God works behind the scenes 

I have been on an inspirational kick. I not only listen to uplifting music but I also read my Bible more and spend time meditating on God’s Word. The past few nights have been phenomenal. I have a loft in my house that is dedicated to prayer and quiet time. I pray in my room in the morning but I go up to the loft every night to spend time in the Lord’s presence away from all distractions. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. As I was in meditative prayer the other night, I thought about how God is always active and how He works in our lives even when we are not aware of it. This morning I read a quote that reinforces that idea. The quote says “Sometimes God works secretly and behind the scenes, but He will reveal His work for us when the time is right.” Just because we don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The God of behind the scenes is busy polishing things, sprucing up corners of our life story, cleaning up messes and organizing the next chapter of our lives. He does more than we know. Our job is to praise Him while we are waiting. His job is to set up the scene and get everything ready. He has a plan. Let’s trust and believe that He knows what He is doing. 

When Jesus was born, there wasn’t a huge announcement around the world. Some people knew about it. The Three Kings knew. King Herod knew and tried to get rid of Him. Jesus grew up behind the scenes. His education and His upbringing were not displayed for everyone to see for a while. There were a few instances when as a kid He was preaching to a crowd but His ministry wasn’t widely publicized. He grew up as the son of a carpenter. He didn’t grow up as a king that everyone could visit and admire. He didn’t officially minister to the sick until He was an adult. The time before that was all preparation behind the curtains. God was working behind the scenes and most of the world wasn’t aware of it. Then God revealed His work at the right time. He performed miracles. He saved lives. He preached the Gospel. He changed the course of everything. 

Today you might be in God’s preparation phase. You might be waiting for a breakthrough, for an answer to your prayers. Rest assured that God is working behind the scenes. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He is getting everything ready. He will come through for you. He has a plan. You will get what you need. Stay in faith and know that what is to come is exactly what you need. The Lord has most likely not revealed any part of His plan for you yet but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan. Enjoy the time of growth and development as you are waiting. Enjoy this time. God is giving you this time for you to live life to the fullest. It’s not a time of regression. It’s not a delay. It’s all preparation and fine tuning. There are many parties involved in your situation and each of them is getting squared away. Last summer I started meditating on the truth that God knows what He is doing and I don’t need to understand it all. I still hold on to that truth during prayer time. Friend, something beautiful is happening behind the scenes right now. God is working on your behalf. When the right time comes, you will see it come to pass. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: John 12:37-43; Romans 8:27-37; Galatians 3:6-9

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He will make a way

Music is a big part of my life. I can’t imagine my life without it. I have been listening to a lot of inspirational songs lately. One of them is “Make a way” by Jon Egan. It is a very encouraging song that highlights God’s ability to make a way when there seems to be no way. That’s how I see God. That’s how I have experienced God in my life. I have had my share of “No ways”. I have seen doors closed and I have seen roads blocked but He has proven time and time again that when there is no way, He can make a way. I spent many a times trying to figure out how I would get out of some impossible situations. In my own power I knew there was nothing that could be done. God’s mercy is greater than we will ever know. It blows my mind how great His love is and how much grace we can receive. Today I am here to tell you that the lyrics to the song “Make a way” can echo a beautiful truth in your life and God’s promise with power and might. 

Isaiah 43:16 declares “I am the Lord who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.” The sea is where we struggle and try to make our way in life. I am sure you have been in the seas before thinking you would never see the land again. You have felt like you were swimming and swimming and the shore was nowhere in sight. The Lord has a different take on things. He knows He can part the seas. He knows that there are no waters too deep for Him. He can make our path dry even in the middle of the worst waters. Take heart today. The Lord is going to get you on safe and dry land. You are about to walk and run and enjoy a much better environment. He did it before and He is going to do it. Think all of the times you have been faced with a wall. If there is a wall now, it’s about to come down. 

Remember that God is the One who will make a way. He can do it completely independently from you. Every time I have found myself desperate with my back against the wall I have turned to God for help. I have prayed to my Rescuer knowing that I couldn’t make things work for myself. Do you know what He has done? Every time He has first made His way through my thoughts, my fears and my doubts. Once He is in there, confusion goes away. Faith rises and there is hope. Once He is in there, I can start seeing the light. He parts the doubts like He parted the sea so I can walk on the dry land of faith. He always makes a way and it’s often not my way. He holds the keys. He holds the answers. Impossible is not in His vocabulary. There is no impasse too complicated for Him. I pray that the lyrics to the song “Make a way” become the chorus of your everyday life! God will make a way. Stay encouraged!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 51:10; Psalm 77:19; Psalm 106:9

It doesn’t matter how you feel

“I am not feeling it” is what I used to say all the time. Every time I believed that something wasn’t going to happen I would vocalize it and just show my lack of faith. I relied on my feelings too much. It’s easy for us to do that. Our feelings are just such a big part of who we are. They are what we know and what we are familiar with. They help us apprehend the world. They are our point of contact with the outside. They are indicators and evaluators. We use them to gauge things, to gauge life. We walk by feelings and not by faith most of the time. Once it dawned on me that it didn’t matter how I felt, I started seeing life through a new lens. The lens of faith became wider and my feelings took a backseat. Faith doesn’t consider feelings. It considers the truth and it sticks with the truth in spite of everything. Jesus is the best example of faith over feelings. He spoke life into existence because He spoke faith into His circumstances and into other people’s circumstances. When we ditch our feelings and we cling on to faith, we will speak life into the most “impossible” situations and amazing events will unfold. 

I wish I could get rid of all the feelings that stall my spiritual progress. At times I can but for the most part it’s a battle. The battle of faith is worth fighting. The more you fight that battle, the easier it gets. I take my feelings into captivity a lot. How do I do that? I think about them. I analyze them and then I quarantine them during meditative prayer. Quarantining our feelings requires taking a step back and looking at them from another perspective. First we shouldn’t brush them off. We need to deal with them head on and neutralize them by shedding God’s light on them. For instance if you are experiencing feelings of fear, recognize them for what they are and then present them to the Lord. See what the Lord has to say about fear. Meditate on that. God doesn’t want us to have fear so in your mind you can repeat that fear has no place in you. God didn’t give you fear. God is above fear and God is with you so fear has to go. Spend time meditating on it until your feelings are surrounded by what God has to say about them. Isolate them. You can even picture yourself destroying them. I like to see myself crashing feelings with my Bible. My Bible has power and authority and I envision its power as a tool to squeeze out unwanted feelings. 

You can also speak directly against those unwanted feelings. You can chase them away. Whatever helps is what you should do. Just don’t hold on to bad feelings when you should be walking in faith. Let your faith be more prevalent in your life than your feelings. Get well-acquainted with faith. Faith should become a way of life that is stronger than our feelings. I know it’s not easy but it’s feasable. Find the system that will allow you to take off your feelings like you would be taking off an old shirt that you have worn too many times. Don’t worry when your feelings start having holes in them. It’s a good sign. It shows that they are not a part of you as much anymore. Feelings can truly be misleading and God doesn’t operate in the realm of feelings. He inhabits the faith sphere. Expand that sphere as you feed on His Word and you stay positive even when things are not going your way. Remember, it doesn’t matter how your feel. Believing that God has your back is what matters. The way the enemy gets under your skin is not relevant to the outcome of your present situation. Wear faith over your feelings. It’s the best outfit ever! Speak faith over your feelings and you will speak great situations into your life. 

Suggested reading: John 7:38; 1 John 5:5; James 1:6

How to choose the best place to live

We all live in different places. Not just physical places but spiritual places as well. We create our own spiritual places. We choose our base, we choose our surroundings and we choose what our place is made of. We can choose to live in a place where fear is in every corner. We can choose to live in a place paved with faith. We can choose to live in a blended place that has fear and faith mixed up and where ups and downs are a way of life. What does your place look like? Are you aware of your power of creation? A lot of it is up to you. I choose to live in a place where I know anything (good) can take place. I choose to live in a place where the Holy Spirit occupies every crack and every spot. I try to anyway to the best of my ability. The place I live in has a resident who is dominating. I let the Lord take over my place. I allow Him to paint the walls the colors He likes and to build up my place brick by brick. You can decide what your place is going to look like. If the Lord is your interior designer, you will have the best looking place in your (spiritual) neighborhood. 

The Bible talks about a place that the Lord has prepared for us. It is mentioned in Genesis, in Exodus and even in the New Testament. As we are waiting for that place, we have access to a place here and now. A place where we can enjoy life to the fullest. A place we can reach through faith. Like I said earlier, we all live in a place that is conditioned by many factors. The main factor is how level of faith. We create this place whether we know it or not. It symbolizes where we stand in life. It depicts the beauty or the dullness of our everyday life. It outlines the light in us or the darkness within. It shows our choice to follow the Lord or our commitment to the world. It describes our relationship with God or our connection with anything that is not God. This place can also be described by the fruit we bear. Is it fruit from a well-oiled production chain from the Lord or it is a collection of old fruit that can’t be used? We all want the place we live in to reflect the good fruit of the Lord. It is up to us what our place will entail. 

The upkeep of a good place is important. In the physical we need to keep a place in order, we need to clean it and take care of it if we want it to look nice. The same goes for our spiritual place. A spiritual place can stay in order when we keep certain vital items in place. It requires a Bible, faith, prayers, praise and worship and lots of love sprinkled in every corner. It also calls for a healthy balance of the fruit of the Spirit. The place will look great if we focus on the fruit and water it every day. Galatians 5:22-23 mentions the fruit. I also believe that our spiritual place can look extremely beautiful if we make it a priority to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in that place. Not just once a week but every single day. It’s that kind of place that makes us feel strong, secure and protected. It also reminds us that nothing is impossible. It’s the best place to be on any given day. Spiff up your place with God’s help. You will love living there!

Suggested reading: Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9

Still know that He is God

When the song “Still” by Hillsong came out over ten years ago, it quickly became the anthem of my life for a long period. I didn’t have what I have now at the time but I had my faith and the Lord was my anchor. That’s all I needed. I learned some valuable faith lessons back then. Those lessons stayed with me even though I went through the wilderness for many years after that. The song calls for help from the Lord. It starts with a request for protection. I knew back then that He was the only refuge I could rely on. My circle of friends was small at the time and I didn’t have a church to go to but I had found the secret. The secret is that as long as you have God in your life it doesn’t matter who you don’t have or what you don’t have, you have all you need. My life was like a boat tossed around on rocky oceans and every day a storm would come and try to destroy my faith. Every day I would say “No, not today. I know whom I belong to. This will not last”. Every time I listened to the lyrics of the song, I felt stronger. 

When the oceans rise and thunders roar I will soar with You above the storm” is the lyric that kept me going. It encouraged me to always go back to God and to let go of my old ways of falling into the trap of self-pity and sadness. Sadness did come. Oh Yes it came strong and mighty but something always rose up in me. I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t give in. I just knew too much. I refused to believe that my life was going to be a succession of failures and shortcomings. I knew that with the Lord I wouldn’t come short. I may not have had much for some time but deep in my heart His voice whispered that it was temporary. His voice sang that I would soar above the storm with Him. I was in good company. It’s His promises that got me through it all. It’s my faith in His promises that sealed the deal. I saw Him as the King He was and a King is powerful in the land . He was powerful in my land!

Father You are King over the flood. I will be still, know that you are God.” What amazing words! He is God. Think about it. It didn’t matter what people said, who was against me, who pointed out my lacks, He pointed out my gains. My gains were in my faith and my confidence. I wouldn’t quit. I had the faith of a child who knew that God was on his side. He was King over the flood. The enemy would try to drown me but my King would make me float on the waves and get me to shore nice and dry. Being still was key. I adopted that posture. It meant keeping my cool and it showed through the prayers and the worship I sang despite the adversity. If you are in a situation today where you have nothing, where you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, stay still knowing that God is still God. He is still King. The storms don’t change His title. He is still almighty. Find rest in Him. Know that He has power. He is still on the throne. Stay still. His promises will come to pass!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 4:6; Job 30:22; Matthew 8:24

Anything can happen

We have seen some very tragic things happen this year. Shootings have gone out of control. Natural disasters have wrought more havoc than ever before. All these terrible events have augmented our faith in the possibility of witnessing horrible situations. They have increased our fear of the evil in this world. Anything bad is possible. At times it appears difficult to reconcile God’s promises with what’s happening in the world. God never denies the existence of evil but He emphasizes the existence of good that can overcome. “Anything bad is possible “ is a true statement but according to the Lord “Anything good is possible” as well. I am inviting you this week to proclaim that anything good is possible. A storm could hit our lives this week the way Ophelia is going to hit Ireland but let’s hold on to hope that something good can also overtake us!

The more bad things happen to us and the easier it is to have faith in bad things. We think that only bad things are coming in our future. We believe that the bad will repeat itself and we see it as a permanent fixture in our lives. Renewing our mind the way the Bible encourages us to do, leads us to push away that kind of thinking. The enemy can be unpredictable so is God. God can do the impossible and He can do it when we least expect it. Thinking that He can indeed give us some positive surprises is a great way to think. I shared an amazing God intervention in my message yesterday. The truth is that I had not thought about it in a while. I recommend keeping a record of all the good the Lord has done. When the enemy keeps a record of all our shortcomings, the Lord has a record of all our qualities, all the good things He has done and all the good things He will do for us. 

Anything good can happen anytime. I am going to keep that idea in mind all week. I am going to have an attitude of expectancy that defies the challenges that might come my way. I will celebrate the Lord each day and thank Him that anything good can happen. It is when we expect good things that good things can happen. God’s timing is perfect and we need to remember that. I want my life to be a testimony that shows that God specializes in good things and although bad things have happened and will continue to happen, the good things of the Lord outweigh them. I am praying that good things happen to you all this week. I am praying for events of biblical proportions that will shake your world and open you up to the signs and wonders that are available to you. Have a blessed week!

Suggested reading: Genesis 11:6; Mark 9:23; Romans 8:31

When God shows up at the last minute 

There are a few instances in the Bible when God seems to be acting at the last minute or when it is too late according to our standards. When Jesus tells His disciples that Lazarus is dead I am sure they thought “Well there is nothing that can be done.” At first He tells them that he had fallen asleep but then He explained that he was indeed dead. This didn’t stop Him from visiting Lazarus and “waking him up”. This account is a demonstration of how the impossible is not impossible to God. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed dead and God came in and resurrected your circumstances? He came in and brought back life where there was no life, no hope, no future. God can do that. “Too late” is not something that bothers Him. If only we could be on the same page and thought the same way, we would see amazing things happen. Let me tell you about a time when God resurrected a situation in my life. 

I went to the University of Connecticut for part of my undergraduate work and for grad school. I enjoyed UConn a lot as an undergrad and going there for grad school is what I really wanted but it was going to be too expensive. I remember talking to a woman from church who truly encouraged me. She had received a word of knowledge from the Lord about my time at UConn . She told me to stay in faith because God was going to provide for me and He would give me room and board and pay for my tuition. It all sounded too good to be true but I had seen God move in mighty ways in my life before. I had highlighted a few scriptures in my Bible that I read over and over again. Faith was my only resort. I had nothing to lose. I made up my mind and believed despite of it all. God showed up and showed off when I least expected it. 

When I was an undergrad student, God put some amazing people in my life. People that were genuinely nice and who ended up helping me out a lot. My advisor took me under her wing. She supported me and filled out the sponsorship paperwork for me. She wasn’t going to sponsor me but she said she was willing to do that until I get some type of financial aid. I was a bit nervous. Much to my surprise I not only got accepted into the grad program but they also gave me a teaching assistantship which paid for my tuition in exchange for teaching undergrad students. They also gave me a stipend. I applied to become a Graduate assistant for a residence hall. That assistantship would pay for room and board plus another stipend. I didn’t get the job. They chose someone else. I was devastated.  

I remember praying my heart out and crying out for help. I found a room for rent at an old gentleman’s house. The room was small and the man had a lot of rules but I didn’t seem to have any other choice. I thought that was the answer to my prayers. 8 days before school started, on a Sunday afternoon, I received a call from a man named Chuck who asked me if I was still interested in being a Grad assistant for the dorms he supervised. I couldn’t believe my ears. I said “Yes” of course and I became his assistant for a year. Not only did they pay for my meals but they also gave me a nice apartment on campus. After Chuck left I continued being a Grad assistant for the dorms and when I was done with my studies they even offered me a full time job as a Residence hall director. I chose to become a teacher instead. God delivered what He has promised. The word of knowledge came to pass and He supplied my needs in an amazing way. Stay encouraged, friend! The God of the last minute can do more than you can imagine!

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 32:17; John 11; Matthew 19:26