Unlocking Your Potential in Christ–Learning to Forgive

We are not living in a perfect world with perfect people, so many times you may be disappointed in others. They may even offend you or say something that brings up the past. It may even feel like you can’t win this battle that seems to keep climbing up out of your memory. Didn’t the Lord redeem me? Didn’t he say that he cast my sins away? That he had forgotten those things that brought shame to his name? I ask you: whose voice are you listening to?

“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

Satan is the accuser of the brethren and the father of lies. He would like nothing better than for you to be bound by your past, thus keeping you from daring to believe that God could save someone like you. He tries to bring condemnation on us to control our effectiveness in the kingdom of God. He knows that if we ever take a hold of this truth and believe God, he won’t be able to touch us.

We have the Lord’s promise in Romans 8: 1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

We become more aware of our flaws when we lose sight of what God is leading us to. It wasn’t until Peter looked to the left or right that he saw the waves and storm and began to sink. Oh, Peter, where is your faith? Let me remind you that Peter did get out of the boat, and he did walk on the water towards Jesus. Can you say that you have ever stepped out in faith and dared to believe God for those things that may have looked impossible? “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Isn’t it just like the Lord to know the plans he has for us and not reveal his plan to us right away? You see, we are our worst critic when it comes to our effectiveness. If he laid out the whole plan, step by step, we may talk ourselves out of the victory, because we had a step to take that may require us to feel rejection, or neglect. What if to reach our place of authority, we had to learn how to submit to authority? By learning how to submit, we learn the best way to lead. To be a great leader, you must first be willing to follow.

Your way, your ideas, your plans, your dreams, your ambitions, your goals, will be as rubble if they are not first filtered through the will and purpose of God for your life. They may seem successful for a while, but like the house built on the sand, it will not stand without a solid foundation, and that foundation is built on commitment and prayer. It may seem that you have invested everything with little return, but do not be discouraged, because God isn’t finished yet.

Learn to receive the no’s that you will hear as you map out your next steps to become the man or woman of God that you are destined to become. If those in authority over you are willing to take the time to show you the right path, count yourself blessed. Hebrews 13:17 says to “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

I didn’t say that it was the easiest thing to do, because some wounds are genuinely deep, but with God’s mercy and grace, isn’t it time to surrender it all to him? The bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” He cares for me and that is enough for me to move forward. I want my life to be a reflection of his image, and for that to happen, I must learn to trust him enough to let the past go, so I will have a future.

In this week’s Lattereign, we show you how to be forgiven.  You must forgive to be forgiven

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God is Great, and Greatly to be Praised!

If you are tired of feeling that you have not reached your full potential in Christ, it is not too late to start working towards reaching that goal. It seems that some people have their lives perfectly aligned with God’s will and everything works for them without any controversy or strife. They may appear to have all that this world has to offer, and they never seem to have any setbacks or hardships. Don’t be fooled.

We all have times that we may be faced with tough decisions, and challenging circumstances that send us to our knees in fervent prayer. I, for one, know that I don’t have all of the answers, but sometimes I have plenty of questions to ask of God. One that I have often asked is, why? Why did this or that have to happen? What did I do wrong to get on this path? How long will I have to deal with this? When are you going to intervene on my behalf?

Consider this: even Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted. If he had not faced the temptations, he may not have been prepared to endure the cross. On the other hand, we also must endure temptations, but the Lord has given us the power to resist the devil and he will flee. Just because he tries to derail you from time to time, is no reason to give in to his lies, that will lead to your destruction. He wants you to fail, so if he wants me to fail, I choose to be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ as it says in Romans 8:35-37:

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

I made up my mind a long time ago that if the Lord would receive me again after I walked away for over a decade, that I would live for him for the rest of my days. There is nothing that can separate me from the love of Christ. He loves us. I know that it’s not always easy to live for God, but he promises us in Isaiah 59:19:

 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

It is time to stop allowing every situation to toss you to and fro through all of the troubles that may come against you. Grab a hold on to the altar and declare peace in your storm. We have been given everything we need to live holy, now, it’s time that we use it. In John 14:12-13 the Lord leaves us with this promise:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

In Jesus’ Name, we have the power to overcome all obstacles that we may have to face. Let’s continue to contend for the faith in this week’s Lattereign as we learn how to go from  Good to Great in 2018.

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Looking Forward; Learning From the Past

I am glad that the Lord is with us, and he will strengthen us. So many times I felt alone when I was facing a situation, but I know that God is my refuge and strength, and he will keep me safe in the time of trouble. Although 2017 was challenging at times, we got through it and now we have a brand new year to live.

I wonder what this year may bring, but I am not fearful, because no matter what it brings, God is in control. There is nothing that I need that he will not supply. For 2018, I want to make it the best year that we have lived for the Lord. When we face the day, may the Lord grant us wisdom to make the best decisions filtered through his word and prayer. We pray this year for his will to be done in earth as it is in heaven.

No one knows the hour of the Lord’s return, but it could be today before I finish typing this blog. We need to expect his return, and prepare for it as if it will be today, but if he tarries, let’s keep our lamps filled with oil. I want to be ready; how about you?

Yesterday can’t be altered, and tomorrow can’t be experienced yet; all we have is today to make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t wait to be the man or woman of God that you should be, because waiting for tomorrow may be too late; we aren’t promised tomorrow.

If you have regrets about how you walked with the Lord in 2017, you can’t dwell in the past, but you can look forward to this brand new year and make fresh commitments. He makes us a promise in Lamentations:

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail notThey are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

May this week’s, Lattereign Looking Forward Learning from the Past,  give us hope for a future.

 

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We Have Been Chosen.

No matter what trials we face in life we can find comfort in knowing that our circumstances are not random occurrences: the Lord knew before the beginning of time what we may face, and he made a way of escape. Sometimes the way of escape may be through the fire, but just the same, he gives us the grace and ability to go through it without ever being destroyed. I can’t image going through life without the blessing of God on my life. He is my fortress, he is my shield, and buckler. He is my high tower. As the song goes, “when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Throughout the bible, people have had to face difficulties, yet every time, the Lord provided the way to overcome it. I admit that sometimes the way seems dark and if we aren’t careful we may look at the vast darkness, and fear the unknown instead of placing our complete confidence in the one who created life and life more abundantly. God is light. If I keep my eyes on him, I will always know the way through the darkness.

Usually what happens, with me is that I get distracted and look at what is trying to derail me from the path the Lord has set me on, instead of the one who has all situations in his control. What happens next is I become fearful and begin to doubt that I’m capable to handle a situation. Who am I?

Yes, the enemy of our soul would like nothing better than to cause us to live in fear of the unknown. It’s time to stand up and make our petitions count. ” So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).

I know that this is the last day of the year and maybe you are ending the year with some regrets about unfinished business. It could be that you didn’t give enough, or pray enough or read your bible, or witness enough. Don’t allow the past regrets to dictate what you may be able to accomplish in the new year. We are required to do our best. Any thing less than our best is not acceptable. We have God’s promise that he would never leave us nor forsake us.

Isn’t it time to hold on to God’s promise? “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” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Why do we have to constantly fight the good fight of faith? We find out in this week’s Lattereign. It is because We Were Chosen.

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It’s Time to Remember and to Celebrate!

Christmas Eve. So many plans, and preparations have been made for this day, but I wonder after all of the hours of planning and preparing for the coming day’s events and gatherings, how many of us will take the time to remember why we are celebrating in the first place? The crowds were out in full force in the malls and although we have had the entire year, many people had a frantic and panicked look on their faces, as they try to shop for the one last gift that will change someone’s life forever. What they don’t realize is that the ultimate gift has already been given, Jesus Christ.

As we spend time reflecting on the memories shared through past Christmases and look forward to the future in 2018, let’s not forget to live in the present. Cherish the time that you do have together, for this moment in time will be a yesterday, soon. I want to live my life to be pleasing to the Lord, learn from any past mistakes that I have made, (I know that there are many) and keep on the path that the Lord has planned for me to take.

Will there be times of feeling like I have lost my way? Yes, but all I know to do is to pray that the Lord will help me to find my direction. I can’t back down, for I am too close to reaching my destination. Too many people that I haven’t met yet could be lost if I stop walking, so I will do as Paul said,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Live life to the fullest and treasure the memories that you make this Christmas and the coming year. In this week’s Lattereign, we celebrate that  It’s Time to Worship.

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Don’t Forget to Breathe and Enjoy the Season

I could say that this is my favorite time of year, but you’d probably roll your eyes at the familiarity of it all. It is, just the same. I know that today life seems to move at a breakneck speed, rushing us to go go go forward without taking the time to breathe. It is a busy time that often leaves us longing for those days when we were too young to know that there was an overbooked schedule. We lived in the moment. We get to make cookies tonight, or we are going to go caroling tonight with the church, and then have hot chocolate. It meant making homemade ornaments, and popcorn garland, around the fireplace.

What have we made it, today? I hope that you still carry those traditions, those precious moments when you are allowed to just, be. Looking at the Christmas lights was always an adventure because it seemed that the entire state illuminated their homes with lights. Too often we get too busy to really notice. Are we too busy? Probably, so, but it’s not too late to stop and breathe.

We can reflect on the best of times, like the hard candies that always seemed to stick in the bottom of the stockings. They were still good. I do have memories that will always be treasured, no matter how busy I get. We didn’t have a ton of gifts to open on Christmas day, but we did have a ton of love poured into each one.

I submit to you that whether you have been blessed with much or little, the greatest gift you can give this year is your time to love those who mean the most to you. One day it may be too late to say I love you, but if you live every day as if it were the last day, your life will be truly blessed with the things that really matter. I still draw from the wells of the laughter and love that was demonstrated in my family.  Were they perfect? No, but it didn’t matter because they gave the most precious gift that they could have ever given to me. They gave their undivided attention and love.

Shouldn’t I be willing to carry on that tradition? I wish you all the best this blessed season. A gift was given and we find out more about that in this week’s Lattereign.

 His Name is Wonderful

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My Hope is in Him

Although most people will give a good effort; not everyone will be joyful this Christmas season. For many it’s a time of loss and the memories flood back with every song that is heard on the radio. It’s more about regretting those things that should have been done, or the decisions that were made in haste that changed the course of your life. It’s about leaving home before you were ready, or not taking the time to see family because you felt that you had let them down. It’s digging up past mistakes instead of embracing the lessons learned from those very same mistakes made.

Our lives lead us in directions that sometimes veer off from the direction that we will ultimately go to. What do we learn from the detours? We learn to trust God. It isn’t easy to walk through the wilderness when we feel alone; but it’s the path that will shape us into his image when we reach the next turn we will take. Often I have asked myself, “how in the world did I get to this stage in my life?” I see now that the Lord has had a plan for each of us since before the beginning of time.

It’s the season where we could allow remorse to consume us, but I choose to follow the mindset of David in Psalm 121: 1-2 that says:

” 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.”

My focus must be on the Lord and all the times that I made right decisions. If I hadn’t turned down that dark path, I would have never found the joy that was waiting for me at the end of it. The thing that the enemy felt would destroy me only made me stronger. The more I have turned my eyes to the Lord in prayer, the stronger and more confident I have become that he will do what he said he will do. I have learned to trust in him by just waiting on him to fulfill his will and purpose in my life.

Are there still times where I am unclear on what direction to take? Yes, every time that I take a step forward, but I have learned the secret to victory. It is letting the Lord lead me through prayer. Before I make any decision, I have learned to filter it through God’s word and prayer.

Instead of dwelling on the past regrets and mistakes that we make in life (mistakes that God doesn’t even remember) we can have hope in a future. No one can steal your joy; if it is lost it’s because you surrendered it. Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength. It doesn’t say that we will always be strong, but that through our weakness, God is strong.

We may still go through the motions as we enter this season of the year,  but let’s try to capture those memories that have become treasures; they may be bittersweet at times, yet they can still give us hope and peace if we look for it.

I am so thankful that the Lord chose me to bring the Lattereign this week, as we are reminded to Rejoice The King is Coming.

 

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Accepting God’s Will for Our Lives, Even After He Tells us to Wait

Changing directions in life doesn’t always have to cause defeat if we will remember that the Lord allows change to empower us to be fit for his use.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. …So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12-15,19).
Change brings challenges, but we must embrace change and continually be thankful even when our hope is bleak. On the surface we look at our circumstances and we feel powerless to defend ourselves against the ones who would try to destroy us. Sometimes we may wonder if God truly cares about us, or if we are going to continually struggle while others breeze through life, unhindered. There is a place of restoration in Jesus that the world may never experience.

When we get wrapped up in the cares of this life and forget that God is able to deliver us because he’s still on the throne just remember: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” “The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever. The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:10-11).

It’s not that we don’t have the same desire or the will to reap the blessings of God and to watch others be blessed. We are committed and we still have a strong desire. However, we get caught up in the routines of our daily existence and we procrastinate allowing every other pressing task to take precedence over doing the will of God. We feel trapped by agendas and responsibilities. The Lord is calling us to set our house in order. When we learn how to call on God to give us wisdom and to allow every area of our life to revolve around God’s will, our families will thrive and be blessed. When we make decisions we’ll decide with confidence if we pray.

Yes, the world will still come in like a flood because there is sin in the world and we are God’s people. But we can know that we can have confidence in God that no matter what challenges we face, that God will never forsake us or leave us comfortless. “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart” (Psalm 7:10). The enemy that tries to destroy may be the one who God will use to strengthen you. After you have overcome, then you will be stronger and more blessed than you ever thought possible. He is opening doors that you do not know of, and we must learn to trust in God. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou has put all things under his feet:” (Psalm 8:3-6).

In this week’s Lattereign, we are reminded that there are no limits to what God can do.

No Limits-God has shown us light

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I Choose Life, Health, and Happiness!

There came a time when I had to make a decision: do I trust God enough to seek his face in prayer, or am I willing to stay in the same situation that drove me to pray in the first place? When I was growing up,  words mattered. If I heard someone say, “you will never be able to do that,” my first reaction was to fire back, “watch me.” I made a choice to prove them wrong. Other options might have been to give up and yield to defeat and depression, but for me, that was not an option. You see, my whole life I have been in survival mode. Life hasn’t always been so easy, yet I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything, because it taught me that I could depend on the Lord for every need. It didn’t mater how minor it seemed, if it was a concern to me, then it was important to God to honor my petitions.

It never even occurred to me that I was building a lifetime foundation of trust. The many small and insignificant prayers that I prayed were just as important to God as the great big out there prayers that would be prayed later in life.

Step by step, I kept walking with the Lord, until one day I started walking through the darkest time in my life. It was as if I couldn’t find God, no matter how diligently I prayed. My wilderness experience lasted over a decade. It wasn’t until I had exhausted all of my options, that I was able to see that the whole time I was in the darkness, that God was leading me through it. When I came to a place that I could no longer go on without him, I slowly found my way back to him.

Psalm 121:1-2: 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.

Being faithful didn’t keep me safe in the church, being generous didn’t stop me from wandering outside in the dark. The one thing that kept me through it all, was and is prayer. It is our weapon against the world of naysayers. When you reach out for hope, you will find it through prayer. There is no sorrow, or pain, or heartache, that can’t be healed through prayer. When life gets real, I have a God who becomes even more real for me as I learn to seek his face in prayer.

My hope is in him; my life is in his hands; my joy sustains me as I learn to trust in the Lord. In this week’s Lattereign, I ask a simple question:

Will you choose to believe?

 

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In Every Season, There is Much to be Thankful For

It’s easy to give thanks when everything is going well; however, not so much when life blindsides you. You are what you dwell on. If I continually tell myself that I am tired, rather than attempting to begin my day, I will never begin my day. We have power in our tongue, and when we do not choose our words carefully, we could find ourselves struggling to get the victory.

On the other hand, if we choose to have a great day, our attitude will change so that we will have a great day.

It doesn’t matter how much we tell the Lord thanks for all that he has done; it will never be enough. Do you realize that he could have left us without a savior? His love for us is greater than all our sins. I am thankful that I can call on his name, and he will hear my petitions. Living for him, gives us a peace that passes all understanding.

I know that I can never repay the debt of love that I owe, but I will do my best to live for him and give him the honor due unto his name for the rest of my days; yes, I am thankful because I know who I used to be and how Jesus came into my broken life and gently began to restore my soul. I was lost, but now I’m found.

Being thankful is made out to be difficult in much of society, but if we want to truly live free from bondage, we must give thanks, so with that in mind, this week’s Lattereign gives the Lord the thanks that he deserves: Thanks for all you’ve done.

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