your name?”  As if it were a sort of admission, he answered, “Jacob.”  As if he were saying, “Even after all these years I am still Jacob.”  Jacob means, “trickster and conniver.”  But the man granted Jacob his blessing and said, “Your name is no longer Jacob.  From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” (see Gen 32:24-26).

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

1.  Desperation is the breeding ground of miracles.  Miracles are more commonplace in underdeveloped countries, much more so than in the US.  Why?  Because we, as Americans, are very comfortable.  The greater you desire it; the greater you open yourself up to receive it.  Jacob was desperate and he received his blessing.

2.  Hold on for your blessing.  Jacob sensed his blessing was before him and he held on for dear life.  He refused to quit.  Life will throw you wrestling matches from time to time.  Don’t give up, don’t give in; hold on until you receive your blessing.

3.  Admit where you are.  One of the greatest hindrances of progress is denial.  Jacob admitted where he was (Jacob) and his admission released God to take him to the next level (Israel).

Admit where you are, believe God for a change, and hold on – by faith – until you receive it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I earnestly desire Your blessing.  I know that I need Your grace upon my life to become the person You desire me to be.  I admit where I am today.  You know me, my faults, my failures, and my frailties.  I declare, by faith, that I hold on to You, no matter how long it takes, for You to enable me to overcome my shortcomings.  I am changed.  I move forward by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God Can do what you Can’t (top of page)

(Gen 33:4 CEV)  But Esau ran toward Jacob and hugged and kissed him.  Then the two brothers started crying.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Jacob had a wrestling encounter with God.  He left the encounter with a limp (from the blow to his hip) and a new name (Israel).   Fresh from his encounter he gathered his family and servants and he set out to meet Esau face-to-face.  He had done everything in his power; he had prayed and sent Esau gifts.  He now expected God to do the rest.  The last time he saw Esau (20 years earlier), Esau wanted to kill him.  His trust was now in God to change Esau’s heart.

Jacob looked out in the distance and saw Esau coming with his four hundred men.  Jacob was cautious, but he believed God.  He walked out in front of his family and servants.  Jacob bowed to the ground seven times as he came near his brother.  This was a form of respect.  He was being very careful and overly respectful.  But Esau did not care about any of that.  Esau ran toward Jacob, hugged him, and kissed him.  Then the two brothers started crying. Jacob’s biggest challenge was over.

In the span of a few days he faced two big challenges and God favored him in both situations.  God blessed him to establish peace with his father-in-law and with his estranged brother.  In both situations Jacob faced the possibility of danger.  In both situations there was little Jacob could physically do against a possible attack.  In both situations Jacob did his part, but he knew that he would only come out victorious if God did His part – to release favor.

Favor is a common term in Christendom today.  It means different things to different people.  To me, it is when God moves upon the heart of others so that they can use their power, ability, and influence to help me.  In other words, it is God touching the heart of person in such a way that I cannot so that person can help me.  So I do whatever I can, but I expect God to do what I can’t.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there will come a time in many of the situations you face where you know you have done all you can.  You have prayed, prepared, and etc.  Once you have done all you can you must expand your capacity to believe to the point where you can enter the situation with the confidence in God that He will do what you can’t.  If you could do it all you would not need God.  On the other hand, God has given you some level of ability.  Don’t expect God to do what He has already blessed you to do.  So, do what you can and believe God to do what you can’t.

What situation are you facing today? Ask yourself: “Have I done all I can?”  If not, then do it.  If so, then trust God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You and I know You can turn any seemingly hopeless situation around.  I do what I can.  I use the ability You have blessed me with and I seek to do all that I can in every situation.  Beyond my ability, I believe You.  I trust You to touch the hearts of others to use their power, ability, and influence to help me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Before we get into series I feel led to share something that I read this morning.  I normally read and pray before I seek God to share Today’s Word.  This morning I was reading a book by Oral Roberts entitled, “When you See the Invisible you can Do the Impossible.”  In it he talks of his father’s priceless secret of loving the Bible.  He said, “Papa was a gifted storyteller.  He made the people in those stories live.  He did not just describe them, but through his words he took us where they were, and let us see and hear and feel them and their faith.”  Oral Roberts explained how these stories had a lasting effect on his life and his ministry.  He said that his father’s ability to preach the great themes of the Bible in story-form helped him do the same in his preaching.

I did not learn my storytelling format from my father, but as long I can remember I could tell a good story.  I read a book many years ago by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe entitled, “Preaching and Teaching with Imagination.”  That book helped me use my gift of storytelling in my preaching and teaching.  When I read the Bible I don’t see stories, I see people.  I see people who, like me, were simply trying to please God.  They faced challenges, failures, victories, defeats, ups, and downs.  They were not super-human; they were just people that wanted to do right.

That leads us back to Jacob.  After settling the issue with his brother – with the favor of God – Jacob continued his journey back to Canaan.  He was now determined to get to the place God instructed him to go and to setup his own life, with his own family, in his homeland.  After journeying through northern Syria Jacob arrived safely at Shechem in Canaan and set up camp outside the city.  The land where he camped was owned by the descendants of Hamor, the father of Shechem.  Jacob liked the land and he wanted to settle there.  He was no different than us.  In today’s terms he was “house-hunting;” or I guess we can say that he was “land-hunting.”  He liked the land and he wanted to setup there so he put in an offer of 100 pieces of silver.  The owner of the property accepted and the deal was done.  Jacob now had land back in his home country and he set up his tents on it.  Guess what he first order of priority was?  He built an altar there to honor the God of Israel.  (see Genesis 33:18-20).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that these things were written as a testimony for you.  God led Moses to document all the details of these journeys so that you could identify with these people.  If you want a family you can identify Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they all wanted families.  If you are struggling with having children you can identify with them, because they all struggled with having children.  If you want a house and some land you can identify with them, because they wanted that as well.  If you want to provide for your family… and the list could go on.  What’s the point?  If we want what they wanted and want to get what they got we should learn from what they did.  They believed God, they operated in faith, and they honored God every chance they had.  They setup altars everywhere they went, they worshipped God, and they made offerings to God of the things that He blessed them with.  What are you standing in need of today?  Ask yourself, what would Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob do to get it?  Learn from them and your life will be the better.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I learn from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  I realize they were ordinary people through which You did extraordinary things.  I imitate their faith, their belief, and their dedication to worship.  I reap the benefits of learning from those that have gone before me.  I also dream big dreams and believe You to bring them to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Going back to God Forward (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Shortly after Jacob settled-in in his new area his daughter Dinah went to visit some of the women who lived there.  Hamor’s son Shechem, the leader of the Hivites, and grabbed her and raped her.  After raping her he had the audacity to say that he loved her and wanted to marry her.  There was a big meeting between Hamor, his son Shechem, Jacob, and all his sons.  Hamor wanted to make peace and asked for a marriage.  He even offered them property or anything else.  Jacob was rich and money was not a temptation.  His sons devised a plan out of anger.  They said, “You’re not circumcised!  It would be a disgrace for us to let you marry Dinah now.  But we will let you marry her, if you and the other men in your tribe get circumcised.  Then your families can marry into ours, and ours can marry into yours, and we can live together like one nation.”  Hamor and Shechem took the bait.  They went back to their men and convinced them all to get circumcised by telling them about the wealth of Jacob and how they would gain access to the wealth by merging families.  There was deception and deceit on both sides of the deal.

Being circumcised as a grown man is a traumatic experience that takes days to physically recover from.  Jacob’s sons attacked while the men were still weak, they killed them all and brought Dinah home.  The boys did this without Jacob’s knowledge.  When Jacob found he said, “Look what you’ve done!  Now I’m in real trouble with the Canaanites and Perizzites who live around here.  There aren’t many of us, and if they attack, they’ll kill everyone in my household.”  But they replied, “Nobody is going to treat our sister like a whore and get by with it.”

All this happened after Jacob returned to Canaan as God had instructed him to do.  He was simply trying to please God, but he knew that something was wrong.  He decided to do what we should all do when we don’t know what to do – Jacob prayed.  God told Jacob, “Return to Bethel, where I appeared to you when you were running from your brother Esau.  Make your home there and build an altar for me.”  That was it.  Jacob was ready to move again, but this time he sensed that he needed to “clean camp” before he moved.  He knew something was wrong and that this terrible situation should have never happened.  He ordered his family and everyone else traveling with him to get rid of all foreign gods and idols among them.  Jacob then told them to make themselves acceptable to worship God by washing themselves and changing into clean clothes.  He wanted to get rid of any hindrances to future blessings and close every door to sin.  Jacob told them that after they were clean they would all go to Bethel as the Lord had instructed him.  Bethel was special to Jacob, because that is where God spoke to him when he had nothing and changed his life with one dream.  Jacob was going back to go forward.  He would build an altar there for God and they would all worship (see Gen 34 & 35:1-3).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should never allow sin to remain in your home.  We are not sure why bad things sometimes happen to good people, but what we do know is that sin opens you up for the enemy to operate in your life.  Repent of all sin, cleanse yourself before God, and go back to the place where you met Him before.  God will meet you again.  Even in the midst of terrible situations we can believe God to move forward.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I learn from Jacob’s experience in this passage.  I rid myself of all blessing-blockers in my life.  I face every day with a positive attitude and great expectations.  No matter how tragic the circumstances, I will always look to You as my help and deliverer.  I go back to go forward.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing for the best for Your Children (top of page)

(Gen 35:18 MSG)  With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we left off where Jacob was getting rid of the sin in his camp.  He collected up all the idols and buried them under the oak tree near Shechem.  He then traveled with his entire household to Bethel to worship.  At Bethel, they worshipped, and God reminded Jacob of both his name change and the blessing of Abraham.  God reiterated that his name would be “Israel” and that he would be blessed with many children, many of which would become kings, and that he would possess the land promised to Abraham.  When the encounter with God was over, Jacob set up a large rock, so that he would remember what had happened there.  It is important to establish altars (they don’t have to be physical) in your life to remember the goodness of God.

Jacob and his household left Bethel and were traveling back when Rachel’s time came to give birth to what would be her final child.  She was having a rough time with the delivery, but the midwife said, “Don’t worry! It’s a boy.”  However, Rachel was dying.  With her last breath she named him Benoni.  Her last words were an expression of her pain.  Benoni means, “Son of sorrow,” or “Son of pain.”  Jacob was more rational than Rachel and he overrode her decision.  He named the boy Benjamin.  Benjamin means, “Son of my right hand,” or “Son of good fortune.” The right hand is the position of power.

Why is this important? It is important because Jacob understood the implications.  He, if anyone, understood the power of a name.  His parents named him Jacob, which means “trickster,” or “conniver;” and he came out being a conniving trickster.  It took God to change his name to something more applicable and respectable.  Also, practically speaking, if Jacob would have left the boy’s name as Benoni, then he would have remembered the pain of losing the wife that he loved every time he said the boy’s name.  The association with the pain could have effected his actions towards the boy.  To make matters worse, the name could have negatively effected the child himself.  He would have grown up reminding himself that his mother died while giving labor to him.  This could have caused guilt, pain, and even possibly resentfulness in his life.  Jacob avoided all of this by simply refusing his wife’s request and naming him something that would promote a positive future for the child.

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

1.  Names are important.  In biblical times your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  At a lesser degree this holds true today.  Be careful what you decide to name your children.

2.  Consider your children’s future.  As parents we are here to promote and not to hinder our children’s potential.  Don’t do anything that will hinder them from becoming the person(s) God has called them to be.

3.  Believe God for the best for your Children.  Jacob wanted the best for Benjamin and he named him accordingly.  Jacob expected Benjamin to do great things in life and he did his best to prepare him for it.  Believe God for your children and do all you can to assist them along the way.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I consider my children’s future and I only see success and victory.  I do all I can to promote their well being and prosperity.  I close every door to failure and I open up every possible door to success that I can for them.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Real Challenges – Real God (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  First of all I want to thank you for your prayers and many emails.  I thank God that I was able to bring home my wife and baby Joshua yesterday from the hospital.  They are both doing well.

I am excited about getting back in front of my computer this morning to share Today’s Word, although – as most parents already know – I do so after very little sleep.  I bring that up because I feel led this morning to remind us that Christians are not exonerated from challenges.  It is because we face challenges that it is vital for us to expand our capacity to believe God.  I started this series by pointing out that: 1). God cannot fail; 2). God has no limits; 3). God desires to overcome our limits with His limitless ability; 4). What we believe determines what we are available to receive; and (5). As we expand our capacity to believe, we release God to freely operate in our lives.

Isabella and I have faced our share of challenges in this pregnancy.  We had to overcome the initial challenge of getting pregnant (which took a while).  Then, after she was pregnant, Isabella was diagnosed with fibroids in the uterus, then over swelling of her hands and feet, then a hip out of socket that was pinching a nerve and causing tremendous pain, then… and the list can go on.  She was finally placed on bed rest for the last month of the pregnancy.  When the time came to go to the hospital the challenges did not stop.  In the labor she faced high blood pressure, a fever, an infection, a question about the baby’s heart beat, and … etc.  We made it to the hospital at 6:20pm on Tuesday night (July 4th), but she did not have the baby until 9:53am on Thursday morning (July 6th).  Needless to say, it was a process.

Now, I don’t share this with you because I like sharing by personal business, but I was led to share this with you this morning to allow it to serve as a testimony.  Believe me, over the last 9 months I have had many opportunities to give up hope and to throw in my faith towel.  Challenge after challenge, my wife and I believed God and remained in faith.  Because of that, I was able to come home yesterday with a healthy baby and a healthy wife.  The enemy attempted to snuff out Joshua before he ever got started.  He did the same thing to Moses and to Jesus; but like Moses and Jesus, the attempt failed.  They went on to do great things and so will Joshua.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Christianity is not just about going to church; it is about having an intimate relationship with a real God that can enable you to overcome real challenges in a real world.  Let me leave you with a few golden nuggets that I was reminded of in this process:

1.  Everything is possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).

2.  No weapon formed against us shall prosper (Is 54:17).

3.  The only fight we fight is the fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12).

4.  It is through both faith and patience that we are able to obtain the promises of God (Heb 6:12).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You said that in the world we would have tribulation, but You also said that we should be of good cheer, because You have already overcome the world.  You overcame and now I overcome by my faith.  I believe You are greater than anything I have faced or will ever face in life.  My belief enables me to release my faith to overcome every hindrance and rise above every challenge.  Everything is possible for me.  I fight the good fight of faith.  No weapon formed against me can prosper.  I couple patience with my faith and I am able to receive Your promises.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Dreaming Big Dreams! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  I dealt with Jacob (also known as Israel) for quite a while.  This morning I want to introduce you to the last Old Testament character we will cover in this series.  After him we will transition to expanding our capacity to believe in the New Testament.  It has taken me six months to get this far and I pray this series will continue to be a blessing to you.

Our last Old Testament character is Joseph.  His father is Israel and his mother is Rachel; who died giving birth to his little brother Benjamin.  Joseph is Israel’s 11th son, but he is special.  Israel loved him more than the other boys, because he was born in his old age.  Israel had a special coat made for Joseph; a coat of many colors.  The other boys already knew that Joseph was the favorite, but the coat made it even worse.  Joseph was 17 yrs. old at the time and he did not help the situation any with his cocky attitude.  He flaunted his coat and his brothers hated him for it.  But beyond his youthful arrogance, Joseph was a child of destiny.  God had a plan for Joseph; a plan that would effect his entire family and his entire nation.  God revealed a glimpse of the plan to Joseph in a dream.  In the dream, Joseph saw that somehow his brothers would some day bow down to him.  He did not understand what it all meant, but he believed it.  The dream would eventually come to pass; some 13 years later.  We will see in this series that the 30 yr. old Joseph was much more prepared than the 17 yr. old Joseph.

It is worth mentioning that God did not wait until Joseph was 30 before he gave him his dream.  The problem in this case was that Joseph made a mistake that many teenagers make – he spoke too soon.  Joseph went and told his brothers about the dream and how they would some day bow down to him.  Guess what happened?  They hated him even more.

Joseph had another dream.  This time it revealed that in addition to his brothers, his father and mother would also bow down to him.  And guess what Joseph did with this information?  You guessed it.  He went and told his father.  His father rebuked the boy.  He was hated by his brothers and rebuked by his father because he was operating with a dream from God without any wisdom behind it.  (see Genesis 37:1-11).

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

1.  Believe the dream:  God does not have to wait until you are ready (30 years old) before He reveals His dream for your life.  The key is not dismissing the dream, just because you are not ready for it.  Look for God to reveal to you your “to be” stage and believe it when He does.

2.  Submit to the process:  Greatness is not accomplished overnight.  Joseph went through a lot in the 13 year span between the dream and the demonstration.  Know that God is faithful to His promises.  Submit to the process and know that every day is one step closer.  Joseph lacked experience, wisdom, and humility and all of these would come through the passage of time.

3.  Be careful who you share your dream with:  Pastor S.L. Moton often told me, “Not everyone that is with you is for you.”  Learn to wait on God and only share precious information with precious people.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I, like Joseph, am a dreamer.  You show me things in dreams, in prayer, through others, through Your Word, and etc.  I believe the dream.  I believe You are faithful to perform everything You have promised.  I also know there will be a space between the promise and the performance and I submit to the process.  I grow daily and I incrementally become the person that will fulfill the dream.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The attack is against the Dream! (top of page)

(Gen 37:19,20 NASB)  They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer!  “Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I introduced you to Joseph, the dreamer.  This morning we go further into his life.  One day Israel sent Joseph’s brothers to watch their flocks in Shechem.  After a while Israel sent Joseph to check on his brothers.  He was supposed to bring word back to his father.  Joseph went looking for his brothers and he ran into a man that told him that they were in Dothan.  So Joseph traveled to Dothan.  His brothers saw him coming from a distance and they took the opportunity to devise a plot to kill him.  Think about that for a moment.  I understand we all have our share of family quarrels, but murder?  These guys were the great grandchildren of Abraham.  They had the blessing on them.  Their father had been through a great deal and was now a changed and blessed man.  Even with all of that, they wanted to kill their little brother.  Why?  Our text reveals the reason – because of the dream! When they spotted him they said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer!

Joseph being their father’s favorite probably annoyed them, but not to the point of murder.  Even when Israel gave Joseph the coat of many colors, it made them dislike him even more, but nothing like this.  The real issue was the dream.  Once he said that he was destined they hated him to the point of death.  Look at what they said, “Come and let us kill him… Then let us see what will become of his dreams!

This reminds me of something I saw as a kid in Brooklyn.  In the mid 1980s there were not many gangs in my neighborhood, but two I remember were the Senior Crash Crew (SCC) and the Junior Crash Crew (JCC).  The SCC would get out of high school at 2:20pm and they would walk several blocks to the junior high school to pick up the JCC.  Both crews would then walk back to their housing projects.  By the time they left the junior high school they were several hundred strong.  They walked through the streets robbing and beating up anyone crazy enough to be close to their crowd.  One day I saw a man walk directly through the entire crowd untouched.  Not one of the members of the JCC or the SCC bothered him.  He was a drug addict.  Excuse the term, but he was what we called a “crackhead.”  Many years later God reminded me of that incident and told me that the reason they did not touch him was because they perceived that he did not have anything worth taking.  They only attacked those worth attacking.

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

1.  People don’t have a problem with you when you speak negative and have a defeated mentality; it is when you start speaking like a winner that they turn against you.

2.  The number one thing satan is after is your dream.  If he can get you to stop believing in God’s plan for you, he has you defeated.

3.  You will only be attacked if you have something worth attacking.  If the enemy is coming against you, it is evidence that he perceives you have something worth taking.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your dream for me and I am diligent to do whatever it takes to bring it to pass.  I do my part and I believe You will do Yours.  Regardless of the attacks against my character and my dream I declare that I will never give up.  No weapon formed against me will prosper.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

No attack from the world can stop a God’s plan for Your Life (top of page)

(Gen 37:36 CEV)  Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the king’s official in charge of the palace guard.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I shared how the attack was really against Joseph’s dream (his purpose).  So there he was, the young dreamer approached his older brothers, not knowing that they wanted to kill him.  Reuben was able to talk some sense into the other brothers and convinced them to throw him into a dry well and not kill him.  The men agreed with Rueben and they awaited little Joseph.  As soon as he approached his brothers they pulled off his fancy coat; the coat they hated.  They threw Joseph into a dry well and contemplated what to do next.  As Joseph’s brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead.  Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt.  Judah came up with a bright idea.  He said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body?  Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him.  After all, he is our brother.”  The others agreed.  The sold him for 20 pieces of silver.  At this point it is worth noting that there are many similarities in the lives of Joseph and Jesus.  Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.

Joseph’s brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s fancy coat of many colors in its blood.  It is also worth noting that the colors of the coat were swallowed up by the color of the blood.  I often mention this when I teach about the unifying power of the blood of Jesus in the universal and culturally diverse Body of Christ.  The blood of Jesus has the power to cover all of our colors and unify us under His banner!  Racism in the church is ugly.

The brothers took the coat back to their father and he vowed to mourn Joseph’s death until his grave.  And while all of this was going on, Joseph’s captives were preparing to sell him.  He could have went just about anywhere.  But Joseph was no ordinary man.  Yes, he was betrayed by his brothers.  Yes, he was sold for 20 pieces of silver.  Yes, he was seemingly left to the fate of the world, but the hand of God was on Joseph.  He was a child of destiny.  He was a child of purpose.  He was a child with a dream.  He was a child with a dream from God.  No worldly attack could stop God’s plan for Joseph.  Out of all the people he could have been sold to and out of all the places he could have gone, Joseph was sold in Egypt to a man named Potiphar.  This was no ordinary man, he was the king’s official in charge of the palace guard.  The road from the pit to Potiphar would eventually lead to the palace.  And all of this happened in Egypt, the place where Joseph would some day be the second in command.   Joseph did not know it, but God was working to turn this seemingly hopeless situation around.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we serve a God that sits on the circle of the earth (Is 40:22).  There is nothing that He cannot change.  He did not make Joseph’s brothers hate him and sell him into slavery.  That was their decision.  Likewise, people may turn against you and decide to do everything in their power to harm you.  But like Joseph, God can turn it around and still make sure His plan for your life comes to pass.  No plan from the world can stop a plan from God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I don’t worry about what the world can do to me.  People may dislike me and even attack me, but I know that You can turn it around for my good.  If they knew better they would leave me alone.  The more I am attacked, the more I am blessed.  I am too blessed to be stressed and I don’t worry about anything anyone can do to me.  You are on my side and You are greater than any attack or any attacker.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Attitude and Favor (top of page)

(Gen 39:4 CEV)  Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant, putting him in charge of his house and all of his property.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I shared how God had a plan that Joseph’s brothers could not derail.  This morning we see how the favor of God was on Joseph because of that plan.

So there he was.  A few days prior he was his father’s favorite child and he walked around with a coat of many colors.  Genesis 39 opens with Joseph as a betrayed slave.  Betrayed by his own family, sold to a pack of strangers, taken to a foreign country, but he still had his dream.  He knew that someway, somehow, God was still in charge.  It was this belief that enabled Joseph to keep the proper attitude.  With the wrong attitude he could not have done what he did.  So what did he do, you may ask?  Let’s see.

He was sold to Potiphar.  As previously mentioned, this was no ordinary man.  He was on Pharaoh’s personal staff; the commander of the palace guard.  The modern equivalent would be the head of the Secret Service.  Potiphar had a key position and he lived well.  Joseph, the new slave, could have wound up working anywhere on Potiphar’s property, but in another seeming coincidence, Joseph wound up living and working in his house.  Then, instead of murmuring and complaining he kept the right attitude and started working.  He worked hard and God favored his work.  Potiphar noticed that God was blessing everything that Joseph did.  Everything he touched was successful.  So Potiphar promoted him and made Joseph his personal aide.  Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his house and all of his property.  Why?  Because Joseph worked hard and God favored him.  Remember that favor is God raising up people to use their power, their ability, and their influence to help you.

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

1.  Keep the right attitude:  The right attitude can help you make the most of every situation.  Joseph could have easily had the wrong attitude, but it would not have helped him in the long run.  His attitude helped determine his altitude.  And why did he have the right attitude?  Because he believed God would do what he said he would do and elevate him some day.  When you expand your capacity to believe it will affect every area of your life.

2.  Give God something to work with:  Joseph did not crawl up in a corner and pray 24 hours a day – he worked.  He worked and God Blessed everything he did.  For God to bless what you are “doing” you have to be “doing” something!

3.  Expect Favor:  Without the favor of God Joseph could have worked for years and not arrived at the position he did in just a few days.  Favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime.  So do what you can and expect God to do what you can’t.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You and Your Word.  I believe You are able and willing to do what You said You will do.  My internal belief enable me to keep the right attitude.  I have a positive outlook on life and I enter every day with an expectation that You will take me one step closer to Your expected end for my life.  I do my part.  I am not lazy.  I am a diligent worker in the Body of Christ.  I do what I can and I expect You to do what I can’t.  You raise up people who use their power, their ability, and their influence to help me today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

There is No Limit to what God can do (top of page)

(Gen 39:5 AMP)  From the time that he made him supervisor in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the Lord’s blessing was on all that he had in the house and in the field.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Last week we saw how God favored Joseph to get promoted, even while he was a slave, to be the personal assistant of his master (Potiphar).  Just so we are clear on what this meant, the 6th verse says that Potiphar left everything up to Joseph.  The only decision Potiphar made was what he wanted to eat.  Potiphar’s entire estate was in the hands of Joseph and Joseph was a 17 yr. old slave.  If God could do that for Joseph, what is it that He cannot do for you?

Now that we know how Joseph was benefiting from the deal, our text points out that Potiphar benefited as well.  He reaped the blessing of having a blessed man in charge of his affairs.  The blessing that was on Joseph spilled over to Potiphar, his house, and his fields.  Just so we understand this, Potiphar was an Egyptian.  He had no relationship with God.  He more than likely worshipped Ra, the sun god; but his association with Joseph and his willingness to put Joseph in charge of his affairs released the blessing of Joseph upon his life as well.

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

1.  Be an asset:  This series is about expanding your capacity to believe.  Do you believe the blessing and favor of God is upon your life?  If so, you should see yourself as an asset to your organization (job, church, etc.).  You should enter every business day with the belief that God will enable you to accomplish all that needs to get done and that He will bless others for dealing kindly with you.  You are a Christian and that means that you should be the best.  Work hard.  Don’t cut corners.  Do what you do for God and God will bless you and everyone you come in contact with.  It is a sad commentary for a Christian to be a liability to their organization.  Honor God, be and asset, and He will honor you.

2.  It matters:  Some people don’t mind doing business with unscrupulous people, saying, “Their personal life does not matter to me, all I am concerned about is our business with them.”  Integrity matters.  You should not knowingly and continually do business with people who lie, cheat, and steal; and then think that the favor and blessing of God is going to rest upon your dealings.  Just like Potiphar reaped the blessing of putting a man of God in charge of his affairs, the opposite is true.

3.  There is no limit to what God can do:  Once you read that God caused a slave to be promoted to basically run his master’s entire estate, it should help you believe God for greater things in your career and business endeavors.  If God could do that through a 17 yr. old slave boy, what is it that He cannot do through you?  If you work hard, put God first, and seek to please Him in all you do, He will cause You to increase in every area of your life.  If you can believe that, you are on your way to receiving it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that I am an asset and not a liability to every organization I deal with.  I make everyone I work with better.  My workplace is blessed because I am there.  The blessing that is upon me is also upon my work and I see increase as I diligently do all that I am responsible to do.  I am careful not to do dealings with unscrupulous people and I expect You to bless me and all that I put my hands to do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Know Your Parameters (top of page)

(Gen 39:9 CEV)  No one in my master’s house is more important than I am. The only thing he hasn’t given me is you, and that’s because you are his wife. I won’t sin against God by doing such a terrible thing as this.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how God favored Joseph to the point where he was a prosperous slave.  I know that sounds funny, but that’s what he was.  He was a slave and he was prosperous.  He was living better as a slave than many live today.  But guess what?  Like us, he was tempted.

All of a sudden, Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph.  He was a handsome young man and everything he touched prospered.  He had the looks and the blessing.  She approached him and asked him to make love to her.  Now, let’s think about this situation for a moment.  Joseph is a kid at this point; 17 yrs. old.  He was away from home.  His brothers sold him as a slave.  God had blessed him to basically rule his master’s house.  He was in charge of everything but his master’s wife.  She was the one thing that his master had access to that he did not.  This sounds like the temptation in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve fell because they had provision and purpose, but they failed to follow the established parameters.  God put “one thing” off limits and they failed to operate within their limits.  Would Joseph make the same mistake?  He too had provision – everything he needed was taken care of.  He too had purpose – he had a dream from God and the responsibility to rule Potiphar’s house.  The difference is that Joseph, unlike Adam and Eve, heeded to his parameters.  He said, “I won’t sin against God by doing such a terrible thing as this.”  He knew that sleeping with his master’s wife was a sin and he refused to sin against God.  I am sure that he did not want to disrespect Potiphar either, but his primary concern was not sinning against God.

So what does this mean to you today? Two things:

1.  Don’t believe the lie:  This series is about expanding your capacity to believe.  You should believe that God wants to bless you, prosper you, and cause you to be successful.  The enemy would want you to believe that you can do whatever you want to do, even if it goes against God’s Word.  Don’t believe the lie.  God wants to bless you, but he expects you to live in accordance with His set order.  Sin is sin and God will not bless mess.

2.  Provision without Parameters is dangerous:  Have you ever heard of a person winning the lottery, but then filing for bankruptcy just a few years later?  Why does this happen?  Because these are people with provision, but no parameters.  They acquired abundance over night, but they did not understand how to operate within proper limits and they lost everything they had.  God blessed Joseph quickly.  He was in charge of “almost” everything in his master’s house.  However, Joseph understood his parameters and he operated therein.  Although he was only a teenager he exhibited the spiritual maturity to restrain himself and not sin against God.  So thank God for His provision, but remember that you can lose it all if you choose to operate in sin.  No matter who you are, God will not overlook sin.  If Adam lost the garden over sin, don’t think that you won’t lose your blessing.  Operate within the parameters and the blessing with remain intact.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You want to bless me and I believe it is Your will for me to be successful; but I do not believe the lie that I can do whatever I want and choose to ignore the parameters established in Your Word.  I thank You for the provision, but I operate within Your parameters.  I abstain from sin and if I do miss the mark, I am quick to repent and to move forward.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your God is Bigger than Your Problem (top of page)

(Gen 39:19,20 CEV)  Potiphar became very angry and threw Joseph in the same prison where the king’s prisoners were kept.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how Joseph understood his boundaries, refused to sin, and turned down the advances of Potiphar’s wife.  This morning we will see, as they say, the rest of the story.

Potiphar’s wife was consistent and she continued to beg Joseph to make love to her every day.  Joseph got to the point where he did his best to avoid her altogether.  One day Joseph was in the house doing his work and Mrs. Potiphar realized that none of the other servants were around.  She grabbed hold of his coat and said, “Make love to me!”  Once again, Joseph could have easily sinned.  He had every opportunity.  But he was a young man of integrity and refused.  She would not let go of his coat.  He tried to break away.  Finally, he got loose, but she still had his coat.  He wound up running out of the house, leaving her hanging onto his coat.  It’s ironic that a coat had already gotten him in trouble with his brothers, now this coat would get him in trouble with Potiphar.

Potiphar’s wife called in her servants and said, “He tried to rape me, but I screamed for help.  And when he heard me scream, he ran out of the house, leaving his coat with me.”  Potiphar’s wife kept Joseph’s coat until her husband came home and she told him the same lie.  This is where we pick up our text and we see that Potiphar became very angry and threw Joseph in the same prison where the king’s prisoners were kept.

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

1.  We have an enemy:  I run into Christians all the time that say that they believe in God, but not in satan.  It is as if they would like to simply omit the great portion of the bible that points out the reality that we have an opposing side.  We have a real enemy, but we also have a real God.

2.  He does not want to see you prosper:  Joseph was doing well.  He was a prosperous slave.  The blessing upon his life was in operation and the enemy was not happy about it.  It is the same with you.  You will realize that you don’t get attacked much if you are broke, busted, disgusted, and void of any dreams or aspirations in life.  It is when you believe God, dream big dreams, and step out in faith that you will see a barrage of attacks against what you are believing God for.

3.  He is persistent:  He first attacked Joseph with a temptation that most young men would have fallen for.  When the temptation did not work, even after daily attacks, the enemy tried a new scheme – slander.  Just like God is out to bless you every day, the enemy is out to destroy you every day.  He has nothing better to do.

4.  God is bigger than every enemy:  This was the hope that Joseph had and it is the hope that we have.  We will see tomorrow that God turned this situation around for Joseph and God will do the same for you, if you continue to believe Him, trust Him, and operate in faith.  Joseph had consistent faith and he experienced consistent breakthrough.  Don’t waiver.  Your God is bigger than your problem!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You and I operate in belief and faith every day.  I know I will be consistently attacked, that is why I operate in consistent faith.  My consistent faith brings about consistent breakthrough in my life. You are my God and I believe You to be bigger than any problem that I face.  I resolve to look to You in every situation and I know that You are the God that can turn hopeless situations around.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Expect to be Blessed (top of page)

(Gen 39:21 CEV)  But the Lord was with Joseph, and was good to him, and made the keeper of the prison his friend.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday we saw how the enemy was not happy about Joseph’s position in Potiphar’s house, how he used Mrs. Potiphar to falsely accuse Joseph of rape, and how Potiphar wound up throwing Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoner’s were kept.

Sounds bad, huh?  Seems like a bad situation for Joseph all over again.  But remember that Joseph did not do anything wrong.  He was being persecuted for doing right.  He was imprisoned for keeping his integrity.  He was jailed for not violating God’s Word.  See, there is a difference between experiencing a difficult situation because you are being persecuting for doing right and experiencing a difficult situation because you did something wrong.  If you did something wrong, then you are simply reaping what you sowed.  However, if you operated in integrity and still experienced the difficult situation, then you are being persecuted for God’s sake and God will ensure that you are protected through your situation.  Paul knew what it was to be persecuted for doing what was right and he said, “I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ.  Because when I am weak, I am strong” (2nd Corinthians 12:10).  In this case we know that Joseph did not do anything wrong so we should expect God to protect him and bless him in the prison.  Guess what happened?  The favor of the Lord kicked in again.  Remember that favor is God raising up people to use their power, their ability, and their influence to help you.  God gave Joseph favor with the head of the prison (the warden).  Before you knew it, the warden had placed all the prisoners under Joseph’s control, and he was responsible for the entire operation.  The warden gave no attention to anything which was under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and the Lord made everything Joseph did successful.

First Joseph was the favorite kid in his father’s house.  When he was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave he became a prosperous slave.  When he was arrested and thrown into the king’s prison, he became a prosperous prisoner.  See a pattern here?  It does not matter what the enemy threw at Joseph, the hand of God was upon his life and he was going to prosper anywhere he went.

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

1.  There is a difference between reaping what you have sown and being persecuted for doing right.  If you know you have not done anything wrong, then you can expect God to be with you, even while you are being persecuted.

2.  If the blessing of God is upon your life, you take that blessing everywhere you go.

3.  If God could make Joseph a prosperous slave and a prosperous prisoner, then He can prosper you in your current situation.  Believe the blessing is upon your life, walk in integrity, work hard, and expect to prosper.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that I may be persecuted for doing right, but no persecution can stop Your blessing and Your favor from operating in my life.  I am blessed and I take that blessing everywhere I go.  I walk in integrity and righteousness.  I do what is right in Your sight.  I work hard, and I expect to prosper in everything I do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Overcoming the Fear of Failure (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Today’s lesson covers an entire chapter (Gen 40).  One day Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker did something wrong and he had them thrown into prison.  Potiphar assigned Joseph to take care of them.  After they had been in jail for quite some time they both had a dream on the same night.  When Joseph arrived in the morning he asked them, “What’s wrong?  Why the long faces?”  They said, “We dreamed dreams and there’s no one to interpret them.”  Now, to our knowledge, Joseph had no experience in interpreting dreams.  However, his confidence in God caused him to attempt to receive in interpretation from the Lord.  He said, “Tell me the dreams.”

The cupbearer told his dream: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me with three branches on it: It budded, blossomed, and the clusters ripened into grapes.  I was holding Pharaoh’s cup; I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh.”  Joseph interpreted, “Within three days, Pharaoh will get you out of here and put you back to your old work – you’ll be giving Pharaoh his cup just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer.  Only remember me when things are going well with you again – tell Pharaoh about me and get me out of this place.”  The baker then took his shot and spoke up: “My dream went like this: I saw three wicker baskets on my head; the top basket had assorted pastries from the bakery and birds were picking at them from the basket on my head.”  Joseph’s interpretation, “Within three days Pharaoh will take off your head, impale you on a post, and the birds will pick your bones clean.”  Wow.  Just like that.  Joseph did not skip a beat.  He said what he believed God told him to say.

Three days later it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he threw a feast for all his servants.  He called for the cupbearer and baker.  He restored the cupbearer to his position and he had the baker killed.  Joseph’s interpretations were exact.  You would think that this would send chills up the cupbearer’s spine and that he would tell Pharaoh about Joseph; but like it oftentimes happens, he forgot all about Joseph.

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

1.  Joseph believed God to do something he had never done:  Joseph had no experience interpreting dreams, but he knew that with God all things are possible.  He believed God was able to give him the interpretation of the dreams.  The fact that he believed it was possible opened himself up to the possibility of it in his life.  That’s what this series is all about.  If you don’t believe it is possible, it will never be possible for you.  Expand your capacity to believe.

2.  Joseph stepped out in faith:  Once he believed it was possible, it was time to make it happen.  Getting past belief, he stepped out in faith and he said what he believed God had given him to say.  Belief opens you up to it, but you need faith for the execution.  He spoke in faith and you will need that same kind of faith when it comes time for you to get past the belief stage and step out into the faith stage – execution.

3.  Joseph took a chance:  Joseph took a shot with the cupbearer and although the cupbearer forgot all about Joseph, it was a chance worth taking.  Some times you are going to need to have the confidence to take chance.  They may not always work out, but never stop trying.  Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from stepping out in faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe You can give me the wisdom to operate in whatever capacity I need to operate in to succeed in every area of my life.  Even when it is something I have never done before, I simply trust You and I step out in faith.  My belief says it’s possible, my faith says it’s done.  I take chances, I overcome the fear of failure, and I walk by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Preparation will show up in your Performance (top of page)

(Gen 41:14 AMP)  Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. But Joseph [first] shaved himself, changed his clothes, and made himself presentable; then he came into Pharaoh’s presence.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” with the story of Joseph.  Joseph has been away from his family for several years by this point.  His last glimmer of hope seemed to come and go when God graced him to interpret a dream for Pharaoh’s cupbearer.  The cupbearer was supposed to mention Joseph to Pharaoh, but he forgot all about Joseph once he got back in his position.

Two years later Pharaoh himself had a dream: he was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven fat and healthy cows and they grazed among the reeds.  After them, seven ugly and skinny cows came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank.  All of a sudden, the skinny cows ate the fat cows.  Then Pharaoh woke up.  He fell asleep again and had a second dream: seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk.  After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted – thin and scorched by the east wind.  Then the thin heads of grain swallowed up the healthy, full heads.  Then Pharaoh woke up again.

In the morning Pharaoh’s mind was troubled so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt.  Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.  This is where the tide shifted for Joseph.  The chief cupbearer finally remembered Joseph.  He said to Pharaoh, “Now I remember what I was supposed to do.  When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard.  One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning.  A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant, and everything happened just as he said it would.  I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.”  This was Joseph’s big break.  Pharaoh sent for Joseph.  He was quickly brought out of the dungeon, but not before Joseph shaved and changed his clothes.  He made himself presentable before coming into the presence of the king.

So what does this mean to you today? Two things:

1.  Trust God’s timing:  If the cupbearer would have mentioned Joseph to Pharaoh when he said he would (two years earlier), nothing would have happened.  The timing was not right.  Although I am sure Joseph did not like waiting two years, it was in God’s timing for him to wait.  Know that God’s timing will not always line up with your clock, but it is always right!

2.  Face every opportunity prepared:  Although the people coming to get Joseph were in a hurry, Joseph did not leave without first shaving and changing his clothes.  He sensed that this was his opportunity for a breakthrough and he did not approach it unprepared.  Never face an opportunity unprepared.  Your preparation will show up in your performance.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I trust Your timing and I know that You give me opportunities at the right time.  When You do, I declare that I will face them prepared.  I will do my part – pray, study, read, learn, and dress the part; and I know You will do Your part by releasing the favor I need with the people I stand before.  My preparation shows up in my performance.  I come prepared and I am blessed for it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Walking in Fearless Confidence (top of page)

(Gen 41:16 NIV)  “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we saw how Joseph readied himself when he heard he had to stand before Pharaoh (the king).  He shaved, cleaned himself up, and put on a fresh set of clothes.  Although he was living as a prisoner he did not have to look like one when he came before the king.  He was expecting a breakthrough, although he did not know what the situation was about.  All he knew was that he was called for and he believed that God grace him to handle whatever the need would be.  See, when you walk with God and you have the capacity to believe that He will bless you; you face every situation with a fearless confidence.

I am sure that Joseph was mentally and spiritually preparing himself for the moment he stood before the king.  He must have thought of the dream God gave him and how this might have something to do with it.  He finally got before the king.  Pharaoh said, “I had a dream, yet no one can explain what it means. I am told that you can interpret dreams.”  Now, watch what Joseph says.  Without skipping a beat, without knowing what the dream was, without knowing the specifics of the assignment; he replied, “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”  Notice the verbiage.  He did not say, “God might,” or “God can;” he said, “God will!”  That is strong verbiage and it comes from a man that operates in strong faith.

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

1.  God wants maximum glory out of every situation:  God makes it clear in His Word that He does not want us to put any other gods before Him.  He expects His glory to go to Him and not any other gods.  The same applies to people.  God can and will bless you to do great things, but He expects the glory.  Never get in the way of God’s glory.  God can enable you to do anything in Him; but remember that He expects the credit.  Joseph was clear – he could not do it, but God could.  The good news is that God gets the glory, but you get the benefits.

2.  God wants you to operate in fearless confidence:  Some people today would have called Joseph cocky or maybe even arrogant.  Sometimes confidence is mistaken for arrogance, but God wants you to operate in confidence nonetheless.  Joseph carried a holy boldness in him.  He was standing before the king, but he knew that the King of Kings was with him.  So face every day and every situation with a fearless confidence and know that God will bless you for it.  When you walk in fearless confidence you are telling God that you trust Him to be bigger than your situation.  When you don’t you are making your situation bigger than your God.

3.  There is nothing too hard for God:  Joseph did not know what the dream was about, he did not know any of the specifics, but as far as he was concerned they did not matter.  No matter what – Joseph believed that God could handle it.  Remember, there are no impossibilities for God, but we must have the capacity to believe God to the point where the impossible becomes visible in our lives.  What are you facing this morning?  No matter how big it may be to you, it is a small thing to God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know You want maximum glory out of every situation.  I declare that I will always give You the glory for everything You do in my life.  I face every day and every situation with a fearless confidence.  I know You are bigger than anything I will ever face and as long I am able to believe You can do it, You will.  I expand my capacity to believe, I rely on Your ability over my own, and I expect great things today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Stepping out in the Realm of Faith (top of page)

(Gen 41:16 NIV)  “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God.”  Yesterday I stated that Joseph’s language was “strong” in this text.  This morning I feel led to camp on this text a little longer and to further explain what I meant.  When Joseph said that God would give him the ability to interpret the dream and that Pharaoh wouldhave the answer he desired, he was doing so as an expression of confidence in God – that is faith.  Joseph had graduated from belief to faith.  His experiences enabled him to expand his capacity to believe and he was now a man of faith.  Remember when the cupbearer and the baker each had a dream in the prison?  Well, God enabled Joseph to interpret those dreams, but back then Joseph asked to hear the dreams first.  He first wanted to know what he was working with.  By this point, some two years later, his confidence in God was so strong that he did not need to hear Pharaoh’s dream first.  He said – by faith – that the dream would be interpreted and that God would give him the ability to do it.  What was Joseph doing?  He was putting faith pressure on His faith-honoring God.  He stepped out past his ability and he was now in the realm of faith.  If God did not do it, it would not get done.  His total reliance was on God and His ability.

On yesterday’s Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast I heard Kenneth Copeland say, “To be in a place where you don’t need faith is one of the most dangerous places a Christian can be.”  Have you ever been there?  Have you ever stepped out in faith?  It is a sad commentary if you have not.  This is the way that God desires for us to live.  I have put more faith pressure on God this year than any other year in my Christian walk and God has responded more this year than any other.  Why?  Because I am doing what He expects me to do and that is to “walk by faith” (2 Cor 5:7).

I know it is uncomfortable to the carnal mind to walk by faith.  Faith speaks its desired end, without any sense realm evidence to back it up, and then acts like it’s already done.  Sure, people that are not faith walkers look at you strange when you talk and walk in faith.  The average Christian would have told Joseph to slow down a little bit.  They would have said things like, “Hold on Joseph, who are you to say what God is and isn’t going to do?  What gives you the right to say that God will give Pharaoh anything?  Maybe God will or maybe God won’t.  You just never know.”  That’s not faith, that’s unbelief speaking.  Unfortunately, I hear lots of Christians speak like that daily.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the reason you should expand your capacity to believe is so that you can operate in a greater level of faith.  Once you solidify your belief system you are poised to see every situation through the lens of faith, to speak the language of faith, and to live the life of faith.  Have you been speaking faith or doubt?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I look back over my Christian walk and I learn from my experiences in You.  My past experiences have enabled me to expand my capacity to believe.  My belief level has increased and I am more solid now in my faith.  I look at every situation through the lens of faith and I speak the language of faith.  I release my faith and I express my confidence in You.  If you don’t do back me up, it won’t get done.  My total trust and confidence is in You.  I know You will come through because my desire is for You to get the glory out of my life and living.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Crossing the Faith Line (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God,” but we do so while pausing from our current story with Joseph.  Last night was the first night of a three day healing conference at my church (Faith Outreach Christian Life Center).  My Pastor, Bishop Richard B. Peoples Sr., shared a message on how God’s Word is our medicine.  Scripture after scripture, he shared and ministered on how God wants us healed, healthy, and whole. He stated right up front that healings would take place through people simply hearing, believing, receiving, and standing on the Word of God.

What was he doing?  He was doing what Joseph did.  He was crossing the faith line.  Once you cross the faith line you get out there so far to where your total reliance is on God.  If God does not do what only He can do, then it will simply not get done.  He stood in faith with what he believed God had spoken to him, he shared the Word, the people responded, and several were healed.  While Bishop Peoples prayed for others the Lord gave him a Word of Knowledge and told him that someone was there with hearing loss in their left ear.  Once again, Bishop People crossed the faith line.  He shared what he believed he heard God say, he asked the person to come forward, the brother did, Bishop prayed, and there was evidence of healing immediately.  Bishop Peoples had the man walk towards the back of the church, asked him to completely cover his right ear, and asked me to address him from across the church.  Three times I spoke to him from three different distances – the last time was completely across a church full of people – and every time he responded to what I said; hearing from his left ear.

Personally I also received healing.  I am on a computer for most of the day.  Between ministry and military obligations I sit in front of a computer for many, many hours a day and recently my right hand started bothering me.  I went to the doctor and the doctor said that it was an early sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  The doctor gave me a brace to sleep with on my hand and said that it should help.  It was been a while, but my hand would continue to hurt off and on.  Last night it was in sharp pain.  For whatever reason I had not really released my faith for healing.  Last night I did.  I claimed my healing, in accordance with the Word of God, and I left it at that.  I forgot all about it and kept listening to the Word.  By the end of the service my hand was completely pain free and so it is this morning as I type this message.  Now, I know many believe that physical healing should be verified for a long period of time before any testimony is given, but I give my testimony by faith.  I know my hand is healed.

So what does this mean to you today? A lot.  I could teach several principles from this, but I was led to do something different this morning; I am led to pray for you.  I pray for you all the time, but I am led to pray for you in this message.

My prayer:  Father God, I am a man of faith and I surround myself with faith people.  I crossed the faith line for a baby and You responded to my faith with a son.  Last night Bishop Peoples crossed the faith line for the members of Faith Outreach and You responded with healings.  I cross the faith line this morning for the person reading this message.  I thank You Father for assigning them to me and me to them.  I get up every morning with them in mind.  You give me wisdom and revelation concerning what to share and when to share it so that they are impacted daily.  I now pray and release my faith that You would minister to whatever the burning desire of their heart may be.  I release my faith for protection for those who are deployed, for restoration for those who are astray, for reconciliation for those who have strained relationships, for healing for those who are sick, for wisdom for those who are seeking, for peace for those who are distressed, and for an overwhelming reality of Your love for those who feel disconnected from You.  I declare, by faith, that they are healed, healthy, blessed, and prosperous in every area of their lives.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Walking in Excellence with a Fearless Confidence (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  We left off where Joseph had crossed the faith line and declared that God would provide him interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams.  He said this without regard for the specifics.

Pharaoh then told the dreams.  He said, “I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile River.  I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass.  Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt.  The skinny cows ate the fat ones.  But you couldn’t tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before.  Right away, I woke up.  I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk.  The heads were full and ripe.  Then seven other heads of grain came up.  They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert.  These heads of grain swallowed the full ones.  I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.”

Once again, Joseph, operating under the power and revelation of God, did not skip a beat.  He said, “Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what will happen.  The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain.  The seven skinny cows and seven bad heads of grain also stand for seven years.  The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won’t be enough grain.  It is just as I said – God has shown what will happen.  For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, but that will be followed by seven years when there won’t be enough.  The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving.  The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty.  God has given you two dreams to let you know that this will definitely happen and it will happen soon.”  (see Genesis 41:17-32).

So what does this mean to you today? Two things:

1.  God can anoint you for whatever the need is:  When Joseph arrived at Potiphar’s house there was a need for proper administration.  God anointed Joseph, a 17 yr. old slave at the time, to administrate and he did it with excellence.  In the prison there was a need for an interpreter of dreams.  God anointed Joseph, the prisoner, to interpret with accuracy.  Finally, Pharaoh also had a need for an interpreter of dreams and God anointed Joseph to interpret with confidence.  No matter what the need is on your job, in your home, with your family, it does not matter.  Even if you have never done it before and you are venturing into new territory, simply trust God.  He can anoint you to meet any need that arises in your life.

2.  God expects you to operate in fearless confidence:  Joseph (the prisoner) stood before Pharaoh (the king), but Joseph did not sound like a prisoner when he spoke.  He spoke with the conviction that comes from your relationship with God.  When I stand before General Officers in the military I am NEVER intimidated.  There was a time when I was, but I now know who I am in Christ and my relationship equips me with boldness, confidence, and courage.  You can do the same.  Once you know who you are in God you will be able to face every challenge differently!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You in advance for anointing me, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, to meet every need in my life.  Whatever the challenge I face, I know You can empower me to meet it and to meet it in excellence.  You are a God of excellence and I walk in Your excellence with a fearless confidence.  I am not intimated by anyone.  I stand in the boldness and the confidence You enable me to walk in.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Faith sets God’s Plan in Motion (top of page)

(Gen 41:41 MSG)  So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: “I’m putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Last week we ended off with God enabling Joseph to interpret both of Pharaoh’s dreams.  Joseph did not stop with the interpretation of the dreams, but God also blessed him – without any prior preparation – to devise a plan for the entire nation.

Joseph said, “Pharaoh needs to look for a wise and experienced man and put him in charge of the country.  Then Pharaoh needs to appoint managers throughout the country of Egypt to organize it during the years of plenty.  Their job will be to collect all the food produced in the good years ahead and stockpile the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, storing it in the towns for food.  This grain will be held back to be used later during the seven years of famine that are coming on Egypt.  This way the country won’t be devastated by the famine.”  What do you think Pharaoh and his officials thought about the plan?  The liked it.  They had no time to do anything but like it.  This young man had just walked in there, spoke to the king with authority, interpreted both his dreams, and he even had a plan to deal with the situation.  All this from a prisoner/slave!

Then Pharaoh said to his officials, “Isn’t this the man we need?  Are we going to find anyone else who has God’s Spirit in him like this?”  See, Joseph was not afraid to say God would give him the answer and his boldness led to Pharaoh acknowledging God’s Spirit upon his life.  So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “You’re the man for us.  God has given you the inside story – no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom.  From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you.  Only as king will I be over you.”  So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: “I’m putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt.”  Joseph woke up that day a prisoner/slave and went to sleep as the second in command of the most powerful nation on the planet at the time.

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

1.  God can give you wisdom:  Pharaoh had access to some of the most educated people in the entire world at the time, but he would up saying that no one he had was as qualified as Joseph.  Joseph was operating in the wisdom of God.

2.  God can give you favor:  Pharaoh made his statements about Joseph after only knowing him for a few minutes.  Pharaoh did not make it to his position by making poor decisions.  He was obviously a wise man and a wise man would not have put Joseph in charge of the entire nation after just meeting him, but the favor of God will cause people to bless you without them even knowing why they are doing it.

3.  God requires your faith:  None of this would have happened if Joseph would have been scared.  Fear is an incapacitating force.  Fear cancels faith and faith cancels fear.  Joseph had to operate in faith (confidence in God) to set God’s plan in motion.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You said that if anyone lacked wisdom that they could ask it of You.  I ask, in faith, for Your wisdom concerning everything I must get done today.  You enable me to walk in Your supernatural insight.  You also give me favor with everyone I will encounter today.  You raise up people who use their power, their ability, and their influence to help me; even when they do not know why they are helping me.  I release my faith to bring these things to pass.  My faith is the trigger that sets Your plan in motion.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Both the Look and the License (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  After Pharaoh appointed Joseph over all of Egypt, he gave him his royal signet ring, he outfitted him in the best robes, and he put a gold chain around his neck.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s see what is meant in different ways:

1.  What this meant for Joseph:  The clothes and the chain helped Joseph look the part.  Joseph knew the importance of looking externally what you feel like internally; that is why he shaved and changed clothes before coming to the king.  He knew that a poor external appearance often stifles your ability to influence others because they immediately turn your off and tune you out.  In other words, it is important for your video to match your audio.  If you look like a pauper, you might have a royal message, but no one will ever take the time to hear it.  Appearance would no longer be an issue for Joseph.  He had access to the finest tailors in the land.  His ability to look the part also helped solidify the reality of the position.  If he had any doubts, they were all quenched when he put on that royal robe.  Furthermore, the ability to use the king’s official signet ring sealed the deal.  This was the official signet used to sign documents and to sanction business transactions.  Possessing this ring meant that Joseph had a legal right to operate in the authority of the king.  In one feel swoop he was given both the look and the license.  He now had natural authority to do what God had supernaturally equipped him to do.

2.  What this meant for the people:  The clothes made Joseph more presentable and possibly more acceptable to the people, but even if they found out about his past (prisoner and slave), it would not matter because he had the ring.  The signet ring meant that they had to submit to Joseph and his authority, whether they liked him or not.  Even Potiphar, the man that used to be Joseph’s master, was now his servant.

3.  What this means for you:  It means that God wants us to both look the part and to yield His authority.  The Bible says that God has made us royal priesthood and a holy nation (1st Peter 2:9).  Look like whom God had made you.  Take pride in your appearance and know that you are spiritual royalty.  Allow your external appearance to match your internal condition.  When you look the part it makes you feel better and it helps others to accept you quicker.  Don’t hinder your influence by looking like a pauper when God has made you a king.  Additionally, it means that God has given you the legal right to operate in the authority of the King of Kings.  You may not possess a ring, but God has given you His Holy Spirit and the authority to operate in the name of Jesus.  God gave you both power and authority.  The Holy Spirit gives you the power, the name of Jesus give you the authority.  I liken this to the badge and the gun issued to a police officer.  The badge gives him the authority and the gun gives him the power.  God has given you both the power and the authority to operate as His representative in the earth.  He wants you to look like it, walk like it, talk like it, and live like it.  Jesus put down His righteousness and clothed Himself in your sin, so that you could put down your sin and clothe yourself in His righteousness.  If you think the king’s robe did something for Joseph, see what clothing yourself in the righteousness of Jesus can do for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for clothing me in Your righteousness.  I internalize the reality of Your royalty in my life and I visualize myself walking in Your authority and Your power.  I declare that I will look like the royalty You have made me and I will walk in the authority made available to me in the name of Jesus.  Nothing shall harm me because of Your authority and Your power.  This reality changes my perspective of myself and it helps solidify my expectation for greatness today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God is a King, not a President (top of page)

(Gen 41:42 MSG)  Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and slipped it on Joseph’s hand. He outfitted him in robes of the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  I felt led to stay with the same verse this morning to mention why Pharaoh was able to do what he did and how it applies to us.

Pharaoh was a king and not an elected official.  Egypt was under a monarchy and not a democracy.  This is very important because God operates under kingdom principles and not democratic ones.  Those of us who are accustomed to a democracy sometimes find it hard to relate to kingdom concepts.  Let’s use our presidential office as the example of the text.  Even if God gave you supernatural favor with President Bush, he could not do what Pharaoh did with Joseph.  If our President decided to place a prisoner in charge of the nation it would be plastered all over world news and the newly appointed prisoner/president would be removed through our nations’ system of checks and balances.  A president does not have supreme power or overall authority.  Their power is limited to the system of government.  A king, on the other hand, is not elected.  A king is either born into power (blood) or takes the position as a result of conquering a nation (force).  A king rules with complete and total authority.  A king is not subject to checks or balances.  A king reigns over his kingdom and his word is final.

Pharaoh was a king.  His earthly authority gave him the legal right to do what he did with Joseph in his kingdom. Likewise, God is a King.  As a matter of fact, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  This means that God is not subject to man.  He is the complete ruler of all things in His kingdom.  He has no checks or balances.  So He does not have to check with anyone before He promotes you.  He does not have to get clearance to increase you.  God can turn your life around in one day, with one Word, just like Pharaoh did with Joseph.

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

1.  One Word from God can turn any hopeless situation around.

2.  There is nothing too hard for God, because He has complete authority in His Kingdom (the universe).

3.  King Jehovah is limitless.

4.  We limit God’s operation in our lives with our limited capacity to believe.

5.  Once we remove the limits off of our limitless God, we free Him up to do whatever He desires to do with and for us.

6.  When you are dealing with a king you must open yourself up to the possibilities made available to you through the power of the throne.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I better realize Your position and Your power.  I better grasp the reality of Your limitlessness.  I now expand my capacity to believe when dealing with You.  You are the God of unlimited possibilities.  There are no impossibilities in You.  I come to You with great expectations.  There is absolutely nothing that You cannot do in my life.  I take the limits off of my limitless God, I dream big dreams, and I expect that You will enable me to bring them to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Perseverance in the Process (top of page)

(Gen 41:46 MSG)  Joseph was thirty years old when he went to work for Pharaoh the king of Egypt. As soon as Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he began his work in Egypt.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After giving Joseph his signet ring, Pharaoh put Joseph in the chariot reserved for the second in command and took him for a ride.  As they rode around it was evident that the favor of God resting upon Joseph was not limited to the throne.  The favor of God upon his life spilled over to the people and they shouted for Joseph.  If that was not good enough, Pharaoh reiterated Joseph’s position by telling him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one in Egypt will make a single move without your stamp of approval.”  To further incorporate Joseph into the Egyptian culture Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah.  Now, you might think that this could be a bad thing, but this name meant “God Speaks and He Lives.”  This meant that Joseph would now be a walking talking billboard for God.  Pharaoh also gave him an Egyptian wife, Asenath.  This is where we get to our text.  Joseph was 30 yrs. old when this happened and he immediately got to work.

There are several things worth highlighting from this passage, but one that blaringly sticks out to me this morning is the fact that he was 30 yrs. old when this happened.  This is significant because he was only 17 yrs. old back in chapter 37 when he received his dream.  Although it has taken me a little over three weeks of messages to get us from chapter 37 to chapter 41, it is easy to overlook the fact that these four chapters cover a span of 13 years.  It would be at least another seven years before Joseph’s brothers would sit under Joseph and the dream would finally come to pass.  This means that the space between the promise and the performance in this case was more than 20 years.

This reminds me of one of the laws John Maxwell teaches in his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”  The law I am reminded of is the third; “The Law of Process.”  The law of process says that leadership develops daily, but not in a day.  This law shows that what matters most is what you do over the long haul.  Success in life requires a lifetime of perseverance and dedication.  If you want to see how someone becomes a champion you should look at their daily routine.  What you consistently do is what you eventually become.  Joseph was just a dreamer at 17, but by the time Pharaoh appointed him governor of Egypt – 13 years later – he had developed his relationship with God, he knew how to hear from God, he had a strong work ethic, and he knew God would provide the blessing if he provided the work.  This is evident because he started working as soon as he left Pharaoh’s presence.  That is a sign of maturity.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there is often a space between the promise of God and the performance of the same promise.  In that space God requires you to remain diligent, to develop perseverance, to operate in integrity, and to work hard.  You are being developed daily, but you will not be developed in a day!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know You have provided me promises and I have faith that those promises will become a reality in my life.  I now declare that I will add work to my faith.  I remain consistent, diligent, and faithful in the space between the promise and the performance.  I know I am being developed daily and I know my development will not be complete in one day.  Over time I become the person You desire for me to be.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God can bless Your Work! (top of page)

(Gen 41:48 MSG)  Joseph gathered up the food of the seven good years in Egypt and stored the food in cities. In each city he stockpiled surplus from the surrounding fields.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Joseph was in position, he was favored of God, and he got to work.  For the next seven years it was just as God had revealed to Joseph; a time of abundance.  The land produced bumper crops and Joseph devised a plan to store a portion of the crops in strategically designed sites.  Instead of building the national reserve in one location, which would later require and elaborate distribution system, Joseph targeted specific cities throughout the nation that could serve as local distribution points during the years of famine.  These cities collected a portion of the surplus from the surrounding fields and they prepared themselves for the time to come.  The wisdom of God upon Joseph’s life would make Pharaoh and Egypt abundantly prosperous during the time where other nations were unprepared.

What is interesting to note is the blessing of God was operating in Joseph’s life for his work.  When you first read that last sentence you don’t think much of it, but let me explain.  Many believers today think of God, His blessing, and His favor to be for things like: church, Bible study, charitable projects, and etc.  They think God’s wisdom is only released for preachers or teachers that need to interpret Bible scriptures for sermons or classes.  Or they think of God’s favor upon them for things like being an usher, singing in the choir, or helping out in the church.  God is much bigger than that.  Unfortunately, I believe many believers limit their faith to Sunday mornings.  Church is where you should go to learn how to live by faith – Daily!  That’s why this series is about expanding your capacity to believe.  God blessed Abraham with material wealth and a physical child at the point where he and his wife were past the child bearing stage.  God blessed Isaac to reap a hundred fold harvest on his seed sown, in one year, in the midst of a famine.  God blessed Jacob to make more money in one year, once he started operating by faith, than he had made in the previous 20 years working for Laban.  God blessed Joseph to prosper as a slave and as a prisoner.  He was living better as a slave than many live today as free men.  God then gave Joseph favor with Pharaoh so that he was elevated to second in command in all of Egypt.  With the favor of God upon his life, Joseph made Pharaoh and Egypt exceeding wealthy.  None of the aforementioned has anything to do with signing hymns or wearing choir robes.  This was God dealing with real people, in the real world, with real issues, and a real blessing.  This is the blessing of Abraham and it is now ours through Christ Jesus (Gal 3:29).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not limit your faith to Sunday mornings.  God can bless your work and every area of your life.  If you are an engineer God can give you wisdom to design the most complex systems in your field.  If you are a doctor God can give you wisdom to diagnose problems that book knowledge did not teach you.  If you are a military commander God can give you wisdom to lead and protection for the led.  If you are a homemaker God can give you wisdom to nurture and train your children in the way of righteousness.  Whatever you do, with God, you can do it better!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your favor and wisdom operating in me.  I apply my belief and faith to every area of my life.  I do not limit You to the church experience.  Your wisdom and favor operate in my work, family, body, finances, and everything I do.  Whatever I do, You enable me to do it better!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Letting Go to Lay Hold! (top of page)

(Gen 41:52 MSG)  He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  We ended off last week with Joseph’s plan in action.  God gave him the wisdom to establish a decentralized network of storage locations which would later serve as distribution centers.  The Bible says that there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.  It was during this time – the seven years of plenty – that God prospered Joseph in his personal life.  Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began.  They named their first son Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.”  His second son was named Ephraim, which means both “Double prosperity,” and “God has made me a success in the land where I suffered.”

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

1.  Personal prosperity is also God’s will:  First of all, let me say that prosperity is not limited to money, but it does not exclude it either.  What good is money if your family is failing apart or your children are running astray?  God wants us to prosper in every area of our lives.  I point out the fact that God prospered Joseph in his personal life, because we have already covered the fact that God prospered his work.  Many Christians believe a Pastor, for instance, will be prospered of God to oversee all the church affairs, to preach and teach, and to minister to the needs of the members of the congregation; but the same people have a problem with the Pastor prospering personally.  The same God that will bless you to fulfill your assignment at work will bless you to enjoy a thriving personal life.  Prosperity is having a great marriage, being a great parent, with great kids, enjoying a long and prosperous life.  Egypt was being blessed because of Joseph, there was nothing wrong with Joseph enjoying the blessing as well.

2.  Letting go:  Joseph had been through a lot.  He was betrayed by his own blood, was made to live as a slave, and spent several years in prison.  Even though he had the favor of God upon his life he had suffered a great deal.  He named his first child Manasseh as a testimony of the fact that God had helped him forget his troubles and let go of his past.  Whether our past was good or bad, we cannot live there.  There comes a time where we have to let go of the past if we are to move forward.  These four words have been a blessing to me over the years, especially when I had a challenging day, they are, “Yesterday ended last night!”

3.  Laying hold:  Once you let go of your past you are free to lay hold of your future.  Joseph had to have a “Manasseh” experience so he could experience Ephraim.  Ephraim means double prosperity and he was a testimony of the goodness of God in his land of sorrow.  Ephraim is a reminder that God can use the same place that used to be a place of sorrow and turn it around for you.  He can cause your place of sorrow to become your place of blessing, but you must first be willing to let go so you can lay hold.  What are you holding on to this morning that you need to let go of?  Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, etc., will keep you from laying hold of God’s best!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know it is Your will for me to prosper in every area of my life.  I let go of bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and pain.  I am free to move forward and to lay hold of Your best for my life.  I am physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, professionally, relationally, socially, and financially blessed.  I let go to lay hold and I walk in Your best.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God did not bring You this far to Fail (top of page)

(Gen 41:55 CEV)  When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we discussed how Joseph enjoyed the seven years of plenty and prospered.  Well, the seven years of plenty came to an end.  The seven years of famine began and just as Joseph had said, there was not enough food in other countries.  Of course, because of God’s revelation and Joseph’s planning, there was an abundance of grain pre-positioned all over Egypt.  The question was, was it enough?  Joseph had done what God told him to do.  He operated in Godly wisdom, he prepared the nation for the famine, and he held reserves of grain throughout a decentralized distribution network.  This is where Joseph’s belief system had to be strong and steadfast.  When the people started asking the king for food he directed them to Joseph.  Pharaoh said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”

Not only did Joseph had to trust God for the plan, but he now had to trust God for the execution phase.  All the pressure was on him.  The people were expecting Joseph to exercise the same wisdom during the years of famine that he did during the years of plenty.  As a matter of fact, the stakes were higher.  A mistake made during the years of plenty could go unnoticed.  A mistake made during the years of famine would mean that people would starve to death.  Joseph had to know how much grain to sell and at what intervals to sell it.  He also had to balance the selling of grain between both the Egyptians and those from other countries who would soon be arriving with starving people. Everything was riding on Joseph.  The survival of millions of people would depend on the decisions of a 37 yr. old ex-prisoner and ex-slave.  This was a lot to deal with.  The average person could buckle under the pressure, but Joseph was no average person.  He was God’s chosen man for God’s assigned time.  God had given him the position and God would give him the wisdom.  If Joseph ever became overwhelmed he could simply remind God that He was the one that elevated him there in the first-place.  If God had kept him through the pit, Potiphar, and prison phases of his life, He would also keep him through the palace phase.  God had not brought him this far to fail.

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

1.  Don’t carry care, cast care.  Peter said, “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him” (1st Peter 5:7 CEV).  It is not God’s will for you to walk around stressed out and frustrated.  Cast your care on Him and live in a stress-free environment every day.

2.  If it’s God’s will, then it’s God’s bill! Wherever He leads, He’ll feed; wherever He guides, He provides.

3.  Trust God.  Think back over your life.  The same God that brought you to the point where you are today, the same God that kept you time after time, the same God that made a way when there seemed to be no way, is the same that  will see you through whatever you are going through.  When you don’t trust God you are telling him that your problem is bigger than your God.  Will you trust Him today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I don’t carry care, I cast care.  I cast all my cares upon You, for You care for me.  I declare that I will leave this computer screen stress free.  I release the stress and the pressures of my current responsibilities to You.  I know I can handle everything I must do today because You have blessed me to be in the position that I am in.  This is Your will, so I know it is Your bill.  You did not bring me this far to fail.  I trust You.  My God is bigger than my problems.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Switching Systems (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we discussed how the pressure was on Joseph to execute and how he continued to operate in the wisdom God had given him for the assignment.  Whenever the pressure is on us we should remember to release that pressure to the one that will trade our pressure for His power – the Most High God!

The famine became very bad everywhere.  Joseph ordered the storehouses to be opened and he began selling grain to the Egyptians.  As expected, soon people from all over the world came to Egypt (Gen 41:57).  Every country was in the famine, but not every country was affected.  Egypt had received wisdom from God and this wisdom enabled Egypt to be the only country in the world to experience abundance in the midst of the famine.  I say abundance, because they were able to sell their reserves to their citizens and to other countries during the time of famine; eventually making Egypt the richest country in the world.  How did this happen?  It happened because Pharaoh was willing to switch systems.  He had a system he normally relied on; a system that included sorcerers, soothsayers, and magicians.  These people were his counsel.  Whenever he needed wisdom and guidance he sought them out.  However, when they could not interpret his dreams it opened a door for Joseph to step in.  Joseph came in the name of God and interpreted the dreams.  This is when Pharaoh had a choice to make.  He could have ignored Joseph’s God and sent him back to prison or he could have accepted what God had said through Joseph.  Accepting Joseph meant that he would be switching systems.  He would no longer rely on his former advisors, those who used witchcraft to get answers.  Pharaoh made his choice, he switched systems, and his nation prospered because of it.

Abram was 75 yrs. old when God called him.  He was accustomed to living a certain way.  He lived amongst people who worshipped many gods.  Abram had a choice to make.  He could either continue living with his family and in the midst of idol worship or he could leave everything he knew, to go to a place he had never been, to serve a single and invisible God.  Abram made his choice, he switched systems and the rest is history.  Jacob worked for Laban for 20 years.  Laban took advantage of Jacob and changed his wages 10 times over that time span.  Jacob received a dream from God about spotted and speckled animals.  He had a choice to make.  He could either continue working for a paycheck under Laban or he could take a leap of faith to a system of working for strange and rare animals.  Jacob made his choice.  He switched systems and made more money in the 21st year than he had made in the previous 20 combined.

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

1.  When you switch systems your total reliance is on God.

2.  When you switch systems conditions that cripple others can seemingly go unnoticed to you.

3.  When you switch systems God can cause you to prosper while everyone around you is in a famine.

4.  When you switch systems God expects you to help those affected by the conditions that don’t affect you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I switch systems this morning.  I expand my capacity to believe You to the point where my total reliance and confidence is in You.  You are my source and my supply.  You protect me from events that may cripple others and as You do, I declare that I will use my strength to be a blessing and not a burden.  Use me as light in a dark, dying, and decaying world.  Bless me to be a blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Applying Your Faith to Your Famine (top of page)

(Gen 42:1 MSG)  When Jacob learned that there was food in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you sit around here and look at one another?

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph; but we will be dealing with his family in the text.  As discussed yesterday, the famine had started and starving people were coming to Egypt from all over the world.  Because of the wisdom of God operating through Joseph, Egypt was the only nation that thrived in the midst of a universal famine.  So where did this leave Jacob and his family.  20 years earlier we know that Jacob was flourishing and all that he touched prospered.  We cannot assume that the departure of Joseph removed the blessing of Abraham from Jacob and his family.  They were still blessed, but like everyone else, they were affected by the famine.  It is interesting to note that Abraham had to deal with a famine – he dealt with it by going down to Egypt.  Abraham’s son Isaac had to deal with a famine – he dealt with it by sowing a seed in the midst of the famine and he reaped a hundred-fold harvest in the same year.  Isaac’s son Jacob now had to deal with a famine.  Like his father and his grandfather, he would not take it lying down.  He knew that there were some people who would simply give up on life, take the famine lying down, and just roll over and die.  Doing nothing in the midst of a famine is sure death.  A famine is nothing more than a dry season.  We all face dry seasons, but we should know that we don’t have to face them lying down.  We can apply our faith to our famine and God can cause us to prosper, even when everyone else is starving.

Jacob believed God for greatness and he was a man of faith.  He knew his God was bigger than this famine.  What did he do?  He sought God for an answer.  He wanted to know what to do.  Our text says that when he “learned” that there was food in Egypt he was ready to do something about it.  We are not sure how he learned that there was food in Egypt; but the point is that he came into the knowledge of a possible answer to his problem.  Many come into the knowledge of an answer to their problem, but they fail to do anything about it, because they are simply too lazy.  His boys were clueless.  They were sitting around looking at one another.  Jacob snapped them out of the complacency and directed them to action.  He said, (v.2) “I’ve heard that there is food in Egypt.  Go down there and buy some so that we can survive and not starve to death.”

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

1.  You have a say in how you face your famine (dry season).  Some did nothing and starved to death.  God is not going to make you put your faith in action.  He will help you get the information, but you have to decide to do something about it.

2.  Your outlook will determine your outcome.  Jacob was looking for an answer.  He had a Godly expectation that this famine would not be his end.  He refused to roll over and die.

3.  Use what you have to get what you don’t.  You always have something left.  Jacob did not have food, but he had money.  He sent his boys to use the money to get food.  What do you have left?  God can use your leftovers to get you out of your situation.  Don’t focus on what you don’t have and be determined to use what you do.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I apply my faith to my famine.  I refuse to roll over and die.  I will not sit by and allow my family to be affected by a dry season.  I seek Your wisdom and Your revelation.  As You reveal to me what I should do, I declare by faith, that I will leap out into action.  Faith is an action word and I act by faith towards my expected end.  I keep the proper perspective, I use what I have, and I expect to come out victorious!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Overcoming Fear (top of page)

(Gen 42:4 MSG)  But Jacob did not send Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph, with emphasis on his father Jacob.  Jacob knew it was time to send the boys to Egypt to buy grain.  It had been 20 years since 10 of his boys sold Joseph into slavery, desecrated his coat of many colors, and lied saying Joseph was dead.  As far as he knew, he had lost his favorite son.  Joseph was one of two boys born to Rachel.  Rachel was Jacob’s first and strongest love.  She was the apple of his eye.  He loved Rachel so much that he worked 14 years to marry her.  He loved her more than his other wives.  She was able to give him two boys, one of which he thought was dead.  The other was Benjamin, his youngest.  Benjamin was also special in another way.  Rachel – the woman who had his heart – died while giving birth to Benjamin.  Joseph being dead (as far as he knew), meant hat Benjamin was his only living reminder of Rachel.  Needless to say, Benjamin held a special place in his heart.

Now that you have the background, let me share with you what I consider a sad commentary.  Jacob was willing to send 10 of his 11 boys to Egypt.  He did not send Benjamin.  Not because he wanted someone to stay home and help him around the house.  Not because he needed Benjamin to watch over the sheep.  Not because Benjamin was working on a major project.  No, Jacob refused to send Benjamin because he was afraid something might happen to him.  Fear is an incapacitating force.  Fear will keep you from doing what you need to do, when you need to do it.  Jacob was a man of faith, but Jacob also had to deal with this fear.  Jacob was the grandson of Abraham and was to be the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, but Jacob was afraid.

Fear is a perverted form of faith.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and in His Word.  Fear is an expression of confidence in satan and in his word.  Example: God says that He has given His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  The enemy says that life in your neighborhood is dangerous.  Now, you have two “words” operating in your life.  If you express confidence in the Word from God that is called faith and your faith will cancel out any fear.  You will leave your house with a fearless confidence that God will protect you.  If you express confidence in the word from satan, that is called fear and your fear will cancel out any faith.  You will stay home, afraid of your environment, and you will never do what you need to do.

Do the recent failed terrorist attempts, I feel led to close out this message with a prayer for you; instead of our normal confession.  The goal of a terrorist is to strike terror in your heart.  This is the work of satan.  Remember, faith cancels fear.

Prayer:  Lord God, I pray for the person reading this email.  You have assigned them to me and me to them.  You give me specific Words to share with them daily.  It is no coincidence that I came to this text on this day in this series.  This is a Word from You.  I speak to their spirit and I declare that they are strong in You and in Your might.  Their faith cancels their fear.  You are for them and You are more than the entire world against them.  I declare what You have already decreed.  They will not be harmed, no matter what happens around them, it will not happen to them.  No evil shall befall them.  Your angels are encamped round about them and they walk in supernatural protection.  I also pray for the capture of Usama Bin Laden and the destruction of the Al-Queda network.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God is a God of Progression not Regression (top of page)

(Gen 42:8 MSG)  Joseph knew who they were, but they didn’t know who he was.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Jacob held on to Benjamin and sent his remaining 10 sons to Egypt to purchase food.  The 10 men traveled with people from all over the world who were coming to Egypt during the famine.  By this point Joseph’s God-given plan was in full-swing and he was overseeing the selling of the grain.  When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they treated him with honor, bowing down to him.  Joseph immediately recognized them.  He chose to have a little fun with them and did not reveal himself immediately.  He spoke to them as strangers.  Joseph asked, “Where do you come from?”  They replied, “From Canaan.  We’ve come to buy food.”  This is where we come to our text and it reiterates the obvious at this point in the passage.  It says, “Joseph knew who they were, but they didn’t know who he was.”

Joseph was unrecognizable to them.  Now, I am sure that some psychologists could attribute this to mental blindness – a conditional where the mind blocks out the possibility of something, therefore visually blinding you to its presence, even when it’s right in front of you.  Or a super-spiritual person might say that God blinded them from recognizing Joseph, but the text does not lend itself to that interpretation either.  I simply believe that Joseph did not look the same way that he looked 20 years earlier.  He would have been dressed in fine Egyptian clothing and would have been surrounded by the best that money could buy.  His brothers left him as a slave and would have never expected him to be the man in charge of the most precious commodity in this critical time in their lives.  What had Joseph done?  He had prospered.  He had progressed.  He had moved forward.  He was not the same person he was 20 years earlier and his progression made him different.

I go back to Brooklyn from time to time and I sometimes visit by old block.  It is sad but I still find the same people, on the same corner, doing the same thing (nothing), 16 years after I left.  I easily recognize them, but they sometimes don’t recognize me.  I have to identify myself to them because I somehow – to them – look different.

My question for you is: are you progressing?  Are you the same person you were 10 years ago, 5 years ago?  Let me clarify.  I know you are the same person, in a physical sense, but are you the same person spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc.?  Have you progressed or are you still in the same place?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we serve a God of progression and not regression.  The writer of Hebrews said, “By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said.  You need milk instead of solid food” (5:12).  The point being that you should constantly be progressing in God.  Progression in God will cause progression in life.  Expand your capacity to believe and seek to progress in every area of your life – your spiritual walk, marriage, career, family, etc.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know You are a God of progression and not regression or stagnation.  I declare, by faith, that I will not be at the same point that I am today next year.  I will be better.  Every year I progress spiritually and my spiritual progression promotes progress in every area of my life.  I am so blessed that people from my past may not initially recognize me, because Your blessing upon my life is so outwardly evident.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Refuse to Abort Your Dream! (top of page)

(Gen 42:9 MSG)  And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  At this point in the story the 10 brothers that betrayed Joseph were in his presence.  Since he was the governor (the sultan), they bowed before him with their faces to the ground.  The scene must have jogged Joseph’s memory of his two dreams.  Our text says that he remembered the dreams which he dreamed.  The scene before him was a completion of the first.  In this first dream Joseph was out in a field with these 10 brothers gathering bundles of wheat when, all of a sudden, Joseph’s bundle stood straight up and their bundles circled around his and bowed down (Gen 37:7).  When Joseph told his brothers about the dream, it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, causing them to hate him deeply.

20 years later, Joseph looks down at the men that betrayed him, threw him in a pit, and sold him as a slave.  He sees their faces to the ground and he remembers the dream.  We will get into the long goose chase that he sends them on after this, but for this morning I want to focus on the fact that he remembered the dream.  More than half his life had expired between the time of the dream and the completion, but he still remembered.  He held on to that God-given dream and he believed that some day it would come to pass.

Are you a dreamer?  Do you have a God-given dream?  What dream has yet to come to pass in your life?  No matter how long it takes between the promise and the performance, never give up on your dream.  I grew up in a neighborhood full of broken homes and broken dreams.  Many talked of greatness, but most gave up on their dreams and buckled under the pressure of the harsh environment.  Joseph too had been through a great deal.  You would think that he would have been a candidate for giving up on his dream.  You would have thought that the pit and the prison would have made him abort his destiny, but true men and women of God have the ability to endure the pit and prison phases of their lives while still holding on to their dream!  Do you remember your dream?  Are you still expecting it to come to pass?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you refuse to abort your God-given dream, then God will refuse every attempt of the enemy to destroy it.  No matter how long it takes, hold on to your dream.  Keep it before God in prayer.  Keep believing that it will come to pass.  One day you will have a Joseph-like experience; you will look out and realize that your dream is manifested before your eyes.  Allow your dream to be the fuel in your fire!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  My dream is the fuel in my fire.  I refuse to abort my dream and my destiny.  I endure the pit and the prison phases of my life and I know that I will eventually make it to the palace phase.  I remind You of my dream this morning and by reminding You, I remind myself that it will come to pass.  I dream big dreams and I put the action and faith behind them to bring them to pass.  Thank You Father for being the Lord of my dream!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Your Actions Matter (top of page)

(Gen 42:13 CEV)  But they explained, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we left off with Joseph accusing his brothers of being spies.  They adamantly refuted the claim and explained that they were honest men from the same family.  It is unlikely that a father would send 10 of his sons to spy out another country.  But Joseph insisted that they were spies.  This is when they let out the information he was probably after.  They said, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers.  The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”  This let Joseph know that his father and little brother were still alive.  This also meant that the second dream could come to pass.  The fulfillment of the second dream included his father and little brother (Gen 37:9).  Why is this important?  Because it was reassurance to Joseph that both dreams would come to pass.  All Joseph needed to do at this point was not to do anything that would jeopardize the completion of the second dream.

What is important to notice is that Joseph was not eager to jump the gun.  He was not in a hurry to expose himself.  I am sure he was very emotional when he first saw his brothers.  The test of his character would now be proven within the internal jury of his soul.  If he still harbored resentment and hatred towards his brothers it would come out or if he had truly developed into a man of God he would have the ability to love them in spite of their treatment of him.  Joseph had the power to had them all executed, but it is clear that Joseph was more interested in seeing the promises of God manifested in his life.  Had he operated in hatred and bitterness and had his brothers killed he would have cancelled out the manifestation of the second dream.  This is very important.  If he did not have his emotions under control he could have forfeited God’s best with just a few seconds of anger.

Many today forfeit God’s best for just a few seconds of uncontrolled action.  Some lose their families over a few seconds of uncontrolled passion.  Others lose their careers over a few seconds of uncontrolled anger.  The point is that Joseph remained in control of himself (spirit, soul, and body), he remained in character, and he calmly expected the manifestation of the second dream.

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

1.  God wants to fulfill every promise He has made in your life.

2.  Your expectation should be to see God’s best in every area of your life.

3.  Discipline is the ability to make the decisions that will take you towards and expected end.

4.  Your decisions will either bring you closer to or further from God’s best.

5.  If you do not master your emotions you can abort God’s best with just a few minutes of uncontrolled action.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for enabling me to operate in integrity.  Being a person of integrity means that I am fully integrated – spirit, soul, and body.  I master my emotions and I make decisions that take me towards Your best in my life.  I expect every promise to be manifested and I expect Your best.  This day and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Passing the Test, the Second Time Around (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we left off with Joseph realizing that his second dream was still alive and his brothers claiming not to be spies.  Joseph insisted that they were spies and said, “This is how I’ll test you.  As Pharaoh lives, you’re not going to leave this place until your younger brother comes here.”  The younger brother he spoke of was Benjamin.  Benjamin was the only brother Joseph had from his mother.  The brothers standing before him came from other mothers.  Benjamin held a special place in his heart and he knew that Benjamin would also hold a special place in his father’s heart.  Joseph and Benjamin were born from Rachel and Rachel was Jacob’s first love.  This was a test to see if the 10 brothers hated Benjamin as much as they had hated Joseph some 20 years earlier.  This test was to check their character and their progress.

Joseph had them thrown in jail for three days to think about it.  After three days he came to them and said, “Do this and you’ll live.  I’m a God-fearing man.”  This was motivation for the brothers.  Joseph was letting them know that he served the same God they did – the only one true God.  This is a reminder to all of us that even when we find ourselves in trouble, God is still in control!  Joseph went on to say, “If you’re as honest as you say you are, one of your brothers will stay here in jail while the rest of you take the food back to your hungry families.  But you have to bring your youngest brother back to me, confirming the truth of your speech – and not one of you will die.”  They agreed.  They really did not have many options.  Then they started talking among themselves saying, “Now we’re paying for what we did to our brother – we saw how terrified he was when he was begging us for mercy.  We wouldn’t listen to him and now we’re the ones in trouble” (see Genesis 42:14-21).

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

1.  You will reap what you sow:  There are several scriptures that attest to this fact.  No matter how long it takes, you will reap what you sow.  That is good news for those of us who sow godly deeds, but bad news for those who sow wicked deeds.  It took 20 years, but what they did came back on them.  So if you do not like what you are reaping, check your seed!  Sow righteousness and you will reap the same.

2.  God can give you favor in the midst of a trying situation:  Joseph did not have to let them know that he served Jehovah, but by doing so it gave them a glimmer of hope in a dark situation.  Believe God, keep your hope alive, and remain expectant, no matter how hopeless the situation seems.  God can turn any hopeless situation around.

3.  Your character will be tested:  The brothers were being tested to see if they still had the same flawed character they possessed 20 years earlier.  The only way to know if you are growing is to be tested.  If you are growing in Christ you should expect to be tested.  The test will expose your progress or your lack thereof.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that You are the Lord of the Harvest and that I will reap whatever I sow.  I therefore declare that I sow love, peace, mercy, goodness, kindness, benevolence, and etc.  I sow righteousness and I reap the same.  I am no longer the person I used to be.  If tested, the test will prove that my character has developed to emulate the character of Christ.  I remain expectant in every situation and I look for the best out of it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Look past the Pain and focus on the Promise (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we left off with the brothers realizing that they were reaping what they had sown.  Reuben continued in that vein and said, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t hurt the boy’? But no, you wouldn’t listen.  And now we’re paying for his murder.”  Little did they know that Joseph was standing right before them, listening to the entire conversation.  They spoke freely in front of him, because they thought he could not understand their language.  See, he remained in character the entire time and spoke to them through a translator.

So think about Joseph for a minute.  The brothers that had sold him into slavery and left him to die were standing before him.  He was no longer the kid brother with no power against them.  The tables were now turned.  He had the power and he had armed killers at his disposal.  One word and all 10 brothers could be assassinated.  No doubt their conversation brought back distant memories of his horrible experience in the pit and unpleasant experiences in prison.  20 years of emotion flooded through his body.  It was too much to handle.  He stepped away for a few moments; he broke down, and cried.  The hurt and the pain were real to him again.  This is a good point in the story to bring out the fact that being a Christian does not exonerate us from painful situations.  I have endured my fair share of pain; but the good news is that God gives us the ability to overcome the pain, to get back up again, and to move forward by faith! Joseph did just that.  He regained his composure, he looked past the pain, and he focused on the promise of God (the dreams).  His focus was what enabled him to operate in compassion and forgiveness, instead of resentment and revenge.

He still had a plan to complete.  He wanted to see Benjamin and he wanted the second dream to be fulfilled.  He continued to act out his plan, in character, and had Simeon arrested while the rest of the brothers watched (see Genesis 42:22-24).

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

1.  Forgiveness is a choice:  Yes, God commands us in His Word to operate in love and to forgive; but we are free moral agents and we still have to “choose” to do so.  This also means that hatred is a choice.  Make the right decisions.  Choose to operate in love, compassion, and forgiveness; not hatred, resentment, and pain.  Joseph was blessed, but it was partly because he had the ability to forgive.

2.  The promise can get us past the pain:  Your outlook will often determine your outcome.  Joseph was able to keep the proper perspective.  He focused on the promise and his focus enabled him to look past the pain.  If you focus on the pain you will never fulfill the promises of God in your life.  Keep the proper perspective.

3.  Keep Going:  One of the most common characteristics of champions is their ability to keep going.  They just simply never give up.  Joseph could have given up in the pit, in Potiphar’s house, in prison, or during this resurrection of pain; but Joseph refused to quit.  He simply kept going and we must do the same!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have the ability to look past the pain in my life and to focus on Your promises.  My outlook helps shape my outcome.  I have the proper focus and it enables me to walk in Your love, compassion, and forgiveness.  You are love.  You live in me.  You enable me to love with Your love and to walk in Your peace while I do it.  Your love empowers me to keep on going!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Both Kings and Priests (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Joseph’s grace continued, he ordered that his brother’s sacks be filled with grain, that their money be put back, and that they be given rations for the road.  The brothers loaded up and set off.  They stopped for the night and realized that their money was in the bag.  They were puzzled – and frightened.  They asked each other, “What’s God doing to us?”  They did not know that God was showing them favor through Joseph.  Joseph could do that because he was in charge.  When they got back to Canaan they told their father Jacob everything that had happened.  They said,“The man, who is the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country” (see Genesis 42:25-33).

The Holy Spirit stopped me when I got to the 30th verse this morning.  He had me to focus in on the fact that Joseph was referred to as, “the lord of the land.”  In the 33rd verse he is referred to as, “the lord of the country.”  What is interesting is that we do not normally associate the title “lord” to humans in general or to believers in particular.  The English rendering of Lord is normally translated from the Hebrew name of God, Jehovah.  In verses 30 and 33 of our passage a different Hebrew word is used.  This word (Hebrew ‘adon), means one who possesses absolute control; it denotes a master or ruler.  What is interesting is that this title given to Joseph.  Many Christians today do not like to associate anything like this with modern believers.  Many believe that our rule and reign will come in heaven, in the sweet by-and-by.  No doubt, we will enjoy the blessed environment of heaven; but it is not God’s will for us to live miserably in the earth.  Joseph was a lord in the earth.  Let me be clear.  This was not a reference to deity, but it was a reference to ruling and being in charge; and Joseph did this in the earth realm.

Let’s fast-forward now to the last book in the Bible.  In John’s opening of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ he wrote, “May kindness and peace be yours from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.  Jesus was the first to conquer death, and He is the ruler of all earthly kings. Christ loves us, and by his blood he set us free from our sins.  He lets us rule as kings and serve God his Father as priests.  To him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen” (Rev 1:5,6 CEV).  In this text we see God telling us through John that He is the ruler of all earthly kings.  He further explains that He lets us rule as kings and priests.  The King James Version says that Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God.  This is not a reference to heaven, but rather an assignment in the earth.

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

1.  God can elevate us to the positions of authority in the earth:  He wants us to be the lords or the kings – the persons with the power to make the decisions that will affect the lives of others.  That way He can bless others through us.

2.  We must keep the proper focus:  God is and always will be the King of the kings and the Lord of the lords.  Never forget that.

3.  We also have a second assignment:  Joseph was a natural ruler (lord or king).  We are called to operate in both the natural and spiritual realms.  We are to be both kings and priests.  So we should not only be in charge, but we should also pray for those that God gives us charge over.  God elevates us naturally so that our natural positions can open doors for us to make a spiritual difference.  Don’t get so caught up in being a king that you forget to be a priest!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You have made me both a king and a priest in the earth.  You elevate me to positions of authority and I realize that I must make intercession in prayer for those that You give me charge over.  I do not neglect the positions You place me in.  I have both a natural and a spiritual assignment.  I use every position to be a blessing to others and to bring You glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Purpose of Your Prosperity (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we dealt with the fact that Joseph’s brothers referred to him as both “the lord of the land,” and “the lord of the country.”  This meant that Joseph was in control.  He had the power to make decisions and his decisions affected the lives of millions.  How did Joseph get to this position?  Who placed him there?  Now, in the natural we can say that Pharaoh placed him there.  It was Pharaoh that made the decree that elevated Joseph to the position of second in command of all of Egypt.  But we also know that it was God that gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and the favor with Pharaoh to receive the position in the first place.

I have defined favor to be the acts where God moves upon the hearts of others who in turn use their power, their ability, and their influence to help us.  This was definitely the case with Joseph.  God favored Joseph with Pharaoh and he was now in the position to make a difference in the lives of others.

This leads me to the focus of this message – the purpose of prosperity.  When I mention prosperity most people immediately think of money.  Now, that is not incorrect, but it is incomplete.  Prosperity cannot be limited to the financial realm.  There are many people who have an abundance of money that do not live prosperous lives.  What good is money if your health is poor?  Or what good is money and good health if your relationships are in disrepair? Prosperity is being whole in every area of your life: having good relationships, being spiritually strong, physically healthy, mentally sound, psychologically stable, and financially secure.  I am convinced that God wants us to live this way.  One of the key reasons that He desires for us to live prosperous is so that we can make an impact in the lives of others.  Joseph could not have made a difference in the lives of millions, including his own family, had he not been in the position to make a difference.

Joseph’s great-grandfather Abraham was called by God to make a difference.  God told him, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Gen 12:2).  In short, God said that he would be blessed to be a blessing.  There is nothing wrong with expanding your capacity to believe God to be prosperous in every area of your life; but you must keep the prosper perspective.  Why do you want to be blessed?  You should want to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others.  You cannot feed the poor if you are poor yourself, or impact the homeless if you do not have a place to stay, or etc.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should take a few moments to realize how blessed you are – physically, spiritually, financially, etc.  Once you realize how blessed you are, ask God how you can be a blessing to others.  If you honor God with what you have, He will continue to bless you with more.  The more He gets to you, the more He can get through you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I realize that You are the reason for my success.  You raise up people who use their power, their ability, and their influence to help me.  I am blessed and I realize that You have blessed me so that I can be a blessing.  I declare that I will use my position and resources to make a difference in the lives of others.  I know the purpose of my prosperity.  The more You bless me, the more I can bless others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Holy Garments out of Flawed Material (top of page)

(Gen 42:38 CEV)  But Jacob said, “I won’t let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I’ll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  The 10 brothers went on to explain to their father that the lord of the country wanted to see their youngest brother and that he kept Simeon as a hostage until he did.  Jacob said, “You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me.  And now you want to take away Benjamin!  Everything is against me.”  The old man spoke out of frustration.  He had had enough of his sons’ ways.  His true feelings came out.  It is clear that he blamed the 10 sons for what had happened to Joseph 20 years earlier.  He never really believed their fabricated story.

The oldest son, Rueben, must have felt guilty.  He was the one that did not want to betray Joseph and he could have kept the others from going ahead with their plan.  Being the oldest, he attempted to take responsibility.  Rueben said, “I’ll put my two sons in your hands as hostages.  If I don’t bring Benjamin back, you can kill them.  Trust me with Benjamin; I’ll bring him back.”  In other words he was saying, “Daddy, I know you are upset because you feel you have lost two sons.  How about this?  Give me Benjamin, your favorite, and I will give you two of my sons.  If something happens to Benjamin, then you can kill your grandsons.”  How ridiculous does that sound?  Talk about a dysfunctional family!

Jacob said, “I won’t let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you.  His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left.”  I understand the fact that Joseph and Benjamin were born of the same mother (Rachel), but don’t you think it a bit cruel that Jacob would look 9 of his sons in the face and say that Benjamin was the only son he had left?  How did that make them feel?  Jacob had been through a lot in his life.  He started off as a trickster and conniver, he endured 20 years of being tricked under Laban, he switched systems and lived in God’s blessing, he fathered the 12 boys that would become the 12 tribes of Israel, but he never really got his family life in order.  He favored Joseph over his brothers and with Joseph gone, he was doing the same with Benjamin.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God does extraordinary things with ordinary people.  God is in the business of making holy garments out of flawed material.  Abraham was not perfect; neither was Isaac or Jacob, but God used them mightily.  If God did that with them, then He can do the same with and for you.  So stop making excuses for why you are not worthy to be used of God.  God is not looking for perfection, He is looking for willingness.  If you are willing, then He is able.  He can cover your flaws and magnify your strengths.  If you believe He can, He will.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are in the business of making holy garments out of flawed material.  I know that I am nor perfect, but I am willing.  I submit myself to You as a willing vessel in the hands of a righteous God.  You cover my faults and my weaknesses and You make me righteous and powerful in Your hands.  I am an instrument to be used for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

God is Still in Control! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by taking a slightly different route.  Last night I went to church (Bible Study) a little heavy in my spirit, because I left work a little troubled.  I have recently transitioned to a new position and there is some confusion surrounding the move.  I know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33), and I don’t like messy situations.  So I still had this on my mind as I got to church.  This is rare for me, because I don’t normally go to church with any unresolved issues.  I am so used to sharing the Word to be a blessing to others that I very rarely come to church with a true need to hear a Word myself.  But, there I was.  I was in church with my current situation running through my mind.  Then, praise God, it came time for the Word.

My Pastor (Richard Peoples) ministered a Word about Joseph.  Oddly enough, we have been dealing with Joseph on Today’s Word for the past seven weeks.  I was eager to hear what God had to say from this story.  God took my Pastor from Genesis chapter 40 (when Joseph was in prison), back to chapter 15 (God’s covenant with Abram).  What God told Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abram (later know as Abraham), speaks to God’s providence all over Joseph’s situation.  God said, “Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.  But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them.  They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years.  But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions” (Gen 15:13-15 CEV).  God had foreknowledge of everything that was going to happen.  God knows the end from the beginning.  There is nothing that God doesn’t know.  The foreign land God spoke of was Egypt.  Abraham’s descendants could never come out of Egypt without first going in.  Joseph was instrumental in getting his family to Egypt and this was all part of the providence of God.

From the outside looking in you would think that things had gone haywire.  Joseph endured a pit and the prison before reaching the palace.  Jacob had no knowledge of Joseph’s whereabouts for 20 years and he thought Joseph was dead.  10 of Jacob’s sons seemed reckless and unreliable.  Jacob would not trust them with Benjamin.  They were in the midst of a famine and people were starving.  The man in charge of the only nation with food was holding one of Jacob’s sons hostage.  Yes, things may have seemed out-of-control, but they were right where God knew they would be.  God was still in control.  That is what blessed me.  The lesson last night was a reminder to me that God already knew what would happen with my job situation.  Like Joseph, I know that He has already made provisions for it.  All I must do is trust God, remain faithful, step back, and watch God move.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when things are seemingly going haywire in your life you need to take a step back and remember that God is still on the throne.  He still sits on the circle of the earth.  He knew what was going to happen before it happened and He has made a way for you to continue to be blessed.  So no matter what you are facing this morning, remember that nothing important has changed.  God has not changed, His Word has not changed, and His promises have not changed; as long as those are intact, then everything else is just temporary.  Never make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know my concerns before I express them.  You know my cares before I feel them.  You are and always will be in control.  My acknowledgement of Your foreknowledge of my situation helps me completely rely on You.  I trust You.  I release Your hand to move in my life.  I look at every situation through the lens of faith and I expect nothing but the best!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Blessing is the Difference Maker (top of page)

(Acts 7:9,10 CEV)  These men were our ancestors.  Joseph was also one of our famous ancestors.  His brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave to be taken to Egypt.  But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles…

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph, but we do so by fast-forwarding almost 2,000 years.  In Acts 7 we find Stephen speaking before the Sanhedrin council.  He mentions some of the patriarchs of the faith.  He included Joseph as one of our more famous ancestors.  He explained how Joseph’s brother’s sold him as a slave, because of jealousy, but how God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles.  The term “God was with him,” was used throughout Genesis as well to indicate the fact that the blessing was on Joseph.  This was the blessing promised to Abraham.  Joseph was Abraham’s great-grandson and he was walking in the blessing.

This is important to us, because Paul later explained that Christ came that the blessing might be transferred to us.  Paul said, “And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing that was promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles” (Gal 3:14).  A Gentile is a person without covenant.  Those of us that are not Jewish were born without covenant.  Jesus provided a way for those of us without covenant to come into covenant with God.  Once we are in Christ we are in covenant and we receive the blessing of Abraham.  Now, notice that I keep saying blessing (singular) and not blessings (plural).  The easiest way to explain the blessing is by explaining the opposite; the curse.  For example, let’s say that you have a cousin “Ray-Ray.”  Ray-Ray was living with your aunt and her house burned down.  He then moved in with your grandmother and two weeks later her house burned down.  He then moved in with one of your uncles and a week later his house burned down.  He then moved in with one of your cousins and the next day their house burned down.  Would you let him move in with you?  NO!  Why?  Because it is obvious that there is something on the boy.  There is a curse for destruction on him that follows him everywhere he goes.  Likewise, the blessing is the same way.

I was led to go this way this morning, because I was dealing with transitions yesterday’s message.  Joseph knew a thing or two about transitions.  He prospered everywhere he went.  Why?  Because the blessing was on him – God was with him.  Well, the blessing is on me and if you are Born-again, then the blessing is on you.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the blessing can make a difference in your life if you believe that it is on you, with you, and for you.  Get this, everywhere Joseph went became the best place he had ever been; even prison.  Why?  Because the blessing is the difference maker.  Is the blessing on you?  If so, everywhere you go can become the best place you have ever been.  Remember, God is a God of progression and not regression.  Forward ever, backward never!  The best is yet to come!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have accepted Jesus the Christ as both my Lord and my Savior.  The blood of Jesus has taken me from being a Gentile – a person without covenant – to being an engrafted heir to the blessing of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Jesus.  The blessing of Abraham and the blessing of Jesus are on me.  I take the blessing everywhere I go and everywhere I go becomes the best place I have ever been.  The blessing is the difference maker in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Learning at Every Level (top of page)

(Psa 105:21, 22 CEV)  He appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  I closed out last week with a message about the difference “the blessing” makes in our lives.  I made the statement: “everywhere Joseph went became the best place he had ever been.”  That is worth reiterating.  Joseph experienced the favor of God at home.  His father favored him over the other boys, but this was simply favor that allowed him to have certain privileges around his family.  This was a blessing, but it was limited.  When his brothers sold him into slavery and he was purchased by Potiphar, soon Joseph received the favor to run everything in Potiphar’s house.  Jacob had great possessions, but he never allowed Joseph to manage them.  At Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned how to manage the affairs of a wealthy person.  He was in charge of all of the other slaves and servants.  He learned financial and managerial skills.

We know that Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph, and because he refused her advances, she accused him of attempted rape and he was thrown into the prison reserved for offenses against the king.  God favored Joseph again and soon the warden of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners and Joseph wound up managing the entire operation.  The Bible says that the warden gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best (Gen 39:23).  This prison would be the equivalent of one of our federal penitentiaries.  Running this facility meant that Joseph became familiar with government of Egypt, its operations, and structure.  It also gave Joseph experience running a much larger operation than his previous experiences (home and Potiphar’s house) had afforded him.

This was all a setup.  What Joseph learned at home, at Potiphar’s house, and in prison became instrumental when it came time for him to run and entire nation (Egypt).  In our text, the Psalmist said, “He appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.”  That last statement is awesome.  Joseph was placed in charge of all of Egypt and part of his role was to personally train Pharaoh’s advisors in wisdom.  Joseph could not have accomplished this had he not learned what he needed to learn at his previous levels.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that every stage of your life is important.  Every assignment God gives you prepares you for the next.  If you fail to remain faithful where you are right now, then you will not be prepared for the next level.  God will not promote you until you are ready, so you might as well learn what you need to learn where you are, so God can take you to where you need to be.  What you learn today will be required tomorrow!  So don’t take it lightly.  Maximize every level in God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I learn what I need to learn at every level in my life.  What I learn today will prepare me for my tomorrow.  I do not take it lightly.  I allow You to teach me what I need to know and I know that somehow it will be used in my future.  The blessing is on my life and trust You to make every place, the best place I have every been.  My outlook determines my outcome.  I have an expectation to live, learn, and progress!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Please God (top of page)

(Prov 16:7 KJV)  When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  We have been dealing with how Joseph prospered everywhere he went and how God favored him at every step of the way.  It is worth mentioning that Joseph had a part in God’s provision.  Joseph lived a life that was pleasing to God.  When Joseph was sold into slavery he could have whined and complained to God or gotten depressed, but he didn’t.  When God favored him with Potiphar and things started going well in Potiphar’s house, Joseph could have gotten the proverbial “big-head;” but he refused to walk in pride.  When Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with him he could have easily taken advantage of that opportunity and committed sin; but he restrained himself.  Joseph walked in integrity.  When Joseph was thrown into prison because of false accusations he could have easily given up hope, but he didn’t.  Joseph maintained a good attitude and a level of expectation.  When the warden made him the second in command of the entire prison Joseph had another opportunity to walk in pride; but he remained humble.  When God used Joseph to interpret the dreams of the baker and the butler and the butler forgot all about Joseph when he got back to Pharaoh, Joseph had another opportunity to allow frustration to set in, but once again, he did not.  Joseph remained faithful to God and remained faithful to his duties in the prison.  Because of his faithfulness over every assignment, the call finally came and he was elevated to second in command of all of Egypt.  Finally, as second in command of Egypt his brothers came and stood before him.  They did not recognize him, but he recognized them.  The same men that had thrown him into a pit and sold him as a slave were standing before him, but this time the tables were turned.  He had the power to have them all killed, but he chose to operate in compassion and forgiveness.  He focused more on God’s promise than his former pain.

Our text says that “when a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  In other words, God can fix your situation, but you first have to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  What’s the point?  The point is that we should not expect God to bless us and favor us if we live in sin, disobedience, and unforgiveness.  To enjoy the blessing and the favor of God you must live a life that is pleasing to God.  Your singular focus should be to please God.  Because Joseph pleased God, God favored him in every situation.  When he was a slave, God moved on the heart of his master.  When he was a prisoner, God moved on the heart of the warden.  Since he was captive in Egypt, God moved on the heart of the king.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you may not always like where you are, but your actions will determine God’s actions.  You may not like the situation you are in at work, at home, with your family, or etc.  If you simply keep focused on pleasing God, if you determine to live a life that is pleasing to Him, if you submit to God in all your ways, then He can turn any seemingly hopeless situation around.  God can move on the heart of your boss, spouse, family member, etc.; but you must first be dedicated to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Please God and you will experience His favor and blessing.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  My singular focus is to please You.  I don’t focus on my circumstances or situations, I rather focus on You and Your goodness.  I know that if I dedicate myself to pleasing You, then You can move on the hearts of others, to cause me to experience blessing and increase in every area of my life.  I please You today and every day and You turn my situation around.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith and Frustration (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by getting back to Genesis and continuing in the story of Joseph.  Chapter 42 ended with Jacob refusing to risk harm to Benjamin by sending him to Egypt.  His decision meant that Simeon would remain hostage and that their time was limited.  Sure enough, the famine got worse and when they had had eaten all the food Jacob said, “Go back and get some more food.”  But Judah said, “The man warned us most emphatically, ‘You won’t so much as see my face if you don’t have your brother with you.’  If you’re ready to release our brother to go with us, we’ll go down and get you food.  But if you’re not ready, we aren’t going.  What would be the use?'”  What a dilemma.  Jacob was frustrated.  He said, “Why are you making my life so difficult!  Why did you ever tell the man you had another brother?”  That was irrelevant at this point, but frustration will make you focus on things that cannot help.

Judah pushed his father saying, “Let the boy go; I’ll take charge of him.  Let us go and be on our way – if we don’t get going, we’re all going to starve to death – we and you and our children too!  I’ll take full responsibility for his safety; it’s my life on the line for his.  If I don’t bring him back safe and sound, I’m the guilty one; I’ll take all the blame.  If we had gone ahead in the first place instead of procrastinating like this, we could have been there and back twice over.”  The criticality of the situation finally set in.  Jacob realized that all their lives were in danger.  Jacob gave in and said, “If it has to be, it has to be.  But do this: stuff your packs with the finest products from the land you can find and take them to the man as gifts – some balm and honey, some spices and perfumes, some pistachios and almonds.  And take plenty of money – pay back double what was returned to your sacks; that might have been a mistake.  Take your brother and get going.  Go back to the man.”  Jacob finally seemed to come around.  He was willing to use the resources he had; money was not the issue.  The need in this case was faith and food.  Jacob said, “When you go in to see the governor, I pray that God All-Powerful will be good to you and that the governor will let your other brother and Benjamin come back home with you.  If I must lose my children, I suppose I must” (see Genesis 43:1-14).

Jacob’s statement reminds me of one made by a father in the New Testament.  His son needed to be healed, Jesus told him, “Everything is possible for the person who believes,” and the father replied, “I believe!  Help my unbelief.”  In one breath Jacob prays that the God All-Powerful would give them grace and favor and then, in the next breath, he resigns to losing his children.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are not the only person that has struggled to operate in faith; that has wavered between faith and frustration; that has prayed faith and then turned around and spoke failure.  This message helps you realize that even the Bible giants struggled between faith and frustration, but it does not mean that you cannot overcome it.  Jacob weathered this storm and you can weather yours.  Muster up the faith you have and apply your faith to your famine.  Mustard seed faith can produce mountain-like results.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I overcome fear, failure, and frustration with my faith.  I muster up the faith that I have and apply my faith to my famine.  You know my heart.  You know my frustrations.  You know my struggles.  You know what I have faced.  I now look past my past and I move forward towards my future.  I speak in faith and I declare that I overcome every frustration in my life.  My God is bigger than my issue.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believe the Love (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Joseph’s brothers set off for Egypt with gifts, money, and Benjamin.  They came to Joseph and Joseph saw Benjamin, his beloved little brother.  11 of the 12 brothers were together, but Simeon was still being held hostage.  To complete the circle with a celebration Joseph instructed his steward to take the men to his house and to have a fine meal prepared.  The similarities between Joseph and Jesus are endless.  The brothers came to Joseph with guilt and shame, but Joseph received them as forgiven family members.  Instead of condemning them for what they had done, he ordered a meal to be prepared.  We will also have a meal with Jesus some day; the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:9).

The brothers were taken to Joseph’s house, but they were still anxious.  They did not understand why they were being treated so well.  They thought it was some sort of trap.  They took the opportunity to explain to Joseph’s steward that the first time they visited Egypt to purchase food they somehow left with their money in their bags.  They assured him that they brought a double portion of the money this time, but Joseph’s steward said, “Everything’s in order.  Don’t worry. Your God and the God of your father must have put the money there.  I was paid in full.”  Now they were really confused.  They thought they were being punished for what they had done to Joseph 20 years earlier, but things kept working out for their good.  Then, to make good things even better, Simeon was returned to them.  All 11 brothers were made comfortable and there donkeys were tended to.  The brothers spread out their gifts and waited for Joseph.  They were prepared to “pay” the Egyptian sultan all they had.  Joseph showed up, they presented their gifts, and they bowed respectfully before him.  Joseph welcomed them and asked about their father.  Joseph looked around, realized that all 12 brothers were now reunited, he looked over to Benjamin and he got to the point where he could not take it any more.  He rushed out into his private chamber and cried deeply (see Genesis 43:15-30).

The brothers did not know what was going on.  They came as guilty men.  They knew they were guilty before God for what they had done to Joseph as a boy.  They believed they would be accused of being guilty before the sultan for leaving without paying for the food on their first trip to Egypt.  They laid out their money and bowed down before the Egyptian sultan in an attempt to receive mercy.  They never knew that the man they were bowing down before actually loved them and had already forgiven them.  He loved them so much that he burst into tears.  This is how it is when you come to God.  You come guilty and your guilt makes you attempt to “pay” for your sin.  You want to do “things” to make up for what you have done, but there is nothing you can do to pay for sin.  Jesus has already paid the price.  You bow before Him as a guilty foreigner, but he receives you in love as a blessed brother from the same Father.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as you expand your capacity to believe you must get to the point where you believe the love.  Yes, it is always right to repent and to come broken before God, but you must believe that He will accept you, forgive you, and invite you to sup with Him.  He blesses you simply because he loves you.  Once you truly believe the love it will transform your perspective of God and change your life forever.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe the love.  I know You are love and You love me.  I came to You in guilt and You received me in love.  You sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for my sin.  He paid a debt He did not owe, because I owed a debt I could not pay.  Jesus receives me in love.  You receive me in love.  I believe that love and Your love transforms my life.  I love because You first loved me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Remaining Focused in Awkward Situations (top of page)

(Gen 43:32 AMP)  And [the servants] set out [the food] for [Joseph] by himself, and for [his brothers] by themselves, and for those Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, according to the Egyptian custom not to eat food with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we left off with Joseph storming out of the room to release his emotions with tears.  When he was done crying he washed his face, regained his composure, returned to the room with his brothers, and said, “Serve the meal!”  The meal was served and everyone ate, but the seating arrangement was worth mentioning.  Joseph’s brothers sat at one table, the Egyptians that were invited sat at another table, and Joseph sat at a third table; by himself.  Scholars say, of this verse, that the Egyptians were in general very superstitious people.  They would have no social intercourse with people of any other nation.  They could not even use the knife of a Greek, because they might have reason to suspect it had cut the flesh of some of those animals which they held sacred.  I understand what the scholars say, but when it all comes down to it, this was prejudice and racism.

The Egyptians knew that Joseph was a Hebrew so he could not sit with them.  The brothers did not know that Joseph was a Hebrew so he could not sit with them.  Joseph was too Jewish to sit with the Egyptians, but too Egyptian to sit with the Jews.  So there he was, by himself.  He was the second in command of all of Egypt, he was responsible for the feeding of millions of people, he single-handedly saved Egypt, but he was still not good enough to sit with the Egyptians.  Joseph could not even sit with his servants.  That’s how ridiculous racism is.

On another note, Joseph never complained.  He never got depressed over the fact that he had to eat alone.  He was never disenfranchised over his treatment.  He never murmured to God about the fact that he did not fit in.  Fit in or not, he was still blessed.  God had blessed him every step of the way.  The blessing on his life overrode any racial prejudice.  The blessing on his life caused him to rise above those that might have looked down on him.  The blessing on his life was the difference maker.

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

1.  Racism is an ugly reality that raises its head from time to time; even in the church.

2.  Racism does not have to stop the believer.

3.  If you believe God and the blessing, it will cause you to rise above any challenge, including racism.

4.  Not every position is comfortable.  Sometimes the blessing and the favor of God will cause you to operate in positions where you just don’t fit in.  You are not there to fit in; you are there to make a difference.

5.  The peace of God can give you the internal fortitude to face every uncomfortable situation with the serenity and strength that only comes from a relationship with God.

6.  God did not call you to always be comfortable in every situation, He called you to purpose!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your hand is upon my life.  You bless me to prosper everywhere I go.  You lead me to positions that I have only dreamed of.  Those positions might mean that I am placed in uncomfortable situations.  I don’t allow the situations to dictate my character or my actions.  I am blessed and Your blessing upon my life enables me to remain stable; even in an unstable environment.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

A Feast in the Midst of a Famine! (top of page)

(Gen 43:34 NIV)  When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s.  So they feasted and drank freely with him.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  In our last message we left Joseph sitting at a table by himself.  Joseph’s brothers sat at another table and to their amazement, they were arranged in order of their ages.  This meant that Benjamin, the youngest, was sitting at the end of the table.

What do we know about Benjamin?  Well, we know that he had an eventful entrance into the world.  His mother (Rachel) died while giving birth to him.  Because of her pain, Rachel named him Ben-oni; which means, “Son of sorrow” or “Son of my pain.”  His father (Jacob) knew better than to name the boy after a painful experience.  He ignored his wife’s request and named him Benjamin; which means, “Son of my right hand” or “Son of good fortune.”  He entered the world through pain and suffering, but that would not be the end of his story.  His brother (Joseph) from his late mother was taken from him at an early age and he was thought to be dead.  After losing Joseph, Jacob held on dearly to Benjamin.  The Bible does not document much of Jacob’s treatment of Benjamin, but it is safe to say that he treated him well.  The two closest people to Benjamin were taken from him at an early age.  He lost his mother to birth complications and he lost his brother to the hands of his conniving older brothers, but somehow it all worked out for Benjamin.  He was treated well at home, he benefited from the love and favor of his father, and when his brothers came and got him to take him away to a foreign land, the favor of God was still upon him.

There he was, the youngest of the entire clan.  He wound up sitting at the end of the table.  He was in a foreign land.  A strange sultan was sitting alone in this extravagant feast and all the meals were prepared at his table.  One-by-one the meals left from his table went to his brothers.  One-by-one Benjamin looked at the sumptuous plates.  Every plate, ten in all, seemed the same; they all had a hefty portion of delicious food.  This was a good break for the family.  After all, they were in the midst of a famine.  Then the time came for little Benjamin to receive his plate. The plate came from the same table, from the same man, but it did not have the same portion.  Benjamin looked at to his surprise, his plate had five times as much as his brothers’ plates.  Oh oh!  Would they get mad?  Would they be jealous again?  No.  The tides had turned in Benjamin’s life.  Not only was he receiving the favor of the strange sultan, but his brothers were also treating him well.  Instead of becoming jealous, they celebrated with him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the tides in your life can turn at any moment.  Have you been experiencing challenges?  Benjamin had his share of challenges early off in life, but the blessing was on him.  The blessing was permanent and the challenges were temporary.  After the challenges subsided the blessing was still there and the blessing caused Benjamin to experience favor.  God’s blessing can enable you to overcome your past and to enjoy a feast in the midst of a famine!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your blessing in on my life.  No matter what I face, I face it knowing that it will eventually subside.  My challenges are temporary, but Your blessing permanent.  Your blessing is able to take me from experiences of sorrow and pain to experiences of blessing and favor.  The tides are turning and I believe they turn for the best.  You can help me to enjoy a feast in the midst of a famine!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Progressively Getting Better in God (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  In this message I will attempt to cover an entire chapter.  Chapter 44 opens with the men having enjoyed their meal and Joseph sending them away with plenty of food.  It seemed like the brothers might be getting away without Joseph revealing himself, but this was Joseph’s final test of his brothers.  He needed to know if they had changed.

Joseph ordered his brother’s sacks be filled with as much food as they could carry, but he also told his servant to put his silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother.  Joseph sent brothers on their way and then sent his men after them.  Joseph’s men accused the brothers of stealing their master’s cup.  The brothers were so sure that it was a mistake that they said, “If you find that one of us has the cup, then kill him, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”  The servant replied, “Good!  I’ll do what you have said.  But only the one who has the cup will become my slave.  The rest of you can go free.”  All the sacks were searched and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.  The brothers were bitterly upset.  They loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.  When they arrived at Joseph’s house, Judah said, “Sir, what can we say?  How can we prove we are innocent?  God has shown that we are guilty.  And now all of us are your slaves, especially the one who had the cup.”  Joseph told them, “I would never punish all of you.  Only the one who was caught with the cup will become my slave.  The rest of you are free to go home to your father.”  Wow!  This was the exact same situation they were in 20 years earlier.  The 10 older brothers now had the opportunity to leave their younger brother as a slave.  They sultan did not want them, he only wanted Benjamin.  What would they do?  Would they do to Benjamin what they had done to Joseph?  Would they leave their brother and disregard the pain it would cause their father?  Would they operate in selfishness or love?  Love puts others first.

Judah spoke up for the brothers and explained how much grief it would cause their father is Benjamin were not able to come home.  Jacob had already said that if something happened to Benjamin that he might die of a broken heart.  Judah put his father and Benjamin before himself.  Judah also had his word on the line – he had promised his father that Benjamin would come home safely.  Finally, he said, “Sir, I am your slave.  Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers.  How can I face my father if Benjamin isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father in such sorrow.”  With that he passed the test.  We will see tomorrow that Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.  It had been 20 years and it was evident to Joseph that the brothers had changed. These were no longer the angry, hateful, and jealous boys that had no regard for family.  They were now loving, caring, and compassionate men that had developed character.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we will all face tests of our growth from time to time.  Think back five, 10, or 20 years.  Did you fail some tests back then; tests of your character and compassion?  Now think about how you would face those same tests today.  Would you pass them or would you still make the same mistakes?  I hope you are able to confidently say that you would not make the same mistakes again.  God is a God of progression and we would progressively get better as we walk with Him!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know You are a God of progression and not regression.  I progressively move forward in You.  Every day with You I learn more and am developed more.  I develop my character through the series of experiences that You enable me to experience.  I am not the same person I was several years ago.  I declare, by faith, that if I am presented with the same test, I will produce better results.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Exposing the Love (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday we saw how Judah openly proved that they were a repentant bunch.  They no longer operated in hatred and jealousy, but rather operated in love and compassion.  After Judah passionately pleaded the case their Benjamin and even offered to take his place as the prisoner and slave, Joseph was convinced that they brothers had changed and he could not it any longer.  He had played the role of a distant ruler for long enough.  After they showed their brokenness, he was ready to expose his love and forgiveness to them.

Joseph played the role one last time.  He cried out, “Leave!  Clear out – everyone leave!”  And with that, Josep0h was left all alone with his brothers.  Joseph capitalized on their time alone, he prepared to expose himself to his brothers, and when he did, his compassion and mercy got the best of him.  Joseph began to cry uncontrollably.  He cried so loud that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him.  Finally, through the tears, Joseph spoke to his brothers and said, “I am Joseph.  Is my father really still alive?”  But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless – they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing (see Genesis 45:1-3).

So what does this mean to you today? I will attempt to glean nuggets from the direct application of Joseph and his brothers tomorrow, but for now, I feel led to point out a few parallels between Joseph and Jesus in this event.

1.  Patience:  Joseph wanted dearly to expose himself to his brothers, but he patiently waited until they proved they had changed.  In the case of Jesus, He will not wait until we are changed, because we cannot truly change without Him; but He will wait until we repent.  Jesus loves us and He wants to expose Himself to us, but His complete exposure does not come until we are ready to repent of our sin and accept Him as Lord.

2.  Compassion:  In Jesus’ earthly ministry we see several examples of compassion in operation.  Jesus was moved to action because of the situations of others.  Jesus was well, but He did not allow his fortune cause Him to overlook the misfortune of others.  Likewise, Joseph operated in compassion.  He was living well.  He was the second in command of the only nation with food.  He looked at his brothers, who were being affected by the famine, and he operated in compassion towards them.  Joseph did not allow his plenty to cause him to overlook their lack.

3.  Forgiveness:  These brothers had done Joseph wrong.  Joseph was in position to repay the wrong back to his brothers.  He had the power to have them killed.  But instead of sentencing them for what they had done wrong, Joseph forgave his brothers and overlooked their sin.  Likewise, Jesus operates in forgiveness.  We come to Him as people who have done Him wrong.  We come to the foot of Christ as broken men and women who have sinned against Him time and time again.  We don’t deserve it, but He forgives us!

4.  Love:  Joseph operated in love.  He had their best interest in mind.  He was not focused on their wrongs; he was focused on their need.  Once they showed a changed heart, Joseph was willing to expose his love.  Likewise, Jesus loves you.  He loves you in spite of everything you have done to Him.  He has your best interest in mind.  He is not focused on your wrongs; He is focused on your need.  Once you show your repentance, He exposes His love!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for forgiving me for all the wrong I have done to You and against You.  I come to You with a repentant heart and a broken spirit.  I thank You for looking beyond my faults and seeing my need.  I thank You in advanced for operating in compassion, mercy, grace, and love.  I thank You for blessing me in spite of me.  Your capacity to love helps me expand my capacity to believe that all things are possible for me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

It’s never too late in God! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing in the story of Joseph.  Yesterday I shared how Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and highlighted some of Joseph’s parallels to Christ.  This morning let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the 10 brothers that had sold Joseph into slavery some 22 years earlier.  Sure, the brothers probably felt some level of fear.  The man that had been giving them a hard time for months, the man with the power in his hand, the man with the authority, was now also the man they had done wrong.  Of course, it is safe to say that the initial shock of his reveal sent a surge of fear and angst through their bodies and I have heard many preachers bring this out.  However, many do not focus on the fact that the brothers also felt a sense of relief.

For 22 years they thought the mistake they made as young men was fatal.  They lived with the fact, at least to their knowledge, that they were responsible for the death of one of their own brothers.  They lived with the guilt that they had caused their own father much grief and pain.  Every time their father brought up Joseph’s name they probably replayed the event – Joseph screaming from the pit for mercy and begging them not to sell him as a slave – in their minds.  They lived with emotional and psychological baggage.  And now, out of the blue, a man that sat in the position of power in Egypt had just revealed himself to be their long lost brother.  Wow!  Think about that.  Joseph, as it turns out, was not dead after all.  Joseph was still alive.

Joseph still being alive meant that they no longer had to live with the guilt of death over their heads.  What they had feared the most actually never happened.  Joseph would later reveal to them that this entire episode actually worked out for the good of the entire family.  This was one of those, “almost too hard to believe” moments.

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

1.  We can receive forgiveness in God:  If we do make a mistake, God has given us a way to deal with it.  John said, “If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away” (1st John 1:9 CEV).

2.  God also wants us to forgive ourselves:  What’s the use of receiving forgiveness from God if we are going to walk around in guilt and shame?  Several times in this story the brothers showed that they were still dealing with what they had done over 20 years prior.  One of the greatest lessons God ever taught me was how to forgive myself, after He had already forgiven me.

3.  It’s never too late:  I oftentimes say that if you are still living; if there is blood still flowing through your veins; if there is air still flowing through your lungs; then it is evidence that God is not through with you.  You still have hope. There is nothing impossible for God.  So think back to those things that you had given up hope on; think back to your broken dreams and aspirations; think back to the missed opportunities in your life; now believe God to put life back into those dead situations.  Believe God to revive that which was lost.  Believe God to restore back to you the burning desire that you once had to do… whatever it was that you once dreamed of.  It was not too late for Joseph’s brothers and it is never too late for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that nothing is too late for You.  You can turn any hopeless situation around in just one moment.  I repent of the sin and the mistakes I made in my past.  I receive forgiveness from You and I also receive the power to forgive myself.  As a forgiven believer, I move forward with the anticipation, desire, dreams, and hope that I once had.  You revive that which was once alive in my life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Unstoppable (top of page)

This morning we pause from our current series because it is September 11th, 2006.  Today marks five years after the day that my generation will never forget.  I asked God to give me a poem to share with you this morning.  This is what he gave me.  I pray it blesses you.

UNSTOPPABLE

September 11th, 2001 plans of destruction were loosed on our nation,

Deranged men boarded planes with terror on their minds,

What they wanted to leave behind was a wake of devastation,

An example of the effects of satan on a fallen race; humankind.

To steal, to kill, and to destroy; that’s satan’s plan,

But Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly,

Why you would want to kill yourself and kill others with you is hard to understand,

Unless you are looking at life through the stained glassed of iniquity.

It’s been five years and through lots of tears many have determined to move on,

Those affected by 9/11 learned to turn brokenness into resolve,

Families initially torn apart created a special bond,

And a nation united for one of our greatest problems to solve.

Bin-Laden is still running, Zarqawi is now dead, Al-Queda a shadow of its former self,

A Global War on Terrorism is still ongoing today,

A battle raging, some say, for the world’s wealth,

I say, we are a nation and a world that still needs to pray.

But in many ways we are like Joseph, we have endured the hard times,

And somehow we chose to get better and not bitter along the way,

It’s when we are faced with challenges that God seems the easiest to find,

And lips once used to curse are now used to pray.

Terrorism is strong, but we have become stronger,

We face challenges now with a peace that some just don’t get,

The enemies’ fight is long, but our fight is longer,

We are a nation and a people that will never forget!

So when you are knocked down, know that you are not out,

Take a lickin’, keep on tickin’, you see,

In God you overcome every fear, every doubt,

And you keep striving until you reach your destiny.

Joseph, under the grace of God, turned bad into good,

My message to you, is that for you the same is possible,

Some may look at you strange and you may not be understood,

When you resolve to live a life – UNSTOPPABLE!

by Ricardo Piña

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

Guilt-Free Living (top of page)

(Gen 45:2 CEV)  But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him.  The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by picking up where we left off with the story of Joseph.  I shared last week how Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.  We take a closer look at that event this morning.

We live in a society where grudges are commonplace.  Hospitals are full of patients whose physical illnesses are spurned on by hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.  Many people just can’t seem to find it within themselves to forgive.  These grudges cause emotional baggage that eventually eats away at their peace.  On the other side of the token we have a great number of people who have done others wrong.  They knowledge of their wrongdoings eats away at them.  Guilt, shame, and remorse overshadow them and as long as they allow the guilt to remain, they will never operate to their max potential.  Therefore we see that there is a danger – both on the side of the transgressor and the transgressed – to hold on to the wrongdoings of the past.

In our story Joseph was the transgressed and the brothers were the transgressors.  Joseph had already forgiven the brothers in his heart, but they were still holding on to the guilt of what they had done.  They had no knowledge of Joseph’s whereabouts.  They thought he was dead and his seeming death lingered over their heads.  On the other hand, Joseph found it in his heart to forgive.  He forgave them because he loved them and because of his relationship with God.  Our text says that when he revealed himself he cried so loudly and violently that the Egyptians that had been cleared out the room heard him.  Why did he cry so loud?  Because he wanted so badly to be reconnected with them.

Let’s bring out another parallel between Joseph and Jesus.  Jesus is the same way.  We have all done Him wrong in one way, shape, or form.  We have all transgressed against God.  Jesus has not only forgiven us, but He longs for us to have a relationship with Him.  He wants us to get past our guilt and to step into His arms.

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

1.  If you can believe in the forgiveness of God, you can accept that forgiveness and allow it to change your life forever.

2.  Guilt-free living is possible.

3.  Guilt and shame will rob you of God’s best – the enemy comes to enslave you; God’s comes to empower you.

4.  To be an imitator of God, as the Word commands, you must also forgive and help others to live free of their guilt.

5.  Whether you are the transgressor or the transgressed, seek to live free of emotional baggage and bondage; so you can enjoy the peace of God in every area of your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Joseph learned how to forgive over the years.  By the time the situation presented itself he was able to earnestly forgive his brothers.  I declare that I am like Joseph and Jesus.  I am able to forgive.  Not only do I forgive, but I also receive forgiveness.  I do not allow guilt and shame to rob me of my future.  I strive forward with guilt-free living and I experience the removal of every heaviness that has kept me down.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Seeing God’s Hand in Your Situation (top of page)

(Gen 45:8 MSG)  So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and while they were still in shock, he said, “Come closer to me, I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt.  But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me.  God was behind it.  God sent me here ahead of you to save lives.  There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years – neither plowing nor harvesting.  God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance.  So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God.  He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.”

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot that we can draw from what Joseph said.  Let’s simply seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.  God is sovereign:  It is obvious that as the years went by that God revealed to Joseph that He had purpose wrapped up in what had happened to him.  This does not mean that God does bad things to us.  The brothers clearly did it.  Joseph later told them, “You tried to harm me,” but Joseph went on to say, “but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing” (Gen 50:20).  So this does not mean that God makes bad things happen to you, but it does mean that He can permit or prevent things from happening.  In this case He permitted it, because He had purpose wrapped up in it.  We would do well in seeking God for the purpose behind whatever situation we may be facing.

2.  Look beyond the problem and focus on the purpose:  Once you realize the purpose God has in your situation it will help you operate with a new outlook.  After Joseph realized that he was in Egypt to save millions of lives, he concentrated on that.  Sure, his brothers had done him wrong.  Sure, they had bad intentions when they did it.  But Joseph had a greater purpose.  When you are purpose driven you have the ability to look past problems and those who cause them.

3.  Give God the glory:  God always wants acknowledgement for what He does in your life.  Joseph did not say that he got to the position he was in because he worked hard.  He did not say that he made it there because of his intellect.  He did not attribute his success to his own ability.  Joseph acknowledged the fact that it was God that had enabled him to get to where he was and we should do the same.  Every chance we get we should tell others of the goodness of God in our lives.  Don’t be foolish enough to think that you are where you are because of your own ability.

4.  Believe God for Favor:  God favored Joseph everywhere he went.  God caused him to prosper because He had a purpose and a plan for Joseph.  Well, God has a purpose and a plan for you.  You can believe God for the same favor to rest upon your life.  Ask God to raise up people who will use their power, their ability, and their influence to help you; to help get you to where He wants you to be.  Once you are there, remember that God blesses you to be a blessing to others!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge Your sovereignty in all things.  I don’t blame You for the bad things that happen, because I know there is a devil; but I do look to You to give me revelation in every situation.  Your revelation will help me have the proper perspective and my outlook will determine my outcome.  I look beyond problems and those who cause them.  I give You the glory and I am blessed to be a blessing!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Blessed to Offer and Alternative (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers he was ready to see his father.  Joseph said to his brothers, “Hurry back to my father.  Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: I’m master of all of Egypt.  Come as fast as you can and join me here.  I’ll give you a place to live in Goshen where you’ll be close to me – you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of.  I will take care of you there during the next five years of famine. But if you don’t come, you and your family and your animals will starve to death”(see Genesis 45:9-11).

Joseph had been blessed by God with the wisdom and the favor to get him in a position where he could literally save millions of lives.  The grain that he saved during the seven years of plenty prepared Egypt to be the only nation with food during the seven years of famine.  His God-given plan made an impact in the world during a time of severe scarcity, but it also made Pharaoh and Egypt very wealthy and Joseph very powerful.  Joseph was blessed and as God promised his great-grandfather (Abraham), he was now in the position where he could be a blessing.  Like everyone else, his father and brothers were being affected by the famine.  Joseph had what they needed (food), and Joseph also had access to the best land in all of Egypt.  Because of what he had and where he was, he was able to offer his father an alternative.

Goshen was a pasture land on the borders of Egypt and Arabia; not far from the Nile.  The word Goshen means “drawing water.”  It was so named because it was one of the only areas in Egypt where it routinely rained.  It was said to be watered by the showers of heaven and the land was very fertile.  This was where Joseph lived and he was blessed to be able to also offer this choice land to his family.  They could either stay where they were, endure the famine, and die; or they could come to Goshen and enjoy abundance in the midst of famine.  The choice was theirs to make, but the point is that Joseph was blessed to at least offer them an alternative.  Oftentimes as Christians our expectations are so low that we live beneath our means and can therefore not even offer an alternative to the those that are in need.

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

1.  God is not opposed to you living well, even in the midst of a famine.  What effects the world does not always have to effect you.  You have “The Blessing” on your life.

2.  When you are blessed you must remember that it is so that you can be a blessing.  Use what you have to offer a choice to others.

3.  You cannot give what you do not have.  If you tell God that you don’t want much and that all you want is enough for you and your family, then you are robbing those around you from being blessed; those that don’t’ know God.  You are supposed to make a difference.  You can’t offer an option if you are living like everyone else.  You can’t offer to be a blessing – spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, etc. – if you are in the same boat.  Believe God for the blessing and then use what He blesses you with to impact someone else’s life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You for the blessing to be in operation in my life.  I don’t have to be effected by the instability of the world’s ever-changing environment.  You can bless me to live a strong and stable life.  I expect to be blessed so that I can be a blessing to someone else.  I am blessed to be able to offer others an alternative to their current lifestyle and I expect that they will accept and that You will get the glory for their changed lives!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Being Open to Receive (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After Joseph offered to be a blessing to his family he finally got the opportunity to settle down and spend some quality time with them.  He went over to his little bother Benjamin, they hugged each other, and they both started crying.  Joseph was still crying as he kissed each of his other brothers and they all spent some time talking to each other.  By this time the word got back to the king that Joseph’s brothers had come.  Now, what do you think happened?  Joseph had promised his family land in Egypt.  Joseph had promised to be a blessing to them.  Joseph was very excited about a family reunion.  The king (Pharaoh) was the only person with the power to disrupt his plans.  The king could have thrown the proverbial wrench in the works.  But the Lord had given Joseph favor with the king.  Instead of having an issue with it, the king told Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their donkeys and return to Canaan.  Have them bring their father and their families here.  I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they can eat and enjoy everything that grows on it.  Also tell your brothers to take some wagons from Egypt for their wives and children to ride in.  And be sure to have them bring their father.  They can leave their possessions behind, because they will be given the best of everything in Egypt” (see Genesis 45:14-20).

Once again in this text I see the favor of God in operation.  Now, you may be thinking, “Rick, you have taught on the favor of God a lot this year.”  Well, you are right.  I don’t mind sharing some of the same truths over and over with you, because that is how you expand your capacity to believe.  You can’t just hear something one time and get it in your spirit.  When Paul was writing to the church at Philippi he was teaching them to develop their joy in the Lord.  He repeated this theme throughout his letter.  By the time he got to the third chapter he said, “It doesn’t bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before.  In fact, it is for your own good” (3:1).  Paul said in Romans that “faith comes by hearing” (Rom 10:17), and this “hearing” is a direct reference to the Word of God.  Notice that he did not say that it comes by what you have heard.  For your faith to consistently be in operation you must consistently hear and receive the Word of God.  The more you hear and receive the Word of God in an area, the more your faith develops in that area.  I have a responsibility to preach it (or write it in this case) and you have a responsibility to receive it, believe it, and release faith for it.

I reiterate the fact that God used Pharaoh to be a blessing to Joseph and his family, because that should elevate your capacity to believe God in that area.  Pharaoh used his power, his ability, and his influence to help Joseph.  Likewise, you should believe God to move on the hearts of others, so that they can use their power, their ability, and their influence to bless you.  That’s called favor and it is available to you because of the blessing of God upon your life.

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

1.  It means that you should consistently seek to receive the Word of God.

2.  It means that the Word you consistently receive will be the Word that you believe and hence the Word that exercise faith in.

3.  It means that God can use others to be a blessing to you.

4.  It means that nothing is impossible with God – there are many seemingly impossible situations that were turned around in the lives of Jacob and his boys.  The same is available for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe the Word I have just received.  I know that favor is available to me.  I know that You don’t have to come down from heaven, shine a great light around me, and knock me to my knees to bless me.  I know that You can use other human beings in the earth to use their power, their ability, and their influence to help me.  I believe You for Your favor and I am open to receive it today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Getting to the point where you can Believe! (top of page)

(Gen 45:28 CEV)  and said, “Now I can believe you! My son Joseph must really be alive, and I will get to see him before I die.”

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  The point of this series is that everything in the Kingdom of God operates by faith, but you will never release faith for something that you do not believe.  If I can help you to expand your capacity to believe, then you will be more prone to operate in faith and will be in a better position to please God and to make an impact in the world.  In this portion of the story of Joseph we see a good example of this.  Joseph and Pharaoh had both promised Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt and all they had to do was to go home to get their father and their families.  Although the brothers came to Egypt on donkeys, Joseph and Pharaoh sent them home on royal wagons and chariots.  The brothers were also given new clothes.  Benjamin was given five new outfits and 300 pieces of silver (favor ain’t fair).  Joseph also sent 10 donkeys loaded with the best things in Egypt as a gift to his father and another 10 donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other food for the return trip.

When the men arrived in Canaan they told their father that Joseph was still alive and was the ruler of Egypt.  Their father was so surprised that he could not believe them (v.26).  Once again, the Word says that “he could not believe.”  The son that was his favorite, the one that he thought was dead, the one that he had not seen in 22 years, the firstborn of the woman he loved the most, Joseph was still alive.  This seemed too big of a blessing.  This was too awesome to believe.  To make the story even more incredible, his sons were telling him that Joseph was not only alive, but that he was now the ruler of Egypt.  This was too much for Jacob to process and too much for him to believe.  Unfortunately that is the way that many of us are today.  When a pastor/preacher gets up and declares the Word of the Lord they refuse to apply the Word to their lives because they simply do not believe.  They cannot seem to grasp the reality that something so wonderful is God’s will for them.  The sad part is that while they remain in unbelief, God is not free to do what He wants to do in their lives.

When Jacob went outside and saw the wagons, chariots, animals, and food that Joseph had sent for him, he was then able to expand his capacity to believe.  He said, “Now I can believe you! My son Joseph must really be alive, and I will get to see him before I die.”  My prayer is that these messages have the same affect on you.  As you read what God did for others, my desire is that you expand your capacity to believe and that you say, “Now I can believe God!

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

1.  God’s does not think like you think so His desire for you will oftentimes be much greater than you every imagined.

2.  What’s seemingly impossible for you is easily doable for God.

3.  If you can’t believe it, you won’t receive it.

4.  As you find out what He did for others you should expand your capacity to believe what He will do for you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I no longer make statements like, “I cannot believe that.”  I know that there is nothing impossible for You.  I take every limit off of You, Lord; for I know that You are a limitless God.  I, like Jacob, am encouraged by what I learn and it helps to me believe You for greater things.  I have great expectations for today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing without Seeing, So we can see what we Believe (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph and by bringing out a point from the New Testament.  Yesterday we covered how Jacob did not believe his sons when they told him that Joseph was alive.  It was not until he physically saw the royal wagons and chariots from Egypt that he believed what they were saying.  He had to have physical evidence before he believed.

This reminds me of a passage in John.  After Jesus’ death the disciples were gathered together in a house and the resurrected Jesus appeared to them.  Jesus said, “Peace to you,” and He showed them his hands and side.  The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were excited.  Jesus then said, “Peace to you.  Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”  Jesus then took a deep breath and breathed into them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  This was an awesome encounter with God.  Unfortunately, Thomas was not with them at the time.

When Thomas met up with the other disciples they told him of the experience they had with the resurrected Jesus.  But he said – and this is where we get the parallel – “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”  His mind was made up.  He had determined not to believe in the resurrection unless he saw a physical Jesus with his own eyes and unless he touched a Him with his own hands.  This was an act of his will.  We choose to believe or not to believe.  Thomas’ choice was made.  He would not believe.

Eight days later the disciples were again in the room, but this time Thomas was with them.  Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”  He then focused his attention on Thomas.  Jesus said, “Take your finger and examine my hands.  Take your hand and stick it in my side.  Don’t be unbelieving.  Believe.”  Thomas did and said, “My Master!  My God!”  Thomas could finally believe.  What Jesus said afterwards is very important.  He said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes.  Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing” (see John 20:19-29).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you are I are of those that believe without seeing.  You, more than likely, have not send a physical Jesus.  You believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, although you were not there and although you did not see Him with your own eyes.  You believe that He was born of a virgin, that He lived a sinless life, that He died on the cross for your sin, and that He rose from the dead for your salvation.  You believe these things because you are a believer.  That’s what you do.  However, the point of this series is to get you to expand your capacity to believe in every area of your life.  If you believe Jesus was raised from the dead that the He conquered satan, hell, and the grave; then it should not be hard for you to believe God for the protection of your children.  It should be easy to believe God to provide for you and your family.  It should be a small thing to believe God for promotion on your job.  The point is that you have to believe before you see, so you can see what you believe!  If you can believe it, you will be able to receive it.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and I expand my capacity to believe.  I don’t need to see everything first to believe.  I believe first.  I then operate in faith in those areas that I believe.  My belief and my faith ensure that I see a physical manifestation of my faith in my life.  I am blessed because I can believe without seeing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Blessing is Always Working (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  At this point in the story Jacob was convinced that Joseph was in Egypt, he was ready to move, and he was ready to see his long-lost son.  Jacob packed up everything he owned and left for Egypt.  On the way he stopped near the town of Beersheba and offered sacrifices to the God.  That night God spoke to him and said, “Jacob!  Jacob!  I am God, the same God your father worshiped.  Don’t be afraid to go to Egypt.  I will give you so many descendants that one day they will become a nation.  I will go with you to Egypt, and later I will bring your descendants back here.  Your son Joseph will be at your side when you die.”  This promise by God was a reassurance to Jacob that he was doing the right thing.  Jacob’s journey to Egypt with his entire family would become a critical hinge point the history of the Jews.  To better understand what was going on in the “big picture” of God’s plan we have to go back to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham.  Back when Abraham was still referred to as Abram, God spoke to him and said, “Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.  But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to them.  They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years.  But I will be the judge of that nation whose servants they are, and they will come out from among them with great wealth” (Gen 15:13,14).

Although it is not documented in the Bible, I believe it is safe to assume that Abraham passed down what God had told him to his son Isaac and Isaac possibly passed it down to Jacob.  Even if Jacob knew what God had told his grandfather, I don’t think Jacob really knew that his decision to move his family to Egypt would set the wheels in motion for his family to fall into slavery.  Whether he knew it or not, something worth brining out is that he was still operating at the “family stage.”  God’s original promise to Abraham was to make of him a “great nation” (Gen 12:2).  Well, several years and two generations later, they were blessed, but they were still just a family.  God reiterated to Jacob that some day his family would become a nation.  The Bible tells us that Jacob’s family total 70 people (Gen 46:27).  A family with 70 members is a pretty big family, but it is far from being a nation.  The point is that Jacob’s family of 70, under the pressure of 400 years of bondage to the Egyptians, would come out as millions of people, who would then form the nation (Israel) God promised they would become.

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot here, but I will only point out a few things:

1.  God knows what He is doing.  God has been and always will be in control.  He has a plan and His plan will come to pass, even when we don’t know or can’t see how.  The wealth generated by Egypt would later be transferred to the descendants of Jacob and it would be used for the establishment of their nation.

2.  Pressure can work for you or against you.  Some people buckle under pressure.  Others thrive under it.  Which one are you?  The people of God in this case exponentially multiplied under pressure and we can do the same.

3.  The blessing is always working.  I am sure that the descendants of Jacob questioned whether or not the blessing of Abraham was still in operation while they were in bondage to the Egyptians.  I am sure that frustration set in from time to time, but the blessing was working, even when they did not know it.  If the blessing is on your life, then know that it is always working; even when it does not look like it.  Claim the blessing.  Believe the blessing.  Expect the blessing!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and the blessing of Abraham and Jesus is on my life.  I believe the blessing is always working with me, on me, and for me.  Even when I don’t understand what or why, I believe Your plan is still in operation and the blessing is still working for my good.  Pressure helps refine my purpose.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

King Jehovah will make His Word Good! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After Joseph’s entire family arrived in Egypt he told them, “I must go and tell the king that you have arrived from Canaan.  I will tell him that you are shepherds and that you have brought your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own.”  This is interesting, because the king had told them that they did not need to bring anything.  It is obvious that they did not have total confidence in the king.  Joseph went on to say, “The king will call you in and ask what you do for a living.  When he does, be sure to say, “We are shepherds.  Our families have always raised sheep.”  If you tell him this, he will let you settle in the region of Goshen.”  This is also interesting and somewhat sad.  Joseph was devising a plan to obtain what the king had already promised.  Joseph knew that Egyptians did not like to be around anyone who raised sheep so his logic was that if they told the king that they were shepherds, that the king would be forced into letting them live in Goshen.  Goshen was the best land in the region.  The problem with his logic is that the king had already promised them the best land.  Furthermore, Joseph have even spoken – in faith – that his family would live with him in Goshen.

When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers he told them, in faith, “You will live near me in the region of Goshen” (45:10).  To further solidify Joseph’s faith, when the king found out about Joseph’s brothers he told Joseph, “I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they can eat and enjoy everything that grows on it” (45:17,18).

Even after speaking in faith and after having the king directly speak to him and tell him that his family would live in the best land, Joseph continued with his scheme.  He took five of his brothers to the king and told him, “My father and my brothers have come from Canaan.  They have brought their sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else they own to the region of Goshen.”  He wanted to king to know that his family was already propositioned in Goshen.  Once again, hedging his bet.  The king asked them, “What do you do for a living?”  They said, “Sir, we are shepherds, our families have always raised sheep.  But in our country all the pastures are dried up, and our sheep have no grass to eat.  So we, your servants, have come here.  Please let us live in the region of Goshen.”  They were pleading for something the king had already said they could have.  The king simply operated as a king should and said to Joseph, “It’s good that your father and brothers have arrived.  I will let them live anywhere they choose in the land of Egypt, but I suggest that they settle in Goshen, the best part of our land. I would also like for your finest shepherds to watch after my own sheep and goats” (see Genesis 46:31 – 47:6).

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot here, but I will only point out a few things:

1.  God is our King.  King Jehovah has also made declarations of what we can have.  These declarations are referred to as the promises of God and they are all throughout the Bible.

2.  We can trust God not to change His mind.  Joseph came up with a scheme because he did not trust what Pharaoh had previously stated.  He thought that Pharaoh might change his mind.  God can be trusted not to change His mind.  He will not ever say, “Well, I promised in my Word that I would do… but now I changed my mind and I don’t feel like doing it.”

3.  We can make claims on His Word.  Instead of having to come up with elaborate schemes to attempt to trick God into doing what He already promised, we can simply come to Him, in faith, and make claims on what He has offered us in His Word (peace, healing, favor, etc.).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and You are my King.  I trust You to be a God of Your Word.  I don’t need to come up with schemes to attempt to get You to do what You have promised.  I simply stand on Your Word, by faith, and I trust that You will make Your Word good.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Unshakable Confidence! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Joseph.  After introducing his brothers to the king, Joseph thought it right to bring in his father.  Picture this for a moment; put yourself in Joseph’s shoes.  You were introduced to the king seven years ago.  At that time you were a slave and a prisoner all of a sudden, the favor of God caused this king to not only free you, but to make you the second in command of his kingdom.  God’s gives you wisdom to administrate the national economy so that the nation is prepared for an impending famine.  All your dealings with the king are grand.  This king just finished granting your brothers and the rest of your family the right to live in the best land in his kingdom.  When your brothers came before the king they were humble and reverent in the presence of his royalty.  It is now time to bring your father in.  What do you think the average person would assume?  Probably that their father would come in the same way; humble, reverent, etc.  Especially under these circumstances – your father would have just left his country because of a famine and was coming with the expectation of support.  But your father in this story is not the average guy.  He is Jacob and he is the grandson of Abraham.  Although he is coming for a blessing (for food from Egypt), he knows that he still has the blessing (of God) upon his life.  He walks in before the king and after the normal introductions; your father blesses the king.  Your father does not approach the king as your brothers did.  Your father understands the king’s authority, but he also understands his own.  Your father respects the king, but he knows his identity.  He knows that there is something on him that the king does not have.

I shared that portion of the story in this way because I wanted you to inject yourself into the passage and to see the awesomeness of Jacob blessing Pharaoh.  Jacob blessed him at the beginning and also at the end of their conversation (Gen 47:7 & 10).  The James-Fausett-Brown commentary says, “Jacob signalized his entrance by imploring the divine blessing on the royal head, it may easily be imagined what a striking impression the scene would produce.

I understand Jacob’s actions well.  I am in the military and I have had the opportunity to stand before some of the highest ranking leaders in our Armed Forces.  I have witnessed otherwise poised men crumble under the pressure of standing before senior General Officers.  I have seen men literally and figuratively bow before these leaders, because of the position they hold.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I respect authority and I respect the fact that these persons have worked very hard to obtain their level of success.  However, no matter whom I am dealing with – General or private, rich or poor, up or down – I know who I am.  My identity is solidified in God.  I know that I, like Jacob, walk in the blessing and that I can “be” a blessing to another, whether they outrank me or not.  The blessing is the difference maker.

So what does this mean to you today? Very simply it means that you must know who you are in God.  If you are rooted in your identity in God and you are sure of His blessing upon your life, then you are in a position to “be” a blessing to another person, no matter how high or low they may be.  Believe God and believe in the blessing that He has upon your life.  It will give you a confidence that is unshakable and a level of success that is uncommon.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your blessing is on my life.  I believe everything I do will succeed, because You are with me.  My belief in You and in Your blessing helps me develop a confidence that is unshakable and unbreakable.  I face this day with a fearless confidence, because I know I am blessed to “be” a blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Old Testament Review Part I (top of page)

This morning I am glad to announce that after teaching on “Expanding Your Capacity to Believe God” from the Old Testament (OT) for 9 months that I have a release from God to move to the New Testament (NT).  This week I will do a brief review of some of what we have covered in the OT and next Monday morning we will begin our journey of expanded belief in the NT.

1.  Overcoming the “Grasshopper Mentality” is a decision of faith vs. fear:  Faith will cause you to look at a giant and say, like Caleb, “Let’s go… I know we can do it!”  On the other hand, fear will cause you to look at the same giant and say, “we felt like grasshoppers.”  If you are going to receive God’s blessing and do great things for God in His kingdom you must overcome the grasshopper mentality.  The grasshopper mentality looks at obstacles and loses heart.  The giant-killer mentality looks obstacles and sees an opportunity for God to manifest His glory.

2.  God wants to you to Believe:  God wants to flood your mind with thoughts of victory through the accounts of David vs. Goliath, Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal, Gideon’s 300 vs. three nations, Daniel and the lion’s den, the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace, and etc.  God does not play favorites (Acts 10:34).  What He did for them, He can do for you.  So, if God could feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, He can provide for you and your household.  If He healed a woman who was bleeding for 12 years, He can deal with your medical ailment.  If He took 12 relatively uneducated and unpopular men and used them to change the course of history, He can use you to do great things.  The message for this morning is simple: God wants you to believe!

3.  Your victory is in Your Mouth:  Like Joshua, your success is tied to your speech.  Speak life and your will receive life.  Speak death and you will receive death.  The choice is yours.  If you keep the Word of God in your mouth you will position yourself for a blessed year.

4.  Strong believers learn to Ignore nay-sayers:  Whenever you prepare for great things to happen in your life, you will have to overcome the doubt and unbelief of nay-sayers.  Don’t let the negativity of others weigh you down.  Stand firm on the promises of God.

5.  Develop a Winning Attitude:  You are not here to fight; you are here to win!  Does this mean that believers don’t face challenges?  Absolutely not!  Was it does mean is that God wants you to face every challenge with the mind of a winner.  If you meditate on the Word of God day and night, you will never see a challenge and think “failure.”  You will always look at a challenge and remember the promises of God.  Elevate your thinking and get ready to make this year the best year of your life.

6.  Elevate Your Thinking and you will Elevate Your Life:  James Allen said, “You are today where you thoughts have brought you.  You will be tomorrow where you thoughts take you.”  Dr. Miles Munroe said, “You are a grand sum total of your decisions.”  God will not force Himself upon you because He has limited Himself to operate within the framework of your decisions.  He will never override your human will.  So then, there is a direct link between what you think, what you believe, the decisions that you make, and what you will be able to accomplish in life through the power of God.  Elevate your thinking and you will elevate your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I overcome the grasshopper mentality.  I never see myself as any less than what You have called me to be.  I believe that what You have done for others, You will do for me.  I know my victory is in my mouth and I speak life and blessing, never death and cursing.  I develop a winning attitude with elevated thinking.  I have the ability to ignore nay-sayers and I face every challenge with the expectation to come out on top!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Old Testament Review Part II (top of page)

This morning we continue our review of some of what we have covered in this series thus far from the Old Testament.  After this review we will transition to the New Testament.

1.  Your Learning must turn into Living:  You can read the Bible every day, read Bible-based emails, pray all day long, and discuss the Word of God with your friends ‘till your blue in the face, but it does no good if you do not intend on “doing” what you read and discuss.  Your learning must turn into living.  The Lord told Joshua that his success was tied to his speech (keeping the Word in his mouth), his thoughts (meditating on the Word day and night) and his actions (observing to do all that is written therein).  Joshua could have daydreamed about leading the people into Canaan, he could have talked about it with everyone he met, but he would have never experienced God’s best until he stopped talking and started acting.  You can theorize, hypothesize, strategize, and analyze all year long; but it will not get you anywhere unless you put some action behind your planning.

2.  The Bible has what you need:  The Bible is the sacred book that we read, study, and preach.  More importantly, the Bible is also the sacred book that we follow, obey, and live.  I often times say, “Everything is not in the bible” and I get funny looks.  Well, the Bible does not tell us how to change a tire or load Windows XP on a computer.  No, the Bible does not contain everything, but it does contain everything we need to live a victorious life in the earth.

3.  You have a choice:  God made us all free moral agents.  The Word of God is full of promises, warnings, and instructions.  If we heed the warnings and follow the instructions we will enjoy the outcome of the promises.  If we ignore the warning and reject the instructions we will not experience the manifestation of the promises.  As a matter of fact, there are very specific promises for the unfaithful.  We have a choice, just like Joshua did.  If we choose to live like heathen, walk in sin, and clothe ourselves in unrighteousness, we will experience the judgment of God.  However, if we choose to abstain from sin, walk in the Spirit, live by faith, and clothe ourselves in the righteousness of God – made available to us through the blood of Jesus – we will experience God’s blessing.

4.  The promises of God will not affect your life if you don’t acknowledge and appropriate them:  There are hundreds of promises that pertain to you because of the covenants established in the Word of God.  The promises will never change your life, however, if you are not willing to: 1. Recognize the authority of God and the validity of the scriptures and 2. Receive the blessings by faith.

5.  Your life will change when you learn to see what God sees in you:  You must see yourself as God sees you.  What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Who do you think you are?  While you are answering that, ask yourself, what does God see when He looks at me?  Who does He think I am?  Your job now is to connect the dots between your opinion of yourself and God’s opinion of you.  What strength has He put down in you that you are not using?  What ability has He blessed you with that you are not maximizing?  If you can see what He sees, you can become what He intends.  That’s the power of expanding your capacity to believe!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that I read, study, understand, and learn the Bible.  I then turn the corner from information to application and I allow my learning to turn into living.  I choose to line up my thoughts, words, and actions with the Word of God; thereby choosing to make my way prosperous.  I recognize the authority of the scriptures and I receive them by faith.  I see myself as You see me, I force my opinion of myself to line up with Your opinion of me, and I choose to believe that I can do anything with Your power.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Old Testament Review Part III (top of page)

This morning we continue our review of some of what we have covered in this series thus far from the Old Testament.  After this review we will transition to the New Testament and continue to Expand Our Capacity to Believe God!

1.  You can overcome a negative environment:  I grew up around alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, crack-cocaine, PCP, heroin, murder, and etc.  The opportunities to do wrong were plenteous and the motivation to do right was scarce.  Amazingly enough, I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette; much less tried drugs.  Why?  Because God placed something down in me that made me dream of greatness and I have a mother that lived greatness before my eyes.  I know it is hard to dream big dreams when you are surrounded by failure; but Gideon did it, I did it, and you can do the same.  Dream big dreams!  You can’t out-dream God’s ability.

2.  God can do a quick work:  It did not take God long to transform Gideon from a scared farmer to a military commander; from a weakling to a warrior; from a coward to a champion.  All it takes is belief.  Are you a doubter or a believer?  I know you may call yourself a believer, but do you really believe?  If you believe God can, then you release His ability over your life and He will.  If you don’t believe, then He is limited to operate within your belief system, because He will not force Himself upon you.  Once you expand your capacity to believe, God can change your life in a moment!  If you can believe you will be able to receive!

3.  If it’s God’s will, then it’s God’s bill:  God led Gideon into a battle that was seemingly impossible to win (300 vs. several nations); but since God led him there, then it was God’s responsibility to keep him through it.  Wherever God leads, He feeds.  Wherever God guides, He provides.  If your seemingly impossible situation is God’s will, then it’s God’s bill.  Trust Him to see you through it.

4.  God can do more with you once you get started:  Gideon had to step out by faith and so do we.  Faith doesn’t begin until you “do” something about what you believe.  Once you step out in faith, God will back you up.  Fear moves satan, faith moves God.

5.  Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes:  Recognize your mistakes, repent, and move forward.  Abram several mistakes and you will see the same in the lives of most great Bible characters.  This does not mean that you have license to be irresponsible, but it does mean that you cannot move forward while you are looking back.  Forward ever, backward never!

6.  Fear and faith are reciprocal forces:  Just like faith pleases God, fear pleases satan.  Just like faith is having confidence in God and His Word, fear is having confidence in satan and his word.  God speaks to us via His Word, the Holy Spirit, the church, other people, circumstances, and etc.  Satan then speaks to us and tells us something opposite to what God said.  The choice is then ours.  If we believe God we will operate in faith.  If we believe satan we will operate in fear.  That’s why we must expand our capacity to believe.  Faith cancels fear, just like fear cancels faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that I can overcome any negative influences that may arise in my life.  I overcome the negative by putting my focus and my faith in You and in Your Word.  I know You can do a quick work in my life and I expect You to work on me, in me, with me, and for me.  If You lead me to a seemingly impossible situation, then I know that if it is Your will, that it is Your bill and I put my trust and confidence in You.  There is nothing too hard for You.  I know You can do more with me once I get started, so I declare that I get started today.  I stop procrastinating and I step out in faith.  I will not allow fear to cancel my faith, but I will allow my faith to cancel any fear!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Old Testament Review Part IV (top of page)

This morning we continue our review of some of what we have covered in this series thus far from the Old Testament.  After this review we will transition to the New Testament and continue to Expand Our Capacity to Believe God!

1.  Establish some altars in your life:  In biblical times an altar was a place of worship and sacrifice, but it was also a physical place of remembrance; a reminder of what God had done.  After Abram made a mistake in Egypt – although the Lord turned it around for his good – Abram went back to the place where he had established an altar and he worshipped the Lord there.  God has done so much for you.  You should establish some altars (places of remembrance), that you can go back to in your mind.  These places help you get refocused enough to worship the Lord and they will help you move forward.

2.  If you can believe, you can receive:  There are no impossibilities in God, but we oftentimes limit God by our limited capacity to believe.  God is limitless.  There is nothing God cannot do.  However, most Christians puts limits on a limitless God and then attribute their inability to receive to God by making statements like, “Well, this must be God’s will.”  No, God’s Word is God’s will.  Stop putting limits on a limitless God, search God’s Word, expand your capacity to believe, and you will see God do great things in your life.

3.  God desires to protect us and reward us greatly:  God told Abram, “Abram, don’t be afraid!  I will protect you and reward you greatly.”  This was and still is God’s desire.  Some people walk around with the notion that God somehow wants them to suffer, or to be sick, or to go through struggle after struggle.  We need to get past this.  We are His children.  God is a good God and He desires good things for us.  Like Abram, however, we must have the capacity to believe and receive His blessings by faith.

4.  God is a God of Progression:  Our walk with God should be progressive in nature.  When we come to God we will not know everything we need to know about Him, but if we progressively seek Him, He will incrementally reveal Himself to us and we will find ourselves growing more and more confident.  Even after all he had been through and after clearly hearing from God several times, Abram said, “Lord God, how can I know the land will be mine?”  He wanted to believe, but he still did not have the clarity he was looking for.  Likewise, many of us want to believe, but we are seeking clarity.  Do what Abram did.  He kept asking and God kept answering.  If you are diligent, you will grow and expand your capacity to believe.

5.  We must make time for God:  Abram made time for God.  God pointed out the stars to Abram on one night and then spoke to him in a vision during the next night.  Throughout this two day encounter Abram freed himself of all distracters; he spoke with God, offered a sacrifice, saw a vision, and received clarity.  That would not have happened if he had not made the effort and the sacrifice to get away from people to spend time with God.  You say you want clarity in your life.  Are you willing to make time to spend time with God?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I establish some altars in my life.  I choose to remember all the things You have done for me.  I know You have been with me and You will continue to be with me.  My remembrance helps me expand my capacity to believe and to remove every limit I have on You, my limitless God.  I know You are a good God and I settle that in my heart.  I know You are a God of progression and not regression.  As I seek to move forward I know that You will take the time with me, as I take the time with You, to help provide me the clarity I need to walk in the boldness You desire for me to have.  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Old Testament Review Part V (top of page)

This morning we close out our Old Testament review.  On Monday morning I will transition to the New Testament as we continue to Expand Our Capacity to Believe God!

1.  God does not have any Grandchildren:  This means that Isaac had to have his own relationship with God; he could not live off of his father’s relationship.  It does not matter who your parents are.  They could be the most powerful instruments in the Body of Christ in the earth, but their relationship will not grant you a pass to heaven.  You have to foster a relationship with God for yourself.  God is a loving and caring heavenly father to His children; but that is the point.  You have to be His child (directly), not his grandchild (indirectly).

2.  Knowing God does not exonerate us from challenges:  Isaac was the heir to the promise that started it all.  We can call him the “prince of the promise.”  But regardless of his status in God, he still faced challenges.  Like us all, he had to believe God, stand in faith, and expect God to enable him to overcome his challenge.  Don’t think that becoming a Christian means you will be exonerated from every challenge in life.  It simply means that you have the ability, in Christ, to overcome every challenge, hindrance, and obstacle; by faith!

3.  The Purpose of this series:  This series is designed to remind you that all things are possible for those of us who believe.  If we can believe it, it is possible that we can receive it.  If we don’t believe it, it is simply impossible for us.  Case in point: by the 1950s, track and field running times had been documented for hundreds of years; dating back to the Greek games.  There was no record of anyone ever running a mile in under 4 minutes.  Dating back to the beginning of all recorded athletic history, not one human being had accomplished this feat.  It was considered humanly impossible.  Why?  Because no one believed they could do it.  On May 6th, 1954, the Englishman Roger Bannister did the seemingly impossible and ran the first sub-four-minute mile in recorded history (3 min. 59.4 sec.).  Wow!  He did what no had ever done.  In hundreds of years of runners not one person had done it.  How long do you think his record stood?  Not even two months.  Six weeks later, John Landy, an Australian, ran a mile in 3 minutes and 58 seconds and broke Bannister’s record.  Why?  Because once Bannister did it, he believed he could.  Since 1954 over a thousand runners have followed suit.  Once they expanded their capacity to believe they were able to receive the seemingly impossible.

Being reminded of how God enabled Naaman to overcome an incurable disease (leprosy), how He empowered Gideon to rise above insurmountable odds (300 vs. several armies), and how He blessed Abraham with a baby after both he and his wife were past the child bearing age (100 and 90 respectively), should revitalize our dreams, desires, and beliefs.  Like John Landy, once I realize what is possible, I am able to expand my capacity to believe and reach out to achieve bigger, better, and greater things.  This series has invigorated my desire to do great things in God and it has helped elevate my expectations in life.  Sure, I send out encouraging emails, teach and preach the Word of God, and know I will Pastor a church some day; but I am no longer satisfied with that.  In this series God has expanded my capacity to believe for an international ministry that will teach the Word, but will also feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and minister to the sick in several nations.  Like Abraham, I don’t know how it is going to happen, but I believe that it will.  That’s the purpose of this series and therein lies the power of God.  My prayer is that you can look back over your life some day and say that 2006 was the year that you truly learned how to BELIEVE GOD!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your child.  I have an intimate relationship with you that is fostered by an eternal hope and a solid faith.  I expand my capacity to believe, thereby expanding Your ability to operate in my life.  I take the limits off of You.  I dream big dreams, I expand my vision, and I expectantly look to You to complete what You have started in my life.  You enable me to “see it,” and You empower me to “bring it” to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

There are No Impossibilities in God – Period! (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with a departure from the Old Testament and an arrival in the New Testament.  I have been teaching from this series, in the Old Testament, since January 2nd.  It took 10 months, but we finally arrived in the New Testament.  This is by far the longest series I have ever done, and I trust that you are expanding your capacity to believe God.

We begin our New Testament journey of expanded belief with one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring moves of God in the Bible.  This event is truly an event that took place because of expanded belief.  The event is the conception of Jesus and we begin with a young girl named Mary.  This young girl was a virgin and she was already committed (engaged) to marry a young man named Joseph.  Joseph was from the lineage of King David.

One day the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “You are truly blessed!  The Lord is with you.”  This is interesting because that is exactly what the Bible says about Joseph – the Lord was with him.  We can see that the favor of God was about to manifest itself.  However, Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant.  Gabriel went on to say, “Don’t be afraid!  God is pleased with you, and you will have a son.  His name will be Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High.  The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.  He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”  What the angel said was both awesome and baffling at the same time.  Mary did not understand how the angel could make such statement.  After all, she was still a virgin.  She was not married and she had never been with a man.  Although the promise of this “blessed” child sounded great, Mary needed to expand her capacity to believe, before this would happen.

Mary did what we should all do when we don’t understand something, she asked a question.  She asked Gabriel, “But how?  I’ve never slept with a man.”  Gabriel responded, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you.  So your child will be called the holy Son of God.”  As my wife would say, “Holy Moly!”  The angel just said that she would get pregnant without a man being involved.  I am sure Mary did not know much about the Holy Spirit and this angel is saying that the Holy Spirit is going to make her pregnant.  Not only that, this spiritual encounter would make her son the “Holy Son of God!”  If there was ever a need for anyone to expand their capacity to believe, Mary was that person.  She was more than likely just a teenager at this point.  God had just promised her something that had never happened before and has never happened since.  This was a human impossibility, but it would become her reality if she could believe it! (see Luke 1:26-35).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there are simply no impossibilities in God.  What happened to Mary was a human impossibility, but it happened.  We will see that is happened because she was able to believe it.  What seemingly impossible situation is staring you in the face this morning?  No matter what it is, if you can believe God, He can turn it around!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I think about what You did for Mary.  I know it was literally humanly impossible.  Your ability can overcome human impossibility.  If you did it for her, I know You can do it for me.  There is nothing too hard for You.  I expand my capacity to believe.  I believe You and I release Your hand to move in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Power of a Point of Reference (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Mary.  Yesterday we discussed how young Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would get pregnant by the Holy Spirit and how she would give birth to the Holy Son of God.  This series is about expanding your capacity to believe, which is very appropriate, because the promise from the angel seemed a bit too hard to believe.  How could this young woman believe that she was going to get pregnant by God?  What was her motivation to believe such a thing?  Well, remember that God helps provide us what we need to get our belief system to the point where we can believe.  Once we believe, then we are able to operate in faith for whatever God promised.  The first step is always belief.  In this case Mary needed some help.  She needed some motivation.  Why would she or even how could she believe such a thing?  Gabriel helped Mary out by letting her know that her cousin Elizabeth was also pregnant.

To understand why this is important we need to understand Elizabeth’s situation.  Like Sarah, she and her husband (Zechariah) had tried all their lives to have children, but to no avail.  Elizabeth and Zechariah were now old and past the child bearing age.  Their dream of being parents had dissipated.  Zechariah was a priest and one day, while he was carrying out his priestly duties, this same angel (Gabriel) came to Zechariah and said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah!  God has heard your prayers.  Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John… Your son will be a great servant of the Lord.”  To fully understand the magnitude of what Gabriel said to Zechariah we must understand the setting.  There were 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.  400 years without prophecy or supernatural moves of God.  The angel Gabriel breaks the silence by coming to Zechariah with a promise of a son.  Not just any promise, but a promise that his barren wife would be pregnant with a destined son.  I will talk more about Zechariah and Elizabeth later, but for now I will get back to Mary.

So Mary knew that her cousin Elizabeth was barren.  She knew that her “modern medicine” considered Elizabeth’s chances impossible.  When Gabriel told her that Elizabeth was six months pregnant, it gave her a glimmer of hope.  Gabriel went on to say, “Nothing is impossible for God!” (Luke 1:37).  What was Gabriel doing?  He was giving Mary a point of reference.  Our belief system is developed through experiences and through references.  We don’t have to experience everything ourselves to believe it, but if we cannot refer to a personal experience, then our mind attempts to grasp a point of reference.  If our mind can find a point of reference to hold on to, then we are more apt to believe whatever the “thing” may be.  Mary now had a point of reference.  Points of reference are even more powerful when they are tied to someone or something close to you; someone or something you can relate to.  Mary could relate to Elizabeth.  Mary knew her situation and she knew her heart.  Now Mary could deduce within herself that if God helped Elizabeth get pregnant in an impossible situation, then her situation did not look as impossible any more.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the Bible is a book of 66 books full of points of reference.  All the accounts I have covered in this series are aimed at giving you points of reference to grasp on to.  If God did it for them, He can do it for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I think about what You did for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Gideon, Naaman, and others.  I also think about what You have done for the people that I know personally.  All those accounts become points of reference to help build and shape my belief system.  They help me expand my capacity to believe!  I enter into this day as a BELIEVER and I have great expectations.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Agreeing with and Accepting God’s Word (top of page)

(Luke 1:38 NIV)  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.”  Then the angel left her.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Mary.  Yesterday we discussed how the angel Gabriel brought up to Mary the fact that her cousin was pregnant.  Mary knew that Elizabeth was barren all her life and that she was past the child bearing stage.  Gabriel was telling this to Mary so that it could serve as a point of reference for her belief system.  Once Mary thought about the awesomeness of Elizabeth being pregnant, when she knew by first hand knowledge that Elizabeth could not have any children, it made her think about what the angel was saying about her.  I am sure she was thinking, “But Elizabeth’s situation is different than mine.  She was old, but at least she was married.  In my case, it is impossible, because I have never been with a man.”  And then, as if the angel was reading her mind, Gabriel said, “Nothing is impossible for God!”  That was it!  That statement was what Mary needed to help her expand her capacity to believe.

All of a sudden Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant.” What was she saying?  She was saying that she agreed with the angel’s greeting to her.  He greeted her by declaring that the Lord was with her.  She was now able to accept and agree with what God was saying through the angel.  What she said next sealed the deal.  She said, “May it be to me as you have said.” With her own words she had the belief and the faith to agree with God’s Word to her.  She openly accepted what God wanted for her and she received it my faith.  At that moment, I believe, she became pregnant.  That was the moment the Word from the Lord became alive in her.

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.  Reference:  If we can find a biblical reference that relates to our situation, we can expand our capacity to believe.  That’s why it is important to read and study your Bible.

2.  Belief:  There are no impossibilities in God.  Think about that for a moment.  Is there anything that God cannot do?  If he could enable a virgin to have a baby then surely He can meet your situation.  If we can believe the seemingly unbelievable, then we can receive the seemingly impossible.

3.  Agreement:  We can only operate in faith in the Word of God that we accept and agree with.  If God speaks to you or you come across a portion of scripture that you do not accept or agree with, then that Word will never bring forth fruit in your life.  If we don’t believe it, we will never be able to receive it.

4.  Confession:  When we make an open confession of the Word of God we are doing what Mary did.  We are simply allowing our words to line up with God’s Word.  We are believing and declaring what God said.  This looses God’s hand to work in our lives.  That is why I close every message with a daily confession.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I, like Mary, am a believer and not a doubter.  I am able to connect with and relate to the points of reference You have given us in Your Word.  I also connect with and relate to the points of reference I have around me, with my friends, family, etc.  My belief system is built up by the many testimonies I read and I hear and it all helps me receive Your Word in my personal life.  I agree with and I accept Your Word.  I agree with Your opinion of me and I openly declare what You have said.  I am healed, healthy, blessed, and prosperous in every area of my life.  Lord, may it be to me as You have said.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Blessed is the Person who Believes (top of page)

(Luke 1:45 NIV)  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Mary.  Yesterday we discussed how Mary had the capacity to accept and agree with God’s Word spoken to her.  Although it was humanly impossible – outside of God – she believed what God said and she accepted that somehow she would get pregnant and bring forth the Holy Son of God.  Shortly after the angel left, Mary she prepared to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  If God had also supernaturally allowed her to get pregnant, then she was the perfect person to be around.  Being around people that will build-up and not tear down your faith is very important; especially in the space between the promise of God and the performance of the promise.

Mary traveled to the hill country of Judea.  She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And then, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth began to speak things that Mary needed to hear.  These were things that would help build and solidify her faith.  Elizabeth said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  Just like that, with just a few words, the Holy Spirit through Elizabeth had already provided confirmation for Mary.  Mary had not told anything to Elizabeth.  They had not even held a conversation yet, but Elizabeth was already declaring that Mary was the mother of our Lord.  This is awesome because sometimes the devil would attempt to get us to question whether or not we heard from God.  When God provides us confirmation through another person, whom we have not discussed the situation with, it helps remove all doubt and combat all fears.

Elizabeth went on to say, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”  Think about that for a moment.  Elizabeth was attributing Mary’s level of blessing to her capacity to believe.  Mary was blessed because she was able to believe what God said and then believe that it would come to pass in her life.  That is the point of this series; to help you believe what God said and believe that it will come to pass in your life.

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

1.  It is important to surround yourself with people that will help build up and not tear down your belief system and your faith.

2.  God can provide confirmation through others and when He does, it helps combat all fear, doubt, and unbelief.

3.  You will be blessed when you are able to believe what God said and then believe it will come t pass in your life.

4.  God’s blessings are not earned, they are accessed through belief.  Mary did not work for this blessing, she simply believed for it!  What can you believe for?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I learn from Your Word and I surround myself with people that will build up and not tear down my capacity to believe.  I increase my capacity to simply believe what You said and I am open to receive confirmation from others to help solidify my belief system.  The more I can believe, the more I free You to be able to bless me.  I open myself up to the overwhelming possibilities Your Word provides me and I look forward to walking in Your blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

One Word from God can change Your Life! (top of page)

(Luke 1:48 MSG)  “God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!  What God has done for me will never be forgotten.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Mary.  Yesterday we discussed how Mary’s cousin Elizabeth discerned that she was pregnant, thanked God for it, and attributed Mary’s pregnancy to the her ability to believe God.  Mary responded to Elizabeth’s confirming comments by saying, “With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Savior.”  This is important because we must always remember to direct all praise and glory to God.  Mary had the capacity to believe, but it was God that had the miracle working power to enable a virgin to be with child.  That is good to remember when we walk our walk of faith.  Our part is believing and operating in faith; God’s part is responding to our faith and manifesting His glory.  When God meets our need, we then have another part, and that is to direct all praise and glory to His name!

Mary went on to say, “God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!  What God has done for me will never be forgotten.”  In the King James Version it says, “All generations shall call me blessed.”  What was Mary doing?  She was recognizing the magnitude of the blessing.  As the young woman that was selected by God to bring forth His Son, she would be talked about for the rest of time.  Her recognition is significant, but what makes it more special is when it happened.  Mary had just received the Word from the Lord.  After receiving that Word she went to her cousin’s house.  There is no indication that Mary was “showing.”  There is no indication that she had experienced morning sickness.  There is no indication that her ankles were swelling.  Bottom-line: there was no physical evidence, but she was talking like it was already done.  Read verse 48 again, it is written in the past tense.  Without any physical evidence, she had already received, believed, and moved out on a Word from God! That is the power of expanding your capacity to believe!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you truly believe it transforms your:

1.  Thoughts:  Look at how Mary had changed.  She thought of herself as the most fortunate woman on the earth.  And why?  Because she had received a Word from the Lord.  The Bible is full of “Words” from the Lord for you.  When you truly believe the Lord and His Word it will transform your way of thinking and help solidify a positive self-image.

2.  Words:  Mary started out by speaking words of doubt and confusion when the angel came to her, but after she understood and believed what he said, she began to speak with confidence and boldness; even without physical evidence.  Your relationship with God should have the same affect on your life.  What kind of words do you speak?  Fear, doubt, and unbelief or faith, confidence, and strength?  Faith does not wait to see it to say it!

3.  Deeds:  Mary had no intentions of going to Elizabeth’s house, but her visitation from the Lord caused her to want to make the visit.  Her experience with God not only changed her thoughts and words, but it also spilled over into her actions.  In your journey towards expanded belief you must turn the corner from information to application and DO something!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  My transformed capacity to believe also transforms my thoughts, words, and deeds.  I think of myself as You think of me; the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, a winner and not the loser, a victor and not the victim.  My faith-based thoughts lead to faith-filled words.  I speak like and not death, blessing and not cursing.  My thoughts and words lead to action and I step out in faith in every area of my life.  I am a different person because of Your Word!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Healing of a Leper – The God of Compassion (top of page)

(Mark 1:40 NIV)  A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the story of a leper.  For us to understand his predicament we must know a little something about leprosy.  Leprosy is an infectious disease that attacks the skin and central nervous system.  People with leprosy often do not have the sensation of pain to identify cuts and bruises; frequently injuring themselves without knowing.  Leprosy also causes multiple legions on the skin that cause a terrible smell.  Lepers, for obvious reasons, were social outcasts.  They were considered unclean and were condemned to live the rest of their lives in leper colonies.  Beyond the obvious physical damage, the social treatment of lepers could easily cause psychological damage.  They died a slow physical, psychological, and emotional death.

The leper in our text knew that there was no hope for him in medicine.  He knew that there was no hope for him with the powerless religious rulers.  He knew that there was no hope for him with the insensitive society.  Leprosy meant that he had to live out the remainder of his days with other lepers; others who were as miserable as he was.  It was in this physical, psychological, and social state that he heard about a man named Jesus.  What is awesome is that Jesus had not healed a leper yet.  It was not like this leper had a true point-of-reference, other than the fact that he heard that Jesus was used to heal people.  The leper somehow came to the conclusion in his mind and more importantly, in his heart, that Jesus could heal his leprosy.  Do you know what we call that?  We call it belief! He believed that he could be healed by this man named Jesus.  Now that he overcame the greatest obstacle, believing that Jesus could, the man still had to overcome the inferiority complex that his situation drove him to; the leper was not sure if Jesus would.  And so the leper, armed with his belief alone, broke the ceremonial rules, left his leper colony, found Jesus, bowed before Him, and said, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Notice the statement.  The leper did not say, “If you can,” because he already believed that he could.  The leper’s statement was more, “If you will,” because he was not sure that Jesus would have anything to do with lepers.

Mark says that Jesus was filled with compassion.  I believe Jesus looked passed the outward appearance of the man and saw someone hurting more on the inside than the outside.  Jesus reached out and touched him before He healed him.  He gave the leper what he so eagerly longed for – a human touch.  No clean person had touched him since leprosy attacked his body.  Jesus did the unthinkable and touched the untouchable.  Jesus said, “I am willing, Be clean!

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.  There is nothing too hard for God.  God’s power is limitless.

2.  God will meet you at your point of belief.  Only those that are able to believe in the God of no limits are those who are able to receive from Him in a limitless way.

3.  God is moved by compassion.  He understands your internal and external pain and He wants to provide you with relief.  His authority says He can, His character says He will.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I believe You can work in my situation and I have the faith that You will.  I cast my cares upon You this morning.  You know what I secretly struggle with and I lay it at your feet.  I ask You to look beyond my outward appearance and to see my inner need.  Reach out to me this morning, even while I am in front of this computer, and touch me.  Your touch releases Your power, Your virtue, and Your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Centurion – Great Faith (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the story Jesus healing the centurion’s servant.  A centurion (a Roman officer comparable to our US Company Commander) came to Jesus seeking help for his servant.  This case is quite interesting because the centurion was not a Jew.  This man did not read the scriptures, he did not worship in the temple of the Sabbath, and he was not raised under the Law of Moses.  This man was a Roman, but somehow he heard about Jesus and how many were healed through his ministry.  Many of that time, and since, have heard about Jesus; but hearing about Jesus’ ministry and believing in it are two different things.  This man actually believed in that Jesus was doing.

The centurion’s servant was at his home, lying paralyzed and in terrible pain.  This Roman’s compassion for his servant and his belief that Jesus could heal him caused him to get up, leave his house, and to set out in search of Jesus.  The centurion found Jesus in Capernaum and he Him about his servant.  Jesus said, “I will go and heal him.”  This was pretty much “standard practice” in Jesus’ ministry to that point, but this is where the story takes a turn.  The centurion did not only believe in Jesus’ power to heal, but he also believed in Jesus’ authority over sickness.  This is different.  The centurion understood authority, because he was a man of authority.  He understood that the people he had authority over had to submit to him.  If he said, “go,” people went.  If he said, “do,” people did.  He may not have understood scripture, but he did understand authority.  He understood that anyone who has authority over something can simply speak; and whatever he has authority over has to submit to the command.  Since this Roman officer perceived and believed that Jesus had authority over sickness, he asked Jesus to simply “speak the word only” and his servant would be healed.  In other words, his belief system was deeper than the average person in that he did not need Jesus to physically go to his house, but he was able to believe that his servant could get healed by Jesus simply speaking a command, in authority, over the sickness of his servant.  Jesus marveled when He heard the centurion’s statement.  Most people had a “I will believe it when I see it” attitude; but this man had the ability to believe it, without seeing it, simply based on a spoken word.  This caused Jesus to say, “I tell you the truth; I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (see Mat 8:5-13).

So what does this mean to you today? Two things:

1.  You are only limited by your capacity to believe:  The more you are able to believe God, the more He is able to do in your life.  Jesus had never operated in anyone’s life in this manner, but he was able to do it for the centurion, because the centurion believed that he could.

2.  Expanded belief enables great faith:  This was the first person that Jesus said had “great faith.”  Do you want to be a person of great faith?  If so, then you must stop limiting God and start believing that He can do anything and everything in your life.  The more you can believe, the more you can release faith for.

What challenge are you dealing with this week?  If you believe God is bigger than it, then you can exercise faith in Him to help you through it.  You + God = Victory!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare in advance, that I am a person of great faith.  I expand my capacity to believe and with it, I am expanding my ability to operate in faith.  I don’t believe there is anything that You cannot do.  I come to You in faith, I believe Your Word, I stand on Your promises, and I believe You will bring them to pass in my life.  I perceive and believe You have authority over anything that comes up against me and I release Your hand to move on my behalf.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

A Paralyzed man and his friends – Is Your Faith Visible? (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the story of the healing of a paralyzed man.  One day he was teaching inside of someone’s house and the Pharisees and others from as far away as Jerusalem came to hear Him teach.  Although He was teaching, it is interesting that the Bible says, “The healing power of God was on him.”  The healing power of God was on Jesus, while He was teaching, but no one inside the house tapping into that power.  No one was making a demand on His healing virtue.

At the same time there was a paraplegic that heard about Jesus.  He believed that if he could just get into the presence of Jesus, he would be healed.  I am sure he dreamed of walking again.  He believed that Jesus was his avenue to healing and he wanted badly to get into his presence.  However, the obvious problem was that he could not walk.  He somehow got four of his friends to take him there.  They arrived at the house, only to find it busting at the seems.  There was no way in.  The healing power of God was present inside the house, but they were seemingly blocked from getting in.  What would they do?  Would they pack up and go home?  Would they tell their friend, “Sorry buddy, we tried.”  Would they wait until the crowd dissipated?  NO!  These guys were determined.  It is obvious that the paraplegic was not the only guy convinced in his heart of the healing power of God through Jesus; all five of these men were convinced and they would not take no for an answer.  The men carried their buddy, stretcher and all, up onto the roof.  They then removed some of the roof tiles and they lowered their buddy down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus.  The Bible says that Jesus, “saw their faith.”  Their faith could be seen, because it was faith that was coupled with action.  Their faith could be seen because their belief was settled in their heart.  The paralyzed man came in through the roof, but he left through the front door (see Luke 5:17-26).

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

1.  Choose your friends wisely:  This man received his breakthrough and his blessing because he was surrounded by people who believed like he believed and who had the faith to turn their belief into action.  Be careful not to surround yourself with people that doubt God.  You need to be around people that will push you to believe, not to doubt.

2.  Settle your belief in your heart:  These men remind me of Abraham.  Paul said that he was “fully persuaded” (Rom 4:21) that God would do what He promised.  Abraham had to overcome doubt and so did these men.  They would not have ever torn apart a stranger’s roof if they were not convinced in their heart that their friend was going to be healed.  When you come to God you cannot come with a wavering belief system.  Either you believe or you don’t.  Settle the issue of belief in your heart, so that you can stand firm on the promises of God.

3.  Allow your faith to be visible:  We live in a society of skeptics.  Many in the world think faith is nothing more than the mystical optimism of modern people holding on to ancient stories.  The world needs to “see faith” in the lives of those that claim to possess it.  If you were on trial for being a Christian and an investigator followed you for a week, could he gather enough evidence to find you guilty or would he have to report to the judge that he could find no evidence of you being a Christian?  Guilty or innocent, which one would you be?  Think about that as we close.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that I live a life of faith.  My belief is settled in my heart.  I do not doubt You Lord.  I act out my faith in my daily pursuit of intimacy with You.  I do not flaunt my faith, but I do not hide it either.  I am who I am.  I am whom You have made me to be.  I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is Your power unto salvation, to every one that believes.  Use me as an example of Your righteousness today; that the world may see Jesus in me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

From Religion to Relationship (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the story of the healing of a young girl at the point of death.  Our story finds Jesus at the end of a long day of ministry.  He started his day off teaching parables, He then got into a boat and crossed Lake Galilee, calmed a storm on the way, cast a legion of demons out of a man in the land of Gad, and headed back over Lake Galilee.  It had been a long day already, but Jesus’ ministry work was not yet done.  Jesus had left a large crowd behind when He stopped teaching and left for Gad; and sure enough, a large crowd was waiting on Him when he got back.  This was “business-as-usual,” until someone broke through the crowd.  This was no ordinary man.  This was a man of position and prominence in the community.  This was a man of stature.  This was a man who was in charge of the local Jewish meeting place.  The King James Version calls him a “ruler of the synagogue.”  He was no doubt known by some of the people in the crowd.  Not only did they know him, but surely he knew some of them.  Why is this important?  Because it exposes the fact that this was a public encounter with Jesus.  Now, for the average person in the crowd a public encounter with Jesus would not have been a big deal, but for this man it was.

In “Manners and Customs of the Bible” James M. Freeman says: “The ruler of the synagogue occupied a very important position.  In the temple synagogue he was the third officer in rank; the first officer bring the high priest, and the second the chief of the priests… No one was eligible to this office until he had a certificate from the Great Sanhedrin that he possessed the requisite qualifications.  His election, however, was by the members of the synagogue.  It was his duty to supervise all matters of worship.”  Why do I bring this out?  Because it proves that he had a relationship – probably a close one – with the religious leadership of the time.  He knew their limitations and their strengths.  Before he could believe that Jesus was the answer to his daughter’s situation, he also had to believe that his religious system was not.  He had to believe that his friends (the priests) were not equipped to handle her situation.  This is powerful when you realize that he broke through the crowd and fell at Jesus’ feet.  He stripped himself of his position, his reputation, and his affiliation.  He came as a humble man in need of a blessing; and he came to the one man his friends were afraid of, the one man they were marking as their enemy (see Mark 5:21-24).

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

1.  God is real and He desires a real, personal, and intimate relationship with you.  This man had a real problem – his daughter was dying – and our real God showed up in a real way.

2.  Religion alone (tradition and repetition) numbs people from expecting an authentic experience with God.  Do you go to church, or pray, or etc. out of routine or do you actually have a relationship with God?  This man broke away from the routine and the mundane.

3.  Before you can believe that God is your answer, you oftentimes have to deduce you’re your others options are not.  Have you been trying everything else, but God?  Once you believe those others options cannot help you, you will be more apt to believe God will.

4.  Your belief must drive your priorities and your actions.  When your belief is strong it enables you to overcome internal pride and it frees you to bow before God in true worship.  This man had to get past what others would think or say.  We must do the same.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know You are a real God that deals with real people, with real problems, in a real way.  I break out of routine and religion and I seek and establish a personal relationship with You.  You are the answer to anything that exceeds my ability.  If you have blessed me to be able to handle it, then I will handle it; but when something exceeds my ability or the ability of others, I know I can come to You.  There is nothing impossible for You.  You are my answer and my God.  I worship You in private and in public!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

An Earnest Confession (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jairus’ daughter.  Last week we discussed who Jairus was (a ruler of the synagogue) and how big of a deal it was that he went to Jesus in the first place.  This morning we take a close look at what he told Jesus.

The Bible says that Jairus besought Jesus greatly, meaning that he was earnest in his plea.  He was speaking as much from his heart as he was from his head.  He believed what he was saying and he was sincere in his approach.  I am sure Jesus could see his sincerity all over his face and of course, Jesus could also discern the sincerity of his heart.  Jairus, in this lowly and sincere state said, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  Let’s take a closer look at this petition/declaration and see how it applies to our lives today.

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

1.  He did not omit the facts:  Being a person of faith and seeking to speak faith and not doubt does not mean that you have to omit the facts.  Jairus spoke the facts: his daughter was sick and lying at the point of death.  Some people, in an attempt to always speak words of faith, refuse to speak the facts of their situation.  Meaning, if a sickness has attacked your body, then it is alright to admit it, but you can follow that up by saying that you believe God for your healing.

2.  He did not allow the facts to override his faith:  Immediately after stating the facts, Jairus spoke words of faith.  He declared, with his own lips, that his daughter would be healed and she would live through hands of Jesus.  The truth (God and His Word) is greater than facts.

3.  He exposed his level of belief with his words:  Jesus had already healed a centurion’s servant without having to visit his house, but Jairus’ level of belief was not the same as the centurion.  Jairus believed that Jesus needed to go to his house and lay hands of his daughter.  That is where his belief level was.  Jesus did not condemn him or compare him to the centurion; He simply met Jairus at his level of belief.  Jesus will do the same for you.

4.  He combined his words with belief:  Jairus did what you and I did when we became Christians.  He confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart (Rom 10:9,10).  Speaking words without belief does nothing.  When you close out these messages with the “Confession for this day,” it is my prayer that you believe what you just read and that you speak the confession with your lips and your heart.  That way, your confessing and believing with bring about a change to your day and your life.

5.  His words and his belief moved Jesus to action:  This combination of speaking and believing caused God to honor His Word; transferring us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God.  This combination of confessing and believing caused Jesus to leave where He was and to head towards Jairus’ house.  This combination of confessing and believing can release God to move in your life today, with whatever you may be facing.  When what you say lines up with what you believe, God knows you are earnest in your approach to Him and He moves on your behalf.  You cannot fool God with empty words; but you can ignite God to action with faith-filled words.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am earnest in my approach to You this morning.  I confess with my mouth that You are greater than my situation, that my God is bigger than any problem I face, that my God is the greatest God and greatest force in my life.  I also believe in my heart that what I just confessed is true.  My words line up with my belief.  I release You Lord now to move in my life to bring me victory and peace this day and this week.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe! (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jairus’ daughter.  Yesterday we took a close look at Jairus’ earnest confession of faith.  Jairus’ words, backed by his belief, caused Jesus to spring into action and Jesus went with him to his house.  Jesus was on a faith mission to fulfill what Jairus had spoken.  That’s what happens when you come to God with an earnest plea – He moves into action to bring to pass your declaration of faith.  Jesus, the disciples, and Jairus all left for his house.  Well, guess what?  The crowd followed.  We all know how nosy church folk are J.  That’s just a joke.  So there they were, Jairus, Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd; all heading to Jairus’ house to see a miracle.  This is when the story takes a turn for the worse for Jairus.  A woman from inside the crowd touched Jesus in a special way and her touch of faith caused Jesus to stop.  So one man’s words of faith caused Jesus to go and one woman’s touch of faith caused Jesus to stop.  It looks like Jesus (God) was moved by faith.

Jesus stopped and held a conversation with her.  We will talk more about this woman later.  But I can imagine what was going through Jairus’ head.  I am sure the enemy was flooded his mind with thoughts of failure and death.  The enemy was probably telling Jairus, “This sure is taking long.  Your daughter is not going to make it.  This woman is going to cause you to miss your blessing.”  But there he was, waiting on Jesus.  He could do nothing but wait.  Jesus was moving, but Jesus was not on his time table, Jairus was Jesus’.  While Jesus was wrapping up his conversation with the woman, some people from Jairus’ house came and said, “Your daughter is dead.  Why bother the teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35).  Wow!  Just like that, his hope for his daughter had seemed to slip through his fingers.  Fear flooded his body.  His daughter was lost.  His hope was dead.  His life, as he knew it, was over.  The little girl that he swallowed his pride for when he bowed before Jesus in front of all those people that knew him and knew his position, was now dead.  The last words ringing through his head were, “Why bother the teacher anymore?”  See, this was an attempt from the enemy to get Jairus to tell Jesus not to come to the house.  Jairus’ words of faith were what moved Jesus to start towards his house and Jairus’ words of fear could now stop Jesus from coming.  But thank God that Jesus spoke before Jairus said anything.  Jesus told Jairus, “Be not afraid, only believe” (v.36).  What was Jesus saying?  He was saying that there was still hope for his daughter.  The same words of faith that Jairus had spoken were still valid.  He had already said, “Come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  Jesus could still do that, but not if Jairus told him not to come.  If Jairus said, “No.  Stop.  It’s over.  Don’t come.”  Then Jesus would not have gone.  God will not force Himself upon you.  God will either honor your faith and release His blessing or honor your fear and withhold it.  We are not done with this, but we will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? Lots of things, but for today I will simply focus on the fact that the enemy wants to get you to stop believing.  Nothing is impossible to him that believes (Mark 9:23), but not if you stop believing in the space between your confession and the completion of it.  Is there anything you have given up hope on?  If there is, this is your opportunity to repent and to start believing again.  God can still bring it to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare, by faith, that I do not allow frustration to cause me to stop believing in the space between my confession on the completion of it.  I combat frustration by constantly reminding myself that You are a God of Your Word and that no matter how long it takes, You will make Your Word good in my life.  My faith cancels out any fear in my life.  I am not afraid, I only believe!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Choosing Faith over Fear (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jairus’ daughter.  Yesterday we looked at how Jairus was faced with two opinions: fear or faith.  On the one hand he had already spoken a declaration of faith and Jesus was on the way to his house.  Things were looking good.  If Jesus could get to his house, then his daughter would be alright.  On the other hand he received word that his daughter was already dead and that he should tell Jesus to stop and not come.  He had two competing opinions going on in his head and in his heart.  He could either remain in faith and believe that Jesus could raise her up from the dead or he could succumb to fear and believe that his situation was beyond repair.  This reminds me of something I have been meditating on from a passage in Romans 4 where Paul says that Abraham “considered not” his 100 yr. old body, nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb.  Because he considered not, Abraham was then able to “stagger not” at the promise of God through unbelief.  This sounds easy enough, so I have been trying it.

I am in Arizona and on my way out here I prayed before I left, just like I always do.  I had to take three flights and I prayed that every flight would go up where and when they were supposed to and that that they would come down where and when they were supposed to.  I also pray for favor and etc.  My prayer gives me an internal confidence to know that I released the hand of God over my travels and I simply “go” in accordance with that confidence.  My second flight was to arrive in Phoenix at a time that only gave me a few minutes to make the transfer to my third flight.  The third flight was the last flight to Tucson and I knew that I did not want to miss it.  Well, because of weather, my flight arrived in Phoenix a little behind schedule.  My schedule was already tight so I started “considering” the fact that this might make me miss my follow on flight.  I was then internally reminded about my prayer.  So I then had a decision to make.  I could consider the delay and stagger or I could simply focus on my faith, not waiver, and have confidence that God would work it out.  However I will admit that the thoughts of missing my flight were constant.  I had to literally force myself not to consider them and to focus on the fact that I would make it.  Guess what?  I made my flight.  Then I was on my way to get my rental car when I told a good friend of mine that I had made it to Tucson and that I was about to drive to Sierra Vista.  He told me to watch out for deer, because there are a lot of deer that cross that road at night.  I got to my rental car and I prayed, like I always do.  I prayed that a hedge of protection would be ‘round about me.  That angels would protect the vehicle, because of the Kingdom of God had need of it and that no hurt, harm, or danger would come upon me while I was in it.  I had forgotten about what my friend said until I got on the road and my mind was flooded with thoughts of deer.  Once again I had a decision to make.  I could either consider the deer and allow that to consume my 70 mile drive or I could continue to drive carefully, but with my mind and my heart focused on God and not the deer.  If I could consider not, then I would stagger not.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Abraham, Jairus, and I can serve as examples for you that overcoming fear, doubt, and unbelief is possible, but it is something that you have to focus your faith on.  Something as little as missing a flight or looking out for deer could cause someone’s heart to race, their blood pressure to go up, and their mind to be consumed with things it should not be.  You can either focus on fear or focus on faith today?  Which one will be your choice?  Believe me; the faith choice is much better!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose faith over fear.  I choose to not cloud my mind by focusing on things that will cause me to doubt.  Doubt can lead to staggering and wavering.  I am not a doubter, I am a believer.  I believe that You will do what You said You would do in my life.  I believe You will honor my prayers of faith.  I believe and my belief enables me to overcome unbelief.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing in spite of Logic, Reason, and Evidence (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jairus’ daughter.  Yesterday I shared a couple of personal experiences about the mental and spiritual challenges we face when we choose to believe God and operate in faith.  It is not always going to be easy.  I am sure it was not easy for Abraham to continue to believe God for a child through Sarah when every day he had to look at her 90 year old body and then recognize the fact that he was no spring chicken (100 yrs. old).  Physical evidence that was against his confession was staring him in the face.  I am sure he had to deal with thoughts in his mind from the enemy and from himself that reminded him of the fact that Sarah had been barren all her life.  She could not have children at 20, much less at 90.  I am sure that he also had to deal with the thoughts that his body was also past the child bearing stage.  But the Bible says that he believed in a God, “Who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Rom 4:18).  In other words, he had to believe that God was bigger than his body, Sarah’s body, and every negative reality that was associated with this situation.  In the natural, their dream of having a baby should have been dead, but Abraham believed in a God that could give life to any dead situation.  He believed in a God that could look at darkness and speak life, that could look at barrenness and speak birth, that could look at destruction and speak repair, that could look at death and speak life!  That’s the kind of God Abraham believed in.  Because of his belief, he was able to “consider not” every negative thing staring him the face.  His decision to consider not, enabled him to “stagger not” at the promise of God.  In other words, his focus was not on his problem, but rather on God’s promise.

This takes us back to Jairus.  He was believing God for Jesus to lay hands on his daughter and for his daughter to be healed and to live.  He received a report from his house that his daughter was no longer at the sick stage, she was at the death stage.  Breath had left her body.  Her heart was no longer pumping.  Blood was no longer flowing through her veins and air was no longer flowing through her lungs.  Wow!  What would he do?  While he was wrestling with whether or not to tell Jesus to forget it and not to come to his house, Jesus jumped in and said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”  I know I keep going back to this point, but this is very important.  Abraham had to learn how to consider what God said and over what his circumstances were presenting to him.  Jairus had to learn the same thing – very quickly.  Yes, his daughter was now dead.  Yes, this was a real problem.  Yes, his problem was staring him in the face.  But if he could muster up the ability to continue to believe God, to believe in a God that can give life to any dead situation, then his daughter still had hope.  Yes, she was dead, but God was bigger than his problem, her problem, and your problem!  The issue was no longer whether or not God could; the question was whether or not Jairus could still believe?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must be consistent in your belief, even when physical evidence that is contrary to your belief is staring you in the face.  If you start considering everything that is against your belief, you will most likely stagger, waiver, and doubt.  I know it sounds irrational, but people of faith have to have the ability to stand on a promise of God, even when it goes against reason, logic, and evidence.  Even when it does not make sense, you can still believe.  God is not sensual, He is spiritual!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose to believe You, Your promises, and Your Word.  I believe and I will continue to believe, even when reason, logic, and physical evidence are telling me that I should not.  There is nothing impossible for You.  You are the God that can give life to any dead situation and I believe You will move in my life – Today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Creating the Right Environment (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Jairus’ daughter.  Yesterday we discussed how Jairus had to operate in a belief level that looked beyond logic, reason, and physical evidence.  He had to get past the fact that his daughter’s condition had reached the death stage and still believe that Jesus could deal with her situation.  Once the situation got this grave, Jesus stopped the crowd from following any further.  The presence of nosy bystanders was no longer acceptable.  Jesus did not even allow all the disciples to go with Him to Jairus’ house.  He only permitted His inner circle (Peter, James, and John) to go.  Why?  What was Jesus doing?  He was ridding Himself and Jairus of the distracters that could promote unbelief.  Jairus’ situation had taken a turn for the worse and his ability to remain in belief and faith was critical.  Who was around him at his point was very important, so Jesus only wanted those that He knew could believe.

When Jesus got to the house He had to rectify another situation.  News had gotten out in the neighborhood that that little girl was dead.  The house was full of the hustle and bustle of people coming to help, to console the family, and also those that simply wanted to be nosy.  Lots of them were crying and making all sorts of commotion.  Jesus got to the house and seeing all this said, “Why are you making such a noise and weeping?  The child is not dead, but sleeping”  Now, He did not say this to imply that she was not dead; because dead she was, but this was to indicate that her spirit was still alive and that it would soon reinvigorate her body with life.  This was a declaration of hope and faith.  But the people at the house were not at that level of belief.  That is exactly why Jesus had gotten rid of the crowd; to rid Jairus and Himself of the unbelief and doubt that comes from those that do not have a developed capacity to believe.  The people at the house did not have the capacity to believe what Jesus was saying and they laughed at Him.  They literally told Jesus that He did not know what He was talking about.  So guess what He did?  He kicked them out of the house.  He sent them all out.  The only people He permitted to remain were Jairus, his wife, and his three inner circle disciples.  When Jesus finally got before the little girl’s body, surrounded by people that believed God and had hope, He touched the girl and spoke life back into her body.

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

1.  Check your Influences:  Jesus knew that Jairus’ belief level was fragile after hearing the devastating news of his daughter’s death.  He stopped the crowd and most of His disciples from going any further, because He knew that their negative input could influence Jairus towards fear, doubt, and unbelief.  Likewise, you must be very careful to check your influences.  What do you listen to?  Who do you allow to speak into your life?  Bible based, faith-filled teaching is good and necessary in your life, but if you then turn around and inundate yourself with input from people who speak fear, doubt, and unbelief, you will cause a conflict in your heart.  Know what you believe and surround yourself with people that will build you up and not tear you down.

2.  Create an environment of Belief:  When you are facing a critical problem in your life: death, sickness, divorce, etc.; that is no time to be around unbelief.  The more dire the challenge you are facing, the more important it is to surround yourself with people that can believe God with you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I check my influences and I am careful to surround myself with people that will build me up and not tear me down.  I rid myself of the distracters that promote unbelief and I do not allow any negative influences to stifle my capacity to believe.  I create an environment around me that promotes belief, faith, victory, and peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Battered and Bruised, But still Believing (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by embarking upon the story of the woman that had an issue of blood.  This was the woman that interrupted Jesus when He was traveling to Jairus’ house.  The Bible says that she had an issue of blood for twelve years.  That is “King James” verbiage and it does not make it clear what the problem was.  Let me explain.  She had a condition where her menstrual cycle was off kilter and it literally had not stopped in 12 years.  This constant loss of blood would cause anyone to be physically debilitated; but her physical condition was only part of the problem.  She was more than likely psychologically scarred because of the legal parameters of her condition.  The Levitical Law stated that a person was “unclean” during their menstrual cycle; meaning they could not have the normal physical interactions they could during the rest of the month.  Since this woman’s cycle never stopped, it caused her to stay away from everyone while she was in her condition and it basically made her a prisoner in her own body (see Lev 15:19-31).  Identify with her for a moment. Physically she was drained, emotionally she was spent, and socially she was an outcast.  If that was not bad enough, the Bible says that she had spent all her money on doctors and did not get any better, but rather grew worse.  She was financially broke, physically bleeding, psychologically aching, and socially enclosed; but amazingly enough, she still mustered up the strength to believe! She heard about a man named Jesus that was going about healing the sick and ministering to the untouchable.  When she heard about Jesus it gave her hope.  This man Jesus was not like the men she had already tried.  This man was different, God was with Him.  It seemed as though nothing was too big a problem for Him and that is exactly what this woman needed to hear.  No matter how bad her condition was (physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially), Jesus represented hope.  She believed in that hope and she believed she could be healed by one encounter with Jesus.  She said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well” (Mark 5:28).  We will stop here for today.

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

1.  One Encounter with God can change your life forever:  I am not a big advocate of preaching “one touch” or “one encounter” type messages, because it draws people that only want to get something from God and not have a true relationship with God.  But whether I am an advocate or not, the truth is that one encounter with God can change your life forever.  This woman had tried everything else and she now believed that one encounter with Jesus could stop her bleeding and restore her to health.  Guess what?  She received what she was able to believe!  She had the audacity to believe in a God she could not see, through a man (Jesus) she did not know.  What are you able to believe?  If you can believe it, you become a candidate to receive it.

2.  Going to the manufacturer:  If you bought a new BMW and you had a problem with it, would you take it to the FORD dealer?  Probably not.  Why?  Because FORD did not make the vehicle.  You would take it to the manufacturer, because they made it and know everything about it.  Likewise, this woman had been to everyone else and was no better for it, as a matter of fact, she was worse off.  She finally redirected her focus and she took her issue to God.  Like her situation, God has made you and He knows everything about you.  Stop taking your issues to everyone BUT God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, it does not matter how long I have been dealing with something or how bad the diagnosis may be, I am a believer and I still believe.  I believe that one Word, one touch, one encounter with You can turn any hopeless situation around.  I believe You are bigger than any of my problems.  I bring my issues to You, Lord.  You made me and You know everything about me.  My encounter with You empowers me for victory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

The Audacity of Hope (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of the woman with an issue of blood.  As I was meditating on this story this morning I was reminded of a book that Senator Barack Obama recently released.  Now, let me be clear, I have not read the book and this is not an endorsement of the book or any political agenda.  I simply like the title, which is, “The Audacity of Hope.”  The word audacity means a boldness or daring attitude, with confident disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.  This is what I see in this woman.  She had the audacity to have hope and to believe that her situation could turn around.

Let’s recap how bad her situation was.  She had spent all her money on doctors and instead of getting better, she got worse.  The Levitical Law said she was “unclean” so she could not have normal social interactions.  The religious system of the time made her limitations clear to her, but it never provided no alternative to her life of despair.  Her body had been bleeding for 12 years straight.  By all accounts she was a good candidate for giving up hope.  If anyone (humanly speaking) had the right to throw in the towel and just give up, she did.  It seemed as though life had dealt her a bad hand.  She was in a bad situation with no way of escape; but wait, that’s when she heard about Jesus.  She heard about a man that was going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed (Acts 10:38).  I am not sure what she heard or how she heard it, but whatever she heard, it gave her a glimmer of hope.

This woman was bold.  She did not wait until Jesus was alone at night or in a secluded place.  This woman went after Jesus; she perused her blessing, right in the middle of the crowd.  Ceremonially speaking, she was not supposed to be out there.  Being that she was unclean, under the Law, she was making everyone else she touched unclean; including Jesus.  She did not care.  She was past worrying about rules that did not help her.  She was beyond being concerned with what others would or could say.  Like the definition of audacity says, she had a confident disregard for conventional thought or restrictions.  She saw an opportunity and she went for it. She took a chance.  She took the proverbial “leap of faith.”  She had the audacity to hope, to believe, and to dream.  Even with everything bad that had happened to her in the previous 12 years of her life, she still had the ability to dream and to see herself whole!

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

1.  This series is designed to build your belief system up to the point where you have the audacity of hope operating in your life.

2.  It is never too late for God.  If you are still living, there is still hope for your situation.

3.  Don’t be afraid to take a chance, to go against conventional wisdom, and to believe God for the seemingly impossible.

4.  If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.

5.  Don’t suppress the desire you have to launch out into new areas.  Know that God can place that desire in your heart.  Your role is to foster and nurture it, not to kill it.

6.  If you believe God is telling you to do something, then do it with all the passion, purpose, and strength you can muster.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You put dreams, desires, passion, and purpose in my heart.  I thank You for that inner fire and I will not put it out by always submitting to conventional wisdom.  I take a chance, I believe the seemingly impossible, and I cross the faith line.  I step out into the realm where it can only happen if You make it happen.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I dream big dreams and I see them come true through Your grace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Belief + Speech + Action = Results (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of the woman with an issue of blood.  Yesterday we dealt with her audacity of hope.  This morning we will look at how her hoping led to speaking and how her speaking led to acting.  This is important because hope alone does not bring about change.  Graveyards are said to be some of the wealthiest places in the world.  They are full of people that died with dreams, hopes, desires, plans, and etc.; people who died without maximizing their potential; people who died without fulfilling their purpose.  These are people that may have had big dreams and big plans, but many a big dream goes unfulfilled.

This woman was determined to see her dream fulfilled.  After dreaming it and seeing herself healed in her own body she solidified her belief with her tongue.  She said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28).  What was she doing?  She was sealing the deal within her own self.  James said it this way, “A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.  A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.  A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!” (James 3:3-5 MSG).  Did you get that comparison?  Just like a rider directs a large horse with a small bit, and just like a ship captain directs a huge vessel with a small rudder, we direct our own bodes (and lives) with our small tongue.  Our words wind up framing our lives.  Solomon said that the power of death and life is in our tongue (Prov 18:21).

So we can see that this woman did a great thing when she coupled her believing with her speaking.  She believed it, she spoke it, and there was only one thing left to do – to DO IT!  Remember, this woman could have been healed a multitude of ways, but her belief level was at the point where she believed she would be healed by touching Jesus’ clothes.  Since that is what she believed, then that is what she needed to do.  She could have believed it, spoke it, prayed it, sang it, and even danced it; but if she had not DONE it, nothing would have happened.  She put action behind her belief and her speech.  When she finally did what she had already believed and spoken, then she immediately received what she was believing for.  As soon as she touched Jesus her flow of blood stopped.  Wow!  What the doctors could not do, what her money could not buy, and what others could not believe, happened for this woman because she believed, she spoke, and she acted.  She was healed!

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

1.  God’s part is to give you the dream, your part it to put it into motion with your actions.

2.  Success in life is finding your purpose and completing it before you die.  This cannot be measured by the size of your bank account.

3.  Your words will shape your world.  Choose your words wisely.  Ensure your words line up with direction you believe God is leading you.  You cannot pray one thing in the morning and then speak something else all day and think that you will see results.  Even when you are not “praying,” God is paying attention to your words.

4.  You can believe it and you can speak it, but you will eventually have to DO IT!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You have given me a burning desire and a passion for certain things.  I believe in what You have established in my heart and I solidify my belief with my words.  I line up my words with my belief and I allow my words to shape my world.  I then put actions behind it all and I know that You will grace me to see what I believe and speak.  I know You can do more with me once I get started, so I get started today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Imitate Faith, not Methods (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of the woman with an issue of blood.  Yesterday we discussed how this woman received her breakthrough by believing Jesus could meet her situation, by making a declaration of her belief with her lips, and by then putting action behind it.  Let’s continue.

The Bible says, “The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up.  She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.  At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him.  He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”  His disciples said, “What are you talking about?  With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’  Dozens have touched you!”  But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it” (Mark 5:29-32 MSG).  Jesus was looking around for the person that had touched Him.  As the disciples pointed out, lots of people had physically touched Him, but that’s not what He was looking for.  He was looking for the person that had touched Him with both a physical touch and an internal belief.  See, it could not have simply been in the method.  If that was the case, then everyone touching Jesus would have received some sort of Spiritual impartation.  But they received nothing through their physical touch.  Why?  Because they were not believing God to receive something when they touched Jesus.  This woman’s belief was that she would get healed when she touched Jesus and God met her at her point of belief.  The other people in the crowd simply did not have the same belief, so they did not receive the same thing.

Why is this important?  It is very important, because church folk commonly make the mistake of thinking that they can simply mimic the external method that others used to receive from God and they get frustrated when they don’t get the same results.  The Bible says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Heb 13:7 NIV).  The Hebrew writer teaches us the value of learning from others, especially our leaders, and how we should imitate their faith.  Now, imitating their faith may not always equal imitating their methods.  For example, we can imitate the faith of the woman in our text without imitating her methods.  We can observe the fact that she believed, she spoke, she acted, she received, and she then continued in her blessing.  Jesus wound up saying to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole” (Mark 5:34).  Notice what He did not say.  Jesus did not say, “Daughter, touching my clothes made you whole.”  Once again, it could not have been in the physical touch alone, because a crowd of people were physically touching Him.  This woman lined up her belief, her speech, and her actions and Jesus called it “faith.”  We can imitate her faith by lining up our belief, speech, and actions.  But we would be foolish to go around looking for Christian leaders, coming up behind them, touching their clothes, and then expecting to be healed by it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should learn from Biblical and contemporary examples of faith, but it also means that your goal should be to operate in like faith and not necessarily in like methods.  Don’t marry a method.  Look beyond the method and see the faith in what others have done.  Imitate their faith and you will receive like results.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I do not allow a focus on methods to keep me from seeing the true benefit of learning from the faith of others.  I appreciate their testimonies and the Biblical accounts that are written for my benefit.  I learn them and I make it personal by applying my own faith to my own situation.  I trust You will honor my faith and bring about true change in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Do You Believe God Can? (top of page)

(Mat 9:29 MSG)  He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by shifting to another miracle of Jesus: the two blind men.  For a few days we dealt with the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood that Jesus healed on His way to Jairus’ house.  When Jesus left Jairus’ house there were two blind men that followed Him crying out, “Son of David!  Have mercy on us!”  By addressing Jesus as the Son of David they were openly acknowledging Him as the Messiah, as the Savior of the world.  Those that did not acknowledge Him as the Messiah commonly addressed Him as “Jesus of Nazareth.”  They called Him this as a kind of insult, because Nazareth was not a nice place.  So these blind men had obviously heard enough about Jesus to perceive that He had come from God.  They acknowledged His divine assignment and they came to the “Son of David” for mercy.  What mercy could they want to obtain?  It is obvious that their plea was a plea for healing.  We will see that in their conversation with Jesus.

Jesus took the blind men indoors and asked, “Do you really believe I can do this?”  Now it is clear.  Both Jesus and the men were talking about healing.  The men wanted to be able to see.  Jesus wanted to bless them to receive their sight, but before He did, He needed to know if they had the capacity to believe.  This is the point of this series.  Like these blind men, if we do not have the capacity to believe, then we will be limited in what we can receive.  God is a limitless God and we only limit Him and His operation in our lives by our capacity to believe.  The question was not whether or not Jesus could, the question was simply, “Did they believe?”  If they really believed that Jesus could heal them, then their belief would open the door for Jesus to operate in their lives.  They heard Jesus’ question and they replied, “Yes, Lord!”  Take a close look at their reply.  They did not just say, “Yes,” but rather they said, “Yes, Lord!”  Why is that important?  Because they were once again acknowledging the fact that this was no mere man.  They were attributing His works to the Lord and they were acknowledging His deity.  Their acknowledgment of His ability and His divine nature freed Jesus to release healing.  Jesus touched their eyes and the King James Version says that He said, “According to your faith be it unto you.”  This means that Jesus was attributing their healing to their faith.  In other words, they were being healed because they had the capacity to believe that they could.  The Message Bible translates what Jesus said as, “Become what you believe.”  That is a powerful statement and we will discus it next time.  Let’s stop here for today.

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

1.  God is bigger than your situation.  If He could heal two blind men at the same time, then can He not deal with whatever you are facing this morning?  What is hard to God?

2.  You limit God by your capacity to believe.  God wants to know if you really believe He can do it.  When you don’t believe, but you still want God to do it (whatever the “it” may be), then you are literally asking God to bless you in spite of you.  You want Him to overlook your doubt.  He can, because He is God and He can do anything, but if you remove your doubt, then you free God to operate in your life according to your belief and faith.  That is His will for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, like the blind men in this passage, I acknowledge Your deity.  You alone are God and You along are the Lord of my life.  I acknowledge the fact that there is nothing impossible for You.  I believe You can and by doing so, I remove every hindrance from You operating in my life.  Lord, I am a believer and not a doubter.  Have mercy on me.  Move in my life according to my faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

You will Become what you Believe! (top of page)

(Mat 9:29 MSG)  He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of the two blind men.  We already dealt with the fact that they followed Jesus and that they wanted to get healed.  Jesus asked them the critical question when He said, “Do you really believe I can do this?”  Their blessing was tied up in their capacity to believe.  If they could believe they would receive.  If not, then Jesus would not force Himself upon them.  It was never a question of whether or not the power to heal was resident in Jesus; it was simply a question of their level of belief.  They did believe.  They replied, “Yes, Lord!

After they let Jesus know that they were ready, that they could believe, that they had the expectation to see, that they had taken any limitations off; then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”  Do you realize how powerful a statement that is?  Jesus was releasing them to become in the physical realm what they had already become internally.  Internally, they could see themselves seeing.  Internally, they could imagine themselves walking around and looking at the colors on a flower, enjoying the beauty of a sunset, the joy of the expressions on the faces of their family members; and etc.  They came to Jesus because they believed He was their gateway to sight.  Their anticipation was high.  Their expectation was established.  They could believe God for their sight and Jesus simply released them to become what they believed!

The Bible is clear, through many passages, that our walk with God is a walk of faith.  We are to live by faith, walk by faith, pray the prayer of faith, fight the fight of faith, overcome by faith, and etc.  However, before you can operate in faith you must believe.  You will never express confidence in God (that’s faith) without first believing that He is able and willing to do what you are standing in need of.  That is why some people experience supernatural manifestations of God and others simply don’t.  There are Christians who have a relationship with God, but who never come to God with expectations or belief for anything other than salvation.  Yes, it is the will of God that you make it heaven; but you can be saved and live miserable in the earth.  If you do, it’s not God’s fault.  God is ready, willing, and able to meet you and to move in your life; but He will meet you at your level of belief; at your point of faith. God will release you to become what you believe, but if you never believe Him for anything, then you are hindering His ability to operate in your life.  If God wanted you to be in heaven, you would be.  The mere fact that you are still here is evidence that He wants you to do something in the earth realm.  Ask God to show you what He wants you to do, then believe Him to do it and He will get the glory out of your life.

So what does this mean to you today? Bottom-line: your life is only limited by your capacity to believe.  Whether big or small, you will become what you believe.  The more you are able to believe, the more God will enable you to become.  He wants to get glory out of your life here in the earth.  Why not let Him?  Believe God for great things and allow Him to be glorified in all that you do!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I release You to move in my life by coming to You in belief, faith, expectation, and anticipation.  I take any limits I previously had off of You and Your operation in my life.  I allow Your presence in me to birth images of greatness and to reveal my purpose.  I then believe what You show me and I release You to help me to become what I believe!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Dare to be a Peter (top of page)

(Mat 14:29 KJV) And he said, “Come.”  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by looking at one of the most amazing accounts in the Bible – Peter walking on water.  Let’s first understand the setting.  It had been a long day.  Jesus had already fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch (2 fish and 5 loaves) and He wanted to get away from the crowd.  He told His disciples to get into a boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake.  While the disciples were preparing to leave He dismissed the crowd and He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.  Late into the evening Jesus sought to catch up with His disciples.  Not having a boat Himself, He walked on water to get to them.  That is amazing in and of itself, but most people attempt to use the excuse, “Well, that was Jesus.”  So, in an attempt to get you to identify with the text, we will look at the other person in the story that walked on water; Peter.

John’s account (Jn 6:19) tells us that they had rowed about 3 and a half miles and were just over half of the way there.  Jesus had a pretty long distance to go to catch up to them; especially without a boat.  To make matters even worse, the disciples were battling a furious storm.  Jesus finally caught up with them in the fourth watch of the night (between 3am and 6am).  Think about the setting.  They were already tired from ministering with Jesus all day, battling the storm and waves had probably left them exhausted, and if that was not bad enough, it was the fourth watch of the night.  It’s hard to stay up between 3am and 6am under any circumstances, much less theirs.  It was at this time and under these conditions that Jesus caught up with them.  They looked out, spotted Jesus on the water, and with everything going on, they mistook Jesus for a ghost.  They were physically exhausted, sleepy, and scared.  Jesus sensed their fear and said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  This is important because fear cancels out faith, just as much as faith cancels out fear.  Jesus never wanted anyone He came in contact with to be in fear.  He often used the term, “fear not.”  Why?  Because fear will keep you from believing God.  When you are in fear you are doubting God.  Peter took heed to what Jesus said.  He shifted from fear to faith.  Peter cried out, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  This was a big deal.  Peter had been with Jesus long enough to know that if Jesus declared something, it would come to pass.  Peter had also learned that after Jesus declared something, that they person He spoke to had to have the faith to believe and respond to what He said.  All of this was probably going through his mind when Jesus simply said, “Come!”  Just like that.  Just one word.  No fancy message, no long sermon, no enticing words, just a simply command – Come!  Peter now had something to have faith in.  Jesus had spoken a Word to him.  Peter believed that Word.  He believed enough to come down out of the ship.  We will stop here for today.

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

1.  One Word from God can turn your situation around, no matter how bad it may seem.

2.  We have to combat fear in our lives.  Fear cancels out faith and vice-versa.

3.  God can enable you to do the seemingly impossible – if you can believe!

4.  You don’t have to be like everyone else – Peter was the only one that left the boat.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I dare to be a Peter today.  I will not look at my circumstances like everyone else does.  Yes, we might all be tired, we might all face challenges, and we might all endure storms, but I will be the one that believes I can get out of my situation.  My belief enables me to break away from the crowd!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

If you lose your focus you will lose your Faith! (top of page)

(Mat 14:30 MSG)  But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Peter walking on water.  Yesterday we discussed how everything was in place for Peter to accomplish this feat of faith: he had a point of reference (Jesus), he believed that is was possible (this is key), he had a Word from the Lord (Jesus said, “Come”), and he had the faith to step out on that Word.  With everything in place, Peter did it!  He literally got out of the boat and he walked on water.  Think about that for a minute.  No one had ever walked on water in the history of humanity.  Jesus became the first person to do it and He had just done it a few minutes before Peter.  Peter and Jesus became the only two people – ever – to walk on water.

Humanly speaking, water walking is impossible.  This is where Mark 9:23 comes into play.  In Mark 9 Jesus was dealing with another humanly impossible situation when He said, “All things are possible to him that believes.”  In other words, Jesus was saying that there are no impossibilities in God, but we know that there are impossibilities with man.  The point being that when you have a man that has faith in God, he taps into the limitless power of God and therefore, nothing will be impossible for him.  In essence, it is God working through the man.  It is God’s “super,” added to our “natural,” enabling us to operate in the supernatural.  It is not man’s power, but God’s!  It is not man that should be glorified, but God should get the glory!

We can see how it was not just Peter walking on water, but it was rather God through Peter walking on water.  We can apply this same principle to any area of our lives.  No matter what the challenge and no matter how seemingly impossible it may seem; with God working through us, we can get it done.

But this story is not all good news.  At some point Peter shifted his focus and started to look at the waves.  Once he lost his focus, he lost his faith.  He doubted God and himself and he began to sink.  This goes back to the lesson I shared a couple of weeks ago about Abraham.  Abraham “staggered not” because he “considered not.”  Peter started out by considering the Word that was spoken to him (“Come”), but he ended up considering the waves more than the Word.  By considering the Word and focusing on that he was able to walk on water.  By considering the waves he began to sink.

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

1.  You cannot walk on water without getting out of the boat.  Yes Peter fell, but at least he tried and he actually walked on water.  At some point you are going to have to step out in faith.

2.  You are only limited by your capacity to believe God – “All things are possible to him that believes.”  Remember, it’s not your power or your ability; it’s only your belief and your willingness to operate in faith.  Since it is God’s power, remember to give God the glory!

3.  If you shift focus you will stumble and stagger.  If you “consider not,” you will “stagger not.”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank you for helping me to expand my capacity to believe.  I realize that there is nothing You cannot do.  I do not have to operate in my ability alone.  I tap into Your ability in my life through my faith and my capacity to believe.  I declare that I will get out of the boat in my life, I will walk by faith, and I will stay focused.  I “stagger not,” because I choose to “consider not” the circumstances.  I focus on You and Your Word!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Consistent Faith (top of page)

(Mat 14:31 NIV)  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Peter walking on water.  Yesterday we discussed the fact that Peter lost his focus.  The Bible says that he was “afraid” when he looked at the wind and the waves (v.30).  We know that this fear caused him to no longer be in faith.  Once he was no longer in faith, he began to sink.  At that point Peter at least knew that he could call on Jesus.  Peter said, “Master, save me!”  Jesus did.  He reached out His hand and caught Peter.  After making sure that Peter was safe, Jesus said two things to Peter and both are worth learning from.  Jesus said, “You of little faith,” and, “Why did you doubt?

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Doubt is the forerunner for fear:  We know that the Bible says that Peter was afraid.  But when Jesus got Peter into the boat He asked Peter why he doubted.  Did Peter do both?  Of course.  Doubt causes you to question God.  Peter had received a Word from the Lord and he had stepped out in it.  But when he shifted his focus from the Word to the circumstances, it caused him to “consider” the wind and the waves more than the Word.  As soon as that happened, doubt set in.  Doubt then led to fear.  We must learn to stop doubting God.  The opposite of doubt is confidence.  Confidence will keep you in faith; doubt will keep you in fear.  Which one do you normally operate in?

2.  Fear vs. Faith:  Peter had a Word from God (Come!).  As long as he expressed confidence in the Word he received from God, then we call that faith.  I am sure that Peter also heard another word; a word from our enemy.  That word told him that he was going to fall and that he was going to fail.  Once Peter started to express confidence in that word, it is called fear.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  Fear is an expression of confidence in satan and his word.  God is constantly talking to you, but so is our enemy.  Whatever word you believe and whatever word you express confidence in will be the word that will bring forth results in your life.  Fear moves satan, faith moves God!

3.  Consistent faith is the key:  Jesus said that Peter had little faith after he fell in the water.  This is not a reference to the type or the amount of faith that Peter had.  In that sense, Peter was doing well.  He had tapped into the supernatural power of God.  Peter did what only Jesus has ever done – walk on water.  You would think that Jesus would commend him for that.  Maybe at least a pat on the back.  But no, Jesus was not impressed with the fact that Peter operated in faith, because He expects all of us to.  Although Peter operated in faith, Jesus’ comment brings out the fact that He would have liked Peter to have operated in it for a longer period of time.  Peter had faith, but it was a ‘short burst of faith.’  Consistency is the key.  God is not looking for us to operate in ‘short bursts of faith.’  God wants us to operate in consistent faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  You are the Lord of Lords and I release my faith to the point where I take the limits off of You today.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  There is nothing You cannot do and I know it is Your will that I operate like You in the earth.  I will walk in consistent faith and consistent faith is the key to breakthrough in every area of my life.  I doubt my doubts and I have faith in my faith.  Nothing and no one can stop me when I operate in consistent faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Steady! (top of page)

This morning I take a break from our current series to share a few thoughts from what I received last in our Faith Conference.  Dr. Creflo A. Dollar ministered under the power of God.  The Lord shared lots of things through him, but a couple of things that he shared really ministered to me directly.  One confirmation I received was in the area of “steadiness.”  He shared how the Lord has had him to teach in one area for weeks, months, and even sometimes years.  The point being that as humans we seem to think that after we have heard something once or twice that we basically “have it.”  But the reality is that we oftentimes need to hear something over and over and over and over again before we really get it down in our spirit.

For example, the Lord told me to teach on expanding your capacity to believe.  I had taught on this before, briefly, and I thought that I basically understood Bible belief and how it related to faith.  So I entered this series like I had done with my previous series’ and I thought that I would teach it for a few weeks or maybe a couple of months; max.  Well, the Lord kept showing me more and more about the Biblical characters that have gone before us.  Of course, I was familiar with their stories, but I was now reading them all over again with an emphasis on belief.  It was as if the Lord had given me “belief-glasses,” because I now looked at every story and saw them through the lens of belief.  I could now see how their belief had to first be built up before they could operate in faith.  Long story short, I started this series on January 2nd and 10 months later I am still teaching it.  When will I stop?  When the Lord tells me to.

This Word spoken on being steady bore witness with my spirit.  I may not have the theatrical style of T.D. Jakes, the voice of Noel Jones, the evangelistic call of Billy Graham, or the healing anointing of Oral Roberts; but what I do have is the anointing that God has given me and I seek to be faithful to His assignment and His call.  Part of that faithfulness is Today’s Word.  Since 1997 I have been getting up, getting before the Lord, and seeking God for a Word for His people.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.  I don’t always feel like sitting in front of a computer, in the wee hours of the morning, seeking God for a Word to share with people that I have never met and will probably never meet personally.  But I do it with a passion and with an internal gladness, because I know that this is part of my assignment.  Understanding My purpose enables me to remain “steady.” My steadiness enables me to develop in the area of discipline.  My discipline enables me to incrementally become the man that God has called me to be.

So what does this mean to you today? I know this message may seem like random thoughts, but it is not.  It is about developing a determination for “steadiness” in your life.  God is not looking for people who will get excited about Him and walk in accordance with His Word for two weeks, or two months, or two years.  He is looking for people who will make a commitment to live for Him, forever, period!  People that will live steady, stable, and strong lives.  People that are not easily moved.  People that do not easily lose focus.  People that can be counted on to do what He said do, for as long as He says to do it, until He tells you to do something else!  Are you one of those people?  You don’t have to be fancy, flashy, or glitzy to do great things for God; but you do have to be steady, stable, and secure.  Too many people are looking for a “quick deal” from God.  Determine to live steady.  It may not happen over night, but it will happen!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I come to You this morning with a renewed commitment to live a steady life.  I realize that I don’t have to have some supernatural move from You every day to be a Christian.  I realize that You may speak one Word to me and that Word might take years to fulfill.  No matter how long it takes, I am determined to remain steady on every Word You speak into my life.  I live steady, stable, and secure.  I am not looking for hype, I am looking for You and I find You through living a steady life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Tailor Made Blessings (top of page)

(Mark 7:33 NIV) After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the story of a the healing of a deaf and mute person.  One day Jesus traveled from Tyre, went through Sidon, and came to the region of ten cities (Decapolis).  It was here that he would encounter a man in an interesting situation.  Some time ago we discussed a man that was paralyzed and could not get to Jesus, so his four friends carried him to his breakthrough, tearing up a roof in the process.  In Decapolis there was a man that was deaf and could barely speak.  His speech impediment was probably tied to his deafness, being that we develop our speech through our hearing.  The text says that “some people” brought him to Jesus and begged Him to place His hands on the man.  Looking at the circumstances I see that this man was in a bad situation.  In the case where the four friends brought the paralyzed man to Jesus the Bible says that Jesus “saw their faith” (Luke 5:20).  It is evident that the paralyzed man had a group of people around him that believed and that were operating in faith.  Their collective faith initiated the miracle.  However, the people that brought this man to Jesus simply brought him and left.  Although they obviously believed that Jesus could do something for him, the Bible makes no mention of whether or not they operated in faith.

Not only did the people that brought him not demonstrate faith, the man himself was impaired.  For example, Paul said that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17).  In other words, our faith is tied to the Word of God that we heard.  Well, guess what?  This man could not hear.  He could not hear the good news about Jesus or His actions, nor could not speak the language of faith to get his breakthrough.  All he had was his sight.  But the good news is that Jesus was creative enough to minister to him at his level.  Jesus took the man away from everyone else and ministered to him in accordance with his ability to receive.  Although the man could not hear or speak, he could see.  So Jesus took His fingers and put them into the man’s ears, as if to stir up faith in the man to believe for hearing.  Jesus then moistened the man’s tongue with saliva from His own mouth, as if to stir up faith in the man to believe for clear speech.  Jesus then looked up to heaven and said, “Ephphatha!”  This word literally means, “Be opened!”  Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was loosened.  He began to hear and speak clearly.

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

1.  God can tailor make a blessing for you:  Jesus met this man in the only way he could be met – through His sight.  Know that God will meet you at your level to ensure we have an opportunity to believe.

2.  We ought to be creative:  We are to operate like God in the earth so we are to seek every opportunity to be a blessing to someone else, even if it means getting creative.  Don’t limit yourself to being a blessing only to those that go to church.  Seek creative ways to be a blessing to others.

3.  God cannot be confined:  I am sure that today many would have a problem with a minister putting his saliva on someone’s tongue, but God does not have to stay in the world’s established religious box.  Expect God to bless you in creative ways!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for meeting me at my level of belief, so I can operate in faith in my own life.  My faith activates by breakthrough.  You find creative ways to enable me to release my faith to receive from You.  You bless me to be a blessing to others.  I also find creative ways to be a blessing to those I come in contact with.  I would rather be strange and obedient, than average and disobedient.  Use me to be a blessing to someone else today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Faith that Causes God to Move (top of page)

(Mat 15:28 NIV)  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In Matthew 15 Jesus entered the region of Tyre and Sidon, an area also known as Syro-Phoenicia.  A Syro–Phoenician woman came to Jesus crying, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word and His disciples urged Him to send her away, probably because she was as Gentile.  The only Gentile Jesus had ministered to at this point was a Roman Centurion’s servant, and only then because the Centurion had what Jesus called “great faith” (Mat 8:10).  At this point Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews, not the Gentiles.  The Roman Centurion exhibited enough faith to interrupt his ministry focus long enough for Him to minister to a Gentile.

Jesus was back on track and was ministering to Jews when He encountered this woman.  He told her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  But this is where the story gets good.  Her belief was too strong.  She would not take no for an answer.  She fell down, worshipped Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!”  Jesus said something that would more than likely offend the average person.  He said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  The Jews commonly referred to Gentiles as dogs.  This was an acknowledgement of her lineage, not her character.  Either way, the average person could have gotten offended and missed their blessing.  This woman was so determined, her belief was so strong, and her faith was so engaged that she was not even shaken by what Jesus said.  She had an immediate comeback.  She said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  In other words, she was saying, “I understand that Your ministry is focused on the Jews.  I understand that You came with a purpose.  I understand that the bulk of your anointing is Jewish-centered.  But I also understand that I am just asking for ‘one touch.’  I acknowledge that if you give me one once of the blessing that you are offering to the Jews, my daughter will be delivered.”  Just like what happened with the Centurion, Jesus was moved by her belief and faith.  He said, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  Her daughter was healed from that very hour.

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

1.  Nothing is impossible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).  Even though Jesus’ time to minister to the Gentiles had not come yet, this woman believed that healing was possible for her daughter.  Her belief was so strong that she would not take no for an answer.

2.  Faith moves God to action.  Jesus was not planning on healing this woman’s daughter.  As a matter of fact, He initially ignored her.  He was on a mission and He was focused on that mission.  Her belief that healing was possible enabled her to operate in faith.  Her persistent faith actually caused Jesus to interrupt His primary mission and to heal this woman’s daughter.  Just like her faith moved God for her daughter, your faith can move God for your situation.  You are waiting for God to move, He is waiting for you to move Him with your faith!

3.  Don’t be easily offended.  If this woman would have gotten offended by what Jesus said, her daughter would have never been healed.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe nothing is impossible for me.  My belief is strong.  Great belief enables me to operate in great faith.  I release my faith with my words and my faith causes You, Lord, to move in my life.  I avoid offense, I walk in love, and I remain in faith in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Internally Settled Confidence (top of page)

(Mat 17:20 KJV)  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In Matthew 17 Jesus encountered a man who approached Him and fell to his knees saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, he has seizures and is suffering greatly.  He often falls into the fire or into the water.  I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  Jesus expressed His frustration with the disciples before He dealt with the young man.  He said, “Ounbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?”  Jesus was getting frustrated because His disciples had not yet expanded their capacity to believe to the point where it should have been.  He expected His disciples to operate like He was operating; by faith.  After venting, Jesus dealt with the issue.  As soon as Jesus saw the boy He was able to perceive what the root issue was.  This was a spiritual and not a medical problem.  He perceived that the cause of the seizures was a demon.  Jesus spoke to the demon and cast him out.  The demon came out and the boy was healed from that moment.  When everything died down the disciples humbly asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  This tells me that the disciples knew it was a spiritual problem, but they simply could not deal with it.  They were trying to drive it out, but it would not go.  Jesus explained that they failed to operate like He operated because of unbelief.  Although they were attempting to do it, they really did not believe that they could.  Their heart was not settled.  They were not confident.  They were attempting to do something, with an outward appearance of faith, but an internal doubt.  Unbelief (doubt) will cancel out your faith.  He went on to explain that if they had even as much as a mustard seed’s amount of faith, they could speak to any obstacle (mountain) and the obstacle would have to move.  Jesus wrapped it up by saying, “… nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

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

1.  Jesus expects us to operate like Him in the earth (John 14:12).

2.  We cannot operate like Jesus without operating in faith.

3.  Fear, doubt, and unbelief will cancel our faith, because it is an indication that we are not internally settled.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  We cannot express our confidence if we are not confident; meaning we are not settled in our heart.

4.  Just like fear, doubt, and unbelief cancel faith, faith cancels doubt, fear, and unbelief.

5.  God can give us the spiritual discernment to see the “root issue” in any situation.  If we deal with the “root issue,” we will bring about total change.

6.  God desires for us to operate in the language of faith; the faith that speaks to any obstacle and expects it to move.

7.  Faith sees no impossibilities and is limited only by our self-imposed restrictions.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You released Kingdom Dominion to mankind in the earth.  Adam lost that authority, but Jesus died that we might regain it.  Jesus restored the Kingdom to mankind and I declare that I walk in Kingdom Dominion today, through the vehicle of faith.  My faith cancels every fear, doubt, and unbelief.  My confidence in You and in Your Word is settled in my heart.  I speak the language of faith.  I speak to every obstacle, in faith, and know that it will move.  I speak to every hindrance, in faith, and know that it will dissipate.  I see no impossibilities, because I look at my life through the lens of faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Getting Your Hopes Up in God! (top of page)

(Mark 10:51 CEV)  Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In Mark 10 we find Jesus and his disciples leaving Jericho.  As they traveled a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside.  His sightlessness caused him to live the life of a beggar.  His dark world was made even darker by his lowly status in society.  So he took a lowly post, outside of the city, and there he begged for spare change.  Naturally speaking, there was no hope for his situation.  Bartimaeus was resigned to live the life of a blind beggar.  That is until He heard about Jesus.  He heard that there was a man that was going around healing the sick.  This must have built his hope up to the point where he could believe.  He believed that this man named Jesus could be the answer to his issue.  If he could get to Jesus he could get his breakthrough.  Unfortunately, unlike the paralyzed man we discussed earlier, it does not seem like Bartimaeus had many friends.  No one took him to Jesus, but thank God that Jesus came by him.

Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by and He cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Once again, instead of having friends, it seemed like he had enemies.  Many in the crowd told him to be quiet.  Now what would he do?  Would he let his hope die because others told him to be quiet, or would he be persistent?  The Bible says that Bartimaeus cried out even louder!  This time he got Jesus’ attention.  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  I am sure that all sorts of energy, anticipation, adrenaline, and excitement were running through his body.  He jumped to his feet and prepared to approach Jesus, but he did something before he went.  The Bible says (v.50) that he threw his cloak aside.  Some scholars say that this cloak identified him as a beggar.  Others say that the cloak was simply something that brought him comfort in his blindness.  Either way, Bartimaeus believed he was about to see and would therefore no longer need the cloak.  By faith, in advance, he got rid of it.  He was looking for a breakthrough.  Free of the cloak and full of anticipation he approached Jesus.  Jesus then asked him the $64,000 question, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus answered with his only true desire, “Master, I want to see!”  Jesus replied, “Go, your faith has healed you” and immediately he received his sight.

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

1.  Your belief opens you up to human impossibilities.  There are preachers that would me just preach the possible.  The say that we should not get people’s “hopes” up.  But that is not Biblical.  I want you to get your hopes up.  God needs you to get your hopes up.  Once you do, you are able to believe God and you free Him to move in your life.

2.  Your breakthrough requires your petition.  I had a conversation with a man yesterday that was teaching that God does everything in our lives that we have do not have a role in it.  That is not what we see in the life of Jesus.  Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted and after Bartimaeus received his sight, Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”  God is looking for you to come to Him with your belief, your faith, your words, and your petition.  Stop waiting on God, He is waiting on you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I come to you in belief and faith this morning.  I believe the impossible is possible for me.  I cast away the cloak of my past and I come to You with a pure heart and with great expectations.  I am ready to respond to You when You call my name and I lay out the specific petitions on my heart.  I call upon You this morning and You answer me and show me great and mighty things that I know not of.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing God above natural Logic (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee and a crowd gathered around Him to hear the Word of God.  Jesus noticed two boats tied up while the owners were nearby scrubbing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon – who we will later come to know as Peter – and asked him to set out a little from shore.  Jesus then used Simon’s boat as a pseudo-pulpit from which to preach the Word of God.  When Jesus finished preaching it was time for Simon to reap what he had sown.  See, without even really understanding it, Simon had sown into the Kingdom of God.  He had given time (he was out with Jesus while He was preaching), talent (he rowed the boat out to where Jesus wanted it), and treasure (he used the boat from his fishing business).  After sowing from his fishing business it was time for him to reap a harvest.  Jesus told Simon to launch out into the deep to let down his nets for a catch.  This is where Simon almost missed his blessing.  He told Jesus that they had toiled all night long and explained how they had caught nothing.  Simon was a professional fisherman.  There is no indication in the text or otherwise that Jesus naturally knew anything about fish or fishing.  Simon could have said, “Well, Mister Preacher, you know about preaching, but I know about fishing.  I know that the best time to fish is over.”  Simon did not say it, but I am sure that he thought it.  The best time to fish in the Sea of Galilee was at night.  His head was telling him Jesus knew nothing about fishing, but his heart was telling him to listen.  Simon made the right choice; he believed the Word Jesus spoke.  He told Jesus that he would let down the nets, again, solely on the basis of His word.  Why?  Because he believed there was something different about this man.  Guess what happened?  Peter caught a net-breaking boat-sinking load of fish.  He had to call for his partners (James and John) to help.  This caused Simon to fall down on his knees and worship Jesus.  From that point He would make them fishers of men (see Luke 5:1-11).

So what does this mean to you today? A lot really, but I will condense it to a few nuggets:

1.  Nothing happens by chance:  God is a God of providence and not accident.  The text tells us that Jesus saw two boats and He ‘just so happened’ to get into the one that belonged to Simon (Peter).  That was no an accident, but rather a divine appointment.  God had big plans for Peter and it all started with a choice between two boats.  What will happen today that will shape your tomorrow?  Whatever it is, thank God for it and never attribute anything to luck.

2.  You reap what you sow:  I shared an entire series on the Biblical Principles of Sowing and Reaping (see the website).  There is so much to say in this subject and we can clearly see in the text that Simon Peter sowed time, talent, and treasure for the Kingdom’s sake.  He sowed from his fishing business and he reaped in his fishing business.  Likewise, we will reap what we sow (Gal 6:7), good or bad, in every area of our lives.

3.  Don’t let your intellect keep you from a blessing:  We sometimes think too much.  Simon Peter knew a lot about fishing and his knowledge almost caused him to miss his blessing.  We are called believers, not thinkers.  Now, that does not mean that we are not to think, but it does mean that we should not allow natural intellect to override supernatural belief.  I am a very rational person and I believe I possess a great deal of common sense, but I also know that when it comes to the things of God I must be led by the Spirit and not by my senses.  God is not sensual, He is Spiritual.  So listen to God, no matter how irrational the instructions may seem, and know that His wisdom is greater than your logic.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge Your providence this morning.  You declare the end from the beginning.  You sit on the circle of the earth.  You know my thoughts before I think them, by hurts before I feel them, and I my concerns before I consider them.  I default to You, because Your wisdom is greater than my logic.  I obey Your Spirit.  I sow of my time, talent, and treasure into Your Kingdom and I declare, by faith, that I will reap what I sow.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing in the Goodness of God (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In Luke 7 we find Jesus traveling into a town called Nain.  The disciples and a large crowd followed as He approached the town gate He came in contact with a funeral precession.  The precession was for a dead young man that happened to be the only son of his mother.  To make matters worse, his mother was a widow.  So she was husbandless and sonless.  This was a bad situation.  To better grasp the reality of her situation we need to know a little about the Law of Moses.  Under the Law (see Duet 25:5,6), if a woman’s husband died she would be left to live with her children, in most cases, her sons.  If a woman’s husband died and they did not have any children, she would have to marry one of her deceased husband’s brothers.  Her brother-in-law would become her husband.  A woman with a dead husband and a dead son was in a difficult situation.  The text here makes no mention of a brother-in-law.  This woman was basically on her own and in the culture of the time that meant that she would more than likely struggle to get by.

With all of that in mind, take a minute now to picture this woman.  Her husband was already dead and she had transitioned her life into becoming comfortable with living with her son.  Her son had become her source of stability and strength.  Her son was her interface with the community.  Her son was also a perpetual reminder of her late husband.  In many ways, her son was her source of sanity.  But now even her son was dead.  Both of the men that she cared for and loved were gone and she was left all alone in a male-driven society.  She did not know what she would do.  She followed the casket of her dead son and grieved the loss of her husband, her son, and her life as she knew it.  It was at this point, at her lowest of lows, at her worst of times, that Jesus saw her.  His heart immediately went out to her and He said what we would expect anyone who is motivated by compassion to say, “Don’t cry.”  But how could she stop?  The people she cared for the most were gone.  Jesus knew the reality of her situation, but He also knew that He could change it.  He walked over to the coffin, touched it and said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  The dead man sat up and began to talk.  The man was alive again.  If the focus of the miracle was the man, Jesus would have left at that point.  But the focus of the miracle was not so much the man, but his mother.  Jesus took the man and led him back to his mother, as if to restore her broken heart and to rejuvenate her life (see Luke 7:11-17).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should thank God for grace.  The focus of this series has been to expand your capacity to believe.  The point being that the more you can believe, the more you can operate in faith for; because God is a God that responds to faith.  However, in this case there was no example of belief or faith.  There was no supernatural leap of faith by the woman.  There was no tremendous ability to believe God.  All she exhibited was tears.  She was at her lowest place.  Everything she had was gone.  Her tears spoke the language of pain and Jesus’ compassion moved Him to perform a miracle by grace.  This message is a reminder that God is good God and He wants to heal our hurt, remove our pain, restore our brokenness, and rejuvenate our lives.  Even when you cannot seem to muster up the faith, God can still move by compassion and minister to your situation.  Why?  Because God is a good God!  Yes, we are to live by faith, but we should never cease to thank God for grace!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your goodness this morning.  You have been, are now, and will always be good to me.  Your goodness causes You to move in my life at the times where I am incapable of doing anything but weep.  Thank You for Your goodness today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Believing the Word by Faith (top of page)

(John 4:50 MSG)  Jesus simply replied, “Go home. Your son lives.”  The man believed the bare word Jesus spoke and headed home.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In John 4 we find Jesus arriving in Galilee after returning from Jerusalem through Samaria.  Jesus visited Cana, the place where He performed His first miracle (water into wine), and a certain royal official met Jesus there.  This man had a son who was extremely sick back in Capernaum.  When the official heard that Jesus was in town he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death by this point.  Jesus saw the trend of the people.  Day after day they were asking for signs and miracles.  Jesus said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”  The royal official ignored Jesus’ comment about signs and wonders.  He did not need to see a miracle to believe, he already believed for a miracle.  In other words, he did not need to see to believe, he knew he needed to believe to see.  He said to Jesus, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  This is where his belief would be tested.  The man believed that if Jesus traveled to his house in Capernaum (about 20 miles away), his son would be healed.  But was his belief system ready for the unexpected?  Jesus chose not to go.  He said, “Go home. Your son lives.”  Just like that.  Without Jesus visiting his house, without a crowd following, without witnesses, Jesus simply spoke life into the boy’s situation.  We then see that the man’s belief level was at the point where he could receive it.  The text says that the man believed the bare word Jesus spoke and headed home.  He traveled home some 20 miles with an expectation that his son was healed.  On his way back his servants intercepted him and announced, “Your son lives!”  He asked them what time he began to get better.  They said, “The fever broke yesterday afternoon at one o’clock.”  The father knew that that was the very moment Jesus had said, “Your son lives.”  That clinched it.  Not only he but his entire household believed.  The crowd needed to see to believe.  This man was able to believe to see and his entire household was blessed because of it.

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

1.  Believe the Word by faith:  Jesus spoke a Word and the man was able to believe it and receive it by faith.  He walked away like it was already done and he received exactly what he had the capacity to believe.  I am sure that there were many in the crowd that would not have reacted by faith.  Who are you like, the man or the crowd?  Do you have to see it to believe it or do you have the capacity to believe it to see it?  When the Holy Spirit leads you to a scripture that pertains to Your situation, then that written Word is as much a promise to you as if Jesus has spoken the Word to you Himself.  Believe the Word by faith and walk away like it’s already done!

2.  Don’t limit God:  There are no limits in God.  The man expected Jesus to make the 20 mile journey from Cana to Capernaum and that is where his belief was.  But when Jesus chose to simply speak life and not physically go, then the man was able to receive that – by faith.  It’s OK to have expectations in God and from God, but also remember that God may come another way.  However God chooses to do it, be open to receive!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer not a doubter.  I don’t need to see to believe, I can believe to see.  I receive every Word You share with me.  Whether it is something You show me from the scriptures, something You speak to me in prayer, through someone else, or through some circumstance; whatever it is, I receive it by faith.  I walk away like it’s already done.  I don’t limit You.  I take every limit I had off of You, Lord; my limitless God.  And I receive Your blessing, favor, increase, and empowerment – by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Seeking God’s face, not just His hand (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In Luke 17 we find Jesus traveling on the border between Samaria and Galilee.  He came into a village where 10 leprous men met him.  Remember that leprosy is an infectious disease that attacks the skin and central nervous system.  People with leprosy often do not have the sensation of pain to identify cuts and bruises.  Leprosy also causes multiple legions on the skin that cause a terrible smell.  Under the Jewish law lepers could not come in contact with the general population.  They were resigned to living their lives as outcasts in leper colonies.  Only a Priest had the authority to pronounce them clean and restore them to society (see Lev 14).  So, for obvious reasons, they stood at a distance as they called for Jesus to have mercy on them.  Like the other miracles, it is worth mentioning that the mere fact that they came to Jesus is an indication that they believed He could do something about their leprosy.  The capacity to believe God for their healing was in and of itself was impressive, because leprosy was otherwise incurable.  Jesus saw them, heard their cry, understood the law, and said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  This is where faith comes in.  At this point they were not healed.  Jesus was asking them to walk away, like they were healed, with an expectation that somehow they would be healed by the time they got to the priests and that the priests would pronounce them clean and restore them to society.  Wow!  This would require belief and faith.  Amazingly enough, all 10 lepers left towards the priests, without complaining, as an act of faith (see Luke 17:12-19).

The Bible says something very powerful: “On their way they were healed” (v.14).  They were not healed while they were standing in front of Jesus; they were healed as they went; after they stepped out in faith.  One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around, came back shouting his gratitude and glorifying God.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.  The text identifies this man as a Samaritan.  This is an indication that the other nine were Jews.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?”  Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you whole.”  The word translated “whole” here is a Greek word that is translated “saved” in Romans; in a passage we normally use for salvation.  The other men received physical healing, but this man received a complete healing (physical, spiritual, psychological, social, etc.) and most importantly, he received a relationship with God.

So what does this mean to you today? A lot, but I will limit my comments:

1.  God can do more with you once you get started:  Lots of people are “about to” do lots of things for God.  They are always “about to” but never get to doing it.  They get stuck in the planning phase.  The lepers were not healed while they were talking to Jesus; they were healed as they started walking towards the priests.  You will find that God will do more with you once you get started and step out from the planning phase – in faith!

2.  Seek God’s face, not just His hand:  Many in today’s society are like the 9 in the text that never turned back.  They follow after God for the fishes and the loaves, but they don’t want a true relationship with God.  They want something from God, but they are not interested in getting the most important thing – God Himself!

3.  God wants us whole:  All 10 were healed, but only one was made whole.  God does not want us to be saved and miserably saved.  Yes, He wants us to make it to heaven, but He also wants us to enjoy the ride.  He came that we might have and enjoy abundant life (John 10:10).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I will worship You all the days of my life.  I do not simply come to You when I want something.  I give You glory with my life and living daily.  You are my center and circumference, my base and my boundary, my balance and my beauty.  You are my all.  I thank You for washing me, but I also thank You for making me whole.  I have been redeemed from sickness, strife, death, disease, destruction, and the hand of the enemy.  I am completely and totally saved.  Thank you for so great a salvation!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Overcoming Excuses (top of page)

(John 5:8 MSG)  Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In John 5 we find Jesus returning to Jerusalem for another feast.  He entered into the city through the sheep gate.  This is the place where the animals where brought in and it was not clean to say the least.  This is also an area where the blind, sick, and lame gathered.  They congregated around the Pool of Bethesda.  It was believed that this pool had some sort of healing power.  Supposedly an angel would come and stir the waters from time and time and the first person to get into the pool after the stirring of the waters would be healed.  There was an invalid man who had been there for 38 years.  Jesus saw him, learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, and asked him a very important question: “Do you want to get well?”  This was a valid and important question.  If there were people getting healed around this pool, then how come this man had not been one of those people?  38 years is a long time.  Nevertheless, the King of Glory had just visited him in the most unlikely of places and laid out an opportunity to turn his hopeless situation around.  But instead of jumping on the opportunity the man started making excuses.  The invalid went on to explain to Jesus how he had no one to help him get in the water and how someone beat him to the punch every time he tried to get in during the time of stirring.  It is obvious that this man was crippled in more than just his body.  His legs might have been incapacitated, but his mind and heart were lame as well.  Excuses get you no where.  Jesus ignored the excuses and laid it all out on the line.  He said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.”  Just like that.  Without laying hands on the man, without the water being stirred, without praying any sort of prayer, Jesus just simply spoke healing.  Now, what would the man do with it?  Either he would receive his healing, by faith, and attempt to get up or he would continue to lay there and question what Jesus said.  The good news is that the man received the Word spoken by Jesus, his body was healed, and he picked up his bedroll and walked away.

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

1.  You can always find excuses, but excuses will only keep you in your situation longer.

2.  Never attempt to justify mediocrity.  Accept your mistakes and determine to move forward.

3.  Putting the blame on others is a tactic that keeps you from confronting your inadequacies.  Many today avoid confronting their inadequacies by putting the onus for their situation on God with statements like: “God works in mysterious ways,” or “You just never know what God will do.”  If God’s blessing and favor is not operating in your life, then something is wrong.  Seek judgment.  Ask God to show you what it is, correct it, and move forward.

4.  Jesus offers you Abundant and Victorious Life (John 10:10, 1 John 5:4) in Him, through faith.  Whether or not you receive and walk in this life and victory is up to you.  The choice is yours!

5.  Take responsibility for your actions.  Realize that for the most part, who you are today is a result of the decisions that you have made in life.  If you do not like where you are, make different decisions.  Your life is a grand sum total of your decisions.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I take responsibility for my actions.  I confess my sin, I repent of unrighteousness, and I confront my inadequacies.  I declare, by faith, that I overcome my inadequacies by Your power.  I can do all things through Christ.  I accept the reality of Your Word and I accept what Your Word says about me.  I will no longer sit on my situation.  I pick up my bedroll today and carry the thing that I used to lay on.  I no longer rest in mediocrity, but I move forward in faith towards excellence!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Tell Your Story and Give God the Glory! (top of page)

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God.”  In John 9 Jesus saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples wondered if his condition was a result of sin.  Jesus explained that it was not and that He (the Light of the World) would address the man’s darkness.  Jesus then spat on the ground, made mud from the saliva-dirt mixture, put the mud on the man’s eyes, and told him to go wash it off at the Pool of Siloam.  The man could not see, but he could hear.  He heard Jesus’ instructions, but I am sure that he also heard Jesus when he spat on the ground.  He could also feel, so he was able to feel the mud on his eyes.  I am sure that many people would complain at this point and call this method disgusting, but this man had no time for that; he was looking for a breakthrough.  He believed that Jesus was the answer to his situation, so he was willing to do whatever Jesus told him to do.  So acting in faith, he went and washed himself in the Pool, and guess what happened?  He was able to see!

This miracle caused a great stir in the town and a follow-on investigation.  Neighbors and town members were amazed to see that man blind from birth had sight.  They questioned him and he admitted that he had been blind all his life.  They asked him how it happened and he told the account as he knew it.  He said, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes.  He told me to go to Siloam and wash.  So I went and washed, and then I could see.”  The people brought in the Pharisees to see the man because he was healed on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight and the man replied, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”  Some Pharisees deduced that Jesus could not be from God because he did not keep the Sabbath, but others wondered if He was from God because of all the miracles.  They were divided so they turned to the formerly blind man and asked him his opinion.  The man told them that he believed Jesus was a prophet.  The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind from birth so they called for his parents and questioned them.  Of course they corroborated his story.  Still not satisfied they turned back to the formerly blind man and asked him to swear by God and to tell the truth.  They wanted him to say that Jesus was a sinner.  The man replied with one of the greatest lines in the Bible, “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not.  All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!” (See John 9:1-25).

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

1.  Desperation is the breeding ground of miracles:  Miracles are much more common in other countries today than in the US.  Why?  Because oftentimes many of us are too comfortable in our situations.  This man was not comfortable, he was desperate.  Desperate enough to look beyond the spit and the dirt long enough to believe and step out in faith.  He believed in Jesus, even if He used unorthodox methods.  Can you believe God when He comes to you in a strange way?

2.  We all have a testimony:  You have a story (testimony) to tell.  Your story does not have to be riddled with scriptures references, nor religious quotes.  Just tell your story, just as you know it.  Some may doubt it, but others will receive it.  Even if only one person believes what God did for you and comes to God because of it, then it was worth telling.  If you don’t tell your story it will never be told!

3.  There will always be haters:  Jesus was doing nothing but good everywhere he went.  Still, there were people determined to be against Him.  People will talk, no matter what you do.  Don’t focus on them, focus on God.  Believe God, dream big dreams, and move forward by faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your goodness in my life.  I thank You for meeting me at my low places and bringing me up higher; for meeting me at my dark places and bringing me into the light.  I am forever thankful for You and towards You.  I have a thankful heart and a thankful spirit.  I am so thankful that I can’t keep it to myself.  I will tell my story and give you the glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

Developing a Thankful Heart! (top of page)

(John 9:38 AMP)  He called out, Lord, I believe! [I rely on, I trust, I cleave to You!] And he worshiped Him.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with our story from yesterday about the man who was born blind.  This week is the week where we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.  Thanksgiving is a national holiday, but for the believer it should be a way of life.

Yesterday I ended off with the interrogation phase of the story.  The story does not end there.  The religious leadership were persistently trying to gather up dirt on Jesus.  They asked, “How did he open your eyes?”  The man replied, “I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened.  Why do you want to hear it again?  Are you so eager to become his disciples?”  Oh!  They did not like that statement.  They fired back by saying, “You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses.  We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”  Wow.  What a sad commentary.  They were supposed to be the religious leadership, the ones that knew what was going on, but they had no clue.  The man replied, “This is amazing!  You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes!  It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will.  That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of – ever.  If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”  The formerly blind man had a good point.  How could they truly attribute the works of Jesus to anyone but God?  It was as if the formerly blind man was giving a spiritual lesson to those that were supposed to be spiritual.  They did what many people do when they find themselves wrong – they responded with anger.  The religious leadership said, “You’re nothing but dirt!  How dare you take that tone with us!”  They then threw him out in the street.

The same religious rulers that could not do anything for his blindness had now kicked him out on the street because he was expressing confidence in the one that was used to restore his sight.  The ones that should have been supporting Jesus were attempting to persecute Him.  In the process a man that should have been taken in and taught in the Lord was now kicked out on the street.  But thank God for Jesus!  When Jesus heard that he was kicked out He tracked him down.  Jesus found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  The man’s eyes had been healed, but he was about to receive true salvation.  The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”  Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him.  Don’t you recognize my voice?”  Right then the man called out, “Lord I believe!”  And he worshipped Him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we have lots to be thankful for.  Like the man in the text, many of us have been done wrong.  Many of us have experienced less-than good treatment by someone who was supposed to help us.  Many of us have been kicked out by life.  But thank God that Jesus sought us out.  He looked for us, found us, saved us, and blessed us! This Thanksgiving season and every day we should do what the man did in the text – worship Jesus!  How?  By giving Him the glory for everything He has done, is doing, and will do!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have a thankful heart.  I know You searched me out when I needed searching.  You found me and loved me enough to take me in when I was out on the streets and not living right.  I also thank You for loving me enough not to leave me that way.  You have changed my life forever and I will forever give You thanks.  I have a thankful heart for You, in You, and towards You.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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

New Grounds for Believing (top of page)

(John 11:15 MSG)  And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there.  You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.  Now let’s go to him.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” with the last miracle we will cover in this series.  John 11 opens with mention of Lazarus being sick.  Lazarus was from Bethany and he was the brother of Mary and Martha.  Jesus had a close relationship with this family and He stayed at their house whenever he was in town.  The sisters sent Jesus a message saying, “Lord, the one who you love is sick.”  When Jesus received the message He immediately perceived what the outcome would be and spoke what He saw in the Spirit.  He said, “His sickness won’t end in death.  It will bring glory to God and His Son.”  That’s it.  Just like that.  Jesus spoke in faith and no matter what happened next, we already know what the overall outcome will be.

Common sense would tell us that Jesus would jump to action as soon as He found out that Lazarus, the one he loved, was sick.  He could either rush to the house to heal him or simply speak a Word of healing from a distance.  Strangely enough, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days and never spoke a Word of healing.  To understand His actions it is important to remember that He already knew, by revelation, what they outcome would be.  He saw the end of the story from the beginning (Is 46:10).  This foreknowledge afforded Him the confidence to rest in faith.  At the right time Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go back to Judea,” explaining, “Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Once again, the disciples had no clue of what Jesus was talking about.  He went on to explain plainly, “Lazarus is dead.”  Whoa.  What a twist.  Jesus had already said that the sickness would not end in death and that He was going to wake him up.  Had Jesus missed it?  Did Jesus finally make a mistake?  Absolutely not!  We will see as this story unfolds that everything He said would come to pass.  This is where we get to our text and Jesus said, “And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there.  You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.”  Think about that for a moment.  New grounds for believing.  In plain English this means that Jesus was about to do something that would give them an opportunity to expand their capacity to believe.  They had been with Jesus for over 3 years by this point, but they had still not expanded their capacity to believe to where Jesus wanted it to be.  They repeatedly thought too small.  They could not seem to elevate their thinking and their belief level to where Jesus was.  Jesus wanted them to get there so He constantly gave them opportunities to expand their capacity, to think bigger, believe bigger, to operate in faith more, so that they could live the way He expected them to live.

So what does this mean to you today? Lots of things, but for the sake of time I will simply remind you that God continually gives you new grounds for believing.  No matter how high your capacity to believe is this morning, you still have room for growth.  God said, “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours” (Is 55:9).  God wants us to elevate our thinking and our believing so that we can get to the level where we believe and do what He needs us to do in the earth.  The more you can believe, the more you can do for God in the earth!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  You sent Jesus down to the earth to conquer the works of satan and to live as an example for me.  Death could not stop Him.  Fear could not hold Him.  Doubt never shook Him.  Unbelief never stifled Him.  Jesus said that those that believe on Him would do the works that He did; and even greater works.  I am a believer.  I believe in Jesus.  I take the limits off of my limitless God, I accept new grounds for believing, and I operate at a higher level TODAY!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

New Grounds for Believing – Part II (top of page)

(John 11:15 MSG)  And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there.  You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.  Now let’s go to him.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Lazarus.  Yesterday I introduced you to this story with a message entitled, “New grounds for believing.”  I drew the title from our text.  I wanted to move forward, but I was led to stay with this text again for today.

This would be the last miracle Jesus performed before his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.  The disciples had been eye-witnesses of Jesus turning water into wine, healing the incurable leprosy, casting out demons, feeding multitudes with fish and loaves, walking on water, causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to live, and much more.  And now, after all of that, Jesus says that He would give them new grounds for believing.  In other words, if everything they had experienced were not enough, He would give them something so big and so seemingly unbelievable, that once they experienced it, it would force them to expand their capacity to believe.  This miracle was way beyond anything Jesus had previously done.  Yes, He had raised people from the dead, but those people had recently died.  The Jews believed a person’s spirit hovered over a dead body for three days and that the person was not “really” dead until the fourth day.  Raising a person back to life after being dead for four days would erase all doubt and solidify all belief.  The point being that Jesus went to great lengths to afford the disciples the opportunities to expand their capacity to believe.  They physically walked with Him for over three years and they say everything that He did, but Jesus still said that they needed to see this; they needed to see Him raise Lazarus from the dead.  Why?  To give them new grounds for believing!

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

1.  Your development in God is a process, not an event.  Although coming to God is an event, your development in God is a life-long process.  The disciples had seen, but Jesus deemed that they needed to see more.  Why?  To believe more.  The more you see, the more you experience, the more you learn of God’s Word (by education and revelation), the more you will be able to believe and operate in faith for.

2.  Every day is an opportunity for new grounds for believing.  Your belief level should not be the same today as it was last year.  We serve a God of progression and not regression or stagnation.  Every morning presents us an opportunity to learn something new about God and to grow because of it.  Don’t waste today.  Be open to receive.  Ask God to show you something you have never seen.  This new revelation may cause you to expect something you never have expected, to go where you have never been, and to do what you have never done.

Expand your capacity to believe.  Seek new levels in God.  Enjoy life!  What else do you have to do for the rest of your life?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  I thank You in advance for Your education and revelation.  I see You in new ways.  I see new possibilities in You.  I see new possibilities in life.  I have new grounds for believing.  If You did what You did for all those people in the Bible, then I know You can do great things with me, on me, in me, and for me.  Use me as an instrument in Your hands.  Use me for Your glory.  Use me to represent Your kingdom.  Use me to do things I have never done, in places I have never gone, with people I have never seen, in ways I have never imagined!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

There is Nothing too hard for God! (top of page)

(John 11:17 CEV)  When Jesus got to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Lazarus.  Yesterday we discussed how this miracle, the last one Jesus performed before his crucifixion, would give the disciples new grounds for believing.  This event would enable them to establish their belief system on another level.  My prayer is that is does the same for you.

By the time Jesus arrived on the scene not only was Lazarus dead, but he had been dead for four days.  This is a very important note.  I have already mentioned the fact that Jesus had raised two people from the dead by this point.  He raised the daughter of Jairus (a ruler of synagogue) from the dead at her home and a widow’s son from the dead in the middle of the funeral precession.  These were two valid accounts of Jesus’ superiority over death, but there was a Jewish custom to wait until the fourth day to legally pronounce death; as if to ensure the person was truly dead.  Jesus arrived after Lazarus’ illness had resulted in life leaving his body.  Jesus arrived after the professional mourners had already mourned Lazarus’ death with the family.  Jesus arrived after they had prepared the body for burial and wrapped it in grave clothes.  Jesus arrived after the Jews had legally pronounced his death.  Jesus arrived after rigor mortis had set in and the body was beginning to stink.  Jesus arrived after all human hope was gone.  It was a terrible situation, the sisters had been crying for days, the funeral was over, Lazarus was in the tomb, and their hope had dissipated; but Jesus was now on the scene!  I say this because the inclusion of God into any equation changes the outcome.  You + God = Victory!  No matter how hard, how bad, how bleak, or how hopeless the situation may seem.  The point of this series is to solidify in your heart that God is bigger than anything and everything – PERIOD!  There is absolutely nothing too hard for God.  Humanly speaking, this is one of the worse situations that you can possibly face.  Not only was Jesus facing a death, but a corpse that had been dead for four days.  Guess what?  He would display God’s superiority over this situation, just like He had done with every other.  This is the worse possible human scenario and it was no match for the power of the Kingdom of God.  That is good news!  And the greater news is that that power lives in YOU!

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

1.  Delay does not mean denial.  God can operate in your “fourth day” experiences just as easily as He can immediately after they happen.  It is never too late for God!

2.  There is nothing too hard for God.  I keep driving this home, but this truth is woven throughout scripture; from Genesis to Revelation.  We must get this down in our spirit.

3.  If you can believe it, then whatever the “it” is enters into the realm of the possible for you.  Jesus lived as an example for us.  Jesus never looked at anything as impossible.  He believed and He received.  We are to operate like He operated; living like He lived.  He said, “”Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).  Are you a believer or a doubter?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a believer and not a doubter.  You sent Jesus to live as an example for me.  He said that we, as believers, would do the works that He did and even greater works.  I look at every situation like He did.  There is nothing too Hard for You.  Delay does not mean denial in my life.  My hope exceeds natural hope.  I can look at a humanly and naturally hopeless situation and still have Godly hope that it will come to pass.  I am a believer and all things are possible for me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

Believing God to be a Difference Maker (top of page)

(John 11:22 NIV)  “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

This morning we continue our journey towards “Expanding Our Capacity to Believe God” by continuing with the story of Lazarus.  Yesterday we discussed the fact that there is literally nothing too hard for God.  This morning we continue to flow in that same vein.  As previously stated, Lazarus had been dead for four days by the time Jesus arrived.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went out to meet him.  Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  This was Martha simply releasing her frustration.  She knew she loved Jesus and she knew Jesus loved her.  She had sent word for Jesus and her initial expectation was that Jesus would arrive before her brother died and that He would heal Lazarus, like He had healed so many others.  I can understand her frustration.  Not only had Jesus not arrived on time, but He showed up four days late.  Where was Jesus?  Why had he not arrived yet?  I am sure that all of this was going on in her mind and in her heart; coupled with the fact that they had to make funeral arrangements and deal with the mourners at their home.  This was a tough time for the family.  Martha was understandably venting a little.  But look at her next statement.  She said, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”  Now that is different.  That sounds like hope.  That sounds like belief.  Martha was saying that since Jesus was on the scene, He could make a difference.  She knew that Jesus was the difference maker everywhere he went.

I know we normally read these accounts through the lens of the person that is hurting, but there comes a point in our lives where we must look at these stories and see ourselves as Jesus; not the others.  We are to live like He lived; doing what He did, making a difference wherever we go.  Do you believe that God can use you to make a difference when you arrive on the scene of a dead situation?  Do others believe that your prayers will be heard?  That God will do what you ask?  This reminds me of a passage in Ezekiel chapter 36.  Read the entire chapter when you get a chance.  In it God tells Ezekiel to prophecy to the mountains of Israel.  These mountains had become desolate and God instructed His prophet to speak life back into them.  This is an excerpt from the closing verses of the chapter: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.  They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”  Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.”  (36:33-36 NIV).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is a God of restoration.  Jesus was on the scene to make a difference.  Jesus would speak to Lazarus’ dead body and restore life to the lifeless.  Ezekiel was on the scene to make a difference.  Ezekiel would speak to Israel’s dead mountains and restore them to a condition comparable to the Garden of Eden.  So are you a difference maker?  What difference can God use you to make once you are on the scene?

Confession for this day:  Lor