Victory Isn’t Always Pretty But It’s Always Sweet

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Hockey Player In ActionWhat do you see when you think of victory?  Do you see flags flying, whistles blowing, people cheering? Do you see yourself well dressed, standing strong and tall?  That’s what we all want victory to look like but sometimes, most times victory isn’t pretty but it’s always sweet.

When Jesus went to the cross He didn’t look human.  Isaiah 53:2-3 says, “…He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” Yet in the midst of all of this He cried out “It is finished.”  He proclaimed and declared victory.  He didn’t wait until He presented the blood to the Father when He would have been in his glorified body, but there while we turned our faces from the grotesqueness of His appearance, there while the enemy was rejoicing, while everything in the natural said defeat, He proclaimed victory.  It wasn’t pretty but it was sweet.  Victory is always sweet!

I Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   This means that regardless of where you are how good or bad you feel you are victorious.  You have the victory because you’ve been given the victory through Christ.  Even though things might look a little ugly right now it doesn’t change the truth of God’s word.  You just need to do what Jesus did and begin to proclaim and declare your victory.  Yes, the situation is ugly but you’re still living.  It was meant to destroy you but you’re still here.   Things the enemy did to cause you to stop didn’t work you’re still going.  You’re still pursuing your dreams, you’re still working your ministry, you’re still writing that book.  Regardless of the circumstances you’re still moving forward.  So I say to you that’s what victory looks like.  No, it’s not pretty.  I know you were expecting something different but right now right where you are you are victorious.  Now, as you do what Jesus did and proclaim and declare victory you will see your situation change.  God will give you beauty for ashes and joy for your pain.  He will cause all things to work in your favor right in the face of the enemy.  Now that’s sweet.  Sweet Victory!

Seated With Christ

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During difficult times when things seem a bit overwhelming it’s a good time to focus on where you are seated.

Ephesians 2:6 says that God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  This means we have the best seat in the house.  When all hell is breaking out around you remembering where you are will infuse your entire being with power and change the dynamics of your situation in your favor.

Just think if you are seated with Christ that means you are above every principality and power, every might and dominion and every human limitation.  So you don’t have to throw your hands up in surrender to the problem.  You can throw you hands up in praise to God because you are a winner in Christ!  No longer do you have to cry out “I’m not going to make it” because through Christ you’ve already made it.  I’ll say it again; you are a winner in Christ!

I Thessalonians 5:16-28 gives us some good instructions on how to remain strong during difficult times.  They simply say rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, quench not the spirit, don’t despise prophecies, prove all things and hold fast to what is good; abstain from all appearance of evil and the very God of peace will sanctify you wholly and preserve your spirit, soul and body blameless unto the coming of Christ.  Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.

I know you might be thinking rejoice evermore¸ pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.  My marriage is not falling apart, my house is in foreclosure, and I’ve been unemployed for four years.  Well, let me tell you this, I’ve been there and like you I had a choice.  When my marriage fell apart, and my house was in foreclosure and I was out of work for four years I had a choice.  I could either throw my hands up in surrender to my problems or throw my hands up in praise.  I chose and I choose now to rejoice evermore.  I chose to pray without ceasing and in everything give God thanks.  But let me tell you it wasn’t always easy to do, but God is faithful.  I love the fact that the scripture says “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.  You see it’s not how faithful I am or you are to God, it’s that He is faithful to Christ and therefore faithful to us.  That’s the beauty of it all.  Nothing depends on us it’s all on Christ.  And we are seated in Christ.

Now being seated together with Christ comes with great privileges and one of those privileges is the fact that we are in the right position to ask our Father for anything and expect to receive what we ask.  Why you ask?  Because we not only have our Father’s heart but we’re so close to him that we have his attention.  In fact, His heart gives us His attention.  Mark 11:24 says “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  And that’s not all.  He has given us His Spirit. During those difficult times when things seem overwhelming we can pray in the Spirit and find rest and refreshing for our soul (Isaiah 28:11).    Because when we are rested and refreshed we are able to see all that God has accomplished for us through Christ.  We can give God thanks in the midst of it all because we know that He has already worked it out.  I’ll say it again; you are a winner in Christ!    Jesus told us in John 16:33 “…in this world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Now as you are rejoicing and praying and giving thanks to God, the Holy Spirit will speak to your spirit and release wisdom to you for your situation.  Don’t quench the Spirit.  In other words don’t suppress the promptings of the Spirit because God gives His wisdom liberally (James 1:5).  He delights in leading and guiding us.  This is why He has given us His good Spirit to instruct us, so don’t suppress Him.  Many times we cry “Lord show me a way out” and He does.  But we’re not heeding to what His Spirit is saying to us because oftentimes we think the thoughts are coming from our flesh or from the enemy.  We suppress what the Spirit is saying.  Listen, it’s going to take you using the God kind of faith in you to do what the Spirit is leading you to do.  And you have the faith of God because you have Christ.  You have His faith in you to be able to do what He is telling you to do.

The next thing is don’t despise prophesy.   Now I’m not talking about those times when you’re in a service and God uses a prophet to call you out and give you a word (although we don’t despise that either).  I’m talking about those times when God will use someone to tell you to “hold on everything is going to be alright.” It could be your neighbor or co-worker.  But instead of rejoicing that God sees you, you complain and said, “Yeah I heard that before.” Or “God didn’t say that.”  This is despising prophesying.  The gift of prophecy is to edify and build up so when someone speaks something to edify and build you up don’t despise it.  Finally, know that the very God of peace is in the midst of you. He is sanctifying you wholly, and preserving your spirit, soul and body blameless unto the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Through it all He is perfecting Himself in you.  Therefore, remember where you are you are in Christ and He is in you. You are a winner in Christ!

Missed Opportunities

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Old clockHave you ever missed an opportunity and felt like you’ll never get that chance again?  I know I have.  However, there’s one thing I’ve come to know and that is, it doesn’t matter how many times we fail or how many opportunities we miss, God will never abandon His plan for our lives.  He will always bring us back to His plan and purposes.  We only need to be ready to seize it.

I can remember a time in my life when I was standing right in front of the answer to my prayers and walked away not realizing that this was what I asked God to do.  The opportunity was right there but I missed it.  Of course, after the fact I realized what had happened and regret immediately followed.  Oh!, if I had only realized my opportunity.  But thanks be to God He didn’t let me stay in my regrets.

I began to pray for the Lord to do it again, to put in the right place at the right time but this time to give me the grace to do the right thing.  As I prayed and mediated the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “God will never abandon His plan for your life, if it is in His plan He will bring you to it again.” He reminded me of how Adam missed his opportunity in the Garden of Eden.  Adam was in the right place at the right time and could have taken of the tree of life but He missed that opportunity.  He missed the chance to live day in and day out in unbroken fellowship in the presence of God for eternity. Genesis 3:22 says, “And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Adam could have lived forever in the Garden of Eden in the presence of God but he missed his opportunity.

As I thought about Adam, I wondered about his regret.  I wondered if he’d prayed to God to restore him back to the Garden.  I wondered how close he must have lived to the Garden.  I wondered if he tried to get back to the Garden on his own.  I wondered all these things because that’s what I did and Adam was human just like me. However, as I wondered I saw that God didn’t leave Adam in his regret just like He didn’t leave me in mine.  He spoke to Adam just as He had spoken to me.  He gave Adam a promise of a seed that would one day come and bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).  God said to Adam what He said to me.  He would not abandon His plan.  God would bring Adam back to Eden. And when Jesus came to this earth, died on the cross and rose again”, Adam regained that missed opportunity.

Therefore, I want to encourage you today if you’ve been feeling regret about opportunities you’ve missed in your life, don’t.  Because God will never abandon His plan for your life.  If it is in His plan for you He will bring you back to it again.  He is a God of restoration and He will restore all things back to you even missed opportunities.

 

 

Come Out Of The Pit Of Condemnation

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dreamstimefree_167222Are you living in a pit of condemnation? Are you condemning yourself because of something you should have done or need to do but haven’t done it?   I know how you feel because I’ve been there and sometimes I find myself there again.  However, when I do there is one word that helps me come out and that word is No! I simply say no to condemnation.  Because of Christ I don’t have to live in the pit of condemnation and neither do you.

When we condemn ourselves for things we need to do or should do but haven’t done, it sits inside of us and eats away at us like a disease.  We try to mask the feeling of condemnation by doing something that makes us feel good like shopping, eating, or watching TV.  But in reality it pushes us deeper into the pit of condemnation because we still haven’t done what we know we need to do.    It hinders us in worship because the enemy uses it like an iron wall that seems impossible to breakthrough.  Condemnation is heavy and we are powerless against it except we look to the cross.

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”  No condemnation means just that, no condemnation of any kind in anything.   I cannot be condemned if I don’t do my dishes, clean my house, pray, study, tithe, or anything else.  When we condemn ourselves for what we don’t do we’re not seeing the finish work of the cross and therefore not receiving the grace to do all the things we need and want to do like doing the dishes, cleaning the house, praying, studying and tithing.

We are perfectly complete in Jesus all the time.  We have been made righteous by His sacrifice and that righteousness can never be taken away regardless of what we do or don’t do.  Therefore, come out of the pit of condemnation it’s not real for you as a believer.  It’s simply false evidence appearing real.  Numbers 23:21 says, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel; the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.”  Shout my friend you’re free!

Upcoming Meeting

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Hey there!

wemar23I’m so excited to invite you to our upcoming meeting in College Park, Maryland on March 23rd. It’s going to be an awesome time in the presence of God. Psalmist Vonette Mewborn will be leading us in praise and worship and our topic will be “A Life Surrendered.” A delicious free breakfast will be served and so much more. If you live in the Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia area, I hope to see you there.

Lean On Me

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Sunrise on Alaska MountainThe word that God gave me for this year is Trust.  Throughout this year God wants us to trust Him.  I know we say that we trust God but when the rubber meets the road do we really trust God to see us through?  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” God wants us to lean on Him. Think about that.  The Almighty God has invited us to lay back and rest in Him; to lay back and rest in His wisdom, His provision, and His protection.  He wants us to trust that He knows how to get us through the hard times and sustain us in the good times.

When you lean on something you’re releasing all your strength and efforts to what or who you are leaning on.  Think about that.  Why struggle using your own earthly wisdom when we have Christ who is the Wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24)?  Trusting God means you allow Him to be who He is in your life.  You allow Him to be your wisdom, provision, protection and whatever else you need Him to be.  So to help you I’ve listed three good reasons why you can trust God:

1)      He’s God.  Numbers 22:23 says, “God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent; hath He said, and shall he not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”  Enough said.

2)      He’s trustworthy.  Joshua 23:14 says “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth; and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord our God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”

3)      He will never leave you.  Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, “the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Even through the toughest times God will always remain faithful to His word.  He’s God, you can trust Him.  This year determine in your heart and mind that you’re going to lean on God with everything that concerns you life.

Let’s Get Soaked!

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Last week while walking in the rain the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said “Do you notice how the earth soaks in the rain? It doesn’t cover up it opens up and soaks it in.” I thought Wow! And here we are with our umbrellas, raincoats, hats and boots.

It’s like this, the earth understands and receives the blessing of rain from its creator but we on the other hand are not always open to receive the blessings of our Father. Oh yes! The blessings are falling and even with all our cover up we still get wet but we’re not getting soaked and our Father wants us drenched and soaked with His blessings.

At first I thought, I should just pull down my umbrella and walk in the rain, but then I said it’s too cold and my hair will get wet, and I might catch a cold and so on and so on.  Then I thought this is why we’re not getting soaked in the blessings of God. We’re too busy worried about what if.  What if this happens or what if that happens.  If we want to get soak were going to have to let down the umbrella’s of fear,  doubt and what if.  And I’ve found that one sure way of doing that is to be thankful.

Being thankful is like walking out from underneath the cover out into the open space because being thankful says I receive.  The more thankful you are the more grace you receive.   James 4:6 says, “But He giveth more grace.  Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Therefore, let’s pull down the umbrella’s and removed the cover ups and get soaked in the blessings of God by being thankful for not only the blessings that we can see but for every blessing that our Father has given to us.  Because truly He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

Don’t Be Careless

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Carelessness1 a: free from care: UNTROUBLED; b: INDIFFERENT, UNCONCERNED, 2: not taking care 3: not showing or receiving care; a: NEGLIGENT, SLOVENLY b: UNSTUDIED, SPONTANEOUS c: UNVALUED, DISREGARDED.

Today there is a saying that goes “It is what it is” and like most slang terms it’s very catchy. Basically it means whatever the situation or circumstance regardless of the outcome you’re accepting things as they are.  It’s a place of no resistance. For example, you know that eating an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies will add to your waistline but instead of exercising some discipline in portion control you say, “It is what it is.”  Or like people who smoke, they’ve read the warning by the surgeon general that says “cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health” but instead of quitting they say “It is what it is; you have to die from something.” No matter what the consequence win or lose “It is what it is.”  It’s a catch all phrase for I don’t care.  Now I realize there are many terms used to convey this “I don’t care” attitude but I use this one because it’s the one I found myself giving way too.  But regardless of which term you use, it’s clear that any term or phrase that puts you in a place of no resistance is one that should be completely avoided.

A careless attitude is an open door to the enemy because it stops you from receiving what’s been given or lose what you have.  James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  If you’re not resisting the devil then you are allowing him to stay in your life.   Living in a place of no resistance allows the devil to do what he does best, steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Jesus came into this world to undo the works of the enemy. 1 John 4:8 says, “…For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Although Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil He didn’t restrict him from moving in the earth realm. The devil is still allowed to roam about the earth. 1Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”  The devil can and is still wrecking havoc in our environment through the hearts and minds of men and women who don’t resist him.  But Jesus said in John 13:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  Even though the devil can manipulate things in our physical environment Jesus has overcome him. Therefore, when we don’t resist what is, we’re not receiving what’s been given. It’s up to us to resist the mess that the devil throws in our path by receiving what God has given us through Christ. And we resist the devil with the word of God.  Revelations 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  This is how we resist the devil, by the blood of Jesus, by the word of our testimony and by not loving our lives.  In other words we don’t use our ability we use Christ’s ability.

However, resistance requires suffering.  We are partakers of His suffering and that suffering is to resist the devil.  Paul said in Philippians 3:10-11 “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”  Careless people accept what is because they don’t want to suffer.  They also don’t like confrontation.  Resisting the devil requires us to confront the devil.  When we resist the devil he flees from us.  Change comes when we resist what is (this is of course if “what is” is contrary to what’s been given through Christ). And it’s not that we’re resisting too gain victory, we’re resisting because we’ve been given victory.  Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death-that is, the devil. And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives.”  You see there is nothing for us to fear.  You don’t have to back down against the enemy because he has been rendered powerless to harm you.   You can be and should be aggressively laying hold on all that God has given you through Christ.

Power To Be You

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Most of us have gone through periods in our lives where we’ve wanted to be like someone else.  We’ve looked at someone and wanted to do what they were doing or to have what they have.  Maybe you’ve heard someone sing and said “I wish I could sing like that” or you’ve heard someone speak and you’ve wanted to be able to speak in that same manner.  Well, God didn’t create you to be like someone else or even to have what someone else has.  He created you just as you are for His purpose.

Praise God For Your Uniqueness

Knowing and embracing your uniqueness is the first step in truly being who God has created you to be.  We serve an unlimited and uncontainable God.  I believe it would be a waste of all the power of God if He did everything the same way all the time.    Remember the movie the Stepford Wives?  They all looked alike.  They talked alike, they walked alike, they dressed alike, and they even acted alike.  They walked around like robots because that’s what they were robots.  God didn’t create us to be robots He created us each one unique.

Psalms 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Instead of wanting to be like someone else, praise God for your uniqueness.  Yes you with all of your quirkiness and difference you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  In other words God didn’t make a mistake when He created you the way He did.  Therefore, learn to embrace and give praise for who you are and trust that God knew exactly what He was doing.

God Has A Purpose For Your Uniqueness

God has a purpose for your uniqueness.  Sometimes the very thing we don’t like about ourselves is the very thing that God will use for His purpose.  When speaking about the body of Christ Paul said that the body is one but made up of many members, but each member has its purpose.  “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ” I Corinthians 12:12.    Then Paul goes on to say in verse 17 and 18, “ If the whole body where an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.”  God isn’t wasteful.  He has a purpose for all of His creation.  He even had a purpose for Lucifer, so how much more you.   You can only be who God created you to be.  No matter how hard you to try to be like someone else you will still be you.

There Is Power In Being Yourself

Not only does God have a purpose for you, but He has given you power to fulfill that purpose.  I can’t be you and you can’t be me.  I was specifically created to be who I am and to do what it is I’m doing.  The foot can’t do the job of the hand nor can the hand do the job of the foot.   Even in times when the foot has to do the job of the hand.  It’s still only using foot power verse hand power.  There is power given specifically to the hand that no matter how well the foot may do it can’t replace the power of the hand.  In other words, don’t waste the power that’s given to you to be you by trying to be like someone else.  Instead embrace the uniqueness of you, and use the power that’s been given to you to be you and fulfill your God given purpose.

You Are Not Alone

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Have you ever felt that you are alone?  That God is not with you?  Although you believe in God somehow you think that He’s in heaven and you’re on earth and you find yourself saying “If only God would come and help me.”  Well, I’ve got good news, you’re not alone God is with you!  In the midst of every situation and circumstance, good days and challenging days God is with you.  All it takes is for you to acknowledge His presence.

Acknowledge His Presence

Acknowledging the presence of Christ in your life is acknowledging that His power is with you. Christ is the power of God.  He is the power to fulfill your purpose, reach your destiny and overcome every temptation and challenge.    However, if you’re not conscious of His presence you’re not going to rely on His power.  I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”  It’s easy to cast your cares on someone if you believe they are with you.  For example, if you and your friend go to the grocery store and you come out holding two heavy bags of groceries it’s easy to turn to your friend and give them half the load.  They may even ask you to let them help you.  You do it because you know that they are there and willing to help you.  Well, that’s how it should be with Christ, we should be so aware that He is with us that we don’t just give Him half the load we give Him the whole load.  We cast all our care upon Him because He is willing and able to take care of our cares.  The more conscious we are of Christ presence the more we able to receive from Him.

Live In Fellowship

When you know that Christ is with you fellowshipping with Him becomes easy because  you’re not trying to get to where He is, you know that He is where you are and you are where He is.  Ephesians 2:6 says, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  There’s no need to beg Christ to come to where you are “…For He hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” Hebrews 13:5.  Everywhere you go Christ goes with you.  He is waiting to hear what you have to say and He wants you to hear what He has to say.   He wants to tell you what’s on His mind.  God wants to release to you His plan for your life.  And not just big picture, He wants to talk to you about every aspect of your life.  If you talk to Him about your hair, He will give you His plan for your hair.  He knows how many hairs are on your head.  And if that’s not being involved in our lives I don’t know what is.  All it takes is for you to acknowledge that He is with you.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  If you talk to Christ, He’ll talk back and He won’t get angry with you.  It doesn’t matter how small the matter may seem to you, Christ is concern about it and He’s waiting to release His wisdom to you.   When you live in daily fellowship with Christ when times are hard and challenging you’re not easily moved or should I say you don’t react out of fear because you know that Christ is with you.  How do you know?  You’ve been in continuous fellowship with Him.

Don’t Be Deceive

Stop allowing the enemy to deceive you into thinking that you’re alone.  I Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be careful-watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks.  Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too” (Living Bible).  Guard your heart and mind with God’s promise that He’ll never leave you nor forsake you and do as the scripture says remember your brothers and sisters in Christ.  It doesn’t matter how bad your situation may be somewhere other believers are going through the same sufferings and are triumphing through Christ.  You will too when you see that you’re not alone Christ is with you and ready to help you.