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Band of Brothers – Men’s Ministry

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According to George Barna Research Group:
3.5% of families follow when a child is the first to attend church
17% of families follow when a mother/wife is the first to attend church
93 % of families follow when a father/husband is the first to attend church


 

The “Band of Brothers“, is committed to equipping men to fulfill their God-given role as leaders in their homes and communities. We place high value on making relationships with and discipling men so they can live the life that God intended for them and their families. We know that now is a critical time in our society for Godly men to step up and live pure lives, taking their place in the Kingdom, always working to Reach, Serve, Give and Build.


 

Join us on Saturday, March 10th for our Men’s Ministry Breakfast at 9:30 am at Seminole Winds Restaurant on North Monroe Street.

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Burning BRIGHT not OUT

Are you as excited as I am?


I believe we are living in the most exciting time in history! God is moving by His Spirit across the earth and we are most certainly growing closer to the return of Jesus Christ!


I believe it’s time to do more than we’ve ever done before to further the gospel and lead people to the Lord!


We need to respond to Jesus’ urging to “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV)


It’s time for you and me to be active in the local church. It’s time to sow seed looking ahead to a bountiful harvest of changed lives. It’s time to do more than you ever thought you could!


But if you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “How can I possibly do more than I’m already doing? Perhaps you are even at the point of burn out.


Burn Out


Burn out can occur for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re over-worked, tired, fatigued, disappointed or depressed, resulting in a general sense of emptiness. Maybe you’ve felt like Solomon felt when he wrote, “In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. For what does a man get for all his hard work? Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 Living Bible)


If you feel that way – which is exactly what the devil hopes – then the thought of doing more for the Lord certainly isn’t very appealing.


Fortunately, Solomon came up with some steps to prevent burnout. I would like to share them with you so that you can begin to burn even brighter rather than burning out.


1) Maintain balance in your lifestyle

In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon pointed out that there truly is a time for everything. He writes that there is, “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (v.2-4, NIV)


You see, life is composed of opposites, and to live successfully in the balanced world God created, one must maintain a balanced lifestyle. You will enjoy life and be the most productive when there is a balance between work and play, being and doing, natural and spiritual, speaking and listening, giving and receiving and so on.


Balanced people are able to outlast everyone else, but if you aren’t balanced, you probably won’t be able to shine very bright.


2) Develop Strong Personal Relationships

Lack of emotional support can cause you to burn out. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NKJV) tells us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”


The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits who isolate themselves from other believers. Instead, it says we are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up together.


God doesn’t want you to be on your own. He wants you to have strong personal relationships that build you up. He wants you to give and receive love, acceptance, affirmation and help. If you try to go it alone, you will burn out and won’t shine as God intends.


3) Take Time to Enjoy the Present

Burn out can come from always working and never enjoying, or it can come from always regretting and never enjoying.


Ecclesiastes 5:18 (NKJV) says, “It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor… for it is his heritage.”


God wants you to receive satisfaction from what you do, but if you are worried about the past or focused only on the future, you will not enjoy much of anything. Remember that the scripture says, “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” (NKJV) Enjoy each day as a gift from God.


4) Stop Playing God

There are so many things in life we cannot control, but God can! We need to recognize our limitations and draw our strength from God’s Word. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus reminded us that, “…man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (NKJV) It’s like inhaling a bit of the life of God!


Then, we need to exhale all our concerns by praying. Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) instructs us, “Be anxious for nothing, 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 through Christ Jesus.” God is big enough to take care of everything that concerns you.


My prayer for you is that you will be one who does more for the Kingdom of God than you ever thought and that you will burn bright, not out!

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Enduring FAITH

Everyone has faith. You have faith that the lights will come on when you flick the switch, and when you turn the door knob, you have faith that the door is going to open. Christians and non-Christians alike have that kind of faith. However, not everyone has faith in God.


The kind of faith the Bible talks about is centered on believing in God. Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Here we see three elements of a faith that pleases God: (1) we must believe that He exists; (2) we must believe that He rewards; and (3) we must believe that He will reward us when we seek Him.


Faith Is
“Faith is,” Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” It is the confidence that things yet unseen will happen as God said they will. It involves accepting God’s perspective as He reveals it in the Bible.


When there was nothing, God created everything. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Colossians 1:16-17 builds on that same thought, saying, “All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”


This is our God. He is the One who created the entire universe. He is all-powerful, and nothing is too difficult for Him; yet, He cares about you and will reward you when you earnestly seek Him. He holds the universe together, and He is willing and able to see you through the problems you face.


Faith Goes Through
No one has the luxury of going through a problem-free life. The psalmist wrote, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19). Just knowing that God’s plan is to deliver you from every trouble you face should make it a bit easier to have an enduring faith.


In Isaiah 43:1-2, God said, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Water and fire are sometimes used in the scriptures to represent calamity; water, because it overwhelms and fire, because it consumes. Though these promises were spoken to Israel, they also have implications for us today. God wants you to know that no matter how overwhelming or consuming your problems are, He will be with you and will help you safely through to the other side.


Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They were the three Hebrew men who would not bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol (Daniel 3:8-25). There is no doubt that God had the power to prevent these godly men from being thrown in the fiery furnace, but instead, He chose to join them in the fire. Not only did they all survive, but we learn from Daniel 3:27 that not a single hair on their heads was singed – and they didn’t even smell like smoke when they came out!


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made it through the fire unscathed because they placed their faith in God. They said, “We know our God is able to deliver us…but even if He doesn’t, yet will we serve Him!” They were so steadfast in their faith that even the threat of a certain death could not persuade them to give up.


Faith Doesn’t Doubt
Your faith in God will help you rise above any hardship you face. 1 John 5:4 (NKJV) says, “…this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Faith overcomes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that God will always immediately intervene when we call on Him. Sometimes God changes us on the inside first, helping us develop an enduring faith by focusing on Him and His Word.


There was a couple who wanted to have children. They had been married over nine years and had undergone years of unsuccessful medical procedures. Despite the fact that doctors gave them no hope, they didn’t give up on their faith. They believed that the same God who rewarded Abraham and Sarah’s faith by giving them children when they were well past childbearing age (Genesis 21:2, Hebrews 11:11), would reward their faith as well.


On a daily basis, this couple faced the choice that every believer faces when in the midst of adversity: “Do I believe what the circumstances say, or do I keep on believing God?” It was not always easy, but they learned to consistently rely on God’s promises rather than to give in to discouragement and doubt. God rewarded their faith and intervened where medical science could not. Their two daughters are wonderful testimonies of God’s faithfulness.


Just as their faith sustained them, your faith is designed to help you endure anything. That is how the Apostle Paul could say that he was “content” no matter what state he was in (Philippians 4:11) His faith gave him a vision of victory in his heart so he could endure until his circumstances changed.


Faith Endures Hardship
Speaking of Paul, his life is an excellent example of how faith in God can help a believer endure hardship. He wrote, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea, and I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).


Even through the worst of all those circumstances, Paul did not lose sight of his victory. He even encouraged others saying, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Despite tremendous hardship, Paul’s enduring faith helped him remain confident in God through every trial.


Finally
Your enemy, the devil, wants to discourage you and make you doubt God. He does his best to convince you that your marriage will never improve… that your kids will never come back to the Lord… that you will always be sick… that you’ll never have enough money, etc. Far too often, we believe the devil’s lies.


Christians must resist the devil and develop an enduring faith in the God who can do the impossible. No problem, difficulty, or struggle that you face is bigger than God, so in the midst of trouble, draw even closer to Him. The closeness of His presence will enable you to remain strong through more than you thought possible. Rest assured that He will not allow you to be tried beyond the strength He gives you. Just as sure as the trial comes, you can be sure God will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).


By faith, release your concerns, cares and worries to God through prayer. Trust Him. He is faithful to do what His Word promises, and He will give you the faith to endure until your victory is complete!

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Freedom through FORGIVENESS

One of the best things you can do to have a good and happy life is to take a few minutes each night to forgive everybody of everything they did that affected you adversely during the day. When you do this, you keep yourself free from all the emotional and spiritual stress that comes from holding on to unforgiveness.


Unfortunately, when someone has offended you, forgiveness is usually the furthest thing from your mind – and the hardest thing to do. Because you feel angry, hurt and betrayed, your flesh would rather find a way to make them pay for what they have done.


While forgiveness may be far from your mind, it is never far from God’s. How could He forget that He has given you forgiveness of all your sins – past, present and future – through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ? According to Romans 6:6, Jesus broke the power of sin over our lives so we wouldn’t have to live as slaves to sin. He also forgave us so that we can forgive others.


Why Should I Forgive?
If for no other reason, you should forgive because Jesus said to. You’ve probably recited the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 many times, but if you are like most people, you like the “forgive us our trespasses” part a lot better than the “as we forgive those who trespass against us” part. Like it or not, though, the Biblical pattern is, “Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).


You and I should also forgive because a lack of forgiveness spoils lives. Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us we should pursue peace with all people “lest a root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.” When you don’t forgive, an ugly root begins to form inside you. As you carry the grudge, that root begins to grow and cause trouble for you, for your family and for everyone around you.


You might think that by not forgiving someone, you are getting even or causing them some of the same pain you’ve felt. Actually, the person you hurt the most is you. By refusing to forgive, you open the door for Satan to have access into your life. Depression, fear, sickness, problems with your family, and financial problems are some of the many common results of unforgiveness.


I once knew a man who had become extremely angry and refused to forgive someone who had offended him. Since the incident, a tumor had developed in his body, and he faced a serious surgery. When confronted with what God’s Word says about forgiving others, he realized that he needed to make the choice to forgive. Within an hour of praying to forgive the man who had hurt him, the tumor left his body – he was completely healed!


The effect of forgiving someone isn’t always seen that quickly, but freedom always comes when you choose to forgive.


Who Should I Forgive?
In Mark 11:25-26, Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” This scripture covers it all. There are no other options. Anytime anyone hurts you, no matter how deep the hurt, you are to forgive.


Think about what happened to Joseph. In Genesis 37 and the chapters that follow, you can see many reasons why Joseph could have become a very bitter man. His brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. Next, his master’s wife falsely accused him of a serious crime, and he ended up in prison. Then, a government official promised to help him but instead left him in prison to rot. Regardless of all these things, Joseph didn’t allow unforgiveness and bitterness to take root in his life. He forgave everyone who did anything against him and went on to fulfill the destiny God had for him.


Understanding Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not a feeling. Like Joseph, you must make a decision to forgive by faith. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you may never forgive anybody for anything. Also, forgiveness is not merely pushing a memory to the back of your mind; that’s denial. Offenses and hurts must be dealt with so you can be free from them and the trouble they cause.


Forgiving someone does not negate their wrongdoing, but it puts the responsibility of judgment for their actions into God’s hands. That’s what Jesus did. Despite everything that had been done to Him, 1 Peter 2:23 tells us that “…when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”


Forgiveness is a choice. The Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 NIV). When you think about how much God has forgiven you, forgiving someone else seems much smaller!


Don’t be alarmed if your feelings don’t immediately line up with your choice to forgive. The same devil who tells you you’re no good because you haven’t forgiven someone will try to keep harassing you once you’ve chosen to forgive. Feelings are fickle, but they will stabilize as you follow through by speaking and acting out your choice to forgive.


Forgive Now
Choosing not to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The longer you carry a grudge, the more damage it does to you. Why risk a physical or emotional breakdown when you can choose to forgive now?


No matter how long ago you were hurt, whether the ones who offended you are living or dead, choose to forgive them. Don’t let unforgiveness and bitterness remain locked up inside your soul. As you line your will up with God’s, you’ll experience the freedom that comes through forgiving.


It doesn’t have to take days or weeks or years to forgive. You can do it right now, right where you are by praying this simple prayer out loud:


Father, I choose to forgive _____________ for everything they did that hurt me. I release them to you because you are the One who judges righteously. I trust you to work in their life and to draw them to you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Then What?
People often say, “All this sounds good, but what do I do once I’ve chosen to forgive?” Here are some helpful tips from God’s Word:

- Surrender the right to get even. “Do not avenge yourselves…vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

- Surrender your thoughts about the person “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

- Surrender your words regarding the person. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:29-31)

- Surrender your own resentment, anger, bitterness, self-pity, etc. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)


Finally
Every human being has a deep, sometimes hidden, desire to be forgiven. Ernest Hemingway’s short story about the broken relationship between a Spanish father and his teenage son, Paco, highlights this desire.


Paco ran away from his home to Madrid, and his grieving father looked everywhere for him. In desperation, the father placed an ad in the Madrid newspaper that read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office tomorrow at noon. All is forgiven. I love you.” The next morning, 800 hopeful men named Paco were standing in front of the newspaper office!


Someone needs your forgiveness right now, but even more, as you choose to forgive and surrender yourself to your loving heavenly Father, you’ll begin to experience the freedom that comes through forgiving.

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Hope for YOUR Marriage

More and more studies are showing how important it is to have a healthy relationship with your spouse. Statistics show that happily married people are better adjusted, more successful, healthier, and even wealthier than their unhappily married counterparts.


Despite these statistics, the majority of couples still struggle – and even divorce – because of conflicts involving money, intimacy, friends, in-laws, child rearing and other common issues. That doesn’t mean strife and conflict have the right to rob you of the blessing God intended your marriage to be!


Since God is the originator of marriage, His Word is the best source of help for dealing with marital issues. While the Bible doesn’t promise you a problem-free marriage, it does give you guidance and counsel to help you through them.


For Keeps
God designed marriage to be “for keeps.” He said, “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It wasn’t by accident that He used the word “cleave.” It means to “stick together like glue”.


His plan is for one man and one woman to be together – to be adhered together as if by glue (not Velcro) – for one lifetime. This requires that the man and the woman commit themselves to each other for their entire lives. It sounds perfect, don’t you think?


But your marriage, like every other, is made up of two imperfect people, and imperfect people do not make perfect marriages. Still, whether your marriage needs a little “tweaking” or seems beyond repair, there is hope that it can be better.


Hope in the Lord
Most couples try to resolve problems as they arise, but after time and many repeated disappointments, hopelessness can set in. When that day comes, it’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back. The frustrated spouse thinks, “If nothing is going to change, why should I keep trying?”


Don’t give up hope if you are at that point!
All things are possible with God. In Ephesians 1:18-20, as Paul prayed for the believers, he prayed that they would know “…what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”


Think about it: we serve a God who was able to resurrect His Son from the dead. And He makes that same resurrection power available to you – and your marriage!


So if your marriage needs “a little tweaking” or seems beyond repair, put your trust in God. Let Him be the source of your hope. “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” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Hope can be to your marriage what a transfusion is to someone who has lost a great deal of blood!


Dealing with Conflict
According to the Bible, conflict is rooted in selfishness. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (NIV) In the flesh, people think of themselves first. When both of you want the same thing, there is no conflict, but when there is disagreement, selfish desires can lead to disputes.


This really gets out of hand when both spouses refuse to change because they are upset with the other person. If you look at the situation honestly and objectively (as if it were someone else’s), it is much easier to see your part of the problem. But, too often, we only see our spouse’s part, and we refuse to change because we’re mad at them.


Did you know that psychologists tell us that every couple has about 10 issues they will never resolve? This is true even when two people love the Lord and each other. So, even if you were to get a divorce and remarry, you would still have irresolvable issues. Obviously divorce is not the answer!


A Better Way

One of the foundations of Christianity is this: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). As believers, we should follow His example. We should give up our own selfish desires even when our spouse is not acting the way we feel they should.


Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll change when my spouse does.” Selfishness is sin. If you are wrong in an area, it is best to admit it and quit it. Even when your wrong is smaller than your spouse’s, ask God to show you how you can improve the relationship. Is there is something you should be doing? Do it whether or not your spouse does the right thing.


When you are willing to set aside your own desires, strife will begin to be suffocated. Remember, the goal is not to be the one who is right. The goal is to have a happy marriage. So when a dispute arises, ask God to show you how you can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.


Beginnings of Peace
When you pray, you welcome God into the situation, and He promises to bring His peace with Him. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).


If you and your spouse are both Christians, it’s ideal to pray together about issues as they come up. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is always effective. As difficult as it may seem at the time, humble yourself and suggest prayer before things become too clouded by emotions. You’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to stay mad at each other when you pray together – peace is on the way.


Even if your spouse is unsaved, you can still pray. Romans 4:17 refers to our God as the “one who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” When God speaks, miracles come! If He could raise His physically dead Son from the grave, He can certainly raise a spiritually dead spouse to a place of new life in Christ!


Words Are Important
God’s Words are not the only words with power. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Your words have the ability to create or destroy. That’s why it is so important to choose your words wisely.


Words like, “I wish I’d never married you,” destroy the security and commitment of your relationship. They are like weeds that threaten to choke and hurt your spouse.


If you want to “harvest” a better marriage, you need to plant better seeds. Begin to deliberately say things that line up with God’s Word and your commitment to your spouse. Saying something as simple as, “I love you. I’m committed to our marriage and I believe that God will help us with our problems” can make a huge difference!


Finally
Only God can change a person. But as you pray for your spouse and deal with your own issues, you’ll experience more of God’s peace. Remember that your fulfillment comes from your relationship with the Lord. Your hope in Him will sustain you as He works to change your spouse.


One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. If something in this brief teaching has spoken to your heart, put it into practice. As you do something differently, there is great hope of achieving a different result. There is hope for your marriage!

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Prevailing over PROBLEMS

Everyone faces problems in life. If you do not deal with them right away, even small problems can grow into giants with the potential to rule over you. They may not look as menacing as physical giants, but they are often just as intimidating.


The good news is that God is bigger than every problem you will ever face. Whether trouble shows up in the form of sickness, depression, divorce, fear, or a financial crisis, you do not have to be its slave. When you focus on how big your God is, your problems will look small in comparison, and you will be on your way to prevailing over them.


Focus on God’s Size
When Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land God had promised them, they came back with a mixed report. They described it as an extremely fruitful land, but said that it was inhabited by giants. Nevertheless, Joshua and Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30).


The other men returned saying, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…We saw the giants and we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:31,33). While Joshua and Caleb viewed the giants as problems they could overcome with God’s help, the others saw them as insurmountable obstacles. Their faith vanished because they allowed fear to rule in their hearts.


Instead of acting on what God had promised them, the ten doubting spies acted on what they saw. The giants were not the problem. The problem was that they forgot about how big their God was. As a result, their fear and unbelief quickly spread throughout the rest of the Israelites.


In reality, the giants that had seemed so intimidating were themselves filled with fear after hearing about the children of Israel and their God (Joshua 2:11). They would have been no match for the Israelites had they believed God. However, because the Israelites doubted, they spent the next forty years wandering in the wilderness when they could have been enjoying the Promised Land.


Problems, like giants, will hold you captive as long as you let them. The more you think and talk about them, the bigger they will become in your mind. You might think and say, “My problem is sickness…my problem is my marriage…my problem is fear,” but the real problem is your perspective.


The more we focus on God’s size, the easier it will be for us to prevail over problems.


Know God
David is the best-known giant killer in history, but he was virtually unknown before he met Goliath. He was, in fact, an ordinary shepherd boy. Perhaps the only remarkable thing about him was that he developed his relationship with God while tending his father’s sheep. David knew God.


Certainly, there were many men in Israel who appeared more qualified to tackle Goliath, but they only knew about God. When you know God, you will be prepared to do extraordinary things and will experience victory over the problems – even the giant-sized ones – in your life.


David also understood the power of his covenant with God. The covenant said, “You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you” (Leviticus 26:7). And it said, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life” (Joshua 1:5).


Those promises could have worked for anyone in Israel, but David was the only one who believed them and exercised his faith. He fully believed that all of God’s promises belonged to him as a benefit of the covenant.


Marriage is one example of a covenant. At the moment Jeanie and I said our vows, what was mine became hers, and what was hers became mine. Our covenant gave her the authority, with one stroke of the pen, to write a check for everything I had.
Similarly, when you are born again, you are in covenant with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Everything you have becomes His, and His unlimited resources become available to you. Your problems are now His, and every promise in the Bible is yours.


How to See Yourself
Before David could face Goliath, he needed to see himself as a giant-killer. Likewise, before you are ready to prevail over your problems, you must see yourself the way God sees you. After all, He is the One who has the most accurate picture of who you were created to be.


As you develop your relationship with God by spending time in His Word, worship, and in prayer, you will begin to see yourself as He does. He looks at you and says that you are His child, that you have His authority, and that, in Christ, you are more than a conqueror. You are not held back by your past reputation, by memories of past experiences, or by what others have said about you.


While people sometimes have a tendency to disqualify imperfection, God does not. He chooses to use imperfect people who have faith in a perfect God. If that is you, you qualify to prevail over your problems, and you are ready to be a giant-killer!


Speak to the Problem
When David came face to face with the giant, Goliath taunted and threatened him. David was not deterred by his size or his words. Instead, he confidently spoke out of the faith that was in his heart. He said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (1Samuel 17:45).


Because of his relationship with God and the covenant they shared, David knew he could defeat Goliath. When he spoke the words of faith that were in his heart, the giant was already as good as dead! He took a stone and slung it at Goliath, hitting him in the forehead.


1 Samuel 17:50-51 gives this account: “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.” By speaking and acting on his faith, the previously unknown shepherd boy did what the mighty men of his day could not do.


Faith has a language that speaks with authority and confidence. It is totally dependent on God as it believes and speaks His Word. When a problem “talks” to you, you can (and should) speak to it just like David spoke to Goliath.


Suppose sickness says, “I’ve got you, and you are going to die.” You can say, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done” (Psalm 118:17). If you are facing a giant financial problem, you can confidently say, “My God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


Every time you face a problem, you can open your Bible and find where God has promised to meet your particular need. Believe His Word, and speak to the problem just like David spoke to Goliath.


You Can Prevail
Here are some keys to help you prevail over problems:
1) Focus on God, not the problem.
2) Continually develop your relationship with God.
3) See yourself as God sees you.
3) Speak words that reflect your faith in God and His promises.


God is much bigger than any problem you will ever have. When you focus on how big He is, spend time with Him, and begin to speak His language – the language of faith – you can prevail over problems!


After all, He is the One who has the most accurate picture of who you were created to be.


As you develop your relationship with God by spending time in His Word, worship, and in prayer, you will begin to see yourself as He does. He looks at you and says that you are His child, that you have His authority, and that, in Christ, you are more than a conqueror. You are not held back by your past reputation, by memories of past experiences, or by what others have said about you.


While people sometimes have a tendency to disqualify imperfection, God does not. He chooses to use imperfect people who have faith in a perfect God. If that is you, you qualify to prevail over your problems, and you are ready to be a giant-killer!


Speak to the Problem
When David came face to face with the giant, Goliath taunted and threatened him. David was not deterred by his size or his words. Instead, he confidently spoke out of the faith that was in his heart. He said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (1Samuel 17:45).


Because of his relationship with God and the covenant they shared, David knew he could defeat Goliath. When he spoke the words of faith that were in his heart, the giant was already as good as dead! He took a stone and slung it at Goliath, hitting him in the forehead.


1 Samuel 17:50-51 gives this account: “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.


David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard.  After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.” By speaking and acting on his faith, the previously unknown shepherd boy did what the mighty men of his day could not do.


Faith has a language that speaks with authority and confidence. It is totally dependent on God as it believes and speaks His Word. When a problem “talks” to you, you can (and should) speak to it just like David spoke to Goliath.


Suppose sickness says, “I’ve got you, and you are going to die.” You can say, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done” (Psalm 118:17). If you are facing a giant financial problem, you can confidently say, “My God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


Every time you face a problem, you can open your Bible and find where God has promised to meet your particular need. Believe His Word, and speak to the problem just like David spoke to Goliath.


You Can Prevail
Here are some keys to help you prevail over problems:
1) Focus on God, not the problem.
2) Continually develop your relationship with God.
3) See yourself as God sees you.
4) Speak words that reflect your faith in God and His promises.


God is much bigger than any problem you will ever have. When you focus on how big He is, spend time with Him, and begin to speak His language – the language of faith – you can prevail over problems!

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The POWER of PRAYER

The greatest weapon you possess is the power of prayer. If you have an effective prayer life, it will keep you from being fearful and at the mercy of evil as it abounds in these last days. But if you are prayerless, you will also be    powerless.


Answered prayer is God’s idea. The Bible tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) That means whenever someone who has been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ prays, there is every reason to expect an answer. It makes a difference when you pray.


For your prayers to be effective, you need to believe that God exists and that He will answer you when you wholeheartedly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”


The Bible instructs us to pray – over 250 times – and mentions “prayer,” “prayers,” and “praying” another 280 times. Prayer must be important to God! He wants a close relationship with you. He wants to be the one you run to with your problems and all of the situations you face. When you take your concerns to God, it makes a difference.


3-D’s of Prayer
God will never make you into a person of prayer. Your desire to pray is a good starting point, but if you are going to be strong in prayer, discipline will be required. It’s not always convenient or easy to pray, but it’s always the best choice you can make. When spending time with God becomes your top priority, you will find that praying becomes a delight.


Your heavenly Father wants you to know that when you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) He literally places His desires inside you, and you’ll find yourself asking for the things He wants for you. When your will begins to line up with His in this way, your prayers become more powerful and filled with faith.


Pray the Promises
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) You can be confident that God hears you and will answer when you pray “according to His will.” But how can you presume to know the will of God?


God’s Word is His will. If it’s in the Bible, you can be sure it’s what God wants for you. So when you have a need, find the promise – there are over 7000 of them in the Bible – that applies to your situation, and pray that promise. When you do, you will be praying according to the will of God. In Jeremiah 1:12, the Lord says, “…I am watching over my Word to perform it.” When you pray His Word, He will hear and bring it to pass.


Effective Prayer
Effective prayer can’t be reduced to a formula, but there are some keys from the Bible that will help you receive answers when you pray. Always remember though, that God doesn’t respond to your requests because of some ritual or pattern you follow. He is much more interested in your heart than your method.


Prayer connects you with your heavenly Father’s presence, and in His presence is everything you need. His wisdom, peace, confidence, and strength come to you as you pray. When your will lines up with God’s, your prayers are powerful and effective, releasing God’s power into the situations and the lives of the people you are praying for.


God is not reluctant to hear you and help you. He’s listening and waiting for you to call out to Him, and He is most willing to answer your prayers. When you pray effectively, you can receive the answers you need!


Here are some scriptural responses to questions about prayer:


WHO DO I ADDRESS WHEN I PRAY?
Jesus said, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.” (John 16:23)


DOES GOD HEAR WHEN I PRAY?
“But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)


But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)


WHAT SHOULD MY ATTITUDE BE WHEN I PRAY?
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)


WHAT SHOULD I PRAY ABOUT?
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)


HOW DO I “PRAY THE PROMISE?”
God said, “Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together…” (Isaiah 43:26) The Living Bible puts it this way: “Oh, remind me of this promise…” You “pray the promise” by speaking forth what God says in His Word as you pray. You can say something like, “Lord, thank you that your Word says…”


WHEN SHOULD I PRAY?
“…pray without ceasing…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


WHERE SHOULD I PRAY?
“I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting…” (1 Timothy 2:8)


WHAT IF I CAN’T PUT MY PRAYER INTO WORDS?
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)


In Conclusion…
One of satan’s greatest fears must be that Christians  everywhere will one day rise up and pray with the      authority of God’s Word. If all of God’s power was      released at once, sin, satan, and all his demonic hosts would be totally destroyed. It’s time for you to arm    yourself with God’s willingness to perform His Word. Pray and release God’s power through your prayers.

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Dealing with ANGER

People are like pressure cookers. When anger is stuffed inside, pressure increases and builds within us. With the pain of each new offense – if not dealt with – it is either vented in little bursts, or it builds up until it erupts like a volcano. Either way, venting anger solidifies a pattern of losing self-control.


Maybe you don’t struggle with anger, but you certainly know someone who does. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” That’s why millions of people walk around with smiles on their faces, but just under the surface, anger is waiting to explode. It rests in them, causing them trouble with things most people would hardly even notice. When they get mad, their reaction isn’t proportionate to the size of the issue. They aren’t reacting to the current situation, but to an accumulation of unresolved anger.


God makes it clear that anger can be defeated. Colossians 3:8 tells us, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” He certainly would not tell you to put something off without providing the means to do it.


Here are some keys to keep anger from dominating your life.


ADMIT YOUR ANGER

Just like a smoke detector ensures the safety of your family, anger serves as an indicator that something is wrong. But lives are never saved by smoke detectors unless someone acknowledges that the alarm is sounding!


Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Notice that it doesn’t say anger is a sin or that it’s wrong to be angry, but it does say you are responsible to deal with anger before it opens the door to evil in your life. Proverbs 14:17 tells us that an angry, quick-tempered person acts foolishly. When you don’t take control of anger, the devil uses it to lead you into sin.


If you grew up around anger, you may have a problem with your temper and not even realize it. If so, you are still responsible for how you handle it. No one makes you respond out of anger; you make the choice to throw things, hit people, swear or say things that hurt people.


Minimizing anger or making excuses for it only perpetuates the problem. You won’t get free until you admit you are angry and take responsibility for your angry actions.


STOP AND THINK

Whenever emotion rises, the ability to think clearly decreases. Nehemiah 5:6 states Nehemiah’s wise response after he had been told of a serious injustice that had taken place against the people. He said, “I became very angry when I heard their outcry and words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers…”


Nehemiah was angry, but he kept his anger within bounds. Even when provoked, he chose not to say or do anything in haste. Before deciding to rebuke the nobles, he took time to stop and think. He carefully considered what to say, when to say it, and how to proceed so God’s plan of justice could come forth.


You will never end up with God’s best in a situation if you say and do things hastily out of anger. James 1:19-20 says, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” You need to remind yourself to stop and get your emotions out of the way so you can think clearly before making decisions.


ASK GOD FOR HELP

There are many causes of anger including fear, frustration, insecurity and hurt. No matter what’s at the bottom of your anger, you can take it to the Lord and receive His help.


After all, He loves you and wants your relationship with Him to be strong. He wants to be at the center of everything you think, say and do. Even when you are angry, you can choose to ask Him for His help. Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22) Pray, putting your trust in Him, and He will help you defeat anger.


FORGIVE

We need to forgive people as much for our sake as for theirs. Jesus made this very clear when He said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25) Anytime anyone hurts you, no matter how deep the wound, you need to forgive them. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they did, whether they are living or dead, just forgive them.


When you choose to forgive, you’re released on the inside. The ones who offended you may never acknowledge their wrongdoing, but when you forgive them, the anger and wrath in your heart melt away.


WALK IN THE SPIRIT

Even after taking these steps, you can’t just say, “I’m not going to get mad anymore,” and think that will be the end of it. Victory doesn’t come when you stop doing negative things; victory comes when you start doing positive things.


In Galatians 5:20, Paul identifies anger as a work of the flesh.


Fortunately, in verse 16, he gave us the remedy for defeating our fleshly works. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Simply put, you walk in the Spirit by reading, praying and meditating on the Word of God and then doing what it says.


As you become stronger in your spirit by      focusing on the love of God, the things people do will no longer have the same effect on you. When something happens that would normally cause your flesh to respond in anger, your spirit will rise up and you will respond in love!


You don’t have to be dominated by anger. Take action now!

- Admit your anger.
– Stop and think.
– Ask God for help.
– Forgive.
– Walk in the Spirit.

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