Philippians 3:13b-14 – “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching
forth unto those things which are before, I presstoward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
As we close the chapter in our Journey for 2022, I urge you to leave all the negativity, the disappointments, the severed relationships, the lies, the deceit, the hurt, the sickness, the depression, the shattered dreams, the loss of hope, the stifling fear, the uncertainty about tomorrow, the unconfessed sins, the gossiping, the backbiting, the idleness, the cruelty, the unforgiving spirit, the indecisiveness, the bad choices, the lack of vision, the lack of income, and the unexpected failures all behind you. Do not bring any of that into 2023. Why? Because the past is the past!
It does not matter that you feel you missed the mark! It does not matter that your marriage did not work out, your child is cuffed to illegal substances, you did not get the job you just knew you had landed, your best friend no longer communicates with you, your house was foreclosed, your car was repossessed, your brother or sister, niece or nephew was senselessly shot down in cold blood, the doctor gave you a bad medical report, your loved one died and left you all alone and vulnerable, you did not get accepted into the university you really wanted to attend, you went places you knew you should not go, you said things that were not becoming of a Christian, you did things in the dark you would never want anyone to find out about, and you did those ungodly things with someone you should not have been with in the first place, you are not happy in the mental or physical state you are in, you did not attend worship service faithfully and regularly when the doors reopened, you did not pay your tithes and your free will offering during the pandemic because you felt you could not afford to, you did not volunteer or agree to serve in ministry at your local church, or you just cannot seem to get your relationship right with God. Why? Because the past is the past!
We serve a God of another chance – not just a second chance! The bible states in (Romans 3:23), “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” However, the answer to that dilemma is found in (1 John 1:19), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Ain’t that good news? (Acts 17:28a) reminds us that, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” If we are in Him and He is in us, we always have an opportunity to get it right! As you crossover into the new in 2023, do not waste your time, effort, and energy on the past. Do you know what the word “past” really means? It is defined as 1) No longer current; gone by; over; 2) Having existed or occurred in an earlier time; bygone; 3a) earlier than the present time; ago; b) just gone by or elapsed. It is difficult to drive forward while looking backwards. And as you continue to move forward, you will notice, all the things in the rear-view mirror begin to look smaller until they completely disappear out of your view. Why? Because the past is the past!
Please take the time during this year end to reflect on the things you were not able to complete in 2022. Make a list and then bring those things before the Lord! Get deep into His word so that you will confidently know what His will is for your life. Listen, some of the things on your list just might not have been in the will of God. Seek Him diligently because He is a rewarder of them who do just that. Once you are clear on your direction, write the vision down and review it daily so that it stays in your head and in your heart! Then set small achievable goals for completing the task. Put one foot before the other as you move forward in your purpose and in your destiny! Speak these words repeatedly until they reside deep in your spirit, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” May God grant you bountiful blessings immeasurable in 2023. Happy New Year!
As we are quickly approaching the end of another year, may I pose a question? What have you walked into in 2022? Did walk in the Flesh or did you walk in the Spirit? Did you acknowledge God in all your ways and allow him to direct your path? Did you commit your will and your works to God that He would give you the desires of your heart? Well, we are walking to the end of 2022 and getting ready to step into 2023. Are you ready to walk in the straight and narrow, knowing that time is not as long as it has been? Understanding that you have no more time to waste! And that you know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will appear.
All throughout scripture, it speaks of “Walking “… Worthy of God, Honestly, Worthy of the lord, In the spirit, As children of light, Worthy of vocation, After the spirit, In newness of life, In the Light, Spiritual, With God, In truth, According to his commandments, In his ways, Not after the flesh, but after the spirit, In his statutes and judgments, Honestly, By the gospel rule, In the old paths, Not walking by sight, but by faith, In love, In Christ, and Uprightly. God desires that you may live, and that it may be well with you. That can only happen when you “Watch Your Step!”
I remember back in the day when a child got too grown for his own good, talking back and being totally disrespectful to his elders, the old folk would simply say, you were ‘smelling yourself’. They would look at you with an intentional glare and give you a stern warning saying, “Watch Your Step!” You knew instantly, you had better get on the good foot and fly right or you might just find whatever was in arm’s distance flying across the room upside your head!
Proverbs is a book of Wisdom! It assumes a progression from learning to knowledge to wisdom to understanding. So much sound advice for the young as well as the old. It makes a big difference in your life when you obey God. It’s that simple! Balance your credibility. Adjust your behavior. Do your best. Be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and stay on the right path. For every cause (action, choice, or decision), there is an affect! When you are intentional about doing the right thing even when no one is around, your outcome is always going to be positive!
Listen, wise men do not let life happen to them. They act with careful thought and sober reflection. They plan and manage their lives. They choose wise goals and the means to achieve them, and they compare their progress to them. When walking, a person who deliberately considers where he steps is far less likely to stumble, or to fall into a trap. Do not make hasty decisions but discern the Lord’s will and then do it. (Proverbs 4:2).
Praying for God’s direction is totally different than waiting on God’s direction. Yes, I prayed. But I failed to wait on God to answer. I saw all the reasons not to go down that path, but I kept moving forward to my demise. Oh, but I thank my God for His grace and His mercy that held me close and didn’t let go! He had a plan and purpose for my life. And He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ! God will get the glory out of your life if you “WATCH YOUR STEP” and all your ways will be established. Won’t He do it? Yes He will!
Colossians 3:23 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”
Let me pose a question, “What is the motivation that fuels your mission?” [Marinate on that for a moment.]
Have you found the answer? Is your motivation seeking high praise from those around you? Do you do what you do so you can impress someone else with your deeds? Do you do what you do so you can turn attention to yourself in a group setting to make you feel important? Or are you truly fueled to do what you do from the core of your very being? You will know when it comes from your heart because the very thought of your not being able to complete a certain assignment or task leaves you dissatisfied, disappointed, and discouraged. When you are fueled by the passion burning in your heart, what you seek to accomplish is always more about someone else being blessed and God being glorified, rather than another feather in your cap! Trust me, if you are seeking accolades and acknowledgements from your peers or those in position to make things happen for you, there is no need to expect a reward from God. You’ve already received it!
In order to do whatever you do as unto the Lord, you must first alter your thinking. Stop thinking, if I do this well, my Manager will notice and promote me to the next level. Just do what you do well, simply because it brings honor and glory to God! When the time is right, your gift will bring you before great men! Do not worry about your co-workers or managers perception of you. Your focus should always be to please God! When your focus is to always please God, everything you do will be done in a spirit of excellence rather than through a method of manipulation for something greater you desire to achieve. Manipulation should not be the motivation that fuels your mission. Listen, God knows what you can handle. But more so, He already has a plan and purpose for your life that does not always align with what you are trying to accomplish. (Proverbs 16:9) – We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. May I suggest, if you have not done so already, get in alignment with the will of God. That’s the best place to be for your safety, security and success!
The word “heartily” is translated “out of the soul”. Notice in the text. This is a command, or statute. There are no options presented. No choices to make when it suits your present circumstance. Nor is it prevalent upon a person, place or thing. It simply says, whatever you do, do it heartily. It could be completing an assignment on your job. Serving on a Ministry Team at your church with someone you do not particularly care for. It could be making sure you treat your nosey, trouble-maker neighbor with kindness and respect. It could be loving on those family members who are unlovable and unloving! You do not get to pick and choose when, where and with whom. The command again, is whatever you do, do it heartily. Once you make the main thing the main thing in your mind, your motivation and your mission, you are positioning yourself for abundant blessings and your life will soon become an example for someone else who is watching you and how you handle life!
The bible says in (Psalms 37:4) – Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Be happy in God and with God. Let the object of your affection be God. Live a life that pleases God and watch him show up in your life! When you put God first, everything you do will please Him and will be a blessing to all those around you. When you love God first, you will be able to love your husband and your children the way God wants you to. When you love God first, you will be able to go to work every day and not be fearful, flustered or frustrated with the unfair work practices, knowing God is covering you! As a child of the most-high God, you can confidently and assuredly boast that you are satisfied with God. But the most important question is, “Is He satisfied with you?”
Let me challenge you to put on the whole amour of God, keep your mind stayed on He who is able to keep you in perfect peace and remember, whatever (anything) you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
Matthew 6:30 – Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,
which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven,
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Have you ever observed young babies when they first begin to walk? Notice how the parents are eagerly encouraging that baby to take the first step – they call their name, they have something of attraction to entice them to walk that way, or they have something to eat or drink that they know that baby likes, and they may even extend their arms towards that baby, so the baby knows someone is there to catch them if they fall. Well, that’s the same way life is for the believer. God is standing there with His arms wide open with riches in glory to provide everything you need according to your faith!
Though your circumstance may appear to be dreary and doubtful, trust God; it’s a faith walk! When you’ve received a bad report from your doctor and your diagnosis is unbelievably bleak, trust God; it’s a faith walk! When it feels like it’s one unwelcoming situation after another, trust God; it’s a faith walk! And even when you feel lonely and all alone and can’t seem to feel the presence of the Lord in your situation, trust God; it’s a faith walk!
I’ve discovered that the major difference between non-believers and believers is that non-believers are convinced that everything they know, everything they have accomplished in life and everything they have acquired was achieved on their merit and hard work alone. But believers know, without a shadow of doubt, that all they know, all they have accomplished in life and all they have acquired, they owe it all to God. For without God, you can do nothing!
Think about it, if you never had a problem, how would you know that God could solve it? If you never had a bad day, how would you appreciate a good one? If you’ve never been through the valley, how could you enjoy a mountaintop experience? If you’ve never been sad, how could you ever appreciate unspeakable joy? If you’ve never been hungry, how would you know that God is bread in a starving land? If you’ve never been sick, how do you know that He is a healer?
When the economy has you feeling like you just can’t make ends meet, trust God; it’s a faith walk! When that wayward child of yours, acts like they have someone else’s blood running through their vein and not yours, trust God; it’s a faith walk! When your spouse seems to be a total stranger in your own home, trust God; it’s a faith walk! When your so-called friends try to tear you down because they see the anointing on your life, trust God; it’s a faith walk!
Remember, for we walk by faith and not by sight! Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen!” You are unable to see with your human eyes all the blessings that God has in store for you, if you trust Him, if you believe in Him, and if you are faithful to Him. If you could see with your eyes, there would be no need for faith. Christianity is a faith thing. It’s all about trusting God even when the end looks hopeless. So, thank God for what you have and trust God for what you need . . . It’s a faith walk!
John 3:16– For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Valentine’s Day is considered a day for lovers! Well, some of you may not have a spouse, significant other or a special friend that you can share February 14th with. No worries. I want to tell you about the best lover anyone could ever experience! First, let me define the word “love”. Webster says, “it is an intense affection for another person based on personal or familial ties.” There are three degrees/definition of love: Eros is love between a man and a woman (erotic). Phileo is the love of a friend. And Agape is a Greek word for selfless love, the type of love that characterizes God. This love is the greatest and most enduring of all Christian virtues. There are three dimensions of love. When they are present, it causes a reaction. There is the Visual aspect (see) — optical attraction; the Physical aspect (touch) — affection; and there is the Emotional aspect (feel) — worship and adoration. There are also three dynamics of love. These always prompt action of some sort: Pamper, to treat with excessive care and indulgence; spoil. Provide, to supply needs and secure wants. Protect, to keep from harm, attack, or injury.
When you see, touch, or feel love, it causes you to react – sometimes in a negative manner. But when you act on love, you are moved to do something for that person or thing that is the object of your love. It is so with God. All He wants to do is love you unconditionally – despite yourself. He wants to pamper and care for you all the time. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It feels so good, loving somebody and somebody loves you back. But wouldn’t it be even better if that somebody was Jesus Christ?
Because of God’s love for His creation, He prepared a plan of salvation for humanity, after Adam messed up in the Garden of Eden, with the consequent giving of His son. God knew that He needed to restore humanity back into right relationship with Him. God was deeply grieved because of the direction that humanity was headed. And He desired that His people would be saved and reign with Him eternally. Jesus Christ came to earth to show us the way back to the Father. Every person in this world must come to grips with who Jesus is, and decide whether to trust Him for life, or reject Him for death. God wants His creation to know His love. He wants to reach everyone in the world with His love. And yes, that means you!
The question I pose is, “What’s love got to do with it?” And the answer — Love has everything to do with everything! Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Love is part of God’s character. It is His nature. It is, in fact, his genetic makeup. It is who He is. It is what He is. Therefore, unlike us, He cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience. He faithfully acts, demonstrates, and shows His love. As God, He is perfect, which means His love is perfect. God demonstrated His love in the most perfect way possible. Without question, the greatest act of love is the sacrifice of a man’s own life; therefore, God sacrificed the life of His own son to save the world.
How much does God really love you? He loves you so much that if you had been the only person on earth, He would have still sent Jesus Christ to die for you. Don’t you understand? God loves YOU! Nobody in this world will ever love you like God loves you! He wants to meet all your needs, walk with you through troubled times, and bless you above and beyond all that you can ask or think. Allow God to show you that you are the apple of His eye. Ask Him for grace to receive the gift of His love every day, and you will experience the joy of being set free from fear and walk victoriously in faith like never before. Happy Valentine’s Day! (Excerpt from 2/11/07 1st Sermon).
Galatians 6:9 – “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Let me begin by saying Happy New Year! God allowed us to close out Chapter 2021 and begin Chapter 2022. Many did not make it, but we are blessed to be one of the ones who did. To God be all the glory!
There has been so much sickness and disease, death and sorrow, fear and uncertainty pressed all around us. But God … brought us through the valley and shadow of death. He brought us over the rough side of the mountain. And He brought us through the dry and desert places in our lives; yet we were not consumed. He was strength when we were weak. He was a way maker when we knew not where to turn. He came through every time we called on His holy and righteous name. And He did it without fail! Everything that we needed, God’s hand has already provided. Because our God is faithful! Be encouraged. If you fell short of the mark on yesterday, God’s new mercies were waiting for you this morning! And they will be waiting for you every morning as long as you live, move and have your being. Now that’s good news for somebody on today!!
Has God commissioned you to step out on faith and experience something totally out of your comfort zone? – Start a business? Return to the classroom? Start a new career? Launch a ministry? Write a book? Purchase a home? Seek God more? Well, congratulations to you. Know that it is a privilege and an honor to be chosen and to be used by God. So stay humble. Perhaps you started that very thing God spoke to you, yet you did not see it taking shape fast enough. But you still got up every morning and put the work in. You wrote the business plan. You went online to see what classes were offered. You submitted the job application for a higher-level position. You prayed for the vision summary that would be instrumental in shaping your ministry. And you were diligent in journaling daily so you would have rich and relevant content for the book you are to write? Bless the Lord. You have sown. Now it is time to reap!
Let me ask you, “Can you stand to be blessed?” I mean are you ready? Ready to walk in your purpose and your destiny? Ready to overcome the very thing you thought would be your demise? Ready to walk worthy of the call? Everything you have been praying for, everything you have been working for, everything you have been hoping for, and everything you have been believing God for is on the way! You have planted, your dreams have been watered, and God is now ready to give increase! Increase on your mind! Increase in your finances? Increase in your relationships? And increase over your health! He has seen your faithfulness in managing the skimpy. And He is ready to bless you now with plenty!
Do not let this harvest pass you by because of doubt, fear, and insecurities. Your adversary, the devil, seeks to plant those seeds. He wants you to give up. He wants you to give out. And he wants you to give in right at the cusp of your breakthrough. You have got to go through it to get to it. Your deliverance, your anointing, and your blessing is on the other side. The devil knows that if you hold on and make it to the other side of through, that there is nothing he can do to block you, stop you, deny you or delay your breakthrough any longer.
If God spoke to you, He is not capable of going back on His word! Rest assured that with every vision he pours into you, provision is already there! You can stand on it! I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. The Word of God tells you not to get tired of doing what’s good, what’s right, what’s pleasing, and what’s acceptable to the Master. God is omniscient. He sees everything you do. He hears everything you say. And He knows everything you think – whether good or bad – right or wrong. So, for everything you have done to please the Father, He honors the fruit of your labor and the work of your hand. It is not in vain. You will reap a harvest if you faint not!