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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