Expect a river, expect a flood

Being in Uganda with family and friends has been a great vacation. I loved being on a boat on Lake Victoria and going to the source of the Nile. The River Nile is the second longest river in the world. It was amazing to see where that river starts and knowing that it flows all the way to the Mediterranean was pretty neat. This whole trip has felt like a river of blessings that keeps on flowing to oceans I didn’t know existed. There is so much richness in the people and the family members I have interacted with have been a true blessing. Last night I prayed for a family member and the words flew out of my mouth like a river of pure love from our Father. With the Holy Spirit we can expect words to flow. We can expect a river and not a pond. The Spirit will flow in our words, our actions and even in our thoughts if we always focus on the Lord. Let’s not quench the river of life that the Lord has given us. Let’s flow with the river of the Holy Spirit and enjoy the abundance of love and peace that is available. Friend, expect a river and expect a flood!

I was mesmerized by Lake Victoria and by the source of the River Nile. Looking at God’s creation in all its glory was quite a unique experience. The river was both peaceful and very animated. The flow was calming and the wild life was invigorating. When we get in tune with the Holy Spirit, there is always serenity. The Spirit of God is full of peace and we receive His peace when we are in harmony with Him. This is why it is crucial to spend some alone time with God and seek His face. Jesus needed time away from the crowds so He could be with the Father. He embraced the calm and quiet that the Spirit of His Father provided. He would get in the river of the Spirit where peace was the vehicle that allowed Him to navigate through life on earth. He once sent the crowds away and He got on a boat to travel to another region. He also needed to send the crowds away and get on a boat so He could get to “the other side”. This is a metaphor for getting into a peaceful state. The other side represents the place where He could enjoy serenity. Jesus had the Spirit without measure so He always flowed with the river of life but He also needed a break from the chaos of the crowds.

As a believer you can expect God to give you a river. When I prayed last night, I experienced the river of the Spirit. The more I get into an accord with God, the more I can expect a river. The river can manifest during prayer, praise or during other random moments. The River Nile has an abundance of water and just like that river God will give you an abundance that will flow into your life. It could be an abundance of love, peace, joy, patience or even financial blessings. Once you step into that river, expect a flood. Your river of blessings will turn into a flood. God can flood you with so much love that you will forget about the dry lands of suffering that you witnessed before. There is much more than the eyes can see. Whatever you need from God today expect it to flow into your life and as you stay in faith, you will see a flood. It’s time to go past the small streams of water that once got you excited. Press on in the Lord and those streams will become peaceful rivers with invigorating blessings that will keep you dancing in the rain of the Spirit. Pray daily. Praise daily. Be thankful daily and you will have rivers that lead to floods from the Lord. Expect great things!

Suggested reading: Matthew 14:22; Mark 6:45; Luke 6:12

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The beauty where you belong

Yesterday I spent part of the day in Entebbe by the water and at the zoo. I was impressed by the beautiful of this place. It is green and lush and the wild life is amazing. The fauna and the flora are in harmony to create a beauty that is just breathtaking. On the outskirts of this gorgeous area are some pockets of houses that are not in the best shape. There are some neighborhoods that have suffered and you can tell that life has taken a toll on them. God created some beautiful landscapes in our lives. Those great sceneries are often bordered by places that are not all that attractive. There is ugliness around holiness oftentimes. We all have regions of sin that cast a dark shadow on the godly territories of our lives. The enemy tends to make us focus on the ugliness in our lives and he tries to birth shame and guilt in us. Guilt separates us from God. If the opposition has his say, he will break us away from God by magnifying our faults, our sins, our shortcomings and our imperfections. However, the beauty within remains. God sees the beauty in us and that is what He focuses on. You might have messed up a lot. You might still mess up a lot but know that for every weakness and sin God has deliverance and forgiveness. Go back to the heart of God. Go back to the heart of forgiveness and learn to be loved again. Learn to live out the freedom that is rightfully yours in Christ.

If we were given a choice between living in a beautiful town and living in an ugly village, most of us would choose to live in the beautiful town. Yet when we are faced with focusing on either the beautiful things in life or the ugly elements, we dwell on the ugliness. We decide to live in the ugly city of failure and faults. We spend hours and hours building up that city by overthinking about it. We focus on the times when we missed it. We think about all the things that are not going well in our lives. God wants you and me to get out of the ugly city. He doesn’t want us to roam around the streets of guilt and the corners of sadness. There is a town where joy, love and peace prevail and that’s where the Lord wants us to live. This town is in us. The Holy Spirit is in us and He allows us to remain in His town if we believe.

I have a friend who is very good at seeing beauty in everything. He always has something positive to say about people and situations even when dealing with difficult people and tough situations. He lives in “Faith town” as I like to call it. His town is inhabited by love, joy, praise, prayer, patience, compassion, humility, forgiveness and other companions. He made friends with those inhabitants a long time ago and he keeps in touch with them at all times. His secret is that He knows God sees beauty in everything so He follows God’s lead. He understands that God forgives and he receives forgiveness every day. He not only receives it but he also gives it away. He helps people conquer shame and step out of the ugliness. When we have a relationship with God, we can all do what my friend does. We can challenge the ugliness in our lives with God’s love and choose to live in “Beauty town” by cultivating a positive attitude and a love approach to life. Stay in the beauty where you belong!

Suggested reading: Job 12:7-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4; Romans 1:20

Change your mind about God

The whole concept of working on our thoughts and on our mind is at the center of our spiritual balance. Our thought pattern influences the way we apprehend God. Our mind can keep us in line with God or away from His ways. We can’t ignore the importance of constantly working on our thinking. What I find challenging is that as we grow in our walk, we develop ideas that might need to be revoked and changed even though we are saved. Being a Christian doesn’t give us a free pass when it comes to the work needed on our thinking. It is possible for us to adhere to ideas and thoughts that are detrimental to our spiritual health. We can even adopt visions of God that actually alienate us from Him. If our way of thinking about God doesn’t get us closer to Him, we need to change our mind about God. We need to recalibrate and remove false perspectives. The enemy likes to sneak into our minds and lure us into deceiving thinking patterns that sound good in theory but that are destructive in practice. The goal of this message is to challenge our thinking about God and push for a closer connection with Him.

There are several areas of our thinking about God that need to be looked at closely. “God the punisher” is one of those ideas that can be tough to get rid of. I have heard of people who like to promote a God who punishes and who is out to get you if you sin. They strip God off His love and off His restorative nature. If we can’t see God as love, we are in trouble. We will never be able to represent Him well or to see Him clearly. He can only be viewed through the lens of love. Putting anything above love when contemplating the Lord is like diluting who God is. It’s watering down the Gospel and its main message. Changing our thinking about God and love is a priority. We are all at different stages of understanding the love concept and we can expect to grow in the truth of what love is all about. It’s never about division, persecution, criticism, jealousy, envy, gossiping, backbiting or other habits that seem so normal that we include them on the love agenda when they should never be taken into consideration.

Another area of struggle in our thinking about God is knowing that God is still a God of miracles and of the impossible. If we are going to believe the Bible and use it as our reference for living with God, we can’t take away the supernatural and almighty aspects of God. We ought to change our mind about the superior nature of God. Imagine how different our lives would be if we were first extravagant-love givers and then miracle-believing Christians. We would be more on the same page as the pages of the Word of God. To think that a miracle operated by the Holy Spirit can happen anytime can be difficult to conceive if our minds are not exposed to this reality. We are invited to not conform to the pattern of this world and the pattern of this world doesn’t include our miracle working God. Let’s stick to the pattern of the Lord and abandon the pattern of the world. Let’s renew our thinking about God and keep challenging our thoughts to make sure they are good descriptions of the Lord. We can go from glory to glory which in the context of the mind means that we can go to higher and higher altitudes when thinking about God. Change your mind about the Lord and keep getting nearer to Him!

Suggested reading: Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:14; Ephesians 4:22-24

Finding refuge in God

It hasn’t rained much since I have been here in Uganda but it has rained cats and dogs a couple of times. You better run for cover when this torrential rain comes down. The other day I was almost caught in a rain storm but I found a refuge and I was able to stay dry. It made me think of how I often have to run for cover in life and go to my Refuge, the Lord who protects me. The rains of problems can get you so soaked that you can’t imagine how you are going to get dry again. The Lord has been my shelter and my umbrella in many a storm. He has extended His arms of protection and covered me so powerfully that the worst storm hasn’t had an effect on me. It is not always that way but I am learning to take shelter and to embrace the shelter over the storm. It’s when we keep our eyes on the storm that we lose sight of God’s protection. My question to you today is, are you keeping your eyes on the storm or do you let God, your refuge, captivate your attention?

God being our refuge is only as real as we see it. It takes eyes of faith to see Him as our shelter despite the bad conditions in our lives. It is a great practice to constantly refer to Him as our refuge. We should say it when things are going well so we overload our minds and hearts with the truth of who He is. When bad times come, a positive declaration of faith will be squeezed out of our hearts. We always speak about what is in excess in our hearts. If doubt is dominant in our spirits, words full of doubt are what will come out. If joy is radiant in our hearts, joy is what people will hear in our words. If faith has invaded our hearts, confidence, hope and victory will be the focus of what we talk about. Keep thanking God that He is your refuge and you will see how real it becomes to you.

Wishing for a life with no problems is like wishing to be in Heaven. On earth Jesus said we would have trials. If we pray “God, please I don’t want to have any problems in this life. Take away all trials and tribulations”, we are praying against how He describes life. We will have trials BUT He has conquered the world and we should expect victory over our trials. We should expect Him to be that strong tower of protection that can weather any storm. A refuge can be a fortress. God is our fortress. Keep in mind that fortresses are meant to not only protect but to also dissuade enemies from attacking. If your fortress is tall and strong, it will discourage your adversity. The opposition will come face to face with your fortress but it will have to give up and go away. “Resist the devil and he will flee” implies that you should stay strong in your fortress believing that it is doing its job. Believe that God your refuge is doing His job of being your shelter and you will overcome all storms and tribulations. Stay strong! Your refuge is a lot more powerful than you think.

Suggested reading: Psalm 46:1; Psalm 91:2; Proverbs 14:26

What is your message to the world this week?

Traffic in Kampala is something else! I had never seen that many cars and trucks on the road before. Traffic jams are to be expected almost everywhere you go in the capital. There are a lot of vans that operate as taxis. They usually have a message written in big letters on the windshield and on the back window. Many of the messages are Christian. Messages such as “Trust in Jesus” and “God is good” are very common. I love seeing those encouraging words especially when we have to be in the car for hours. Being surrounded by positive messages is such a great idea. If you had a van in Kampala, what would your message be? Would you keep the same message every day or would you change it from time to time? What would be the foundation of your message and how much would you believe it? It’s easy to display one message in public and have a totally different one at home. As this new week starts, I want to encourage you to think of what message you are going to display on the windshield of your life this week.

Choosing a message to proclaim to the world should be a thoughtful process. There are a few things to be considered. Who is your audience? Is the message for others or for you as well? Does your message echo your core values? The Holy Spirit has the answers to your questions. Partner with Him as you are trying to identify the message that will be uplifting throughout the week. There is a message in your heart that wants to see the light. The Lord puts pearls of encouragement in us that we need to fish out of the ocean of confusion and overthinking. In the middle of that chaos are phrases meant to give you peace and joy for the week to come. Pray for a revelation of that message. Put your trust in what the Lord is going to tell you. That very message can make a huge difference this week for you and for anyone who gets to read it.

Your message to be seen by the world can be a scripture from the Bible. I have noticed that the Holy Spirit likes to underline certain passages of His Word at the most random times. The passage might not mean much to us at the time but it makes a lot of sense later on when we most need it. Don’t dismiss the verses that come to mind and that don’t make sense. The Lord could be putting a pearl in the shell of your heart for you to keep until it the right spiritual fishing season. I strongly believe that there is a great message for you that you can write on your spiritual banner this week. It could be a customized message that the Lord is giving you and that is not a scripture but a Holy Spirit-inspired message. You can find out what it is. You will find out what it is. When you do, show it so other people can benefit from it. Look at your windshield often so you stay encouraged and thank the Lord for the beautiful message that is going to impact many lives in the days to come!

Suggested reading: Luke 8:39; Matthew 10:32; 2 Timothy 1:8

Give God His power back

Contemplating God in all His glory is something I do during prayer time. I love to worship Him and adore Him. He is Almighty and powerful. He has authority over all the Heaven and the earth. Now, the enemy likes to imitate God and wants to be like God. He is the god of this world but it doesn’t mean that He is powerful and Almighty like the Lord. However, he does his best so we believe that he is as strong as God. He wreaks havoc in our lives to the point where we feel defeated and powerless. He tricks us into accepting a dismal fate when the Lord truly has a bright future for us. Things can get very difficult if we focus more on the devastation of the enemy than on the Lord’s power. The misery brought on by the enemy can be pretty devastating. There is no doubt about that but it doesn’t mean that the destroyed conditions will remain that way. The opposition likes to strike hard the closer we get to the Lord. It doesn’t mean that the Lord has become less powerful or that He is hiding because He can’t deal with the enemy. Friend, when you develop a more intimate relationship with the Lord you should expect some setbacks and some disappointments. They don’t come from God. They are a result of attacks by the one who wants to be like God. The attacks of the enemy shouldn’t undermine the power of God. God is the same. His power is the same. We need to give God His power back so to speak. When the opposition is virulent, there are ways we can tap in God’s Almighty power. Let’s look into it.

There is no denying that faith is the strongest weapon we have against the enemy. If faith is so valuable, guess what the enemy keeps trying to do. He keeps trying to steal our faith because stealing is his way of operating. That’s how he works. He is only there to steal and kill. If he can steal your faith in God, He has won a big battle. Faith keeps you connected to God and to hope. Without faith and hope it’s easy to fall into the pit of despair and suffering. Jesus is the author of our faith and losing faith means losing our Jesus connection. That connection is more precious than gold. When you are at a low spiritual point, you need to take your faith back. Go back to the Word of God. Speak the Word over your predicament. You need to raise your level of faith. Raise that bar of hope above the platform of fear where the enemy wants you to be. If you are a visual person I suggest you make a list. Write the promises of the Lord on one side and the lies of the enemy on the other side. God’s promises are solid and indestructible. The enemy’s lies are weaker than they appear.

I have been wounded a few times by severe attacks of the enemy and the reason why I am still standing is because I declare that my God is powerful and no one is above Him. The more I say it and the more disgusted the enemy is with my words. I have made that declaration in the middle of a dark night where there was very little glimmer of hope but God showed up. He showed up in an amazing way. His power canceled the darkness and brightened my day. Declaring who God is allows us to put our focus on the victory and not on the misery. The reality of faith says that it doesn’t matter how bad things look because with Jesus they are going to be exceedingly better in time. The reality of faith says that God is a billion times bigger than your problems. That is huge! Friend, keep in mind that the enemy is going to try to magnify his power over and over again and steal your faith. Praise your way back to faith. Thank the Lord for His greatness even when you are hurting. Give God His power back with your positive declarations. Stay in faith!

Suggested reading: Luke 19:10; John 10:10; Hebrews 12:1-2

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 28)

The garment of praise is the perfect outfit for every day and so is the garment of love. Love should be part of our daily dress code. Wearing it every day is wearing God every day! Love is always fashionable.

There are hungry mouths that need to be fed the Word of God everywhere. Let’s be sure we get the manna that we need so we have the strength to prepare and distribute good spiritual food around us.

God’s truth will set us free. It will undo the lies that have kept our minds captive. It will open our blind spiritual eyes and it will unlock the strongholds around our hearts.

Rely on God before you rely on your gut. God can give you the right gut feeling when you filter all your feelings through Him.

The dreams the Lord put in your heart might require a lot of praying. Don’t give up! Keep praying and keep thanking. The dreams He put in you will come true.

Clap your hands when you see God’s hand in your life. Clap your hands when you see God’s love in your life. Clap your hands when you see God’s peace in your life. Clap your hands when you see victory in your life even when misery is all around. Clap your hands at all times because God is good at all times!

The name of Jesus sounds like nails on a black board in the ears of the enemy. Keep your nails sharp in the Lord and use them on the black board of life despite the screaming lies of the enemy.

Fear is a liar and faith tells the truth. Stay in faith and you will stay in the truth. Stay in fear and you will live a lie!

If God’s love could be condensed, the entire world would not be big enough to contain it. Don’t put God’s love in a box. Think outside the box and you will see what love truly looks like.

Worry can keep us awake at night but hope is the best sleeping pill. Hold on to hope and see how your nights improve!

When you have elected God as the King of your heart, there is no opposition that can topple Him. The enemy won’t get the best of you as long as you keep the King of your heart on His throne!

Suggested reading: Psalm 75:1; Daniel 2:20; Ephesians 1:5