Grow Up! We are Running out of Time! Jesus is Coming.

We have heard it all of our lives, that Jesus is coming soon, so much in fact, that unfortunately, it doesn’t excite us like it used to. But I can hear my Spirit screaming at me to Grow Up, because we are running out of time to do what the Lord has called us to do. Yes, we are all given twenty-four hours a day; yes, we all lead busy lives and sometimes pack what seems like more than twenty-four hours of work into our allotted time.

It is time for us to take a look at where and how we use our time. Yes, we have to work, and people are depending on us for so many reasons, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to stop doing the will of God. What it does tell me, is that my priority must first and foremost be my relationship with Jesus Christ. If I haven’t committed to putting him first, then, there will never be enough time to finish all of the responsibilities that I have.

I know how this plays out in our lives. We get so stressed out doing this and that, when, our greatest treasures are at risk of falling to the wayside while we struggle to breathe life into those things that will not make a difference later in our lives.

It’s like I can’t focus on any one challenge or project that I have, because to do so would mean that I might actually complete something, and heaven forbid that I would have accomplished something that could be of value. Instead, I have learned the art of juggling. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion, of late, that my juggling routine needs work. I have failed to be successful at everything I want to accomplish. Not so much that it is wrong; it’s that in my zeal to do a work for the Lord, I sometimes forget that to do so, will require time to water the seeds that I have already planted. To neglect to water the seeds will surely end in the death and burial of dreams.

Once we have planted seeds, we must give them time to grow. How will we know that they are thriving? When the seeds begin to be established enough to look beyond what we can see with our eyes, and catch a glimpse of where the Lord wants to take us.

Does this mean that we are only successful when we are doing a work for the Lord, or is it when we are mature enough to see potential in others and we are responsible to help others grow? Success in ministry doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, would we pray as much?

In this week’s Lattereign, we feature Sister Amber Tucker’s Saturday night devotional on an important topic.  Spiritual Growth (Click on the link to Spiritual Growth. It will open in a new window.)

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Finding Our Way Through the Time of Waiting

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2)

I am blessed. Knowing that I have everything that I need gives a peace that passes all understanding.  Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to reach that peace without much prayer. Over the years, I have learned that if I get too complacent and comfortable in the routine of it all, something will always come up that will cause me to be restless in my spirit.

It’s like a calm before a storm: no lightening or thunder is heard, but slowly the winds pick up and the sky darkens. You know that it’s on the way, only you don’t know when.

I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the ordeal of pruning, yet I know that after it is done, I begin to see new growth.

When we go through those seasons, it is time to pray. It is hard to let go, but sometimes the Lord is asking: “lovest thou me more than these?”

I know early on in my walk with God I was testing so many ideas about how I could find my place to serve, and it seem that the more I searched, the more frustrated I became, because it was important but not really what the Lord was leading me to. I opened so many doors of “opportunity” thinking that this must be the one which will be a good fit for me, and every time this happened, someone else seemed to swoop down and grab it, because maybe they were more qualified, younger, older, had seniority, knew the right people, or whatever else made them the best choice to fulfill MY vision.

Rather than allow myself to get discouraged, I resolved to just be the best at starting projects, and before I could experience the satisfaction of having completed something worthwhile and contributing: the project would be reassigned to someone else. I was a pioneer of sorts.

I worked at a place that still used a typewriter for most of their documents, and there was one computer that I considered basically obsolete. We’re talking about having to load up the hard drive using floppy disks. It wasn’t friendly, at all, but I had to use it. So to make the best of the situation, and learn enough of the IBM (yes, way back in time) to complete my work, I decided that the best way to practice learning the archaic programs I had to use, was to start a newsletter on my lunch break; thus the first Lattereign was written.

Every day, I prayed that the Lord would heal my temperamental computer, and it seemed that the more I prayed for a healing, the sicker that computer became, until one day, bless the Lord, the computer finally died. What a blessing that turned out to be, because it had to be replaced with a more up to date computer. I tried to control my sadness on that one. The power of prayer changed my circumstance, again.

When I made a lateral move to another position; the place that I left had to hire one and a half people to replace me. Was I doing too much? Maybe, but at the time, working enough for one and a half people was natural to me.

If the Lord had not opened doors, I would have missed out on the next step in my journey to reach my full potential in him. It isn’t easy to let go, but when we learn to do so, the Lord takes us to a place where we can be fruitful. If I had been content, I would have never started the Lattereign, and my ministry would not have been brought to life.

I realize that through the years that the Lord has taken so many ambitions from me, only to allow me to thrive where he wants me to be. I couldn’t see it at the time, I’m still learning to let go. The word says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It also says, that he knows the plans that he has for me, that I might prosper and be in good health.” I must learn to trust him.

In this week’s Lattereign, we are invited to Receive From the Lord.

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No Weapon Formed Against Me Shall Prosper

My mind is filled with ideas about what I could say to encourage you, reminding you that you are not alone, for one. For every tear that you have cried over a burden you have had to carry, the Lord has captured your tears in a bottle to save. Think about that for a minute. You do matter to the Lord.

So often I’ve thought that the Lord could have just forgotten me, because after all, I had made so many mistakes on my journey to serve him. For the situations I have had to face, I accept responsibility, because there are always consequences to our actions. I still do not always understand why the Lord allowed me to go through it. Was it to just teach me to trust him? or maybe by going through the situation, I could later on have compassion for someone else? I may never know the why.

The longer I serve the Lord, the more I want to just focus on doing his will. He has a purpose for my life. I may not know all of the details as of yet, but I have hope that his plan will unfold in his will in my life.

Living for the Lord has brought both joy and peace. When I am weary I know that the Lord promises that the Joy of the Lord is my strength, and where do we get this joy? by praying in the Holy Ghost. He desires our worship and praise. I admit that sometimes it is a sacrifice of praise that I offer the Lord, but that doesn’t matter because it is the best I can give at that time.

We aren’t promised that everything we go through in life after we begin to serve the Lord will be easy, but we do have the promise that the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.

Just knowing that I have an advocate who is right there with me, brings peace that passes all understanding. You see, Satan desires to sift us as wheat. He doesn’t want us to prosper or have good health, so he does everything in his power to keep us from reaching our full potential in Christ. What Satan doesn’t understand is that I was bought with a price. I am the Lord’s treasure, and for every time he tries to bring discouragement in my life, Jesus is with me, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

I am truly blessed. In this week’s Lattereign, we recognize how blessed we are, and the steps we must take to hold on to that blessing   A Time of Prayer

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It’s Time to Take Back our Joy in the Lord.

I try to put my full confidence and trust in the Lord; but sometimes the battles seem so overwhelming that I struggle with it. I go to my prayer closet and pray fervently about a situation or a challenge, then, I leave the closet and before I can make it to the door, fear attacks me and I am thinking about the hows, and whens, and what ifs, and uncertainty sets in to my steps. It doesn’t take long for the empowerment to leave me. I am my greatest hindrance to walking in faith.

There, I admit that I am just about as normal a person as I can be. In my own flesh I can do nothing. I am meek and hesitant to stand up against the onslaught of the enemy when he comes in like a flood–but alas, I think about what the bible says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He already knows the plans that he has for us and the Lord is telling me that it is okay to be fearful, but if you are fearful, you don’t have to receive it because it is not of God.

Why would I allow Satan to overtake my life with fear, when I know that the Lord has already defeated the enemy? Yet, sometimes we do get weary in well-doing and we say or do things that are contrary to what we should be doing. Not terrible, awful things, but something that could be just as detrimental to our spiritual health: we lose our joy and confidence in the Lord.

Maybe he hasn’t answered a prayer for you, and you are discouraged because it seems that everyone on the planet has it so much better than you do. Doesn’t God even care about all of the sacrifices you have made? or the time or money you have invested in the ministry? We can allow the enemy to tangle us up in so much bitterness that it becomes anger. This day, I bind the spirit of fear and bitterness and release a Spirit of Thankfulness. I am a firm believer that if I learn to focus on being thankful, that it heals all of the times that I felt that I had nothing to be thankful for.

Breathing without assistance is such a blessing, but we take for granted the very breath the Lord allows for us to take. On the other hand, if you do need breathing assistance, you still can be thankful that there is the technology available that will help you to breathe.

No matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, during a season of life, finding something to be thankful for and proclaiming it will keep you in line with God’s purpose for your life, and it will also shield you from the attacks of the enemy.

Ecclesiastes 3

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

It is time that we take back the gift of God, the good of all our labour (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

In this week’s Lattereign, we learn how to keep Trusting in Quiet Confidence.

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Fret Not: Learn to Trust God!

No matter what we are facing at this point in our lives, we have God’s promise that he will be with us. The bible instructs us in Psalm 37 to not worry about “evildoers.” Instead, he shows us a plan to finding God’s favor:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

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

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

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.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

First, he gives us guidance, and then he tells us what will happen if we obey. Every answer you need can be found in the word of God, so it’s important to read it. I know. My life gets overwhelmingly busy, too, but this year I am really trying to focus on getting my priorities straight. It’s true that we have a tendency to try to work everything out on our own, but sometimes, our independent selves, forgets that to have success in navigating the course of life, we need a compass! That compass is the word of God. Prayer ushers us into his presence, where we can give our petitions, but reading the word helps us to know what to do.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who never listens? They talk and talk and talk and when you try to speak, they are still having their own conversation, or they may even get distracted and walk off to talk to someone else who will listen. It can be frustrating, but isn’t there times when we treat prayer this way? Always whining and complaining to the Lord, but never just spending time in his presence and listening.

Sometimes the Lord whispers our name. It’s time that we learn to shut out all of the voices that say we are worthless, going to fail, never succeed, mess up, get sick, go broke, and anything else negative; and start to open up our spiritual ears to listen to what the spirit of the Lord has to say about us:

Isaiah 61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Can you hear the hope in these verses of scripture? Yet, we allow the enemy to try to steal our joy when we should be putting him under our feet. The Lord is offering us peace, today, and not only peace but a “peace that passes all understanding.” The question is, are you willing to lay aside every weight, and pick up your sword (the word of God) and defend yourself? You have no need to fear, because The Lord has already won the battle. He needs for us to trust him.

This week’s Lattereign, shows us how and why we need to Wait on God’s Promises to Unfold.

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The Lord Will Make a Way out of No Way.

“I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” What other choice do we have if we want to live life more abundantly? Today, survival is all about making the right choices in life. It’s not always the easiest choices, or the ones that will cause the least amount of controversy. Living in a family that doesn’t understand why we go to church “all the time” can cause conflicts.

When I was growing up, it was a given that on Friday night, my Daddy would come home and already decide that I was not going to go to Sunday school. It could be the last thing on my mind, but he knew that he wanted to make sure that I stayed home to help my mother with housework. Only she didn’t do housework on Sundays, and the only reason she stayed at home was because she was hesitant about leaving Daddy home alone, fearing that he might fall asleep and burn the house down, accidentally.

Every few hours, he reminded me that there was no need to get dressed for Sunday school, because I was needed at home. I always said, “yes, sir,” but inside, another part of my heart would break off because I needed to go. I was hungry to find peace and joy and whatever else I was missing. I was only a preteen then, and naturally, my parents knew what was best.

Then, Sunday came, and I got up and mom would tell me to get dressed and not to worry about what Daddy had said. So, I got up and dressed and there I was waiting and praying that somehow Daddy would have forgotten what he had said, so I could go. Mr. Simpson, drove the church van, and he took the time to get to know Daddy. Every chance he got he would speak to him and invite him to church. Daddy always politely said, no, but it never dissuaded him from trying. For years, he tried.

I remember walking outside on the screened in porch, and wondering if I would make it to the van alive, because daddy had found his shot gun, and he was threatening to stop the van. One time, he had the gun out and when we came back home, Daddy was passed out on the porch steps with the loaded gun laying across his chest.

I stepped over him to get into the house, and mama, carefully took the gun out of his hands, unloaded it and hid it. When he woke up, all he ever asked for was dinner. He had forgotten all about it: but for the longest time, I couldn’t forget. I relied on prayer and the bible to show me what to do. After I was old enough to leave home, mama started going back to a Pentecostal church. She prayed for Daddy, and later he did repent and get baptized.

Waiting on God is worth all of the heartache, the tears, the sleepless nights spent praying, because the Lord is working all things for our good, even when we don’t realize that he is working.

I wonder what would have happened, if I had given up hope? To this day, I still remember the past, but it wasn’t always dreadful, because with the bad, the Lord filled our home with love. Prayer and hope saturated our home to fight against the spirits that would try to take our joy. Like the song goes, “Little is much when God is in it! Labor not for wealth or fame: There’s a crown, and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ Name.”

In this week’s Lattereign, we explore the importance of waiting on the Lord. The Wait and the Win

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Another Year, Another Decade, Another Opportunity to Make a Difference

We have reached a milestone in our lives with the opening of a brand new year, and decade. It is good to know that we can have hope in the middle of winter. Another year, another decade, another opportunity to make a difference.

Reflecting on where God brought me from and thinking about what he has allowed me to accomplish, I can’t see that my minuscule contribution has made much of a difference. You see, it’s easy to get discouraged if we depend on our own memory, because we are our worst critics. The small things, the baby steps we take to grow our ministries, often seem so insignificant when we are focused on the work in progress. It isn’t until we can see the big picture that we understand that it takes everyone doing their part to complete the task.

God instructed Nehemiah to build the walls around Jerusalem so he could defend himself against the enemies.  He had other people willing to build their part of the wall. Each person worked on the wall while protecting their part of it. If any one person decided that they weren’t needed, and if they had stopped, it would have been dangerous for all others involved. Everyone worked together to complete the task, and ultimately the wall was built.

It’s time to look at the world through God’s eyes. In this week’s Lattereign we see that the Lord is the one who leads us, and he alone has the power to keep us.   2020 Vision Staying Committed

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You have Made it This Far; There’s No Turning Back

This year has had highs and lows, and sometimes we were uncertain if what we had to face would be considered a high or a low point in our lives. You see, it is in the high points that we are grateful that the Lord is blessing us and all is going well; but even though all is going well, let’s not forget to keep praying, because as much as we love the high points, we need the low points to keep us close to the Lord.

Wait? Are you telling me that a low point draws us closer to the Lord? In the low points of our lives we have a tendency to seek after the Lord more frequently. Our mind is stayed on the word of God and on his promises that he gives to us. Low points are not always easy to experience, and it may require us to feel alone, or abandoned by everyone that we love.

It is in the low points that we are more likely to look to the Lord as David writes about in Psalm 121:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Some of the greatest victories in my spiritual life has been won in the low points of my walk with the Lord. Over the years, I have learned that it is better to lift up the name of Jesus no matter what you are going through, because focusing on the problem makes it seem much bigger than it really is. God is greater than any problem that I face.

I could allow Satan to stop me from accomplishing anything, but I choose to keep doing my best even when I don’t see the results of my efforts. The bible tells us to encourage ourselves in the Lord. It will not serve any good purpose if we wait for others to recognize our efforts. If there is not one ounce of recognition, I choose to keep moving forward and to focus on what is really important in life: finishing the race by doing the will of God.

Yes, this year has not always been kind to us, because it seems that there were many low points, but I am grateful that we also had high points. There have been many  miracles that we often took for granted. It’s easy to become accustomed to living a good life; it’s a greater challenge to stay faithful when life isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be. It could come in the form of finances, health, or relationships. It’s time to give it completely over to the Lord, to handle. In the coming year, we should challenge ourselves to have “2020 Vision.”

It is the last Sunday of the year, and I declare peace and prosperity on you and your family this year.  In this week’s Lattereign, we look forward to the new year, 2020 A Great Year for Great Promises.

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The Gifts Worth Giving

It never fails this time of year: what should be a time of renewal and hope often turns into a race of frantic proportions. To the mall, to the store, to the house, to the family, to the neighbor’s house, back to the store, and back to the mall, and to the grocery store, and to work, and to church, and to the wherever else there is to go… You should get the point: Life is happening all around us, and in many cases, if we aren’t paying attention, it can pass us by and leave us wondering, what happened? and where did it all go?

Every year we face the same memories that try to pull us down to a simpler time in our childhood, when the most important thing we could think of was getting an orange, an apple, hard candy, and maybe a candy cane if we were lucky in our stocking.

Presents were practical, and needed, and maybe something special that we really didn’t need. It was all planned out. Daddy could never wait until Christmas morning to wake us up. His prime time to wake us up was 3:00 A.M. Christmas Day. We got up easily enough, and often stayed up, but Daddy always went back to bed after we opened gifts.

Wrapping paper strewn all over the living room, usually stayed there until it was officially morning. In all of the years that we went through that routine before I left home, not once did I feel deprived or unloved because the gifts were scarce. It never crossed our minds to count the number of gifts that we each received, or the cost; everything was appreciated.

I look back on that time in my life and I realize just how blessed I was, and how blessed that I truly am. There is nothing that I need in this world that I don’t already have. My desires for this season is the gifts of hope, health, prosperity, and peace to all.

In this week’s Lattereign we are reminded that while gift exchanges are traditional, that Your Time is the Most Precious Gift.

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I Choose to Stand Strong.

I was wondering if I am that tree that is planted by the waters? I shall not be moved. In all of the years that I have lived for the Lord,  I believe at no other time have I felt the urgency to get our house in order, yet, I still feel that there is much to do. The tree is still; it is stationary. It is strong. It appears alone. How many times have we all felt alone?

Loneliness can sneak into our lives when we begin to isolate ourselves from those who matter the most in our lives. It isn’t necessary to be away from people to be alone. Loneliness can be felt in a crowded room. Together we will stand for those who may feel this way, especially this time of year. For some people this season is overwhelming with grief and despair. They long for the storybook Christmas’s depicted in the movies.

They may be missing loved ones long departed, or a relationship that didn’t last, or just have a general feeling of being discouraged with life in general. It is important to set aside some time for prayer, and spending time in his presence can get everything back into a proper perspective.

In the alone times of my life I have found greater strength to move forward with God’s plan and purpose. It isn’t easy to feel alone, but those times have proven the most beneficial for my spiritual growth. I know without any doubt that the Lord is the master of my storm and if he did it before, he will do it again.

In this week’s Lattereign we find that Jesus Christ is more than enough.

Jesus Christ More Than Enough

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