LIVING ON PURPOSE
338 – Knowing when to hold on and when to let go
When it comes to being knowledgeable, it’s not how much we know but how much we understand. It’s one thing to have bags of information seeds stacked up in the barns of our minds, but more importantly, how many seeds have been planted and nurtured to take root within our conscience? Even the devil himself has more knowledge about God than the average person but he does not allow it to change who he is. It’s called selective thinking where facts are learned and accumulated but not acted upon. This is where we see a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom. Just because we read about how to live a victorious Christian life does not mean we will automatically be converted into a victorious overcomer. We must absorb His Word through our brain and into our spirit all the while learning how to surrender our will and discipline our carnality.
Beware of powder-puff messages that only talk about strolling through life and enjoying the overflowing storehouses of blessings. They do nothing to awaken our desperate need to be a living sacrifice for God. In reality, the Christian life is not easy, and in fact, the more serious we become about taking up our cross the more difficult it will be. If we are genuinely born again, our spirit is connected with God’s Spirit and we have a wonderful opportunity to channel His energy into us. If we can prevent our old corrupt nature from talking us out of it, we can be saved from ourselves but it’s going to take a burning passion and a total commitment to live what we believe. Being a follower of Jesus means we are accepting a golden opportunity to transform the way we think which will literally change who we are.
Persistence and stubbornness can be good if we can incorporate them into following Christ more intensely. Yes, being stubborn for God can be considered faith, however, being stubborn against God is an attitude of rebellion. He appreciates us for being persistent but when He tells us no and we still keep pushing forward, we fall into the dangers of disobedience. There have been times in my life when I did not know if I should stop believing or if I should keep pushing. I’ve had doors slammed in my face and my share of disappointments, but I kept knocking even to the point of trying to force them open with a crowbar. Maybe God never intended for them to open and my demolition attitude just made things worse. Or maybe He wanted to see if I knew the difference between a vision and a whim. Whatever the case, the key to avoiding resentment and confusion and knowing if the dark side is working against us or if the Lord is directing us, is spiritual discernment. Wisdom comes from seeking God’s still small voice with all of our heart and mind.
Pray and research thoroughly before you move forward. If you are standing in a crossroad today and not sure where to go, do something positive while you are waiting for His confirmation. If you’ve been seeking His direction for a long time and have not heard anything, I once heard someone say, “while waiting for a door to open, keep praising Him in the hallway.” You might feel the desperation to begin a personal fast in order to become more sensitive to His voice. Fasting is not always just about food but can be the denial of other activities as you dedicate quiet time alone with Him. By the way, this is personal and there is no need to broadcast this on social media. When you discover all the requirements that are associated with your goals, you may realize you are simply not ready to proceed at this time, or maybe not at all. Yes, God can move mountains, but since He is the one who created our destiny, our ideas may not be the same as His. He can influence others, give us favor, open doors, and present divine appointments, but it’s our diligence and perseverance that helps us to be in the position to receive. He is preparing a path for you behind the scenes that can utilize your strengths and will be a perfect fit for you, however, your obedience and patience are critical factors as you follow His plans and not your own.
Dr. Holland is a Christian minister, author, and community outreach, chaplain. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Learning how to adjust our sails
“Your mind is a garden your thoughts are your seeds, you can plant flowers or you can plant weeds.” This means we choose what seeds we plant into our minds and are responsible for the thoughts we allow to grow. Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.
We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails. We choose each day what we will say, how we act, and who we will serve. God is waiting for us to become the person Jesus died for us to be. Courage does not always roar. Sometimes faith is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try it again tomorrow.” Never give up, ask God to help you and He will. The Bible says in Psalm 118 verse 5, “I called upon the Lord in my distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side, I will not fear, what can man do to me?”
Proverbs chapter 3 and verses 5- 8 declare, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and strength, nourishment, and refreshment to thy bones.” We know that God is the highest authority and has complete power and control over all things! We are celebrating how our creator is bringing victory over an enemy that is trying to do us harm!
We confess God’s Word that is the true reality of His perfect will. We believe and receive His never-failing truth into our lives and come into agreement with Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” We are filled with joy because God loves us and sent His Son Jesus to save us and we know in our hearts that He desires to intervene and always has our best interest in mind.
God is the creator of all things and spoke the universe into existence! He said let there be light and there was light and it was good, and this same spiritual principle is active and alive within us. He wants us to know and agree with His will and to speak His Word in faith as He has promised that He will manifest His plans through us for His glory. God’s Words are light and life and His people are commanded to choose life! In Isaiah 57:19 the Lord says, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him who is far away, and to him that is near and I will heal him.”
We repent of our sins and ask God to help us become victorious! Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart God will not hear me.” Psalm 51:10-12, “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit.” “In my distress, I called upon the Lord and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears” Psalm 18:6. Be encouraged to know He is listening to you right now.
“Father, we come to you today with a broken and contrite heart. We are weak but we know that you are strong. Fear and doubt are at my door like ravening wolves. We look across the world and see evil and darkness everywhere. We have a heart that is heavy as we see more people every day turning against you and your truth. I humbly ask that you fill my mind and soul today with your peace that passes all understanding. Please encourage my heart and allow me to see the victory as when Elisha’s servant’s eyes were opened. Help me to stay focused on who you are and to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. My hope, my trust, and my life is in you and nothing else. In the name of Jesus, I pray, amen.”
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Christ is the vine we are the branches
I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about how it seems that so many people are living in fear and discouragement when he mentioned something that really made me think. He said that it was impossible to be depressed and walk in the joy of God’s presence at the same time. After our conversation, I continued to ponder this thought and by the way, I do agree with it. I’m not saying
that developing an optimistic lifestyle is easy, but being a positive or a negative thinker are both learned behaviors. Since a healthy relationship with the Lord is associated with the level of our spiritual joy, we can know that a lifestyle of encouragement will depend on controlling the way we think. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” Psalm 42:11.
Like the Psalmist, there are times when we allow sadness to lead us down the road of discouragement. I use the word allow because joy and sadness are attitudes of the mind which we choose. How can we live in victory if we are always worried and afraid? I’m still learning that it’s up to me whether I accept the misery of anxiety or become determined to focus on God and find refuge in the safety of His arms. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can decide how we will respond. When I’ve been too busy to pray, study or worship Him, my faith turns to doubt as I begin to lose my confidence that He will take care of my problems and needs. When we drift away from the security of His love and peace, we are vulnerable to the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and sadness from mistakes and sins we have committed. The dark side will sniff out our failures and attempt to bring guilt and condemnation to remind us of what we could and should have done. The enemy of our soul is devoted to condemning and tempting us to be depressed about missed opportunities and wrong decisions.
There are many followers in the kingdom of God that are tired and disappointed and often they do not feel appreciated in their calling, but the Lord sees your labor and His definition of success is not the same as the world. There is nothing more wonderful than to know the mission and will of God and to be walking in it, however, if there is anything that can deter us from following Jesus we will be tested and tempted. “For the Lord God can help me; therefore shall I not be confounded [confused] therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” Isaiah 50:7. Setting our face like flint is declaring a message of faith that we are dedicated to becoming the person God has called us to be. Flint is a very hard substance and in the season of our trials, the strategy for victorious spiritual combat is to stand strong and not allow doubt or intimidation to influence or persuade us to compromise or surrender.
Our Creator is waiting to give us the stability and perseverance we need to accomplish His plans, but He is also depending on us to become committed in our obedience to Him. There is a big difference between talking about what we should be and actually manifesting it. His river of contentment is available anytime and beckons for us to wade out into the deeper waters of His presence. We are invited to be saturated in His Spirit and to bask in His glory if this is what we really want. Unfortunately, many are relaxing in their lounge chairs at “poolside” and only stick their toes in the water occasionally when a crisis comes upon them they cannot fix on their own. The best way to maintain a successful and consistent Christian life is to pray and study God’s word daily which renews our minds and keeps us sensitive to His thoughts and the demonstration of His character. John chapter 15 explains how Jesus is the vine and we are His branches, which allows everyone to witness His nature and glory. We know we are to believe in Him, but when is the last time you considered that He believes in you?
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
When I am weak He is strong
How much grace does it take to love our enemies and those who have hurt us? Well, that’s a good question. Tragedies occur all around us and it’s true we are heartbroken and disturbed, but what happens if we are personally offended or our family and friends are harmed? I admit that I do not always have the character of Christ when I’m being threatened or attacked. Many times, my first reaction is to retaliate because it’s a part of our old nature, but I agree that people need to be punished for their evil deeds and acts of violence. However, the temptation to resent and be bitter is real. Life is filled with challenges and situations that lure us into bad attitudes but for the serious Christian, it’s the forgiveness of Christ that can teach us and lead us into the peace that passes all understanding.
When we fall into a negative mindset, our joy which is our spiritual strength, evaporates and we become weak and discouraged. Anger and the desire for revenge can emotionally, mentally, and spiritually hold us in the bondage of misery. If we allow ourselves to become weighed down with animosity, our relationship with God suffers which is why it’s so important to not become entangled in the snare trap of hatred. To those around us, everything may seem fine but deep within our hearts, we are seething with contempt. The battle we choose to fight in our conscience is something we desire to do because we feel justified, but if we continue to embrace these feelings we are allowing the darkness of sin to control our thoughts and hold our souls hostage. Sadly, many would rather cuddle thoughts of hostility instead of releasing them to God and allowing Him to execute justice in His way.
A while back I received a call from the Veterans Center to pray for an elderly gentleman that was near death. He was barely able to understand or communicate because of the heavy doses of morphine. His son was sitting next to the bed and after a while, he started to share some personal thoughts about his dad. They were not close and he began to describe a man that was not only harsh and uncaring but abusive. I could sense the deep emotional pain as he revealed the sadness and disappointment of a wounded family. The son was a Christian and had been dealing with resentment for years and was aware of his need to find closure, amazingly I could see the love and peace of God in his countenance. This type of emotional pain is truly a heavy burden, but If we sincerely ask the Lord to step into our situation, He is the only one who can bring inner healing to the deepest places of our being.
If you watch a toddler you will notice they react to basic experiences of hunger, affection, disappointment, happiness, and anger but have not yet learned the dangers of being offended. Resentment is one of many attitudes we naturally develop as we grow older and it’s only through inviting Christ to become our Lord and allowing His truth to transform our minds that we can be molded into His way of merciful thinking. God wants us to be open and honest with Him and not suppress these ugly emotions which can damage our relationship with Him. The opportunity to call on Christ is always available as Psalm 46:1 declares, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Holding on or letting go of these negative attitudes is our choice. If we keep them they become an infection that can also desensitize us from having sympathy for other people’s problems. This is very serious because it involves the Christian’s most precious asset – our love. The enemy of our soul will use anything he can to hinder our love and discourage us from praying for others. May we never lose our focus to humbly serve and obey Christ because we are blinded by our own misery. Whatever someone has done to hurt us, let us remember that living in the peace of God’s love and forgiveness is possible. Resentment incarcerates the conscience but forgiveness is the key that opens the prison door. Some may say they will not or cannot forgive, but Mark 11:25 reminds us, “And whenever you pray if you have anything against anyone, forgive them, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
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LIVING ON PURPOSE
May we never forget freedom is not free
Memorial means to “remember” and every year on the last Monday in May, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in the line of active military service while protecting and defending the country they loved. For those of you that have family members and close friends who died fighting for our freedoms, we can know they perished for a cause greater than their own.
What do you think about when you hear the words Memorial Day and does it have personal significance? Unfortunately, for some Americans, the true meaning of Memorial Day has been seemingly lost. It’s common for people to be glad for another federal holiday and a three-day weekend. Some recognize the occasion as the beginning of summer and celebrate with a cookout. Then there are the parents, spouses, siblings, and children who will touch their loved one’s name on a military memorial wall, and place flowers on their grave. My mother’s youngest brother Clinton was 19-years-old when he was killed on a battlefield in Korea. Clinton (who was nicknamed Kenny), and his cousin Thomas both went into the army together and had dreams of a happy life after the war, but neither one returned.
Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day or even Armed Forces Day, and though it’s highly appropriate to honor all our veterans, living and dead, and to recognize their immeasurable contributions to our country, this is not the true meaning of Memorial Day. So, why do so many Americans feel uncomfortable and refuse to acknowledge our fallen patriots? We realize our human nature tends to avoid the unpleasant, and this is natural, nonetheless, these individuals deserve our respect and honor.
The tradition of the Memorial Day celebration began on May 30, 1868, as an initiative by Major General John A. Logan. The event was held with a large gathering of people decorating the graves of thousands of military personnel. After speeches by officials, children from an orphanage made their way through the cemetery, singing hymns. New York was the first state to declare Memorial Day as an official holiday, followed by other states. The southern province observed it separately until the completion of World War I, after which the Memorial Day celebration included all the Americans who sacrificed their lives in any war. Official guidelines say the flag in all administrative buildings should be displayed at half-staff. In 2000, President Bill Clinton implemented ‘The National Moment of Remembrance Act’ to encourage all Americans to voluntarily stop wherever they are at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day for a moment of silence to honor those who have died in service to the nation.
I want to share this true account about private George Watson, a member of the Army’s 29th Quartermaster Regiment who hailed from Birmingham, Alabama. On March 8, 1943, he was far from home in the Pacific theater. His unit was on board the Dutch steamer USAT Jacob near Porloch Harbor, New Guinea, when it came under a sudden and devastating attack from Japanese bomber planes. The cargo ship was destroyed after sustaining several direct hits and had to be abandoned. Chances of survival seemed slim to the frightened men floating helplessly in the ocean as enemy fire continued to rain down on them. At that moment, Watson demonstrated bravery worthy of the most heroic warrior. Without thought for his own safety or survival, he dived into the water and started swimming to those who were drowning, pulling his injured and helpless comrades to the few available life rafts. No one is certain how many men he saved, but according to eyewitnesses, it is certain that in his relentless efforts, many men lived because of his fearless courage. George continued until finally becoming so fatigued he did not have the strength to avoid the powerful suction when the ship began to sink. Watson, along with four other valiant sailors, disappeared beneath the waves. For extraordinary heroism on the front lines of combat, Watson became the first black American soldier to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. His love for others and demonstration of selflessness were even further recognized when he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during a 1997 ceremony. Because Watson had no family members to claim his medals, citations, honors, and other awards, they are proudly displayed by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia. George Watson field at Fort Benning, and The United States Navy ship, USNS Watson, is named after him.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
The God who is more than enough
Many people today are struggling with the stress of everyday living and many feel lonely, depressed, and sad, but whatever you are going through today, be encouraged to know that God is able to take care of you. When we research the Hebrew name El Shaddai, we discover that it means the all-sufficient one with all wisdom and authority and is commonly referred to as Omnipotent. It’s very important to know that both optimism and pessimism are learned behaviors, which means that choosing our thoughts has everything to do with our attitude and how we view life. Here are seven areas where we can believe and know that He is waiting to fill us with His joy, peace, and contentment.
1. God knows: God is Omniscient and is fully aware when we are going through difficult times, our worries and fears, and even what we are thinking. Actually, He is the only one who really knows how we feel and we can always trust that He is working on a way to help us. There are 3 answers to our prayers; yes, no and keep waiting so, whatever happens, have faith that He is in total control and always has our best interest in mind.
2. God loves: The love and grace of God is greater than all of our sin. Jesus died a cruel and painful death in order to save us from ourselves. The good news today is that when those who hear this gospel about God’s love and receive it into their lives, they can escape the torment of eternal darkness and be redeemed and transformed into a child of The Almighty. Read Romans 8:37-39.
3. God cares: The Lord of all glory is listening to every word we say; He sees every tear and knows all the problems we are going through. Today, He wants us to believe that He cares about us and desires to help us. He promises that His eye is on the sparrow, which allows us to know how much more He is watching over us. He is sensitive and compassionate about everything that is going on in our lives and longs to have a close personal relationship with us.
4. God provides: The Lord provides forgiveness, restoration, hope, and whatever we need, whenever we need it. Christ can give what no one else can provide. He is always on time and never fails! We can place our trust in God and believe with all of our hearts that He will do above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
5. God desires: God has a desire, and that is for us to love Him and follow His voice. He also wants us to succeed, to be an overcomer, and to live an abundant life. Before we were born, He drew our personal blueprint and within this wonderful plan includes a destiny of victory and joy! He created us to be filled with His power and to walk confidently in His presence. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
6. God heals: The Almighty is the great physician and has all power and authority in heaven and earth. He gives instruction and wisdom to doctors; He creates medicines and knows the solutions to every health problem. God has the miracle power to take care of whatever we need perfectly and completely, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. I tell people all the time that either in this life or in the next, God will heal His children perfectly and completely. In Exodus 15:26 God declares, “I am the Lord that heals you.”
7. God delivers: Whatever the bondage, temptation, or situation, the King of kings can lift you out of your agony and set your feet upon a solid rock. Believe, absorb, and allow His truth to set you free! Psalm 18:2-3 reminds us, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so, shall I be saved from my enemies.”
To read more about the Christian life and Dr. Holland’s new book about miracles visit: billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Man shall not live by bread alone
One of the popular topics that readers contact me about are concerns associated with food shortages and higher costs. I realize that no one has a crystal ball to see into the future, but we have plenty of websites that are encouraging everyone to stockpile food and water. The prepping movement has been warning the public for years to prepare for such a crisis and, of course, many have created profitable businesses by selling everything a person would need if something like this were to happen. I’m sure many of you are like us that have friends and family members who have food and water reserves and my wife and I believe it’s wise to have some extra provisions in case of an emergency.
The prices of food and fuel are rising, and many families are feeling even more financial stress. I’m involved with a weekly food distribution ministry in my hometown where we receive food from area grocery stores and a local co-op 3-times a week, then we give it out to homeless shelters, the elderly, and those in need. Our team has the burden of making sure that everyone in our community can at least have something good to eat. It’s one thing to tell someone to be blessed and something else to activate our faith and make sure they have the provisions they need. Jesus said in Matthew 25 that when you give to the needy, you have given to Him.
We know that political wars and sanctions can disrupt food chains, as weather, plant diseases, fuel and fertilizer costs, and pestilences can also contribute to shortages. By the way, I’ve often wondered why governments pay farmers not to grow their crops. We read in Matthew 24:6 about the scarcity of food, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” And Revelation chapter 6 talks about a quart of wheat costing a day’s wage and implies there will be a time when war and famine will give way to inflation due to supply and demand. For those who love God, we know we can trust Him in the difficult times and that He hears our prayers and will provide for our needs. Paul related in Philippians chapter 4 about maintaining contentment and being at peace with God in times of need or prosperity.
There is an amazing story found in I Kings chapter 17 where God intervened for the prophet Elijah and miraculously provided food and water. The Lord commanded ravens to bring him meat and bread twice each day and also supplied him with fresh water from a brook called Cherith. When fear surrounds us and life feels uncertain, it’s easy to doubt that our Creator is really with us, but the same God who is with us during good times is the same God who is with us during times of uncertainty. This example should encourage us to know that He is always watching over us and desires to take care of us like we take care of our own children.
In closing, may we remember that famines and food shortages are not only about empty shelves at our local market, but there is also a spiritual famine happening today with God’s word and it will only become worse. Most people are not really interested in having their conscience being convicted of sin, but believe there is no such thing as a universal standard of divine truth. Even many religious individuals would rather listen to inspirational messages that compromise and justify living however they want. Things that are socially accepted today would have been an outrage in the Christian world just 50 years ago. Instead of God’s followers taking a stand and defending His foundational realities, the majority now makes excuses and negotiates to make everyone happy. II Timothy chapter 4 warned us this would happen, and it has. John 6:33-35 Jesus says, “For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” And in Matthew 4:4, “But he answered, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Developing an effective prayer life
Prayer is a familiar word that we hear every day and is usually associated with something being wrong and needing to be fixed. I receive emails and texts on a regular basis from those who are having a crisis and call on me to pray for them and I certainly do. For Christians, being in agreement with the prayers of others is a blessing and responsibility as the power of God is increased and multiplied. For those who are not familiar with talking to God, it’s common for them to call others who they believe can plead with the Lord on their behalf.
It’s an honor for people to ask someone to pray as they trust this person knows God, but the truth is that everyone has the opportunity to be as close to God as they desire. This is not the most popular statement but nonetheless true. Prayer was never intended to be a last resort option that is used in an emergency like calling the fire department. The miracle of Christ being crucified and resurrecting from the dead restored the broken relationship between God and mankind that happened when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. God gave His Son so that we could be saved and communicate with Him.
To begin, we must pray for a desire to pray, for if we are not interested in praying it will not happen. Everyone does what they want and prayer will never become a habit until we become determined to make it a lifestyle. Designate a time and a place. When we become serious about spending quiet time talking and listening to God, our life becomes more focused, filled with meaning, peace, purpose, and confidence. We do not arrange our prayer time around our life, we must be determined to arrange our life around our time with Him. Learn all you can about self-discipline. When you make a decision about the best time and place to pray – stick to it! This will be much more of a personal challenge than you ever dreamed. Remember, the enemy will do all that he can to discourage, distract and prevent you from advancing in your relationship with God.
Open your Bible and ask Him to reveal His word. Prayer is not always closing our eyes and just asking for things. It’s a time of sharing our deepest thoughts with God and this includes giving Him an opportunity to respond. Listen intently and write it down. Silence is golden in His presence. Prayer has no substitute. Many have thought that attending church or listening to Christian music is our “quota” of spiritual nourishment. These are good but not enough. We can do all these things and actually grow distant from the Lord if we are not spending personal quiet time with Him. Prayer is our lifeline to His throne and the fountain of our joy. Prayer is progressive. When we decide to enter into this deeper walk with God we will comprehend the true meaning of praying without ceasing. The beauty and ultimate goal of daily meditation is developing a constant awareness of His presence. This is where we grow stronger in our spiritual wisdom and discernment.
Begin a prayer journal. The word of our testimony is a wonderful way to keep track of our burdens, petitions, and victories. What a faith-builder when we make a record of answered prayers and how the Lord manifested a miracle when the situation seemed impossible. Also, study the armor of God. The Christian life is a battle and beware that you do not step into the front line unarmed. It’s no secret that the devil and His demons are not threatened with lukewarm religion, but they target anyone that makes a decision to pray. Our words contain power. Silent prayers are fine but praying out loud is even better. Confessing and decreeing God’s word is being in agreement with His will. He has promised in Isaiah 57:19 that He would create the fruit of our lips and in Matthew 18:18-20 Jesus speaks about the authoritative power of binding, loosing, and agreeing in faith with His desires. Prayer and obedience are powerful weapons. Yes, we have a nature to worry, be afraid, and wring our hands and speak negative, but this has never helped anyone, it only makes things worse. If we invest the same amount of time praying that we do worrying, we would see more of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes
It’s easy to mock and be critical, and unfortunately, our human nature loves to judge unfairly and display negative thoughts about others. If we could only remember that many people are going through some type of painful trial which usually explains why they seem peculiar. I often counsel those who are struggling with personal problems and it changes our perspective when we know the bigger picture. As Christians, we are called to be a light that represents God’s nature and this includes forbearance, understanding, and compassion. This is so that everyone can see Christ and hopefully will inspire them to learn more about who He is. When we act ugly and rude, we are actually turning others away from the message of grace and love that we proclaim is what the lost world desperately needs. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, those around us are carefully observing us which is having a direct impact on what they think about God and who we are. Every day we have opportunities to do what Jesus would do.
If we knew what is going on behind the scenes in the lives of those all around us, it would allow us to realize they do not deserve our harsh speculations and criticisms. I published a book a few years ago called “A lifestyle of worship – Living in the Awareness of God’s Presence” that focuses on developing spiritual sensitivity and how this discernment can drastically change the way we think and see life. I’m convinced we will not grow in our concern for others until we can see them the way God sees them. When I’m focused on His presence and trying to do His will, I am more humble and understanding. However, when I’m distant from Him and allow arrogance to rise up, I gravitate toward being indifferent and cold-hearted. Rick Warren is quoted, “God’s mercy to us is the motivation for showing mercy to others. Remember, you will never be asked to forgive someone else more than God has forgiven you.”
I recently learned about an 8-year-old boy that experienced a horrifying tragedy. His mother had agreed to take care of a friend’s dog for a few days. The dog did not have a history of aggression and she did not sense any danger to bring it into her home. One day the little boy was out in the yard with the dog and suddenly out of nowhere the animal violently attacked him. The mother heard the cries and ran to stop the attack, but not before the dog had bit off the boy’s ears and caused very serious wounds to his head and face. It was believed that if the mother had not arrived when she did, the dog would have killed him. I watched an interview with the little fellow after the wounds had healed and he had such a gentle and kind personality. Those few seconds changed his life forever.
He is a smart and witty child and is surprisingly upbeat in spite of the devastating damage that he deals with on a daily basis. Where his ears had been are now just small holes on the sides of his head. The muscles in his face are permanently damaged and twisted which causes him to talk out of the side of his mouth. His eye socket was reconstructed and he is fortunate they were able to save his sight. As I listened in amazement at his courage at such a young age I was deeply moved and felt a tear running down my cheek. What a traumatic ordeal this innocent young man has gone through. He went on to say that he begged his mom to let him return to school and how the other kids will gather around him and stare at him like he is a circus attraction. He overhears them saying he’s scary looking and all that. I know kids are cruel and remember when I was growing up I watched bullies torture other children they considered were strange or whatever. I think about what this child has gone through and not only having to live with the outward consequences, but also the emotional agony from the insults and rejection. I Peter 3:8 reminds us to be sympathetic, to love one another, to be compassionate and humble, and this helps us to consider what it would be like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Jesus gave His life so that we could live
I admit I am an emotional person. I recall going to see the Passion movie a few years ago and I was disturbed, to say the least. It’s not uncommon for me to shed a tear when I witness something that moves my soul and this was no exception. Recently, I was watching a program about the “Make-A-Wish Foundation” and how they provide a way for very sick children to experience a happy but most likely a last request and I cried through the entire program. As the agonizing scenes of what Christ went through were presented, I kept thinking how could someone watch this and not be deeply stirred in their soul? I feel the same way about the Chosen series. I’m not ashamed to wear my feelings on my sleeve and have no desire to act tough and pretend that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness. If we are not careful, we can become hardened by the harshness of life and lose our spiritual sensitivity.
Remembering the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be more than an annual holiday. For the Christian, it should be a constant awareness of His love. Once again we are bombarded with the celebrations of eggs, rabbits, baby chicks, baked ham, and new clothes that can be distractions from the focus of Christ suffering and dying on the cross and resurrecting three days later. The incarnation is another celebration where worldly traditions attempt to deflect and compete for attention. These holy seasons are a reminder of the gift of eternal salvation. We realize it’s never pleasant to imagine an innocent person being brutally tortured, but the fact that Jesus miraculously came back to life proves His infinite power and authority and why we are so filled with humility and encouragement. Jesus Christ did not just talk about love, He demonstrated His mercy and compassion by suffering and surrendering His life so that we could live.
When I think about Christ and the reason why He came to earth, it’s a comfort to know this was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, but rather it was a carefully planned mission by the Father to restore our fellowship with Him. Jesus willingly left the glories of heaven, submitted to His Father’s will, was betrayed and denied by those He trusted and mocked as someone delusional. The religious community rejected His message and the legal system along with the demands from the general population overwhelmingly agreed to publicly execute Him without a reason other than they hated Him. Sadly, these negative attitudes have not changed.
We notice that Jesus was constantly approached by those in desperate need and it was His perfect nature to be concerned and compassionate. The world has always been filled with human suffering and He is always ready to respond in love and mercy. Being emotional and even knowledgeable about the Bible is fine, but that does not necessarily mean that someone is following Christ. It’s what they do with what they have learned that transforms considerations into spiritual obedience. When we see someone who needs help or even an encouraging word, what good does it do to just look at them with pity? Christ was always ministering to those who would reach out to Him by faith and two thousand years later He is still pouring out His grace and forgiveness to anyone who will call upon His name.
As His followers, we have been called to focus our attention on becoming more like Him despite a troubled world that justifies walking over the wounded and being self-centered. His command to take up our cross includes letting go of our natural way of selfish thinking and willingly embracing His character and nature. The more I learn about His life and His message, the more I realize that I am far from being who I need to be. As we meditate on His truth, we are given a deeper understanding of who He is, and what He wants to accomplish through us. The reverential fear and awareness of who Jesus is and why He came to earth is our only hope and it’s every Christian’s responsibility to keep their spiritual eyes focused on Him. Beyond the festivities and the feasting, may we consider spending time concentrating on the one who loves us and came to save us from being lost forever.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
The Passion of Christ is God’s amazing grace
April is the month of new beginnings when trees begin to sprout their leaves and flowers emerge from the ground to express their beauty. This is also the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. God’s infinite love for us is the foundation of the Christian faith for without Jesus being raised to conquer death, hell, and the grave, He would have been just another courageous martyr. You see, His perfect blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat was the only payment that was holy and powerful enough to redeem, transform, and purchase the spirits of those who will believe. John 19:30 declares the Son of God cried from the cross, “It is finished” which guaranteed the covenant authority of God’s word is true and the spiritual reality that eternal salvation is now available for all who hear the gospel, are convicted to repent and will embrace Him by faith. This is why the gospel is called the good news and truly it is the ultimate promise of hope and peace the lost are searching for.
Christians experience the life-changing miracle of God so loving the world that He sent His Son to save us from our sins to restore us back to the personal fellowship that was lost when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the Garden. The greatest love story ever told is recorded in the gospels and many of you have memorized the message found in Matthew 28:5-6 when the angels appeared to the women at the empty tomb. “The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said! Come, see the place where they placed His body.” It’s difficult to comprehend just how important these words are. Nonetheless, it’s also important within our commission to relay this truth to everyone about the glorious significance of what His sacrifice and resurrection accomplished, what it guarantees for the future of those who believe, and how we can obtain and have a blessed assurance of these glorious promises today.
The Lord has given most of us a good life filled with blessings, but I’m sure you have noticed that no matter how much “stuff” we accumulate, it does not bring spiritual contentment or joy. Material possessions, money, friends, and loved ones can make us happy to a certain extent, but nothing on earth can satisfy or take the place of our personal relationship with God. When we talk about hope, this usually means we are trying to believe that something is going to turn out the way we want, but there is a spiritual hope empowered by faith where we can definitely know our prayers will be answered without having to worry or be afraid. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” Romans 15:13. You see, those who trust and know God, have been born again into an eternal inheritance that can never change or fail.
Be encouraged today in knowing that when Christ accomplished His mission on the cross and rose from the dead, those who are partakers with Him are preserved by the greatest power and authority in heaven and earth. He is the creator of all things, and is the Alpha and Omega. We do not place our confidence in this earthly realm, but we can completely trust the one who knows everything, created everything, and controls everything. Humans try to build the perfect life but always end up disappointed as only Christ is truly perfect. He is holy and blameless, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and exalted to the highest place with a name that is above every name. It’s good news to know we have a crown of glory with our name on it as our home is reserved for us in heaven forever. Like Abraham, we are looking forward to that city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Let us rejoice and be eternally grateful to Christ for becoming the bridge of light, hope, and truth between this life and the life to come. Rejoice today that He is risen! Luke 18:33 declares, “And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” Praise Him forever!
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Being accountable for our spiritual sensitivity
I remember the day we brought Teddy our English Bulldog puppy into our home. The breeder told us he was eight weeks old but after receiving his papers, we noticed he was actually only six weeks old at the time. He was a healthy little bruiser and we would laugh at his stumbling and being uncoordinated, but now we realize it was because he was such a baby. My wife and I would sit on the porch in the evenings and watch him explore around in the front yard. He was so happy as he would jump and roll in the grass and investigate his new surroundings but when he would hear a loud commotion like a noisy car passing by, it would scare him and he would come running to us. After a while, he gradually became more used to the traffic sounds and the lawn mowers, and eventually it did not bother him.
We hear about those who live close to railroad tracks or airports and how they are sensitive to the sounds at first, but eventually get used to them. I collect old clocks and when people come in they ask how we can stand all of these chimes and gongs, but we do not even notice them. It’s one thing to get used to sights and sounds that do not hinder our spiritual lives, but it’s dangerous to let our guards down when it comes to accepting things that are contrary to God’s standard of sanctification. Our new-born spirit is sensitive to what we see and hear and what a challenge it is to protect our mind. As Christians, we have a responsibility to guard our hearts from the negativity and darkness of this world that is trying to pull us away from God’s presence. Unfortunately, many individuals including church members are convinced there is no harm from absorbing a constant barrage of negative television shows, movies, and social media. It’s a shame the era of innocence is now only a memory. A lifestyle of purity is now considered fanatical and old-fashioned and not respected any more.
I remember the old Dick Van Dyke Show where, even though Rob and Laura were married, there were two separate beds in the bedroom. Back then, even the idea of a married couple in the same bed was socially taboo, and that was only fifty years ago. The old westerns like Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger were not about killing, but were hardly anything more than jumping off a horse and punching someone in the nose. When I was a kid, we would watch programs like, Bonanza, Lawrence Welk, and the Wonderful World of Disney. We were not exposed to extreme violence, witchcraft, and the constant sex scenes as we are today. So, what happened to our cultures modesty? The days of blushing and embarrassment are gone as the shock factor has caused many minds and hearts to become calloused. This is exactly what the enemy wanted so the masses would lose their spiritual sensitivity to God’s voice. As the entertainment industry continues to push the limits of sorcery and debauchery, those who indulge are being tempted to dwell on dark thoughts that are ungodly instead of what is lovely and just. If we are not careful, even the children of God can become numb to corruption, deviance, and wickedness, very much like the frog who sits in the pan of water on the stove and hardly notices he is being boiled alive. If we absorb and accept small amounts of impurities here and there, before long we will not be offended or insulted about anything. Sadly, we might even begin to enjoy it.
It’s no secret that most people, do not want to hear about self-discipline, repentance, or messages that contain topics about how changing the way we think will change the way we live. In man’s carnal defense, his emotions consider this intrusion as meddling and no one’s business, including the one who created him. These uncomfortable and rebellious attitudes are God’s way of convicting us of our guilt. It’s His way of getting our attention that we are doing something wrong, but often our emotions love it too much to stop. We all face this daily battle because our fallen nature is opposed to virtuous living and always willing to fight for its independence. One of the greatest failures for anyone including Christians is to ignore the reverential fear of God and His demand to live holy.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
PUBLISHED – 3/28/22
Without a burden, we will not pray
The key to being a good soldier is listening carefully and being obedient. No one, especially God wants a servant that decides to be absent without leave or that is rebellious and always wants to do things their way. Every effective military has strict discipline for a purpose and this is for making sure the soldier is focused on what the leader is saying. One reason for going through boot camp is to learn certain skills while training the individual to build strength so they are in excellent physical condition. Going into battle is very strenuous and demands for each team member to be strong and confident. But even more important than building physical endurance, their minds must be educated, transformed, and renewed to follow orders and to be ready to respond without fear under the most terrifying and difficult situations. To have someone’s attention, the person must trust and respect the one who is in command and these components are crucial to being victorious. As we can see, the concept of awareness and perseverance cannot be over-emphasized in our relationship with our Lord and King.
In the summer of 2021, I began asking God to help me develop a deeper level of awareness of His presence along with more discipline, wisdom, and discernment. I wrote down a few positive statements to confess in my prayers and whenever it would cross my mind. I do not want to be lukewarm and continued to ask for a revelation of more fire and passion to consume me. Information is only a gathering of knowledge until it becomes quickened as divine truth and wisdom to our mind and conscience. Many people know a lot of facts, but until truth energizes and activates conviction within our hearts, it will not change our destiny. I have also asked Him to help me recognize errors so that I might know the correct interpretation of His Word. I desperately need a higher level of sensitivity to His voice so that I can comprehend what He is saying. These opportunities are critical components of the Christian experience and will be accomplished or ignored according to our level of desire.
Knowing God is based on communication, but evidently, many who call themselves a Christian are either not convinced this is true or they are not interested in participating. The overwhelming percentage of these people avoid prayer simply because this is something they do not want to do. They have convinced themselves that God does not care if they pray or not because they believe that whatever they do or choose not to do will not make any difference as far as their good standing with Him. As long as He has prepared a beautiful heaven for them after this life, all is good even if they do nothing. The truth is they are held accountable for not praying, along with other duties such as personal Bible research and worship, witnessing and praying for a burden for the lost, developing an awareness of God’s presence, and being ready to respond to divine appointments such as laying hands on the sick and confronting evil, being filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in reverential fear of who He is and demonstrating His nature and character, just to name a few.
So, what is the secret to having an exciting and effective prayer life? We must first decide if this is something we really want. If we desire to invest our time into knowing God He will provide everything needed to make it happen. I wonder how many believe yielding our will to Him is just too extreme and radical? For any of us to enter into a walk of faith and love, we must discern His voice as He tells us what He wants us to pray about. Dwelling in the secret place with Him is not based upon systematic theology or a proper scriptural exegesis. It’s simply a lifestyle of discipline where listening and obeying becomes more important than pleasing others or our own agenda. How often do you ask Him for a fervent passion to pray? Without love and a burden we will not care and this no doubt explains the enormous lack of interest. It’s not that we are begging to suffer, but when we choose to obey God, suffering will probably be included. Charles Spurgeon is quoted as, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Telling our worries and fears how big God is
I was reminded today of the verse in Psalm 30 and the last part of verse five that say’s, “Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.” The analogy is implying there will be sadness during hard times but perseverance will be rewarded when the conflict is over. David, who is referred to in Acts 13:22 as a “man after God’s own heart” kept his eyes on the Lord. When times were difficult, he cried out to Him in frustration; and when God was faithful, he lifted his voice in praise. The darkness has come to divide, conquer, steal, destroy, harm families, and tear down nations, but let us remember the devil must flee when you resist him in the name of Jesus Christ.
Many of you are worried about what is coming. Stand firm in your prayers, ask for discernment, and stay focused on God and His truth. The enemy has many disguises. Release the agape love within you as a strong defense against deception, as Christ in you is the hope of glory. Make sure your house is built on the rock. Now is not the time to become relaxed and distracted but rather to become more intense and passionate to draw near to God and to accomplish His mission. Keep a journal of your visions along with your prayers, as maintaining a reverential fear of the Lord gives us confidence that He will protect and provide for us.
Let us be encouraged today by proclaiming that God is the highest authority. Think about that for a moment. Try to fathom that everything we see He imagined and created. If we hold a marble in the palm of our hand and pretend it is the earth, and compare it with the size of the Sun, which is one of the billions of small stars, our sun could hold over one million marbles. If we lay a quarter on the ground and pretend it is the sun, and make a comparison in size to the other billions of larger-sized stars, we would need to measure a circle with a circumference of 20 feet. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like? With trillions of stars and millions of galaxies, our human mind cannot comprehend the majestic authority and unlimited power of the one who spoke everything into existence. Step outside tonight and look up into the sky, He has demonstrated and proven that His ability truly has no limit. Here is a thought even more overwhelming, He loves you and desires to save you and help you.
Allow me to say dear friends, if you believe your problems are too big or your enemy is too powerful for the Lord to take care of, then your concept of God is much too small. He is El-Shaddai, the God that is more than enough to take care of anything you would ever need. The only thing the devil ever created is fear and anxiety, but thank God we have a greater reality which is our spiritual understanding that He is the Alpha and Omega who desires to fill us with His hope and peace. May it be a personal revelation to stop telling God how big your problems are and to start telling your problems how big God is.
“Heavenly Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters and ask that you put your arms around them. Many of them are tired and weary from trying to stand against the darkness of this world. Please give them an extra measure of faith with their shield as they continue praying against principalities and the ruler’s of evil. Give them peace as they rest in your presence and wipe away their tears and encourage them with the joy of your truth. You provided redemption and desire to set us free. Give us wisdom and discernment to know how to prepare for what is coming. Bless them with good health and multiply their prosperity that they may be able to have the resources they need. As they surrender their will to you, fill them with your nature and character. Empower and anoint them with your Holy Spirit as they fulfill their destiny and accomplish your will. Give them an understanding of Agape love, as it is our highest calling. We ask these things for your honor and glory, in your holy name, amen.”
LIVING ON PURPOSE
IN GOD WE TRUST WITH EVERY SITUATION
Have you known someone who was even-tempered and composed even when circumstances seemed to be falling apart all around them? In times of a serious crisis, somehow these individuals have the type of personality to remain calm and collected, in fact, it’s not unusual to see them comforting the very ones who came to help them. So, what is the secret to living in a peaceful and tranquil state of mind? For those who trust in God, I believe we come to a point in our spiritual journey where we simply begin to realize that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and it only makes sense this would include believing what He has declared is true. It may sound rather elementary, but having a passion for knowing Him personally will go a long way toward learning to trust Him.
Life has its share of wonderful seasons where we enjoy the blessings and have delightful experiences and then there are times of disappointment and occasionally these are devastating. Have you noticed that when we are on the mountaintop, we tend to forget about God because we are so distracted with our pleasures. Then, after the celebration has passed, we find ourselves walking through a dark and discouraging valley, and immediately call out to Him because we want to go back to the good times. A certain amount of fluctuation is indeed a normal part of life but riding on an emotional roller coaster is not exactly the way God intended for His people to live. His perfect plan is for us to become mature in order to have a higher spiritual connection with Him whether we are walking through abundance or adversity.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I believe it would help with our anxiety and stress if we could just sincerely place our lives into His hands and rest in the confidence that He knows about our situation and is working behind the scenes for our best interest. As a counselor, I realize that when someone is desperate for an immediate solution, advising them to keep praying and be patient is not what they want to hear. Proverbs chapter 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Observing this carefully allows us to comprehend He is simply wanting us to stand on what He has promised. He desires that we trust Him not only in times of crisis but every moment.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 145:18 and 19, “The Lord is near unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them.” The bottom line is that God wants to intervene because He loves you. His answers might not always be what we imagined or when we wanted them, but He will always make the right decision in His perfect time. Many are struggling financially and are stressed to the point of a nervous breakdown. Others are facing serious health issues, family problems and are afraid of an uncertain future. Worry is the opposite of faith and can steal the joy of our salvation. I do not have specific answers for every issue and neither can I explain why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that whatever type of valley you are walking through today, God hears your prayers and will never forget or forsake you.
I’m reminded of the story in Mark chapter 4, where Jesus and His disciples were in a boat during a violent storm. Jesus was resting comfortably while the men were crying out in fear of sinking and drowning. They woke Him, and He calmly commanded the wind and waves to stop and they did. He is always in total control of every situation and if we are holding His hand, we can always rest in His perfect peace.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
GOD SEARCHES FOR THOSE WHO DRIFT AWAY
No matter where we come from or how we have been taught, we are responsible for what we think, what we say, and how we act. As optimism and pessimism are learned behaviors, we know that our conduct and worldviews can be changed and controlled if this is our desire. Our spiritual understanding about who God is and who we are in Him must become more than a hope or a chance of fate. Having a personal relationship with Him is based on knowing that we have been purchased with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross and receiving His grace that transforms us.
Everyone is allowed to decide whatever they want to believe but this does not mean that God approves. When it comes to God’s truth, there is our version and His perfection and the decisions we make reveal the type of person we are. We are responsible as to the level we choose to surrender our will to God. There is a legend that talks about an older member of a tribe that is teaching his grandson about the meanings of life. He said, “There is a fight going on inside of me. It is a terrible conflict between a wolf and a sheep. The wolf is evil and is filled with darkness, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, depression, lies, and pride. The sheep demonstrates goodness and fairness and his light shines bright with joy, peace, love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. My grandson, this same battle for control is going on inside of you and me and in every other person.” The grandson thought about this and after a few moments asked his grandfather, “who will win?” The wise man replied…“the one you feed.”
I was talking with a friend the other day about the Christian life and I asked him how he came to know the Lord. He said when he was a child, he went to a Sunday School class where they would listen to Bible stories and sing songs. Sometimes the teacher would ask if anyone would like to receive Jesus as their Savior and if someone raised their hand, they would be led in a prayer to ask Christ into their heart. These are truly great programs and have been used to help build foundations of faith in the lives of many. However, even though he went through this process, he was not saved that day. As a child he did not understand what Jesus dying on the cross really meant and was just going through the motions. Sadly, he grew up without living for God and it was not until over forty years later he had a genuine life-changing encounter with Jesus and his spiritual eyes were opened to what true salvation means. People can be led to an altar and repeat the sinners prayer, but it is only an emotional experience until God draws and convicts us by his power and transforms our spirit.
When a person is convinced they are spiritually secure, yet they have no desire for God, they have become spiritually lukewarm either or maybe they have never received Christ. If we are truly saved, the Spirit of God within us will relentlessly pursue us until we return to our first love. This subject is much too important than to just assume that everything will be alright. We are miserable without God’s peace and joy, and I encourage you to call upon him today. He loves you but will never make you love Him. Those who are born again and accept Christ as their Lord, may backslide for a season, but as the great shepherd, God promises that he will find those sheep who have wandered away and always bring them back into the fold. Without being pursued by his endless love and mercy, we would drift out to sea and never return. If you are running from God and trying to avoid him, the Holy Spirit is pleading with you this very moment to be born again or rededicate your life to the one who died to save you.“If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” Romans 10:9-10.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
A testimony about a miraculous healing
I want to share a praise report of God healing someone I know personally. We hear about sickness and disease and the endless cries of why, but rarely do we learn about miracles when God intervenes and touches a person with His creative and restoring authority. In the New Testament, there are true accounts of Jesus asking what He can do for those who were suffering, and when they told Him their request, He said, “I will.” As Christians, we pray because we believe God is listening and that He will answer our petitions according to His perfect plans. His written word is His general will, and He also has a specific will where He speaks directly to us. This is where we need to advance in our spiritual discernment and sensitivity. For example, God says that He will bless a couple when they are married, but there is not a chapter and verse saying Sally will marry Joe. With every decision in life, The Almighty is trying to get our attention as He desires to lead us into divine appointments we commonly call, “walking in His Spirit.” Can you imagine how much more meaningful our life would be if we could develop a constant awareness of His presence?
I help manage a food distribution ministry that receives groceries from large markets and we give it away to those who could use a blessing. We have a team of ten individuals that work in this community outreach three times each week. One of the members, Wanda Humes is a very sweet Christian lady that unfortunately was the victim of a rear-end collision two years ago. The cervical vertebrae in her neck were damaged and the muscles and tendons have been pulling her chin down to her chest since the accident. This has caused her head to point directly to the ground without being able to lift it. Any attempt to raise her head was excruciating and so she has been walking around with not being able to see people when she talks to them. People are constantly criticizing her for not looking at them when they are talking to her. I have felt compassion for her and occasionally I will gather the team around her to pray that God would heal her.
On Friday afternoon February 25, 2022, the trailer had just been unloaded and we were loading our vehicles to give the food away when suddenly I felt compelled to gather the two team members that were still there and to pray for Wanda again. I laid hands on her along with Louise Gauthier and Norman Cline and started asking Jesus to touch her neck. I said I believe that God can straighten bones, muscles, and tendons, and He is our provider and healer. I was pleading the blood of Jesus over her while these two witnesses were agreeing and together we sealed this request in the Name of Jesus. We left and went separate ways with the food. Fifteen minutes later I received a call. Louise and Wanda had pulled over on the side of the road shouting praise God into the phone, saying that Wanda’s neck suddenly straightened up for the first time in 2 years! She could raise her head and see the sky like it was before the accident! We came back together about an hour later and were rejoicing when we saw her neck had been completely healed by the love and mercy of Christ.
We do not always understand why God heals some and does not heal others or about His perfect timing, but as I explain in my last book about miracles, there are so many factors involved. It’s not easy to discern the plans of God without fervently seeking His face and even then He is not obligated to share His reasons in every situation. We know that God spoke the universe into existence with His voice, yet many fail to believe He can speak to their sickness and remove it. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Be encouraged, He can heal anyone of anything. There is nothing special about me, I’m just a person like you trying to live for Him as I continue learning how to love Him and those around me. I humbly relay this testimony to you and declare that in this particular case, it was God’s will to manifest His power on this day at this moment for His glory.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Those who have an ear let them hear
One of the greatest mysteries is the perplexing relationship between God and humans. I cannot think of a more glorious yet frustrating subject. Especially when it comes to people trying to find answers when all they have is questions. I’ve counseled and given psychological first aid to those who have gone through a traumatic crisis and I’ve listened to people in hospital waiting rooms repeat that age-old question, “Why is this happening?” They cry and beg, but many times they cannot hear a sound from Heaven, and usually neither can anyone else. I’m thankful for the holy scriptures that are wonderful promises, but nothing would be better than to sit down at the kitchen table with Jesus or at least one of His angels and have some coffee while we discuss all the things I would like to know. I’m sure that if we were given this glorious invitation that trusting God would be the foundation of the conversation.
The Bible reveals that God has all wisdom and authority and most Christians will agree that He wants to interact and intervene in our affairs, but this is where our ideas and hopes of communicating with Him take an unexpected turn. It’s common to hear the old saying, “my door is always open” from those who want to make themselves available to us, and it could not be any more true than with God Himself. His presence is always with us and He is always listening. The question would be if we are listening? The Bible says that he who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit has to say.” This would imply those who have a desire to hear. Have you noticed that straining your spiritual ears to hear God’s voice is very difficult? It seems that everything in the world will try to distract us which allows us to see a glimpse of spiritual warfare. For those who are seeking God’s direction, I encourage you to add fasting to help bring power and clarity to meditation and prayer.
It is common to hear people say, “the Lord told me this and that” and I believe this is wonderful. We know that God lives within those who are born-again and Him communicating with us is a central part of our personal relationship with Him. Allow me to include the closer we are to Him the better chance we will have to hear His still small voice. People have different perceptions of God, as some imagine a person sitting on a throne dressed in white who looks like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series. There are flashes of lightning all around Him and His voice sounds like layers of thunder. Others picture a younger man like the Jesus in the Chosen series who is walking on a dusty road and stops to talk to a group of children. He is kind and soft-spoken, and when you look into His eyes, you become drawn into the depths of His love. Whatever comes to mind when we talk to Him is fine, but the greatest miracle is that we have been given an opportunity to be as close to Him as we want.
Even though we are not able to see Him with our natural eyes, we are joined together with Him in our spirit and mind. How can we know hear His instructions if we are not listening? We enjoy engaging with others when we talk to them, but with God, we communicate through faith. Even though we can sense and appreciate His presence, it is still a challenge. I wonder if not being able to see Him is why many times we lose our focus and attention when we pray?
When we consider where we are today in our spiritual journey, we are grateful our Lord knew us from the beginning and had a detailed plan for our destiny. Do we realize how much God loves us? We can never praise Him enough for all that He has done for us. It is always a blessing to remember that we did not find God but He found us. Christ went to the cross because He knew we were lost, and we worship Him for becoming our Savior and giving us eternal security. In His person, we have found our purpose, and in falling in love with Him we have found the true meaning of life.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Are you satisfied with the amount of God you have?
Anyone that has ever risen from the couch and declared their intentions to work for the kingdom of God has felt the resistance of our negative human nature. Whenever God’s children feel a passion to demonstrate their convictions, it would be a good idea to be prepared for resistance and even persecution. It’s not only our intimidation about what others might think about us, but it’s also the challenge of imposing discipline over our own will. It’s true, we will face adversity, and it’s disheartening to realize that most people are not interested in our vision, which is why we must stay focused and remember our accountability is to God. An important aspect of spiritual warfare is between what He wants and how determined we are to do it.
It’s less painful to live according to our perceptions than to accomplish what the Lord has planned for us. Our human nature is clever and feels perfectly satisfied living in the apathy of denial. With the natural ability to have selective hearing and seeing, a person can go through their entire life living however they want instead of allowing God to open their spiritual eyes. There is an old saying, “As we discover what God wants us to be, we are then faced with deciding just how much we will do.” When we are convicted to take the bull by the horns so to speak, we are setting ourselves up to be tested within the deepest recesses of our being. Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated because feeling good about ourselves is a huge part of our psychological and emotional stability. However, when we place too much emphasis on our emotional feelings and not enough on being obedient to God, we are already deceived and defeated by compromise.
We are emotional beings but we cannot afford to be controlled by them and one of the most difficult challenges is to develop our spiritual discernment to the point where we know the difference between God’s voice from everyone else’s including our own. Have you noticed when you sense the Holy Spirit beckoning you to say or do something for God, immediately other influences and persuasions trying to talk us out of it? There are powerful forces at work attacking our thinking to manipulate, distort and control our attitudes, emotions, and our relationship with Jesus. Fear is trying to hinder our faith, but we need to realize that we have the choice to allow it to dominate us or we can resist it. Our trust in God includes allowing Him to rule and reign within our mind which is a key component to Him being our Lord. He desires to possess us, but without us willingly surrendering our will to Him, we will not reach our intended spiritual destiny. This is why we should study God’s Word every day and constantly ask the Lord to give us more sensitivity, wisdom, and courage to execute self-discipline. Our destiny was given for us to fulfill, but if we are not interested, He is not going to do it for us.
Most people want just enough of God to save them but not to the point where it would require them to be uncomfortable or live according to a strict standard. It’s much easier to wade in the baby pool that’s only up to our ankles instead of jumping in over our head with total dedication and commitment to His commands. Until we step out of our default existence and into His divine reality, we will never comprehend the deliberate pursuit of living on purpose. We are first in line for His help and blessings but hardly excited about words like sacrifice, perseverance, and accountability. So, just how much of God are you seeking and how important is it to obey Him? I’m reminded how the discipline of participating in sports is similar to the dedication and determination needed to be an overcoming Christian. Champions work hard and have an intense vision of who and what they want to achieve which is another reason why most people are spectators instead of participators. A truth seeker is listening, learning, and focused on God’s voice and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the vision they have been given. Are you satisfied with the amount of God that you have? You see, the only obstacle preventing us from being saturated with God’s presence is our resistance to surrender our lives completely to Him.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
When praying for rain, don’t forget your raincoat
We’ve heard the old saying that life is not a bed of roses for as long as we can remember. I understand what it’s trying to convey, but I’ve also thought it would not be all that great to lie down on a bed of sharp thorns. Nevertheless, the point is that life will have its ups and downs and most of us will experience our share of hard times. Whether it’s a financial worry, a medical situation, relationship problems, or being concerned for the condition of the world; life is a daily challenge. However, amid all that is going on, we have the opportunity to know God who is an endless source of love, authority, and hope. We can choose to embrace the encouraging truth that He cares about our problems and to believe that He has the answers and the power to give us the victory no matter how dark the night or how tall our mountain. “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” II Corinthians 9:8.
Yes, there are seasons and potholes in the road, but these trials can help us learn about faith and patience, however, God never intended for a crisis to keep us incarcerated in the bondage of spiritual defeat. Despite being surrounded by negative forces, we can receive divine grace through Christ to abide in His presence where there is an abundance of joy, security, and peace. In John 10:10-11 Christ declares, “The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but I (Jesus) have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” Whatever the situation, God has promised that He wants to save and protect you and bring you through your trials stronger and more confident than ever.
The thoughts of God supplying our needs are wonderful and true spiritual realities but there is also a very important component in receiving His abundant blessings and that is our responsibility to believe. If we do not have faith, it’s not only impossible to please Him but highly unlikely that His miracles can be activated into our life. In Jeremiah chapter 29, we see in verse 11 that we are always on His mind and He has planned very good things for us to enjoy. But continuing in the context, the next two verses mention for us to take the initiative to call upon Him, pray, and seek His presence with all of our heart which of course includes the element of trust and assurance. Knowledge that He can help us must be transformed into a personal revelation that He will.
I recall a story about a small farming community that had been experiencing a terrible drought. The crops were dying in the fields and everyone was worried and anxious because this is how they made their living. The pastor of the local church called a special prayer service for all the people of the town to gather in front of the church and spend some time agreeing in faith that God would send some rain. Many people arrived and you could sense the seriousness among the crowd. As the pastor was getting ready to begin the meeting, he saw a young girl standing quietly in the front. His eyes were drawn to her bight yellow raincoat and her face was beaming with excitement. She was holding a large umbrella and as he wished he had brought one himself, seeing how she believed suddenly gave him a surge of hope and confidence. The little girl’s childlike innocence warmed his heart as he realized how much faith she possessed. Though the town had come together to pray for rain, there was not an anticipation of getting wet, and he wondered if they really believed a miracle was going to happen.
A life without a positive and hopeful expectation of God’s goodness, reveals the miserable pessimist who abides in the shadows of fear, negativity, and sadness. The kingdom of darkness along with our default human nature is constantly telling us it’s impossible, it’s risky, it’s hopeless, but faith believes that nothing is too difficult for God and all things are possible with Him. Every person is sent an invitation to place their trust in God, but sadly many choose to embrace doubt instead.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Determined to be on the same page with God
Last year was challenging for many, and as we move ahead in 2022, may we dedicate our minds and hearts to continue drawing as near to God as we can. Psalm 24:7 promises, “The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and He delivers them.” This is referring to the reverential fear that many Christians have become too busy to think about. Let us not become distracted or discouraged as the enemy is trying to weaken and scatter God’s people. Pray for spiritual sensitivity so that you will not allow the intensity of the Holy Spirit’s fire within you to dwindle to a lukewarm ember. Where are the living sacrifices, and where is the boldness and desperation to walk with God? Guard your heart and never lose your fervency to obey God or the constant longing for His presence. Jesus is waiting for His warriors to awaken and prepare for His return, but many do not see the urgency.
You see, the Lord has a general will which is His written word, and a unique and specific will that includes unwritten detailed instructions for all of us. God’s promises are the last will and testament of Jesus Christ which means that Biblical truth is eternally enforced and activated. This means we are called to confess these instructions and receive these blessings by faith. He is the testator and we are His heirs according to His covenant as His word is true and never fails! He rose from the dead which confirms every statement He spoke is alive and active and our obedience to the Holy Spirit who works through us, empowers us to walk in God’s authority for His glory. My brand new book, “Receiving our Healing – Going to war on our knees” has just been released, and it’s about understanding this covenant relationship with God and how together with His truth and our faith, we can receive healing and live victoriously in this life.
His specific will is based on His sovereign desires and plans, but this does not mean we cannot know what they are. Since Christ and the Holy Spirit dwell within God’s people, it’s possible to become so close to Him that we can hear His voice and know His will. Those who seek will find and the ones who knock the doors shall be opened to them. Having the mind of Christ is rarely taught and much of this is because the religious masses are not interested in sacrificing or surrendering the control of the flesh. Only those who are passionate to yield their will can enter into the higher levels of understanding. We want Jesus as our Savior, but accepting Him as our Lord means that He manages our thoughts, words, and actions. This is the narrow way that God intended for His people, and according to this required dedication, the authority of the Almighty will be manifested in a remnant of devoted believers. Romans 11:5 says, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” If you needed to speak with a remnant overcomer about God and your soul who would you trust?
I am grateful to the Lord Jesus for His mercy and grace. By faith I anticipate Him pouring out His Spirit upon us and giving discernment and the awareness of His authority to those who desire His glorious presence. As we move closer to the end of the age, we know He is not returning for a church that is weak, confused and distracted. He is coming for a glorious bride whose garments are without spot and wrinkle and have overcome the carnality of their flesh and temptations from the evil one. Seek the Lord while He may be found and fast and pray until you are filled with the holy fire of His Spirit. Pray and seek Him for a burden for the lost as this is the result of spiritual love. We will never care about souls until we love people enough to pray for them. Having an obsession to walk with God does
not fall out of the air, but rather the mind and heart must be trained and renewed to desire what He desires. Overcomers are recognized as the Body of Christ against which the gates of hell will never prevail against. Peace and hope to you, and may the Lord continue to give you His wisdom and understanding.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Resisting the temptation to be discouraged
Recently, I had an opportunity to chat with a wonderful lady as she shared with me about her health issues and other concerns. Suddenly she stopped and wanted to know if she could ask me a serious question. I said of course, and she proceeded to relay that she felt silly asking me about salvation, especially with her being a church member since she was a child. She wanted to know how she can know that she is going to heaven? I do not believe this is anything to be embarrassed about, in fact, it’s rather common as I examine my own heart and soul often. I could sense the heaviness of doubt was stealing her spiritual joy, and this stress can escalate into fear and anxiety. I spent some time reminding her about the spiritual fundamentals of faith and salvation. I suggested that she be honest with God and tell Him how she feels. After I left, I continued to think about how easy it is for any of us to drift away from the peaceful harbor of hope and spiritual confidence and how important it is to keep a positive perspective and remain focused on God’s perfect truth that can never fail.
The opposite of peace is being anxious and we often experience fear and worry when we are uncertain about what is going to happen. This negative energy has the intention to consume us and control our mind and will continue to haunt us until we choose to battle against it. Spiritual warfare is a reality, and it’s the believer’s responsibility to call on the Lord for help as we defend against being overwhelmed by the darkness of panic, pity, and depression. Living in God’s peace is not something that happens automatically and like optimism is a learned behavior. People or circumstances cannot dictate our thoughts unless we allow it. Everyone is held accountable for their choices with how they respond and react to every situation. We realize the need to trust God and that He calls us to stand strong in times of adversity, but this state of mind will require persistent prayer and self-discipline.
Faith believes that nothing surprises God which includes Him understanding the trials and pain we are suffering. Being convinced that Christ will intervene and provide for us along with accepting that His authority and power is greater than any problem that might threaten us will bring comfort and assurance. Constantly reminding ourselves that God is listening, and that He is aware of everything that is going on in our lives is the path to trusting and resting in His perfect peace and security. Psalm 29:11 declares, “The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” There is no greater confidence or joy than to be filled with God’s presence. Spiritual peace is far beyond our physical emotions as His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His love and compassion is stronger than what is tormenting us and chases away our worries and distress as He floods our hearts with courage and fortitude.
Be encouraged today, Jesus is victorious and His promises are guaranteed to quiet our soul and replace our restlessness with safety, confidence, and calm. Proverbs 3:24 reminds us, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” One of the many names for Jesus is the Prince of Peace and soon He will return and establish His kingdom of purity and joy for all eternity. We celebrate this truth and look forward to experiencing the freedom from conflict and chaos, but we do not need to wait until then to embrace this lifestyle of trust and hope. If we choose to abide in God’s presence no matter how intense the storms are raging, we are safe under the shadow of His protection. The world is growing darker but the increase in confusion cannot diminish God’s truth on which we stand. It’s only when we drift away from His promises and lean on our own ideas that we become troubled and perplexed. Give him your confusion and worries in exchange for His divine tranquility. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
God wants our heart not just our problems
God is faithful and is always with you, protecting and watching over you whether you believe He is there or not. Just because you cannot sense Him intervening, it does not mean He is distracted working on the other side of the world. There is an old saying, “God’s care for His children is like the Sun: It’s constant. Even though the clouds often obscure it, this does not mean it’s not there.” And Isaiah 59:1 reminds us, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” Even if you have made some serious mistakes, it does not mean He does not still love you or has forsaken you. Maybe He is just patiently waiting for you to give Him your life instead of just your problems.
You may be beating yourself up and thinking this is one of the worst times of your life but be encouraged, there is wonderful news! Have you ever considered Romans 8:28 as a promise directly to you and your problems? Listen to this again, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” This is a very popular passage in the Bible and for good reason. Many times we do not receive the enjoyment and nourishment from God’s banquet table because we are so focused on our situation. If we would spend the same amount of energy on prayer that we do on worry, I believe we would see more victory and less discouragement. Since God is working behind the scenes to make things work out for us, we may not be demonstrating enough patience with Him. Maybe He is trying to show you something very special that you would not have been able to see any other way.
It has been said the majority of great things which have been done on the earth, have been accomplished by those going through difficult times. Mature Christians are to be like steel when it is “tempered” with heat to make them pure and strong in experience and wisdom, yet covered with velvet as they manifest God’s character with compassion, humility, and sensitivity. Instead of spending all of our time trying to figure out why things happen, we can seek to know Him more intimately. How will this help? Because He is the only one who has all the answers and knowing and loving Him is how we learn more about everything. Learning and accepting this truth about the endless commitment of God’s love toward us is a revelation of His unfailing covenant to be with us now and forever.
Knowing that Jesus suffered on the cross because He loved us, allows us to see the lies of our adversary when he tells us that no one cares or that we are hopelessly lost. With the increased spiritual sensitivity which Jesus is waiting to give us, we can start making good decisions and get back on the right path of God’s will. A. W. Tozer is quoted as saying, “Man’s mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably.” Included in this quest to be transformed into God’s image is the fact that Christ will help us become victorious in whatever area we need to overcome.
New Year resolutions commonly include trying to resist food cravings as we admit how our minds lead and control our bodies. Charles Lindbergh is quoted as saying, “Success is not measured by what a person accomplishes, but the courage with which they have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” Another example is having a problem with cursing, which by the way is a terrible witness. We can ask God to put an alarm on our minds and tongues to stop us before it is too late. It’s much better to be aware of our sins before we commit them than to ask forgiveness after the fact. What many fail to realize is that once our testimony is compromised we may never have an opportunity to share Christ with that person again because the enemy will always remind them about that time when we lost control. If we are determined to allow God to renew our minds, this will bring a positive change to the
LIVING ON PURPOSE
Those who desperately seek God will find Him
I realize that my thoughts are not all that important, but what God has to say contains the power to change what man cannot change. May we choose faith over fear and allow our hope to be larger than our doubt! Did you notice that I said we have the choice to decide which side we are going to believe. Yes, but brother Billy how can I choose life? Well, Deuteronomy chapter thirty is an amazing place to start when trying to comprehend God’s plans for our lives. Verse 19, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
These instructions and promises were being directed to the nation of Israel, but we can also incorporate spiritual principles like this into our lives today. God is saying to everyone that obedience unto Him will empower and renew our minds while imparting a clearer understanding of His perfect will. Our responsibility is to hear His word and then speak it forth in faith as we press forward in our quest to surrender our will so that we can accomplish His will. Men and women have always had choices to obey God or be rebellious and He is declaring that our decisions have much to do with whether we are blessed or cursed. We also notice that following His commands is associated with long life while on the other hand refusing to have a reverential fear of His holiness will bring judgment. Having a carnal nature always leads us to deeper levels of corruption and wickedness.
Do not confuse your current path with your destination. Just because it’s cloudy and storming today does not mean the sun will not shine tomorrow. We can have joy and peace on the inside no matter what is happening around us. An African proverb says; “however long the night, the dawn will break” which reminds us of the passage found in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.” The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it because it is eternal. May we always remember that if we are walking with God, Satan can never defeat us. The devil is allowed to tempt and influence us so that we might be discouraged and make wrong choices, but the Bible promises in James 4:7 that if we have the perseverance to resist him, he will flee. Satan came to Jesus in Matthew chapter 4 and Christ stood strong against him. We read in verses 10 and 11, “Then Jesus said to him, away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”
As many of you know, my wife is a two-time cancer survivor. She has walked through many dark valleys, but today we rejoice as she has been cancer-free for 10 years. She agrees with the old saying that it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up! When we are facing a crisis, we have three choices: We can let it define us, we can let it destroy us, or we can let it strengthen us. Cancer or any disease cannot stop love, shatter hope, dissolve faith, destroy peace, silence courage, steal eternal life, or conquer our spirit. I Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Faith does not go to bed and pull the covers over our head. The Bible talks a lot about spiritual warfare which is a reality for every Christian soldier. My new book is called, “Receiving our Healing – Going to war on our knees” and reveals that God wants to give us miracles, while also explaining what He requires from us. Mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing is included in the blood atonement of Christ and within this covenant, we can receive His promises. Nonetheless, to walk in the power and authority of His Spirit, we must know who He is in us, and who we are in Him. Jesus is our deliverer, our healer, our Redeemer and Savior, the King of kings, and the Lord above all lords.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
A Perfect Time To Begin Brand New
The New Year is here and I’m excited to see what 2022 has for us! My hope is this coming year will be a season of abundance not just with material prosperity and success, but of love, health, and spiritual awareness. As we plant seeds of faith, may we have the patience and expectation to witness the harvest of God’s blessings. One of my personal resolutions is to be more generous and joyful even when things are not going well. I’m reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa who said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”
January means “beginning” and as we plan our resolutions this is the perfect occasion to consider developing physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle changes. You notice I used the word developing because our goals are often a lengthy process. For example, eating a salad today is not going to automatically make us healthy, but it’s a positive first step that will pay off if we can embrace that little secret weapon called perseverance. Today let us believe that anything is possible and just like everything else in life, being diligent and determined are important aspects of personal transformation.
There have been many adaptations from the original Al-anon credo that encourages everyone to be realistic about trying to change everything all at once as it’s important to realize that changing who we are is a lifestyle and not just a whim. No one else can do this for us. We must see our need to change and be willing to do whatever it takes to be victorious. There is nothing wrong with having long-term goals and we should release our faith into accomplishing our destiny, but it’s also important to focus on our mission one day at a time. It would be better to take it slow with permanent results than to go through the motions and become overwhelmed with frustration and eventually give up.
Our world has changed and facing our fears and uncertainties is now a normal way of living. I’m very sorry for what many of you have gone through these past two years as God brings comfort times of sorrow. I encourage us to be brave in this New Year as we consider the old saying, “a ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is built for.” May we live in the moment and begin each day with gratitude. Let’s laugh more and take the time to consider those around us and how much they mean to us. We have the choice to see the glass half-full and to use our voice to bring hope and love at a time when the world needs it the most. John Bunyan is quoted as saying, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Let us not forget that while we are advancing in our own journey, that we have a responsibility to demonstrate and teach wisdom and truth to the younger ones. Children may outgrow their shoes, but they will never outgrow the positive and encouraging messages we leave with them. Most of the time we are so busy that we rarely consider how easy it is to ignore what is truly important. Realizing that optimism is a learned behavior allows us to know that personal awareness and transformation is hard work. It’s not about how smart we are or how much we can achieve but our motive should be to allow God to empower us and work through us to accomplish His plans.
Finally, let’s make a sincere decision to exonerate those who have wronged us and allow forgiveness to cleanse our conscience. When we hold grudges it’s like an infection within our soul, but when we choose to forgive, we will experience a refreshing that will flood our soul with joy and peace. If we have wronged someone, may we have the courage to step forward in honesty and tell them we are sorry. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32. Edith Lovejoy Pierce is quoted as saying, “We will open the book. The pages are blank. We are going to write the words ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” I wish you all a very blessed New Year!