The LORD God loves you for you. He loves you because you are His – His creation, His handiwork, His masterpiece.
He put His heart and soul into creating you – His entire being!! How do you know that Minister Benjamin? I’m glad you asked. Before He made man He said let “us” make man in “our” image, after “our” likeness. Daddy God employed the Son and the Holy Spirit too, so therefore, He used the whole or entirety of His being!! He used everything (everyone) He has to form and fashion you! When He made you He gave you His all! Isn’t that Love? Give Him your all today and everyday! Surrender your entire being‼️
Love gives up everything. Love doesn’t hold back. Love gave man – the crown of His creation, His best – His best. Selah.
Love trusts! The only time you don’t trust, which is fear, is if you have been corrupted, resulting in a distorted view of Love! But perfect Love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18) Oh my goodness; the reason why the LORD entrusted Adam with His creation was because He loved him, not because He thought or knew Adam was going to manage it well!! As a matter of truth, He knew he was going to mess up and mismanage everything, but He gave it to him anyway. Why? Because that’s what you do when love someone perfectly without fear!
Guess what? He never changes. The same thing He did when He created the first Adam is the same thing He did when He recreated the last Adam: sacrificed His best – His first begotten and unique Son – for His best – you, me, and every human being on this planet. Because when you truly love you give (up) your best, and your best is yourself!
I’m convinced: the main ingredient of true success is self-control.
I had an insightful conversation with an owner of a shoe repair store – not exactly the type of business/entity one would glean true success from. We were talking about the effects of the pandemic on businesses, so I asked him how he was able to stay open despite other businesses in and out of his industry being forced to shut down.
“During the years of plenty I saved instead of spent.”
His answer struck me, illuminating my soul as it were. Do you know how hard it is to NOT spend money when you’re making A LOT of it? On second thought, I don’t know what that’s like 😂. I suspect it wouldn’t be easy. It’s not a discipline or an ability a large percentage of people have. I found out this man had forfeited temporary pleasures and thrills – buying cars, homes, etc., for something of greater, more lasting value: sustainability. His desire wasn’t just to open a business and make money. His desire was to build something sustainable, that could stand the test of time and adversity.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (Prov. 24:10). The strength is self-control – the ability to not only remain calm in times of challenge, but also in times of success or plenty. The store owner did not let success get to his head. He remained wise and even-tempered throughout, resulting in a clear mind to make wise choices. Self-control, the key ingredient!
Time is measured in minutes; life is measured in moments. – Mark Batterson, Pastor & Bestselling Author
If I told you how the Lord Jesus has been moving and leading me by His Spirit the last two years you wouldn’t believe me. I began writing this post a month ago, and as I was putting the finishing touches on it I was led to the latest YouVersion reading plan by Pastor Mark Batterson entitled “Win The Day,” which is also the title of his latest book. The plan is phenomenal to say the least, as Pastor Mark outlines 8 habits to help you “win the day.” As I arrived at Day 7 of the plan (Habit 6) my mouth dropped. I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS READING!! Are you kidding me?!?! The sixth habit is everything I began to write about weeks before!! Talk about confirmation!! Confirmation is the business of the Holy Spirit, and these past two years have been breathtaking!! So buckle up and prepare yourselves!! You’re now in kairos time‼️
The ancient Greeks observed two words for time – chronos and kairos. Chronos time is where we get chronological – the standard, everyday measurement of time in sequence. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc., sum up chronos, and while this time is important, it is, after all, natural, which always has to bow or be subject to a different, deeper, supernatural time.
Kairos time is divine time, and according to the ancient Greeks (and Wikipedia) is defined as “the right, critical, proper, or opportune moment for action.” This time signifies a moment of grave importance – a moment which must be interpreted, discerned, taken advantage of, acted on!!
Beloved, I don’t know where you are at in life or what season of life you’re in, but if you have been granted the ability or the capacity (which we all have) by the Everlasting Father, the Father of Light(s) to discern a kairos moment you need to act, and that without fear!! There are so many examples in Scripture to illustrate and validate this point it’s a shame, but I’m reminded of the story of four leprous men who decided to “go for broke” by coming upon the army of an enemy camp who had besieged their city until there was no food to ask/look for – you guessed it – food!! Outcasts or “goners” BEFORE their city was famine because of their condition, they basically said, “Why sit here until we die? We’re dead anyway, so let’s go!!” It turns out the Lord had caused the enemy army to hear the noise of war – chariots, horses, etc., and they fled in fear leaving all their goods to be plundered and seized!!
The LORD is our refuge, our strength, the Rock of Ages, our enduring Protector!! Let’s act in faith and trust and be about the Father’s business. Why sit here until we die? This is Kairos time!!
Each one of us is born with the gem within – a unique, divinely implanted gift, skill, or ability interwoven by Daddy GOD into the fabric of our being that naturally attracts people to us. The sad reality is this once pure, internal gem given by a pure and beautiful GOD often gets smeared by the staining, demoralizing effects of living in fallen world.
My children struggle with inclusion and acceptance. They are radically different from most of their peers, and they have had to endure bullying and getting picked on because of it. They don’t have the latest phones, tablets, gadgets, and video games. Heck, they’re not even familiar or able to interpret all the latest lingo of their generation. While we have them shielded from certain things and are raising them differently, I have tried to explain to them on several occasions the reason they have endured bullying and other things is not due to that truth. It’s due to the gem 💎 within – the corruption of it, the smearing of it. This corruption leads to a corrupted conscious OF one’s own self and corrupted confidence IN one’s own self. Furthermore, this causes you to devalue the internal gem and place higher value on the external gems, i.e. material things, clothes, phones, video games, etc., leaving you hurt and unfulfilled.
Never trade the internal for the external – the eternal for the temporary. The gem 💎 within, placed purposefully, intricately in the depths of our soul by the great and glorious Father of mercies is enough. The truth of the gem leads to the Truth of GOD, which leads to abundant life and all that comes with it. In Jesus name.
To my children with Love,
The Spirit of the Lord is like a championship belt gifted to you by Jesus the Messiah. This belt is staying with me.
The Word of the Lord came to me saying: “If you’re not ready to fail, you’re not ready.” As I sought the Lord continually on whether I should leave my job upon Him revealing and summoning me by His grace, this is the answer He gave me. The conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Daddy God, how do I know if I should leave or not?
ABBA: You should leave when you’re ready son.
Me: How will I know when I’m ready?
ABBA: When you’re ready to fail, you’re ready.
I knew what He was talking about.
Before the Grace of God illuminated my spirit and restored my soul, I always blamed Him and other people for my mistakes, shortcomings, and failures throughout my life. It was never me or definitely never JUST me. Oh, if my parents wouldn’t have separated/divorced, if my grandma wouldn’t have died, if my mom didn’t have schizophrenia, if I never left the town I had an affinity for, if I didn’t change high schools so much, if I could’ve played sports, if friends and family would’ve supported me more, if music would’ve worked out, if my wife would do this or that – yada, yada, yada. The list goes on. God, people, and things were the cause of my pain, so they deserved the blame. I was just trying to “make it” in the mess. Right? Wrong!! Me trying to “make it” in the mess equated to a hurt boy/man with a weak mind resolved in self-reliance and self-sufficiency, unable to own (take responsibility) my own mess or at least my part in it. You blame whenever you hide the pain (i.e. Adam & Eve). Now, the Holy Spirit revealed all of this to me upon Grace. I was totally oblivious and ignorant to what I was doing and who I had become. This is how I know the Lord has ordained and anointed me a leader and influencer because my life before Him was anything but!! So, essentially what the Lord was saying was – if I could make this decision, fail miserably, own it without fear, and still have a heart rooted and grounded in love for Him without blaming Him for the (potential) failure – then I was ready. I’m ready!!
When the three Hebrew boys were threatened by a fiery furnace they were ready to fail in their faith. In other words, they were ready to die in their faith. They were ready to die (sacrifice themselves) understanding God had the ability to save them, but not the requirement. To put it another way – Daniel and his friends loved and served the Lord God out of pure hearts absent from conditions. They placed no conditions or requirements on God, His promises, law, or anything. If He saves us He saves us. If He doesn’t He doesn’t‼️ It didn’t matter as far as they were concerned. Either way they weren’t serving or bowing to anyone or anything else‼️
The basis of our loyalty to God should not be benefit. Daniel and his friends didn’t serve Him for what they could get out of Him. They desired nothing from Him, yet were willing to present their bodies a living sacrifice to Him (Rm. 12:1). Love always gives, and this was pure, unadulterated, unconditional love. They were intimately acquainted with God and reverenced Him as such, knowing they had no business demanding or assuming He would do anything. Their hearts and minds were refined and purified by the fire (love) of the Holy Ghost BEFORE they went into that furnace. That’s why they felt no hurt DURING the furnace. I left everything for Him, not for Him to work everything out in my favor. (Note to self). If He does or He doesn’t, it’s all up to Him. One thing for sure and two things for certain – I’m not bowing to any other gods. Are you ready to fail in faith? Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you. In Jesus name.
“You’re more likely to act yourself into feelings than feel yourself into action.” – Jerome Bruner, Harvard Psychologist
I’m telling you: the Spirit of the Lord is leading me to what I need, when I need it. I’m following, soaking in all His goodness and basking in all His glory!
I read something so powerful a few days ago it is seared in my soul. Oftentimes, people will wait until they “feel motivated” to do what they need to do, but if you are waiting for your feelings to motivate you to act you’re finishing yourself before you start. According to Dr. Rob Carman, who is also a pastor and author, motivation is like love and happiness – it’s a bi-product of action. In other words, the main product or ingredient for success is always to start (or act) and then the motivation (emotions) kick in to assist you in completing whatever it is you acted on‼️Think about this for a second: does it really make sense to wait until your emotions lead you to act? You would rather be led by your feelings than by your faith? We rationalize waiting until we feel like it’s the perfect or most ideal time to make that decision, write that book, start that business, take that trip, do what God has put in your heart to do, etc., whatever your “it” is. NEWSFLASH: There will never be a “perfect” time. Whatever is in your mind and heart to do was put there (by God in most cases) to stretch you, thus stretching your schedule, your faith, and whatever else! It was not designed to fit your feelings or slide easily into your comfortable schedule – your system and way of doing things‼️In the context of calling and purpose, purpose is God’s way of doing things, not yours! You must act! Act off faith and not off feeling. Feelings make sense. Faith does not. Motivation is a trap. Don’t be led by your emotions. Act‼️The emotions will be sorted out after.
Motion, Not Emotion
Dr. Rob also pointed out something that struck me. It’s related, but from another perspective, along with a touch of insight from my own experience. There is a big difference between motions (acts) of love and emotions (feelings) of love. In other words, love is both, so your ability to distinguish between the two and put them in their respective places are vital to accomplish what is necessary for you to accomplish. I think many of us attempt to justify ourselves by the emotions of love instead of the motions of love. For example, if I feel bad for marginalized, oppressed people, that’s better than not feeling nothing at all. No it’s not. It’s just the lesser of two evils, because if you feel without acting you’re in the same boat with people who don’t feel‼️We’ve been tricked (and we trick ourselves) into thinking feelings should come before action, and this is simply “stinking thinking.” It’s a backward, twisted, corrupt belief system which leaves us stuck in our own prisons (our minds) we have aided in building. When Jesus was sweating drops of blood 🩸 in the Garden of Gethsemane, He probably didn’t “feel” all that great about what was forthcoming. But He got out of His feelings (His will) and into Love (the will of God) and acted. Feelings leave you stuck in neutral (fear). Action (faith and love) puts you in drive and take you where you need to go. Listen, this topic cannot be exhausted. I actually have a lot more to write, but I’ll save it for another time. You don’t have to be great to start, but you do need to start to be great. So act‼️Greatness awaits‼️
This post was inspired by Dr. Rob Carman on http://www.robcarman.com.
“Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
I have read the above verse plenty of times, but a few days ago during my reading and study time the Holy Spirit enlightened me and unpacked the contents of this verse, particularly at the beginning with ‘pursue peace.’ He gave me a vision for ‘pursuing peace,’ an interpretation of it which is seared on my conscience. I am compelled to share. Interestingly, this insight at the beginning of the verse gives light to the end of it, which is also enlightening! I understand this to mean in most (or all) cases in order to understand the fullness of a thing it is necessary to break it down and take it apart. Basically, this is the essence of teaching and the true nature and evidence of the Holy Spirit as Teacher, breaking down His Word and giving us Life – insight, comprehension, and revelation! No wonder why Jesus said eternal life is knowing the Father – the only true God – and Himself! (John 17:3)
Picture a track field. It is you and the Godhead. You and the Holy Spirit are the runners, but He is a little ahead of you. Jesus, the forerunner, is way ahead of you at the finish line, having completed His course with joy – despising the shame of the cross – and is at the Father’s right side. He is cheering you on and praying for you to do the same. The Father is next to Him listening to His prayers for you, presiding over everything with love and delight. The stands are also packed full of legends cheering, a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 11) who triumphed in trust, receiving the consummation of that trust – the salvation of their souls. (1 Peter 1:9) This is all the inspiration you and I need to pursue Him – the Spirit – the peace and holiness of God!
Pursue Like You Can Overtake
One of the definitions of the word ‘pursue’ is an interesting one, but it shows how we must trail the Spirit. The definition was “to follow in order to overtake or capture.” Do you see the significance? Of course, we can never ‘overtake’ the Spirit, meaning to catch or outrun Him. Rather, it is He who overtakes us! However, we still have a part to play, and the mindset should be to remain overtaken by Him. The only way to do this is with the conscious of mind and the attitude of heart to hotly pursue Him like we can catch Him, like it is a real possibility! So, when the Scripture says to ‘pursue peace and holiness,’ it is with this passionate persistence we consecrate ourselves in His consecration, enabling us to see the Lord! At times the Spirit leads you where you do not expect. Perhaps, it is somewhere you flat out do not want to go! Yet still at other times, we desire and have every intention on following the Lord but lack the endurance or perseverance. These moments reveal the very reason why He leads us into certain situations – to build, strengthen, establish, and settle us. The uncomfortableness will do us well at our latter end, making us fit for the Lord. Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither grow tired of His correction. He deals with us as sons, and the Father is better than you can imagine! So, in every situation, no matter the situation, track the Spirit. Follow Peace hard. Hotly pursue Holiness. He is building, shaping, and molding you into Jesus and for destiny. In Jesus name.
The power of God always gets through. Yesterday morning, I joined a beloved brother of mine on Facebook Live. He is the pastor of a local church and he asked me to pray before he preached, specifically for requests of members of the congregation. I gladly said yes, always ready and thankful for an opportunity to serve and glorify Daddy God. When I joined him on the call, there was some kind of technical difficulty where it was a delay. (This was due to multiple devices being opened at one time in the same app). While we were waiting a few moments for more people to tune in, I told him about it and he heard it for a moment on his end. As we continued on we thought the problem was fixed. It turned out it was fixed on his end but not on mine! Personally, I was a little annoyed by the delay, feeling like it would “affect” me while I was praying and take me out of my “zone.” Finally, I settled it in my mind – although this difficulty will persist I am going to glorify God and persist in prayer anyway!
Fast-forward to this morning. I am checking my phone looking at some unread notifications. Another brother of mine who was on the live yesterday had reached out congratulating me on the prayer. He said it was an “awesome” prayer and that he felt the Spirit! Glory to be to God for that, because when I prayed yesterday I did not “feel” like it was an awesome prayer. As a matter of fact, I mentioned to my wife afterwards how it was difficult to focus because of the delayed reaction. However, after stating that fact I also said God will be glorified anyway, and anyone who listened to the prayer would be blessed in some form or fashion. You see, our thoughts and words have power, and when we speak blessings instead of doubt ultimately the power of God will get through!
Beloved, as I was reflecting on this event the Lord showed me something. Essentially, this serves as a microcosm of the totality of our walk with God! Last year, there were persistent challenges and difficulty for all of us to varying degrees due to the pandemic, racial tensions, and other things. However, we must not allow the challenges of last year, this year, or future years, persistent as they may be, to affect us and take us out of our zone – the presence and power of God! We must settle it in our minds and resolve it in our hearts to persist in the things pertaining to God – His Spirit, ways, words, and will – amidst difficulty. Despite its persistent presence, let us love and serve God and people with a pure heart fervently. Why? Because when we persist in obeying Him in faith and love we keep open an atmosphere for His Spirit, power, love, and glory to shine through – elevating Him and crushing the power of difficulty!
Difficulty is an irritant, not a deterrent. Allow the energies of irritation to push you into the energy of God, not deter you from Him. The further away you get from the energy of God, the more powerful the energy of irritation gets, resulting in things going from bad to worse. Do not be the cause of that. Rather, be a conduit of the grace of God in the midst of it and watch Him work! The power of difficulty – technical or otherwise – is not greater than the power of God, and although this maybe known intellectually it is not always modeled experientially. I was annoyed, but I persisted, and as a result somebody was blessed by the touch of God. The power of God always gets, cuts, and shines through the fluff of life. In Jesus name.