“Keep Clean Hands”

Failure to practice good hand washing hygiene is one of the main ways that sickness and germs are spread.  Sadly, when we are not careful, the same is true in the spiritual world.

Many believers who are struggling with sin continue to touch unclean things, and refuse to Keep Clean Hands, and wonder why they aren’t delivered and set free; why they haven’t received complete healing.

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation (Psalm 24:3-5).

The CDC’s slogan is “Clean Hands Save Lives.”  The same is true in the spiritual realm.  When we as Believers endeavor to Keep Clean Hands, we are saved from the perils of sin and disobedience. You can become infected by the cold virus, without seeing any symptoms until days later. The same is true with sin. You may choose to dabble in sin today, and because nothing happens immediately, you think you got away; Not So!

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7-8).

Ever notice when you go to the doctor’s office or the hospital, especially during cold/flu season, there is usually a “Sick” waiting area, separating sick patients from those who are well, in hopes of the virus not spreading further; and those who present with symptoms of cold/flu are asked to wear a mask? Sometimes, ensuring that you Keep Clean Hands will require you to separate from some people. While the prayer is that they too stop touching unclean things; but if they don’t, you have to protect yourself, so that you don’t become infected again.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:17).

It is so important to stay away from those unclean things that once contaminated you. Once God cleanses you, it is up to you to stay clean. God knows that you aren’t perfect, so if you stumble and fall, repent and God will cleanse you and place you back in right standing with Him. Don’t continue in sin! Don’t stay down!  Simply pray:

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:1-7).

So, That Settles It, draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. Wash your hands, purify your hearts; and no longer let your loyalty be divided between God and the world. Endeavor to Keep Clean Hands (James 4:8).

“The Best vs. Rest”

You’ve seen those people who are not happy unless they are the center of attention, the “Best” in everything? Even when things really aren’t about them, they try to find a way to make it about them. They don’t hesitate to boast in their own ability; and find it pleasing to be envied by others. They are so competitive that they will step on anyone and everyone to get what they want. These people will lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, and compromise their integrity to accomplish their goals. They believe that everything they have ever achieved is solely because of something they did.  But, here’s the problem with that: Since they believe they did everything themselves, and because they have alienated almost everyone around them, the moment things go wrong, they nearly lose their minds, they are anxious, they lose sleep, etc. They don’t know how to handle anything that is beyond their control; because they always have to be in control. What if I told you there is a more excellent way, which promises to yield even better results than always being the “Best;” and it begins with Rest?

5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass (Psalm 37:5-7).

When you learn to commit your ways to God, place your trust in Him, and allow Him to direct your ways, you will enter His Rest; and you will be able to accomplish great exploits, with His leading. You will never even have to consider compromising to accomplish anything you set your heart to, or put your hands to, when you learn to Rest in God.

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

See, the problem with trying to do it in your own strength, and with limited knowledge from your finite mind is this: Whatever you do to get something, you have to do the same to maintain it. For example, if you lie and manipulate to gain a position, you will have to continue to lie and manipulate to maintain that position. This can become very taxing. However, if all you did was commit your way to God and obey His instructions to obtain something; that’s all you have to do to maintain it. The “Best” people, apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, will not be able to accept this way; because it requires them to relinquish their control and to admit that they had help, and sadly, rather than do that, they’d rather live a life of stress and anxiety, constantly looking over their shoulder, and always feeling the need to compete.

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18).

So, just Rest; even Jesus rested (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:38-40).

When you learn how to Rest in Him and trust Him, you will begin to hear clear instructions by the Holy Spirit, and receive Heavenly Downloads that cannot fail, if you obey Him. So, when you begin to execute, it will look almost effortless to others; it won’t make sense because it will look so easy when you do it. That’s one of the perks of learning to Rest in God. Then the funniest thing happens: The “Best” people try to accuse you of cheating your way to the top (like they did); because they cannot understand how you can maintain your integrity, remain humble, still respect people, still smile and enjoy life, and still succeed beyond them.

5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:5-7).

So, That Settles It, in the Battle of The Best vs. Rest, The Rest (of God) wins every time. It’s Undefeated! Stay humble, keep your ear to His heart, obey His instructions, and before you know it, you will have surpassed even The Best!

 

 

“Substitutes”

Have you ever noticed the players in uniform on the sidelines of a basketball or football game? These are the Substitutes, players anxiously awaiting their shot to get in the game. Even though they have been practicing and preparing with the star players, they aren’t the first choice. Their only hope to get in the game is if one of the starting players needs to rest or gets injured.

Do you feel like you are always the second choice, plan B, or the back-up plan? Does it seem as if the only time you get noticed or called upon is when the first choice is not available? Do you find yourself wondering if you will ever be good enough to be the first pick? Do you see yourself as Anointed but not yet Appointed? You are not alone; there are many people who are considered the Substitutes; Substitutes at work, at church, in business, in opportunities, in dating and relationships, in friendships, in families, and etc.

I too have found myself in the shadows or on the sidelines more times than I can count; but let me offer some hope: Some of my biggest opportunities came as a result of being the Substitute, in position and ready when the opportunity was presented.

I know that you aren’t jealous or covetous of those who are in the spotlight. If you are anything like me, you just want to get in the game, to be a part of a great work, to serve, even if no one notices. But Someone does notice: God notices. He notices your heart; He notices your integrity. He notices that you operate in the Spirit of Excellence for an Audience of One, the Lord Jesus Christ (even when no one else is looking); and this is exactly why He is the One Who will promote you from the Substitute on the sidelines to the star player in the spotlight; and it can happen suddenly; because He knows He can trust you.

Just think about the people in the Bible who were mere Substitutes and before they knew it they were promoted; they were brought out of the shadows into the spotlight. They didn’t have to network or pass out business cards, they just played their part exceptionally well and God elevated them.

David was sent to take his brothers lunch and he ended up slaying the giant Goliath. David was not originally sent to fight the giant, he was simply a Substitute who stepped up to the plate; while those who were supposed to stop Goliath were trembling with fear. When the opportunity presented itself, David didn’t have to get ready; he had much practice from protecting the sheep from bears and other dangers. He was simply playing his part which placed him in the right place at the right time for promotion (1 Samuel 17).

Joshua was a Substitute who had much preparation by assisting Moses. So, when the time came, he accomplished what his predecessor Moses could not: He led the children of Israel into the Promise Land (Deuteronomy 31).

Esther was a Substitute who became Queen after Vashti refused the King and was banished from his presence causing the King to search for a new Queen. Esther found favor in the King’s site and it ultimately lead to her people being saved from Haman’s wicked plan. Esther was perfect for this role and she had spent a year being prepared (Esther 1-7).

And let’s not forget the Best Substitute to ever walk the Earth, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! He bore our sins and died on the cross in our place; and because He got up, now we have a right to eternal life!

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:24).

So, don’t despise the role of the Substitute; just keep your heart pure and don’t become envious of those who are in the spotlight. Don’t ever make the spotlight your goal; stay intentional about pleasing God and serving people; even once you are in the spotlight, remember why you were chosen to be there. Continue sharpening your gifts, stay humble, and don’t get weary. In due season, God will exalt you.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

So, That Settles It; The work of the Lord must go forth! You must remember this and know that God often uses the Substitutes to carry out His Purpose in the Earth. He is the God of the second choice, the God of the Substitutes.

 

 

“Heart Monitor”

A Heart Monitor is a device that measures and records your heart’s activity. The results help your doctor determine if you need more tests or medicine.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (1 Corinthians 3:16)?

As Believers, we have a Heart Monitor too, The Holy Spirit. The assignment is almost synonymous. The Holy Spirit monitors your heart for things that could be detrimental to your health; things such as bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, hatred, covetousness, unconfessed sin and etc. If any of these are found, it may result in more tests to rid you of these things (James 1:2-4).

Countless people, including avid runners and athletes, who look good and healthy on the outside, have collapsed and even died from a massive heart attack without warning. Some runners have even collapsed while running marathons. No one suspected that anything was wrong with their hearts because they looked healthy.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.
Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:27-28 NLT).

Sadly, the same is true for some Believers. A person may look like he/she has it all together on the outside, but may be dying (spiritually) inside. Then before you know it, that person has fallen away from fellowship and the things of God because he/she has chosen to continue in sin; and now because of either pride, or guilt, or shame, the chances of recovery look bleak. But, God has already made provision so that you don’t have to succumb to the temptation of sin.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Thankfully, there is a Balm in Gilead, His name is Jesus. His blood washes away your sins. He binds up the wounds of the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3).
If you have been hurt or wronged by someone, give it over to the Lord, ask Him to help you forgive, and allow Him to mend your broken heart. If you are struggling with sin, struggle no more! Confess your sins and ask God to deliver you and keep you from falling. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to do it alone, pray and ask God to send you a confidant, someone you can trust, who will pray and believe with you, and will hold you accountable.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

So, That Settles It, endeavor to live with a healthy heart. Thank God for sending you a Heart Monitor (the Holy Spirit) Who will keep you from falling; so you can run your race with endurance and finish your course (Hebrews 12:1)!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen (Jude 24-25).

“Don’t Forget to Say Grace”

Remember when you were younger and you would sit down for dinner; and if you even attempted to begin eating without doing it, your mother or father would interrupt you by saying “Don’t Forget to Say Grace?” For many of us, we may not have realized it, but we needed to give thanks; because just as in the days of old, we were thanking God for providing; because if it had not been for His provision, there may have been no meal. Today, He is still providing, which is why I want to remind you, Don’t Forget to Say Grace!

I recently had an encounter with the woman in the mirror, and I saw some blemishes, some things that I didn’t like. I had this dialogue within myself: “But I have been doing good. I go to church, I serve God according to my ability, I tithe, I serve people…I, I, I…” That’s when it happened! That’s when I heard it: “That’s the problem, you think you can do it within yourself; No, it is only because of God’s Grace.” Don’t Forget to Say Grace!

8 For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Maybe you are in this same place right now. You feel frustrated and even want to blame God because there are those things that you have prayed for Him to take away, but He didn’t. So, what does He expect of you? That’s when He reminds you that His Grace is sufficient. If you could do it within your own strength, you wouldn’t need God. That’s why it’s okay to boast in your weaknesses, for when you are weak, God’s strength is made Perfect. When you acknowledge your weaknesses, the devil is defeated because he can’t hold it over your head (you aren’t trying to cover it up); and God is exalted because you are boasting in His Mighty Power. Don’t Forget to Say Grace!

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My Grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT).

Oh, and you don’t have to worry about those who love to point out your faults because we ALL have sinned and fall short of His Glory. Don’t let people try to condemn you or persecute you. Every human being alive has faults. You must remember that you are redeemed only because of Grace. Jesus paid the price for your sins; He sacrificed His life for yours. So, when you mess up: Repent, ask God for forgiveness, and forgive yourself. You can’t be defeated once you realize you can’t do it in your own strength; it is by Grace. Don’t Forget to Say Grace!

22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.  23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his Grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. 27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law (Romans 3:22-28 NLT).

So, That Settles It, have Faith, thank God for His Grace, and Rejoice because His Mercies Endureth Forever (Psalm 136)! Make a declaration today to stop trying to do it in your own strength, and give it to God. Praise God for His Grace!  Don’t Forget to Say Grace!