A church that hosts the presence of God

This weekend I am at a church conference in New Jersey. I love the Christian hospitality that has been displayed throughout the conference. People yielding their seats. People greeting strangers and calling each other family. People smiling and being stewards of the love of Jesus. I saw and felt a lot of love. There was an outpouring of love and I know that it is going to spill into the world and it will happen on a regular basis. I felt touched and transformed by the vision of that love being poured into the world. That is what Church is all about isn’t it? Church is the people. We are the Church and we are hosts of the presence of the Lord. Hosts that should transfer His presence into every community and every place we visit.

We are the Church of love, the Church of Jesus. I have noticed that in some churches when the doors open, people rush in like it’s Black Friday at Walmart. There has been none of that at the conference. I also loved how people came to worship Jesus and hear the good Word and not just to see the speaker who is a celebrity in many Christian circles. Jesus has been the reason for the celebration in this joyful season. People came to glorify Him and keep Him at the center. Everything this weekend has revolved around Jesus.

Keeping Jesus at the center should be the themes of our lives. I want it to be my main song. When people look at my life they should hear the melody of the Lord, songs from Heaven not because of me but because of Jesus in me. I want to be so devoted that my words, my smile and my actions ooze the glory of the Lord. I want to be so surrendered that people won’t see me but they will see Him. He is bigger than me. He is more important than me and that conference has been a great reminder of the place He has in my life and where I should be with Him. I should be under His majesty and letting Him be King. Be the One that matters the most. I saw Jesus all over the conference. He was on people’s faces. He was in their words. He was in their hearts and you could see that on the outside.

God-centered people have a spark and a glow that is like no other. They spread the love of Jesus and they have a mission to introduce Him to as many people as possible not just with words but with their deeds and their kindness. The world needs to hear from God-centered people. We need the love more than ever. We need the empathy and the goodness that change everything. We need hosts of the presence to shine the peace and the joy of the Lord. I have hope and I have faith that in the years to come there will be more manifestations of the glory of the Lord through the good hosts of His presence.

I wrote the first four paragraphs of this message right before one of the sessions started at the conference. I am writing this paragraph now sitting here in awe of the Lord. The message the presenter delivered at that session yesterday was about what I wrote in the first four paragraphs. The speaker talked about the Church being the vessel for God’s presence and God’s love. He spoke about how we should be the messengers that spread God’s love and that host the presence. The Holy Spirit knew what the presenter was going to talk about and He gave me a preview. This makes me think of how important the message is. Let’s be aware of the Lord in us and the need to share Him with everyone. His presence in us is meant to bless others. My prayer is that we all maintain His presence in us and that we stand as the Church that hosts His love and that gives it away freely! Let’s be the vessels of the Lord that the world needs!

Suggested reading: 2 Timothy 1:14; Ephesians 2:22; Ephesians 3:17

Hold on to hope

I love talking about hope. Hope is one of those things we can never have too much of. It’s the strength that gives us wings. It’s the power behind faith and the song whose lyrics bring joy every time we sing it. Hope should be part of our daily arsenal. Without hope it is hard to function. I get a nice dose of hope every day first thing in the morning when I have my devotional time with the Lord and when I get into the Word. If you want to give yourself a chance to have a good day, “enter the world” every day with the Lord. Make Him your wake-up call and your bedtime story. Center your day around Him. He knows hope. He is the author of hope. Jesus wants you to hold on to Him and hold on to hope today. I have no idea what’s going on in your life but hold on to hope. With the Lord there is always hope and the Lord is not going anywhere!

The Lord speaks the language of hope fluently. He created that beautiful language that echoes the essence of who He is. If you use His words on a daily basis, you will see that your discourse will be one of hope and that faith will grow as you keep speaking the Lord’s language. Hope is expressed in words and in actions. As we know, our actions speak louder than words so when we have hope we should act in a way that screams that we will make it, we are blessed, help is on the way and nothing will overcome us. Hope makes you get up and walk instead of staying sad on your couch sulking. Hope makes you smile. Hope makes you dance. Hope speaks volumes when you praise and worship despite the avalanche of tribulations. Speak the language of hope today through your actions. Let the enemy hear you loud and clear as you tell him that hope is your middle name when he tries to lie to your face.  

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” ( 1 Corinthians 2:9). This is a great verse that should give us hope every time we think of it. You love God so this verse applies to you. It basically says that the things to come in your life are so amazing that no one has seen or even heard of them. How encouraging is that?! Keep your hope in the Lord. He has prepared great things for you. What you are going through now doesn’t compare to what’s coming. Stay encouraged! Tattoo this verse on your heart and let hope rise every time your heart beats and the beautiful verse comes alive. Hope is here to stay and so is the Lord. Turn to Him. Stay in Him. Hold on to Him. He won’t let you down. Keep your hopes up! Keep hoping for the best because the best is yet to come!
Suggested reading: Isaiah 64:4; Psalm 30:5; James 1:12

You are forgiven 

It’s sad to think that many people don’t see God as a merciful God. They perceive Him as an angry God who is out to get them. They think that their sins are keeping them away from God all the time. This is far from being the truth. For one thing, God sent His Son so we could have eternal life and so that our sins would be forgiven. I love the message of eternal life but I also love the part that tells us that are sins are forgiven. Sin shouldn’t be taboo. We need to talk about it in the light of the Word of God. He forgives us. That doesn’t give us a license to sin but it is reassurance that every time we do sin, and we all do, there is forgiveness available. Micah 7:18-19 says “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” God has mercy and God is love first and foremost and love forgives and forgets.

I learned at a young age the importance of repentance. I make it a point to repent every day when I pray. It’s just a way for me to recognize who I am and what the Lord did. Repenting knowing that God forgives you is a great principle because it magnifies the archetypes; us being forgiven sinners and God being God in all His forgiving glory. It shows that we trust that God is always forgiving and it shows major respect for Him. What message are we sending if we never take the time to ask for forgiveness? Are we saying it doesn’t matter if we sin because Jesus was on the Cross? Repenting daily is like saying “Jesus died on the Cross for me and His atonement of my sins is still relevant today. I sin every day and He can forgive every day. Therefore I need to ask for forgiveness knowing that He will always forgive me.”

The key is to trust and believe that when we ask for forgiveness we receive it. How powerful it is to know that Jesus’ blood cleanses us and makes us whiter than the snow! It is a confidence booster. It allows us to go to the throne of God and ask for what we need. Once we know we are forgiven it’s easier to ask and know we shall receive. Let’s not hold on to sin but let’s release it every day by asking for forgiveness. Jesus in Matthew 4:17 admonished us to repent. We repented once when we accepted Him as our Savior but we have to continue to repent because we sin every day. Matthew 3:8 says “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Keeping with it means we need to continually do it. No one is perfect other than Jesus. Friend, we have a Lord who loves us and forgives us. Let’s not bring condemnation on ourselves but let’s give it all up and give it to God daily. 

Suggested reading: Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 50:20; Psalm 103:8-9

Let’s do it!

I attended a world language conference in Boston. One of the speakers talked about how we have been focusing on what the students knew and now the focus has shifted to what the students can do. This made me think about how as Christians we tend to focus on knowledge and not practice as much. We do a good job not only just memorizing scriptures but also gaining knowledge that we store in our mind. We listen to sermons, we go to Christian conferences and we play podcasts over and over again. These are amazing practices but when it comes to applying what we know, we probably get a low grade. Application is what makes someone stand out. The Lord said “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body” in Proverbs 4:20-22. If we are to keep His words in front of our eyes we should also put them into practice. Our problem might be that at times we just stare at the words passively and we don’t do anything about it. We concentrate a lot on the teaching we receive but not as much on the learning that needs to be applied. What are the advantages of applying the words of the Lord? He tells us that they are “health to our whole body.” His words will bless our physical body and our spiritual body. Friend, let’s be doers of the Word and not just listeners. Let’s enjoy what we are taught but let’s also apply it with passion. Our learning should show through our actions. This goes beyond our words. We can talk about it but we should also give it life through our deeds. Every time I put what I learn into action I get great results and I make big strides in my spiritual walk. Let’s do it!Suggested reading: Proverbs 5:1; Proverbs 7:1; Matthew 17:5

You will make it to your destination 

This week many of us are going to be traveling short or long distances. Some of us will be going to work, to school, to the grocery store, to the post office, to the park or just to our neighbors’. There is a lot to be said about traveling places. First let me remind you that we are blessed no matter where we are or where we go. This is an old promise that is still relevant today. Deuteronomy 28:3 promises that “we will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.” If you believe in the Lord, the blessing is here. I don’t pray for safe travels when I am going somewhere. If I remember, let’s be honest here, I thank God that I am blessed everywhere I am. I do expect things to go well and I know God will show up and show off if the enemy tries to put roadblocks on the way. Now, traveling is a great metaphor for our spiritual journey. This week we are going to be moving physically but we are also going to be making progress on our journey with the Lord. We are going to be blessed on the way to our spiritual destination. Wherever you stand with the Lord now my friend, remember that you are blessed. You might not have reached the heights that you see in fellow Christians but you are blessed regardless. The Lord is blessing you whether you are a spiritual infant or a strong grown up Christian. I love the books of Timothy because they deal with spiritual growth. 1 Timothy 4:12 declares “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” If we are young in the Lord it shouldn’t keep us from doing God’s work and being examples to others. Besides, like I just said, we are still blessed. We go on a number of journeys all the time. We could be on a journey to healing, a journey to financial restoration, a journey to a more intimate relationship with Jesus or a journey to some sort of victory. The land traveled to our destination is not always an easy road but friend, we are blessed! The Lord is going with us. He will bring us to our destination. All we have to do is thank Him that we are blessed on the journey. We are blessed at the starting point and at our arrival as well. Your journey might be short distance or long distance but rest assured that you will make it. With Jesus you are going to make it. Don’t let the delays, the cancellations and the slow drivers deter you. Nothing can stop the Lord. It could look like your destination is a thousand miles away but Jesus will get you there in a way you didn’t expect. He knows all the detours and the shortcuts. He will place you in the fast lane. Whether you have to turn right or left, He will give you the right of way. The Lord was on your journey when He hung on the Cross and after three days He arrived to His destination with victory. Put all your trust in Him this week. The journey just began and it will end well. Safe travels! You are on a blessed journey. 

Suggested reading: Genesis 39:5; Psalm 107:36-37; Titus 2:7