The restoration of God’s restoration

The mindset that many people have adopted these days is that things can’t get better and that a lot that has been broken can’t be fixed. There is a strong feeling that we can’t get out of the hole that this pandemic has dug in our lives. Hope has left the building and doubt is a permanent resident in many homes. All we can think about is how bad the situation is getting and there seems to be no end to the chaos. “How will this get fixed?” many are wondering. What will it take to get back to a normal life? Is there a way to go back to normal or are we heading toward a new normal that is dismal and discouraging? There is a way. There is hope. There is a truth that will make things right. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the One who can and who will fix this. He knows the way to do it, He holds the truth that will set people free and He has the life that changes everything. What we all need is to restore our faith and our hope in God’s power of restoration. God is still the same. He is the God of miracles and the God of restoration. He will give us what we need and He will fix everything that is broken. Not just some things but everything when we believe. Today I want to encourage you to go back to where your faith once was or to reach the place where your faith sees restoration and reparation.

The word “reparation” usually refers to the making of amends for a wrong one has done by paying money or by helping someone to whom a wrong was done. God is in the business of reparations. When Jesus died and rose again, the biggest reparation was paid to the world. He made amends for the wrong the enemy did to the world and for the wrong sin did to humanity. He made things right with God and He helped every human being that will ever believe in Him. He fixed the biggest problem the world would ever face and His reparation is still true today. Whatever you are facing today can be fixed. It was fixed on the cross and now your faith can make it come to pass. Go back to the cross today. Go back to what Jesus did for you. Spend time in the Word, study it and meditate on it. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. Like many people nowadays what you hear is gloom and doom and your faith has been damaged by the terrible reports. Scary things are happening in the world but they don’t change the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. He came to set the captives free. He came to set you free. This is not the end. Jesus will put an end to this. Build your faith back up. Go up the hill of hope. Get out of the valley of desolation. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

God will restore what was taken from you and give you beauty for ashes, hope for every doubt that has been sown in your heart and peace for every storm of worry that is thundering in your mind. “Restoration” is a powerful process. God will restore your life to where it was before and more. You see, with the Lord there is always an increase. You go from glory to glory. This means that His restoration is better than the world’s restoration. When something is restored in the world, it goes back to the way it was before. With the Lord, the restoration goes to a higher level. Life is restored according to His standards and not according to the world’s standards. I remember that after I spent a time in the wilderness even though I had been saved, God’s encounter or re-encounter took me to another level. He gave me peace that I had never known before. He opened my heart to worshiping Him more than ever and He put a zeal in me that I didn’t know existed. God is going to bless you in ways you never knew were possible. Stay in faith. Get into the habit of declaring that God is restoring your life. Keep on praying and keep on praising. Your Sunday morning is coming. It won’t be Friday night forever. Stay encouraged. God’s restoration is about to impact your life. Praise Him!

Suggested reading: Amos 9:14; Isaiah 61:7; 1 Peter 5:10

Do you know your place of worship?

Many religions have a place of worship. It’s a building or a consecrated space where people gather to perform acts of devotion, adoration or study of their religion. You have probably heard that we Christians are the Church. Our Church is not necessarily a building, it’s the people. It’s up to us to decide what kind of Church we are going to be. Are we going to be a people who gets together to honor God? Are we going to be a God-fearing Church? Are we going to be a Church that puts love of God and of people first? Are we going to be a whining Church? Are we going to be a Church of faith or a Church of fear? We define the Church because we are the Church. As a Church, one of our most important practices should be to worship the Lord. We should be a place of worship or we should have a place of worship in us. How often do you visit your place of worship?

 

Being the Church, do you let worship be a big part of who you are? I am inviting you today to visit your place of worship on a regular basis. Be that place of worship that people like to go to knowing that in you they can find the voice of adoration, the voice of peace, and the voice of joy that the world is longing for. You are the Church and you are the song that glorifies Jesus over the enemy. You are the song that doesn’t give up and that keeps on singing of the mercy of God even when things are going wrong. You are that song that chooses faith over fear and that keeps on going even when the going is tough. Be that place of worship that knows that God will always make a way. Be that place of worship that studies the Word and that meditates on it. Be that place of worship that promotes love over hate and that talks about God’s goodness all the time.

A place of worship is a safe haven where God is the number one focus. Why do I call it safe? It is often known for being a space where God is. God’s presence is in the place of worship. God is in the Church. He is in us. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in us. He has a place in our hearts and He plays a major role in how we connect with the Lord. As the Church, we need to be cognizant of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Being a place of worship implies being a place that hosts the Holy Spirit. As hosts of His presence, we ought to quickly transition to becoming guests of His presence. As guests, we let Him have His way. We let Him be in control. He is a gentleman with a heart of gold bigger than the universe so He will certainly take care of us and be the most amazing host there is. When God’s Spirit is the head of your place of worship, miracles take place. Transformation takes place. We die to self and we allow Him to come alive inside of us. His fruit starts to grow and our fears and doubts start to go. The Holy Spirit will show you how to pray, how to praise and worship and how to love. We can’t be the Church with a house of worship that doesn’t know what love is. Love is not our own definition of who deserves to be loved. Love is Jesus and He loves unconditionally.

A place of worship is also a safe haven because it is a structure where you can feel welcomed and loved. As we worship the Lord, we embrace all that He is. We embrace His character, His grace, His mercy, His death, His resurrection and His sovereignty. God is the ruler of our hearts and when He dominates us, His love becomes our natural reflex. We react with love, we act with love, we speak with love and we think through love. We are the Church and we are the representatives of the Lord of love. Let’s visit that part of our place of worship every day. Let’s dwell in that place so the world sees that there is peace and comfort in the Church. God’s love in us should be a magnet for the lost, a refuge for the broken-hearted, a hospital for the sick and a space for everyone to congregate. As the Church, our words should echo God’s kindness and reflect His majesty. How often do we sing sad songs of complaints and discouragement? When we do, we misrepresent the Lord. We go from being a place of worship to becoming a place of worry. Worry should have no room in the Church. Let’s decide to ban it from entering our doors. Let’s not allow fear to sit on the pews of our lives. Let’s put a “No entry” sign in front of our place of worship so that doubt gets the message every time it tries to come in. You and I are the Church. We can remain in worship mode if we choose to. Let’s choose to be the Church of the One who gives life. Let’s live in the place of worship of Jesus. Let’s be united under one roof; the roof of the Spirit of God wherever we go. We are God’s Church!

Suggested reading: Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16

When you are going through the fire

For many people these days, life feels like it is putting them through the fire. It looks like there are fires all over the world and it is hard to put them out. The daily burn has become many people’s reality. There is the burn caused by disease, fear, loss of relatives and friends, loss of finances, loss of peace and so on. The fires are strong and the heat is nonstop. The other day the Lord reminded me that He was with me through the fires of life. He took me down memory lane and showed me how He had stood by me through different fires. When you believe in God and you trust Him, you will still go through the fire but God is holding you in the palm of His hand as you are walking through the fire. You are not walking alone and you are not dipped in the fire. You are in His hand and you are protected. You might feel the heat and you will inhale the smoke but you will make it through the fire. God is in control and He will put out the fire. What you need to do is trust that He is holding you in His hand even when you feel like you are going to be scorched. No weapon formed against you will prosper. The fire that was formed around you will not prosper. It could burn for a while but God’s hand can withstand the heat and the burn. Stay comforted in His hand. Focus on His hand and not on the fire. Focus on the protection and not the desolation.

When a fire is burning and you have to be in it or walk through it, like firefighters do, it is necessary to wear a protective mask. Firefighter masks cover most of their heads. They allow them to keep their head intact and to see through the smoke. The helmet of salvation is our mask through the fires. It is a protection for the head as well. We need to keep our heads intact when we are going through the fires of life. Why? Because thoughts originate in our heads and if they are not aligning with God’s Word, if they are negative or if they are bringing us down, they will make our walks through the fires very difficult. We are saved and the helmet of salvation is a reminder that God is for us, that Jesus died for us on the cross and that we will make it. Let the helmet show you that there is a way through that smoke. Let it guide you and reveal to you that the fire is not bigger than your God. Let the helmet open your eyes to the power and the truth that are bigger than what’s in front of you. Look at what’s beyond the fire thanks to the helmet of salvation.

 

A fire is a scary sight. It makes you think that you are going to perish. When things are heating up and you can’t pull yourself together, you can easily picture that the fire is going to burn your life. God is a consuming fire as well. The fire in Him is bigger than the fire of the enemy. His flames are higher and his heat is more intense. The fire of the Holy Spirit makes a way through the flames of the enemy. Let God give you the strength to stay strong in the fire of the world as you know that the fire of the Lord is stronger. Be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they had refused do bow down to the king’s image and they would not adore other gods. To them God was the only God. As your fire is intensifying, pray to have the resilience and the strength of the three boys in the fire. Refuse to bow down to your fire. Don’t exalt it. Don’t magnify it. Put it out by magnifying the Lord. Celebrate Jesus in the fire. Celebrate the fact that you are in the palm of His hand even when there is fire around you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay strong and stay calm.

 

My prayer today is that you find peace during these fiery times. I pray that you can see the Lord even when things are burning up inside and around you. You are still in God’s hand. You are still blessed. You are still protected. Keep your helmet of salvation on. Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Don the gear of victory. It is made of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. You are going to make it through this fire. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Daniel 3; Exodus 24:17; 1 Corinthians 3:13

God will refine you and define you

I love how God refines us. He molds us, He changes us. He does a wonderful work in us when we submit to Him. When we surrender ourselves and we leave our ego at the door as we enter His house, changes follow. We can’t be with God and spend time with Him without being altered and modified. God is always with us but we are not always with Him. We can choose to go in a direction that it not His ways. We can walk on the left side of life when He wants us to stay on the right side. We can walk fast away from His goodness but it doesn’t mean He is not there. We can get into a lane that doesn’t belong to us and stick to our own will. Stepping away from the lane that was designed for us and walking away from God can lead us into dire straits. The refinement that takes place when we stay in the house of the Lord is a beautiful process that bears much fruit. Surrender and devotion are key. We need to acknowledge that we can’t do this life without Jesus. He desires to bless us by refining our spiritual character and molding our hearts so that they look more like His. The refinement process involves some burning. It’s the burning of our old ways. The burning of our thinking, the renewing of our minds and the development of our spirit. The word “refine” has the adjective “fine” in it. What God is doing in your life as you give Him control, is going to turn you into a fine individual. He is going to turn you into a person of high quality. High quality according to His will. Today I want to encourage you to recognize that the Lord is a refiner and that He is refining you so you can be more like Him.

When I hear the word “refinement”, I picture some fine and pure sugar. For some reason I see some fine grains, a sugar of the highest quality around. God makes us sweet when He refines us and He opens our eyes to the sweetness of His love in every situation. He gives us the ability to see the good in everything. He gives us the ability to see the good despite the bad. He opens our eyes to the reality that He is bigger than our biggest problems. He fine-tunes out spiritual eyesight so the filter of faith replaces the filter of fear. God can change us on the inside in a way that defies all understanding. He can do the impossible on the inside and then we understand that anything is possible. He refines our approach to life and He refines our (spiritual) senses. He dilutes the negative perspective we have held on to for some long. How does this take place? When we place ourselves in His hands and His Word is our go-to reference for life. When we abide in Him and obey Him, He can refine us and redefine us.


I mentioned a stage of burning when God refines us. The sacrifice of praise can appear to be a burning procedure that feels like a stretch.
When we feel that burn of worship because our flesh doesn’t want to praise the Lord, we are on the right track. The burn doesn’t last but God’s goodness is revealed. Oftentimes we need the flesh to be put under so the goodness of God can be presented to our spirit. The flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. As God is refining you, take a stand and decide to stay in the spirit and give your flesh a tranquilizer until your spirit is more in control. Your spirit wants to obey the Lord and follow His control. Stay in prayer. Be in prayer every day. God will refine you in many ways as you pray. Prayer is a platform that gives God the ok for refinement. God will speak to you during prayer time and help you proceed through the “refinement operation.” God will operate on you and He will hold you dearly in His hands. Keep surrendering. Keep praising Him. Keep thanking Him. Keep relying on Him. Keep tuning into His Spirit. Let God refine you and define you today!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 64:8; Romans 9:20-22; Romans 12:2

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 114)

Give people some encouragement every day and it will go a long way. Give people some peace every day and it will change their day. Give people some love every day and it will bless their day. Give people Jesus every day and He will pave the way!

The Lord can take all this negativity and darkness and turn it into “ground” for bigger miracles. Things that no one has seen before. The enemy will amplify the darkness but Jesus is going to overthrow it as we stay in faith and pray.

Stand up for those who can’t stand. Stand up for those who keep bending. Stand up for those who keep folding. Stand up for those who keep falling. Stand up in the name of Jesus and help those in need of strength by keeping the stand of faith.

When you are all over the place, go to the one place where your heart can be comforted, your mind can be fed and your soul can be healed. Go to the Word of God. It is a place of healing, love and peace.

Let God take care of everything. He will show you what you can do and He will help you with what you can’t do. God can do it all and He will help you through it all.

The end of your misery starts with the end of your disconnection from God. Get that connection going again and the sorrow will go away again.

If we stopped worshiping the Lord, rocks would start singing. Let’s sing and let’s make sure that our songs are strong like the rocks that adore the Rock of your salvation.

When life tells you you have a hundred problems, tell life that you have Jesus. You have one Savior, one God, one Lord. He can deal with your hundred problems in one powerful way; His way!

God keeps on preparing new mercies to put on the table before. Expect new blessings and new beginnings every day. What’s coming to you is bigger than what happened to you yesterday.

Speak from the bottom of your heart. Speak from the heart of God. Speak from the platform of love. Speak encouragement and speak blessings into people’s lives. Speak the language of God. Speak the language of love!

Suggested reading: Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 30:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:8-9

Your covenant with God is still the same today

A covenant is an agreement. It usually refers to the agreement we have with God. It is almost like a contract. It has terms and conditions and it seals a certain deal. Our covenant with God was sealed by the blood of Jesus. His blood was shed for us as the seal on the envelope of a new life. An envelope that contains all the terms and conditions of this amazing agreement. Where can you find a list of those terms? They are listed in the Bible and it is important that we study them so we know what’s in our covenant with God. One of the promises in the covenant is that God goes before us and that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. His love and His righteousness are with us all the time. There is the promise of an eternal inheritance in this covenant. Jesus was the mediator. He was the go-between. He served as the bridge between us and eternal life. How often do we walk back from “the Bridge” and forget about the covenant? During these hard times we can easily forget that God is still with us, that Jesus paid the price for our salvation and that God’s love will see us through anything. It is time we went back to the conditions of our salvation. It is time we studied this great covenant again. It might be that we need our faith in it to be stirred up and to be revived. The only thing that is alive and well in many people these days is fear and confusion. God’s promises put an end to them. God’s love removes them. Our covenant with God has a clause that specifies that we should not be moved by the atrocities of the world but we should be strengthened by the promise of the eternal inheritance. As heirs of the Lord we are entitled to have peace in times of trouble and to have joy instead of sorrow. Let’s go back to the covenant today and build ourselves up. It might be just what most of us need right now. Let’s remind our hearts that nothing has changed in the covenant.

 

A covenant being an agreement implies that both parties have a role to play. Our role is to obey God and to have faith in Him. When we obey and we follow Him, He holds His end of the bargain so to speak. It is much more than a bargain. It is a divine promise to protect us and to bless us. It is wonderful to see that when we abide in Him, we can grow in Him and we can become more like Him. To me that is one of the best aspects of His covenant. It allows us to be more like Jesus. Another one of its conditions is that when we follow Him, great things follow us. When we stick with Him, goodness sticks to us. When we hold on to Him, His kindness holds us close. God is faithful and He keeps His Word. Another beautiful aspect of the conditions of the covenant is that even when we don’t uphold our end, God is faithful and He helps us. His grace and mercy are such powerful terms that no one can beat. We don’t deserve Him. We don’t deserve His love and His assistance and yet He steps in when we have crossed the line. When we walk away from Him on the Bridge that gave us all, He comes and gets us back. He leaves the 99 and comes to our rescue. I have experienced it many times but I have learned not to rely on grace. I want my covenant to be an agreement where both parties are actively loving each other and caring as much as possible. Obedience is caring for God.

 

God brought back Jesus from the dead through the blood that was sacrificed. Jesus is the first One to have come back to life under this new covenant. As believers we have gone from being spiritually dead to being alive in Him. The resurrection process is phenomenal. Now, it doesn’t stop there. God will revive anything you ask Him to resurrect in your life when you pray according to His will. What can you pray about these days that needs to be brought back to life? Start with what’s on the inside. Ask for God to bring back peace, joy, stability, hope and strength. You need that inner balance to be able to enjoy this life to the fullest. When you are stable and strong on the inside, you can approach every situation with more peace and more confidence. God has an amazing covenant with you but until you are centered you might not be able to accept His promises, to embrace them or even to believe them. We too often want things around us to change when God is saying that He needs to do a work inside of us first so we can face what’s outside of us. I encourage you to read more about your covenant with the Lord. It will dissipate your fears and it will make you smile again. Your amazing covenant with God is still the same today. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 103:17-18; Hebrews 9:15

Put it all in God’s hands

A new month has just begun and with it comes the hope of a better season for the world. People are wishing for the best for April. There is a glimmer of hope and many of us are praying for a new page to be turned. Who knows what this month is going to bring? Only God knows. What should we do then? The best thing to do is to put it all in God’s hands. We can’t predict the future but we can let God take care of it. We can trust Him with the month of April. We can refuse to worry about it and not to let fear dictate our thoughts by casting our cares upon the Lord. I have decided that I am going to put every day in God’s hands. I have been doing that for a while but I find it critical for me to do it more aggressively now if you will. I am going to spend time in prayer putting the day in God’s hands. When I pray in the morning, I will not only give up on controlling the day with worry and empty expectations but I will also thank God for what He is going to do during the day. Empty expectations are expectations that are based on feelings, emotions, rumors, what the world says and not based on God’s expectations for us. God has some expectations for all of us. He expects to give us the best that life has to offer. He expects to give us the abundant life that Jesus bought for us. A life full of the riches of His Spirit. It is a life led by the Spirit and a life that embraces the Holy Spirit. What could be more abundant than that? People will say that Jesus came to give us an abundant life filled with material goods. God is Spirit and He is more concerned with our spirits and our hearts than our physical possessions. It doesn’t mean that He won’t provide for us. He does and He will. When you put your trust in the Lord, your cup overflows. There is not only abundance of peace and joy but there is also abundance of all goods things according to His will. Today I am inviting you to put everything in God’s hands. Expect His blessings and expect His love. Expect to get to know the Spirit of Jesus better. Expect this new month to be a month where knowing Jesus like you never have before is going to be a goal and a way of life.

 

When I take my worries and fear and I put them in a bundle that I give to Jesus, peace has room to come in. I am convinced that the Lord’s peace is always around waiting for an access point. It is there in the Spirit of God who is in us but it can’t always surface or get in when there are blocks caused by anxiety and fear. When we react to life with fear, we suppress peace. When we react to life with worry, peace has a red light and it can’t proceed. You will say that it is easy to proclaim, ‘Do not fear” and the reality of it can be complicated. It is not easy when we try to do it all alone and when we don’t believe that it is what we are supposed to be doing. God would not ask us not to fear if it were impossible for us. One thing that has worked for me is to say it out loud. I say “I do not have a spirit of fear. I am not going to fear. The Lord tells me not to fear so He is going to help me and bless me. Fear doesn’t belong here.” Reject fear. Kick it out. Give it the boot. Be harsh with it. Get it out of your mind and of your heart. Stir yourself up. Give it all to God. See yourself handing the bundle of fear to the Lord. Meditate on what it looks like for you in your life. Visit all the areas where fear is prevalent and ditch the daily passport that takes you to those places. Fear has no place in you and you don’t have to visit it all the time. Put it all in God’s hands.

 

When a new day starts, God smiles and tells you that He has new beginnings for you and new riches. You might not hear Him because you might be paying more attention to the news. The good news you should be more interested in is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus came to set the captives free and to bring a new day where hope abounds, joy rules and peace is permanent. Nothing that will happen this month can change that and you will see that it is true when you stay committed to your faith and you keep putting everything in God’s hands. His hands are huge. Wouldn’t you agree? They can hold anything and everything. Big things could take place this month. Things that are not positive but the God with giant hands can handle all of them. Put your hands together, pray, thank the Lord, release the issues and the worries and see what God does for you and what He does in you. Put everything in God’s hands this month and every month after that. God will bring you to a place of peace and victory!

Suggested reading: Psalm 73:23; Isaiah 41:13; Luke 4:18