Building People. Spreading Hope.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Joy to the World

Merry Christmas folks! This day in history thrills my heart as it reminds us of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything about His life was miraculous starting with His supernatural birth. This day heralds the message of joy to the world!

When an angel appeared to Mary and gave her the game plan of how she was going to conceive a child without knowing a man, Mary could have said, “Listen angel, I know you look bright but this has never before happened in history?” Thank God Mary didn’t doubt and welcomed God’s divine plan for her life. She was a virtuous ordinary woman but God used her to change history.

Time and again, God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. I think of Joseph who was a carpenter. Skilled at his job but a common man. God used Joseph and Mary to raise the Son of God! Today, you may not feel or look very bright but if you surrender your life to the will of God, you too will be used in an extraordinary fashion.

God’s dream for you is always bigger than your own. You may not see the circumstances in your life producing anything significant but God is working His Master Plan for your life. Where you are right now is not your final destiny. You’re on a journey. When God is through with you, you too, like Mary, will bring forth a miracle. God wants to use you to bring joy to the world!

When Isaiah prophesized the birth of our Lord hundreds of years before it happened, he declared, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Let’s break it down. His name is called Wonderful Counselor. It means He will drive out confusion from our lives. Do you believe in one thing and everything in the natural looks another way? Do you have doubts and uncertainty about your future? With the arrival of Jesus, there is no more confusion; no more doubt. His name is Emmanuel — God with us. His Holy Spirit is our Helper and He will guide us into all truths. He is the best counselor money cannot buy!

What’s looking so impossible in your life? Is there anything too hard for our God? He brought water out of a rock. He parted the red sea. He caused millions of quails to fall to the ground to provide meat for the Israelites in the desert. What a mighty God we serve! Everything is possible when we put our unrestrained confidence in Jesus. Joy to the world, we don’t have to solve our problems on our own. We have a Mighty God we can depend on.

Today is Christmas but so many people are sitting on the sidelines of life. They made a mistake 17 years ago but they cannot forgive themselves. They’re down, depressed and discouraged. I don’t want to make light of your experience but I have good news for you. If you’re feeling down and out, we have a Father in Heaven who is full of compassion and forgiveness. You don’t have to condemn yourself. At the heart of God is mercy. Joy to the world our sins are forgiven. Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18 NLT).

The last part of Isaiah 9:6 says that His name will be called Prince of Peace. Aren’t you glad that you have the peace through our Lord Jesus Christ? But you know what? There are millions around the world who have never heard His name. How can they call upon that name to be saved? Aren’t you glad someone shared the Gospel with you? How can we sit in the luxury of America and forget the lost and hurting world? There is no joy of Christmas in their hearts because they don’t know about Jesus. This is why we at Build International Ministries are aiming to reach half a million people with the Gospel this year. We’re almost there but we need your help. Will you pray? Will you help and share? Because of you, more and more people will come to know the Price of Peace.

Happy Birthday, Jesus and Merry Christmas to you!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Season of Miracles for You

I must admit, this is my favorite time of year. I love the festivities, the hustle and bustle of people shopping for their loved ones, and celebrating the greatest gift the world has ever known — Jesus. I love Christmas!

One of the ways to celebrate the birth of our Lord is to keep the right perspective. Things don’t always have to be perfect in order to enjoy life. The quality of our life depends on how grateful we are for the things we already have. If we’re only happy and content with stuff we want and having it our way all the time, then we’ll spend most of our lives disappointed.

Recently, I saw an advertisement where the man asked the genie for a million bucks. As he wished, boom it happened! The man expected cash but he was surrounded with male deer in and around his house. He was disappointed. This is comical but many of us respond to life in similar fashion. We don’t seem to enjoy the 99 things God has blessed us with but instead, mourn the one thing we don’t have. Don’t let that be you!

I’ve found that one of the best ways to draw God’s blessings into our lives is to be thankful for what we have. When we’re bragging, we won’t be nagging.

While most of us are celebrating the joyous season of Christmas, many are genuinely hurting. Some are disappointed about the way this year didn’t pan out for them. Others made deliberate mistakes and now they’re licking their wounds, feeling sorry for themselves. Yet there are some who experienced a tragedy of losing a loved one or they’re going through a physical, mental, or financial challenge. No matter what opposition you’re facing today, I’ve got good news for you. God is about to turn your mourning into dancing. He will take your mistakes and turn them into miracles. This is the crux of the message of Christmas. No matter how impossible your situation looks, it’s about to change! Luke 4:19 in the Amplified version says that Jesus came “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound].”

This is why I love Christmas! I’m reminded of God’s free flowing favors abounding over me, my family, and friends like you. Religion is binding and it teaches us that we have to be good in order to receive God’s blessings. While I’m not trying to promote sloppy Christianity, we would be wise to understand that our best efforts to please God are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot earn God’s favor with our good works but we can accept His free gift of Salvation and favor upon our lives. And for a sinner like me, that’s music to my ears! I accept everything God has for me with deepest gratitude in my heart. I recommend you do the same.

I love to watch parents shopping for Christmas for their children. One thing that always impresses me is the list. It has names and gifts matching to the names. This list is the most divine list in the world. Naughty or nice; no matter what the child has done through the year — his grades, her attitude, or even their history of disobedience —the list only contains blessings for their children. The Bible says, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:13). God has a list of blessings beside your name.

Friend, today let’s remember that we’re in a season of miracles. God is not keeping track of your wrongs but your faith in Him. He is not mad at you; He is madly in love with you. You don’t have to play an outsider anymore because God has circled you in. You’re not an outcast, you’re outstanding! If you come to Jesus just as you are, He will accept you and turn your sorrow into joy. You want to honor God with your life but you don’t have to impress Him anymore. Jesus has done that for you. Just embrace and accept the free favor of God’s love, forgiveness, and restoration over your life. Christmas is not just history it’s about God’s richest blessing coming over your life to meet you at the point of your need today. This is your season of miracles. What do you need? Ask boldly! God is in good mood to give you the miracle you need.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32 NIV).

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reach Out

Holidays are charged with emotions. Some are going through the best times of their lives while others are experiencing the opposite. No matter what sadness or joy we’re experiencing, it’s always healthy to reach out to others.

The other day, I was in a business meeting where there were a bunch of new people in the room. I made my rounds and greeted everybody and prayed for a few in the room. When I sat down for lunch, I felt a tug on my heart to reach out to a certain individual.

When I looked at her, she looked poised and full of confidence. I thought to myself, “This woman is alright. She doesn’t need my encouragement.” The more I lingered, the more I could feel the Lord nudging me. I kept debating and reasoning in my heart.

Just before the meeting ended, she left the room. I gave a deep sigh of relief but the Holy Spirit kept bugging me. After a couple of minutes, I had to obey God. I left the room and found the lady in the parking lot about to speed off. I flagged her down and said, “Listen, I know we don’t know each other very well. I don’t want to embarrass you or myself. But I felt God sent me to ask you if everything was alright?”

I had barely spoken and she began to break down. With tears welling up in her eyes, she told me how her young son was sick and she’s worried about him and the upcoming holidays. I encouraged and prayed with her right there in the parking lot. By the time we’re done, she left with a big smile on her face and I knew that God had sparked a renewed hope in her life.

On my way back to my meetings, I asked God to forgive me for debating. I was glad that the Holy Spirit won in spite of my stubbornness.

Today I ask you to be open and willing to reach out to others during this holiday season. People may not look like they need help but some of them are going through terrible times. Let’s be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit to reach out to others. Be kind in traffic, the grocery store, and even to your own family members! When God puts a needy person in front of you, it’s your cue to act. You can’t help everybody but do something for the ones you can. This is the spirit of Christmas!

Once, Jesus was ministering in a remote region and it went late into the evening. There were no grocery stores around so the disciples recommended that the crowds be disburse to their homes. At once, Jesus corrected their thinking and asked them to provide the evening meal.

When the disciples took inventory, they only found five loaves of bread and two fish. They brought them to Jesus. He blessed it and the rest is history. Five thousand men plus women and children were fed and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! Friend, you may not have much in your hand as you’d like but if you give God what you have He will bless and multiply it.

I’ve learnt that it’s not so much what we have but whether or not it has God’s blessing that makes all the difference. When you use what you have to reach out to others, God makes it His personal business to supply what you need. Don’t wait for a lightning strike to help others. Don’t ignore the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.

Friend, this holiday season let’s reach out to others. Invite someone to your party or church. Be hospitable. Ask a single family to join you for dinner. Call and/or visit your aging parents. Check on the poor, lonely, and the destitute. If God puts people to remembrance, call and check on them. Don’t just buy gifts for your kids; pick up something for your struggling neighbors as well. What you do for others, God will make happen for you. If you’re struggling today, remember, Jesus is the reason for the season. He came for you! You’re His fatal attraction. You’re so vital and valuable to Him that He gave His life on the Cross for you. Friend, there’s hope. He will never leave you nor forsake you. God knows what you need and how to get it to you. Let’s rejoice and reach out to others. I’m praying for you!

“Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you"-- when you already have it with you (Proverbs 3:28 NIV).

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Monday, December 1, 2014

December Will Be Dazzling

It’s easy to look at what didn’t work out this year. Sales may be down. Relationships may not have worked out. You may not have gone as far as you hoped but don’t write this year off yet. God is not finished with you!

You’ve prepared this whole year to get to today. Don’t focus on what didn’t work out. Instead, trust and believe God that December will be the best month of the year. No matter what the expert says, or your industry’s predictions are, you can expect a dazzling month in sales, peace, joy, promotion, health, increase, and breakthroughs.

Your future is your property. Only you and God can dictate what your future will be. Our lives produce our expectations. If we have limited expectations, then we’ll see limited results. No matter what your situation may look like, today is a new day. God is doing a new thing. He will heal you. He will fill your pocket with resources from sources you don’t even know. You will have plenty for your family and plenty leftover to bless the world.

God is not a Santa Claus checking you twice to see whether you’ve been naughty or nice. He knows we fail so He loved us while we were yet sinners. Now go and sin no more. Thank God, His love for us is a decision and not based on our performance. He intends to bless and honor you in spite of your shortcomings because you’re His child! Don’t let religious bigots convince you otherwise. God’s heart of mercy is far greater than your propensity to sin. He knows your name and He knows your frame. Do your best to honor Him today!

In Matthew chapter 8, a Roman officer came to Jesus and said, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I’ll come and heal him.” The centurion said, “Just say the Word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus replied, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” The young servant was healed that same hour!

Friend, you may be facing some adverse circumstances in your life right now. You may not think God wants to help you. But I’ve got good news for you. Let me remind you what His Word says. You’re the child of the Most High. You have the mind of Christ. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. He always causes you to triumph. He took our pain and bore our sicknesses and suffering. He is Jehovah Jireh — the Lord our Provider. He is Jehovah Rapha — God our Healer. You’re the apple of His eye. You’ll live and not die and proclaim the works of the Lord. Most people want to see before they can believe. But first, believe and then you’ll see. This is called faith. All of God’s promises are yes and amen. Just like the centurion, God’s Word works for everyone who believes.

Don’t try to figure out everything with your natural mind. You’re not limited by your paycheck, your business, or the doctor’s report. A sudden inheritance will come into your hands. The IRS will pay you back. Rebates and bonus checks are on their way. A relative you’ve not heard from will send you a large sum of money. The real estate will sell for more than you expected. Your marriage will be restored. You’ll hit natural gas, oil, and precious stones. I’m not saying these things just to get your hopes up. This has happened to friends I know and those who put their trust in God. He wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing to others!

Friend, no matter how desperate your situation may look, cast all your cares upon Jesus because He cares for you. His provision will make your dream a reality. I’m not just talking about money. How about more peace, promotions, joy, health, healing, influence, restoration, and reputation? December will be dazzling but you have to believe that God is a Rewarder of those who seek Him diligently. You have to be expecting in your heart. God will meet you at the point of your expectation. All things are possible to them who believe. I pray and proclaim December will be dazzling for you and your family.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Remeber the Good

Life has a way of draining us. If we’re not proactive, negative thoughts dictate our lives. When we actively seek to remember the good, the positive experiences of life will override the negatives.

Brain science tells us that our negative experiences occupy more of our brain space than our positive ones. Knowing this, we have to make a conscious effort to remember the good things and start vocalizing them. When we speak our positive experiences out loud, we reinforce our brain to keep positive memories in the forefront of our minds. This is extremely important because our lives follow our thoughts.

I heard of a young couple who was having trouble in their relationship. The counselor asked them to write down their negatives of each other. The wife was very excited for an opportunity to share her frustrations. She made a long list of complaints about her husband. On the day of disclosure, the wife went through her long list of grievances about her husband. She felt good to let her husband know. When it came time for her husband to share, she was blown away by his one line statement. It said “I love and like you just the way you are!” Truth is, human beings have more in common than we tend to realize. None of us have it 100%. Let’s focus on the 80% that’s good and overlook the 20% that’s not so good. Let’s magnify what’s good in each other.

When we remember the good, we attract more of God’s blessings in our lives. This is what the children of Israel did. Every time God did a miracle for them, they established a memorial stone unto God. They were nomadic back then. Every time they passed that way again, they were reminded of God’s mighty miracles in their lives. They understood the principle that if they were not proactive about remembering the good, life’s negatives would override their perceptions automatically.

Many people have a difficult time remembering the good that was once a miracle in their lives. Let me help you remember how God brought that beautiful women into your life. Remember when your children were born. Let us remember how God gave you that dream job. Do you remember the day you walked into your first home? Do you remember how God healed you of that dreaded disease? Remember the day you got saved. Friend, let us remember God’s mighty works in our lives!

Getting started on remembering the good is the hardest part. Once you shift your mindset, it’s not so hard to produce a long list of things to be grateful about. In my daily prayer walks, I regularly remind God of the 20-30 major things He has done in my life. I start with the day I was born. I remind God how He gave me an upbringing at the orphanage. I remind God of the day I graduated from high school and college. You may think these are ordinary things but for most of us, what is ordinary today was once a miracle. Let us not forget and take time to remind God of His mighty deeds. While you’re remembering the good, don’t forget to express your gratitude to your loved ones, co-workers, clients, neighbors, and others who have enriched your life. When we magnify the good, our differences will minimize automatically.

When we remember God’s mighty works in the past, we fuel our faith to believe God for the current impossible in our lives. Before young David defeated Goliath, he first recalled and verbally recited all the previous victories. He remembered how God empowered him to kill a lion and a bear. In the book of Psalms, he reminded God how He brought water out of a rock and how He parted the red seas. Is it any wonder that David’s life was highlighted by God’s favor!

If you’re facing a difficult situation in your life today, be like David. Remind God of the things He has already done for you. Don’t focus on how big your problem is, focus on how big your God is. If God helped you once, He will do it again. Don’t nag. Instead, brag about what He has done in the past. It’s not so much our circumstances but our attitude in how we respond to them that will change our situation. Today in America, we remember God’s goodness in our lives. Let us not just stop there; give thanks to God as a lifestyle. When we do, we’ll see more of His goodness and favor unleashed upon our lives. I love you and thank God for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” (Psalm 103:2 ESV).

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

You Can Impact the World

Most of us cannot comprehend doing anything to change the world. Yet God wants all of us to be a world changer. We may feel insignificant on our own but when we allow God to work in and through us, we can impact the world!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing and you’ll have the power.” Most of our problems are between our own two eyes. We think we cannot do anything big so we do nothing. The key is to do what you can and then allow God to do what you can’t. The Bible says that God will bless the work of our hands (Deuteronomy 2:7). Today, I want to stir you up to become a world changer.

In order to support the family, my father had to quit school when he was in seventh grade. He was a Christian man but he was very limited in his environment. For generations, his family lived in poverty and lack. When my mother passed away, leaving him with four young boys, all he could do was to pray. He struggled through most of his life until we all came to know Christ.

Many years went by without any sign of my father’s prayers being answered. At one point he lost touch with me and two of my brothers for several years. However, my father never stopped praying for his sons to serve God. Long story short, today not only are all of his sons, but over two dozen other family members are serving the Lord. I say it humbly but together we’ve ministered in over 150 nations, touching millions of lives. What was once an impossible dream of my earthly father was made possible by our Heavenly Father. My Dad is around 85 years old now. Next month, we’re going to celebrate his life while he is still with us. He is a prime example of how you can change the world through prayer!

Today, you may live in a limited environment. You think that everybody else is more talented than you. You look at yourself and think that you have nothing to give. Some of you feel like you’ve wasted your time in the world and now you’re too old to do anything big for God. This may be how you feel but this is not true. God is not finished with you. If God didn’t have a plan and a purpose for your life, you wouldn’t be here. Your greatest days on earth are still out in front of you. He wants you to impact the world with your time, talents, and treasures.

In 2 Kings 5, there’s a story of a man named Naaman who was a commander in the king’s army. He was a valiant man but he had leprosy. Naaman’s wife had a slave girl from Israel to help her around the house. When this young girl heard about Naaman’s plight, she told his wife about Prophet Elijah in Samaria. She suggested that if Naaman would go and meet Elijah, his leprosy will be healed. Through a long string of events, at the instruction of the Prophet, Naaman dipped in the River Jordan and his skin was cured like a young boy. Consider how it all started. God used a slave girl working in the kitchen to perform a mighty miracle. If a slave girl can start a miracle-working power of God, imagine what God can do through you!

On October 23rd, we’re leaving for another mission trip to India. Our goal is to touch 30,000 people in three weeks. It takes only $1 to reach one person! People are waiting in anticipation for the Good News. We’ll lift Jesus in worship in front of thousands. We will encourage, and minister to the poor and persecuted Christians. Like my father, you can impact the world through your prayers. Some of you can support this mission trip. Others of you can share this information with friends and on social media and empower others to action. President Ronald Reagan said, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

Friend, your influence has a great impact. Today, I urge you to attempt something big for God. It doesn’t have to be anything big but do something. Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Don’t minimize your involvement in world missions. Pray. Give. Go. In the hands of our big God, our small act of service can turn into something great. Together, we can change the world!

“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 10:14-15 NIV).

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Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Ways to Overcome Fear

Fear is a universal enemy. Everybody has an area in their lives where they’re fearful. It is not wrong to be afraid. When we’re overwhelmed by fear, the best thing to do is to eliminate it.

Fear is an invisible enemy yet it has struck down more people than we want to admit. Right now, we’re gripped with the fear of the Ebola virus or the fact that global terrorism is on the rise. There are many other evils that exist in the world. We cannot stop fear from knocking on our doors but how we respond to it makes all the different.
Ambrose Redmoon said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Fear is always based on what’s going to happen in the future. Fear starts in our thinking, therefore we can stop it! When we allow a negative thought to take root in our mind, we’re surrendering ourselves before we even get to the battleground. Today, let’s look at five ways we can defeat fear.

Think about what you think about. Your life will follow your thoughts. Our mind is the breeding ground for good and evil therefore we have to protect our thoughts. Prevention is better than cure. The Scripture says, What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true” (Job 3:25 NLT). When we hear a negative report, we have to immediately shake it off. The longer we linger in our fear, the bigger it becomes in our mind. We have the power to choose faith or continue in fear. Fear and faith work in the same way. Fear is reverse faith. Faith causes us to focus on God’s ability. When we speak the Word of God over our lives, we’re defeating fear before it can take root and become a stronghold in our mind.

You have insurance. The Bible talks about plagues and pestilence before the second coming of our Lord. While the world gets darker and darker, we, His children, can live without fear. When the Egyptians were facing their worst nightmare with plagues, there was no evil in Goshen where the children of the Israelites lived. You must know that there’s a difference between the people of the world and you, the follower of Christ. Jesus has paid the full premium on the insurance of fear. King David said, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you” (Psalm 91:7). You’re protected by the blood of Jesus!

Look at the big picture. Early this year, I was ministering in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Enroute, we had to land in Tokyo, Japan. The weather was bad when we landed. It was raining heavily and the sky was dark. Flashes of thunder and lightning lit up the night skies. It was depressing and honestly, fear gripped my heart. All sorts of negative thoughts began to cross my mind. Amazingly, when our flight took off again, we were engulfed with bright sunshine and clear weather in less than fifteen minutes. Against all my fears, we made a safe landing and touched thousands of lives. Fear has a way of keeping us focused on the present or our immediate future. It may look dark and scary right now but, just above the rainclouds, sunshine awaits you. Instead of considering how big your problem is, consider how big is your God.

Feed on positive. Unfortunately, bad news sells. Not too long ago, I met a lady who was bragging about how her blog is read by thousands. When I checked it out, it was full of negatives and bitterness about her past experiences. That poison will kill you faster than a cobra. Don’t be drawn to negative reports in the media or gossip. Spread the good news and shun the bad news. You’d be smart to realize that news media is rehashing the same news over and over with new packaging. It’s good to be informed but it’s not wise to be influenced to make good decisions by negative media.

Pray instead of panic. Bad news will be coming at us no matter how hard we try. We don’t have to be like the ostrich trying to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that evil doesn’t exist. However, prayer is much more powerful than fear. Every day I pray, “Thank you Lord, for safety, protection, and angels. I put the blood of Jesus over me and my family and against the enemy.” I recommend that you do the same. When we pray, we activate faith and bind fear. Fear makes us cripple. Prayer makes us powerful.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).

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Monday, October 13, 2014

It’s Time for Your Comeback

All of us make mistakes yet very few of us believe that anything good can come from them. We tend to supersize our wrongs and minimize our successes. If we’re to live a satisfied life, we have to learn to turn our mistakes into miracles.
Not everything that comes against you is from the pit of hell. God allows a difficulty or a hardship to occur in our lives so that He can bring something greater out of our circumstances. Things may be going the way you planned but you’re not going to end where you are. He has every intention of fulfilling your destiny. There is more for you than you realize. What’s waiting in your future is far greater than what’s happened in your past. Today I challenge you to look at your setback as a setup.
As a young cartoonist, Walt Disney faced many obstacles. Newspaper editors would constantly turn down his work. They thought he had no talent. They said that he had no imagination. One day, a minister in the church approached him to do some work for him. Disney was broke and he lived at a tiny place infested by rodents. It was the worst possible condition for him to be inspired about his work. One day he saw a little mouse running around in his humble abode. It made him sketch a new cartoon. That was the birth of Mickey Mouse and the rest is history.
Today you might be in a dark place. You may not understand why a chain of negative things has happened to you. Your business may not have turned a profit yet. You don’t even see the end of the tunnel, much less the daylight. The rent is past due. The creditors are calling. The boss is demanding and even your spouse is unhappy. The whole world seems to be caving in. If this is true, I have some good news for you. God is setting you up. It’s time for your comeback.
One day little Tommy came home from school visibly distraught. His mother found a note in his pocket. The teacher had written, “Your Tommy is too stupid to learn. Get him out of the school.” This made his mother mad because little Tommy was partially deaf. His mother pulled him out of school and she began to teach him at home. That little boy not only began to blossom under the loving care of his mother, he went on to become the great Thomas Edison even though he had only three months of formal schooling! 
Friend, it’s time to take off the labels; no matter who has written you off and who has said that you’ll never amount to anything, God has put a blessing on you and nobody can reverse that. Don’t believe every expert in your industry. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Believe in God and listen to your own inner voice. Trust your own instinct more than you value your friends. You’re not handicapped. You are not washed out. Your best days are still out in front of you. God has more in your future than all the failures in the past. If you keep the right perspective, God will help you rise above your mediocrity.
In 1914, Thomas Edison lost his factory to a fire. It was his lifetime of achievement. He was 67 years old. He had very little insurance. Edison watched helplessly as his lifetime effort went up in smoke. However, instead of lamenting, he said, “All our mistakes are burnt up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks later, he invented the phonograph!
Friend, setbacks are inevitable. Learn from your mistakes but remember that God is not finished with you. He has plans for you that you do not know. He has the right people lined up for you. He has the right clients waiting for you. You’ll find your dream job. You will come into a great inheritance. Your children will come home to be a blessing to you. Your health will spring forth and you’ll live long to fulfill your divine destiny. Today, have a fresh attitude in life. You’re about to start a new chapter. Take off the labels people put on you. There is inspiration even in a despairing situation. God is setting you up. In the words of Chris Tomlin’s famous song, “Into the darkness You shine, Out of the ashes we rise, There’s no one like you. None like you! Our God is greater. Our God is stronger. God you’re higher than any other…” You’ve gone through the death. You’ve gone through the burial. Now it’s time for your comeback!
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18 NIV).
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Enjoying Everyday Life

Life is complicated. Our experiences of past, and present, pressure can rob the very life God has given to us. When we’re not careful, it’s easy to lose sight of the wonderful gift called today. God wants us to enjoy our lives.

The demands of life can squeeze the joy out of us. If we’re not careful, life will run us over and we’re going to waste valuable time stuck in a rut. I’ve found most of the time we’re griping about today was once an answer to our prayers. Often we’re waiting for the big miracle but I’ve learnt that life is a combination of tiny miracles. We will be wise to recognize them, glorify God, and enjoy everyday life.

Thirteen year old Athena, from Britain, passed away this summer. She was a victim of cancer but she never let her circumstances dictate her life. While cleaning out her room, her parents discovered a 3,000-word long, secret letter written on the backside of her bedroom mirror. Here’s an excerpt from the letter she left behind: 

“Happiness depends upon us. Maybe it's not about the happy ending, maybe it's about the story. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story. You have heard what I've done, but not what I've been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it's easy to shatter. Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Love is not about how much you say I love you — it’s about how much you can prove its true. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad. Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!”

Friend, live life with a passion! Enjoy the small things, for one day you’ll wake up and realize that they were the big things! You’ll attract whatever you focus on. Instead of dreading things, learn to enjoy the trips to the grocery store. You have money to buy what you need. When you hit traffic, thank God that you don’t have to walk or wait hours for a bus. Keeping the house clean can be a chore but know that there are millions who’d love to live in your palace. Kids may be cumbersome but greater joy is to remember that we’re preparing them for life. You may have a health issue and it may be restricting your life but aren’t you glad you’re still breathing? Any day is better than being six feet under! Let us enjoy life to the fullest.

Recently I met Mac. He is 82 years old. He told me how he exploited life in his younger life. He lived on Park Avenue and made millions. He traveled the world and owned expensive real estate. Today Mac is frail but he gets around. He has not lost the zest for life. He’s slowed down but you can still see the excitement in his eyes. He has regrets but he is more focused on the future than his past. He attends church regularly. He sings in the choir. He gives a big chunk of his possessions to help the work of God. He meets with his son every Wednesday for coffee. He attends network groups. Mac laments about the time and millions he lost but he takes pride in finding Jesus in his heart. Mac is living life to the fullest.

Friend, are you enjoying life or simply enduring it? Don’t just breathe — live! If you have kids, you’re rich. If you have dirty dishes, you have food to eat. If you’re stuck in traffic, you have a car to drive. If you have piles of laundry to do, you have plenty of clothes to wear. If you have Jesus, you have hope. Don’t just live for the big events in life, enjoy the morning walks. Smell the roses. Play with your kids. Enjoy reading the Bible with your favorite cup of tea or coffee. Thank God for the three green lights in a row or finding a parking spot of your choice. Like my friend Mac, you learn to appreciate the small things in life. Change your perspective. Enjoy everyday miracles. It will change your life!

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:14,17 NLT).

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Desire More for God

We are driven by desires. We strive to get to a better place with our lives. We want more comfort, better living conditions, plenty of affluence and influence. While none of this is wrong, our desire for God is more important in this life and beyond.

Yesterday, I met with two young ladies. We’ll call them Becky and Chelsea. They’re smart, beautiful, and full of purpose. They are highly successful in their own careers and they’re modest about their achievements. Both of them have traveled the world and lived overseas extensively, helping people that are less fortunate. Chelsea is a property manager but her real passion is to work with new immigrants giving them job skills and other valuable support; introducing them to our God. Becky has a booming business but she is constantly looking for ways to help others. Her dream is to have a restoration center healing God’s servants from around the world! Their love for God and His people is impeccable! What inspired me about these ladies is that they love life to the fullest but they also love God with their whole heart. As a matter of fact, everything they do is an overflow of their obedient commitment to Christ. My friends are marked for success!

I believe every human being is born with a God-shaped void in their hearts. We try to fill it up with busyness, relationships, building ourselves a name, fame, and a fortune. Climbing the corporate ladder is great but make sure it’s not leaning against the wrong wall. How we get there, and what we do when we arrive, make all the difference. The same is true in raising a family, growing a business, or even serving God in the ministry. Martha was busy ministering for Jesus. Mary ministered to Jesus. Mary was preferred! Nothing can fill the void in your life that only God can. He has reserved all the right to our love and affection. He laid His life down to express His love for us. Do you desire more for God as you do for material things in life?

My kids have three cats! I was out of my mind to allow them three kittens (they grow)! Seriously, they’re cute and they add a lot of joy. Fang is always getting into mischief. I have to get on to her more than the other two. However, it is Fang who jumps onto my couch every morning and cuddles with me while I’m having my tea and reading my Bible. She likes to do that throughout the day. I like all of our cats but Fang gets preferred treatment because of her affection for me. Many Christians go to God only when they have a need. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for stuff. But if our relationship is based on getting and not giving, then we’re living too shallow.

In the Bible, we find David always having a desire for more of God. He rose early in the morning to seek after Him. He took time to recall the blessings He received from God. He magnified God while he was surrounded by his enemies. David made God’s name famous. In return, in spite of his humble background, God made him the king of Israel and called David a man after His own heart. What about you? Do you have any conversation with God that does not involve your benefit? Do you ever ask God, “What you can do for you?” Do you actively seek for ways that will make His name great? Do you have a bucket list of what you want to do for God? You have goals for your own family and personal career but do you have a goal for your spiritual development? These questions are not to make you feel bad but if we don’t have a desire to live more for God, we’re not living life to our highest potential.

Let’s become lovers of God. He owns it all except our hearts. The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman. He will not occupy what you don’t surrender. It’s great to have goals and dreams and accumulate stuff but I’ve never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse! Nothing wrong in making a name or having fame but there’s nothing right doing it without God. Talk to Him regularly. Read His love letters, the Bible, to you. Know Him and make His name known to the world. Let’s be like my friends Becky and Chelsea and desire more for God. King David always made time for God, so can we. Like our cat if we get cozy with God, our lives will go better for us. Friends, I challenge you to desire more for God. When we live a God-pleasing life, everything else will automatically fall in place. God wants you. How much of God do you desire?

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1 NIV).

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