Where’s your strength?

Have you ever watched “Captain America: Civil War” My children and I went to the movies to see it last summer.. There was one part in that movie that had me screaming at the screen for a few minutes… You know the part…when everyone fights against Captain America.. and they all seem to be engaged in a fight that was just a distraction from the real enemy who was gaining ground because they were losing strength fighting each other.

Sometimes we don’t realize it, but that’s what our lives look like. We spend much of our time fighting people and things that have no bearing on defeating our very real enemy.
So, I was reading today in a very interesting text of scripture. In this one Jesus had just healed a man who was mute and blind.. Well, I know you might think that was a win… but in all essence it caused a quarrel to break out between Him and other teachers of the law.. They found themselves making comments about Jesus being used by satan. Yep, almost like that scene in the movie when the team Captain America was supposed to be fighting with was somehow tricked into believing that the guy on their own team was their enemy … (The airport fight scene)

I never forgot that scene.. Captain America was trying to explain that they just had a wrong perception and it was imperative he go to save those super soldiers … but they thought it was imperative to wipe him out.. it was one of the saddest scenes to me because in that scene they were all losing even though for them they thought they were winning.. they were using strength trying to defeat one of their very own and they needed that strength to defeat a very real enemy who was on their trail and laughing at their demise.. all he did was get the ball spinning..and they would kill each other and he’d have to do nothing..

The real strength would have been found in their unity.. They would have preserved their strength and had more power to fight against the real enemy that was invisible in that moment. In the text I read Jesus makes a powerful statement.. why would satan want to drive himself out.. nah, that would hurt his kingdom if it’s divided against itself.. Furthermore.. let us say a criminal/thief wanted to go into the house of a strong man and steal his possessions.. the first thing he would sit and strategically calculate would be either when that man is leaving or how he could bind him up.. If an enemy can tie us up with things that have nothing to do with him he can gain entrance to destroy us and take what we have…
Be on your guard and stay alert!

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Fighting a real battle

Did you know many years ago, when I was just a little younger I joined the Army!? Yep, there’s an interesting fact about me. I went into Basic Training in Fort Sill Oklahoma in Jan. of 2001. During this time things got pretty intense(that’s one way to describe it).  Not being a product of a military home I was certainly not used to all the “order”… The “structure” was nerve racking at first.

Picture it, Fort Sill Oklahoma, your fresh into adulthood. You’ve had rules just not this extensive.. and now you’ve gotta wake up when someone else says (Every morning there was 5a Physical training) You don’t have a choice, before you go out, your bunk has to be made and your locker area has to be cleaned…. the way they prescribe. This means your bed can’t be made how you think it should be made.. You’ve gotta do things … their way. Many days your out in the cold, getting frost bite sometimes in the snow, rain, sleet or sunshine… and your seeing and experiencing things you never have before. You go to Chow (breakfast, lunch and dinner) when they say… and with every meal you must have a glass of water. Your life changes because your not allowed to take anything you had with you coming into this place  (you couldn’t carry several miles). So, your in a new place, under new management, wearing a totally different type of clothing.. (Uniformed with others at all times).. Your identifiable by outsiders because you’ve been separated as a part of “another group” (Your in the army now).. You Are No Longer A Civilian… Your a Soldier now… and things go just a little different than you say.. You can’t talk on the phone with your boyfriend for hours a night.. Nooo… you might get to write a letter.. but there are limitations put on your life… and you have to get used them at least for a short period of time. Although these limitations for this short period can  change the course of your life.

I’m sure you’ve experienced it.. life change! one way or other.. You’ve gone through it and somehow in order to grow you learned you have to change.. and in order to change you had to “accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory”~Patton

The only thing was we weren’t just being challenged  for change sake, we were being prepared for war. Everything about our day prepared us mentally, physically, emotionally for battle. If your ever training for war… you’re going to have to be conditioned, not only in your body, but mainly in your mind. When I was in the army we spend time marching and saying our “Army Cadence”.. we had to learn a whole other language that only those in the battle with us would know and we grew to respect one another as one man.. We shined our boots together, and cleaned M16’s and learned to shoot together.. But this was not without training, vigorous, difficult training.. For Battle… We had battle buddies and we never went anywhere alone as to be isolated, always we stayed in pairs.

I was reminded of this because of a sermon series my Pastor has been teaching… From Ephesians 6:10-18… I couldn’t help but get the visual of suiting up for battle(we wore BDU’s). What we wore and carried and how we were conditioned determined to a great extent how we would do in the battle ( we couldn’t wear PT gear to war). In this world we are in a war, but it’s not against the things we think. We don’t war against our children, or our spouses or even our boss.. and the training is quite different. See I may not have to spend 6 weeks in boot camp for the battles I face in life, but I may have to spend time hiding the word of God in my heart since it is a sword(My offensive weapon.. I might have to get up at 5a to arm myself mentally for the battle by getting into my bible and on my knees to pray, No! You can’t afford not to be a morning person.. I don’t even know what that is. In the military, I often talk about the day I arrived, thinking I could keep the clothing I packed and bought with me.. It’s a whole other reality.. Your not only picking up weapons like the word Of God..and faith.. Your also going to have to not look like the world, You will need your breastplate on..  ..You need a helmet on too Otherwise known as Purity and Integrity and if your not unified within yourself about who you are.. It’s certain you will lose the battle. So they spend weeks pouring into us getting us ready giving us physical and mental testing training us for a new mindset so we can be successful..  because even though before we joined the military we looked in the mirror and thought we didn’t have that extra weight and we were doing good.. we still had to be conditioned because we couldn’t go carrying anything inside or out that didn’t need to be..(We had to drop extra weights and sin) Our war here on the earth daily is against Rulers, Authorities, Darkness of this world, and spiritual forces found in heavenly realms where we’re seated by the way. Not to worry we have all the tools we need to gain victory, but if we do not Remember daily righteousness, Salvation, Truth, Faith, The Word and Peace… we will not win…

The power of the word of God

e36af0c04fa9225838913b352ac04a45Have you ever heard someone say: “I was reading the bible and the words appeared to come alive to me, right off the paid” They almost sound a little spooky don’t they..Like those super spiritual people, you know the kind…You know the ones who are “oversaved” Those who would probably say something like: “Would you happen to know where the water fountain is? and they say “I only get thirsty for the Lord” or what about  Could you help me find my keys? “You need the keys to the kingdom” We would probably put them in that category…but there may truly be some spiritual bearing to this one statement: “The bible is alive”. There’s no other statement I would give credence to.
In my house I have more than 30 bibles…I have collected them for years..I have commentaries, and I have many resources such as handbooks etc…but the most powerful book I have ever opened by far…is the bible..
In the promise for the day we find that he word of the Lord is great and powerful, it will last from age to age..God will honor this word above His own name.

What does it mean when it says: The word of God? We hear many different words all throughout the day, those words have no life in them. We read words throughout the day, what’s so different about the word of God?
When I was a little girl, my mother wasn’t the best christian I could mention..but one thing she taught me from the time I was very young was this..”You don’t play with God” She taught me that even if you just pass a church, you don’t pass it any kinda old way, if your walking or riding by a church you always remember to honor God. Now maybe you can live however you want once you pass that area but you always remember that He’s holy and He’s set apart and when it came down to The bible my mother taught me that it is a very sacred book. I could remember being a young child sitting in the church, someone had given me a bible, we didn’t go often but when I got this bible it was like a treasure to me. I rubbed it, afraid to open it..I had to pray and ask God to forgive me for any sins so that I didn’t play with Him nor His word because I realized I needed Him.. it’s amazing to think we live in a society that people don’t open bibles we open apps just as easily as anything else..and there’s no reverence no knowledge of the power that’s within this book..That’s why the movie “The book of Eli” was so powerful to me..I mean it wasn’t one I’d recommend to anyone..but the fact that Denzel Washington would guard this book with his very life and read it every day and memorize it from beginning to end…did you see how invincible he appeared, they would shoot at him with real bullets and wouldn’t hit him, and even when he was shot, he still was able to deliver the word where it needed to be and “complete his mission” Isn’t the power of that book in that movie amazing, it wasn’t like any other book remember the bad guy even knew it’s “power” but he wanted to use it for some other evil reason..to corrupt people. These are the very “words of God” that is what it’s saying…not the words of man, they were authored by man but written/inspired by God..

So the next time you open the word of God..please remember these brief promises as I close:

#1. It’s living.. it’s not dead,  there’s life giving power in it..quick.

#2 It’s active- operative, and effectual…energy

#3. Sharper than any 2 edged sword- It cuts more precisely than the sharpest sword you’ve ever seen

#4 It divides Soul/spirit, joint and marrow-  It gets down to the core and deal with it

#5. It judges thoughts and intentions of the heart

 

These are all very powerful truths that we can set as a sure foundation of our lives each time we take a look into this powerful book remember it is a treasure above all others and more than that..it gives us life each time we spend time in it!

Becoming a Son

John_1-12 Does anything about you resemble anything about your parents. Some traits we get by DNA right, it’s found in our genes, when we’re first born, it’s amazing just walking into the baby nursery at the hospital sometimes it’s hard to distinguish which family we’re in, all the babies seem about the same right, no direct resemblance of any parent in particular, yet as we grow up we realize we start to bear a resemblance to not only our parents but sometimes our grandparents, aunts or even uncles.. wait a moment my fingers are just like my dad’s you say,  my toes are a little like my mom, and my hair the texture is different from my mom’s I have my dad’s mom’s  texture of hair that’s pretty neat, I’m my dad’s color and my mom is lighter complexion…We start seeing these similarities in our behavior as well as we grow up. Similarities in how we do things, for instance: my mother sang to me and was always happy when she woke up in the morning, instead of that making me an angry person taking on my own trait, I sing to my children now when they wake up in the morning, simply because it’s what I’ve experienced and I would just about bet they’ll choose to do the same thing even though sometimes my daughter looks at me like “it’s 6a” she waves her hands and goes downstairs, my son gets up and gives me a hug.

This promise is so powerful because it states:
“But as many as received Him, He gave them the right to become Children Of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

What is this verse really saying, is it saying that all I have to do is accept Jesus into my heart and I am just like Him instantaneously?

well obviously not, for in another passage found a few books later in Romans Paul teaches that if we are led by God we are the Son’s of God. But when we accept/receive Jesus….
let’s just break this one down a little further, let’s say it’s the Christmas party at your job, and all the people that work at your job have planned to bring someone a gift, but you don’t know the party is today…Right before lunch one of your co-workers from another department, on another floor whom you hadn’t had a chance to talk to very often brings you a beautifully wrapped gift. When the person hands you the gift, what’s the first thing you think? Is it that you don’t know them so your not taking a gift from them? Is it that you feel embarrassed you didn’t bring a gift for anyone so your not going to participate and refuse to take it? or do you say…ah, thanks so much for thinking of me…and you take the gift, put it on your desk? All of these choices you actually have in the moment your presented the gift.

If you just choose to take the gift, well, then you have another choice don’t you? You can simply sit the gift on your desk and never open it, you wanted to be polite and say yes, but you really don’t feel worthy enough to open the gift since you didn’t bring one for anyone else. You won’t get to enjoy that really expensive $500,000.00 necklace they bought you and you actually now have in your possession. so you don’t have the privilege to wear it. You have a right to do all of these things with the gift. But if you take the gift home with you and open it either on Christmas day or at that time, you will find that this gift is something you would cherish and put in a special place and you’ll wear it when the correct occasion comes up..but you will never have that privilege if you never open the gift would you.
It is the same with becoming a child/ Son Of God…. You see, if you never open the gift you don’t experience what it offers..

Let’s say in my earthly dad’s family there’s been a line of men who lose their sight at a certain age, because they don’t have very good healthcare and while the issue starts out as something minor because they don’t go to see about it..they lose sight as a consequence, but my brother chooses to use the gift of healthcare and he goes to the doctor every year to have his sight checked and as soon as they see a little problem arising they fix it because he chose to use the gift of healthcare he got the benefit of keeping his sight..

There are many benefits that come along with opening up the bible and letting it teach you what it means to be a Son Of God. You will be greatly astounded when you begin to unlock all the gifts open and use them. You will realize your true value, Your true worth, Your true potential… and You will do great things here while you have time on earth.

So the promise for today comes from John 1:12

If you will receive/accept/ take this gift called Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for you on the cross, you will have a “right” to become a child/Son of God or led by the Spirit of God and no longer live in a place of flesh/sin/ worldly passions…

True Honor

imagesSo, many of you may not know this..when I was 21 years old I went into the military, army branch. I was so excited to be able to serve my country…I took a battery of test to make sure I was fit for service..at this center in New Orleans called MEPS center where they run a battery of test on you, it’s like a long drawn out process, just to see if you are physically able to serve in the US military..thankfully, I was and still am in perfect shape…I was a perfect candidate..Perfect sight, perfect weight.. no defects that could prevent me from performing to full capacity..But that was before I left…I had no idea what I was in for..I was being “set up” I do mean that literally.. when I got to Fort Sill Oklahoma my life changed. I could sense it when I stopped seeing any form of civilization after awhile headed to boot camp. I’d packed up all my stuff from the former life thinking..This’ll just be another extension of my right now..I will still be able to wear the same clothes..and shoes and it will just be living in a different place. No body informed me..there would be rules…and I would have to abide by them if I were to stay in the “army of one” military branch..that’s what they called us..
Literally I was in a new family…Everyone had  a different last name..but we were all considered ONE… if one person cut up…everyone was punished.
My life changed in that I was no longer  able to “Sleep in” I was ordered to do PT early in the morning and there were drills I had to do everyday. I wasn’t allow to live like a slob either they forced me to learn discipline and how to be neat and tidy and look good since we had a day in the week we actually shined our boots..that’s right we didn’t live by our own schedule.we did what “the new family” did..

I won’t belabor my point I’m sure you get it..but in the entrance of time I will wrap up this blog.

In Promise #14 Jesus clearly points out that If any man serves Him..something amazing will happen…First, they will be His servant, and second they will be honored by His Father..
That’s an amazing promise we can hang our hats on today..

But that word serve is so potent..As in the picture above a soldier doesn’t just serve for one day to get honored..he serves for a lifetime. A soldier is committed to a cause that’s not his own and many times is not treated like a civilian but is engaged in different affairs..A servant knows that his reward comes from a different place but his call is to make a difference here on earth as long as possible. I truly believe to serve God means the same thing.. like when I went into the military..things changed..and drastically…for those who stick with the course…they must realize their honor may not come here…from others on earth…but they can be assured it will come..that’s a promise

Ruined Character

Bad companyWhen I was a young girl, I never understood why my mother would tell me…”Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are.” You see birds of a  feather really do “flock together”  It could have better been said..”Show me your friends and I’ll show you where your headed” Environment does matter.. If I placed an acorn seed on a table, I will be really sorry if I expected that seed to become an oak tree. It’s all of an oak tree, a forest even…but I will never see that manifest for one reason, it’s not in the right environment.

I heard story after story last weekend of a school down in South Dallas, I’m not saying all schools are like this, but this one was, in speaking with a former teacher I learned that those children have had people run through their school that robbed a bank across the street, they’ve had dead people in their parking lot, they’ve even come to school to see people with drawn guns out in the parking lot. After awhile they grow numb to it and it becomes their normal. Sadly, those children have desensitized themselves and are more prone to commit crime themselves. That my friend is dangerous, whenever your child is used to seeing crime and death all around them and they don’t see people going forward in life and one of their friends is the one whose mama was in the parking lot either dead or with the gun..I don’t know that their turn out would be as good as the child living in Lake Highlands or Highland Park or even Frisco DISD …because they are totally and completely different environments and the type of people they will get to be around will have had a different set of experiences. While those things still happen, it’s not all right before them.

I’m not saying we should only try to live in upper class neighborhoods so our children could go to good schools, I’m giving an example that environment does play a role.
I don’t mean to be preaching to the choir..but the 12th promise comes from 1 Cor 15:33 “Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good character”

In other words don’t let anyone mislead you or lead you astray on this one truth. In this time there were many who didn’t believe in the resurrection, (unbelievers) and the Corinthian church was wanting to hang out with them thinking they could learn a bit of worldly wisdom and add that to their godly relationship.What this is teaching us is this: If we choose to hang out with people that aren’t as we are (christian) then it’s more than likely they will persuade us their way and not the other way around, since we used to have the sin nature we cannot walk in thinking we will win them over by going and doing what they do.

We must carefully examine our friendships realizing that they dictate our influences.I will leave you with an example today..I have a handful of friends I call when I need advice, I can gauge by their spiritual maturity how they will respond to me, if they will tell me what I need to hear which is the word of God on the matter to confirm my hunch or if they will tell me the worldly wisdom and I can gauge who to call by what they will say and if they have been successful in that area. For instance if I have a question regarding my children, since I don’t have a husband in my home at the moment, I need to get clear perspective on an issue from another person whose already raised a son or daughter in a godly home, otherwise I might get advice that leads me and my son down the wrong way, amazingly that even means the books we read. All ways of influence.

I’m reading a book now on “how to say it to boys” While I’m trying to raise a man, as a woman. I realize there are some things I’m not going to get right this season, so I consult books sometimes of father’s who’ve raise sons but even in consulting literature I would highly advice you to be selective..they all aren’t given sound advice. If you have good moral and character don’t give yourself to a person who has no morals and character, you will learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

Being Heard

dbf95170b5b1265597208b25f8493204Why do you think prayer service is the least attended service by most churches?  after all aren’t people flocking to service on Sunday’s and for me Saturday’s … Even the bible study group can sometimes be more full .. sometimes it seems even pastors have given up on “prayer nights” even though prayer is one of the most powerful practices to  build on, seeing Jesus say “My house shall be called a house of prayer” They (the pastors) want gatherings that will draw more than 800 people, you know everything is by the numbers these days, if there’s no productivity why do it? By & large the prayer night is the time where least people show up and I believe that’s due to several reasons:

Firstly, I think that people have tried prayer and they have deemed somewhere in their imagination that it simply doesn’t work. Secondly, I don’t think we as a people truly understand the power of prayer and what it really means to do it. Thirdly, without a clear understanding of what prayer is I think it is misused a lot and therefore people don’t receive what they have asked. Bottom line few people still really believe prayer works, and few people really stand on the promises of God as infallible immutable and always truth because many people feel they have been let down by God.

This verse is a promise I believe we can hang out hats on and it’s a good check so we can take it to the bank and cash it.

1 Jn 5:14-15 says This is the  CONFIDENCE…

The reason I emphasized confidence is because this is an individual thing that we each must have..The team can’t have confidence as a whole, the whole team must have confidence…that means cheerful courage, bold assurance. If this is absent the prayer probably won’t be answered. Then we have to see what the confidence is we should have when we pray..we should have confidence that if we are coming to God and asking Him something according to His will, He does hear us. There’s no need in thinking your prayer went to the ceiling and walking away unchanged by the fact that you shared your issue with Him but didn’t  give it completely to Him. When we pray, we should have a confidence, if we are in a working daily relationship with God our Father as His children, and are praying ACCORDING TO HIS WILL…Let’s deal with that ..because here’s where I believe a lot of us ask amidst. We pray for things for our own pleasure and fulfillment. We want the increase at the job and the promotion…and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we want the promotion someone else just got. We want the spouse, forget that it’s someone else’s spouse. We want the children, forget that it’s the twins the neighbor just had… We want it, so we ask God..and we fail to run it through the grid of what’s in His will. We can have confidence when we know we are praying according to His will…this simply means if you are married and your praying to have children, your right in the center of His will, if your unmarried and you desire a spouse and not a sugar daddy or a hook up, good news your praying according to His will. If your wanting a promotion at work so your praying for extra money so you can be more of a giver, take more mission trips and bless others..well that’s according to His will. If your purpose is aligned with God’s be assured and bold in the fact that He has heard you when you have prayed..That’s the promise for today, if you pray anything according to His will He Hears…so this would suggest that if your not praying according to His will, He doesn’t hear you.

We can never manipulate God like a division fraction, He won’t flip on what He knows is best for you. He’s a good Father. The next verse Goes on to say, IF we know that He hears us we know that we have whatever we have asked..
Isn’t that amazing confidence..I thought that was powerful. When I get up off of my knees knowing I’ve poured my heart out to God..according to His word..I can get up KNOWING He has not only heard..but I have the thing I’ve asked…and my dear this is what we call “the Life of Faith”!

The bible is replete with promises on prayer..that if we would humble ourselves, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways He would hear, forgive and heal our land..the bible has a lot to say on the power of prayer so much so that when 2 or 3 gather in His name He will promise to be in the midst of them..but that’s tomorrow’s promise..so I’m giving you the promises for the next few days..but here’s the truth if we were to make an end to this blog…Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do..and the most important thing we can do..if we spent time praying the time was never wasted for much prayer means much power, while little prayer means little power and no prayer…well…just pray!