Building People. Spreading Hope.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Call in God’s Favor

Many of God’s children are struggling to make it through the day. They’re surviving but they’re not thriving. God has promised uninterrupted blessings to people who honor Him with their lives. God’s favor is for a lifetime.

We’re all familiar with phrases like, “It rains on everybody.” We say, “Bad things happen to good people.” Yes, that may have been our experience in the past but that shouldn’t be our normal expectation. Christ was not teasing us when He promised that, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT). We’re so programed for negative things to happen to us that when they do, we almost welcome it. This is not how God wants us to live. There’s an undeniable blessing between the people in the world and the people of God — that’s you! We can live in the uninterrupted blessings of God.

I got a call from a friend who has been working on certain deals in his financial business. He’s had a rough patch last few years. In recent times, he’s honored God like never before. He’s made sacrifices and served his family. He has made reconciliation. I can’t tell you how proud I am of my friend. Today, I got a call from him and he was all excited. He said, “Sandy you prayed for a breakthrough last Thursday and the very same day an unknown person walked into our office. We’re looking to close the deal within a matter of days. When this goes through, it will be our third most valuable client!” I was excited for him but I wasn’t surprised. Why? I know that when we call in God’s favor He shows up and blows up.

Today if you’re battling a sluggish business, sickness on your body, loneliness, or a relationship problem, I want to encourage you. Everything you face is temporary. One touch of God’s supernatural favor can change everything around. The wind that was once blowing against you will suddenly propel you to new heights. One thing is needed. Call in the favor of God. When we cry out to God, He hears us. He neither sleeps nor slumbers. His ears are attentive to His children — that’s you!

I don’t like shopping and it’s something I rarely do. As I’m leaving for a missions trip to China, I wanted to get some new clothes because I’ll be ministering to house church leaders who are highly respected and they’ve honored God with the high price of persecution, torture, and imprisonment. When I got to the counter, I began to chat as I usually do. When I told the clerk that I was going to China to minister, he wasn’t too sure what to think. I gave him some discount coupons that I had received in the mail, he handed them back to me. He said, “I’ve got something better!” I didn’t understand until he gave me the bill. A $45 shirt and he sold it to me for only $7.64. I didn’t really buy a whole lot but altogether he had found me $303.25 in savings! That was the supernatural favor of God. Friend, I want to encourage you to call in God’s favor. If you can see it, say it. If you will say it, you’ll see it! God has promised us an abundant life this side of heaven; let’s expect some big things from God.

One touch of God’s favor will change your life. This is what happened to Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord. She was an ordinary woman but she honored the Almighty and she found favor in His eyes. What transpired next, through the virgin birth of our Lord, ushered in the Savior of the world! When you live a God-pleasing life and call in the favor of God, blessings, increase, health, joy, justice, peace, and promotion will find you.

I’ve learnt that the more I brag about God and what He is doing, the more I experience God’s supernatural favor in my life. I’m accustomed to preferential treatment from God and fellowmen. I’m not proud but I have a quiet confidence that everything will work out in my favor. What about you? Are you expecting the worst or are you calling in the favor of God daily?

Friend, no matter what you’re facing today, lift up your head. God delights in the prosperity of His children. Religion hates the good life God has ordained for you. Religion wants to make you pay for your wrong; bind you with guilt, doctrines, denominational walls, dos and don’ts. If you really want to enjoy the good life God has prepared for you, then you have to discover God as a loving, caring and giving Father. Of course, He is also just, righteous and a zealous God. But you know what? At the heart of God is mercy. Love is the strongest motivating force in the universe. You’re not a slave; you’re an heir. You are a child of the Most High! Step up to the plate and call in the favor. If you dare to brag on your heavenly father, you’ll see Him at work like never before. Call in God’s favor. I’m praying for you!

“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22 NLT).

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Dream Bigger Dreams

There’s something about big thinkers. The world is full of small thinkers because small thinking takes no effort. It’s those who have the audacity to think big that will change the world. I love being around big thinkers because they inspire others.

Our God, who created the vast universe, is a big thinker. Everything about God is lavish and expansive. It doesn’t cost us anything to have a large mindset. Big thoughts are free. If we can dare to dream it, most of the time we can achieve it. Today, I want to inspire you to dream bigger dreams for your business, career, and life. Small goals take small effort. God-size dreams require God Himself to work on our behalf.

Born into slavery in 1864, George had the odds stacked against him. At the age of twelve, he left home in pursuit of an education. The first college to accept him turned him away because he was black. Through perseverance and sheer determination, George not only finished college but he became an agricultural revolutionist.

One of the biggest money-makers in agriculture those days were cotton plantations. However, constant farming of cotton depleted the soil of its nutrients and would eventually kill the land and the farmer’s livelihood. George came up with the big idea of crop rotation. He proposed alternation between cotton and peanuts. The idea wasn’t easy to sell to the farmers. Once again, through hard work and tenacity, the idea took off. It was so effective that now they had to deal with a new problem — excessive peanuts. George knew he had to come up with a quick solution. Once again, he put on his “big thinking” hat on and within a week George invented dozens of smart solutions. From cooking oil to ink and of course, peanut butter, he went on to find 325 smart solutions. By 1938, tiny peanuts became a mighty 200 million dollar industry! Could it be that a little tweak in your business could bring about the same change?

What is interesting is that George Washington Carver was not motivated by money. He turned down today’s equivalent of one million dollars a year to work for Thomas Edison. He never aspired to amass a fortune or sell his discoveries. Success to him was a lifetime of service. He said, “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”

Too many professionals today are putting the cart before the horse. While there’s nothing wrong in wanting the best compensation for your services and products, it’s never going to be enough if we put making money as our ultimate goal. As a business owner or a professional, put in time to serve and treasures will find you.

This is what my young friend David did. He works for a multinational company here in DFW. Recently, he had to deal with an irate customer because his order wasn’t delivered on time. David, being a man of integrity, took matters in his own hands. He fought upper management and showed up at the customer’s doorstep with a car full of expensive equipment. David not only made a huge impression on the client but retained him as customer for life. It is service that begets success. What are your motives in business? If making money is your ultimate goal; you’re dreaming too small!

In the Bible (Luke 5:1-11), Jesus was teaching large crowds wherever he went. One day he was pressed between the multitude and the open sea. He saw Peter washing his nets by the shore. He asked if he could borrow his boat. Peter willingly agreed. Jesus is a gentleman. He’ll never put you through something without paying you back for it. Every time you honor God, He will honor you. Later, He asked Peter to cast his nets into the deep. Peter was a professional fisherman. He said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so…” My friend, take time to listen to what God is saying about your business or career. Peter caught so many fish that his nets were breaking and he had to call for others to bring it all in. Let me ask you a question. Is your career or your business only a vehicle to make ends meet or are you glorifying God with your products and services? If you think big, toil hard, follow God’s Word, and put others first, you too will become big producer. God’s dream for you is bigger than your own dream for yourself. Agree with God and He’ll take you higher than you could ever imagine. I believe and declare that this week will be your best week of the year so far! I’m praying for you.

“When you get there, you will come to a secure people. The land is wide open to you. God will hand it over to you. It's a place where you will have everything you could want" (Judges 18:10 God’s Word).

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Taking Jesus to the World

One of the greatest pleasures of being a Christian is to win others for the Kingdom of God. The closest, and dearest thing, to the heart of God is lost souls. Every believer is commanded to win people to the Lord.
Bringing lost souls to Christ is one of the main spiritual responsibilities of a believer. For the most part, the Church in America has abandoned the call to world missions. We’re too busy beautifying our sanctuary and building our own kingdom. If America wants to regain her former glory, we must get involved in world missions. One of the best ways to combat international terrorism is to bring Jesus to the world. When the Gospel changes a man’s heart, it revolutionizes everything!
Recently, I was talking to a fellow minister and he was lamenting that churches have given him the cold shoulder regarding reaching the lost in foreign lands. He shared how pastors won’t allow him any pulpit time to share the vision of reaching the world. Once, he preached his heart out and many signed up to receive further information from his ministry. My friend was excited to see the response but the very next day he got a call from the pastor warning him not to contact the people who signed up. Not only that, he was told that should any money be given to his ministry, it would have to be done through the church. What a small mindset!
America is still the number one voice in world Christianity. However, we’re losing our place of authority simply because the church has become too commercialized. Our focus has been to pack the house so that we can pile up more money to provide a luxury lifestyle for the leaders. Worldly ways have consumed us. Church has become a business. While a workman is worthy of his hire, we’ve put Christian leaders on a pedestal. In many countries, a pastor has to be in prison defending his loyalty to his congregation before becoming their leader. Until we make Jesus the Savior of the world our first priority, we’re not going to have the influence we once had. Do you know what country has pledged to send 100,000 missionaries to the world? China!
God is doing mighty works in communist China. In spite of hardship, persecution, and even death, Christians there are taking Jesus to the world. They have very little and they know even less, but how refreshing it is to see that they have their priorities right. Jesus is the main attraction in China. The Holy Spirit is working to bring at least 25,000 people to Jesus every day. Chinese leaders and believers don’t spend their time, effort, and resources to buy acreage and build magnificent buildings. Rather, they invest everything into reaching lost souls. They realize that people are the only thing going to heaven. Everything else that we try to beautify and idolize here on earth will be burned with fire. Is it any wonder that China is becoming the largest Christian nation in the world! At the present rate of growth, will have more Christians than America by the year 2025.
We’re going back to China on August 3, 2014 to train pastors and leaders. We will work with orphans. We will deliver Bibles for the persecuted. It has been stated that every Christian in China is an evangelist. However, many believe that for every Chinese Bible, an average of five people experience salvation.
We’re all called to world missions. We’re all called to make a difference in reaching our world for Jesus. We’re all called to win souls for our Savior. When we partner with others who are bringing the lost world to Christ, we’re heaping up treasures for ourselves. The Great Commission has been the great omission in modern Christianity but every individual should be involved in taking Jesus to the world. Imagine your impact! If one Bible can bring five lost souls to Christ, what will be the impact of the 30, 50, 100, or 500 Bibles you can provide? A Bible only costs $3.00. Will you please help? Will you please share this with your friends and family? When we become engaged in God’s dream for this world, He will make sure to fulfill our dreams. Let’s take Jesus to the world!
“Proclaim his glory to the nations, his mighty deeds to all peoples” (Psalm 96:3 Good News).
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Making Marriage Work

We live in a society where even the definition of marriage is being challenged by secularism. A simple and age-old definition of marriage is the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.

A good marriage can be the most fulfilling thing in life. A bad marriage can be equally dissatisfying and make life hell on earth. With the help of God, and a little bit of work on our part, a bad marriage can be good and a good marriage can be better. Today let’s look at a few principles that make a marriage work.

1. Build trust. A marriage is the most intimate relationship on earth. Therefore, it requires highest degree of trust. When we’re building each other based on trust, we’re empowering a marriage. Trust is simply believing, accepting, and cheering for the best in the other person. Trust can be earned but it’s at its best when it is a gift. We can allow bitter experiences of the past to poison our marriage or we can rebuild with the gift of trust. If we’re to have a good marriage, we have to work on building trust. God trusts us; shouldn’t we trust each other?

2. Have fun. We all know couples who don’t have the love, respect, or intimacy they once had. They’re not thriving, they’re just surviving. This is a sad waste of time, effort, and energy. When we’re in a below-par marriage, we’re wasting a beautiful thing God gave us to enjoy. Any marriage can be reignited and exhilarating again. Date one another. Enjoy, not endure. Do fun things together. If your marriage is struggling, then I want to infuse new hope into your relationship. Loosen up and see your marriage transformed!

3. Forgive quickly and frequently. Karma is people getting what they deserve. Christianity is Jesus getting what we deserve! Let people off the hook. The Bible says, “Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” (I Corinthians 13:5 NLT). Every good marriage requires quick and unlimited forgiveness. When we forgive, we don’t bring up and punish people for the same “crime” again and again. If you struggle with forgiveness, remind yourself how God forgives you every day. Forgive your spouse the way God forgives you. Alexander Pope, a British poet from the sixteenth century said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” You can try to get even or you can try to be like God!

4. Revisit your expectations. Life comes in seasons. What was once essential is now obsolete. Many couples are working very hard but they’re shooting in the dark and it’s making them frustrated. It is healthy to talk about each other’s expectations. Create a safe environment to talk. Take your guards down and communicate your current needs and aspirations with each other. Most couples work hard at pleasing each other. However, they’re often trying to give what they want for themselves. Learn to adapt to the preferences of your spouse. I recommend that you revisit and write down your expectations every 3-5 years. Stay fresh. Stay current. Stay connected. Remember, no one person on earth can give you everything you need. Only God reserves that right!

5. Get rid of selfishness and pride. This is elementary but an alarming number of marriages are stuck in this low level. The Scripture says, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). You can be right or you can have peace. Peace is superior. Another definition of marriage is death to self! If you want peace, pleasure and prosperity, die to your selfishness and pride. Find ways to unite and shun what divides.

Friend, whether you’re married or single, these principles will build a strong marriage. Shake off the hopelessness and the disappointments. Today is a new day. People change for the better. You can take no chances and have a mediocre life or you can make some changes and revitalize your marriage like never before. Trust. Forgive. Communicate. Have some fun. Give your marriage a total makeover. I pray for a baptism of God’s love to seal your marriage. I declare peace, passion, and prosperity to rekindle your love life. Embrace the spouse God has given you and you’ll live happily ever after. I love you and I’m praying for your marriage to prosper.

“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting” (Ephesians 5: 22, 25 The Message).

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Become a Miracle

Many people today are waiting for a miracle. They need a healing in their body, a job, or a relationship rescue. While we all need a miracle for ourselves, we can reach out and touch somebody who God has placed in our path.

Human nature is to be self-focused. We’re all going about our day like a busy bee trying to gather for ourselves. While it’s not wrong to provide for your own family, it is not healthy to be so self-absorbed. God has made you a miracle! You’re a miracle waiting to happen.

You may be thinking, “Sandy, that is good but I need a miracle for myself.” Here’s the key. When you become a miracle for others, God will become a miracle for you. Most people don’t realize that the greatest miracles are the smallest things in life. God touches people when you do. He provides for the poor through you. He shows His love when we embrace the crying, sighing, and dying humanity. One touch of God can change people’s lives. People experience God by experiencing you!

Years ago, I worked at a computer company. By the grace of God, I was their top producer. One day a total stranger walked into the store. I got to talking to him and realized that he’d come looking for a job. After probing a little, I found out that he was in a bad situation but he was ready and willing to work hard to amend his life. After escorting him to the hiring manager, I gave him the highest recommendation and the young man was hired. The rest is history. That young man got his life back together and went on to become one of the best employees for the company. What was that? It wasn’t hard or big but that was becoming a miracle for someone else.

In the Bible, Jesus told a parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was traveling from Jericho to Jerusalem and on the way he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and left him half dead. Isn’t this what the devil still tries to do to God’s people today? People commit a sin and make a bad choice and their lives go into a tailspin. The first two people who encountered the wounded man were a priest and a Levite. They were on their way to worship God in Jerusalem. They were in a hurry to meet God but they didn’t have time for His creation. They failed to recognize that true religion is to care for people. They passed him by but a Samaritan outcast stopped and helped the man recover from his wound and payed for his restoration. I wonder how the world would look at us Christians if we stopped long enough to become a miracle!

It’s pretty to sing, “Jesus I love you!” in the church but you can’t love God without loving people. When we reach out and become their miracle, we’re storing up treasures for ourselves. You cannot outgive God!
One of the greatest things we can give to people is our encouragement. I’ve found most people know what to do to get out of their misery. What many people don’t have is someone to believe in them. One of the most powerful phrases in the world is to say to a struggling person, “I believe in you!” When a series of negative things happen, people get discouraged and depressed. These people are not failures. They’ve been on the top before and they can do it again. What they need is someone to believe in them. When we look into their eyes and point them to God, they find a new source of strength within themselves. It’s easy to find faults in others but it’s divine to become a miracle!

Today, I challenge you to go about your day looking to become a miracle. Speak a kind word to a stranger. Endorse someone. Give a referral. Call a friend who is going through a difficult situation. Pray with someone about their problems. Give someone a hug. Be generous. When we do these little things for others, God will make sure to do the big things for you. Become a miracle and God will become a miracle for you!

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37).

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Staying Calm in a Crisis

Let’s face it. At some point or other, we’ve all faced, or will face, a challenging situation. We don’t have to anticipate it. However, knowing what to do before a crisis actually occurs can be a huge advantage when a crisis does come.

None of us like to deal with difficult situations in life. Yet, we know bad things happen to good people. If we have a plan in place to deal with a crisis, then we can go through it easier. A crisis can be a sudden loss of a family member, a financial mountain, the loss of job, a divorce, or even news of a terminal illness. All of this is unwelcome but, in the Hand of God, even a setback can become a setup.

The other day I was driving to a meeting. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and perfect temperature. I was feeling good. I was in my own lane crossing a bend when suddenly I was startled by a hit on the side of my car. My first response was not very spiritual. I threw my hands up signaling the car that hit me thinking, “What’s wrong with you, man?” Of course I slowed down and pulled my car over to the shoulder. When I went to inspect the car that had hit me, I saw a woman sobbing. I felt sorry for her so I asked “Ma’am, are you okay?” She nodded, “Yes.” Trying to make her feel better, I said, “Ma’am, it’s not a big deal. These things happen every day. I’m a pretty easy-going person. Don’t worry; everything is going to be alright.” When she composed herself, I asked her to call her insurance company; she also called her husband and the police. While waiting for the police to arrive, I could still see that she was very shaken and afraid to talk to her husband. Right there on the side of the road, I was able to minister to her, calm her down, and pray for her. What was a crisis became a blessing. I was still able to get to my meeting.

This reaction was a huge improvement for me. Only a few years ago, I used to have road-rage. A transformation has taken place in my life because I have learnt to stay calm in a crisis situation. It has been a learned behavior but with a desire to change and God’s help, all things are possible.

One of the best things we can do in a time of crisis is to have an easygoing attitude. This is a process. When we look at life’s little disappointments as being to our advantage, we can rest assured that everything will turn out alright. In an adverse situation, I remind myself “Nothing happens to me. Everything happens for me.” This change of perspective has helped me greatly. The Bible says, “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?" (Proverbs 20:24 NLT)

When Jesus was in the boat, a great tempest arose in the sea and the disciples went helter-skelter trying to save themselves from the crisis. All the while, Jesus was deeply asleep in the belly of the boat. When they woke him up, Jesus was not afraid of the storm. You can be in the midst of the storm but never allow the storm to get in you. When you’re living right, doing right, and giving your best to honor God with your life, you can be confident that God will not allow anything more than what you can bear. The scripture says, “When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in” (Psalm 112:4). No weapon formed against you will prosper. “Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever(Isaiah 61:7 The Message).

Friend, no matter what you’re facing, know that the Creator of the universe is on your side. He cares about you too much to allow you to go through a crisis without giving you victory. Let’s learn to have an easygoing attitude no matter what life throws at us. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of all. Don’t question all of the negative things that happen to you. Trust in Him and He will guide you out of all crises. I’m praying for you!

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message).

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Use Your Phone to Your Advantage

We live in an age when technology is a blessing as well as a curse. It helps us solve problems as well as abuse our time. One of the most powerful tools we have in our hand is our phone. If we don’t manage our phone wisely, it will dictate our lives.

I know many of you use a phone to conduct your business. However, if we’re not making wise use of this tool then we’re draining energy. Today, I want to talk about practical ways we can make better use of our phones and technology in general.

Be in control. You either control your phone or it will run your life. Anytime we’re being controlled by outside circumstances or an object, we’re living off balance. We must pass the test of living without technology. If we cannot imagine an hour, or even a day, without a cell phone at our fingertips, we’re probably being controlled by technology. No matter how good it is, anytime we can’t live without something, we’re allowing it to be a little god in our lives. It is time to reconsider our dependency.

Be selective. You don’t have to feel important by taking every call. If we’re not intentional about technology, it will always find us. Don’t be driven by other people’s calls and don’t let it hamper your productivity. It’s different if you’re a receptionist or a telephone operator. I encourage you to be selective in who you talk to and when you talk to them. Set aside a designated “phone free” time every day.

Create boundaries. You cannot live up and down depending on the phone calls you get. Some of the greatest features of a cell phone are caller ID and voicemail. When you see a person calling and you’re not in the best of circumstances to deal with it, let it go to your voicemail. I know this is basic but it amazes me how many people allow others to ruin their whole hour, or even their whole day, based on a phone call they didn’t have to take. If you know it’s going to be a stressful call and it’s not an emergency, let it go to voicemail and then listen to it when you’re in a relaxed mood.

Screen your calls. Only my family and certain individuals have 24/7 access to me. If we don’t screen people, we’ll be overspent. I love all people but I decide who I want to engage in a conversation with and when I do. Just because someone is your biggest client, it doesn’t mean you have to be at their disposal all the time. Yes, you can appreciate their business but you don’t have to let people own you. When you guard your time for family and screen your calls, even others will learn and begin to respect you more.

Respond, don’t react. When you get that nasty, accusing, and derogatory call, resist the urge to react. If you have to speak, the best thing is to say, “I understand. Let me get back to you on that.” This allows you to think before you respond. When we’re at peace, we’re in control. You’ll be amazed how different your response will be if you just allow 24 hours before you respond and allow your emotions to settle.

Smile and sound enthusiastic. If you’re a dog-owner, you know how excited they get to see you. People are the same way. I always pause and smile (often out loud) when making or taking a phone call. When you’re relaxed it transmits, even through the cellular waves. When you’re welcoming in your conversation, you’re adding value to the other person.

Be inspiring. Most calls people get is usually a crisis or a problem. While we can’t always control what life throws at us, we can greatly aspire to inspire. When you call people just to check on them, give a compliment, or say a prayer, you’re being inspiring. Personal touch is so missing from our culture these days. I encourage you to call people when you don’t need anything from them and they’ll be there when you do need something from them. Be genuine. When people feel loved and know that you care, you’re exerting positive influence on them.

People need people. You can make it all business or you can really get to know people. Don’t try to build your organization. Build people and they’ll build your organization! Use your phone wisely. Friend or a foe — it’s your choice.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances” (Proverbs 25:11 NAS).
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Living Without Crutches

God brings people into our lives to get us through difficult seasons but we have to let them go when that period is over. If we don’t let go of the people in our lives who have served their purpose, we’ll not develop into our own highest potential.

Years ago I lived in Hong Kong, a bustling city. There are tall buildings everywhere and business is booming 24/7. To accommodate international trade, they’re always building tall skyscrapers. It always amazed me that, no matter how tall the building to be, they started the work with bamboo scaffolding. As the building rose, so did the bamboo scaffolding. Finally, when the skyscraper was finished they removed the bamboo scaffolding around it. It revealed a stunning work of engineering and the brilliance of a new skyscraper in Hong Kong skyline.

A similar thing happens as we journey through life. None of got here on our own and surely none of us will make it to our destiny on our own. Along the way, God has predestined people to help us rise to the top of our potential. These people come into our lives at various crossroads. Every one of them is important but they all serve a purpose. When that purpose is over, it is wise for us to release the people who were essential to our growth. I’m not talking marriage here. When we release the people whose season with us is over, only then can our true brilliance shine forth, much like the removal of the bamboo scaffolding in the Hong Kong skyline.

Unfortunately, many people live life stuck with their bamboo scaffolding on the first floor. They have maxed out their resources. They do not venture out to meet new people or remove themselves from their familiar surroundings. If we want to be a person of destiny, then we must be open to new things in life.

God forbid, but imagine you sprained your ankle and you had to depend on crutches to get around. Of course, they provide you with valuable support however, as you begin to heal, your need to use the crutches will diminish. Eventually, the same crutches that served a valuable purpose at one point in your life will have no purpose at all. You’ve been healed, and you’ve moved on to pursue your dreams. Many people make the mistake of holding on to their crutches way past their time. Today, I’m asking you to put your crutches to rest. Embrace the new season in your life. It’s time for you to stand on your own feet and fly.

Several years ago, I went through a crisis in my life. It affected everything I was doing; I felt so lost and helpless. I couldn’t stand on my own much less walk by myself. As I struggled my brother, Dr. Neil Anderson, came to my rescue. He went above and beyond his call of duty to be my crutch. Slowly, I recovered and became a healthy person again. Two vital things happened that I’m grateful for to this day. I recognized that I needed help and my brother recognized that he could provide that help. Eventually, we both recognized that it was time to dismantle the scaffolding. It was a mutual and painless effort. I’m grateful to my brother forever. Today I’m helping others get rid of their crutches.

Mark 10:46-52 tells the story of blind Bartimaeus, sitting by the road begging. One day he heard that Jesus was passing by. He began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Hearing his plea, Jesus stood still. Friend, you can stop God in His tracks when you cry out to Jesus. He will help you. He will heal you. He will set you free. But you have to do like Bartimaeus did. The Bible says, “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.” Friend, if you want to be a healthy person, you have to throw away your crutches and embrace Jesus.

Let me ask you a question. What has been your crutch? No matter how beautiful your scaffolding may look like, it’s time to dismantle it. I challenge you examine your life. Is it drugs, alcohol, credit cards, or some other vice? Are you holding on to insecurity, low self-esteem, or an addiction? Are you leaning on your friends and relatives longer than you should? Are you a prisoner of your past mistakes? God wants to build and expose a beautiful skyscraper in and through you. Let go of your crutches and let your brilliance shine through.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don’t Let Your Dream Die

Every one of us is born with a dream. When we’re young, people encourage us to dream. They tell us that we can become, or do, anything we want. However, as time goes by, life happens and we let go of the dreams we were once so passionate about.

Much of what we are is because of what people have told us or even what we ourselves believe in. People can be fickle. They may have treated you indifferently but God never aborts a dream. In fact, it is God who put the dream in your heart in the first place! Our challenge is to discover God’s purpose and spend the rest of our lives being passionate about fulfilling that dream.

This is easier said than done but it is also easier done than most people would believe. When we live life in the pursuit of God’s dream for our lives, we’ll attract God’s favor to achieve it. Our Creator put a gift inside each of us to match up with our call in life. When we tap into the gift that matches with our calling, we will be successful in what we do.

Many adults make the mistake of choosing a career path based on income. While it produces a living, it robs us of our dream. A majority of people go through life never satisfied with who they are. When we follow our passion, provisions will follow. Some people say that the richest places in the world are the diamond mines of Africa or the oilfields of the Middle East. I’ve found that the richest place on earth is the graveyards where people were buried with a dream still inside of them.

Don’t let that be you. You have been put on this planet to make a statement with your life. You are a gift to mankind. No one else can do what you’re here to do. You have to believe in your dream, even when nobody else does. When you live your dream money, success, name, and fame will find you. Today, allow me to share five keys that will help your dream come true.

Examine your source. Anything from God is eternal. If your dream came from God and it has a basis in the Scriptures, you can rest assured that God will bring it to pass. One of the best ways to pass this test is to read God’s Word and stop long enough to listen to His still small voice. We can’t hear Him if we’re doing all the talking!

Consider your environment. We’re a product of our environment. Unless you’re planted in the right environment your life will be shallow, no matter how big a talent you have. There’s greatness in every seed. However, an oak seed in a little pot can only grow so much. Are you living in a limited environment?

Choose life-givers. The difference between successful people and those who are not is the people who speak into their lives. First and foremost, you want to be on speaking terms with the Creator of your dream. Then you have to have people in your inner circle who see and believe the dream in you. They will not only cheer you along but they will invest heavily in the dream God placed in you.

Reinvent yourself. There are times in life when a dream actually dies. Just because one dream dies, it doesn’t mean your life is over. Go back and ask God, “Now what?” If you wait, He will give you another dream.

Protect your dream. There will be well-meaning people who will try to steal your dream. Beware of dream-killers. Be sensitive to the timing as well. Joseph shared his dream prematurely and it delayed his destiny.

Friend, no matter how impossible it may look, never let the dream die in your heart. God is the Author of the desire He put in you. When we live a God-honoring life, He will honor you. Don’t let your dream die. He’s poised to bring it to pass.

“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 29:11 NLT).

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Walking in the Favor of God

You can do a lot of things to draw God’s attention but when God’s favor is on your life goodness, mercy, and good breaks will come find you. When we live favor-minded, we will enjoy more of God’s blessings in our lives.

The definition of favor is an attitude of approval or liking. It is an act of kindness beyond what is due or unusual. Another place states that it’s a preference for one person over another. At times, we struggle in life but God wants us to walk in favor all the time. When we live a favor-minded life, God-things happen to us.

The other day I took my oldest daughter Cassandra for shopping on her seventeenth birthday. I told her to pick out some clothes for her upcoming college classes. When we went to the register, a young man took care of us. When I saw the computer screen, the clothes that were already on sale had been marked down even more. I said, “Excuse me!” He just gave me a wry smile and continued scanning the items. Later I told my daughter what happened. The clerk had punched in additional discount and she was ecstatic! In the car we thanked God and recognized His favor.

Many people don’t realize it but all of God’s children are born with favor in their blood. It is our God-given inheritance. However, many people don’t know how to activate that favor in their lives. I’ve learned that the more I live favor-minded, the more I attract God’s favor. Favor is preferential treatment. Favor is not a lucky break; it is God’s gift to show us that He likes us even when we don’t deserve His blessings. When you activate favor in your life, you’ll begin to experience God’s supernatural benefits.

We all know the story of how Pharaoh persecuted the children of Israelites. God finally heard the cries of His suffering people as He does yours today. The Egyptians had been brutal towards them but through some strange compulsion they gave their jewelries to the Israelites. In the end, the Egyptians perished but the Israelites inherited all the wealth. God wants to shower you with favor beyond your wildest dreams.

Today, you may be working for a hard-to-please boss. Co-workers may be speaking against you. You may be discriminated against for your faith, age, the color of your skin, or your nationality. You may even be persecuted for sharing Christ with others or for keeping integrity at work. No matter how bad the situation may look, always remember that God has anointed you with favor. You’re chosen to receive God’s red-carpet treatment. When you walk around expecting God’s favor, it will find you. Here’s the key. When you find favor, whether big or small, give God the credit and you’ll draw more favor into your life.

While we can never earn God’s favor with our good deeds, it is pleasant to know that we serve a generous God who blesses us in spite of our failures and weaknesses. This is why it is so important for you to go about your business calling in God’s favor. See yourself receiving the better end of the deal. When you go ask for a job, promotion or a raise, go in with God’s favor. When the odds are against you, invite God’s favor.

A few weeks ago, I posted a piano recital by my daughter Sabrina on Facebook. It was meant to be just an encouragement for her on how well she’s practicing. Many of you commented on her performance and thank you for that. My friend Ms. Nancy also saw the post and asked if we wanted to keep her grand piano in our house for Sabrina to practice on as they’re going to be putting it away in storage for a year. I immediately said “yes.” Today that grand piano decorates the front entrance of our home and Sabrina just can’t get enough of it. What was that? It was the favor of God towards my daughter. (Thank you, Ms. Nancy!)

Today, don’t just depend on your own strength. Ask God for His favor. When you live favor-minded, it will come to you. This may surprise you but our God is the ultimate Santa Clause. He’s not performance based. He’s not keeping track of your wrongs but rights. He is the most loving and generous Father you could ever imagine! He wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing to others. Seek God, live favor-minded and enjoy the fullness of happiness God has for you.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!” (Psalm 30:5 NLT)

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