Advancing The Gospel…

Your hard work is not in vain. The hard work you are putting in will produce that degree, will start that business, and will help you get healthy. Your hard work is cementing a future, the work is achieving a goal, and your work is producing change.

Work produces work. We have to ask ourselves if the work we are doing matters, for the Kingdom. Yes, working out will make us healthy-but does it matter in the course of eternity? Will the degree we receive position the generations coming behind us? Will the new business further the Gospel?

What you do, what has happened to you, must be viewed the lens of the Gospel. How does your story-the hard work, the victories, and the tragedies-affect the advancement of the Gospel? Let’s look to the Word for direction:

Will we make this declaration? The victories, the turmoil-will we declare that what has happened to us has served to advance the Gospel? Believers must see their life’s story through the lens of the Gospel! You and your degrees and trauma, your powerful and murky testimony, can be used to tell the world about Christ! This is the design of the Gospel, to use those who have been called to tell the world about Christ, with their light and life, to tell all who will listen, how they have overcome! All of who we are can advance the Gospel.

Jesus sat at the well with a woman who had 5 husbands and used her position and story to tell the world that the Messiah had come! He used a Samaritan who was with a man who wasn’t her husband, how good is the Father! Please don’t think that your story isn’t worthy enough to be a tool to point the world to our Savior.

We know you’ve been through, we know that you’ve accomplished much and we know that you’ve overcome so many trials-your beautiful and messy and complicated story can be used to advance the Gospel!

Peace and Blessings

Trailblazer…

It’s Black History Month and we are learning about African American trailblazers. Those folks who were the first to do something, those who broke societal ceilings, and those who weathered the racial climate to achieve their goals. One may say that the season of the trailblazer is over, we say, quite the contrary!

Those African American pioneers were making the way for those coming behind them! They may not have even been aware of what they were creating-all they knew is that the job had to be down-and they said yes! So the season of the trailblazer is far from over! There is so much more work to be done.

You are a trailblazer! The generations behind you are waiting for you to make the path, the generations behind you need you to achieve your goal, those behind you need the barriers to be broken so that they can walk through the door. That may be a scary thought, but know that you are not alone-the Father is with you! The Word says so:

Yes, the first stoplight has been created. Open heart surgery has already been done. Integration has already been done. You may not have your name in history books but you may have your name in your family’s story as the first marriage that didn’t end in divorce. You blaze the trail by getting deliverance from that trauma of your past. You make the path for those behind you by saving, budgeting, and investing. You set the trail by become healthy and whole. Your name may not end up in lights but you can be a light in dark places.

Trailblazer, you are making history! By accomplishing the will of the Lord, you can make a difference! By not yielding in your faith, you can turn the generations towards the Lord! By operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, you can light the path that points others towards the Lord!

Be the trailblazer, you are not alone!

Peace and Blessings

Thorn to Throne…

“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me” 2 Corinthians 12:7

Followers of Christ may be familiar with this passage of scripture. Paul never stated what the thorn was that was in his flesh. Many theologians have many different theories but the Holy Spirit never revealed what it was. However, we do know that the thorn led Paul to the throne:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8

Paul recognized that the Lord was the only One that could deliver Him from his thorn. He knew that the Lord was the ultimate deliverer. He remembered how the Lord had healed his sight. He knew that the throne would be the place that would be able to help him.

We need to follow the example of Paul, our thorns must lead us to the throne, the place where Jesus Christ sits! He is the only One who delivers, He is the only One who saves, and He is the only One who redeems. Whatever pain or hurt we are experiencing, we must remember our Father. This is not forsaking the blessing of medicine and science, but this is remembering that the One who gifted the scientists and doctors must be our main source of healing and delivers.

Our thorns must not lead to groans and moans. Our thorns should not lead us to cursing and whining. We must remember that we are to look to Jesus Christ for these aches, pains, and downright annoyances that plague our days. And maybe we are like Paul and this will be our response as we seek the throne:

And while that may not be the response we were hoping for, perhaps it can shape the perspective of the thorn. Every moment we are annoyed or achy, may we remember the grace of God and how it shines in our weaknesses. Maybe we remember as we continue to plead with God to remove the thorn, that His power is most perfect in our weakness.

And perhaps with thorn in our flesh we receive this ultimate proclamation:

“…Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Peace and Blessings

Death to Tradition…

The upcoming Independence Day celebrations are going to look a little different for many people. Some states are still restricting large gatherings. Many areas have canceled fireworks. And many people of color are opting out of celebrating the holiday as July 1776 did not offer freedom for enslaved African Americans. Traditions will take on a new face this holiday and others to come.

Traditions can help us feel some sort of normalcy. When our traditions are disrupted, that can make us feel uneasy. We tend to hold on to traditions, simply because that is what was always done.

However, we must be willing to explore the traditions we hold dear. Is it beneficial? Is it biblical? Is it what God wants us to do? The Word of God echoes that while traditions are permissible, they are not always beneficial.

What traditions of men are you treasuring more than the Word of God? It is the commandment of God that must prevail over traditions! We can not compromise what the Lord says simply because it has always been done that way. Examine your order of service. Examine the way you may feel about those who wear jeans instead of a long dress to church. Examine the way you feel about those who opt out of church. Examine the leadership positions, the celebrations, and the anniversaries.

We must be sure that we are not confusing tradition with the commandment of God. His command comes first and the rest falls second.

Jesus defies tradition by eating with taxpayers and prostitutes. Jesus defies tradition by healing on the Sabbath. Jesus defies tradition by permitting salvation for the gentiles in addition to the children of Israel.

His defiance towards tradition led to our salvation! You were healed, delivered, and set free by the commandment of God and not tradition. So death to tradition as the commandment of God through our Lord Jesus Christ reigns on!

Peace and Blessings

Wrestling Match…

Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:26 ESV

Jacob is pretty bold, right? He is straight up wrestling with God, by way of a man. And he says, I won’t let you go until you bless me. Do we have that level of persistence? How hard are we willing to go to be blessed?

Jacob’s boldness should be desired. Some things have to be fought for and pursued vigorously. Sometimes you have to have a wrestling match. Sometimes you have to tell God, you won’t let go until you are blessed, saved, healed and delivered.

Wrestling with God! Pursue Him, walk right up to Him and receive what He’s so ready to give! He desires our BOLD faith! Jacob didn’t let go, you don’t either, sis.

Pursue that dream He’s planted in you. Fight for that relationship that is kingdom focused. Wrestling for that healing. Snatch your kids out of the enemy’s hands, by faith.

You might be tired of fighting, you may be tired of wrestling, but press on. Your victory is on the other side. Your deliverance is on the other side. Your healing is on the other side.

And as you press on, may this ring true for you:

“Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:28

Peace and Blessings

Walking It Out…

Actions are connected to faith. Consider the story of the 10 lepers. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:12‭-‬13

And He did, indeed show them mercy.

“When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14

“And as they went they were cleansed.” Let’s not miss the beauty of the text. This interaction took place from a distance. The lepers believed in the power and authority of Jesus. And they went. They walked their faith out.

We, too, must walk our faith out. Once we get off of our knees from praying, we must move forward in faith. We must move forward believing that our prayer has been heard and will be answered.

We don’t serve a genie. We serve an strategic and intentional God. Will you walk by faith? Even if you can’t see it, will you believe that He’s done it?

My friend, walk boldly like the 10, trusting and believing that God is whom He say He is. Walk boldly in your healing, wholeness, and deliverance. And as you go, know that you are set free. As you go, know that God is not a man that He shall lie.

And once you receive what you’ve asked for, desired, and needed, follow the lead of the one…

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks…” Luke 17:15‭-‬16 ESV

Peace and Blessings

And if not…

It goes without saying, God answers prayers. Those who are followers of Christ can probably give an account of the numerous times God has heard their cry, whether it was verbal or not. He has healed, He has saved, He has delivered! Hallelujah! We absolutely serve a great God! Rest assured, if He hasn’t given you a reason to shout, He most definitely will!

But let’s consider this:

Daniel 3 has us looking at the dilemma of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were being forced to bow down to an idol. They were not having it. Here is their powerful message to King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 17 and 18:

“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17‭-‬18

What if God didn’t save them? What if He didnt restore your finances in the way you desired? What if He doesn’t heal that family member in the way you want? What if you don’t get married? Or have the baby? Is He still good?

Yes, He is still good!

We must have the level of boldness, trust and faith in our God as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Although we may declare it with fear and trembling, hoping, praying, and believing that God that will answer our prayer, we must be willing to shout that if God doesnt do it, whatever “it” may be for you, He is still good.

Our Father isnt a genie that only works when we are satisfied. A full belly and a full bank account does not shape God’s character and identity. He is more than the blessings He freely extends. He is bigger than the victory.

We cannot wait until He moves. We must rejoice, praise and shout right now. We pray our BIG prayers and operate with even BIGGER faith.

Because if not–if He doesnt move, if He doesnt answer, if He doesnt say “yes”–He is still good.

Peace and Blessings