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10 Quotes from Max Lucado’s ‘Before Amen’


When Prayer Flows

If you want to take you prayer life to another level of simplicity and ease, “Before Amen” is for you. It is inviting and inspiring. The focus remains on the Father all through the book. In essence, that is exactly what prayer is all about.

Enjoy a few quotes that jumped off the pages:

“Before you face your world, face you Father.”

“Prayer is conversation with God while driving to work or awaiting an appointment or before interacting with a client. Prayer can be the internal voice that directs the external action.”

“Guilt leaves a tattooed heart.”

Just as a happy child cannot mis-hug, the sincere heart cannot mis-pray”

“Prayer is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart; the willing pull; the happy welcome to Jesus.”

“Prayers are not graded according to style.”

“You are never more like Jesus than when you pray for others.”

“An un-prayed for problem is an embedded thorn.”

“Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. It comes in pieces, and sometimes it falls into pieces.”

“God’s goal for you is wholeness.”

An Illustration that will preach

This was a gentle, smooth read. Max’s illustration of the prayers of a 10 year old girl in Helen Roseveare’s orphanage is a powerful testament of what it really means that the “Father knows what you need even before you ask” (Matthew 6:8). How would you like to receive a timely gift, the same day you prayed, only to find out that the gift was mailed 5 months earlier?. I highly recommend Max Lucado’s ‘Before Amen.’

#brightsummerbooks

7 Joy Boosters 


Too often we run around looking for joy in all the wrong places. We dig up wells that end up being “broken cisterns.” Remember, “we have no good apart from Him.” The sorrows of those who run after idols, pleasure and other gods will multiply. 

If there’s a lot of drama in your world, it’s going to drain out all your joy. Sometimes you have to stay away from all those divas, drama queens and kings in order to keep your sanity. 

Joy is a choice. So make that choice today. Don’t let the devil steal it. Don’t let those circumstances take your eyes of Jesus. Choose to react differently. Choose to praise instead of pout. Choose to stay positive.

If you keep your mind on the Word, He will keep your heart full of joy. Meditate day and night upon His Word. Let the Word of Christ dwell within you richly, and you will experience the fullness of His joy. 

I love the word “GAZE.” It means to look steadily and intently. No wonder why we are called to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” When we practice His presence with prolonged times of worship and prayer, we leave full of joy.

Finally, here are two very important things you must grasp in order to boost your joy:

  • Stay confident that your heaven knows about your tomorrow. He will be faithful to all His promises concerning you. 
  • Learn contentment in His provision for you today. Whatever your situation, high or low, know that your heavenly cares dearly for you. 

The Psalmist concludes with the following thoughts. Keep in mind that – Therefore means – considering all the above. 

Therefore 

Considering all the above. If I do all the above: ‘my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” Psalm 16:9

Because

“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Evangelism & Joy


Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Psalm 51:12, 13

There is an undeniable link between sharing our faith and the level of our joy. We often focus on joy as a motivator of sharing our faith and long to see it expressed upon the conversion of a person.

  • But how much impact does joy have in the process of sharing our faith?
  • Can people feel it?
  • Can they feel what we have?
  • Does anyone recognize it?

If I made muffins and believe my muffins are not only the very best muffins you will ever eat, but the only muffins with ingredients to make you thin, but I exhibit zero excitement about my muffins and I’m not a pound close to being thin; would it matter to anyone how good I think my muffins are?

In the same way, if I believe Jesus Christ offers the very best life you could ever have in this life and the one to come, and by meeting Him you can experience the joy of His salvation, how interested would anyone be, if I didn’t exhibit a good measure of salvation’s joy?

What we seek to share with others is not only good news, it is the manifestation of that news in our lives as it overflows with what the bible call the “joy of our salvation.”

The joy of our salvation is an inner satisfaction, produced by the Holy Spirit as he reconciles, renews and regenerates our hearts – making us alert and alive to the love and power of our creator and savior.

This joy of our salvation is evidence that we have received the fullness of His forgiveness and acceptance. This joy then must shine through our lives as we seek to make the savior known to others. We only give away what we have. Joy!

Therefore, to be a credible witness to the world, one must not only have a clean heart and the right spirit; but an overflowing level of salvation’s joy. That joy alone is a testament to the magnitude of God’s gift received.

Freely receive – freely give!

Monday Night Meditation


7 Types & Figures of Christ that will blow your mind.

The life and works of Jesus is beautiful, fascinating and captivating. It has been for thousands of years the subject of wonder and amazement.

Concerning Jesus” life and works, Apostle John said, “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Take some time tonight to meditate on HIM through these scriptures- I assure you, it will blow your mind. 

Ark of the Covenant
Exodus 25:16; Psalms 40:8; Isaiah 42:6

Eliakim
Isaiah 22:20-22 ; Revelation 3:7

Lepers offering
Leviticus 14:4-7; Romans 4:25

Morning and evening sacrifices
Exodus 29:38-41; John 1:29 John 1:36

Rock of Horeb
Exodus 17:6 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4

Vail of the tabernacle and temple
Exodus 40:21 ; 2 Chronicles 3:14 ; Hebrews 10:20

Tabernacle
Exodus 40:2 Exodus 40:34 ; Hebrews 9:11 ; Colossians 2:9

A Prayer for the Refugee


For the lonely and forgotten, for the weary and distressed,
For the refugee and orphan, and for all who are oppressed,
For the stranger who is pleading while insulted and despised,
Will You rise? Will You rise?

Rise up! Rise up! The earth will fear the Lord when You avenge the poor. May Your kingdom come . . . O rise up!

How to Develop a Proper view of self


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you have an improper view of yourself? Self-esteem Issues? Do you think too lowly or too highly of yourself? Do you measure your worth through the eyes of others? Are you doing life based on what you did in your last? Is your life hijacked and controlled by guilt shame and condemnation? Is there any kind of stinking thinking that have you bound?
If yes, You are having an identity crisis. You are failing to see yourself and live your life the way God sees you and wants you to live.
The enemy longs to: distract, distort and derail us by weighing us down with lies. These lies are meant to stop us from seen who we really are in Christ – loved, forgiven, redeemed and restored.
That’s why today I would like to remind us about the stuff we’re truly made of. I would like to point us to this treasure within that outshines the stars in the galaxy.
CHRIST IN US - THE HOPE OF GLORY 
Look at these passages:
“For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

We must view our lives based on who we are and who we’ve become in Christ Jesus. Our old life is gone; our new life has begun. The minute we accepted Jesus and received Him into our hearts, “He rescues us from the kingdom of darkness and transfers us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.”
The proper view of self is:
  • I was lost, but now I am found
  • I was was blind, but now I see
  • I was damaged goods, but now I am whole
  • I was bound, but now I am free
  • I was bitter, but now I am full of joy
  • I was weighed down with shame, guilt, and condemnation, but now I am loved, forgiven and at peace with God.
  • I am a child of the King.
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made – a masterpiece
  • I am loved.
  • I am a new creation in Christ
We come to this conclusion based on who Christ is, what He’s done and the fact that He lives in each and every one of us. Therefore, we are a new creation, old is gone – new is here!
Prayer:
Father, help me to see myself as you see me. Help me to realize that because of your life, death, and resurrection I am completely a new creation. I take captive every negative and lying thought from the enemy in my life today and replace them with the truth of God’s Word. In Jesus Name – Amen!

My 10 Core Declarations for 2017


Who are you listening to?

What are you reading?

Or, might I ask – what are you watching?

Whoever or whatever has your attention is shaping your life and your destiny. 

You say, “brother, I am not listening to anyone but myself.” Well, what are you telling yourself?

If we are ever going to live to our full potential and experience the fullness of life, we must allow the truth of God’s word to shape and direct our lives. If we are going to shame the naysayers and haters; live out the gospel in a hostile world, and win the war on negativity and pessimism, we must regularly remind ourselves by speaking the word of our confession.

This must include an overwhelming exposure of our entire lives to the Word of God. We must study, Meditate, confess and commit to radical obedience.

It is also important that we develop core values and principles from the heart of God that we can use to remind ourselves regularly.

Here is my 10:

I am known. 

Even if the world never hears of me or never know me, I am persuaded that He knows me and It brings me satisfaction.

I love my wife. 

“All of her” – like someone said – “her perfect imperfections.” Just like Jesus loved the church and gave His life for her, I must do the same to love and serve my wife.

I am a man of God. 

I am full of faith, full of life, fully equipped, anointed, empowered and called to do great things. I am an ambassador; and I represent the Kingdom with integrity.

I am free. 

Sin shall not be my master. For God is working in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure. I am abiding in Jesus, meditating upon His Word and following His example.

I live on purpose. 

I am not like a boxer beating the air. I am not swayed by the currents of culture. The Holy Spirit is my guide. My steps are ordered by Him. I am in his will and I’m fulfilling my ministry and reaching my destiny.

My children are taught by the Lord. 

They will grow up in the fear of the Lord. They will love Jesus and commit fully to following Him. Their well-being shall be great.

I am blessed beyond measure. 

I am resting in the finished work of Christ. Everything I need is already provided. I live by faith and trust; for His grace will never fail me.

I am stronger/Better/Wiser because of others. 

I purposefully and strategically seek out friendship and mentors to help sharpen my life.

I live to serve not to be served. 

I am gifted by God to serve other. I am a good and faithful steward of God’s various graces.

I am growing in my craft. 

My leadership skill is improving. I am more disciplined and focused. I am becoming more creative and innovative. I am opened to change and willing to admit my shortcomings and mistakes.

Conclusion:

I am reminded by scripture to actively replace every negative, sinful and prideful thoughts with ones that are true, noble, admirable, pure, excellent and praiseworthy. So I make this a regular exercise so that I may reach my full potential in Christ.

Do you struggle with keeping you heart, mind and spirit aligned with God’s Word?

What core values and principles  have you developed that are shaping your outlook on life?

How is your regular reminder of these core values helping you stay focused and productive?

Thanks for sharing!

The Steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases


Some of you might remember this old song. We used to sing it back in the day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His faithfulness will not come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning – Great is thy faithfulness, oh Lord – Great is thy faithfulness.”

It paints a very accurate picture of who God is. A faithful, covenant keeping God. This is what I want to talk to you briefly on this Morning.

What is the message from the Lord in John 1:16? Let’s read it first and then unpack it.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

Grace in this verse is a description of God’s unmerited favor. His unmerited favor brings salvation, healing, joy, hope and deliverance. We don’t work for it and we don’t have control of who gets it.

Both words – Grace and truth bring to mind two Hebrew words:

  • 1. Steadfast love (hesed)  
  • 2. Faithfulness (’emet)” 

These two words are from the Old Testament passage of Exodus 34:6. Where it says the following: And of course the larger context being Exodus 33:17-19

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

This verse refers to God’s covenant faithfulness to his people. And that covenant faithfulness found it its ultimate expression in coming of Jesus Christ

John 1:14 says,

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The spiritual implications in John 1:16 is that God is faithful to His covenant people. He will never fail on His promises.

As it was with Israel, it always seems like He is not working for us or hearing our prayers or acting on our behalf, so it is with us. We often think we are forgotten and forsaken. But in reality, we are never forgotten and God is always faithful.

The practical implication here is that we should always trust in the Lord to bring about His promises. We should continually pray for His grace to find fruition in us.

Exodus 33:17

“And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

When Heaven invades Earth


A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. Apostle John

Here are 10 Bible verses about heaven invading earth:

Your kingdoms come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 11:20

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 13:2

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.

Acts 16:25-26

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-12

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:4-5

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

James 3:15, 17

May God give you a slice of heaven in 2017

Heaven is our blessed hope. And I know it will exceed everything we imagined it to be. The fact that we will be just like Him when we see Him face to face sends chills down my spine.

Jesus died, rose again, ascended into heaven and promised to not only prepare a place for us, but to also come back to take us there. I know what we have right now is just a down payment or a foretaste of glory divine, but I am looking forward to the fullness.

I think the promise and hope of heaven should affect the way we live here and now. Unfortunately, I see too many miserable Christians. They are full of bitterness and regret. They spend their days whining, complaining. They live in fear. They are restless, full of stress and depression.

They’ve allow the circumstances of life to sap away every ounce of joy, life and God’s presence out of their life. I think that is a very horrible way to spend one’s days on this earth. I understand that some people have been dealt a very heavy blow by life, and I don’t want to minimize the pain they  feel.

But there must be a better way to go through our tribulations and trials. Allow me to leave you with these words from Hillsong’s ‘As is in heaven’:

So I will sing like I was there

In the fearless light of glory

Where the darkness cannot find me

And His face is all I see

Oh I will sing like a man

With no sickness in my body

Like no prison walls can hold me

I will sing like I am free

Cause I know He loves me

I know he saved me

I know He found me

And His grace will never fail me

So while I am waiting

I am not waiting

I know heaven lives in me

I wish you a little slice of heaven here on earth in 2017. Yes, I know earth is imperfect and that we are frail. But this down payment – ‘thing’, this foretaste of glory – ‘thing’ must count for something, right? Happy New Year!

Monday Night Meditation 



This text makes reference to the house of David and when we look at this house it is lying in ruins. For 600 years we see a bare , withered tree stump, robbed of its trunk and top. It looks as if the stump will never bear any fruit any more. When it all seem bleak, dark and a lost cause , God, on Christmas night, stepped out of eternity and into time in the form of a baby. All of a sudden, from this long-dead stump springs forth new life. 

Let me prophesy over you this day after Christmas:

Things that you thought were once dead are breathing in life again

Years the cankerworm has eaten are being restored in your life

Valley places are being raised up

Crooked places are being made smooth 

Dead seeds are invigorated 
Dead dreams rejuvenated

Dead ends obliterated 

I see light at the end of your tunnel 
Something good is already happening to you. 

Your possibilities are endless
Your resurgence is inevitable 

Your prospects are bright

So step out, Christmas has made all things possible. Let this Christmas Miracle take you into the new year.

All day long I opened my arms to them


If you’re hurting, broken or overwhelmed by any form of physical, emotional, or psychological problem – I know someone who can fix you.

If you have become aware of the weight of your sin, burdened by its guilt and bound by its evil claws – I know someone who can fix that.

God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting Life

Like the songwriter rightly said, through Christ:

There is no problem too big
God cannot solve it
There is no mountain too tall
God cannot move it

There is no storm too dark
God cannot calm it
There is no sorrow too deep
He cannot soothe it

The arms of Jesus are wide open waiting for you to come. You might have heard His name before, but you have never felt compelled to take that brave step toward Him as you do right now.

So in your little corner of this world wide web, I would like to introduce you to Jesus Christ. He volunteered in your stead to take upon Himself your punishment for sins committed against His Father. By believing in Him and accepting His free gift of eternal life you can be completely set free from the weight and bondage of sin.

All you have to do is:

  1. Believe in your heart that He is Lord
  2. Confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead
  3. Receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior
  4. Commit your entire life to Him
  5. Pick up your cross and follow Him

You may ask, “how sure are you, Walter, that He will receive me and forgive me?” Here are His very own words: “God said, ‘All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.'”

His arms are always open to disobedient and rebellious. So what are you waiting for?

COME!


Romans 10:21

John 3:16

Quote: Scott Wesley Brown