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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

Ignite my Soul: Consume these idle sticks


“God consume these idle sticks in my life that may burn for thee.” Jim Elliot

What does the word idle mean?

It means – not active or in use.
synonyms: inactive, unused, unoccupied, unemployed, disused. It speaks of a person – not working; unemployed. Synonyms: unemployed, jobless, out-of-work, redundant, between jobs, work less, unwaged, unoccupied. It also speaks of a person avoiding work; lazy. Synonyms: lazy, indolent, slothful, work-shy, shiftless, inactive, sluggish, lethargic, listless

It means to lack or be without purpose or effect; pointless.
Synonyms: frivolous, trivial, trifling, vain, minor, petty, lightweight, shallow, superficial, insignificant, unimportant, worthless, paltry, niggling, peripheral, inane, fatuous

It defines a person who spends their time doing nothing; be idle.
Synonyms: do nothing, be inactive, vegetate, take it easy, mark time, twiddle one’s thumbs, kill time, languish, laze, lounge, loll, loaf, loiter.

The Scripture warns about it

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Proverbs 10:4

And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace. Matthew 20:3

But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Matthew 25:26

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. Titus 1:10

And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11

I understand that some times, depending on where you are in life, a lack of clarity or opportunity can easily turn you into a couch potato. But that is a very dangerous place to park. If you didn’t already know, you are in big trouble if you find yourself sitting around doing nothing. Your life has become the devil’s workshop.

A slothful life can easily become a life of Spiritual Apathy. You soon find yourself slipping into a subtle love for worldly things. All of a sudden you, your life, your vision becomes dull – nothing moves you.

At this point, life is reduced to easy choices, and mediocrity. You begin to make the bed with false comforts. You are easily carried away by worldly distractions and fleshly attractions. And the things of the world are now more important than God’s mission.

What you need at this time is a dose of purpose; a watershed of passion and an explosion of persistence.

Mary O’Connor said, “It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.” What’s your purpose in life?

Shannon O’Dell said, “God has so made man, that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.” What are you passionate about?

The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward toward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” How persistent are you?

Before I close, I urge you to find those idle sticks that are slowing you down from living life persistently and passionately on purpose. My idle sticks are different from yours and yours from mine. What’s important is that we can find them and ask God – the God who answers by fire – to consume them and set us on fire.

These prayers I will pray:

Lord, consume my longing and lack of discipline for:
Too much Entertainment

Lord, consume my:
Laissez Allez Mentality

Lord, consume my:
Indifferent & Care free Attitude

Lord, consume my:
Propensity to Settle for second best

Lord consume my
Spiritual Apathy

Lord consume my
Passivity

Light a passionate fire in my soul and make me “the fuel oh flame of God.”

Recourse: Online Etymology Dictionary for idle

Living a visionary life


Take a look at Proverb 29:18 in three different translation

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the
law, happy is he.”

“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.”

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

Introduction

Where there is no vision, no prophet to proclaim the Word, no pastor to teach the good news, the people perish, no revelation of what God is doing or what He intends to do:

  • The people are made naked.
  • They are stripped and exposed to shame and exposed to danger.
  • They rebel, not only against God but also against leadership, and authority,
  • They are idle and lose their commitment and devotion to the Lord.
  • They are scattered as wondering sheep with no shepherd to guard them.
  • They are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

What is the meaning of vision?

Vision is a captivating and compelling picture or dream of the future. It is a revelation of God’s perfect will concerning particular aspects of one’s destiny. It is usually followed by a strong desire or passion that pulls one forward and drives them to pursue that vision with everything in the fiber of their being.

There is nothing more dangerous than a dreamless believer – nothing more dangerous than a dreamless church. Paul says:

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.”  1 Corinthians 9:26

7 things that can steal your dream and kill your vision

Out of control but temporary circumstances

Out of control circumstances often cause us to cast a cloud of doubt and fear over our future. There are two things about out of control circumstances that we need to understand:

  • They are temporary. We ‘go through,’ not dwell in the valley of the shadow of death. We’re never meant to stay there. This too, (whatever the valley) shall pass.
  • They are under God’s control. Out of control circumstances may be out of our control, but they are not out of God’s authority. This is where we need to apply the wisdom of ‘letting go to let God.’

Unwanted and sometimes divine delays 

Abraham’s story is a classic example of unwanted delays. In his story, we learn about the temptation that usually ensues when God seems to be late in fulfilling His promises. We are often tempted to revert to taking matters into our own hands. The lesson to learn from this story is that the arm of the ‘flesh’ will always fail us and we end up birthing ‘Ishmaels’ that plunge us deeper into unnecessary chaos.

Fear

Somebody once described fear as “false evidence appearing real.” Makes a lot of sense. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Job said, “the thing I feard the most has come upon me.”  It is meant to rob you or make you miserable on your way to the beautiful future God has for you. If you allow it, it can stop you dead in your track. That’s why God always commands His people to ‘fear not.’

Self-doubt

If fear is being ruled by a constant obsession that ‘the other shoe is about to drop’ syndrome than self-doubt is loaded with an incorrect notion of who we really are. It’s a feeling of

  • I’m not good enough
  • I don’t measure up
  • I don’t belong
  • I don’t have what it takes
  • I am not worthy

The tricky thing with self-doubt is that it can manifest as humility, but in reality, it is false humility.  We must intentionally reclaim who God says we are through acceptance and obedience for us to indeed break free from this mindset.

Distractions

We live in a day and age where everything is screaming for our attention. Even good things can become a distraction from living an ideal life. This kind of life must bring the most important things to get us to achieving our goals and reaching our destiny into a razor-sharp focus. Bouncing here and there, dabbing into this and that, experiencing such and such, easily get us offbeat. That is why planning, setting goals and establishing priorities are paramount to staying focused.

Spiritual Opposition

The enemy will fight everything worth living for in your life. If God spoke it over you, he would come after it like a dog chasing a bone. Let me remind you, for we often dwell in the land of forgetfulness, the devil hits your guts and everything good and godly you stand for. But our God has equipped us with everything we need to defeat him. So after you have done everything, hold steadfast!

Bad habits

Habits are easily created. Once they are formed, they can prove hard to change, but not entirely impossible. Habits, good or bad,  have the power of optimizing our vision or potentially rendering it useless. For example:

  • Discipline or the lack thereof
  • Decisiveness or a procrastinating nature
  • Desire but no drive

These and many more can either make or break you on your road to destiny.

 Conclusion

What you don’t know can hinder you or even kill you. Equally, what you do know but lack clarity can deliver fatal blows. Therefore it is essential to do life with urgency and vigilance.

Those who do are able to run, focus, persevere, overcome, and trust God to take them beyond hindrances into their destiny.

Deep Deeper: 1 Sam. 4:18-22; Judges 6:14-16; Job 3:25; 1 Kings 13; 1 Thess. 2:18; Ephesians 5:16; Habakkuk. 2:2; Judges 16:19-21

 

 

 

Victory in the face of Opposition


One of the fundamental truths about the kingdom of God, the church or believers is that that kingdom, church, the believer always seems to thrive or triumph or win even in the midst of intense opposition.

Jesus left us these promises – He said:

“I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” “The Kingdom of God shall advance and the voilent shall take it by force.” “If God is for us who can be against us?”

Nehemiah reminds us in chapter 4 about a few things we need to do when faced with opposition. 

And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.

4 essentials for victory /Nehemiah 4:14-23 

1. Remember God and what he can do v.14

“Do not be afraid, but remember the Lord.” There must come a time in every believer’s life where he/she trusts in the ability of God.

2. Remember the power of prayer v. 9

“And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” Prayer is the supernaturally ordained means by which Almighty God blesses His children. 

3. Remember the potential of two or three v. 15-21

“So we labored at the work.” One of us can put a thousand to flight. Two of us can send legions fleeing. The cord of three is not easily broken. 

4. Remember to stay focus and determined v.23

“None of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.” The quickest way to defeat is a distraction. 

Conclusion:

These four essentials can help you win in the face of any opposition. If they worked for Nehemiah, they’d indeed work for you. I pray that you win today in front of any situation.
In Jesus! Amen

Soothing Consolation


When the cares of my heart, are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:19

This passage has been on my mind since yesterday morning. It not only blessed me richly through the day, but it also was a timely word for a friend with whom I had lunch. So I wanted to take a few minutes to share a few thoughts about it.

The cares of life/my heart

We all have it from time to time. The concerns of this life is a life choker. It chokes, squeezes and suffocates the life out of you. If there is an ounce of “Word of God” in you, well, it goes after it with a vengeance, leaving you full of busy, anxious, perplexing, worrying, fearful, distracting and doubtful thoughts. How do you handle vexing and contrary ideas?

Your Consolation

I am so thankful that we (believers/followers of Jesus) have Him – the One who “comforts us in all our troubles.” I am happy that we have the promises contained in His word that bring sweet consolation to the soul in our times of need. We are so blessed to have the presence of His Holy Spirit, who by the way, is called the Comforter, and who brings immense joy and peace to our soul. And I have to mention – His faithfulness in times past. The remembrance of His goodness brings the assurance we need to break free from current worries.

Cheer my soul

Through all these things, God strokes and soothes the troubled heart. The word cheer in this text means to stroke or to comfort. It is the same word used in Isaiah 66:11 of a mother quieting her infant child through breastfeeding. It is the same word in Jeremiah 16:7 where it speaks of the consolation given to mourners at funerals. In the same way, the Lord soothes and strokes us when bombarded with vexing and anxious thoughts.

Conclusion

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know He holds my hand.

  • Jesus promised to walk with you through every testing time in your life.
  • He sends His Holy Spirit to come alongside you in trying times.
  • His word is “perfect and able to revive and refresh your soul.”
  • His track record is evidence that He will never forsake you or leave you.

Let us open our hearts and minds and allow these truths to penetrate the ” divided soul and Spirit, of joints and marrow, and discern the thoughts and intentions our hearts” so He can bring soothing consolations to our lives.

He desires significantly to do!

Question:

Have you ever been overwhelmed with the cares of life? How did you break free? What Bible verse/s soothes you in times of worry and fear?

In Quotation Marks

Psalm 19:7; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Corinthians 1:4

10 thoughts from Passion Week & Easter Sunday


I know, you might say, “too late for a post on Easter, it was two weeks ago.” Well, you might want to read till the last two points in this post to see what I have to say about that. But first, let’s get started with the first thing I learned about Easter during the passion week and Easter Sunday.

Everything I’ll ever need is already provided

“And he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets shall be accomplished unto the Son of man.” Luke‬ ‭18:31‬ ‭

Martyrdom – no!/ Reckless devotion – yes!

The call tho lay down one’s life is not a call to martyrdom- it’s a call reckless abandon of self… “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭

True friends are those who are around when life a hard.

We are called to be that kind of friend and hope to find one in our time of hardship. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,” Luke‬ ‭22:28‬ ‭

Something got to give. Sin or God.

If sin rules, the life of God dies. If God rules, sin dies. For this reason Jesus came to kill sin and deal with death. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

I believe God believes in prayer.

“Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”” Matthew‬ ‭26:38‬

God always finishes what He starts

He who started this good work in you is faithful. He will make everything perfect in His own time “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” John‬ ‭17:4‬

There is as much grace for healing as there is for salvation

The sacrifice of Christ isn’t cheap. It doesn’t just cover a few things that are wrong. It covers everything sufficiently. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬

There is no crown without having to carry a cross

“Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”” Luke‬ ‭24:26‬

Easter is for every day

Because He lives I can face each day with absolute determination, conquer every mountain with supernatural courage, live effortlessly the resurrection life as I remain in Him and await He glorious return. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans‬ ‭6:4

Easter is not an calendar event – it’s not a holiday we celebrate once a year. Easter is about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said speaking about the resurrection, His Words: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Resurrection is not a day or event we celebrate – it’s a person, and He calls us into a relationship with Himself.

It is my hope that some of you reading this post had the opportunity to renew that relationship two weeks ago. And still for others, my prayer is that you continue to grow in your relationship with Him

That is what Easter is all about.

Thanks for reading!

God, Time, and Promotion


The proper time for promotion

  • It is not my time
  • It is not a chanced time
  • It is not premature time
  • It is not an expired time
  • It is God’s time!

The key to finding God’s time is twofold:

  • Humility

Humble yourself under His mighty power… in due time He will lift you up!

  • Trust

Casting all anxieties on Him

We are either prideful or fearful in general when it comes to finding success, achieving our goals or reaching our destiny.

We often get in the way of the Lord by enthroning ourselves. We are impatient. So we take matters into our own hands. And instead of seeking Him for wisdom we operate on a human level instead of on God’s supernatural grace. The result is fear and frustration. The longer we stay in that state, the harder it becomes for us to step into God’s proper time.

When fear begins to rule, we fall further away from seeing God at work in our lives. Fear unleashes in us all forms of anxieties. We shut down, throw in the towel, and sometimes we hide. We doubt out ourselves and God. We worry about everything. In many unfortunate cases, we turn to false comforts to help us cope with the fear. The result, God seems farther away from us.

Our pride says I can do this. But God says make no mistake, my hand is mightier than yours.

Our fear says look at the giants, they’re going to crush you. God says, make no mistake, I can move mountains, I can slay giants, I can cause waters to spring up in desert places, and I most certainly can raise the dead.

Our pride says I got this… been there done that. God says, “trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thy own understanding- acknowledge me in all your ways, and I will make things happen for you.”

Our fear says be God and worry about it… throw a pity party… hire professional criers to help you party. God says, “cast all your cares on me – I care for you.” I will make you walk through the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil… I’ll take away the bread of anxious care and give you rest and cause you to sleep like a baby without care.

All you have to do is humble yourself and trust me.

I can almost hear the Lord say to us, I lay before you today the opportunity to step into my proper timing to lift you to where you belong – what are you going to do about it?

Stay Blessed!

Scriptures to ponder:

  • 1 Peter 5:6-7
  • Jeremiah 33:3
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • Jeremiah 17:5-8

You’ve Never Failed Me Yet


32580254-6861-46F6-B73F-8D5ED87106BAConclusion

We see through this devotional that even though seasons occur in our lives, God is not seasonal in his love, goodness, or faithfulness. The times when we think God is not present are those very times when he had us in the palm of his hand. The question is no longer why God has not accomplished his promises in our lives but rather if our perspective of God’s promises and how he accomplishes them is renewed. We no longer measure God’s faithfulness to happy endings but we know God is faithful in the journey and through the process. We now can rest assure that God’s faithfulness is not limited to good times or bad times. He is the God who holds and control all seasons.

Amen.

You’ve Never Failed Me Yet


Day 7 – The friend who Sticks Around

Proverb 18:24
3 John 15:13

Song extract “You walked with me on the rocky road you’ve never left my side”
32580254-6861-46F6-B73F-8D5ED87106BA
Few years ago, my kids introduced me to the movie the “Lord of the rings”. They were so much into that film I had to finally sit down and watch all three parts back to back. That was a test to my patience…until I fell in total admiration for one of the characters. He would have been the main character if the movie was titled “The Friend of the Chosen”.

Samwise “Sam” Gamgee, Frodo Baggins’s friend has played an extraordinary and important role in the victory over the ring. Sam was the moral, emotional and physical rock for Frodo during the difficult parts of the journey. He suffered cold, hunger, tiredness, betrayal, Frodo’s anger and rejection, but never back down from his love for His Friend. Many times He resisted the influence of the ring and took the risk of wearing the evil jewel when Frodo could not take it any longer.
I so admire Sam’s steadfast love for Frodo, especially during the last battle to victory, when he picked up a lumping and falling Frodo and cried: “Come, Mr. Frodo!’ I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go” What a friend…

What a friend we have in Jesus, he who, like the illustration above, never leaves us. He never abandons us when the going gets tough. He never back down. He never turns away. He is not scared of your trials, he is not grossed by your mess, he is not surprised by your confusion, nor is he scandalized by your mistakes.
He is willing to take you by the hand, walk the rocky road with you, comfort and support you along the way. He will walk the long distance with you and will pick you up when your feet start to bleed. Jesus is faithful in friendship, faithful till death, death on a cross. Won’t you invite him on that rocky road today?

You’ve Never Failed Me Yet


Day 6- God does want you to be Happy
Nehemiah 8:10
Philippians 4:4

Song extract: “You walked with me in the garden of joy, you’ve never left me”
32580254-6861-46F6-B73F-8D5ED87106BA
Scripture clearly tells us that God is a pretty happy being. The Bible says in Zephaniah 3:17 that “God rejoices over us with singing” which literally means, God dances and spin around with singing over us. Just imagine God singing a song for you with Joy…
Not only scripture, but the nature also tells us God is a very joyful and happy person. God’s happiness is all over the place; it’s in the colors and shape of his creation. It’s in the colors of flowers, it’s in the songs of birds, and it’s in the kiss of the sun on your face.
If God is such a happy being, he wants you to be happy!!! So rest assure that God is not just that serious being somewhere frowning on you when you become loud and wild in happiness. He does not think happiness is unholy and will not leave you when you are happy.

Even though God wants us to be happy, that is not all he wants for us. God is the master of the seasons and of the seasons of our lives. More than happiness, God wants to form a character in us. Sometimes we go through difficulties and struggles, but even in the mist of those times the end result God desires is to bring us growth, maturity, spiritual health and therefore happiness.

The happiness he wants for us is not just a temporary one or just a superficial one. God wants a deep and lasting happiness for us. Sometimes that does not come without God taking certain things away from us because he has something better or because those things will provide only a surface level happiness and later cause pain. God is so faithful he watches for our joy to be perfect.

You want to be happy? God wants it for you too.
Are you happy? God is faithful to keep you safe in your happiness.
Let’s therefore have confidence that he, who wants us to be happy, is faithful in all he does in our lives.

You’ve Never Failed Me Yet


Day 5 – His love is greater than your fear
Psalm 23:4
1John 4:18

Song extract: “You walked with me in the valley of death lord, you never failed me”
32580254-6861-46F6-B73F-8D5ED87106BA
Yes, just like David, there are times in the Christian walk when we find ourselves in the valley, whether it’s the valley of lack, pain, sickness, loneliness, abandonment, homelessness, or even in the valley of death.
In those times, we are confronted by the feeling of danger. We fear to lose our comfort, our jobs, our reputation, our marriage and why not. We fear to lose our lives.

David made an astonishing declaration in Psalm 23:4. He declared that even though He walks through the valley of the shadow of death, He will fear no evil, for God is with Him.
Remark that David confidence was not in just being in the company of God while he walks through the valley, but his confidence was in the character of who was walking with him. He was confident that the one walking with him through the valley loves him more than anything and will surely not let anything harm him. His confidence was in the unchangeable, undeniable and sure love of God.

How many times do we find ourselves confronted to difficult situations in life and ask if God sees us, if he even loves us. When we doubt his love and care, fear creeps in. This is because we accept the thought that there is a chance God will not come to our rescue or will not protect us from evil while we are walking through the valley.
Fear creeps in because we do not know God’s love for us. The Bible teaches us that Love banish all fear. Knowing God’s love banish all fear.
Situations will come in your life and will shake you even to the foundations of your faith; But Knowing God’s heart and love for you in those times is extremely important.

Many times in my life when my heart fainted were times when my eyes were removed from the unconditional love of the father for me. When I look back at those times I can see how God has been faithful. He did not remove the valley but he kept me through it.

Is it today the day you need to be honest with God and tell him how much you’ve doubted his faithfulness only because you doubted his love for you?
Is it today a day you need to call your fear by name and tell it how much God loves you?
Shall we ask God to reveal to us the depth of his love?