Category Archives: Spiritual

For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

A person who is “meek” is often thought of as being resigned to their circumstances, even weak, but that really isn’t what is being described here. Those who are “meek” are those who understand that they are dependent upon God, and not upon their own strength or even upon the power of armies, for our […]

via For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

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I Can Do This


by Lawrence Powell

I can do this! Those are four little words, but they carry a lot of weight when you choose to do what is right in God’s sight. For instance, Matthew 5:44 tells us to “love your enemies. Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Those commands may seem hard, but 1 John 5:3 tells us, “His commandments are not burdensome.” Let that sink in a moment: His commandments are not burdensome! In other words they are not irksome, oppressive, or grievous!

God does not ask us to do hard things; He asks us to do impossible things—things that cannot be done outside of Jesus Christ. But whenever God asks us to do something that is impossible, He also anoints us to do it. He provides the will, the means, and the grace to do everything He commands us to do. His anointing will break through every obstacle we may encounter.

Wayne Stiles said this: “We won’t experience the joy of God’s power if we keep running from impossible situations.” If God asks impossible things of us, He plans to do the impossible for us. God will lead you and guide you in such a way that transformation is the end result. God may allow you to go into a fiery furnace, but you will come out with a testimony, fireproof and triumphant!

What happens when we avoid hard things? The answer is, hard things come to us. Have you ever tried to escape something that was difficult only to run right into it? There’s a class that you’ve got to take in the school of the Holy Spirit, and that is Hard Knocks. But look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I can do this!”

Difficulties arise because we need to learn to confront life from a different perspective that comes with a new set of values. When we walk contrary to the way of the world, there will be difficulties. Our friends won’t understand us. It’s as if we’re speaking a foreign language. We’re talking holiness; they’re talking ungodliness. We’re talking righteousness; they’re talking unrighteousness.

Difficulties also exist for our growth potential. God will stretch us: This can be painful at times, because it requires leaving our comfort zones.

Scripture is full of examples of people who didn’t want to do what God told them to do. Moses struggled with God’s command to confront Pharaoh about freeing the children of Israel. And Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, so he purchased a ticket to somewhere else. He ended up in the belly of a big fish until he repented. Then God delivered him, and he went on to Nineveh.

Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls; for My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Note: “My yoke is easy”…but it’s still a yoke. “My burden is light”…but it’s still a burden. The good news is we don’t have to carry it alone.

Here are five things you can do through Christ, when faced with difficulties:

1. Be determined to do God’s will: When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30-46), He struggled in regards to the bitter cup, wrestling with the purpose that the Father had set out before Him–so much so that blood, like drops of sweat, poured from Him. Yet He said, “Not My will, but Your will be done!”

2. Obey the Lord, no matter how silly or difficult it may appear: In 2 Kings 5:1-14 we read about Naaman, a valiant man, a champion among his people. The Bible says Naaman was a leper. He was also a proud man. He had heard about a prophet in Israel and decided to go to him for a healing. So he left with his entourage to see Elisha and when he arrived at the place where the prophet resided, Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. Instead, he sent his servant who told him, “Go down and dunk yourself seven times in the Jordan River.” When Naaman heard those words, he was insulted! Dunk in the dirty Jordan? Are there not better, cleaner waters? He was doubly insulted that the Man of God had not come to him personally. But thank God, He always has someone with good sense in the midst! As Naaman turned to depart in his anger, some of his servants said to him, “This is a small thing that the Prophet asks of you, to go, dunk in the water. What have you got to lose?” So Naaman humbled himself and did as he had been instructed by Elisha…and he was healed!

3. Keep your eyes on Jesus: Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” Everything within you might be fighting to do the right thing, while everything that is wrong is pulling at you: Tell that person off! Lie to your brother! Cheat on your taxes! But just declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” When you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will never go astray!

4. Expect God’s grace to do what God requires: In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul speaks of his thorn in the flesh, a problem that troubled him night and day. He went before the Lord three times and asked, “Take this away from me!” But, instead, the Lord gave Paul a revelation. And that revelation is just as valid for you and me today. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” God’s got grace for everything you and I might encounter in life. And that grace, my friend, is all sufficient!

5. Enjoy the blessings of faith and obedience: James 1:22-25 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” The blessing comes not just by hearing the Word, but by doing it. And when you do the Word, you will enjoy the blessings that come from the Lord!

These principles will help you live victoriously in whatever situation you face. When difficulties come–and they will–stand on the promises of God. Declare “I can do this!”

The Voice of the Lord


by Lawrence Powell

I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so, I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:14-16, 27)

Do you know that God has something to say that you need to hear today? God still speaks to man, and you can know His voice.

In Matthew 4:4 we read, …Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. I want us to focus on the word proceed for a moment. To proceed means to go forth, to go out, to depart, to come forth, to issue.Its Gods words, thoughts, affections, and sayings projected from His mouth to our ears. Bread, as you know, is a staple of most cultures. You’ll find bread in some form everywhere. So Jesus uses this global picture to explain to us that we cant live off earthly food alone. We need spiritual food every day to maintain health, and that spiritual food is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

God reveals His will to us by His spoken word. He wants every one of us to hear His Word because He wants us to know His will. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise… I need to stop here and share something with you: Years ago, I looked up the Greek word for unwise, and it said stupidly. So, God is warning us, Don’t be stupid; understand what the will of the Lord is. If I don’t understand what the will of the Lord is, I am stupid; I’m unwise, according to Scripture especially since the Word of the Lord is accessible and understandable.

Another reason God speaks to us is that He wants us to be found in the very center of His will. Don’t make major decisions without getting the will of God on them. Don’t jump into a job because it pays better than what you’re making right now. That job that looks so good might only have six months left to it. And don’t you dare get married without asking the Lord, Is this the one? You can know the will of God for your life, but you need to listen to His voice.

God speaks. He’s not mute, as the idols of various religions around the world. But, the truth is, sometimes we mute Him, don’t we? Sometimes God is speaking, but we’ve got the mute button on. Do yourself a favor: Don’t turn a deaf ear to the voice of the Lord when He’s speaking to you. We are so privileged to serve the true and living God. When we cry out to Him, He hears us, answers us, helps us, heals us, and delivers us from every one of our distress-es. He’s a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God!

Yes, God still speaks and will continue to speak. I grew up hearing the saints talk about how God spoke to them, and, honestly, I’m not sure if everything they said was really from God. It might have been that late-night pizza! But people said it in a way that you could tell they were familiar with the concept of hearing Gods voice. When I came to know Jesus, I wanted to hear what they heard. I wanted to hear the voice of God. So when somebody said that God spoke to him, I’d wonder to myself, What does God sound like? When somebody talks to me, it’s spoken aloud, so I just assumed that when God spoke, it was in an audible voice. Now, I’m sure you know that if God wants to, He can certainly speak in an audible voice if He chooses to. He determines how He will communicate with you. So let Him! The important thing is, He will speak to you, through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, and you can expect to hear clearly what He has to say.

Acts 13:2 gives us an example of how God spoke to the early church: As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, they laid hands on them and they sent them away. What were they doing when the Holy Spirit spoke to them? They were in prayer, praising and worshiping the Lord. In that atmosphere, the Holy Spirit spoke. If youre going to be a person who hears the voice of God, youve got to be a praying, worshiping person. Thats one of the reasons the enemy doesnt want you to praise and worship the Lord, because he knows that when you worship God, He will speak. If you need direction, guidance or help, just spend some time ministering to the Lord.

Keep those spiritual ears open so you can hear what God will say to you. It may be just a word or a paragraph; it may come in a dream. But know this: He will speak to you. Why? Because God wants to encourage you to trust Him and His Word, to know the sound of His voice. As you experience the fulfillment of His promises, He knows your faith will grow strong, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. He will direct you in your deci-sions and order your steps so you can experience what He has for you. But your ears have got to be open to the sound of His voice.

Matthew 7:24-27 says, ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.’

When it comes to listening, are you a fool…or are you wise? I don’t want you to forget that question because it’s not just hearing His Word that matters; it’s doing His Word. My prayer for you is that you will hear the Word of the Lord and then go and do it! Amen?

Let’s Go To church

But For the Lord

By Rick Warren — Jul 31, 2016
Devotional image from Rick Warren

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”(Proverbs 29:25 NIV).

Satan’s favorite tool to diminish your faith is the fear of failure. But you cannot serve God and be constantly worried about what other people think. You have to move forward. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (NIV).

So how do you get rid of the fear of failure?

One way is to redefine failure. What is failure? Failure is not failing to reach your goal. Failure is not having a goal. Failure is not failing to hit your target. Failure is not having a target. Failure is not falling down. Failure is refusing to get back up. You’re never a failure until you quit. So if you’re attempting something for the glory of God, that’s a good thing. Failure is not trying and not accomplishing anything. Failure is failing to try.

Another way to get rid of the fear of failure is to never compare yourself to anybody else. You’re always going to find somebody who’s doing a better job, and you get discouraged. And, you’re always going to find somebody who’s not doing as good a job as you are, and you become full of pride. Both of them will mess up your life. Discouragement and pride will keep you from serving God’s purpose for your life.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:4, “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others” (GW)

Did you notice that the Bible says there is a legitimate pride? There’s a good kind of pride and there’s a bad kind of pride. The bad kind of pride is comparing: “I’m better than so and so!” The good kind of pride is, “God, I’m proud of what you’re doing in my family, my business, my life, my walk of faith.” That’s the good kind of pride.

When you get to Heaven, God isn’t going to say, “Why weren’t you more like so and so?” He’s going to say, “Why weren’t you who I made you to be?”

Let go of your fear of failure, because anything you’re attempting for God in faith is a good thing, regardless of the results.

But For the Lord



by Lawrence Powell

‘If it had not been for the Lord on our side-let Israel say-If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.’

Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124, NKJV).

Each one of us will at some time or another feel our back against the wall. We will look all around and not see a way of escape. This doesnt have to stir fear within us. If we will but think back over past experiences we will see that we have become living testimonies of how God made a way out of no way. He saved us then, and He will surely save us now. God doesnt just help once; He IS our help! Its an ongoing thing.

In Psalm 124, the psalmist declares confidence in the Lord. The people of Israel had recently had their backs against the wall, and God had showed up mightily to deliver them. The psalmist acknowledges and gives thanks that God is not only the deliverer of the past and the now, but also of the future. Paul similarly said, God has delivered us, God is delivering us, and God will deliver us. Whatever youve gone through or are going through today, God is your deliverer. If you will simply learn to be still, as the Scriptures say, you will come to know that He is God.

God will sometimes let you get into a place where you have no one else to go to, no one else to talk to, and He will show up just in the nick of time. And when He shows up, He shows out! When it’s all said and done, He gets the glory-not you, not a prayer partner, not an elder, not a pastor, not even a bishop. He gets the glory for snatching you out of your dilemma. As the psalmist said, If it had not been for the Lord on our side…

The Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts, is your ally. How awesome is that?! He is on your side. He has surrounded you with favor as a shield. He has given His angels an assignment concerning you: You protect him, because he bears My name; he is My child! He loves you so much that He said, No weapon formed against you shall prosper. If someone touches the children of God, in essence, they are touching Him. Then God gets actively involved. He promises to take what’s working against you and make it work for you. Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord. My friend, He’s got you covered.

If it had not been for the Lord on our side-let Israel say… We need to speak it, not just in church, but also in our communities. People need to know about the deliverance of our God. Your family needs to know. Your co-workers need to know. You need not be silent when everybody else is coming out of the closet! You need to open up your mouth. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so (Psalm 107:2).

I love how the psalmist goes on to portray God’s deliverance from the intention of the enemy. The enemy wants very much to swallow you up, to devour you: The thief does not come but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, John 10:10 tells us; but Jesus goes on to say in that verse, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. The enemy may set traps with the intention of taking you out, but God Who is rich in mercy will not allow him to do it. Be glad about that today! Bless the Lord!

We should bless God for His deliverance. I don’t understand people who have been blessed by God, but who will not bless the Blesser for being a blessing. We have so much to be thankful for, so why is it that so many believers have to be persuaded to praise God? We’ve got to be convinced that He’s worthy to be praised. I learned a long time ago that there are two times to praise God: when you feel like it…and when you don’t! When I go to church, I come with a praise. When I think of all He’s done for me, I can’t help but bless the Lord!

The psalmist tells us that we should bless the Lord because He is our help. Take time right now to recall what He has done for you. Whatever it is that you are going through right now, let the past remind you that it is the path of His goodness. He’s got a great track record, so know that if He’s done it once, He will do it again.

I want to encourage you today that no matter what you are facing, God can do it again: He can deliver you! If He blessed you in 1980, He can bless you in 2016. If He made a way out of no way last year, He can do it again. Determine to give Him thanks today. Praise Him not only for what He’s doing right now, but for future deliverances, future breakthroughs, future healings, and future miracles.

God is good, my friend. He has saved and delivered us-and He will continue to do so. It is His promise to His children. It is His promise to YOU.

Wake Up and Get Off the ‘Someday Island’

 


Wake Up and Get Off the ‘Someday Island’

By Matt Mayberry @MaTt_MaYbErRy

There are plenty of differences between high achievers and everyone else, but I think there is one that really solidifies the gap between the two. That one difference is that high achievers don’t live on the “Someday Island.” They are living on the “Now Island” and are fully creating their own circumstances in life rather than going along with what has been presented to them.

It’s disheartening when I meet men and women from all different walks of life and of wide ages who have already died inside, but just haven’t made it official yet. To hear them talking about their glory days 10 and 20 years ago while having no new hope or dreams for the future is totally depressing. The reason why it’s so depressing is because that same person has the power and ability to live their best life right this moment — now — and totally redirect where his or her life is headed.

The major reason why this becomes the point of quiet desperation for many people is because of their habit of putting important things off and living in a world of “somedays.” If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. The next time you are having a conversation with a family member or close friend, ask them what they want out of his or her life. I can almost guarantee you that his or her response will be, “Someday, I want to lose 20 pounds and have that dream body I always wanted,” or, “I would love to someday be in business for myself and become the entrepreneur that I’ve always envisioned.”

What has happened is that living on the “Someday Island” is the new norm for many people. If you aren’t living the life that you wholeheartedly love and desire, you can change it. Don’t shut off your ability to hope and dream about the future. Right this moment can be a new beginning for you. Think about it. What would you love to do? What is your lifelong dream?

Get off the “Someday Island” and put that new idea into action for yourself. Start that business that you have been contemplating for the past 20 years. Start working and developing that new course or product that your organization has wanted to roll out into the marketplace. Start being the leader that you always wanted to be.

The fact is that you have very little to lose by going after what you desire compared to letting those same passionate things die inside of you and never unleashing them out into the world.

At the end of your life, you will ask yourself if you truly lived a purpose-driven life. Whatever that “thing” may be for you, get off the “Someday Island.” Position yourself on the “Now Island” and get busy. Your life is worth way more than living in the past or ruminating over broken dreams and wishes. It doesn’t matter if you are 25 years old or 75 years old, you have a magnificent and wonderful life ahead of you now.

One of the best decisions you can make in both your personal and professional lives is to get in the habit of living now, taking massive action and going after what you deeply desire, full steam ahead.

Trauma

I would not wish what happened to me on my worst enemies, however, the trauma saved my life. For years, I had a fibroid and each time I got pregnant, the fibroid protruded outside of my vagina. Or my third trimester I had to stop working because the fibroid got to big, after I gave birth to each of my kids, the fibroid went internally. Since it was my last trimester, I was not able to get it removed. As my menstrual came each month after my children, I bled heavily and my blood count dip so low I became anemic. I had to get iron injection every morning for two weeks while I took a class to get me back on my feet financially. I learned that I can use my credits from college to get a job as a substitute teacher and after one year the board of education gave me a contract to work with special needs children. The contract came with a membership of the Union for teachers which I get life insurance, ten sick days, three personal days, pension and the connection to enrolled with the teachers the Credit Union. I cashed out my pension from Union hospital to pay my rent the year before. I had to go to court before I had a hysterectomy and I put the check in the bank then asked my friend Linda to drop the rent money at the courthouse for me because I was in the hospital. I had surgery the Thanksgiving weekend and get a contract with the board of education six weeks later TYG.
I have tried different things to keep my spirit up and some are not aligned with my faith but God knew my heart was always in the right place. If I did not go through the pain of the trauma, I would off keep doing the same things I was doing for years, which was put myself in the end while I took care of a husband, business and still being a mom to four children.

The Lord Will Make a Way


The Lord Will Make a Way

by Lawrence Powell

I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43:19

At the time of Isaiah’s ministry, Judah was going through periods of revival and periods of rebellion. Because of Judah’s rebellion, they were threatened with destruction by enemy forces. Yet, each time they were spared because of God’s rich mercies.

Have you ever been spared from something because of God’s mercy? Aren’t you grateful for it? You and I know very well where we’ve blown it, sinned, and found ourselves in great suffering from the consequence of our sin and the judgment we received. But even when we sin, God does not give up on us.

I want to encourage you today that if you’re struggling in sin, God has not given up on you. God will not give up on you. He’s begun a good work in you and that work will be completed even to the day of Jesus Christ. I’m glad that, even though God has given us the gift of choice, He is still a sovereign God and can intervene. God can step in and do whatever He wants to do so that His will is accomplished. I’m grateful today that when I was trying to go left, God said, “Not so!” and turned me back right again.

God’s got a word of promise that’s tailor-made for you today! As a principal, what He revealed to the prophet Isaiah then is still relevant, alive and powerful today: The Lord WILL make a way for you!

I want to give you six words from the Lord, as revealed in Isaiah 43:

Don’t be afraid: But now, says the Lord who created you, O Jacob, and He who has formed you, O Israel, ‘Fear not! For I have redeemed you and I have called you by name” (Isaiah 43:1). I don’t know what you’re afraid of, but God says “Fear not!” Don’t fear! Fear is a controller. It intimidates and manipulates. Fear is a crippler. It keeps us focused on the past, anxious about today and worried about tomorrow. Remember what Paul said to Timothy: “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

You belong to God: It says in Zechariah 2:8, “…he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” The “apple of the eye” refers to the tenderest part of the pupil. Imagine getting poked in the eye. When people touch you, God feels it! When they mess with you, God takes it personally. If you’re a parent you know that, if somebody messes with your child, you’ll do everything in your power to make sure that child is protected! How much more so will our Heavenly Father protect us? When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him. God’s not a deadbeat dad; He takes care of His children!

Test and trials will not destroy you: Isaiah 43:15 tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.” There’s a lie circulating that when you accept Jesus into your life, you are exempted from trials and tribulations. Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation and persecution. But those who suffer with Him shall reign with Him, according to Scripture. You’ll go through, but you’re going to come out victoriously, amen? God always brings His children out of their troubles into triumphs. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Take your eyes off the drama; get your eyes off the pain; stop focusing on the trauma. You’re coming out of trouble, and the other side is way better than what you’re experiencing now!

You are not alone: “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:5). True, you can be in a room full of people or in a crowd someplace and still feel alone. You can reason to yourself, “Well, if I just get married, I won’t be alone.” But you can be with your spouse, your seven kids, your gerbil, your dogs, your cats and your goldfish—and have TVs on in every room–and still feel alone. I want you to know that even in times when it feels like God is a million miles away, He is right there—and you are actually never alone! He said to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage, don’t be afraid nor dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Friend, you’ve got to get this: The Lord your God is with you! Jesus said, “Lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” And He meant it!

You’re going to be a living witness: You’re going to know for yourself that the Lord is with you. It’s not what you heard from your mom or other people. Thank God for your mother’s experiences and for all the experiences that others have had and shared, but you’ve got to have your own experience. God says you’re going to have a personaltestimony to share on the witness stand—an experience of His Power and Glory all your own! He says, “You’re going to see this with your own eyes. You will go through trials, but you will experience victory …and tell others about it!

God’s got your back: The Lord is the Redeemer, the Holy One, who “makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:14-17). You know the people who think you’re down and out and won’t make it out of your current hardship? The ones who didn’t think you’d be able to live for God five days, let alone five years? The people who smile in your face and then stab you in the back? God says, “I’m going to handle this for you.” Remember: “’Vengeance is mine,’ saith the Lord.” Isaiah 43:19 says, “I will make a way in the wilderness and make streams in the desert.”Whenever God wills a thing, that thing, in fact, is already done!

With these precious promises, you can be sure that no matter what obstacles or hardships you face, the Lord will indeed make a way for you! What an awesome God we serve!

Keep It Real


Keep It Real

by Lawrence Powell

There is a spirit of skepticism in the world. People are not sure we are who we say we are as Christians. And may I say, that’s not all the world’s fault. Sometimes we’ve presented an off-brand Christianity that is so contradictory to what God has established that they can’t be blamed for their skepticism! Men and women today go so far with certain elements of the Gospel and completely ignore other themes. For instance, surely we’re called to prosper, but Jesus did not hang on Calvary to get you a Maserati!

The world is hungry to see what authentic Christianity looks like. People are watching us. They may not say a word, but they’re observing how we conduct our lives. They’re watching to see if we say one thing and do another. They know there is power in God, but their minds are not often convinced of it when they look at His children. In a sense, you could say they are hoping to see authenticity in us!

The late Ray Steadman wrote a book I think every believer should read: Authentic Christianity. In it, he discussed five marks of the authentic Christian. I’d like to share them with you, along with my thoughts, today.

1. Unquenchable Optimism.Thanks be to God Who always leads us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).” If anyone should be optimistic, it should be the people of God. But after pastoring a quarter of a century and in Christ longer than that, I’ve found that human nature is amazing. People can be good to a point and then retreat. They can have faith for a week, then go into doubt and unbelief. Where is the consistency?! We should go through trying times and come out better than the Energizer Bunny! It’s unfortunate when someone who doesn’t know Jesus can be more optimistic than someone who knows Him. Make sure you’re not one of the believers who is happy one day and sad the next. Our perspective should be different. What we go through here is a temporary experience. We must learn to take our eyes off what we see and look at what we can’t see. It may not yet be real, but it IS reality. This too shall pass!

2. Unvarying Success. Unvarying means always, consistently and without fail! There is never a time or a place when we are not triumphant in Christ Jesus. Never mind what it sounds, looks or feels like; we have been declared triumphant in Christ – always. Learn to declare it when the devil’s breathing down your neck! You have the victory! You can say with confidence like the psalmist, “God is on MY side (Psalm 56:9).” Despite hardships, things invariably and inevitably will work out for our good. Even the things working against us will work for us so we can complete God’s objective for our lives.

Back in 2 Corinthians 2:14, we read that God always leads us to triumph. This actually means He causes us to dance in victory. It’s amazing to me how some people danced for the world and gave all their energy to the devil. Now that they’re saved and sanctified, they stand still in church! Israel danced when they looked over their shoulders and saw the Red Sea close over their enemies. When was the last time you looked over your shoulder and saw how far He’s brought you?

3. Unforgettable Impact. Note, it’s through us that He “diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14).” Authentic Christianity leaves an impression on all who encounter it. Because people are looking for real Christians, when they enter the room, they should sense a change in the atmosphere. The spirit of life should bring a fresh fragrance to the place!

4. Unimpeachable Integrity. God expects us to be men and women of integrity. That integrity is to be displayed in sincerity and honesty. It should be observed in our purpose originating from God. It should be seen in the sight of God, transparent to all investigation. And it should be found in Christ, in that all that we have and are is from Him. There’s too much hypocrisy in the body today. The Word tells us that we’re servants. I am a servant. You are a servant. Walk humbly! Walk in integrity. Speak the truth in love. Stop lying to one another! My mother always told us that liars have a place in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). You’re a child of God; behave like your Father!

5. Undeniable Reality. (2 Corinthians 3:1-3) There has been a transformation in you, and you are having an impact on others. Whenever I get discouraged and think nothing in my life is working as I expected it to, I’m always reminded of someone I’ve poured into that shows a worthwhile change. That’s the mark of an authentic Christian. You create change. Your words make a difference. If it doesn’t seem like it yet, press on. You will see transformation in the lives of those you minister to. Just keep at it. Keep planting and watering seeds, knowing God is the God of increase and He will bring the harvest to pass!

Satan looks for those who are up to something good. He knows if he leaves you alone, you’ll mess up his plans big time. This is why he sends distractions and hindrances against you. But you need to keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep focused! He wouldn’t be fighting you this hard if you didn’t have something great to offer. Wherever you are – in the world of education, the world of medicine, or the world of business – make a difference!

God Always Has A Strategy

God Always Has A Strategy
by Lawrence Powell

The word is out concerning you, my friend. You are anointed! Your anointing is powerful, conspicuous, attractive. It’s not mystical, but the manifest presence and power of God that is particularly evident in and upon your life as a believer.

As far as the anointing is concerned, you either have it or you don’t. Until David was anointed king over Israel, he had no Philistine enemies. Once he was anointed, they began to plan attacks against him (2 Samuel 5:17-25). David discovered not only his calling, but also his enemies.

The Philistines spread themselves across the Valley of Rephaim, which means, “the valley of giants.” We all will face giants at some point. Giants are anything that distract our focus from God, deter us from our service to God, and drain us of our driving passion for God. There are many giants. You may have met the giants of fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, guilt, shame, pride, jealousy, selfishness, lust, and greed already on your journey. Giants can be intimidating, but there’s no need for you to be afraid or to bow to them. If God allows a giant in your life, He allows it with purpose. That may be to test your faith so you can experience victory. No trials, no triumphs. You can’t have a testimony, without a test!

O. S. Hawkins said, “A problem is the platform upon which God desires to show how wonderful He can provide.” Our God has never performed a miracle that did not begin at the platform of a problem. If you have a problem, you’re in the right place for God to show up and show out on your behalf!

David, upon hearing that his enemies had come out in full force against him, inquired of the Lord. Please note that. In critical times, be sure to get a word from the Lord! Don’t ever become presumptuous in your anointed self. David didn’t assume to act; he prayed about it. Prayer requires humility.

God gave David a strategy that day that delivered the Philistines into his hands. He named the spot of their defeat Baal Perazim, or “Lord of the Breakthrough.” My friend, your breakthrough is in the strategy. And God always has a strategy.

Isn’t it amazing that as you’re celebrating victory over one thing, along comes something else to test your faith? While David was still rejoicing over his victory in the valley, the Bible says the Philistines came out in full force once more against David. Don’t think you’re just going to have one attack in your anointed life. The attacks will be relentless. The good news is that your victory is also relentless!

Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “For every struggle in your life, there is a strategy.” God has a strategy for your family, your habit, your money, your attitude – for everything! Sometimes, however, those strategies sound ridiculous. Consider Moses in front of the Red Sea, and God said, “Stretch out your hand.” Or Joshua outside the fortified walls of Jericho, who was told to march around the wall for six days, and on the seventh day of marching, the wall would fall down. How about Samson, who was inspired to use the jawbone of a dead donkey to defend himself? Then there was Jesus, Who told the disciples to feed over 5,000 people with five small fish and two loaves of bread. There is always a strategy from God, but it often will sound crazy. However, if you submit to it, it will work!

Here, the Philistines had spread themselves once again across the Valley of Giants, and David inquired of the Lord a second time (verse 23). This was true humility, because David could have simply gone off the word given to him by God previously. He could have assumed he knew how to handle his own affairs. Instead, he inquired of the Lord a second time! Please do not assume that God will always duplicate deliverance methods. God is not that predictable! Don’t limit His methods. And don’t get cocky. You’re sure to fail if you think you’ve got this on your own.

God desires cooperation! He already knows everything about your enemy, the giant, the problem. Trust Him enough to submit to His purpose and plan. Don’t allow your relationship with Him to grow stale. Keep it fresh every morning. I’ve discovered that whenever we truly minister to the Lord, as described in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit will speak. The problem we often have is that we give God no time, so we cannot hear Him speaking. We insist on doing things our own way, and we come up empty-handed every time. When will you pause for a moment, shut it down, and spend time with God until you hear from Him?

If God’s ever done it before, He can do it again. He can bring you victory over your enemies. You just have to trust Him. Acknowledge Him with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. This time, it’s going to be big, just like it was last time, and God’s name will be glorified through your trust in Him!

The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes (Isaiah 10:27). Anything that’s broken may likely be repaired, but when it’s destroyed, that’s it! It cannot be repaired. It cannot hold you captive or hold you back any more! That’s the anointing of the power of the living Christ at work within us!

When purpose and destiny converge, things can get a little turbulent. Your anointing will be celebrated by some, but it will be intimidating to others. It will cause some people to treat you like you are far more important than you could ever be. It will attract every kind of hater – even ones who don’t know you! Keep this in mind: the anointing of God is not about you; it’s all about Jesus!

The touch of God will make a difference. The enemy knows the touch of God on you is dangerous, and that’s why he wants to shut down what you’re doing. He knows if he leaves you alone, anointed people will do what anointed people do: remove burdens, set captives free, and frustrate his plans!

Like David, you have been anointed, graced of the Lord, fully resourced, called and selected. Yes, there are attacks and, yes, there are giants you must face. I pray you take seriously this word I’ve shared with you today and implement it immediately. I want you to see victory in every area of your life! My hope is that you will have such a hunger and thirst for God that you do not just inquire of Him often, but always! Never allow presumption to take the place of genuine faith in God. Doing so is foolishness. Doing so is dangerous! Do not be just a hearer of the Word, but a doer also. Only in Christ will you see giants die and find lasting victory today and in the days to come!