Have fun while you are waiting for the party 

A few nights ago I had a dream that there was a party in Heaven. The Holy Spirit was singing a song to Jesus and the music that came out of Him looked like colors and there were no sounds. I don’t remember much about the dream but it was breathtaking and it left a great impression on me. The Bible often refers to people celebrating and rejoicing over the Lord in Heaven. We are told that there is rejoicing in Heaven when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). The heavenly host praises God all the time. It is a big party with very intense joy. There is no tears and no crying in Heaven. How fantastic is that?! When a blessing comes into our lives the joy that accompanies it slightly mirrors the joy in Heaven. Blessings and breakthroughs are good opportunities to celebrate and have a good old Holy Ghost time! Now, are we supposed to have fun in the Lord and rejoice only when the blessing or the party is here? Does God expect us to remain gloomy until we get what we are waiting for? This message today aims at encouraging you to have fun while you are waiting for the party. 

I like to think about what is going on in Heaven now. There is a lot of love flowing all over the place stemming from the Lord who is the center of attention and the focus there. He is the Sun that brightens everything, the source of everything and the adoration of everyone. With the Lord in the middle of all things there can only be bliss and merriment. The angels, the spirits, the elders and the saints are singing about Jesus and exalting His wonderful name. Sadness has no place in Heaven and deception is non existent. As much as I love to think about all the excitement in Heaven, I can’t help but know that the party atmosphere over there is also meant for us here today. If we wait for the sweet by and by to enjoy Heaven, we are missing out. After all we are invited to pray “May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Heaven on earth is a biblical reality that we should embrace. 

Fun in the Lord is for us to experience now, today and on a daily basis. The Lord wants you to praise and worship Him because He knows how good it is for you. He inhabits your praises and when you make it a point to lift Him up, He lifts you up to a higher level of joy. Oftentimes the answer to our problem is found in our rejoicing over the Lord. When we rejoice over Him, we shift our focus from our problems to the ultimate problem solver. Praising Him brings us closer to Him. The closer you get, the further you will be from the defeated mindset. Just a touch of His presence and our trials start to look smaller and smaller. Revel in the Lord regularly and your life will take a turn for the better. When you delight in God you release His power into your circumstances and you can be sure that things are going to change in a way that will surpass your wildest expectations. Friend, have fun in the Lord and find joy in Him while you are waiting for your victory. The Lord wants us to have fun and to enjoy life all the time and not just when things are going well. Have a Jesus celebration today and be ready to witness Heaven on earth!

Suggested reading: Psalm 148:2; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 10:36

Stay strong

Courage is something we all need and it is uplifting to see that we are told to be courageous many times in the Bible. I find it encouraging because if it said a few times it means that it is doable. We can be courageous. The Lord wouldn’t ask us to do something out of reach. It does often feel like we have to reach out and grab the hand of courage and hang on to it very tight until we make it through. The Lord’s hand is the ultimate hand of courage. If we hold on to Him He will carry us through the worst times in our lives. We need to be courageous and brave indeed. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to” Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” We can be courageous and strong in the Lord. It is not our power and not our strength. I have noticed that when things get really bad, something really good is coming right behind it. It seems that the enemy likes to turn up the heat when a blessing is on the way. He wants to distract us and discourage us and that is why we should be courageous. It might look like things are going to get worse and worse and they do sometimes. However, if we stay in faith even during the trials, we will experience an unprecedented victory. Let’s stay strong. 

I like to think that I can put up with a lot and that I can remain strong in many situations. Then something out of the blue comes up that tests my strength. The only One that gets me through it is the Lord. His comforting voice appeases me. This reminds me of when I am working out at the gym. At times the weights are too heavy and I want to give up. Then my trainer motivates me and his voice helps me. It’s the same thing with the Holy Spirit. When I feel like giving up, His voice inside of me stimulates me. Here is something that has proven to work for me. When the opposition gets strong, I know that the Lord is going to do something stronger. I don’t welcome the opposition but I see it as a sign that something amazingly good is about to take place. When Jesus was born there was a lot of opposition. King Herod tried to get Him killed. Many babies were killed. The enemy knew the King of kings was going to do some major damage to his kingdom. Nonetheless the opposition didn’t get its way and the Savior lived and accomplished the most beautiful thing ever. 

Friend, look at your trials today as a platform to not only exercise your faith but to also show the enemy that truly the Lord in you is stronger than him. Threaten the opposition with the words of the Lord. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. It’s not always easy but stay strong and be courageous. Stay motivated by the voice of the Holy Spirit. His voice is in His Word, in sermons, in music and in prayer as well. You are stronger than you think. It’s time you were reminded of the One who is in you and with you. He can do all things and He certainly can spot you when you are doing some heavy lifting. Stay strong! The enemy wouldn’t be coming at you so fiercely if there wasn’t anything great around the corner. Keep walking and keep going. You are going to make it to the corner of Blessed Street and Amazing Avenue. The Lord has a way to surprise us with unexpected blessings. Don’t lose faith! Your strength is in the Lord!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 31:6-8; 1 Chronicles 28:20; 1 Corinthians 15:58

It will work out for the best 

Yesterday I had a 4 pm training session at the gym. I had not brought a change of clothes with me to work so I had to stop by my house. When I got home I found a notice from FedEx saying that a package was waiting for me at the post office. Because of my busy schedule, I figured I wouldn’t be able to go to the post office until the end of next week. As I was ready to leave my house, my trainer texted and said that something had come up and he had to cancel our session. This allowed me to go to the post office and get the package that I had been waiting for patiently. The other interesting thing is that I had received a letter from my bank and I had been wanting to call them to talk about refinancing my house. I had time to call them as well and an hour later I was pre-approved. Everything worked out nicely. The Lord told me deep down inside that this is exactly how He operates. He makes sure that all things work out for our best. What happened yesterday was on a small or medium scale but He takes care of the big things as well. If only we could look at the big picture and see that God paints it all for us, we would have a different perspective on life. God is the maker and we are the clay. Today I want you to think of God as the master painter in charge of painting all the details of your life. The big and small ones. If you stay in faith you will be introduced to marvelous and beautiful paintings and you will understand that God is working on your behalf even when things are not going well. 

I’ve always liked the idea of “a big picture.” The big picture of our lives reveals our purpose and why we are here. My conviction is that I am here to serve the Lord and I live for Him. Am I always aware of it? No. Should I be? Yes, definitely. That is my journey and my destination. When I look at the big picture, I can’t see it all. That’s why they call it the big picture. It is so big that we can’t see all of its features. The best thing to do with this big picture is to trust the Lord. We need to rely on Him and believe that He has everything figured out. We don’t and even when we think we do, the picture is so big that we miss some of it. I like to proclaim that God knows what He is doing. The post office, the gym session being canceled and the call to the bank are just a small example but all of these details working together to form the perfect line-up for my afternoon were God ordained. What boggles my mind is that the Lord had planned this a long time ago. Even before I was born. Friend, God knows all the details of what you want and what you need. He knows you better than you know yourself and He knows what will happen to you. He is never shocked by the bad breaks. Trust Him. He can change a bad break into a blessed opportunity. 

Looking back I can see how God’s hand has been busy taking care of me and my loved ones. I trust that it is important to recognize it and to thank Him for everything He does for us. It is good to be aware and to be appreciative. I once asked Him to open my eyes to what He does so I wouldn’t miss a thing. It is a good prayer to say. How many times has God intervened but our mind was too cluttered to understand it? God has some great plans for your life. Plans to bless you and to lift you up. He is in charge. Rely on Him. Make Him your source and your resource. He longs to be in a partnership with you and shower you with love. Let go of the paint brushes. Let Him do what He does best. Keep praying. Keep praising. Stay strong in the Lord. It will all work out for the best. The Lord will make sure it does!

Suggested reading: Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 5:10; James 1:3-4

Keep fighting the good fight of faith 

I have had a lot of opportunities to practice what I preach lately and to stay true to what I believe. It’s nice to have all the most fascinating theories in the world but if we can’t put them into action they won’t serve much of a purpose. What I want to tell you today is that there truly is hope in the darkest of places. The dark places don’t have to be external places but they can be found in our head and within our thoughts. It’s crazy how far off we can be when we rely on our mind when it is not renewed. We can be our own worst enemy. We don’t need the enemy’s assistance. We can dive in head first without the enemy pushing us over the edge. Things don’t always look the way they are. Things can look worse than they are but we only see what we think we should see or what we want to see. That’s where free will comes in. You can be the most powerful person in the world but if you only focus on your shortcomings and your flaws, the power you have won’t do you any good because you won’t be able to recognize it. With the Lord in your life, you are that very powerful person but you have to recalibrate, clear your mind at times, keep your focus on the Lord and acknowledge Him in all you do. If you don’t, you will not tap into the power He has made available to you. It’s the good fight of faith.

Going back to the idea of hope in the worst places, I need to say that we sometimes have to jumpstart hope and infuse it in our lives. I found myself in a situation where hope seemed to have left the building. I looked for it in every corner of my mind and my heart but I just couldn’t locate it. I was simply looking in all the wrong places. I found it where the Lord was. He was in my positive confessions. He was in the words of hope that I knew I had to say but I didn’t go there right away. I started speaking about what the Lord was doing behind the scenes. I started declaring great things and saying things that were totally the opposite of what my circumstances looked like. Within minutes my outlook changes. Within minutes I felt the soothing presence of the Lord rise up in me. Friend, speaking His words help you line up with Him and puts you on a higher level of confidence and hope. I am sharing this with you because it does work. It was a very difficult time but peace came and wrapped me in its arms in a way that nothing else could. Consult the Lord in the affairs of life and He will take care of your problems. 

What I would like for you to get out of this message is that yes sometimes things look bad or very bad but no you don’t have to settle for that. We have the authority and the right to contest what the enemy is trying to do in our lives. We have the freedom to speak against the false realities of life and invoke the truth of the Lord. We shouldn’t succumb and we shouldn’t surrender. There is a powerful way to live and it implies constantly reverting to the Lord and professing Him as Savior and deliverer in all things. I suggest you stand your ground and refuse to bow down to the difficulties you are facing. Trust me, I know how disturbing they can be and I also know that our Lord can shake any plans of the enemy. He can turn the worst earthquake into the best solid land where all you need to do is walk in peace with love as a blanket when it gets a little cold. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. You will win in the end because God always has the final say. Let Him speak on your behalf!

Suggested reading: Colossians 3:15; 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:12

Leaving the grave behind 

The band Hillsong United just came out with a great new album. The song that has touched me the most so far is “So Will I (100 Billion X).” One of the lyrics goes “If You left the grave behind You so will I.” What a powerful statement?! How many of us are holding on to the grave so to speak when Jesus left it behind? He didn’t leave it behind just for Himself. He did it for you and me. We need to work on developing a “grave left-behind mentality.” 1 Corinthians 15:55 tells us that death has no victory and no sting anymore. Death was overcome by Jesus. With this victory came an eternal perspective that we as believers should have. That perspective doesn’t look at the grave. It looks at the victory and Jesus’ authority over death. Now, the grave symbolizes everything that pertains to a life without the Lord. We shouldn’t be attached to any of it. We should live in the fullness of the victory over the grave. 

We can look at this whole idea as the difference between life and death. Death being represented by the grave and life being represented by Jesus’ resurrection. There are two camps and we choose one of the two or better said we side with one of the two depending on what we do and what we say. We know that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If we choose to talk negatively we are siding with death. If we constantly believe that things are not going to get better, that we are prone to curses or bad luck, we are siding with death as well. If we complain all the time and belittle the Lord with our whining, we side with death. Siding with death or “sticking with the grave” doesn’t mean that we are not saved. It just means that we are depriving ourselves of the blessings and the life the Lord has provided for us. Accepting defeat, lack and loss is another way to side with the wrong camp. Just like the song says, we need to leave the grave behind!

Recently I had a big choice to make. A choice that we have to make all the time. I was faced with a situation where it was very easy for me to hang on to the wrong side and be very miserable. I could choose to leave the grave behind or live as if the grave was my lot or my fate. It was very difficult. I had to choose faith and life. I didn’t have to but I wanted to. We do have a choice, friend. Let’s always choose to leave the grave behind. Let’s choose to go forward without looking back at our old life and at the misery that once was. We have free will and we ought to use it for the best. I think sometimes we don’t think that we have a choice when we really do. Whatever happens to us we can decide how we are going to react. I like to have a Jesus’ reaction. The type of reaction that says “the grave has no power over me. It is behind me and it’s not in my future. My future is brighter than the sun at midday and the Lord is my Shepherd any day!”  

Suggested reading: Matthew 12:35-37; Ephesians 4:29; James 3:6-9

A positive attitude goes a long way

I always say that the first step towards faith is having a positive attitude. We too often fall into a pessimistic mindset that hinders us from developing faith. Faith looks at life in a positive light. It doesn’t get scared by dark skies and heavy winds. It sees beauty in all situations and it touches the heart of God because it lines up with Him nicely. Being positive is something we should strive for. We should do our best to stay centered in the positive outlook that the Lord has. If the Lord looks at everything with hope and with the knowledge that it will all be just fine then we ought to have the same vision of things. Today I encourage you to keep being positive in all things. Be positive when your circumstances call for the opposite. When you find yourself in a dismal situation, staying positive will help you get to where faith shines and it will enable you to get a breakthrough. Stay positive in everything and you will see God’s hand at work in your life. 

Positivity is the practice of being optimistic in attitude. When you are optimistic you hope for the best. Because we have a relationship with the Lord, we should always expect the very best. He is the best there is and He offers only the best of everything. He is the best of the best and that’s what He wants to give you. We need more positive people in this world. Be that positive light that can pierce through the darkness and bring hope into people’s lives. Think about how positive the Lord is and imitate Him. Think positive thoughts and speak positive thoughts. I find that sometimes speaking positive words comes more easily than thinking them. Speaking positivity creates a pathway for God to set things into motion. Your positivity will cling on to faith and usher you into a better life. They say that a positive life starts with a positive mind!

I strongly suggest keeping a positive attitude when the world would want you to have a pessimistic attitude. It is counterproductive for a lot of people but it truly is the best thing we can do. God loves faith and He loves positive attitudes. Every time you are being positive, you are causing great things to happen. See positivity as the red carpet to a world of blessings and amazing things. Your positivity allows the Lord to act on your favor. It also shows the world that there is a better way to be than the negative way. Being optimistic will make your day more fun and more enjoyable. Philippians 4:8 talks about what we should focus on that is good. It says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” All these things mentioned are positive and they will give you a positive outlook in life. Try it on a daily basis and see how your optimistic attitude becomes contagious and touches a lot of people. 

Suggested reading: James 3:17; Titus 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:12

You are righteous 

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). If Jesus is your Savior and if you accepted Him into your heart then you are the righteous one that this verse is talking about. You don’t have to be Moses or David to pray effective prayers. You were made the righteousness of God so your prayers are powerful. As you go through this week, I want you to remember this amazing scripture. God hears your prayer and God answers your prayer. You are a righteous person and you say powerful prayers. The question is, are you aware of how effective and powerful your prayers are? Have faith that your prayers are good and they are going to produce great results. 

There is a very interesting exercise I suggest you should do. Look for verses in the Bible that talk about “the righteous” and substitute that word with your name or with “I” or “me”. You will see better how the Bible is talking about you. For instance Psalm 112:6 says that “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.” You can read it as “Surely I will never be shaken; I will be remembered forever.” You are righteous and nothing should shake you. This is part of your heritage. It is a privilege that you need to claim and to start believing. There are many privileges that we have as the righteous people of God but we are not aware of them and we don’t live their fullness in our lives. Effective prayers is one of them like I mentioned earlier. Let’s make a point to grow in faith and believe that. 

I enjoy praying very much especially because I know I am heard by the Lord. I have accepted that I was made righteous by Jesus. I don’t shy away from Him and I go boldly to the throne of God in prayer. I talk to Him about anything and everything and He answers anything and everything. Friend, whatever you say in prayer this week say it with confidence. Say it knowing that your prayers are effective and powerful. You don’t need a special lingo to talk to God. Just speak your heart. Your prayers are excellent prayers. I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me how to pray and it all came together naturally. I sometimes wonder where the words come from and I marvel at how good He is. Thank God for the privilege of being able to pray to Him! Start your week with the knowledge that you are righteous and that you are going to get answers to your powerful prayers. God is with you. He loves you and He takes care of you. You are His righteous child!

Suggested reading: Psalm 15:5; Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 10:7