Building People. Spreading Hope.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Please Pray for our Missions Trip to China (July 17, 2013)

 (Due to restrictions, NO blog posts until second week of August.)

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7 Secrets of Happiness

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t want to be happy. Happiness is a basic human need. It’s a feeling that brings us joy, fulfillment and ecstasy. Happiness shouldn’t be our goal but it’s a byproduct of our thoughts, words and action.

Most people make the mistake of thinking that happiness is conditioned to external things. Some people think happiness is found in things and people. But happiness is an internal attitude. Today we’ll discuss seven secrets to living a happy and fulfilled life.

Happiness rule #1. You’re perfect! You’re made in the image of God. You have God’s DNA in you. Your behavior may need to catch up to your God-class status but never forget who you are. If you’re a Christian, you’re a child of God. He never manufactures junk. You’re smart. Good looking. Attractive. Disciplined. Funny. Creative and much more. Accept and embrace who you are.

Happiness rule #2. Dwell on positive thoughts. Your life will follow your thoughts. Bad things happen to good people. You don’t have to psyche yourself up to think negatively. They come automatically. Train yourself to look at the good in everything, and you’ll have a continual feast. A grateful heart does not have room for negative thinking.

Happiness rule #3. Get up quickly. The Bible says, a righteous man may fall seven times but he will rise up again. We all have weaknesses. We all make mistakes. The best thing we can do with our wrongs is to repent and learn from them. When we learn to pick ourselves us quickly after a disappointment, we’ll find happiness again.

Happiness rule #4. Find the best in people. Let’s face it. Most of our disappointment and discouragement come from people letting us down. Sometimes these people are the closest to our hearts. I’ve found that most people have something good in them that deserved to be recognized and celebrated. Let’s focus on the 80% good in people and overlook the 20% not so good. When we focus on the good, we’ll bring out the best in people.

Happiness rule #5. Forgive quickly. Forgiveness is a big idea. God invented it to redeem us from our sins. Without God’s forgiveness we’re all bound for eternal damnation called hell. When we forgive people and let go of the offense, we’re in God-class. When you forgive, you set a prisoner free – that prisoner is you! Let’s learn to forgive quickly because we need to be forgiven every day.

Happiness rule #6. Celebrate today! It took your whole life to get to today. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised. Today is a gift! Don’t live in the regrets of yesterday. The Bible teaches not to be over-ambitious about tomorrow. Celebrate the “small” things in life because one day you’ll realize they were the “big” things. Laugh often, love outrageously and give extravagantly. Every day, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you!

Happiness rule #7. Give more than you receive. The greatest joy in life is in our giving. No man is awarded for what he takes but what he gives. Winston Churhill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” When we deliver more than expected we’re setting ourselves up for happiness. Share your time, talent and treasure. For God so loved the world that He gave… If you want to be like God – give!

As you can see, there’s no deep secret to happiness for our lives. It’s you who holds the key to your own happiness. When we surrender ourselves to God’s will and live to bless others we will find the ultimate fulfillment in life.

“How happy is the man who has put his trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:4 Holman).

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm goes before success. When we’re enthusiastic, we boost morale, inspire confidence and build loyalty. Enthusiasm is contagious. You can feel enthusiasm when you shake people’s hand, the way they talk and the way they walk.

None of us can be “up” all the time. But if we have the mindset to be enthusiastic we will attract more positive people into our lives. Enthusiasm alone cannot solve our problems but it puts us in front of the right people faster.

Many decades ago when Charles Schwab was earning a million dollars per year, he was asked if he was drawing such large salary because of his ability to produce steel. Mr. Schwab replied, “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” Is there any wonder Charles Schwab was regarded one of the most influential men of his generation!

Most of the time, we don’t wake up feeling like dancing. It is at that very moment we have the opportunity to decide if we’re going to enjoy and be enthusiastic about the gift of today or if we’re going wallow in our mediocrity. When we face each day with enthusiasm, we’re going to create miracles for ourselves. Enthusiasm will open doors for you where talent alone can’t.

Many people label Peter in the Bible as rash, quick tempered and impulsive. But it was enthusiasm that got Peter out of the boat. He was the only disciple who walked on the water with the Lord. Peter was enthusiastic about life. He was quick to draw his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus. I believe it was Peter’s enthusiasm that led Jesus to recruit him as the pillar of the New Testament Church. Later, when Peter got filled with the Holy Spirit, He led three thousands to Christ in one meeting! We too can be enthusiastic about life. When we’re passionate about people, God and the work we’re involved in, we’ll inspire others to be their best for God.

Let me share my adaptation of Mark Twain’s, “Whitewashing the Fence.” Tommy, a young lad had to whitewash a long stretch of fence all by himself. At first he was reluctant. When he realized that there was no other option, he cheered up. Instead of sulking, Tommy began to paint the fence vigorously putting on the biggest smile on his face. The more he smiled the faster he painted. Tommy was actually excited and enthusiastic about his job at hand. Just about that time a bunch of his friends were riding by on the bicycle. When they saw Tommy enjoying himself painting the fence, they couldn’t help but ask for a turn. At first Tommy was eager to change hands. But then he got smart. He asked for a dime from each person in exchange for a turn to paint. In no time kids pulled out their treasures and turned them to Tommy. The fence got painted twice over and Tommy became the richest kid while resting under a tree watching his friends paint. How did all started? It started because Tommy changed his attitude about doing something with enthusiasm. You too can get others to “paint your fence” if you become enthusiastic about life.

Friend, whatever you may have to do, put some energy, attitude and enthusiasm in it. Get excited about doing laundry, washing dishes or vacuuming the floor. If you put enthusiasm when you make those cold calls, you’ll have better success rate to close the sale. The world belongs to those who are excited about life. Some people freeze in the winter others ski. A positive attitude will produce a positive result. Jesus said, “You’re the light of the world.” If we’re to shine our light, we’ve to turn on the switch. Enthusiasm is the switch! Not everything in life is fun but if you are enthusiastic about life, everything will become more endurable and you’ll spread joy and confidence along the way.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV).

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Develop a Spiritual Growth Plan

Most of us have plans or desires for our lives. We plan for better health, finances and vacations every year. Some of us even plan for our passing and thereafter. How about our spiritual growth plan?

One of the greatest examples in the Bible is King David. He was never tired of growing in God. He said, “Early will I see you.” He also wrote, “Like a thirsty soul looking for water, I’ll seek God.” David spent a great amount of his time reflecting on God’s goodness. He wrote 150 songs asserting God’s goodness to Him. As a King, David did not have time but he made time for Him. God was his priority. Is there any wonder that David was one of the greatest kings of Israel!

Plans are good to have. Without a vision we perish. Even God has plans for us. “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 NLT). When we plan, not only we know what to do but others can be part of fulfilling our plans. If we don’t have a plan, we will drift through life never accomplishing anything significant for God. So how do we develop a spiritual growth plan?

One of the best ways to grow spiritually is to be conscious of God at all times. Whatever you focus on will grow. If we make God the center of our lives, we will find ourselves growing spiritually. I’ve never met a cook who doesn’t enjoy eating. If you hang around the workout room or the gym, you will start to exercise. Being around God is not just for the weekend - it’s a lifestyle. Jesus said, “I will never leave your or forsake you.” Can we do the same for Him?

A genuine way to show how much we love God is to grow in the areas that displease God. Our spiritual growth is like a love affair. When we love someone, they don’t have to twist our arms to please them. We aim to please the person we’re in love with. We all have areas we can improve. Worry, anger, unforgiveness, impatience, negativity, self-ambition, bad habits and addictions will weigh us down. When we make plans to grow out of these low life habits, we’re growing spiritually. If we’re carrying the same baggage we had ten years ago, we’re hindering our own spiritual growth. We may make it to heaven but we’ll live a beaten down life on earth. Let’s grow and be free in the areas God is dealing with us now.

Another way we can grow spiritually is to know and obey His Word. A relationship is as good as you know the other person. The more we know about the other person the better we can please and serve him/her. If you want to know God, you have to study God’s Word. The Bible contains the thoughts of God. It tells us what God likes and dislikes. The Bible is God’s love letters to us. We shouldn’t just have head-knowledge of God but also keep His commands. Not out of necessity but because of our love for Him. We can do that through our prayers, sacrifice and commitment to please Him more every day.

A true measure of spiritual growth is reproduction. When we go past our “I, me, my” Christianity, we will engage in reproduction. Every Christian ought to be a witness and be involved in making disciples. When we lead others in the path of righteousness, we’re becoming spiritual fathers in the faith. A mature Christian exerts his time, effort and energy to grow God’s Kingdom – both at home and abroad. When we seek first the Kingdom of God, He will make sure to give us everything we need. Friend, don’t just set goals for your finances, family or retirement but also develop a spiritual growth plan. God wants a better relationship with us. Let’s grow in our love, devotion and commitment to Him. When we please God with our thoughts, words and actions, we will draw in God’s favor like nothing else.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Explosive Church Growth in China

China is the world's most populous country, with a continuous culture stretching back nearly 4,000 years. Many of the elements that make up the foundation of the modern world originated in China, including paper, gunpowder, credit banking, the compass and paper money.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the previously dominant nationalist Kuomintang in a civil war. The leadership of Mao Tse-Tung oversaw the often brutal implementation of a Communist vision of society. Millions died in the Great Leap Forward - a program of state control over agriculture and rapid industrialization - and the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule.
Christianity was first introduced to China 600 years after the time of Christ by Nestorians from Persia and Syria, but the modern missions movement began with the arrival of Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society in 1807. Before his death in 1834, he produced a Chinese dictionary and a full translation of the Bible.
James Hudson Taylor established the China Inland Mission in 1865 and appealed for 1,000 missionaries to enter the Chinese interior. For the next 30 years, China witnessed the first wave of frontier missionary work while missions based on the coast spread into major cities throughout China. A three-fold approach to mission work was adopted: medicine, education and discipleship. Nearly every mission established clinics that grew into hospitals. Primary schools opened for children and some of these later developed into high schools and 13 Christian universities. Bible teaching and discipleship also resulted in new churches. By 1927 there were more than 8,000 Protestant missionaries in China and half a million baptized believers.
Under Communist rule since 1949, China has moved away from the Maoist radicalism that led to millions of deaths in the 1950s and 1960s, but the party has kept a tight grip on state and society. However, Mao's death in 1976 ushered in a new leadership and economic reform. In the early 1980s the government dismantled collective farming and again allowed private enterprise.
God is working mightily in China. Every day 25,000 people are coming to the Lord. The Chinese Communist Party officially recognizes Christianity. Now there are over 130 million born again believers in China. That's more than any other countries in the world. Signs, wonders and miracles are the primary reasons for China's explosive church growth.
The Xinhua Bookstore is the only bookstore chain in China. It is owned and "managed" by the Communist Party (controlling what people read). There are 15,000 Xinhua retails outlets in China carrying tens of thousands of topics and subjects. However, you cannot find a single Bible in these state run book stores. You can find Chinese Bibles in its three Xinhua Bookstores in the United States but not in China. Bible in China is regarded same as pornography thus banned from public use.
The unavailability and shortage of Bibles in China has invited all sorts of cult groups in the underground churches. Eastern Lightning is one of the largest false groups creating havoc in China.
This Wednesday, we're returning to China. We will train pastors and leaders and deliver thousands of Bibles to the house church leaders. It costs only $3 per Bible. Will you please pray? If you can help financially, please click on the link below. We appreciate your love and compassion for the persecuted believers in China. We're honored to represent you there. God will bless you richly as you bless those who are oppressed. Thank you for your help!
"Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble" (Psalm 41:1 NIV).

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Friday, July 12, 2013

A New Season of Increase

Most of us do not like change. It is not comfortable. We approach change negatively. But if there’s one thing constant about life - it’s change. Nothing remains the same. If we do not learn to handle change, we’ll live a very frustrated life.

One of the reasons people don’t like changes is because it forces them to adjust. It is out of our comfort zone. When we’re faced with a new situation, we’re required to re-arrange our priorities. Successful people in life have learnt to adopt to change and quickly embrace the new mandate.

Most of us come from a mindset that change is going to hold back from the comfort we’re used to but just the opposite is true. For believers in Christ, nothing happens to us, everything happens for us. When we encounter a situation that looks like a setback we can rejoice and see God turn it into a setup. Our attitude toward change can make us bitter or better.

During World War II, Marie worked at a delicatessen. Her humble job was to bake pies for the customers. It was a daily struggle to make ends meet. But Marie kept being faithful and open to what God had in store for her. Soon her pies became so popular that customers started to come into the eatery just for Marie’s pies. Considering the popularity, Marie took a bold step by selling her family’s new car to finance her new business. Four years later, Marie opened her first pie shop in Orange County, CA. She went from selling ten pies a day to baking a thousand pies a day. Within a few years, Marie Callender Restaurant had expanded to 110 eateries on the west coast.

Some of you my friends are struggling right now for a breakthrough. You feel like all you do is “bake pies.” You’re kind of stuck. Today I’m here to tell you, “Don’t throw in the towel yet. It’s not over until it’s over. God sees your faithfulness. He will reward you for honoring Him by being your best at home, work and expanding His Kingdom.” You’re not in the shadow hidden from God. In fact, Jesus is interceding for you. You have a personal representation in heaven! You cannot mess up. You cannot go under. God is on your side. You just have to make sure that you’re on God’s side.

A new season of increase is coming but you have to have the right attitude. If you’re in a corporate job, don’t waste your time trying to “fix” them. Do your best at what God has given to you. Be the agent of change. Come to work on time, kill the gossip, and uphold the company values. When you serve your boss with a positive and humble attitude, God will make sure that one day you’ll have his/her job. If you’re managing others and they’re giving you a hard time, keep your cool and serve them anyways. The day is coming when you will own the company. God is breathing His favor in your direction my friend but you have to position yourself to qualify for the promotion. A new season of increase is coming your way.

You ask, “Sandy, this all sounds good but when do I get my big breakthrough?” I don’t know but here’s the key. You cannot be in control of the harvest but you can determine how much seeds you want to plant. When we plant seeds of love, sacrifice, and giving, God himself will make sure to bring us the harvest. Don’t get caught up in when it’s going to happen. Keep planting seeds and your harvest will find you. God’s delivery van is parked outside your door. Get ready for your increase!

Friend, stay faithful. Be hopeful. Pray and trust God to open new doors. In the meantime do your job well. Don’t give into discouragement and defeat. A new season of increasing is coming. Are you ready to make room for it? I know you are and I’m proud of you!

“The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you” (Deuteronomy 28:8 NIV).

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Struggles, Success and Signifiance

Life happens in seasons. If we’re to be effective in every stages of life then we need to know what they are and how to handle them. When we understand the seasons we can walk victoriously.

These seasons of life starts with “S.” The first season is a time for struggle. The second season is to achieve success. And the third season is for significance. If we learn to transition from one season to the other successfully, we will make great impact on earth. Today, let’s look at the three S’s of life.

STRUGGLE is when you try to figure out life. Even Jesus’ life was threatened at his birth. He grew up in a carpenter’s home. Life was not easy for him. It was a struggle but He always kept His eyes on the ultimate goal. He was preparing Himself learning in the temples for the work that was to come for Him. You too have gone through periods of struggle. Life has taught you valuable lessons. You’ve got the basics down. You’ve made the major mistakes and learnt from them. Struggle has been a long drawn process but you’ve come to the other side. Now is the time for you celebrate victory.

After struggles comes SUCCESS. Jesus grew up with a struggle but His public ministry brought Him great joy and fulfillment. In a few short years He made history! You too have gone through your preparation years. Schooling was hard but you made it through. You may have gotten married and settled down with your family. Finances are in order and your life is on auto cruise. It feels great to enjoy the fruit of all the hard work you put into your life. Success is sweet. But success for the most part is what people build for themselves. It’s rewarding to climb the top of your career but there still remains another season. Success will make you feel good and proud of your achievements.

SIGNIFICANCE is how the world will remember you. If success is to build for yourself, significance is what you do for other people. When we reach the top of our personal success we can go after significance. Significance is intentionally making choices to leave in people what we’ve gained in life. It is not only monetary but also wisdom, experience and influence. When we’re gone, we want people to remember us. When we live with others in mind, we build for ourselves a legacy. What we do now will determine how people will remember us. I want to challenge you today to invest in others. Deposit in people what has taken you a lifetime to learn. When we’re investing in others, we’re being significant. That is what our Lord did for us. His ministry reached the highest success but then He gave it all up to make the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. And look what He got – you and me and millions of others! What is your significance? Will anyone remember you after you’re gone? What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?

A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for a day, go fishing. If you want to be happy for a month, get married. If you want to be happy for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, help others win!”

Friend, what difference are you making? The good news is we don’t have to wait for each season to arrive. You can be struggling in one area and yet be successful in the other. You don’t have to get old in order to become significant. Anyone can make a difference. Don’t just live life like a robot - get up, go to work, come home and live for the weekend. Life’s more than that. Today I encourage you to search for significance in your life. Life’s about Struggle, Success and Significance but the greatest of them all is Significance. Only what we do for our God will last forever!

“Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NLT).

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to Resolve Conflict

Conflicts are inevitable. No matter how hard we try we’ll eventually run into someone who will disappoint, hurt or betray us. If we don’t have the right tools to deal with conflict we can be crippled for a long time.

Husbands and wives get their feelings hurt because their spouse said something, did something or didn’t do what they’re expected to do. Friends get offended because they felt neglected. Internal conflicts can be detrimental to your company morale and business productivity. Having the skills to resolve conflict is vital to our success. Let’s look at a few ideas that can help us resolve conflict in everyday situation.

1. Your opinion is as important as theirs. The root of all conflicts is our belief system. When we have differences of opinions, it is easy to get all rattled up because the other person sees things differently than us. If we want to resolve conflict we should be able to respect the opinion of others. To accept the differences of opinion is not the same as believing the same way as they do. Human beings have much more in common than our differences. Focus on what you can agree on. Seek first to understand before you can be understood.

2. Be secure in God. I used to be extremely insecure. I was surrounded by people but due to my childhood issues, I’d developed an attitude. I used to be very opinionated and I didn’t hesitate to cut people down if I felt threatened by them. As I sought help and matured, I realized that I can be secure in myself without having to contradict others. When we’re secure in God we can be secure with people. That is what Jesus did! When we’re secure in ourselves, we’re able to accept others. You’re here not to prove anything. You don’t have to teach anybody. You don’t have to change the other person until he/she wants to change. Rest in God’s peace!

3. Reach out to reconcile. It’s miserable to carry on a day with a grudge against your spouse, kids, friend or a co-worker. You can live in the tense situation or you can be the bigger person and try to resolve the conflict. Don’t try to resolve issues when people are still running on high emotions. Give people some space. It is humbling to be the first one to have to reach out but if you do, the rewards will be great. Most of the time, the other person is feeling as bad as you. You can say something simple like, “Hey, that didn’t come out the way I wanted to. Can we start over again?” A genuine gesture of care and concern can go a long way in resolving conflict.

4. Start with “I feel” statement. No matter how bad you feel, don’t accuse people. Most conflicts take place because of misunderstanding and miscommunication. Instead of saying you this or you that start with “I feel.” Your feelings are personal. No one can tell you what you’re feeling is wrong. When you start by “I feel” statement you take the edge off the accusation. Then try to understand the feelings of the other person in return. When you hash out your feelings in a civil way it will be easy to resolve conflict. Your feelings matter but so does the feelings of others.

5. Forgive quickly. People will do us wrong. The only way to get over that is to forgive them. Forgiveness is a big idea. It does more for you than the offender. When you forgive you’re letting a prisoner out – that prisoner is you! We can sulk, hurt or contemplate revenge or we can just forgive and let it go. The Bible teaches God forgives us in direct proportion to the way we forgive. Let’s learn to forgive quickly.

Friend, let’s give up the low life and learn to live in peace with one another. God’s promise is to pour down His blessing where there is unity of hearts, minds and souls. You don’t always have to agree with everybody but you can accept everybody just the way they are. Maturity is to acknowledge others without compromising your own conviction. Let’s live a conflict-free life so that we can be better producers in life! I’m praying for you and I believe in you!

“As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 God’s Word).

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Receive the Son

One of the things that separate Christianity from all other religion is grace. Religion is man’s ways to reach out to God Christianity is God reaching down to man. It is by receiving His grace we can inherit the Kingdom of God.

Millions of believers today think that in order to be on God’s good side, we have to perform. What’s dangerous about this theology is you can never be good enough to buy God’s favor. It’s a gift. The only way we can have God’s unmerited favor is to accept the finished work on the Cross.

The Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. When we realize that everything we need has been given to us, we will not strive anymore. We don’t have to live a performance based life. We don’t have to think, “Lord please bless me with a good job because I’ve been going to church for six months straight.” We don’t have to plead, “Bless me God financially or heal my sickness because I’ve been a faithful tither.” Nothing wrong with works but if we mix grace with works, we’re walking on dangerous ground. Receive grace by faith plus nothing and then bring forth the works of righteousness.

I heard a story about a wealthy father and his son who loved great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out the son went to war. There he died trying to rescue another soldier. Upon receiving the news of his son’s death, the father grieved deeply for his son. After about a month there was a knock on his door. It was the soldier who was saved by his son. After expressing his sorrow and the valor of the son, the solider handed a large package to the father.

When the father opened the package it was a large portrait of his son painted by the soldier-armature artist. As he looked at his son’s eyes the father’s own eyes welled up in tears. Gaining his composure quickly the father offered to pay the artist for his work. The soldier quickly refused by saying "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift." The father proudly hung his son’s portrait next to the expensive arts of Van Gogh and Picasso.

Several months later, the father also died and his whole estate went up for auction. The auctioneer started, “We’ll start by bidding with the picture of the son. Who will bid for this painting?” There was silence. A bidder spoke up with irritation, “We didn’t come for the painting of the son; we’re here for the Van Gogh.” The auctioneer continued, “The son! The son! Who will take the son?” Finally a voice came from the back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the family. He said, “I can afford only $10 for the painting of the son.” Excited, the auctioneer began to shout, “We have $10, who will bid $20!” There was no taker. Finally a bidder said, “Give it to him for $10, we’re here to see the masters.” The auctioneer pounded the gavel, “Going once, going twice, sold for $10.” With a sigh of relief the crowd shouted, “Now let’s get on with the real masterpiece items.” The auctioneer replied, “Sorry, the auction is over.” You see, there was a stipulation by the owner that I couldn’t reveal before. His will said, “Whoever takes the son, gets it all.”

My friend, don’t spend your whole life chasing a Van Gogh or a Picasso. The most valuable things in life are friends, family, health, relationships and God’s eternal gift of Salvation. God has made provision for our every need through Christ. Whoever receives His Son, gets it all. Don’t try to achieve, just receive. When you accept God’s free gift of salvation - love, joy, peace, promotion, health and prosperity will come chasing after you. The measure of success in our lives is not determined by what we achieve but what we’re willing to receive from God. In Him there’s fullness of everything. Don’t spend the rest of your life trying to achieve; simply receive His grace by faith. Remember, whoever has the Son, has it all!
“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17 NIV)!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Prophesy Your Future

Many people today are not satisfied with where they are. We want more victory, more power, better health, jobs, peace, joy and fulfillment in life. It is not bad to desire for more. In fact, the more we have, the more we can give away.

When we feel stuck in our business, personal life and family one of the things we can do is to prophesy our future. Our words have same creative force that God has when we speak His Word over our situation. When we proclaim God’s Word over our situation, we release the supernatural power of God to work in our situation. The Bible says that the Word of God is a two edged sword. It cuts through the problems we’re facing so that God can establish His plan for our lives.

Many Christians believe that if God wants to bless them He knows what we need and how to get it to us. That is true. But God is also waiting to see how much we trust Him. Just like earthly fathers like to be asked by his children, God likes it when we cast our confidence in Him. He said, “Ask and you shall receive.” No ask no get!

We have to take action but before we act, we must speak faith-filled words. We all know the story of David and Goliath. In the natural, David was no match for Goliath. The odds were too high against him. Today, you may be facing a similar situation in your marriage, business, children or health. The reports are stacked against you. Be of good cheer. It’s not over yet. God is fighting your battle for you. But you have to prophesy your future. Before David ever confronted Goliath, he spoke victory words out of his mouth. He said that he was going to cut off Goliath’s head and feed it to the birds and wild beasts. (I Samuel 17:46). David demised Goliath just as he had proclaimed ahead of the showdown.

There’s a great principle in this famous story. If you want to overcome your mountain, you have to speak to it. Tell cancer, it must go. Thank God for the job you’re looking for. Command your children (in prayer) to return to the Lord. Give God praise for giving you favor over that contract you’re waiting for. Speak to your financial situation to turn around. Friend, you can speak your way into victory. Anyone can thank God for something after they’ve received the promise. Faith is to thank God for the victory tomorrow while you’re still in today! When we release, faith-filled words from our mouth, we will see victory. All professional coaches use this secret to motivate their players. You have to create a mental picture of victory before you ever get there. Stop talking about how things are and declare how you want things to be!
Years ago, I was caught by secret police for preaching the Gospel in a forbidden country. I was young and learning the principle of speaking God’s Word over my life. I was so excited and spoke over every obstacle that came my way. Looking back, I was a little off balance but my heart was right. Before we ever reached the district magistrate (which was a three-hour walk) I kept declaring our freedom. I was scared but I spoke under my breath and out loud how God was going to deliver me and my disciple who was younger than me and had already spent two years in the same jail for preaching the Gospel. Our offense carried a sentence of up to six years in a horrific jail. When we finally met the magistrate, he scolded the secret agent who arrested us and let us go free! When we got out of the prison courtyard we ran so hard that we could’ve easily won the hundred meters Olympics medal! Seriously, that day I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that we have to proclaim God’s Word before we can possess our victory. Job said, you shall decree a thing and it shall be established. (Job 22:28).
Friend, what are you facing today? Business is slow? Doctor’s report is not good? Are you feeling discouraged and depressed? Do you have a relationship problem? Is there a legal battle hanging over your head? No matter what opposition you’re facing; declare God’s Word over it. You have to proclaim it before you can possess it. Faith is believing before you ever see it. Prophesy your future – it looks very bright!

“Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done” (Matthew 21:21 NIV).

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Hear God's Voice

Does God speak to us today? Some think it is impossible. Others would love to hear God’s voice but they never have. Then there are others who hear God’s voice regularly. Is there really a secret to hearing God’s voice? Does God talk to humans?

God does and wants to speak to us. In fact God wants to speak to us more than we want to hear. God often speaks to us in unexpected time, place and circumstances. God spoke to Moses in the burning bush when he wasn’t expecting it but he was receptive. Instead of blowing it off, Moses took time to stop, think and look into it. He was in sync with God. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”

One of the greatest hindrances to hearing God’s voice today is our busy-ness. When we are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, we cannot hear God. If our lives are full of “noises” it will hinder us from hearing God. In order to hear God we have to have a quite spirit. Let’s discuss a few common ways God speaks to us today.

The most common ways God speaks to us is through His Word. The Bible contains God’s thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit. If you want to hear God’s voice, just read your Bible. As you read the Word of God (logos) suddenly a particular word, phrase or sentence will jump out at you. It will grab your attention. This is your “aha” moment and instruction that you need. That’s called the “rhema” Word of God. It means this Word is now custom made for your specific situation.

God speaks to us through other people. We all have heard about God using prophets to speak to His people. He still does. But God also speaks to us through common men and women. The Bible says that in the multitude of counselors there’s safety. In other words, when we allow people to speak into our lives, we’re hearing God. One word of caution here! God will speak to you the loudest about your life than any other person. Don’t be deceived into believing that you need a personal prophet in your back pocket who will dictate the course of your life. God is in speaking terms with you. God will confirm through other people what He has already spoken to your heart first.

God speaks to us in unusual ways. This can include dreams, visions, audible voices and or any other uncommon circumstances. This is prevalent in Arab nations where it is a huge offense to share the Gospel. People are having dreams and visions of Jesus and coming to know the Lord. There have been reports of whole mosque filled with believers where Jesus has revealed Himself to the people. Like Moses’ encounter with God, these are usually initiated by God.

God speaks to us through everyday life. Next to the Bible, this is the most common way God speaks to me. He doesn’t usually give me an essay but He gives me a word, a phrase or an idea that relates to my circumstances. I like to say, “God twits” to me. You may laugh but I hear God through TV commercials, billboards, books, casual conversations and oh yea – when I’m taking a shower. I know it’s weird! Normally this happens through a quite impression on my heart. When God speaks, I always try to write down the thought. I keep notepad by my bed, in my car, and I write down thoughts on my phone also. Often the Holy Spirit suddenly reminds me about a specific friend while I’m driving or doing whatever. That’s when I call to check on them and pray for them.

Friend, God wants to speak to you more than you want to hear Him. Get the mind of Christ by putting God’s Word in your spirit. God will speak to you through people you know and trust. Stay open to hearing God’s voice in unusual ways. Be sensitive throughout the day to hear God speak to you in a small voice down in your spirit. The more you practice hearing His voice the better you’ll become at it. He loves you and He wants to talk to you.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV).

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Invest in God's Kingdom

We all work hard in hopes for a better life on earth. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, saving and living a good life or to leave an inheritance for our children. But if we ignore investing in God’s Kingdom, we’re building a house on the sand.

The Bible teaches us that what we see is temporal. None of us are guaranteed another day on this earth. What we do with our resources today will greatly affect our eternal future. We cannot take anything with us. Only what we invest in God’s Kingdom will remain forever.

Today, my goal is to shed an eternal perspective into our lives. Invincible as we think, we’re all heading toward eternity. As wise people of God, we must look at our eternal investment portfolio.

Jesus instructed us not to gather riches on earth. He taught us to live on earth with eternal perspective. There are great benefits to living with a generous heart. We have many partners who come up with creative ideas to give to God’s work. On the fourth of July, one of our friends sold hotdogs and hamburgers all day to donate to our Bibles for China Project upcoming trip middle of this month. That was a great sacrifice! Another friend shared about this project with his friend and she bought almost two hundred Bibles from the proceeds of her oil and gas investment. Another friend’s ten-year-old daughter handed me a $1 bill with a million dollars smile on her face!

Sometimes people think that God only needs our money. We can invest in other ways. I have a friend who had been involved in corporate business all her life. Recently she retired and now she’s volunteering part of her time with us to impact lives in Asia. I have another friend who is a high-flying business woman. She is a marketing consultant. She gave us some excellent advice to take our ministry to the next level – free of charge! There are many ways we can invest in God’s Kingdom.

A great way you can impact the Kingdom of God is to pray for the harvest. Prayer is a mighty weapon. Jesus said, the harvest is ready but laborers are few. Pray therefore… When we pray, God’s harvesters like Build International and many others will find ways to win souls for the Kingdom. When we pray, God’s people have peace and safety to disciple new Christians and plant churches in closed countries where we mostly work. When we invest our time praying, we will initiate great revivals.

Another good reason to invest in God’s Kingdom is to be blessed by God. The scripture says when we give, God will replenish us with a hundred fold! (Mark 10:29-30). That’s good returns. This is what happened to one of my friends. In 2008, they’re ready to close their business. They’re in auto industry – one of the worst hit sectors in the economic crisis. Just about that time I was able to introduce world missions to them. He was completely unaware of the persecution and difficulties of our brothers and sisters on the mission field. Immediately he pledged to invest in the lives of the suffering people. Their investment continued to grow by the year. Recently he told me that their business is worth more than 14 million dollars! Friend you cannot out-give God. When we take interest in our Father’s business, He will bless ours. I’m not advocating giving so that you can get back. Getting back is the law of sowing and reaping. Give because you love God, His people and His Kingdom. When you’re investing in God’s Kingdom, you’re accumulating treasures in heaven.

Middle of this month, we’re going back to China to train thousands of pastors and leaders. There’s a revival going on in China. Often two hundred believers share one Bible that costs only $3 each. Our goal is to put at least 5,000 Bibles in the hands of the leaders for their congregations. Will you please pray, give and share this project with your friends and family? Together, we can impact eternity! Thank you for your partnership. We’re praying that God’s blessings will chase you down. We love you and we need you!

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20 NLT).

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