Monday, November 14, 2016

Lord, increase our faith.

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
Luke 17:5

Ever catch yourself operating out of a poverty mentality? Our God size dreams can instantly turn into dreams we can do by ourselves when we only focus on what we have. The word abundance has brought so much guilt to Christians these days. Many of us that hear the word abundance view it has something negative. We get stuck in this cycle focusing on what we don't have rather than what we do have. So much so that we only operate out of that negativity. I can't do this because I don't have that. This won't happen because the timing has passed. I can't afford this or that. And on and on the list of lies we speak goes on. We may ask and pray that God would rain down His blessings from heaven. We may believe He can do it. Yet, our hearts and minds are so stuck in the cycle of a poverty mindset that it's impossible for us to receive those very things we've prayed for. It's as if we tell God our hands are wide open ready to receive, but when we look down all we see are our closed fists. Instead of asking the Lord to increase our faith like the disciples did in Luke 17:5 we put aside God's word and look around to see how we can fix the situation with what we have. Yet, sometimes the Lord is saying that He has abundantly provided an answer to the solution that will not only fix the answer to the problem our eyes are fixed on, but also the ten other issues we didn't even know we had! Luke 17:6 says, "And the Lord said, 'If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the seas,' and it would obey you." How would our lives change if we changed from a poverty mentality to an abundance mentality. I'm not saying abundance as if you're going to win millions on the lottery. I'm saying what would happen if instead of living in a mindset where we never have enough, we live in a mindset has if we always have more than enough. How would you live differently if you lived as if you were thinking and acting out of abundance? Would you give more? Would you rest in Jesus more? Would you be content in all circumstances? Would you love differently? Would you speak differently? God has abundantly more than we could ask, think, or imagine. (Eph 3:20) He wants us to live differently than the world around us. He wants us to trust Him so much that we always live like heirs to the kingdom of God. All it takes is faith the size of a mustard seed. We pray that the cry of your heart this week would be, "Lord, increase my faith." We pray that you would see things the way God sees them. That your thoughts, attitude, and motivation would come from the place of abundance. Not because of what you have, but because of what God has. May your thoughts be filled with life and faith. May you give abundantly. May you love deeper. May your faith increase as you trust in the name of Jesus this week.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Preparation in the Wait

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God,
but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully
convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21

Have you ever been in a season where it feels like the Lord has been drilling into your head that things happen in His timing not your own? Of course we all know that, but when it continues to happen over and over in situations where we see our own deadlines come and go with no provision we have two options. Option A: Let doubt, fear, and stress overtake us as we give up on the dreams the Lord has given us. Option B: Continue to walk in faith knowing that God sees the big picture. So often I believe God gives us big dreams, then we make our own plans, and then give up when those dreams don't happen in our timing. We focus on the end result instead of working and preparing for the needed provision. It's so easy to look at the bank account, look at the calendar, and look at the to-do list and say the timing has come and gone. It's no longer possible. Yet, when we realize that God sees the big picture and that His plan and timing is greater we can confidently continue to prepare as we wait on Him. I have realized that in so many different scenarios I wait on the Lord for a period of time. Then, when my dreams stop fitting on the calendar I give up, become discouraged and stop preparing for the provision that the Lord has placed on my heart. Many times the doubt that sneaks in causes confusion in our relationship with the Father. Does the waiting mean we've heard Him wrong? Does it mean we're not where we're suppose to be? The guilt that follows doubt puts a huge wedge between us and the Father. Instead of pressing in to Him we go back to life as usual. We stop preparing and investing in our dreams. We cross it off the calendar and say, "Maybe next time." Yet for many that statement is nothing more than false hope to hide the disappointment. What would happen if instead of giving up when the timing looks hopeless we press on to prepare for the victory? We may never understand God's timing. But, honestly do we need to? His plans for our lives are so much greater than our own. He has a purpose for the "delay" in your life. Romans 4:20-21 says, "No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." It doesn't say Abraham never doubted. Of course he did! But, his unbelief never made him waver! He knew God was able to do what He promised. God has spoken to your heart about something in this season. He's not late. Don't stop preparing. Keep pouring your heart into whatever it is the Lord has asked you to do right now. If that's praying then pray. If it's building a business then build. If it's moving start packing. Don't stop preparing. Move forward no matter what the bank account looks like or the calendar says. Praise Him while you wait. Stand firm in your faith. Then be ready to run when He says it's go time! We pray this week that you would stay kingdom minded. There is a reason for your waiting. Our lives are all for God's glory. May His kingdom increase and multiply as you continue to press on and prepare for your God size dreams to manifest!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Again I will say, rejoice.

Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

In the world we live in today it's hard to let go of the negativity, the violence, the confusion, and the fear. Whether it's the government, family and friends, or uncontrollable circumstances it's easy to get sucked in. We get trapped in this cycle of anxiety that leaves us doing everything, but rejoicing. Yet, Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the LORD, always; again I will say, rejoice." The definition of rejoice is to feel or show great joy or delight. Philippians 4 goes on to say, "Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Verses 5-7) Through the negativity God tells us to rejoice, let go of our anxiety, and go to Him in prayer and thanksgiving. Then His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. Philippians then goes on to say, "Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Verse 8) It's hard to rejoice when all we see is the negative. Yet, when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and go to Him first, with our praises and prayers it's easy to respond with great joy no matter the circumstance. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus all we will see is what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent. Our lives will be so fixed on Him that the world's negativity will be blocked out by the hope we have in Christ Jesus. Not only do you need yourself to have this kind of joy, but the world needs you to have this kind of joy! It's through your rejoicing that others experience the joy and peace of Jesus. In a world that's so uncertain be the face of joy for the lost and broken. We pray that as you go throughout your week that the joy of the Lord would be your strength! May your week bring rejoicing no matter what it brings!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The One True God

You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:3

Most of us born in the USA, especially those raised in church, were brought up believing in one God. The one and only God that created the heavens and the earth. The one and only God that sent His one and only son, Jesus, to die on a cross and be resurrected so that we could have everlasting life. The one and only God that we run to in times of trouble. The one and only God that we surrender our life to. The one and only God. But, what would life have been like if you were raised to worship multiple false gods? As we listen to different missionaries and travel around the world meeting people from all different nations I have began to realize just how much I have taken Exodus 20:3 for granted. The first of the ten commandments. "You shall have no other gods before me." Not once have I ever woke up thinking I need to worship the sun or a book. Yet, so many people around the world wake up daily to worship hundreds of gods. We spoke with a missionary from India a few weeks ago who told us that people in India worship over 300 objects as gods. Recently in Central America we talked to a Mayan who compared their god of fertility to Jesus simply because he was the son of another god! This Mayan man went on to tell us of athletes in his country that would train for years to compete in hopes of winning. The winner of this game would then be killed and sacrificed to one of their gods. We live in such a bubble to take for granted the fact that we know the truth. There are people all around the world near and far that have never had the opportunity to hear that there is only one true God. There are people that have never heard that we've been given a free gift of salvation through Jesus. Can you imagine waking up every day trying to earn grace from inanimate objects that have never and will never do anything for you? The devil has created so many lies throughout different religions to cause fear and confusion. The worship of false gods are not something of the past. It is something that goes on daily all around the world. There are people fighting spiritually and physically every day for their lives by worshiping these false gods because they've never heard the truth of the gospel. Don't take for granted the truth you know. If you are struggling with idols in your life don't wait another minute to surrender them. There is one true God. He sent His son to earth to die and rise again so that you can have the free gift of salvation. Worship Him alone. Only He can save you, provide for you, love you, and call you His child. This week pray for those that are bound by the chains of false gods. Pray that truth would fill their hearts and minds. Pray that they would know and worship the one true God leaving behind everything that has kept them from Him. May your week be filled by the grace of God as your relationship with Him grows deeper this week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Our Champion

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14

Ever feel like you are constantly fighting? Fighting your season of waiting, fighting for your family, fighting for your job, or fighting for your finances.The list of things we fight for in life can be a mile long. Sometimes we know we're fighting and other times we fight without ever thinking twice about it. I'm not talking about physically fighting, but fighting mentally and emotionally the things we don't understand or things that are outside of our control. Sometimes life just feels like a giant fight. Yet, most of the time through these situations we experience the love of God in a whole new way! Every scripture I've been reading lately talks about God being our fortress. After talking with so many of you over the last few weeks about these daily fights you are in it is so clear that God wants to remind us of our fortress. The word fortress is defined as a place that is protected against attack, any place of exceptional security, or a person or thing that is not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance. Can you picture a fortress? A strong, stable, exceptional place of security that surrounds you and fights for you. God tells us over and over throughout His word that He is our fortress. No matter what is going on in life He has provided a safe place for us. Exodus 14:14 says, "The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." Our fortress is not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance. He is unchanging. His promises are true. God doesn't want us drained from all our energy every day. He wants us to be still so that He can fight our battles for us! As you go throughout your week picture in your mind a fortress and ask the Lord to reveal His heart as your fortress to you. No matter what you're going through know that God is fighting for you. He is our champion! Be still in His presence and let Him protect you and fight for you. Below are scriptures for the week to remind you of how awesome our fortress truly is!

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock,
in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!
Psalm 91:2

My loving kindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.
Psalm 144:2

Live as if there is life inside you.

And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit,
whom God has given to those who obey him.
Acts 5:32

After talking with many of you over the last several weeks it is very clear that many of us are going through a season of waiting. Our lives are all so very different yet many of us have been going through similar situations. Some have been waiting for a healing, waiting for a miracle, waiting on direction from the Lord, and the list of waitings goes on and on. Waiting is never easy, yet such an important part of life. It's in the seasons of waiting where we are able to completely surrender control. It's in the seasons of waiting where we are still enough to hear from the Lord. While waiting is an important part of life it is rarely easy. Many times if we're not careful to guard our hearts these seasons of waiting can turn into depressing emotional roller coasters. We focus on our situations and the quietness. We spend days thinking about how to fix the issues or change the situations that are usually out of our control. Instead of resting in the waiting we spend all our energy on figuring out ways to get out of the waiting. It's draining physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It's so easy to let our eyes get fixed on the storm instead of on the cross. We forget in these seasons of waiting that even through all the chaos there is LIFE living inside of us! The Holy Spirit is our helper and our comforter. He dwells within us. So many of us forget to use that power within us in these seasons of waiting. We forget that even through these times that feel so unsure that we can still shine light into darkness. We can still let every situation be used for God's glory. We can still speak life into dead situations. Just because you're waiting doesn't mean you're useless. There is hope, peace, rest, and joy in the waiting! Focus on the here and now. The rest will unfold in God's timing. Whatever season you're in do not let confusion, chaos, or exhaustion keep you from living life abundantly. Use the Holy Spirit inside of you to overcome feelings of doubt. Let the power and boldness of the Holy Spirit overflow out of you so that through the uncertainty you can let every minute of the day bring glory to God! We pray that in this season you fix your eyes on Jesus. May His peace fill your hearts and minds this week.

Lay Down Your Life

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the
Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep."
John 10:14-15

If we want to be like Jesus we must lay our lives down for others just as Jesus laid down His life for us. Yet, I believe many of us get sucked into thinking that we can follow Jesus without sacrificing anything along the way. We believe the lies of the enemy that as long as we are doing A, B, and C our lives don't have to change in order to follow Jesus. It's easy to fall into thinking that we can do whatever we want as long as we give to the church, volunteer our time, or donate our old clothing to charity every month. But, does that really paint the picture of laying down your life to be a follower of Jesus? We are so blessed to live in a country where we are free to go to church on Sunday. We are so blessed to live in a country where we are free to pray and worship in our own homes. We take these freedoms for granted daily. There are people all over the world that are imprisoned for those same freedoms we have here in America. Yet, many of us put on blinders in hopes of keeping our lives comfortable. Truly loving people is hard, but laying down our lives for others is a completely different story. It is something that looks different for each of us. It's never comfortable or easy. It takes time and commitment. It means humbling ourselves and thinking of others first. It usually requires great sacrifice. So, how do we know what it looks like to "lay down our life?" We read all through the New Testament how Jesus took time to be with His Father. If Jesus was perfect and had to go away to be with His Father, how much more do we, born into sin, have to go away to be with our Heavenly Father? It's through these times that we spend alone with the Father that we discover what it means for us to "lay down our life". Are you willing and ready to love people like Jesus loves them? Are you willing and ready to go to great lengths to lay your life down so that others may know the hope and grace of Jesus? Are you willing and ready to lose everything the world gives for the sake of reaching the nations? We're all called to lay our life down, yet few do. I pray that the Holy Spirit would ignite a fire in you this week leaving you with a great desire to follow Jesus no matter the cost. May you be blessed as you lay your life down for the glory of His name!