Building People. Spreading Hope.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

God is Not Finished with You

Many people today are sitting on the sidelines of life because they feel that they’ve passed their prime time. As time goes on, they feel they’ve missed the opportunity. However, God never put the gifts and dreams in you without having every intention of bringing them to pass.

If you’re breathing, you’re a candidate for God’s use. Your whole life is the sum of the opportunities you have in front of your right now. Don’t die until you’re dead. If you’ve done nothing with the purpose God put in you, He still wants to use you. If you made some major mistakes and taken some detours in life, He still wants to bring out the gifts and talents He deposited in you. You’re not late. You’ve not missed the mark. God is not finished with you yet!

My children have cats that they rescued from our neighborhood. We have a plastic screen in our kitchen door opening up to the backyard. These kitties love to sit by the door, watch the birds fly around and daydream about catching them. When they were little, they’d often try to scratch the screen, wanting to get out. My kids would repeatedly tell them how they should not do that. As they grew older, they became conditioned to the restrictions. Now they limit themselves to be content just sitting by the door watching the birds fly around. They can rip apart the plastic screen with their sharp claws anytime they want. But because they’ve been so conditioned against it, they just sit there by the door (for which I’m thankful) and allow their destiny to fly by.

Many times, we are like these cats. We’ve been told by our friends and loved ones why we can’t achieve the goals and purposes of our hearts. We look back at the mistakes we’ve made and disqualify ourselves. Instead of looking forward to what God has for us, we lick the wounds of what didn’t work out. We think we’ve lost the window of opportunity.

People buy into these lies and spend the rest of their lives in regret – looking back. Truth is, if God was done with you, you wouldn’t still be here. Obviously, God doesn’t want us to repeat our mistakes. He doesn’t want us to live the same mediocre life that we once did. However, if we don’t believe that God is not through with us, then we’ll spend the rest of our lives trying to go forward in reverse. Don’t bury your gifts and talents, empty yourself of them.

Every great man and woman of God had some flaws. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. Gideon was insecure. Rahab (lineage of Jesus) was a harlot. Elijah was moody. Ruth was a widower. Isaiah was depressed. Paul was a persecutor of the Church. Peter was short-tempered. Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead! Friend, no matter where you fit into this list, your past is not too great for God to forgive. God is not finished with you. You’re not washed up. You’re not beyond God’s use. Your best days are still right in front of you. The seeds of greatness are in you. Rise up, dust yourself off, and start right where you are. 

This is what Joseph did in the Bible. His own brothers threw him in the pit and then sold him to the merchants. He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and sent to prison. His fellow prisoner forgot to return the favor but God did not forget Joseph. The pains of a Christian are all growing pains. When faith is stretched, it grows. Like Joseph, you’ve gone through the pit and the prison. Now it’s time for you to take your place in the palace. You will rule over things that once dominated you. God has every intention of fulfilling the dreams and purposes He put in you. My challenge to you today is to not die with the dream still inside of you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” The future of your God-given destiny is held in your own belief. You can choose to live the dream or, like our cats, you can sit and watch your destiny fly by. God wants to take you from your pit to your palace. You’ve put in all the hard work; now it’s time for you to enjoy the dividends of your distress. God is not finished with you. This is your time to rise again!

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Brilliance of Easter

There’s never been a day more inspiring than Easter. It’s the day that changed everything. If Good Friday was the darkest day in history, Easter is the brightest! Easter happened only once and that’s what separates Christianity from all other religions in the world.

Right now we’re ministering in India, the home of thirty-three million deities. There’s a god for every problem and situation man may encounter. Cows that roam on the highways freely to household utensils are worshiped. Vehicles, trees, the sun, the moon and even the high places are revered by millions of followers. They’re attempting to reach heaven but only our Jesus came down from heaven to save the lost. Are you glad our God loves us so much? Our mission on this trip is to share the message of God’s love and hope with 45,000 people.

When Jesus was buried in the grave, fulfilling hundreds of years of prophesy, the earth stood still. Unlike popular belief, Jesus wasn’t killed but He offered up His body to be sacrificed for our Salvation. For three days and nights, hell rejoiced and heaven shed its tears. But on that glorious Sunday, the stones were rolled away by the resurrection power of our Lord. Man’s last enemy — death and grave — had been conquered!

Easter is a story of hope and redemption. A fallen race, created in the very image of God, was doomed for eternity. However, the grace of God is never too far from the fallen. In our weakest moment, His grace is made perfect. When Adam blew it by sinning in the Garden of Eden, God carved out a plan to redeem His own creation. Jesus, a loving and merciful Savior, took the punishment of our sins upon Himself. He died but on the third day, He came back to life, securing our redemption forever!

What I find sad is that many Christians don’t realize the depth of our Savior’s work. They think “if I can only make it to heaven. If I can just live till I’m sixty!” They scrape through life believing that God doesn’t want them to have enough. How tragic! The glory of Easter is not just that Jesus has risen from the dead and now we have insurance for heaven; Easter is the down payment for heaven on earth until we get there! This is true for all those who believe.

Maybe you’re in pain and suffering today. It can be physical or emotional anguish. Let me encourage you, my friend – you have options. You don’t have to put up with that sickness anymore. With all due respect to doctors and medical science that are only limited at best, our God is still the Healer. He who can raise His Son from the dead can also deliver us from our hurt and pain. “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isiah 53:5 NLT).

Some of you are facing an impossible situation. Nothing less than a miracle is going to save you from your troubles. You’ve sought every available means to resolve the crisis but you have no hope left. It could be a legal battle. It may be a struggling marriage. It may be carrier related or a slump in the business. No matter what impossible situation you’re facing, Easter changes everything! The Bible says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32 ESV)?  Friend, even a dead situation will live again. This is the power of Easter!

I know people who are discouraged with their lives. They’re not thinking right, living right, or doing right. They feel that they’ve fallen short of the grace of God. They don’t feel that they deserve to be called the “son or daughter of God.” Yes, we don’t deserve anything but because He lives, we too can live again. Nothing you have done can separate you from the love of God. You may have been victimized but you’re not a victim. Easter is the proof that God wants you back. Would you surrender? Even as you’re reading this, the Holy Spirit is convicting you. Friend, don’t put it off. Yield yourself to God. Today is the day of Salvation, healing, and deliverance! God is not mad at you; He is madly in love with you.

Jesus summed up Easter in these words, The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV). You’re not alone. An abundant life waits you. I’m praying for you from India. Happy Easter!

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Sunday is Coming

One of the darkest days in human history is the day of crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. It wasn’t just dark in the cruelty of the flesh but it was also a spiritual darkness. When Jesus hung on the cross between heaven and earth, the whole universe was stunned!

The silence that followed between His death and resurrection was deafening. Everything looked bleak and there was no hope left for people who had so faithfully followed the Lord for three and a half years! Imagine the loss and pain His mother, Mary, felt. The disciples who left everything behind and followed their Master were now left without a leader. Even the temple veil was split in half. There was nothing but doom and gloom everywhere you turned.

Does this sound parallel to your life right now? I can think of at least half a dozen friends who are bearing their cross so to speak. They feel suspended between heaven and earth. There seems to be no daylight on the horizon. All hope is gone and in the natural, darkness has overtaken their lives. If this is you, I have some good news!

You see, Jesus could enter into his death and suffered inhumanely on the cross because He knew Sunday was coming! It may be dark in your life right now but you too can rest assured knowing that this too shall pass. As you go through the breakup, the sickness that has taken over your life is not here to stay; it’s going to pass. Storms don’t last; they pass on by. Your life may be in disarray right now but after the storm, peace, pleasure, and prosperity await you.

We cannot dodge every curveball life throws at us. However, we can go through a tough situation with a good attitude and a peace of mind. This is what our Lord did. The Scripture says that nobody took His life; He willingly offered Himself up to be sacrificed. He took those beatings upon His body so that by His stripes we could be healed. He was put to shame so that we could live an honorable life. He put His life on the cross so that we might live – forever!

Your pocketbook may look dead today. A relationship may seem like it’s ended. There may not seem to any hope left for a troubled child gone astray. The legal battle seems to be overwhelmingly against you. Your job search may have gone unrewarded. No matter what your natural circumstances may look like, know that Sunday is coming! When Sunday comes, not even death can hold you back!

It may be dark in your life right now but consider that morning starts at midnight. It is still dark for hours after midnight. Don’t be overwhelmed by the darkness, dawn is about to break forth in your life. You’ve gone through the death; you’ve gone through the burial, here comes resurrection! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. You’re a victor and not a victim. 

Painful as it was, Jesus never lost sight of the glorious Sunday. His last words were, “It is finished.” Jesus not only died for our sins but He took every evil imaginable from the human race upon Himself. There is no sin, no grave situation that He cannot redeem us from. He fought the final battle; He rose again victoriously. You too will overcome. This problem is not here to kill you; it’s here to propel you. You may be going through a crucifixion but resurrection is coming. No demon in hell can hold you back. You and God are victorious. Your future is bright. You will overcome every obstacle that stands between you and your destiny. 

Friend, let us remember not only the death and gore of the cross but also the glorious resurrection that awaits you. Jesus has paid for it all. It is finished. Now you can begin again. The dawn is about to breakthrough. Your best days are just in front of you. Sunday is coming! If you haven’t heard it lately, you’re loved, remembered and prayed for. I believe in you!

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17 ESV).

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

April will be Amazing

Our expectations have a lot to do with what we experience in life. What we constantly think about, we’ll eventually bring about. Our lives are an aggregate of our thoughts, words, and actions. If we dare to believe God for the best, we’ll eat the good of the land.

I believe April will be amazing for those who believe. Wake up every day of this month believing that today is going to be your day. Most people lose an hour at the beginning of their day and spend the rest of the day recapturing it. How we start the beginning of this month is how it will end. Don’t be a victim of complacency. Each day is a gift from God. Learn to squeeze every drop of life from each day. Enjoy, relax, laugh but live with a purpose in your heart.

One of the things that makes God mad is when we put limits on what He can do. The Israelites doubted God and questioned, “Can God?” Doubt anything you want but never doubt the fact that God wants to bless you. Instead of asking “Can God?,” say empathically, “God can!” When we doubt, we question God’s ability to perform. You cannot have a poverty mentality and live in prosperity. You cannot think sick and live healthy. You cannot talk defeat and expect to live in victory. Say, “I’m healed. I’m prosperous. I’m victorious. I can do all things through Christ.”

A few weeks ago my backyard looked gray and dead. In fact, my whole neighborhood, and maybe yours, looked the same. Finally, my friend Lino, who helps me with the yard work came and chopped down some of my plants. It was a pathetic sight – dead, dry, and lifeless. Life may have dealt with you in the same way. Your sickness has gone from bad to worse. The finances look bleak. Your projected goals in the business have not quite produced. I have good news for you!

Last week, I was watering the plants in my backyard.  Do you know what I found? Little green leaves shooting out of the “dead” branches. My plants are coming back to life! They were never dead in the first place. Just because things in your life may look dead, it doesn’t mean they are. God is working behind the scenes to resurrect your dream. What looked impossible will be made possible. Your health will spring forth. Wayward children will find their way home. The addiction will be gone. The contract will land on your desk. Sales will close and your relationships will blossom again. God is not dead and neither are you!

You will never gain what you’re unwilling to go after. This is the time of the year when we think about our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. One thing we often forget is that Jesus died for us so that we can live for Him. His death was not just meant to be material for a horror movie. He endured excruciating pain and suffering so that we can live an exhilarating life. We’re underestimating the price He paid for us unless we actively seize our destiny every day.

This is what Mistry did in Calcutta, India. She became a widow at the age of 23 because they couldn’t afford proper treatment for her husband. She was uneducated and had no social background. Even though she was devastated, she made a silent resolution to herself – “One day, I will build a hospital for the poor who cannot afford to pay.” In the following years, she worked relentlessly as a vegetable seller, bricklayer, and a household maid. She would earn two cents an hour and save most of it to build her dream hospital. Her four children worked alongside whatever she was doing to save up for the dream. Now 47 years down the line, Humanity Hospital stands tall and proud, serving the poor, free of cost, since 1996. Her son, Ajoy, is a doctor at her hospital, which has 12 doctors and over 25 beds. Humanity Hospital is a testament to a single woman’s grit, determination, and never-say-die spirit against all odds.

As you stand at the threshold of a new month, let me ask you a question. What are you pursuing with your life? What miracle do you believe God will provide? What’s burning in your heart and won’t go away? If you believe, go after your dreams and appropriate the power that Jesus died to give us, you can accomplish any goal, purpose, and destiny. You have what it takes. Today is a new day, a new opportunity. Let’s seize the day and build on a momentum that has taken us our whole life to get to. I believe and declare: April will be amazing!

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense” (Proverbs 12:11 NLT).

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