How?

I don’t usually do weekend posts, but this week is a week of transition for me so I won’t be able to post.  I’m taking a little time to focus in on God, how He’s moving in my life, and what He’d like from me.

As such, I wanted to talk to you guys tonight.

My church, National Community Church, is in the midst of a life-changing series…on how not to be deep.

MIND. BLOWN. RIGHT?

LOL.  Seriously, the series is called, “How” and it focuses on getting us all back to the basics in our relationships with God.  You can check out the entire series below (or join us at one of our 6 sites next week to see it in person!), but I wanted to share something with you that pricked my heart as I was in service today.

Relationship with God shouldn’t be complicated.  He wants to be glorified.  We were built to glorify Him.  We want guidance and direction.  He wants to guide us and give abundance and prosperity.

God’s the jig to our saw.  He’s the peanut (or sunflower or apple, if you’re allergic!) butter to our jelly.  He’s the alpha and omega to our…well, to us.

I know some of you have been saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost-filled your entire lives.  But for the few of you who are like me and sometimes wonder, God, how can I do this?  How can I do everything you want me to do/be everything you want me to be?  Lord, I’m confused; I want to read the Bible but I don’t know how or where to start.  I’m overwhelmed.  All I really want is you, Lord: to feel close to you, to please you and to hear your voice.  Help me, please!

If you’ve ever thought these things. If you’ve ever met a Christian who was so saved that s/he was no earthly good.  If you’ve ever wondered how to do the relationship with God, this series is for you.  Check it out and I’ll be praying for you.  Also, you guys pray for me, too.  I’m walking through many God-opened doors this week and I’m grateful and excited!

Staying Power

I woke up this morning with the Walter Hawkins classic, “God Will Open Doors”, on repeat in my Spirit.

Check it out (YouTube courtesy of minjcj1961):

 

Man, my home church, the New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, used to ROCK this!  I remember Mrs. Comer used to sing this and when they got to the end, they’d kick up the tempo a little bit on the chorus and sing it over and over again.  The director, Min. James Paige, would get to kickin’ the back of that piano, pounding the keys, and the Spirit would just be so high.

This song has staying power simply because, just like the Bible, its emphasis, its power, and its TRUTH are unchanging.  Yeah, I think it was recorded in the 80s, but I bet you there’s not a church mother at a Baptist, Pentecostal, Apostolic, Charismatic, or WHATEVER church in the south who doesn’t remember swaying and GOING IN to this!  Somebody call the Deacons and get the Deaconnesses to prepare those prayer cloths because folks WILL be slain on this joint!

But you know another reason why this song has staying power?  Because it’s built on, based on and all about a God who also has staying power.  A God that no matter how bad it looks, how hard it gets, how long you’ve been waiting…a God that no matter what your mother says, your father did, the doctor diagnosed…a God that no matter how high the bill, how tough the challenge, how seemingly invincible the foe, that God – who after more than two thousand years – is not only still here, but STILL has an undefeated record and is STILL in the life changing, way making, miracle creating, heart fixing, mind regulating, path straightening, bill paying, tear drying, devil defeating business!

And what may even be more shout-worthy than that is this truth: that the same power to stand and prevail in the face of ANY and EVERYTHING the devil may throw at you (or that you may get yourself into — let’s be honest) is within us.

No matter what we’re up against, just like the song says, through your darkest days, and even though you can’t see the way, God will open doors for you.

When you’re walking down a path that you’ve been walking down with seemingly no results for so long that you begin to question whether it was God’s leading in the first way and you have no idea now where you’re headed.  Know that, just like the song says, when you can’t see your way, and you feel that you have gone astray, doing all you know to do. God has not forgotten you.  Hold your head up and be true, for God will open doors for you.

In some ways I feel like I’m coming out of a season just like that.  I began praying God-given requests in the beginning of 2013.  Dreams and goals so specific, yet so foreign to me that only God could have given them to me.  Now, as we are more than halfway through the year, God is manifesting in my life those very things I circled in prayer repeatedly over the past several months.  The job I wanted.  The salary I asked for.  The schedule I needed.  The blessings for my children and husband.  They’re all coming to pass now.

I say this not to brag – because surely I deserve NOTHING that God has blessed me with — but to encourage you.  Someone reading this has been circling the same prayer(s), praying for the same thing(s) for days, weeks, months, maybe even years.  When you started your petition for that thing you had no doubt that God orchestrated and ordered it. But now, after so long, and seemingly so little progress, you wonder from time to time, Should I even keep praying this?  Is it worth it? Was it ever God’s will?  Does God hear me?  Has He forgotten about me?  Does He see what I’m going through?  Does He care?  Maybe I should just give up.

I may have shared this with you guys before, but if you find yourself wondering those things, I implore you to read, memorize, meditate on, and recite to yourself and that lying devil the Amplified version of Philippians 4:6:

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

There are two things I need you to get from that scripture.  The first is the definition of “petition”, which is “definite requests”.  We don’t serve an ambiguous, passive, laissez-faire God.  In fact, my pastor, Mark Batterson, wrote in his book “Draw The Circle” that it doesn’t honor God when we come to him with vague prayer requests.  What are you saying to the God of EVERYTHING when you come forth with timid, half-hearted, vague prayers?  You’re saying, I don’t know if you can do it, I don’t know if you’ll do it for me, and I probably shouldn’t even ask anyway, but here goes.

The second thing I need you to get — and this goes back to the foundation of this post about staying power — is that the end of that verse says “CONTINUE TO MAKE YOUR WANTS KNOWN TO GOD.”  We give up on God and ourselves and the dreams He’s given us too, the prayers we’ve prayed, we give up too easily and too soon.  When God’s ordained it – when He’s led you to pray for something, to do something, to ask for something, to believe in something, to trust Him for something – IT.  WILL.  HAPPEN.  Period.  So CONTINUE going back to Him saying, “You told me X, Lord, and I believe you will do it/give it to me/make it happen.”  Tap into your Holy Ghost-fueled staying power.  This glorifies God, grows your faith, and helps you remain focused on what God needs you to see.

NOW, in due diligence, I need to reiterate that you must pursue, passionately desire, thirst for, hunger for, seek after, and cling to what God wants for you in order for this to be a guarantee.  But don’t fret, if you can’t shake that dream, that goal, that feeling that you should be doing x, or helping y, or preparing for z.  And if, after every time you pray for it you come out of your prayer closet reassured and feeling at peace, then 9 times out of 10 it’s God prompting you and it will happen.  And in the 10th case, where maybe you misread the signals, the Word says that as long as we believe that what we’re doing is what God wants, He’ll make that work in our favor, too.

When you can’t see your way, feeling that you’ve gone astray…Hold your head up and be true.  God has not forgotten you.  I know my God will open doors for you…

I apologize to you all for my long absence.  As God began manifesting things in my life — blessings all over that indeed I do not have room to receive! – it was necessary that I focus on Him and me and where He was leading me.  But I’m excited to be back.  Grateful for your time.  And humbled that God loves me enough to use my life to bless someone else.

Remember, you’ve got staying power.  God WILL open doors for you!  And He specializes in those doors no one can see but Him!

 

It’s Turning Around

Being a Christian requires a special kind of vision.

Like a Spidey Sense, only different.

Because being a Christian requires that we see things in the spiritual before we see them in the physical.  I mean, it’s literally the definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1):  the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.

It requires that we see things through the lens of faith – believing that things are already done before we can see, taste, touch or feel them.

This morning I woke up with VaShawn Mitchell’s song, “Turning Around For Me,” in my spirit and on my mind.

The song goes like this: (courtesy of VaShawn Mitchell YouTube)

As I’ve hummed this song to myself this morning, the lyrics have transformed from a word of encouragement to a promise to a declaration.  It moves you from a place of pleading for relief from whatever your circumstances are to shouting in victory and thanks to God that, yes, it’s turning around.

See, the first time you sing this song you’re encouraged because you’re compelled to look at all of the stuff you’ve got going on in your life, around you, at home, at work, in your head and your heart — all of it — and tell yourself, “Yeah.  It won’t always be like this.  It’ll get better.”

Then, as the words start to ruminate in your mind and your heart, it starts to sound like your own cheering section: “Sooner or later,  It’s turning around.  Sooner or later.”  You’re getting worked up now, and thinking, “Yeah, I may not see it, but it’s turning around.  It may not look like it, but it’s turning around.  It may not feel like it, but He’s working on my behalf.  I may not understand it, but it’ll all work to my good.  I may not know how, but I always win.  Yeah, sooner or later.”

And then, before you know it — or hours later, as is the case for me this morning – you realize that the lyrics aren’t encouraging you to believe — they’re practically shouting the command at you: “Hey, you may not see it but THE I AM is telling you it’s turning around right now.  It’s working in your favor. ” Translation: IT. IS. DONE.

That husband or wife that walked out.

Turning around.

That son or daughter that left.

Turning around.

That bank account that never seems to be enough.

Turning around.

That relationship that failed.

Turning around.

That dead-end job.

Turning around.

Your low self-esteem.

Turning around.

The tears you cry at night, when no one is around.

Turning around.

The emptiness you can’t seem to fill.

Turning around.

The loneliness you battle.

Turning around.

The bills piling up.

Turning around.

It’s turning around.

It’s ALL turning around.

Look, you may not see it.  You may  not understand how you’ll win this.  How you’ll overcome this.  How you’ll bounce back from this. 

But the Word is clear and God cannot lie:

Romans 8:28 NIV

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tap into your Holy Spirit vision.  Remember the promises God’s told you about who you are, what you can do, what He wants for you.

Remember His promise in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And then look at your circumstances, your situations, your momentary setbacks through the lens of those promises.

Can you see it now?

Can you feel it now?

It’s turning around for you.

It’s turning around FOR YOU.

Look, I don’t know what brought you here today.

I don’t know what heaviness you’ve carried in your heart and in your mind.

I don’t know your demons or your battles.

But I know that our God is bigger than any demon in hell; any problem on earth; and has already overcome and defeated every thing in this world.

And He’s faithful to bless you and to keep you because He declared that NO WEAPON – no bill, no collector, no person, no relationship, no sin, no mistake or misstep, no past, no NOTHING – shall prosper.

You win.

You’ve won.

All you have to do now is see it to receive it.

I won’t lie to you: this devotional, this entry today, is as much a pep talk for myself as it is intended to be for you.  I’m on the cusp of so many blessings and so much favor and so many new seasons that I felt a little overwhelmed when I first sat down to write this.

But I’m smiling now – exhaling the heavy and inhaling the peace of the Holy Spirit – because I know it’s turning around.

Here are the lyrics to Mr. Mitchell’s song (courtesy of Song Lyrics dot com).  If you can’t remember a single scripture, if you can’t remember a single sermon, let this hymn minister to your Spirit.

RIGHT HERE.  RIGHT NOW.  IT’S ALL TURNING AROUND FOR YOU.

Sometimes discouraged, but not defeated
Cast down, but not destroyed

There are times I don’t understand
But, I believe it’s turning around for me

I’ve had struggles and disappointments
There are times I felt so alone
Some of my friends they let me down
But, I still believe it’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me

I can see the breaking of day
God is making a way
A change is coming for me
If I stand strong and believe
There’s no reason to doubt
I know He’s working it out
And it’s turning around for me

And it won’t always be like this
He will perfect that concerning me
And sooner or later it will turn in my favor
It’s turning around for me

It won’t always be like this
The Lord will perfect that concerning me
Sooner or later turn in my favor
Sooner or later turn in my faovr
It’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me