THE BEST “PAY IT FORWARD” YET

pay-it-forwardWhy am I here?  Why am I breathing?  Why do I have gifts and talents?  Why was I even born?  What is my purpose?

Here’s your answer… to PAY IT FORWARD.  I’m not talking about  money or good deeds, etc.  Although those things are great, but what you need to be paying forward is the Good News.  We are here to preach the Good News. How do I know?  Because we are called to live like Jesus and that’s why He was sent.

I know we’ve heard it over and over, “Jesus came to die” and yes, that is so true.  However, what did He do while he was living?  In His own words, Jesus says, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43

What is the Good News?  It’s the verse you’ve heard a million times (maybe the only verse you’ve ever heard)

John 3:16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus preached the Good News, THEN He died to save us from eternal death, THEN He was resurrected so that He could leave us a gift, the Holy Spirit, which empowers US to share the Good News. Jesus didn’t do all of this for nothing…He did it so that we could fulfill our purpose by paying it forward.

You hear this all the time (and I’m sure I’ve said it too), “I’m not preaching to you, I just want you to know…..”.  Well we have to stop being shy of preaching to people.  That’s why we’re here.  Telling people about Jesus continues to be frowned upon, even outlawed by governments.  Our God given purpose is slowly being stripped away from so many people… because we are allowing it to.  We are shying away from what God intended for us and giving in to this sinful world.

I’m just going to be blunt here, if you haven’t received Christ into your life, confessed your sins, and believed that He died on the cross for you…then you haven’t even taken the first step into living out your purpose.  That’s why it’s called being lost.  You’re still searching for something missing in your life.  You know there’s more, but (as the old country song says) “you’re looking for love in all the wrong places”.   That perfect love is out there for you to receive, you just have to open your heart and let Him in.

That’s just the FIRST step.  But it’s a step closer to a freedom you’ve never known before.  Freedom from drugs, alcoholism, pornography, depression, demonic oppression, or even just freedom from the stresses that life brings to you on a daily basis.  Then you begin fulfilling your purpose, sharing that Good News with others.

There’s nothing more important or more satisfying than sharing the love of Christ so go out and do it. YOU can help someone with THEIR FIRST STEP into freedom.  Then THEY will begin sharing the Good News with others too.  This is the true way to pay it forward and it’s you’re purpose.

HE CHOSE TO FACE HIS WORST FEAR

wolfWe are not supposed to fear, but we constantly make it an option and it’s an option that we choose over and over.

A storm comes along, our boat begins filling up with water and fear tries to jump right in there with it.  We can choose not to allow it in but sometimes we invite it.

Fear is just an obstacle trying to stop us from doing something that God wants us to do.  If we allow fear to win, we lose. If we decide to go against that fear and do what God wants us to, it’s a victory.

I was reading in Ezra this morning and this line stuck out to me.  EVEN THOUGH the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening.” – Ezra 3:3  These people felt as though they had a reason to fear, BUT they didn’t allow it to stop them from doing God’s work.

One Sunday, I asked a young man on our children’s worship team to say the closing prayer.  I knew he had it in him, yet he was so frightened that he turned red and began sweating.  He just couldn’t get himself to do it.  Right after church though, he told me that he regretted not praying because public speaking was his worst fear and he wished he had faced it.  A couple weeks later, I approached him again with the same opportunity.  He stood  there in front of all the children…completely silent… for a good couple minutes with the mic in his hand.  He was extremely nervous, however, this time he didn’t allow fear to win.  He handed the mic back to me and prayed without it.  But even the people in the very back could hear him.  It was short but it was bold and that day…that young man had a victory for God!

I pray that you will choose TODAY that FEAR will not be an option anymore.

STOP ASKING GOD TO MOVE YOUR MOUNTAINS

Faith-to-Move-Your-Mountain.jpgFeeling like dried up bones?  Think you’re life is over and you have nothing left to give? The mountains you’re facing are just too high to climb and too wide to go around? Maybe you feel completely useless and are just ready to be done with it all.

Well guess what! God’s not finished with you yet!  “Then why hasn’t He fixed me?” “Why am I still facing these difficult situations?” Glad you asked.  The word of God says as long as we have faith the size of a mustard seed, WE can move mountains, so we don’t need to ask HIM to move them.  He has already given us that authority.  We just need to have the faith to TELL them to move!

That’s exactly how Ezekiel brought the dry bones back to life…first he SPOKE TO THE BONES and the bodies were restored, then he SPOKE TO THE WIND and the bodies had life!”

What have you been asking God to change that He has already given you the authority to change yourself?  Grab hold of that last ounce of faith you may feel like you have left and speak to those dry bones today!

“The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord ,” I replied, “You alone know the answer to that.” Then He said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord ! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord .’” So I spoke this message, just as He told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as He commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.” –Ezekiel 37:1-10 NLT

ORPHAN…OR ANGEL?

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Have you ever said, “God, let me be a blessing?”  and then two seconds later wonder how God could ever use YOU to bless ANYONE?!  Well, He can.  I want to share with you how God used someone today.

There is a young man that my cousins bring to church twice a week.  He lives in a boys home and has for the past 5 years.  (We’ll call him “Jack” because of an inside joke we have.)  He has no family, no real place to even call home. I’m sure there could have been many occasions (in his circumstance) where he could feel like and even convince himself that God couldn’t use Him.  Hopefully he has never felt that way…maybe he has always known that God could and would use him to be a blessing to someone else.  Either way, today at church I was a witness to God doing just that and it just so happened to be me!

While my husband was preaching, he referenced Jeremiah 29:11, and he mentioned to the congregation that it was my favorite verse.  After service was over, that young man walked by, gave me his bracelet and simply smiled and said, “read it” and walked off.  There they were in bold letters, the words from Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord”.  He was gone and out of sight… like an angel…before I could even thank him.  So Thank you “Jack” for allowing God to use you today to be such a blessing to me.

Each of us has something that God wants to use to bless someone else.  What do you have?  Are you willing to give it away?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

PLAYING WITH A FULL DECK

fos playing-cardsWhen playing a game of solitaire, it’s only  possible to enjoy or even finish the game if you have a full deck of cards.  It takes every jack, queen, king, ace, etc. to play.  When you first open up a new deck, you know that all 52 cards are there and you can play a few games no problem.  As the weeks, months, years go by (especially if you have kids) those cards seem to slowly get lost.  So when you sit down for a quiet game of solitaire it’s impossible to finish.

When you believe on Jesus and invite Him into your heart you are filled with the fruits of the spirit.  You have just opened up a brand new deck of cards!  Except this deck is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control!  Having each of these will guide your life and help you to finish the race.  However, somewhere along the way, you may feel like you begin losing some of these and your walk with Christ just doesn’t seem as enjoyable as it did in the beginning.  Matter of fact, you’re not even sure you can finish the race.

Well here’s some good news, unlike a deck of cards, the fruits of the spirit can’t be lost.  Yes, contrary to popular belief, you can’t really “lose your patience” if you have Christ living in You.  You may forget how to apply it, but it’s still there.  Christ IS love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  Ask God to remind you how to apply these in your life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”Galatians 5:22-23

LOVE IS NOT DEMANDING…

Business CartoonWe have been trained up in this society where we can always have things our way and in so many cases, it’s true.  We can go to a restaurant to order breakfast and tell them exactly how we want it cooked. “I’ll take my eggs over medium, crispy bacon, sour dough toast, pancakes and hot syrup on the side.” And that is great, but what would happen if we ordered breakfast and began telling them how we liked our eggs and they stopped us and said, “You can’t have them like that.  We only serve scrambled eggs, blackened bacon, rye toast and cold syrup.”?

I can already hear some of the responses.  “I’d just get up and leave.”  “I would demand to talk to the manager.” “Well, that would be dumb, they’d lose a lot of business that way”.  “What happened to the customer is always right??”  We have been so spoiled that when we don’t get our own way, we either just walk away completely or demand to make it happen.

This may be fine at a restaurant.  However, this seems to be carried on into our relationships with one another.  We go into them like customers with expectations of what we want from that person instead of what we can give them.  And when we don’t get what we were expecting, we begin demanding it or we just walk away.  That’s not love.

When Jesus walked this earth, He came here only to serve and be used by God for YOU.  It was never about what HE wanted.  It wasn’t about HIS gain, but OURS.

To truly love our friends, our family, our neighbors…to truly love JESUS, we have to leave behind this “It’s all about me”, “what about what I want?” mindset.  Start by praying and asking God to show you a need that you can fill for someone else, then…begin spreading the love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.Romans 12:9-10