Surely goodness and mercy will follow you

Do you ever feel like you are being chased down by problems? Do you ever feel like no matter where you go in life you are being stalked by negativity? There is no doubt that the enemy likes to follow and persecute believers and non-believers. He has some in the palm of his hand and he tries to get ahold of the ones that are not under his yoke. Believers just like any non-believer can be under the control of the opposition. I used to believe that once I got saved I was “adversity-free.” What a misconception I had! That idea falls under the self-righteousness category in a way. The only way we can make it as believers is to stay in the Lord and live out the reality that He is the way, the truth and the life. One promise that holds true is that despite of the spite of the enemy, God’s goodness and mercy will follow us. It will find us sometimes before the enemy does or it will rescue us from the hand of the enemy at the right time. God’s goodness and mercy are available to everyone and He should be praised for that every day.

Before I accepted the Lord into my life everything was a mess. I was young but I knew very well what a messed-up life looked like. I honestly didn’t see a way out and I thought this was how my life was going to be. I believed that other people were more blessed than I was and I just had to accept it. What a miserable way to be at such a young age! There are millions of people with that same mindset around the world. I don’t blame any of them. I know how bad it feels. When I found the Lord, it looked more like He came to me and got me out of my suffering. I didn’t know I was looking for Him until He showed up if that makes sense. I didn’t realize He was what I had been longing for as a teenager. Getting saved and getting acquainted with Him changed my life. God’s goodness and mercy interrupted the circle of bad luck and doom I had been stuck in. I wasn’t a believer but yet His goodness and mercy followed me and found me down in the alley of despair and misery.

If you are a believer today, don’t forget that you were once a non-believer who was chased by God’s goodness and mercy (unless you were born into Christianity and that doesn’t always mean you believe). His love for you and His grace saved the day. His grace was the most amazing gift in your life. Now, remember that His goodness and His mercy that once transformed your life are still following you. The Lord made a promise that “Surely His goodness and mercy will follow you all of your life and you will stay in His house forever.” * You might need to be reminded at times to go back to His house. You might need to realize that His goodness and mercy are here to stay. Problems might be running after you but so are God’s goodness and mercy and they will win the race. They will catch up to you eventually. Don’t give up and don’t give in. There are blessings following you today. They are right behind you and you need to stay in faith because they will be before you when you least expect it. They will be right in your face and you won’t be able to miss them. Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy. They are not going anywhere!

Suggested reading: Psalm 23:6; Psalm 27:4; 2 Corinthians 5:1

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God is in control

“God is in control” is a very encouraging statement. What does it mean for you? What does God being in control look like in your life? He has a plan for your life. With His plan comes a series of measures, means and actions lined up to make His plan come to pass in your life. When there are twists and turns that seem to challenge His plan for your life, He provides curves and cuts that will get you to where you should be despite the opposition. The key is to stay in faith. The key is to stay grounded in the Lord and to remain on the train of His plan without jumping off when the going gets tough. God has made promises that He will fulfill. It might take years for them to manifest but they will take place in your life. He is in control. He knows what He is doing. However, every time we step out of faith and we take the reign, we can allow chaotic situations to unfold. Trust me I know how difficult it is to keep the faith at times. I have been burned more times than I would have liked but I also deeply believe that God makes things work out for the best when we let Him be in charge. “God is in control” is a powerful statement that we need to align with in our thinking and in our hearts.

People that are put in position of control are usually knowledgeable and they are there for a good reason. They know what to do. They have experience. They have great skills and they can take care of important matters. They can anticipate problems and they foresee solutions. God is beyond knowledgeable in everything. He knows it all. He sees it all. He is above everything. He knows what to do in every single circumstance. He knew about your problems way before you were born and He provided a solution for every problem on the Cross. They is nothing that can come your way that the Lord doesn’t know how to fix. The enemy might test you, the enemy might throw some weird situations your way but the Lord will never get intimidated or panick. Present to God the curve balls that the opposition has sent to you and you will see that the Lord can handle them all. He doesn’t just have some experience, He created experience. He has skills that don’t even exist in many circles and He excels at everything He does. He excels at love, peace, joy, kindness, deliverance, healing, freedom and much more. He is the One who has so much control that things have to fall into place when He is invited into our dilemmas.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21). We think we know what’s best way too often. We often believe that being in control will bring better results in our lives. Our plan loses versus God’s plan. If we let His plan become our plan then we are good to go. Knowing the mind of Christ is not impossible. We are partakers in His mind. We have a portion of it and that is what we should focus on when we try to figure out what to do. I like to thank God for being in control. I try to do it as much as I can. I thank Him when everything is great and I thank Him even more when everything is falling apart. God is in control of my life and I am glad He is. I spent too much time directing my own steps and stumbling all over the place. I fell too many times and used the wrong crutches to get up again. With God being in control, I know what to expect. I know that He will come through. He will cause a breakthrough and He will have the final say. “God is in control” is a beautiful statement. Make that statement each and every day and throughout all the seasons of your life!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 29:11; Proverbs 16:9; Romans 8:28

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 34)

Your mind will make the impossible impossible but Jesus will make anything possible possible. Side with Jesus in everything and let your mind line up with the impossible made possible!

Don’t be sidetracked by the critics, the naysayers and the gossip mongers. Sidetrack your critics with love. Speak kindness about them, shower them with forgiveness and you will be on the right track!

The Lord will release you from every prison you visit in your mind every day. He will fling the jail door wide open. It’s up to you to take a step of faith out of that cell.

“To be or not to be?” is a good question. Do you want to be the child of God you are called to be or the child of the world you are not supposed to be anymore?

Repentance means crawling back to God on your knees if you need to. Repentance means pouring out your heart without pride when you need to. Repentance means getting a new slate from the Lord when you don’t deserve it.

Bring Heaven down to earth with your hands up in praise. Bring Heaven down to earth with your eyes of faith. Bring Heaven down to earth with the love of the Spirit. Bring Heaven down to earth with prayers every day!

The truth will set you free. If it’s keeping you in bondage, check the sources of that truth. The enemy can make his lies so appealing that they will mirror the truth.

You will move on. You will get to a better tomorrow. You will find the sun again in the sky. The clouds will go away again. God will appear to you again and you will see that He never left you even on your darkest day!

Take your spiritual temperature every day. Check the thermometer of your heart. If you are having an emotional fever, stay home away from the crowds until your spiritual health is restored. Spend time alone with God and He will give you balance again.

God values your values. He will stand behind every one of them that stems from Him but He will not back up any value that comes from man without His seal of approval.

Suggested reading: Psalm 37:30; Psalm 107:43; Proverbs 16:16

When God brings down the house

God has a way of building things up and tearing other things down. In our lives with the Lord we can expect Him to build fortresses of protection around us and tearing down walls of suffering. He can build confidence and tear down low self-esteem. He can build hope and tear down despair. He can build up a new life and destroy our old ways. Now, we have tendencies to build things in our lives that can either help us or that can slow us down. I can think of many things I have built over the years that had to come down once I became connected to God. I built houses that were not meant to provide accommodations for the fruit of the Spirit, but they instead lodged the fruit of negativity.

It’s easy to build a house of lies and doubt in our minds but it’s hard to tear that house down on our own. Even after accepting the Lord, we have to do something about those negatives houses we have created in our minds. When we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, when we work hand in hand with Him, the Lord can bring the house down and dissolve the foundations of negativity in our lives. Today I want to encourage you to collaborate with the Holy Spirit so that God can tear down any houses that have kept you captive instead of giving you a comfortable and safe environment. Let God bring the house down and let Him build a new house where you will prosper, thrive and grow in His knowledge and wisdom.

I like the metaphor of a house a lot because it is a very familiar concept. A house represents a home and a home is a place of nurturing, development and coziness. Not everyone gets to enjoy that definition of a home, but most people understand the idea. A dysfunctional home can have a very negative impact on its residents. Metaphorically speaking a dysfunctional home we build in our minds can be devastating to our mental, emotional and spiritual health. When the house is built on such destructive foundations, there is a need to move out. Moving out of a stronghold can be challenging. It takes work and dedication. The work starts with recognizing that we are in the wrong house and the dedication is when we devote ourselves to the Lord and to His ways. I used to live in a (mental) house where hope was neglected and fear was a permanent fixture on the walls. I knew Jesus but I didn’t “know” Jesus. I was a churchgoer but I wasn’t part of the Church. I had some encounters with love but I didn’t accept His love. Then all changed. I surrendered all of me and I gave God the house I was living in.


God didn’t move me out of that house
. He brought it down. He tore it down little by little. The closer I got to Him, the more holes He made in the house. Reading the Word on a regular basis allowed me to tear down the walls inside the house of misery. I started seeing life through a new lens. God took care of the house as I developed my relationship with Him. He helped me let go of the negative thoughts. I gave in to Him and He took control. It is fascinating what the Lord can do and how He can change your life completely. God can bring the negative house down for you as well, friend. You don’t have to live in captivity anymore. Let the Lord get inside the house that is making you so miserable. He will do the impossible. When God brings the house down, nothing can get in His way. As you remain faithful He will remain truthful. Let go of your old habitation and let God make His house your new abiding place!

Suggested reading: Psalm 127:1; Proverbs 24:27; Hebrews 3:4

Small beginnings, big endings

I love how Jesus talks about the mustard seed. It’s one of the smallest seeds that exists. He says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move a mountain or uproot a tree. If we have faith the size of one of the smallest seeds, we can expect great things. It is very encouraging to know that it doesn’t take much to get big results with the Lord. Our faith doesn’t have to be the size of a tennis ball to work. It takes very little on our part and the Lord will do great things. All we need is to plant that tiny seed and wait to see how it grows. The mustard seed turns into one of the largest garden plants. It is amazing how much bigger it can get. This means that we can expect our faith to grow. The growing stage can be painful. It can be tough to stay in faith but it is all so worth it. The mustard seed needs to be watered and put in the sun so that it can change. If you have a mustard seed today don’t worry about its size, know that it has the potential to become one of the biggest plants around. Small beginnings can lead to big endings. Nurture your faith. Stay in faith and you will see the big endings.

I see faith as a bag of seeds. Some of my seeds are bigger than others but they can all produce great things. I am often reminded that “It will happen because of my faith.” Whatever I need will take place in accordance with God’s will and because of my faith. It’s faith that brings on healing, breakthroughs, solutions, answers, deliverance and an array of blessings. When Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you,” He was highlighting the importance of faith. With faith we can expect a revolution in our lives for the best. Faith breaks the course of life and rearranges it for the best. Faith can redirect your life and take it into a totally different direction. Your circumstances, your feelings and anxiety can lead you down a certain path, but faith will reroute you and put you on a different level. Faith elevates the goodness of God in your life while fear stifles it and magnifies the evil character of the opposition. Hold your seed of faith up high and thank the Lord for it. It doesn’t matter its size. It can grow and it can shake up your world anytime.

There are several areas of my life where my seed of faith is more like an orchid seed (actually smaller than a mustard seed) and there are other areas where my faith is a mustard seed on steroids ready to blossom. I strive to develop all the seeds in my life. My daily prayer is to grow in faith. My heart’s desire is to trust and obey the Lord in all I do. I find that prayer makes my seeds expand. The more I pray, the more I believe and the bigger the seed. I encourage you today to pray for every area of your life. Inject the power of prayer into every corner of your life. Don’t be idle about your life. Every section of it matters to God. Start with the small seed and nurture it every day with God’s Word, with prayer and praise. Praise the Lord for that part of your life. See what He does for you. Your small beginning will expand. Faith pleases God and activates His hand. You are in good hands, friend. Take the Lord’s hand and walk the walk of faith. Your small steps will turn into leaps and you will see what was once impossible come to life. Small seeds of faith become big plants of faith. Small beginnings turn into big endings. Stay in faith!

Suggested reading: Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6; Mark 4:32

Stay connected to the best source of life

I recently saved some money so I could buy a desktop computer. I find it easier to use when I need to do school work or write my messages. I was pretty excited when I got the computer. I hooked up the tower to my old monitor but there was no picture on the screen. I could only see the mouse. I tried a few different things but nothing seemed to work. Then I played with the settings on the monitor and I was able to get a picture. However, every time I would minimize an application it was impossible to maximize it again unless I shut off the computer and restarted it. It seemed that I had bought a faulty and dysfunctional computer. Something just wasn’t right. I got frustrated so I left it alone and decided to try to figure out what was wrong the next day. During prayer time that night, the Lord showed me what I was doing wrong with the computer. He even said that last time I had hooked up a computer to that monitor 6 years ago, I had only used one HMDI cable and not two different cables. When I followed His instructions the next morning, the computer worked just fine. I got a nice crisp picture on the screen, sound which I wasn’t able to get before and all the apps worked perfectly.

There was a deeper message behind what happened. Sometimes we are plugged into too many sources and we can’t function properly. Sometimes we think that we need several “cables” to get to where we should be when in reality we only need one “cable’ connected to our one God. How many times have we plugged into many outlets at the same time hoping that one of them will work? Is God not enough? Is our relationship with the Lord not strong enough to sustain us in life? The answer to these two questions is a resounding no but I understand that too often we try all we can before we turn to God. Today I want to encourage you to stay plugged into the One source. Stay connected to the Lord. Cut off all the other cables that will cause you to not function properly.

What are you plugged into the most? What is the source that helps you see the big picture and the small pictures of life? A source can be anything that gets your attention, anything that gets you going. Too many times we focus on money as being a big source of life. We need money but there is a danger when we idolize it and we use it as our main source of happiness. Someone very wise once told me at a young age that money and sex can control people and manipulate them. I will never forget that conversation and I see clearly now as an adult how much power they both have. They are to be enjoyed in the right context but they were never meant to be worshiped and adored above God. They are a means to an end but they shouldn’t be the end. When a source takes us away from God or takes God’s place we need to be alarmed and we need to recalibrate things. If we make these sources a priority we will have dysfunctional lives that have little room for God. Addictions are tough. They are strongholds that keep us captive. My prayer today is that you keep your number one cable hooked up to God and that you use it for everything you need in life. Embrace that connection and let its power flow through you. There will be no frustration but only nice and crisp pictures with a great sound and gorgeous colors! That’s what life should look like. Stay connected to the best source of life!

Suggested reading: Psalm 112:6-7; Colossians 4:1-4; 1 Timothy 6:10

Enjoy today!

It’s hard to predict when things are going to turn around. It’s hard to know when a positive change is going to come. We can’t predict the future and we can’t manipulate the outcome of our situations. One thing we can control however is how we are living in the present. Last year I wrote a message about celebrating on the way to the party. The gist of that message was to enjoy the moment and rejoice now before the answer to our problems comes. Rejoice before you see a change. Rejoice in the moment before you experience some movement. The movement toward a change of pace for the best will come. You are on your way there. Today is the day when you are preparing yourself for better and greater. Enjoy the preparation phase. Make today a good day by thanking God for what you have. Let gratitude take over. Let gratitude seize the day. Don’t let today go by without embracing what it has to offer. There is so much in one day that the Lord puts in front of us. We need to open our eyes to the beauty He wants us to behold. I am inviting you today to live it up. Be in sync with God today. Become more aware of His goodness. Don’t wish tomorrow were here now. Be present today and taste the kindness of the Lord through every moment He is giving you. Slow down and love the day.

 

I used to live for the future. I used to be very excited about tomorrow. You see, I had hope but I didn’t use it the right way. My hope was in what’s to come. I did have faith but when you have hope on steroids, today is a beautiful day. Hope lets you see everything through a light that can illuminate even the darkest places. Hope is powerful. Hope gives us wings but it also keeps us grounded in the present moment. Hope gives us a genuine appetite for every second and every minute of today. With hope we don’t feel like hiding from the present because we believe that it will be just fine. Hope makes us stare at life in its face and smile knowing that life will get better. As ugly as life can be in the present we can still see its gorgeous face underneath the temporary misery of the day. God gives us a hope that doesn’t rely on our circumstances. His hope trusts in Him. Let hope in the Lord write the way your day is going today. See today through the eyes of hope and you will see things you have never seen before.

 

The party is going to happen sooner or later. A big breakthrough is on its way as you are staying in faith. Don’t wait until it’s here to get excited. Ask God to show you the reasons why you should be delighted today. Yesterday at the beginning of my last class I had to talk to another teacher in the hallway, so I was late by a couple of minutes. I did notice that the kids were quietly sitting down. When I came in, one of them said “Oh yeah he’s here.” Then I could feel his positive comment reverberate through the class as if all the other kids felt the same way. It’s hard to explain but I felt their excitement and their expectancy. The class was awesome and I left school feeling so good. It’s those little moments that make a difference but we can miss them easily if we have the wrong disposition. I encourage you to pray and seek the right disposition. Ask the Lord to open your heart wider and to let you develop the right disposition that will allow you to enjoy today and to live up every moment that is in front of you. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Today is where you are and it is exactly where you should be! Enjoy today. Great things are here for you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 118:24; lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 15:13