“Previews…Alternate Endings”

When you go to the movies, before the feature presentation, there are usually several Previews of other movies. It’s not a bad idea; it’s a pretty good marketing strategy, because it gives you a sneak peek at what’s new, and it sort of baits you to plan to see those movies as well. But, how many times have you seen a great Preview for a movie only to leave disappointed when you see the movie in its entirety; you know those movies that don’t measure up to the hype from the Previews?

In life, if we aren’t careful, we can make decisions based off just the Previews, but end up totally disappointed when we see how the story really unfolds. The enemy is the deceiver of the brethren and he would love to distract you and get you off course. See, he has seen your future and he knows that in God you win; so he wants to cause you to forfeit, by any means necessary, all the many blessings God has in store for you.

So, what he does is he will try to appeal to the lusts of the flesh, those things you desire. He will paint a great picture and give you a good Preview of what you could have.

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world (1John 2:16 NLT).

He doesn’t have any new tricks, he’s been running this same scam since the days of Genesis when Adam and Eve lost dominion because of believing the lies in the enemy’s Previews (Genesis 3:1-7).

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed (James 1:14).

Many marriages fail because many have fallen prey to the deceitful Previews.  They chose to only see the good and ignore the bad; now that the entire movie is being shown, they don’t like what they see in that spouse; whether it be infidelity, lying, substance abuse, or etc. More people than ever before are suffering from HIV/AIDS because the Previews only showed the cute guy or the cute girl, and he/she looks clean, and besides, they didn’t intend to sin, they were just going to hang out; but they slipped and had unprotected sex. More people are suffering from mental illness than ever before because they were misled by the Previews and now they see that doing it the world’s way isn’t as fulfilling as the Previews promised. Pride had them trying to do everything in “self” and nothing is working. They don’t know where to turn or what to do, they feel like they are losing their minds.

The enemy doesn’t show you in his Previews that the sin that looks so fun and glamorous actually leads to death; even if not a physical death, it will lead to a spiritual death. If he can’t get you off course by trying to appeal to the flesh, Satan will try to discourage you by showing you footage of your past failures and poor decisions, all the things that, according to man, should disqualify you from being loved and used by God. His intent is to convince you that you blew it and it’s over for you. He will allow it to flash across the big screen (of your mind) to try and convince you that this is how your story ends, like you are the villain, You lose.

The good thing about movies is once the movie comes to DVD, there are the Alternate Endings. This gives you the option to choose between several different endings to the movie. That’s what Jesus did for all of us. He gave us an Alternate Ending. Without Him, we were doomed, facing a life of sin, death and destruction. But, He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. In Jesus, we get to choose our Alternate Ending.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, That Settles It. Don’t be deceived by the enemy. Don’t make a lifelong decision based only on the Previews; Seek God for the rest of the story, to see how your story is re-written in Him. See, in God’s story, You Always Win! It is He who gives you the Alternate Ending. The Happy Ending. He is your Redeemer!

 

 

“Buried Alive”

Have you ever felt like you were being Buried Alive? Your heart feels like it’s going to jump out of your chest at any moment. Your pulse is racing. Your chest is tight and constricting, you feel like you can’t breathe, like you’re suffocating, and if someone doesn’t rescue you soon, you are going to die.

There are many stories of old about people who were Buried Alive (most not living to tell the story). Most of these accounts were due to premature deaths; and because they didn’t have the great technology then like we have now, doctors and medical professionals mistakenly pronounced people dead who weren’t really dead. Sadly, as a result, many of these people were Buried Alive.

Many people have the fear of being Buried Alive, known as Taphephobia.  Franz Vester, of Newark, N.J., in 1868 invented a “Life Signal” which would allow a cord to be placed in the hands of the assumed deceased, so that in the event the person regained consciousness, he/she could pull the cord which would in turn ring a bell that was placed above the grave signaling for help. This is said to be where we get the phrase “Saved by the Bell.”

Now, it is not my intent to frighten you, but the reality is that oftentimes when you make a bold declaration that you are going to go forth in the work of the Lord no matter what, you become a candidate for being Buried Alive.

What it Feels Like to be Buried Alive:

~Initially you feel smaller amounts of dirt being thrown on you, but you try not to focus on that.

~As time progresses, the weight of it gets heavier.

~It gets dark, the light is fading.

~You get anxious, you can’t see anything.

~Your breathing becomes labored.

~You feel like the life is literally being sucked out of you.

~You try to scream for help, but your mouth and nose become filled with dirt.

~You can’t continue to struggle because you will lose what little oxygen you have left.

~There’s no one around to help you.

~Now you think to yourself “Death can’t come soon enough.”

You are right where you are supposed to be. You don’t have to fear being Buried Alive because in the Kingdom, there can be no life without death.

The truth is that you ARE dying…to sin. Everything that you are experiencing is a result of your flesh (the corruptible) dying; and though it doesn’t feel good, it is necessary.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6).

So, you see if you continue in sin, you are dead anyway. Most often premature (spiritual) death for a Believer happens when you move prematurely in your ministry and you don’t mortify the deeds of the flesh. You cannot continue to allow sin to have dominion over you. You cannot serve God wholeheartedly and continue in sin at the same time. Don’t struggle with it any longer because sin ultimately leads to death.

Now, even though you may mess up along the way, you still have some life left in you. Beware of carnal people, because they are not equipped to save you, they will condemn you to death prematurely. According to man, “You messed up, it’s over for you.”

But, let me remind you that you may have been Buried Alive, but you were buried with a cord in your hand. Ring the bell! You can be saved by the bell! That Bell is Jesus! Call on Him and He will answer and He will save you! He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So, That Settles It, There is no way that you can go forth effectively in the work of the Lord without first dying to sin. So, even though you feel like you have been Buried Alive, endure the process and you shall yield much fruit, and you shall have everlasting life!

 

 

 

“Reconstructive Surgery”

The purpose of Reconstructive Surgery is to restore function and form to damaged parts of the face and body. The surgery can address problems stemming from any number of causes, including trauma, cancer, burns, congenital defects, malformations, infections, facial fractures, muscle and nerve damage.

Trauma – Have you experienced some trauma in your life; you know those things that happened to you that hurt you so badly that you didn’t think you were going to make it, when you actually thought, and sometimes hoped, you would die?

Burns – How many times have you been burned by people you trusted?

Cancer – Are you harboring any unforgiveness and bitterness? Be careful, because if not dealt with, these can eat away at you like a cancer.

Infections – Have you allowed poisonous people to infect you with their venomous words and opinions of you?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, then you have some damage, and you are definitely a candidate for Reconstructive Surgery.

Reconstructive Surgery usually isn’t fun and can be painful. Even though the ends justify the means, sometimes if you aren’t careful, frustration can arise and cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s hard because you want God to fix those people who damaged you, but He is going to fix (heal) you; because you may be the one who will reach back and aid in their restoration.

Oftentimes as a Believer, once you make the decision to live for God, this is when the Reconstructive Surgery begins. Now, you may have thought everything was going to be peachy and easy. You probably focused on the beautiful ending, but on the contrary, initially it will look and feel like you made the wrong decision.

You will feel like everything is falling apart; and it is. This is a part of the process. God is chipping away all the things that will hinder you from going forward in the work of the Lord (bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, lust, idolatry, and etc.)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.  After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,     and don’t give up when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?  If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way (Hebrews 12:1-11 NLT).

Restore function and form to damaged parts of the face and body – You are a part of the Body of Christ and even though you may have been damaged, God’s Reconstructive Surgery will restore you so that you can fully function as He has purposed you to do so in the earth (Romans 12:5-21).

The Reconstructive Surgery usually causes you to heal from the inside out. This means your healing and deliverance will begin to take place on the inside before anyone else can see it. Just like after surgery, the reconstructed area is usually bandaged (covered), but healing is taking place all along; the outside looks bad, but the inside is healing. You will feel like you are dying, and you are…to self and the works of the flesh. But, the outward manifestation will be worth it all.

So, That Settles It, The Surgeon is in (Holy Spirit). Embrace your Reconstructive Surgery and brace yourself for total healing and deliverance; prepare to be set free, to be made new. There will be Glory after this!

 

“Stay Focused”

As is tradition, at the beginning of each New Year, many people make New Year’s Resolutions; goals they intend to accomplish during the year. Sadly, another tradition is throughout the year, many people become distracted or discouraged and those resolutions fall by the wayside. The same is true for Believers when we make a decision to walk in our God-given Purpose in the earth. When trials come, if we are not careful, we could abort the assignment that God has given us. The key is to Stay Focused! I am going to share some principles that will help you Stay Focused on your Purpose and fulfill your Destiny.

Recognize and accept the fact that you are the solution.

More often than not, as Believers, our Purpose is usually birthed out of something that we see as a problem for which WE are the solution. Example: you hate to see people hurting and downtrodden, and you are quick to pray for others without hesitation, and usually without having to be asked. You may be called to Intercession.

I am reminded of the story of Nehemiah when he heard of the wall of Jerusalem being destroyed, he knew he was the solution (Nehemiah 1:1-3).

Pray and ask God for His Help, await His Divine Timing, and Keep your mouth shut until then (Nehemiah 1:4-11).

Many people fail because they don’t seek God for direction and guidance. Yes, it is God who gives you the Vision, so why wouldn’t you seek Him first?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way (Psalm 37:23).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When you allow God to lead you, you don’t mind waiting on His Divine timing. Just because He gave you the word today, doesn’t mean that you should jump right in today (Nehemiah 2:1-4).

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).

Nehemiah waited for the right time to make his requests known to the king.

You must also be careful who you share the Vision with. Some people have been assigned to try to discourage you before you even get started. Others may not have the faith to see the vision as clearly as you do. Don’t share until God releases you to do so. Nehemiah did not initially tell anyone what he was doing, not until the timing was right (Nehemiah 2:11-16).

God will give you provision for the vision.

Don’t be afraid to ask for ALL that you need. When Nehemiah asked, he asked for EVERYTHING he needed from the king (Nehemiah 2:4-8).

God will send you people who have a mind to work and who will help you bring forth your vision, Divine Connections (Nehemiah 2:17-18, Nehemiah 3, Nehemiah 4:6).

Be prepared for opposition!!! Don’t get distracted, Stay Focused!!!

The enemy will try to mock your efforts, but Stay Focused. Your enemies may even increase that rise up against you; this is a sure way to know that you are on the right track. Stay Focused (Nehemiah 2:19-20, Nehemiah 4:1-5)!

Even though Nehemiah’s enemies were conspiring and increasing against him, he did not allow them to distract him. If you are walking in your God-given Purpose, you are a threat to the kingdom of darkness; and since the enemy knows he doesn’t have the power to defeat you, he will try to do everything, within his limited power, to distract you and get you off course. Don’t fall for the tricks of the enemy. Stay Focused (Nehemiah 6:1-9)!

Nehemiah prayed and Stayed Focused! Pour all of your energy and efforts into your assignment; you don’t have time to focus on the negative. Remember, you don’t have to fight your battles, the Lord will take care of every one of your enemies. Stay Focused!

No weapon that is 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 (Isaiah 54:17).

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19).

Beware of false prophets and doctrines of devils…

This is how you will know that you’re close, you have to make sure you even discern those who say they come in the name of the Lord. Yes, the enemy will use people in the church too; those who have yielded themselves to the works of the flesh. They will try to deceive you and incite fear inside of you with one last futile attempt to cause you to abort the mission, but don’t fear. Stay Focused (Nehemiah 6:10-14)!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, That Settles It. Your time is now! Make the decision to prayerfully go forth and walk in your Purpose. You don’t have to fear, God is on your side. Don’t lose sight of the Vision and your Purpose. Stay Focused!