Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Three Habits of Jesus

Many try to portray Jesus as mystical figure who cannot be understood. Religion calls Him sacred, philosophers portrays Him to be wise, sinners called Him a friend and scholars doubted His divinity. Who is Jesus that changed the world and what can we learn from Him?

Over the centuries, many have tried to explain Jesus and the secrets to His success. There are lessons we can learn from the life of Jesus. If we give heed to these habits, we too can become successful in the game of life.

One of the major habits in Jesus’ life was prayer. He prayed all sorts of prayers. He prayed in all sorts of places. He prayed different length of prayer. Sometime He prayed all nights. Other times he said a quick prayer in the passing. Prayer is a standout activity in the life of Jesus. He not only prayed in solitary but He prayed in public as well. His approach toward prayer was to communicate with God. He didn’t just pray in times of a crisis but also took time to acknowledge and converse with His heavenly Father. His habit was to set aside times for prayer. Praying early morning and late at night were hallmarks of Jesus’ life.

As Christians, we too must pray. Prayer has been reduced to boring, endless chants and many find it hard to participate in. In reality, prayer is a vibrant communication with our Father in heaven. Every revival is birthed in prayer. In China, when people pray, they pray until they sweat! Only one person maybe praying but after each sentence the whole church will say “Aamun.” They’re all active participants in prayer. The excitement, zeal and intensity of prayer are contagious. Prayer isn’t certainly a contest of loud voices but when we express our thoughts in prayers out loud we also influence those who are around us.
An unpopular habit of Jesus was fasting. Fasting is not something we do to gain God’s favor, but it has a two-fold impact. Fasting gets God’s attention like nothing else. Fasting also is a good way to exercise self-control and keeping our fleshly desires on check. Fasting requires high degree of discipline. In today’s culture most of us are not willing to pay the price for a power-filled life. If we want to be “Super-Christians” we have to start keeping our bodies under control through fasting. Fasting is not a very popular message but it’s a very effective tool to live a victorious life. Paul said, “I buffet my body and keep it under subjection.” Many Christians misinterpret it as going to the buffet and eat all they can! A little bit of fasting on a regular basis will do us all good in many different levels. Most people think that fasting is just giving up food for a meal or a few days, but it is really giving up anything so you can spend more time with God. Try fasting; it will super-charge your spiritual life.

Another noticeable habit of Jesus was His public life. He spent all night and early mornings talking to His Father but during the day, He was all about people. He spent time with kids. He went to dinner, wedding and social gatherings. He was with the sinners, the down and outs and the rich. Jesus hung around with all types of people. We too should do the same without compromising our character. He was a people person. If we want to please God with our lives, we must love God and love people. Part of the secrets to your success is how good you can relate to other people. When we take genuine interest in people, we too can win them over to the Kingdom of God. Fellowship and hospitality are lost words in Christian communities today but they’re the building blocks of our Christian life. Let’s spend time with God and with each other!

Religion has taught us that Jesus was the Son of God that’s why He could live a sinless life and do the impossible things. But the Bible teaches us that Jesus was both God and man on earth. That means we too can live and do the things He did if we take time to deny our flesh and build healthy spiritual habits. I challenge you to do at least one of the three things we talked about today and I can assure you that your spiritual life will launch into the orbits.

Pray. Fast. Take genuine interest in people!

“Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night” (Luke 6:12 NLT).

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Taking Jesus to the Nations

The last command Jesus gave before leaving the world was to “go into all the nations and preach the gospel.” The early disciples took His command seriously and in only two years everyone who lived in Asia heard the Gospel. (Acts 19:10).

Imagine! No electricity, no transportation, no technology and every one in Asia heard the name of Jesus. With all the modern conveniences, transportation and infrastructure available, today the vast majority in Asia have never heard the name of Jesus. They have heard of Coca-Cola but they do not know the name of Jesus! Two thirds of world’s unreached people live in Asia. Between India and China there are 2.5 billion people and most of them have never heard His name.

Today, I’d like to challenge us to consider world missions. When we give heed to the last commandment of our Lord, we become His first priority. Our lives will be changed. And we can change the world!

Steve job, Michael Jackson, Madonna and such had a vision to impact the world. They did it successfully but not to glorify God. How many of us Christians have a vision to impact the nations who are lost, crying, and dying. No matter how much we try to impress God with more revelation, beautiful choir and fancy buildings, the closest and dearest to God’s heart is lost souls. That was the sole mission of Jesus for coming to earth – to seek and save the lost. When we get engaged in world missions we’re becoming most like Jesus.

My friend Job is from India. Years ago he came to our Bible Training Center for a short training. Later he graduated and went back to his native place to plant churches among the unreached people. In 1993 he was at a New Year’s Eve church service. In the middle of worship, Job felt compelled to go visit one of his friends who was utterly lost. Prakash was young, restless and in all sorts of trouble. He was involved in gangs and the rival gangs were after his life. Job tried to reason with God but he couldn’t shake off the urge to go and find his friend Prakash. In the middle of the night he went to Prakash’s house and brought him back to church. What they didn’t know at the time was the rival gang had killed one of Prakash’s buddies and they’re looking to kill him that night. That night, Prakash got gloriously saved! Today, Prakash and his family are devout Christians serving the Lord. My friend Job’s obedience saved Prakash’s life both physically and spiritually.

I wonder how many Christian today will leave worship service to find a friend and go after his soul! I’m not here to judge anybody but I am challenging us to be more aware. I’m encouraging us to get involved in world missions. When we win souls for our Lord, we’re depositing in our heavenly bank account to draw from for eternity.

Middle of July, we’ll be going back to communist China. We will train hundreds of pastors and leaders. We will encourage the persecuted believers in the underground churches and we will love on the orphan children. It costs only $3 each but there’s a tremendous shortage of Bibles in China due to exponential church growth. Our goal is to supply five thousand Bibles to the believers. Every day, 25,000 people are accepting Christ in China. Often two hundred believers share one Bible!

There are three ways you can be involved in world missions.

1. Pray. Nothing happens until we pray. Everything changes when we pray. Our prayers are mighty weapons in the Hand of God.

2. Go. If you have the means and time availability, you can still join us and change lives in China. We have missions trips throughout the year. Please contact us.

3. Send. Give of your time, talent and treasure to help others go and represent you. When you send others, you will get equal rewards.

Friend, world missions is not an option; it’s our Lord’s command!
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent” (Romans 10:13-15 NIV).

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Reach Out to the Prodigals

We all know people who used to be on top, active, serving their family, church and community. Then life happened and they just fell off the radar. We lose touch with people quickly. Sadly, many people never “recover” because they went through some setbacks and nobody reached out to them. This is really tragic!
When God brings people to your mind, take on the prodigals. We don’t know what hell people go through in life. When we take the time to reconnect with them, it brings hope and healing into their lives. Instead of having a superior attitude, we can minister to them and bring them back to the blessings of God. The Bible says, “Those who lead many to righteousness, will shine like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
When people go through tough times, they tend to withdraw. We’re not accustomed to connect on a deeper level. We’re superficial. If someone’s going through a difficult time, we don’t like to get involved. We think, “It is none of our business.” We should not be busybody but we should always try to reach out to our brothers and sisters. Most of the time people want to help but they don’t know how. Today we will look at a few simple ways we can bring back the prodigals.

Tell people you love them. This is the most powerful phrase you can ever tell a human being. During their time of trouble, people don’t need our mouth; they need our shoulders. The closest thing to the heart of God is hurting, sighing and crying people. If we can somehow communicate that we love them regardless of why they’ve fallen away; we can win people back. When we’re winning a person back to God, we need to be extra sensitive to their feelings. They have been hurt. Now is not the time to preach. They need our love and affirmation. Love conquers all!

I have a friend in Nepal who was invited to the church as a young man. At the time this young man was a drug addict. His friend kept inviting him to church in a very mild manner way. My friend came to church just to get his friend off his back. Before he entered the church, my friend noticed everybody took off their shoes outside the church. This is the culture there. Always needing money for a fix, my friend took mental note of the nice shoes and decided to leave church early to steal those shoes. When the service started my friend experienced an amazing peace during worship. Tears began to run down his cheeks. But his mind was still on the shoes he was going to steal. Although he wanted to leave, the Holy Spirit convinced him to stay another ten minutes and anther ten and another ten… When the service finally ended, my friend went down the aisle to give his life to the Lord. Today, after twenty five years, my friend is a pastor, supervising many churches. Consider how it all got started. It happened because a friend cared enough to reach out to another. I’ve learned that God will work on people but it is our responsibility to put people in the right environment.

Yesterday, I was making some phone calls to invite friends to come to a men’s group I go to. Some of my friends have not been there for a while. Being the man of faith that I am, I wasn’t expecting a positive response from most of them. But almost everyone I called was glad to hear my voice. Most of them committed to come to our group. I’m looking forward to reconnect them to God again. Men need other men to stay on fire. It didn’t cost me anything to make a phone call. Imagine what we can achieve collectively if we all took a little time to call on our prodigal brothers and sisters.

Another way we can bring lost souls back is by giving them a sense of belonging. Let them know we need them. I remember a TV show from the eighties called Cheers – where everybody knows your name. This is what is missing in many relationships. People don’t feel like they belong. I know churches where thousands attend and thousands leave from the back door never to return. Why is that? People never felt like they belong there. They didn’t feel needed. When we send them a card, a phone call or just show up at their door unannounced, they know we care and they will return. When people stop noticing you, missing you and caring for you then you’re in real trouble.

Friend, let’s reach out to the prodigals in our lives. With just a little bit of effort, we can win them back to the fold. If you are a prodigal yourself, let me reach out to you. We’re not here to condemn you. We’re here to bless you, lift you up and help you. Nothing you’ve done can separate you from the love of God. We’re here for you! Friends, let’s reach out to the prodigals in our lives!
“I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn” (Isaiah 57:18 NLT).

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Unusual Financial Blessings Are Yours

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need more money. Money is not everything but money touches everything important in life. Religion has taught us money is evil but that is not how God looks at money. In God’s eyes, money is one the least things in life. Money is neutral. It can be used for good or it can ruin people’s lives.

I believe Christians are the most qualified for handling large sums of money. Knowing that we cannot take it with us, we have an eternal perspective. The Bible says, “Money is the answer for everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19 NIV). Let’s think about it. You can be a super Christian but without money, you will starve to death. You can be a praying Christian but nobody will give you a free place to live. I’ve been doing missions work for the last 27 years and it always takes money to help people.

What am I saying? If you have more money you can help more people! If you want to have money you have to be “money minded.” Not what you can get but how you can give! The law of attraction suggests that whatever we think about is what we’ll bring about. If we have a mindset of abundance, we will attract more wealth to give away and have plenty left over for ourselves.

Sanju is from India. In the early nineties, he had just been saved from drugs and alcohol in one of our conferences. We brought him to our headquarters in Hong Kong for training. Living by faith was a new concept for Sanju. He was making lots of money in the world but he left all that to serve God by faith. Very soon Sanju found out that it was expensive to live in a big city of Hong Kong. We wanted him to learn how to live by faith so we gave very little money in his hands. Mostly out of desperation, Sanju began to pray to God for his needs. An amazing phenomenon started to happen. Whenever Sanju went out for errands, he would find money along the footpath. First, it was small amounts. But then his faith began to grow. Once he found a whole wallet on the road. If I remember right, there was almost $20,000 in the wallet! Being an honest man, he took it to the police. The cops called the owner using the ID card in the wallet. The owner was so grateful that he gave a large sum of money to Sanju as a reward. Today Sanju is preaching to tens of thousands all over India. His family is more prosperous than most missionaries I know. Our God is an awesome Provider!

Friend, if you’re going through a financial difficulty, don’t look at how little you have. Instead, consider how big your God is. He placed diamonds, gold and precious stones under the ground. You’re more valuable than all the gold in the world! The Bible says, “The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11 NLT).

Once, Jesus had to pay taxes to the government. He looked at Peter and instructed him to go fishing in the sea! As Jesus had predicted, inside the first fish Peter caught was money to pay their taxes! In the natural, this is an unbelievable. But remember, nothing is impossible for our God. Do not worry about your bills, what to eat and how to provide for your family. Trust in God’s ability to take care of you.

God didn’t put you here to live in lack. Our problem is we’re thinking too small. Ask God to give you wealth so that you can feed and take care of ten, twenty, or a hundred families. Don’t make your job, stocks or business as the source of your income. Make God the source of your living. Live to give. When you give, there will be always more than what you’d need. I challenge you to have more faith for your finances. Let us know how we can pray for you. When you surrender your life to God, He will surrender His wealth to you. Stay calm. Don’t panic. Talk to God! Talk to people. God knows what you need and how to get it to you. If Sanju can find money in the busy streets of Hong Kong and Peter can find money in the mouth of the fish, there’s nothing that God cannot do to provide for you. Thank Him in advance and sow where you want to go! I declare unusual financial blessings to come into your hands. If you believe it, you’ll receive it.

“You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18 ESV).

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Make Time for Your Family

Summer is a busy season for families. School is out and everyone is scurrying around busy with activities. It is fun to take your kids to amusement parks, summer camps and Vacation Bible School. But if we’re not careful, we’re going to be busy all summer and not have much substance to our family time.

When you spend time with your family, don’t pack your schedule with activities and fun things to do. Take time also to just hang out and talk about deeper things in life. If your kids are young, ask them about their life in school. Get caught up with their hobbies and interest. Ask them spiritual questions. Take them to Christian worship concerts. Provoke them to talk about God and their relationship with Him. Kids don’t just need your time; they need your wisdom and guidance.

Yesterday, I was trying to concentrate on my work. It was getting late and I wanted to finish off a project in my office. My kids are in summer camp right now and they came home exhausted. I wanted to connect with them but I had just a little bit of work left when my oldest daughter Cassandra walked into my office. I turned away from my computer and looked at her. She’s going to be sixteen on the 5th of July. I didn’t think it was the best time but she sat on my lap and started to tell me about her day. At first, I was thinking, “Can we do this after an hour, after I’d finished my project?” Thankfully I didn’t say anything and let her continue with her conversation. Later I realized how important that conversation was for her. I’ll have projects to finish the rest of my life but I may not have my teenage daughter sit on my lap and tell me about her day. Parents, I want to encourage you to take time to listen. If you’re like me, I have a lot to tell my kids. But boy do they like it when they get to talk! If we don’t take time to talk to our kids, someone else will.

I was visiting with a friend and she was telling me how they’d made summer plans for their kids. They’re going to take a road trip and visit their grandparents and so on. I commended her for taking time out as a family. I asked her what was their plan to spend a little time as a couple? She didn’t have anything concrete. I encouraged her to set aside a few days just with her husband. They live a busy life and with kids they don’t get a lot of adult time together. If you want a healthy family, you have to take time out with your spouse to connect. It doesn’t have to be Hawaii or an expensive vacation in Cancun but even a couple of nights away from your home will do wonders to your relationship. When kids see their parents secure in the relationship, they too feel confident and will do better in life.

I was talking to another friend and he was saying how his grandkid was coming to spend some time with them. They have a difficult situation and the child’s father is not available for him. I told my friend how important of a role he is playing in this young man’s life. The child doesn’t have a fatherly figure to look up to. My friend can be the father figure to this troubled kid. This is extremely important for children. If you are a grandparent, take you job seriously. You can have profound impact on these young lives forever. Timothy in the Bible had an experience like that. Lois his grandmother taught Him about the Lord and Timothy went on to become Paul’s favorite son in the faith and disciple. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, you too can make an eternal impact on your family members.

Friend, make time for your family. Your work, business, church and business will be there but the people you love and do all this for may not. Don’t wait for the grand holidays. Enjoy the everyday miracles that present itself along the way as with my daughter today. Create the magic moments by hanging out together. Quality time always comes out of quantity time.

Last but not the least, if you know a single mom who doesn’t have a summer plan, invited them to tag along. Let them join you at the pool or the amusement center. Offer to take the kids to VBS. What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. Make time for your family. At the end of your days you’ll realize that the little things in life were the big things.

“If anyone doesn't take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Timothy 5:8 God’s Word).

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Overcome Temptation

Every one of us is tempted in one way or other. None of us are fool-proof to temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted. However, how we respond to temptation makes all the difference in the world.

Great people have been tempted, passed the test and went on to do great things. Great people have been tempted, made the wrong choice and diminished their future. When we are tempted, it is a test of our character that will determine if we belong to the big league. When we learn to handle temptation the right way, God will give us more authority and influence in our lives.

The story of the whole human race started with a temptation. When Adam and Eve failed their test in the Garden of Eden, we entered into a curse. But when Jesus defeated the serpent in the desert, we entered into the blessings of God. There are some big areas of temptations that we’re all aware of but today we’ll ponder at some less sinister issues that trips us every day.

Anger is a great area of temptation in many lives. You may not believe this but I used to have a terrible anger problem. I was a passive aggressive person. I didn’t get angry very easily but when I did, I went for the kill. I didn’t get up in the morning wanting to be mad at someone. I just didn’t know how to read the signs and how to walk away from conflicting situations. Over the years, I’ve done extensive research and learnt that anger is a fruit of insecurity. If you’re prone to anger, deal with your insecurity. Ask God to give you the wisdom to pull away when a potentially explosive situation is in the making. Anger is an emotion best kept under control.

Another dangerous area is temptation is our thought life. Our thoughts are private but they’re not hidden from God. We sin with our thoughts that are keeping us from going up higher. We become what we continually think about. If we do not pass the tests in our thought life, we will not amount to much. The Bible teaches us to pull down strongholds of wrong thinking. The more positive thoughts you process in your mind the less temptation you’ll have to deal with. Poverty minded thinking will keep us poor. A false humility will keep us sick. And a mediocre thinking will stifle the plans God has for us. One of the best ways to overcome wrong thinking is to fill our minds with the Word of God. Human brain is capable of thinking only one thought at a time. If you meditate on the righteous, wholesome and peaceful thoughts, evil will have no place in your mind.

A great area of temptation is self-control. Benjamin Franklin said, If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” Whether be it our tongue, over spending or over eating, we all need self-control. An undisciplined life is like a great city without protective walls. One of the areas we often fall is our inability to keep our mouth shut. We like to speak our minds because it feels good to our flesh. When we let our guards down and say everything we feel, we’re walking on dangerous grounds. When we pronounce mean, ugly words in anger we are committing murder. While physical death kills us once, mean words can “kill” a person time and over for many years. Self-control in our eating and spending habits, dealing with our children patiently, honoring God with our thought life is a great way overcome temptation.

One of the keys to overcoming temptation is to avoid it. It is better to be prayed up and gets reinforcement before you enter into temptation. This is where most people miss it. They try to run from the ice-cream after they bring home a gallon of it. We pray only after we get into a heated debate. God will hear us any time but a better strategy is to pray first so that we don’t enter into temptation in the first place. Friend, no matter what areas of life you are tempted in, you’re not alone. There’s hope for all of us. If we admit our faults, God is faithful and just to forgive us and give us the strength to overcome. Be strong, stay prayed up. You can overcome any temptation in your life. In case you haven’t heard it lately, I’m praying for you!

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Don’t Stop at the Brick Walls

How many times in life we have run into a brick wall and given up? It may be a sickness, a failed marriage or a downturn in business. Other times it’s going after a dream job or a dream person. If you don’t know what brick walls are for you’ll never climb one to find the blessings on the other side.

Unlike popular belief, brick walls are there not to stop us but to launch us into our destiny. When we go after our dreams and desires, you can be sure to come across some brick walls. If everything is coming to you easy-peasy, you’re dreaming too small. Our goals and visions should be so great that only God can bring it to pass. Along the way, the brick walls are there for you to conquer and collect your rewards on the other side!

In the early eighties I wanted to meet a very prominent man. I was living and ministering in Nepal - the land of the Mt. Everest. It was the only Hindu Kingdom in the world at that time and it was against the law to be a Christian. Plenty of pastors and leaders were in prison at any given time. The only man who had the right connections to get them out was “Chaldai” (big brother Charles). I remember, waiting to meet him at his headquarters for hours. His gatekeepers would often send me away. I was young but I was persistent. I kept after him for months. Finally, I was able to meet him and he has been a monumental blessing to our family since then. Years later when I asked him why it took him so long to meet this darling of the world, he replied, “I wanted to see how hungry you were about the things of God!”

I believe this is the ultimate question in life. How hungry are you? Life is designed to come across brick walls. God didn’t place obstacles to defeat you but they’re there to propel you. Without Goliath, David would still be a shepherd boy today. You have amazing ability in you to push through any limits! When your desire is taller than the brick walls in your life, you will conquer sickness, joblessness, loneliness, injustice, debt or any other mountain. The scripture says that God will satisfy the longing desires of our soul (Psalm 107:9). Don’t throw up your hands and say, “I’ve had enough of this. It doesn’t work. I give up!” Instead of looking at it as a stumbling block, find a way to scale the wall and obtain your treasures on the other side.

I heard a story about a young man who lived on a farm in the Midwest. He was a hardworking young man but depression era had left him with little choice for a job. He was attracted to the big city and he pictured himself working for a large department store. In fact, he had a certain store in the east where he really wanted to work. They young man sent out a letter asking for a job at this company. There was no response. He sent another letter and another letter – still no reply. This continued for month after month. Eventually after three hundred letters and no reply, he decided to put his pennies together and buy himself a train ticket to travel east. When he reached the big city, lights, crowds and indifferences of city life perplexed him. However, he found himself in the great company he wanted to work for. When he got to the HR, the hiring officer pointed at the stacks of letters he had received from this young man. Confused the young man replied, “Sir, why didn’t you respond to any of my letter?” With a wry smile the officer said, “We knew, you’d come.” This young man was hungry. He scaled his brick mountain and went on to become regional manager with a great success.

Today, let me ask you a question? How hungry are you? What is your brick wall? How badly you want your business to succeed? How desperately (in a positive way) do you want that large account? How eager are you for that new job? Do you really you’re your health back? How far are you willing to go to meet that dream person? Do you look at your mountain of debt and shrink back or are you motivated to overcome every obstacle? Here’s the key. No matter what battle you’re facing today, it is temporary. Brick walls are there to propel you not to hold you back. God did not promise us fair weather all through our lives but He has promised to be with us in our storms. You’re born to fight through life. You’ve got what it takes. Brick walls are not going to stop you. I believe and declare that you you’ll scale every wall and found every treasure that belong to you. This week – go after it. Brick walls are there to propel you!

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Keep God’s Commandments

God gave the Ten Commandments to His people Israel and now all those who believe in His name. Unlike common thinking, God’s commands are there to protect us and prepare a way for us to live a peaceful, productive and purposeful life.

Living our lives without obeying God’s command is like trying to win a soccer game with volleyball rules. We can have a lot of movements but nothing’s going to help us win the game. Likewise, if we want to be champions in life, we have to play it by God’s rules.

I know people right now who are suffering financially. They are good people but they’re not obeying God’s laws. As Christians, we are commanded to give a tenth of our income to support God’s work and His house. I know well-meaning Christians who have intentions to give back to God. I say this with a smile but a deed is ten times stronger than a promise. If you’re not going to be faithful with the little God gives us, don’t expect Him to give you more. Let’s live by the law of giving and we’ll always have plenty for living.

Some of you are frustrated because you feel your prayers are not going any higher than your ceiling. You pray, fast and even give to charities but still there is no progress in answer to your prayer. I submit this to you humbly but husbands, “Did you know if you don’t honor and respect our spouse your prayers will not be answered?” Don’t get mad at me; listen to what the Bible says, Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7 NIV). Treating your spouse with respect and honor is easy. If you can do it for your boss and pastor, you can do it for the person you love!

Friend, we must honor God and obey His command and then we’ll live under His blessings. God’s love is unconditional but His blessings are not. He cut a covenant to bless those who keep His commands. Frequently, when people ask me to pray for their sickness, I ask them, “Do you need to forgive someone?” Most of the time, they say, “Yes.” We say a quick prayer to release that forgiveness and the person is usually healed of any illness. Sometimes, I meet people who are not ready to forgive or let go and it is much harder for them to receive their healing. Jesus was beaten for our sickness and healing but unless we’re willing to forgive others, we cannot fully enjoy the blessing God has for us. Let’s forgive and let it go so God can heal our sick body, mind, spirit and soul!

Another area we can keep God’s command is at home. God commanded us to be faithful to our spouse. He commissioned us to work and provide for our families. We must strive for peace. He teaches us to be Godly leaders at home. He wants us to serve. We are to be men and women of integrity. We have to love our family and our neighbors. We cannot steal, kill or covet what others have. Our hearts and eyes must be free from the lust of the flesh and pride of life. God has given us instructions for every situation in life. Today I’m challenging you to know His commandments but more than that obey His commandments. When we keep His laws, He is obligated (by covenant) to keep His part of the deal. If we obey then God will bless us.

Let me finish with a word of caution. Keeping God’s law is out of our love for Him. We’re not into legalism. But don’t throw the baby with the bath water either. God gave us His commands expecting us to keep them. When we fall, we just get up and ask for His forgiveness and try again. In this life, we’ll never be perfect but our goal should be to obey God’s law in every possible situation because we love Him. We follow God’s instruction because He loved us first and laid His life down for us. Let’s do our best to obey His commandments so we can live in the blessings of God. Amen.

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8 NAS).

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Glass of Milk

We live in a materialistic world where everyone is out for a grab. We work all our lives just to get ahead, collect a little more and save for our old age. There’s nothing wrong in providing for ourselves and saving for our future or leave an inheritance for our children. But if we’re not careful we can let materialism consume us.

Materialism is not really a modern day problem. Once a rich young ruler came and asked our Lord, “What must I do to receive eternal life?” The Lord told him, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” More than anything else Jesus was testing his heart because this man couldn’t detach himself from his materialism. Unable to heed Christ’s command, the rich young ruler walked away deprived of eternal life.

You’re probably a follower of Jesus and you have the assurance of eternal life. But are you free from materialism? Are you a worldly person who just can’t seem to have enough? I don’t believe God wants us to take a vow of poverty and barely get by. But if our world consists of me and my four and no more then we’re living a limited life. God wants us to live to the fullest. To maximize life, we have to live to give. When we give of ourselves, our time, talent and treasure we not only help other people but mostly we help ourselves.

I heard about a young man who was selling products door to door to put himself through school. He had only a dime left in his pocket and was very hungry. He decided he’d ask for some food from the next door he called on. But his plan was demised when a beautiful young lady answered the door.

Howard Kelly lost his nerve to ask for a meal; instead he asked for a glass of water. The young lady thought he looked hungry. Without saying anything she brought him a large glass of cold milk. The young man drank it almost in one gulp and asked, “How much I owe you?”

The young lady replied, “You don’t owe me anything. Mother taught me never to accept payment for a kindness.” Howard Kelly said, “I thank you from my heart.” He left her house both physically and spiritually strengthened as he was on the verge of giving up.

Years later, the young lady fell critically ill. The local doctors sent her to a big city where a specialist was called in to study her case. When the specialist doctor heard the name of the city his patient had come from he was intrigued! Dressed in his white doctor’s gown, he went in to see his patient. Immediately he recognized her from years ago. He went into his office and wrote out a consultation. After several months of intense treatment the young lady was ready to leave the hospital. The doctor went to his business office and requested them to pass the final bill to him for approval. Upon receipt of the bill the doctor wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to the patient’s room.

The recovering lady was afraid to open the envelop knowing that it would take her a lifetime to pay for her hospital bill. Finally when she had gathered enough courage to open the envelop she noticed the scribbling on the side of the bill. The words read: “Paid in full with a glass of milk.” Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.

Friend, don’t spend your life just gathering for yourself. Share whatever God has blessed you with. Not just in terms of finances but also with your kindness. A kind word, a kind deed or a glass of cold milk can transform the life of another forever. Wear the blessings God gives you like a loose jacket so that nothing can stick to you. You can never help others and not be blessed by God. When you reach out to help others, you’re really helping yourself. You cannot take anything with you so why not spread it around? Live to give and you’ll never lack anything in life.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Friendships are a wonderful thing. Friends we choose can lift us up or pull us down. It’s not only enough to have a lot of friends but we need quality friends who will inspire us to be all God has made us to be.

Friendships are a dime a dozen but when you find a true friend it’s like finding a pearl in a great big ocean. People you hang around you can bring out the best in you or worst in you. This is why it is so important for us to be careful about our friendships. Here are a few tips on friendship.

If you want friends, you have to be a friend first. Everyone wants the other person to reach out first. You can easily take control of the situation by extending your friendship. When you find a person who is compatible to your lifestyle, don’t hesitate to connect. Ask for their friendship and start to cultivate it. Don’t go too fast; don’t go too slow. Like everything else, friendship is a balance.

What you sent out is what you get back. Friendships are like echoes. If you take the time to call, visit, send messages, text, take initiative to get together then the other person is more likely to do the same with you. Don’t worry about whose turn it is. Be pro-active. Don’t just say, “We need to get together.” Put a date on the calendar to meet for coffee, lunch or dinner. Treat these appointments seriously. If you’re always finding excuses not to get together, you’re probably not interested in that person. Be honest and let them know. Don’t lead people on.

Make friends with people who are different than you. If your entire friends look like you, speak the same language, eat the same food as you and live the same lifestyle, your world is too small. If you’re always the biggest fish in the tank, you need a bigger tank. Make sure to have a good balance of friends. You need to have some friends whom you look up to. We also need friends whom we can inspire. Find your genius club (inner circle of friends) and communicate with them frequently.

Friendships come in seasons. Not all friendships are for a lifetime. In fact, very few are! Don’t get bitter when one friendship dies. Celebrate the people in your life now. Be grateful for friends who have been there in the past. And thank God for the friends who are going to show up in the future. Never burn bridges when a friendship starts to cool down. Stay open but don’t get stuck. Move forward with an attitude of gratitude.

Celebrate the gift of good bye. (I’m not talking marriage). Some friendships start off well but over time it becomes toxic. If a friendship is draining you more than it’s uplifting you, it may be time for you to slowly pull back. Be loyal but don’t be a fool. You may be strong but you’ll become like the people you hang around with. The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Toxic people will contaminate you. They’ll hold you back from your destiny. You’re God’s treasure chest not the devil’s garbage can. Be friendly to all but choose your inner circle carefully.

Cultivate your friendships. Whatever you don’t maintain will eventually fall apart. Don’t expect a friendship to blossom without putting any effort into it. Whatever you put in is what you’ll get out of it. There are many ways you can revitalize your friendship. Make a phone call today. Invite someone to coffee, lunch or dinner. Be hospitable at home. Send a card. Buy a small gift. Play a game of golf together. There are many ways you can develop and seal your friendship. If you’re in a relationship, don’t neglect your other friends. One day you’ll need them again.

One of the best friendships you can have is spiritual friends. When our friendships are based on God’s principles it becomes divine. David and Jonathan are good examples of that. Find friends to invest in and they will invest their lives back into you. I thank God for a friend like you!
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT).
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Get Ready to Shine

I meet many people around the world who have the “ordinary disease.” They think I’m just average. I’m nothing special. I’m just ordinary. No matter what the reason, they’re missing out in life and depriving the world to experience the genius in them.

At the age of 48 years old, Susan Boyle appeared at “Britain’s Got Talent” contest and won the hearts of millions. She had a strong Scottish accent and no experience outside of her church to sing in public. What took place on the stage in April 2009 was stunning and the rest is history.

Often we’re taught that we shouldn’t think too much of ourselves. It is actually scriptural to esteem others more than we esteem ourselves. But in many instance this teaching of being humble has robbed us from being great. Being great is simply doing an ordinary thing in an extra-ordinary fashion.

Deep inside each of us is a desire to be great because we all originate from our Great Creator. We want to love and be loved. We want to give and be given. We want to belong. We want to be valued. We want to leave our mark in our world. All of these are God-given desires. We all want to shine and make a difference. This is why it is so important for us never to stop dreaming. You’re never too old to realize your dream. In fact now is the best time to pursue your dream because you’ve prepared all your life for this moment. If you dare to step out in faith, God will do the rest.

Lack of oxygen during birth had left Susan Boyle with a learning disability. She got bullied at school. But God had a set moment for her to shine. When the judges asked why Susan Boyle hadn’t succeeded until then, she replied, “I haven’t had the opportunity like this (to perform) before.” When she got the opportunity, Susan Boyle brought the house down. Her performance in the talent contest won her a recording contract. Her debut album went on to become Britain’s all-time best selling album. Only three years later, Susan Boyle’s net worth skyrocketed to over 30 million dollars.

One of the frequent mistakes people make is they never discover who God made them to be. They focus on what they’re not good at. Our God is an extraordinary God. He has deposited gifts and talents in each one of us. There’s a treasure inside each of us. It may be a song, a book, an invention or a message. No matter how ordinary you may feel or look you must know that God deposited something extremely valuable in you. Today I’m encouraging to find the song in your heart and sing like Susan Boyle did.

I meet a lot of middle aged people who think their life is over. Some of my friends are approaching retirement and they’re not sure what their life is all about. Let me tell you one thing. You still got what it takes. You may not have done everything right in life but you’re wiser now. This is your moment to shine. You’re best days are right in front of you. You haven’t seen God’s best yet or else you wouldn’t be here. Get ready to shine. Don’t let age defeat you. Susan Boyle holds the record for being the oldest person to release a debut album by a female in the United Kingdom. You have not passed your prime. Now is the stage set right for you to shine.

Friend, I challenge you to step up to the plate. You’re talented. You’re attractive. You’re wise. You’re creative. You’re full of God’s ‘can do’ power. Let me prophesy over you. You will sign your biggest contract. You will teach your best lesson. You will get the biggest commission check. You will meet your dream partner. You will move to your new house. You are healed. You will go to the nations with the Gospel. Get ready to shine because God is sending His favor upon you. This is your moment. You’re born for such a time as this. Like Susan Boyle, you too will make history. Believe and dedicate yourself to bring out the treasure in you. God is ready to shine His spotlight in you. Get ready. Get ready. Get ready. I’m praying for you!

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

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