“And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God”

We have much to be thankful for this year. One of those things is family. Not all families are the same; yet, in our own way we can build a lifetime surrounded by those we love.

This year, many of our people will be visiting family and traveling out of State, because there’s something about being home that brings comfort to us. When Jesus came to this world, he had family but no permanent dwelling place. He was born in someone’s barn with the smelly animals and whether there was snow on the ground or not (I doubt it seriously in that region although I’m not a weather expert) is irrelevant. The one thing that we can be sure of: they were on the run from Herod after he was born and they had no permanent dwelling. When I thought about that today, I tried to understand the events from a spiritual view.

No permanent dwelling. Think about it for a minute. We are so blessed in this nation, most of us have adequate housing and we have an abundant supply of resources. Spiritually, we are the house that Jesus dwells in. We house his Spirit in us. Jesus in us the hope of glory! Truly amazing.

Is the temple that we provide for the Savior adequate? Good question. To answer the question on an individual basis requires us to seek his face in prayer, I know that I sometimes feel that my temple is inadequate, because I’m made of flesh and blood, and I have made monumental mistakes in my past. If I didn’t have Jesus’ blood covering, and If I wasn’t baptized in Jesus’ Name, I know that I’d be LOST!

So what in the world was he thinking when he chose me as a vessel? I’m no one special, yet he chose me. When I had lost all hope, he gave me the missing part of my life that I had searched for, for decades. It only took me stopping and realizing that I needed God more than anything else, and if my life was to count, then I had to make good decisions to turn around and stop running away from God. We have the power to change our direction and turn toward the one who gave us life and a purpose.

His mercy endureth forever. I am not now, nor will I ever be worthy to be a chosen vessel of Jesus Christ, but he is worthy. In all the years that my life was wrecked by sin, he remained steadfast and he waited for me to open my heart to him. You see, Jesus never rejected me, I turned away because of my guilt and my shame. The church welcomed me with open arms.

The Lord has kept his promise to me to restore my health and to heal me of my wounds. He didn’t leave me unpunished altogether because it was my sins that caused the incurable bruises on my spirit, so the only way to be healed was to repent of my sins. When I yielded to his will, he gave me a new heart. Since I became a new creature in Christ, I hold to his promise in Jeremiah 30:22, that says, “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Family is important and I’m glad that I’m a part of God’s family because it is eternal. Spend time with your family, and may the Lord richly bless you.

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Don’t Stop; Just Keep Believing God

God is my strength

But the road is too hard to travel, you might be thinking. Why not stop, turn around and get on a more clear path? If all you do is keep turning around, and second guessing yourself, you may never reach a destination that the Lord intended for you to reach. You have heard it said, that every journey begins with a single step; and it is true. In the same way, if you are fearful to take the first step, you’ll never accomplish anything. Standing and waiting for the miraculous to happen, will not cause it to come to pass, any more than staring at the front door, but never bothering to reach out and turn the door knob will open it.

I have caught myself many times saying if only this was a certain way or that was a certain way, then I could do this and be successful, whatever this is. Am I fearful? Sometimes, when I forget that I have a place of prayer and a God who knows the very thoughts and intents of my heart. He will answer even before I speak if I will learn to listen.

This time of year brings out the most chaotic voices as demands are placed on us in our occupations and in our day to day lives. Everything that we are responsible for doing is important enough that we may have a challenging time trying to prioritize the daily tasks we must do. So we are caught in a dilemma that can only be resolved one step at the time.

After prayer we can get a clearer understanding of what is most important and then as we get the time, we can work on those things that are nice, but extra. My question to you is, Do you take the time to ask? We shouldn’t second guess God. His answers are yea and amen.

I need a guideline through this life, because living for God without learning how to trust him, leads to fearful expectations. We create unlikely scenarios in our head that may never happen. We worry and fret about those things that steal our joy even though the Lord is waiting for us to cry out in victory. We are overcomers, but how often have you accepted defeat because you didn’t know what to do in this part of your journey? I have found that the only thing that works is praying to God and then leaving it in his hands to work out his will for my life. His ways are higher than my ways.

We have so much to be thankful for. If we woke up this morning in our right mind, we are blessed more than many others who did not wake up.

I met a Vietnam Veteran as I was walking into Wal-Mart the other day who was so excited because the VA was going to get him a motorized scooter to ride. He had one that was not motorized, that was brand new and rather than complain, he was so grateful for the gift of mobility that the Lord had provided. Not everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis is so positive.

Being positive is a choice that we can make, or not. To choose the positive attitude leads to a victorious life filled with joy no matter what your circumstances dictate that you should be feeling. We could all learn to live a victorious life. This week’s Lattereign gives us hope that living  Under the Shadow of the Almighty will keep us safe and protected from all of the fiery darts of the wicked one.

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Called by the Name; Committed to the Calling

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: (Revelation 3:5,6).

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I , even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10-11).

“I know thy works, behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and has not denied my name” (Revelation 3:7-11).

I desire that the Lord should have confidence in me that if he asks me to follow him, that I will do whatever he asks willingly and without complaint. When I can be trusted to do the will of God he can have confidence in me and give me “an open door that no man can shut”. What? Do you mean even after you have prayed for a financial miracle, and you lose your job, you can have an open door? Yes, no man can shut the door that God opens.

The Lord tells us, “for thou hast a little strength.” He didn’t say that we were destitute and completely void of strength: we have sufficient strength to get God’s will accomplished. As we work on our relationship with God, and continue to do his will, in spite of our circumstances, it gets his attention, and even though we may only have a little strength, he reminds us that he hasn’t forgotten us. He is faithful.

Keeping the word requires a great deal of strength and determination. While Satan tries to rob us; the world and the cares of this life surround us; and the light of the gospel is being choked out of us; the Lord promises to “set before us an open door” that compels us to come in and experience the opportunities and the blessings that he has prepared for us. We are commended when he tells us that “thou hast not denied my name.” How many times people have denied the name, Jesus, the only name that will save us? They, in essence, are denying the only way of escape that is opened to them choosing rather to fumble through life alone.

When trials come, we could betray Jesus like some have done in the past. Judas Iscariot sold out for 30 pieces of silver, we could sell out for much less; sports, drugs, prestige , vanity, worldly pleasures, position, fame, peer pressure, or acceptance by our so called friends. The riches of this life will melt with fervent heat, and we’ll all face God on Judgment Day to give an account of our lives.

Who can stand on that day? Those who have been found faithful, kept the word, and those who have not denied the name. Our covenant is eternal and the benefits of that covenant can’t be bought, because they have been paid-in-full at Calvary. Our circumstances may look impossible because we only see the now, but keep holding on to God’s promise and in “yet a little while, it shall come to pass.”

Lord, help us to be thankful for your provision and care. Just for today, I ask you to order my steps in your will.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for reminding me in your gentle way that I am more blessed than I deserve. If you had so chosen, I might not have opened my eyes, today, to see the sunrise or feel the delicious breeze. In those few quiet moments alone in your presence, I live a lifetime. Too often I grumble and complain when circumstances seem to pressure me to make important decisions. I’d prefer to go with the flow and not confront difficulties, but you remind me gently that if I’m to be a strong Christian, fit for the Master’s use, that I’m going to go through some hard places where I have to press on with all my strength, then pray the power down to gain your strength so that I can be an overcomer. Through all of my struggles, you remind me that I have to keep moving forward and trusting in you.

Yes, Lord, I know that it’d be easier to go with the opposition, give in, be quiet about what I believe, quench your Spirit, but the easier way won’t give me the joy that you can give. If I will hold on and keep strong in the faith, I’ll be able to overcome every trial; I can have the victory over all of Satan’s arsenal.

You know, Lord, sometimes I just get plain-old tired of fighting the Spirits of darkness, the principalities, the rulers of dark places, but then once again, you remind me that the fight isn’t mine,; it is yours. Knowing that, makes me feel pretty special and loved, although I know that I am too critical at times. For the life of me, I can’t imagine someone loving me as much as you do: but you do love me.

When I think about Calvary and the unselfish sacrifices that you made for me there, I can keep going forward in the faith because you live and you love me. It isn’t difficult to give thanks for everything when you consider that you, Jesus Christ, are everything important in my life. I stand complete in you, Lord.

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by the gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 2: 13-14).

I thank you for choosing me to be a part of this glorious church.

Love, Your daughter, Grace

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The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6).

I get tired of hearing complaints about how bad it is in our world, but recently, I learned a valuable lesson about complaining. While I was praying (or was that whining) to the Lord, I was burdened in my spirit more than usual. He asked me something I wasn’t prepared to answer: when was the last time that you brought your sacrifice of thanksgiving before me? I pray, but when it comes to giving thanks… He opened my eyes.

Thanksgiving is a sacrifice and we will not see the fullness of God’s blessings if we don’t cultivate a thankful spirit. Of course, I told the Lord that I always “enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise,” like he didn’t know it already.

He said, “You praise me when everything is going right, and every need is, by the worldly measure, abundantly met, but when are you going to thank me for the trials? I fumbled for an answer because I honestly didn’t know what to say. In the midst of a trial, it’s hard to think about the blessings that are being poured out, because we don’t see them. It is then, that we give thanks even when our cup feels so empty. That’s sacrifice.

“God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou are my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” ( Psalm 118: 27-29).

Isn’t it time that we bind our “sacrifice of thanksgiving” with cords, even unto “the horns of the altar”? The Lord requires a “living sacrifice” every time that we enter into his presence. We may not always feel like committing our thanks to the altar. Every day we fight principalities that try to prevent us from seeing through God’s eyes.

We don’t always recognize the hand of God at work in our lives, and that hinders us from being truly thankful. We must bind our sacrifice to the altar. When everything is going well, let’s don’t forget to be thankful for it, and when everything falls apart: be thankful, God is working it all out for our good. A sacrifice will cost you something.

The world’s prosperity distracts us; Satan tries to derail us. Pray! God’s mercy endureth forever. He is exalted above all the earth; he knows what we have need of. He will give us the desires of our heart in due time.

“I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:9).
It’s time to walk in the land of the living.

In this week’s Lattereign, we learn about The art of receiving his promises.

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When You are Confused, Look up.

This world can be a confusing place sometimes and everywhere you turn, someone is trying to get your attention. It is comforting to know that the Lord has already laid out a path for us to follow. The bible says in Psalms 119:105, ” Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” If you get confused about decisions that you must make in your life, then it is time to go to the word and find out what the Lord has to say about the steps you must take.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).

Never have I been left empty while serving the Lord. My life is filled with joy that others may not understand. Circumstances come into our lives, at times, that baffle others when they realize that you are still worshiping the Lord. He gives us strength and the courage to keep moving forward in his will. It takes someone willing to trust him, no matter how terrible life may seem.

I challenge you today to keep following the path. Don’t look to the left or the right, just keep following God’s plan for your life even when it seems that you don’t have a clue where the next step you take on your journey may lead you. When you are surrounded by the fog of the unknown, remember that, even then, you only need to take a step and your path way will become clearer. For every step you take, you are closer to the light of God’s promise.

It is true that at times I have allowed the fear of the unknown to paralyze me to the point that I hesitate taking the next necessary step. I know that there are angels that are leading me through the situations I am called to face. I also know that trusting the Lord and leaning not to my own understanding has helped me to take many steps that I never realized that I would be able to take in faith.

I have nothing to lose and everything to gain when I allow the Lord to direct my steps. He has already made the way, and he knows the traps that satan tries to set that would throw us off track. He has already conquered the enemy of our soul, so why should I be concerned about it?

I choose to trust in him above all else. In this week’s, Lattereign, we learn that we can look to the Lord at all times. I will lift up mine eyes

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It’s Better to go Through the Fire, Than to Stay in It

Are you more likely to go through a situation or to stay in a situation? People who focus on the negative limit their ability to break free from the hold that satan has on them. We are all at different stages in our walk with God, and one thing that I have learned over the years is that being in the middle of a trial isn’t always easy to break free from, unless we learn to look beyond what we can physically see. This is where prayer comes in. Prayer will make the paths seem straight and well illuminated. The light of God continues to burn brightly,  no matter where we are on the path of life.

There are times when it is almost impossible to see a clear path before us, and when the darkness surrounds us finding light becomes even more crucial to our survival. Where do we find light? Even though our search may take us down parts of the path that are so unfamiliar, we still must walk the path. It is imperative that we don’t turn around and give up in defeat. If we do give in to it, we can be convinced of anything. Hold on to your faith in God. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Nothing else matters, because when you have Jesus Christ you have everything.

This week’s Lattereign reminds us to keep moving forward as we are Refined Through the Fire.

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Our Prayers are Stored Forever

We all have felt loss at times, people move away, or they pass on to be with Jesus, and no matter how often it happens, you never really get used to it. It leaves an empty space in that part of your heart that you had reserved for them. You are not alone in this situation. Life happens, and so does death.

Many years ago Sister Nona Freeman was a guest speaker at The Pentecostals of Greenville, NC. It was Valentines’ Day and we had a banquet at Western Sizzlin’ in her honor. What an inspiration she was for our church and for me personally! You see, she lived a life of dedication and complete trust in God. She had developed a close relationship with him, getting up every morning at 2 or 3 A.M. to talk to her best friend. She and her husband were missionaries in Africa, and spent over 40 years on the mission field.

After the Sunday night service, I had the pleasure to sit down with her as she autographed the eight books I had bought from her. During that time, she started telling me a story about how after her mother had died, she wailed and cried out to God, “Mama’s gone, who will pray for me now?” Then, she proceeded to share how the Lord answered her desperate plea; he asked her, “what are you talking about? I have every prayer that your mother has ever prayed store in heaven. You can rest assured that your mother’s prayers did not stop when I called her home, but they are eternally alive to give you direction.”

When we lose our way, the Lord is ready to guide us back to him. He loves us with an everlasting love and nothing will ever separate us from him. Be encouraged today in the Lord. Rest in his presence. No matter what you are facing, today, remember that someone is praying you through.

We must be willing to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us; it’s not for their benefit, but for ours. We will never be totally free to worship the Lord unless we learn to forgive the ones who have despitefully used us. The Lord cares for you. In this week’s Lattereign, we find out that Forgiveness is the key to answered prayer.

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Free to Worship!

It is a privilege to be able to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. We are blessed to live in a free nation, where we don’t have to fear being persecuted for our faith. As the days  before the coming of the Lord draw near, it would be wise for us to cherish our freedom. Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in his name.

Our freedom to worship did not come without a price; however. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation at Calvary. Men and women of God have fought for our rights to enjoy a freedom of worship in this nation; yet, we so often take it for granted that it will always be easy to have access to the Lord and to worship. So far, no one has blocked our path to get to church and fellowship with others who believe, but for how long will we have this blessing, without interference?

On the surface it may seem that we are losing our rights to have an opinion and to demonstrate our faith to others, yet, there is one thing that no matter how restricted our world may become, we will always have: that is access to the Lord through prayer. We can call on his name anywhere, anytime, and in every situation. There will always be prayers that go up before the Lord as a memorial.

It is our last hope of defense against the enemy who has only one thing on his mind: “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).

I am blessed. I am blessed. I am blessed, and most of all I am thankful that I have a freedom to worship. In this week’s Lattereign, we look at that freedom. Free to Worship

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Be Instant in Every Season

I am thankful that I have an opportunity to be raised in the United States of America. We do face our situations, but if you will take a moment to think about it, most people will agree that living in the U.S.A. is a blessing. Don’t get me wrong we do have our challenges, but that is called life.

I feel that it is my obligation to live a life pleasing to the Lord, considering that he has done so much for me. He died for my sins and the sins of the entire world. He rose from the grave victorious; he is my comforter, my shelter in the time of storm; he is my high tower, the rock on which I stand, the one who never fails; is always consistent, ready to show his kindness towards me when I call, and even when I fail to call on him, he stands at the door and knocks waiting for me to open the door and let him in. When I am weak, he is strong; and when I weep, he is there to offer a shoulder for me cry on. Nothing is too hard, or too insignificant, or too great for him to accomplish on my behalf.

Even if I push him away, he doesn’t leave me abandoned, he waits for me to reach out to him. That time does happen, maybe after all the rest of my so called friends have turned away because they couldn’t console me from the deep hurts of my soul; I can look to him the author and finisher of my faith, he’ll be waiting with open arms.

Believing in God has given me hope that even in dark times, I can rise above it. Have we offered up our sacrifice of praise, lately? If not, why not? The world is changing on a daily basis, and if we aren’t mindful of those changes we may be left behind. My prayer today is this, that we be found faithful to the cause of Jesus Christ in every season.

You never know whose life your testimony may impact, so be careful that you stay ready to be the difference that you want to see made. I know that my thoughts are more like rambling tonight than usual but I trust that you sense the urgency of keeping our focus on what truly matters: our relationship with Jesus Christ.

We all have decisions to make about many life choices. Be instant in season and out of season. Stay focused as we move forward in him. Follow the link for this week’s Lattereign.

Instant in Every Season

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Have Faith In God

So many times people feel abandoned in their walk with God, and forfeit peace of mind because they haven’t learned the art of trusting God. If God doesn’t answer a prayer immediately, we get flustered and discouraged and allow Satan to plant thoughts of doubt and defeat in our minds. I am here to remind you that God is in Control.

It only takes a mustard seed of faith to believe God to remove the mountains that we can’t overcome. If we only realized that the Lord is on our side in this battle: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (2 Corinthians 10:4).

It is time that we let our praises be loud, and triumphant, our prayers be shouted out with victory and faith, and that we come to the throne with boldness.

In this time it will take a deep inner conviction and commitment to this truth to survive. “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).

This week’s Lattereign is about expecting a miracle. Are You Expecting a Miracle ?

How many times have we overlooked the goodness of the Lord until after a difficult season has passed? I am thankful that the Lord reigns in my life in every season.

 

 

 

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