Building People. Spreading Hope.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Payday is Coming

One of the hardest things in life is to keep doing the right thing when nothing seems to be happening. There are times when situation may even seem to go against what we are standing for. Yet, if we keep doing the right thing long enough, we can be confident that our harvest will come.

Everything we do – our thoughts and actions, is a seed. When we sow a seed a kindness, we WILL reap a harvest. When we’re taking care of our bodies through exercise, healthy eating and sleep habits, we will enjoy divine health. When we give our due diligence at work and trust God with the result, He will give us the increase. When we honor our heavenly Father with a God-pleasing lifestyle, He will promote us. Great achievers are those who keep pressing on in spite of little or no visible results. What happens between what we are expecting from God and the time of its manifestation is called the “trial of our faith.”

I have friends right now who are standing in faith for a miraculous healing. Some of my friends are waiting for their dream jobs. Others of you are waiting for a relationship to blossom and the business to start making profit. You are praying for your marriage to be healed and family members to be saved. It may have taken a while, but know that a harvest is coming. God has been working all along. Healing, promotion, increase, influence, peace, prosperity, restoration, salvation and a sound mind is waiting in line for you. God will never put you through a test without first giving you the power to overcome and then to reward you for it.

Today, raise your expectation in God. Abraham got his promised son. Moses delivered God’s people from the bondage. David killed Goliath. Jesus endured the cross. What results they got! You too, will inherit your promise. God is orchestrating things in your favor. Good breaks are on your way! Your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Keep your hopes up. Keep trusting in God’s ability to turn things around. Just like you go to work every day – fighting traffic, putting up with a difficult boss, and myriads of other disadvantages in the hope of a paycheck, the test of your faith will produce result. The question is not if it will happen but when it WILL happen. Stay in faith. God will honor you and He will reward you. Your payday is coming!

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12-13 NIV).

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Add a Little Favor in Your Day

Rewards, promotions and satisfactions are great motivation to work hard, be creative and be productive. For many of us, our self-worth is deeply rooted into the work we do. W-O-R-K is one my favorite four-letter-words in the Bible. I believe part of our God given purpose in life is to work and not be lazy.

However, I know too many people who are trying too hard. We should never be slave to anything – not even work. Today I want us to consider a better approach to work. Have you ever tried to cook? You may have done everything right – applied exact temperature, put in the precise ingredients but food taste terrible simply because you forgot to add a little salt in your cooking.

This is how we often go about our business. We try to do everything within our own power. We use our connections, skills and exert our influence. It is good to do our due diligence but today I’m asking you to call in God’s favor in everything you do. This week, be more favor-minded. You’re His son/daughter. He wants to give you preferential treatment at work. One touch of God’s favor will turn everything to your advantage. When we trust God more than our own skill, we’ll experience a new level of peace and productivity like never before. Will you trust Him today? I know you will. I’m praying for you!

“They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3 NLT).

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Would Jesus Think of Church Today

Going to church on Sunday has become a Christian tradition all over the world. For some, Sunday is the holy-day when we rest and honor God. For others, church is becoming less relevant to their busy lifestyle.

What would Jesus think if He walked into our church service today?

While a part of being a Christian is to connect with other believers, wanting to be social for personal gain should never be the reason for going to church. When our motive is to get close to the pastor, leader or other believers for personal advancement, then we’re jeopardizing our faith. WHY we do what we do is far more important than what we do. Remember, God still looks at the intent of our hearts!

A major emphasis is placed on what we’re going to “get” when we go to church. We use phrases like, “What did you get from church today?” For a New Testament believer, it should be just the opposite. We don’t go to church to “get” but to GIVE our praise, worship and adoration to God from whom all blessings flow. We also should bring hope, encouragement and practical help to one another while we’re in church. Sure God will give us what we need for our daily life but our goal should be to GIVE rather than to get – an attitude of gratitude.

What would Jesus think of our leaders in the church today? Jesus looked at Peter and commissioned him to “feed my sheep.” Yet, many pastors today are using the pulpit to “beat the sheep.” Often congregations are put through guilt trips for not coming to church often enough or not giving more of their money to church. Other pastors are obsessed with their theology and doctrines. Their ego is bigger than life! Church leaders, here’s what Jesus would remind us, “Feed my sheep and lead them to green pastures where My presence is.” As leaders our main job is to create an environment for people to encounter God. Sinners need hope, the sick need healing and the oppressed needs to be set free. Saints need to be empowered into action; not just to come to church on Sunday and coerced into giving 10% of their income to the church (by the way, why are we obsessed with the 10% when 100% belongs to God in the first place?) but also to live the rest of the week being salt and light to the world.

I wonder what Jesus would think about “bodyguards” in the church today! Jesus made Himself vulnerable even to His enemies who came to kill Him. He willingly gave Himself up for us. Why is it that leaders have to surround themselves with secret-service-looking body guards? Do you know how a church leader and his church get recognized by the government in communist Laos? In my recent trip to the country, I was told that every pastor of a new church is arrested and put in prison for 6-12 months. If they survive the persecution and torture without giving out the names, protecting his members, they come out free to conduct services and recognized by the government. This test of commitment is the same in majority of the world including communist China, where Christianity is exploding! In return, believers remain committed to the church for the rest of their lives.

Brothers and sisters, going to church should not be an obligation. We should go there to worship God. We should congregate to lift, encourage and help one another. We should go to church to be saved and healed from our hurts and pain. A church should be a hospital to heal the broken, hurting, sighing and dying people not a showcase to display perfect people. Pastors should be more concerned about delivering people than delivering sermons. When we allow the Holy Spirit to move among us, we will see the power of the church restored to her original glory. Heathens will be drawn to church when they see our love for one another. God is far more interested in our lifestyle rest of the week than the weekly two hours we spend in the church. Jesus said, “My house will be called a house or prayer.” Let’s pray. Let’s worship. Let’s learn and become Disciples of Christ. When we reflect God’s love and light to our lost world we will encounter His glory again!

“He said to them, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!" (Matthew 21:13 NLT).

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Seeds of Germination Are In You

If you live in Dallas, Texas area, you know that we’re transitioning into spring. It is an exciting time. There is a sense of anticipation in the air. We’re experiencing the naked trees starting to blossom. Grass, that looked dead for months are suddenly racing against weeds. I don’t know about yours but in my lawn, weeds are winning so far!

Seriously, what happens in the natural is often an indicator of what’s taking place in the spiritual world. Some of you have been in a “dormant” season for a long time. Your health situation may not look good but God’s healing is about to break forth. Some of you are looking for jobs, promotions and better jobs. I’m here to tell you that your dream job has been unleashed. Stay in faith. Let God do the rest.

Others of you have waited long for your Mr. or Ms. Perfect and you will not be disappointed. God is preparing a life-companion for you. Your wait will be worth it! Several of you are going through marital problems. That’s right; going through. Peace, joy, and tranquility await you on the other side. God is bringing restoration into your marriage.

Many of you are facing financial challenges. Let me say this, I hear the sound of financial abundance about to rain down upon you. God’s favor will jolt your business from the winter slump. You’ll end this month and every month here on with a profit! God will pay you back for your losses. Some of you are waiting for that dream vacation – this is the year.

Seeds of germination are working in you. Just because you can’t see below the grass doesn’t mean there’s no life under there. Similarly, even if things were dead in your life, remember, we serve a Living God who brought Lazarus back to life!

Friend, in the end, everything will be alright. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. Don’t give up. Set your mind in the right direction. Stand firm and call in your blessing. Say no to the enemy’s lying voices and YES to all of God’s promises. What has looked dead and dormant for months and years are suddenly coming back to life. This is God’s promise to those who believe. Do you receive it? I know you do. I’m praying for you!

“Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV).

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It’s Time to Believe Again

The longer we live, the more opportunities we have to develop a sour attitude towards life. If we believe in our circumstances more than we believe in God’s promises, we will be easily frustrated and live a defeated life.

Bryan Adams starts off singing, I’m a soldier - wounded so I must give up the fight. There's nothing more for me - lead me away... Or leave me lying here.” This is how many people live today. Too easily, they give in to their feelings and external circumstances. When we surrender to the negative circumstances of life, we rob ourselves. It is easy to wallow in self-pity but you belong to a higher class. You’re not created to drift through a life in lack and mediocrity. Adams goes on to reveal the secret. “Then from on high - somewhere in the distance, there's a voice that calls, "Remember who you are" If you lose yourself - your courage soon will follow. So be strong tonight - remember who you are! Yeah you're a soldier now - fighting in a battle to be free once more - yeah, that's worth fighting for.”

Friend, it’s time for you to believe in yourself again. Remember when you were in your teens, twenties and thirties? You had dreams. You were invincible! The sky was the limit and you pushed through your failures. You thought you were beautiful and you took care of yourself. You were a go-getter. Nothing stood between you and your aspirations. Then life happened! You hit a few bumps on the road - a broken marriage, prolonged sickness, loss of a family member, a failed business, and it sucked the life out of you. Like Job, you may have lost everything but let me remind you that you haven’t lost your God yet. Your greatest victory still lies in front of you. God has another mountain for you to conquer or else you wouldn’t be here! Like Job, He will give you back double for your trouble. Friend, it’s time to break free from your self-imposed prison and fight for what’s rightfully yours.

Next, we must put our trust in God. What we can achieve by ourselves is nothing compared to what we can do together with God. Ask for God’s favor before you make the sales call. Don’t just listen to the “experts.” Get God's opinion. Give to God what belongs to Him. Expect your business will double, triple and quadruple. Have integrity at work and God will promote you. Every area of our lives will prosper when we give preeminence to God’s Word. All His promises are yes and Amen. God told Joshua, And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed” (Joshua 1:8 The Message).

Finally, we must believe in people. God never throws anything down from the sky. He uses people to bless us. Learn to receive. If our connections are not stretching us to be better, do more and be more then it’s time to get some new friends. Serve your spouse and children. Don’t just stop at providing for them, spend time with them. At work, serve your difficult boss with a good attitude. Get along with people who are hard to understand. Help those who are helpless! Your success is tied into theirs. Do not be critical, cynical and judgmental of others unless you want the same dished back to you. Believe in people, and give them something to live up to.

Today, reminisce your younger years! Remember when you got saved and how excited you were about God? What was it like when you first fell in love? Do you remember the pinnacle of your success? What was it like to be newlywed? Do you remember when you had no debt? I’m creating a mental picture in you. If God did it once, He will do it again. Friend, let me speak some faith into you. You will experience God again. By the stripes of Jesus you are healed. Wisdom, peace, and riches are yours. You’re debt free! You’ll lend and not borrow. Your children will be mighty in the land. You have the mind of Christ. What is impossible with man is possible with God. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. It’s time to believe again. Believe in yourself. Believe in God’s Word and believe in people. Your best days are yet to come!

Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23 ESV).

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

And the Oscar Goes to… YOU!

Just a couple of days ago, millions of people around the globe witnessed one of the most prestigious ceremonies honoring achievements in the film industry. Winners were awarded the Academy Award of Merit, nicknamed as an Oscar.

As I read the news and watched people getting excited about their favorite actor/actresses nominated and receiving an Oscar, I could not help but think how God has an Oscar ready for each of us.

Today I want encourage you to wait patiently for your “Oscar” from God. You have labored hard. You have count the cost. You have endured temptations, kept your integrity and honored God. The angels have nominated you to be the “Best Person of the Year.” Today my job is to open the sealed envelope and declare your name to come up to the Throne of Grace boldly and accept your “Oscar!”

At work, maybe you have a difficult boss. You arrive early and leave late, but you don’t feel appreciated. No matter how hard you try, he/she’s always got more things for you to do. Your hard work is never good enough. You’re better qualified but others are promoted ahead of you. That just stinks! But the Bible says, Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Psalm 75:6-7). Here’s the good news. If you keep a good attitude, stay in faith and work as unto the Lord, God will promote you. And who knows, you may even have the job your current boss!

I heard a story about a mechanic. He was a faithful worker. He did his job most tediously. However, his boss did not like him. His co-workers made fun of him because he wouldn’t go out and party with them. Several years went by without a raise or a promotion for this faithful employee. One day out of the blue, the owner of the company called him. They lived in another city and were not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. The owner told the mechanic that he was retiring and proposed to sell his business to him. The mechanic said, “I can’t buy your business. I don’t have that kind of money.” The owner said, “You don’t have to have money. I’ll loan it to you.” Long story short, today the mechanic owns the business free and clear. The same people who called him names now call him Boss. The people who didn’t give him the time of the day, now has to make appointments to see him. What happened? God just handed this mechanic his Oscar. Friend, don’t be discouraged. Keep a good attitude. Your name is in the envelope – the next Oscar belongs to YOU!

As you are reading this, something jumps within your heart. Do you know what that is? It is called hope. As long as you hope in your God, there will be a promotion and prize waiting for you. This is what happened to a young lady in the Bible called Ruth. Ruth had lost her husband at a young age. She honored her mother-in-law and on her own free will, she returned to Jerusalem to serve her. Every day she got out on the field in the hot sun and gleaned after the reapers. One day Boaz, the owner of the field, came to visit and Ruth caught his attention. They developed a friendship and a liking for each other. Soon after, they got married. What happened? One day Ruth was working in the field and the next day she became the owner of the field! Today, you may be a single mother, raising little ones, doing your best to make ends meet. Like Peter in the Bible, you may have toiled all night over your business and profited nothing. That sickness on your body may have kept you bound. Here’s the good news my friend. God’s got an Oscar ready for you! God sees your tears and he knows your fears. The sealed envelope has been opened and Gabriel - the messenger of good news is bringing you your recompense. Stand up. I just heard Him call your name to receive your Oscar. All of heaven is cheering for you. You’ve kept the faith and given it away. Today is your day! Will you receive the Oscar? I love you and I believe in you!

“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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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Living a Life that Counts

I have never met anyone who had planned to live a mediocre life. Even an ordinary person has a routine they repeat. However, if we want to live a life that counts, we have to be intentional about it.

Do you ever wonder if you are making a difference in this life or life after? I believe all of us have an innate desire to live a life that counts. God puts gifts and talents in each of us so that we can make a difference in our world.

When I was a teenager, I loved reading. I stole half of the books from the library to add to my own so that I could read them whenever I wanted to. I had no purpose and certainly; no significance in life. My goal in life was to own a book shop in a busy train station where I could sell books and magazines, and read them for free. I am glad that God didn’t grant me my wishes. I say this humbly, but He called me to touch lives around the world!

When we talk about living a life that counts, we have to ask ourselves, “Are people inspired to draw closer to God because of the influence in my life? Are people motivated to serve God in a greater capacity because of my faith, courage and devotion to Him?” The true success of our lives is not measured by our job titles, bank balance, bigger house and faster cars, but how many people we have been able to impact.

In the 1993 movie Schindler’s List, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, the story unfolds about Oscar Schindler during the Nazi reign and the Holocaust. Oscar is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish employees who are condemned to death in the concentration camps. Oscar saves eleven hundred lives! In the end, he becomes so engrossed in saving lives that he starts to lament to his co-worker. “I could have got more out. I could have got more out. I didn’t do enough! This car. Why did I keep this car? Ten people right there. This pin. This is gold. He would have given me two for it, at least one. [Starts sobbing] I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t!”

It is easy to be so self-absorbed that we forget about living a life that counts. We get so caught up in our jobs, business, kids, grandkids and the house, that we forget that none of it will matter in eternity. People are the only thing going to heaven! Albert Pine said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

One of the biggest hindrances to giving is to think that our gift is too small. In the Bible, a great crowd of people followed Jesus. It was lunch time and they had no food. Suddenly a young boy offered his five loaves and two small fish to Jesus. Today, you may think you have nothing to share with this world. You don’t feel that you can live a life that counts. But we can all learn from this young boy. Not only is our little much in the Hand of God, but when we do anything for God He will make sure that our name is made great. Two thousand years later, we are still inspired by what this young boy did. We should regularly ask ourselves, “What difference am I making in the lives of others? What will people remember me for?” When we spend our time in the service of others, we will find ourselves in the favor of the Almighty.

Friend, are you making your life count? It is not enough to live the American dream but endeavor doing what God cares about. President John Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Friend, lead others by example. Let’s not waste another day in mediocrity, regret and narcissist behavior. God still has a purpose for your life. Like Oscar Schindler and the boy with the bread and fish, God wants to use you and make your name great. What you do today is how you will be remembered in eternity. Live intentionally and let us live a life that counts.

“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3 NLT).

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