7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part II

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-2

4. Be willing to wrestle with God all night.       —Gen. 32:22-32

Jacob wrestled with God all night to receive his breakthrough. For him it wasn’t about money; he was wealthy. He needed a transformation in his life. His breakthrough was about getting a blessing that would change him from the inside out.  Jacob held unto God all night until He blessed him. And God blessed Him and changed him from being known as a trickster or swindler (someone who couldn’t be trusted) to being a prince with God.

What life transformation do you need? Are there areas in your life that remain stagnant or become worse? Do you have character issues or a reputation that stains you wherever you go? Are you willing to stay up all night seeking the Lord to receive your breakthrough? To wrestle with God is to passionately pursue Him and have an encounter with Him that changes your life and perspective. Maybe seeking God in the night season when there are no distractions and you can fully focus on Him is the answer to your breakthrough. Don’t let go until God blesses you.

5. Your heart must hold onto the promise. Speak God’s word over your life not matter how bad it looks.         —Joshua 1:8

Abraham believed God for his breakthrough – to have a son and become the father of many nations. In Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abraham (then Abram) promise that he would be the father of many nations. Years passed and in Gen. 15:1-6, Abraham confronts God about the promise because the only heir in his house was his servant’s child and Sarah wasn’t pregnant yet. God assured him of the promise, made a covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (father of many nations). God also gave him a visual – the stars – to help him understand the vastness of the promise. Then Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22), God reiterates His promise with two visuals – the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. All those years, can you imagine, Abraham had to hold that promise but God gave him the tools to do it: his new name along with the visual of the stars and sand. In everyday conversation he was being reminded of the promise every time someone called his name. He was being reminded of the promise when he felt the sand under his feet and gazed at the stars at night.

To get the breakthrough you have to hold unto the promise (the word God gave to you). You have to hold to the Word – meditate on it day and night and live it out in your life (Joshua 1:8). You have to keep speaking in faith what God promised you (Heb. 4:14) – be it healing, deliverance, or another promise He has for you. Jesus’ ministry to you is to bring to past the word you speak concerning yourself that is according to the will of God. Therefore be careful what you say – not only in the prayer closet but in your daily conversation. You must hold fast (keep speaking) that confession until your breakthrough happens.

6. Examine your heart (rather ask the Holy Spirit to examine you) and ask for forgiveness where you have fallen.       —Psalm 51

Nothing severs our relationship with God like sin. Sin not only brings a barrier between you and God but it stops the blessing (Deut. 28:15-68). David is an excellent example for us. He wasn’t a perfect man, yet God calls him a man after His own heart. I believe one of the reasons he says this of David is because he was quick to repent whenever he faltered (2 Sam. 12:1-15).

Today, though we are under a better covenant than David was we too sin at times. However, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (give you the ability to overcome the temptation) from all unrighteousness (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 1:9). Don’t let sin come between you and the wonderful relationship you have with God. Be quick to forgive and be quick to ask for forgiveness. It is needed to continue in right relationship with God and to experience your breakthrough.

7. Don’t just call on Jesus but believe that you will see the glory of God.          —John 11:1-44

Mary & Martha called on Jesus for their breakthrough; they wanted their brother to be well again. However, as scripture points out Jesus delayed his visit for a few days and by the time he reached there Lazarus was dead. But His intention was still to restore Lazarus though dead. He encourages Martha – at her objection to have the stone removed from the tomb opening – to believe and she will see the glory of God (vs.40).

Often times we accept our sickness or problems quickly and are ready to give up. But your sickness or problem is not meant to end you but to honour God and promote His glory. (vs.4). How? When God gives you your breakthrough you will by all means praise Him and tell others what He has done for you. Ask God to show His glory in your life. Why His glory? Because the God of the breakthrough can make the impossible become possible and real to you. He can destroy the works of the enemy and bring you the breakthrough you need.

8. Step outside the norm or the status quo. Ignore what others may say.          —Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus needed a breakthrough – he wanted what he never had before – the ability to see. He was known for who he was – a blind man begging on the road side. Vision is something we take for granted but for him not being able to see meant living below standard and having to beg at the wayside in order to live. No vision was darkness over him – no work, begging all the time, being out in the scorching sun, being snubbed and ridiculed. Bartimaeus wanted more and saw the opportunity when he heard that Jesus was passing by. He was not willing to let this moment pass him by. He yelled out to Jesus until he got his attention. He ignored the naysayers and kept shouting until Jesus took notice of him. Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus … “What do you want me to do for you?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve never had before? Have you thought about how your life and those around you would be better if you could have your breakthrough? Maybe you need a clearer vision your purpose and help to get you started on that road but it’s hard to see or conceptualize and you need God’s direction. Hmm… What do you want Jesus to do for you? What breakthrough do you need from Jesus today? What is it that will get you on the path that God has ordained for you?

What are you willing to do for your breakthrough?

Will you pray and weep until your voice isn’t even heard or wrestle all night with God (pleading in desperation) to get your blessing. Maybe you need to mix your prayer with regular fasting, or make a vow to the Lord in advance of the breakthrough. For you, it may be as simple as asking God for direction or strategy or it may require boldness and faith doing to do what you’ve never done before.

Whatever the need, we all need a breakthrough – our countries, our churches, our families, and ourselves. Let’s pray to get the breakthrough coming….

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part I

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-25

What is a breakthrough?

David described his victory over the Philistines like the powerful force experienced when water breaks over the banks of a river or like a tsunami that washes away everything in its way. In honour of the Lord he renames what was once called the house of the giant (Valley of Rephaim) to the Lord Who breaks through (Baal Perazim). Where the enemy (the Philistines) thought they were strongest because they had their baals (gods) with them, God proved even stronger!

Today you don’t fight the physical war against people but a spiritual one against the enemy of our souls. We fight against the attacks of the enemy – sin, sickness, failure, lack or poverty, defeat or oppression of any kind. These problems are like the enemy’s floods that are meant to carry you away or to destroy you (Is 59:19). However, when God is the Lord of your breakthrough for you, He advances over and above the enemy’s flood. The Lord pushes back the enemy’s flood of trouble, sickness, lack, and all negativity with the flood of His blessing, goodness, love, favour and every good thing you need in life.

** God wants to give you a breakthrough in those areas of your life that the enemy appears to be the strongest.

Do you need a breakthrough?

  • Is there a need that is long overdue?
  • Have you been waiting on the Lord for a long time and nothing seems to be happening? Do you need God’s hand on your life?
  • Are you pregnant with a vision, dream or desire that seems to mock you?
  • What is your need? To be healed, to have a house of your own, to be relieved of the burden of financial debt, to have a positive income stream to help provide for your family, to see family members come to the Lord…?

Whatever the need, the Lord your God, is the Lord of Your breakthrough. The Word shows us what others have done to receive their breakthrough from God. Let’s see what you can do to receive for your breakthrough?

1. Ask the Lord what to do. Be prepared to seek the Lord.         —2 Sam. 5:17-20

David needed to fight and win the battle against the Philistines who had come after him. So David (as he often did) asked God what to do before going out to battle. He realised that he was in a better position whenever he consulted God. He not only asked what to do but he did as God directed. God gave him strategy on how best to defeat his enemies.

For you to receive your breakthrough you need to ask God and then step out in faith and in obedience to do as God said. God is the Master Strategist and has the upper-hand over the enemy, follow His leading and you will be victorious and rejoice.

2. Make a vow or commitment to do something for the Lord. —1 Sam. 1:1-20

Hannah desperately wanted a child. Being taunted by her rival about her barrenness didn’t make it easy to bear. Hannah poured her heart out to God. She wept her prayer and made a vow to the Lord to give back when she received her breakthrough. She offered to God the thing she wanted the most – a child. What a commitment!

What about you? Don’t be reserved. If you have to cry, then cry but let God know your burden and express your desire to Him (vs.10). If you are as determined as Hannah was about receiving her breakthrough, maybe you too need to make a commitment to the Lord. Is there an area in which you’ve been meaning to serve but haven’t yet? Is there something you will sacrificially vow to give to the Lord? I’ve seen friends vow their first pay check to the Lord when they needed an income stream and God blessed them. What can you vow? Make a vow to the Lord and when you receive your breakthrough be sure to follow through.

3. If you want to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before and fast your prayer.         —Esther 4:13-17

Esther fasted and prayed to save her life and those of the Jews. She did something she never did before – she risked her life for the sake of her people by going before the king uninvited. However, before she took that risk, she and her people prepared themselves – they fasted and prayed to God for three days. Why? She knew only God could touch the heart of the king and give her favour with him.

Do you need to take some risk? Do you need to mix your prayers with fasting? As Jesus said there are some situations that would need prayer and fasting to bring deliverance, to be resolved or for breakthrough to come. Examine your life and the circumstances you are experiencing? Have you tried different ways to deal with your problems but they still prevail? Consider spending time in prayer and fasting. Even a commitment to skip a meal for a season would help bring light to your situation.

Next week, I will share the second part of this message.

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

10 Ways to Grow in God’s Word

Grow in God’s Word

Reading the Bible

But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. Deuteronomy 30:14

The Bible is a wonderful gift from God to us, yet we hardly make use of it. Although we claim to be Disciples of Christ, we can find ourselves more inclined to read everything else except the Word of God or be involved other activities that occupy our time leaving us with little or no time for the word of God. But this Word is really special.

The Word of God is …

  • Alive, full of power, effective, energizing and knows the condition (thoughts and purposes) of man’s heart. Heb. 4:12
  • Everlasting. There is no time limit on it. Matt. 24:35 & Isaiah 40:8
  • Sure. God holds His Word in high regard. He stakes His integrity on it. Isaiah 55:11
  • Full of truth and life. We can live abundantly by the Word of God. John 6:63 & John 6:63 (GW)
  • To be desired more than riches and is sweeter than the sweetest thing every tasted! Furthermore, the Word rewards the one who obeys it. Psalm 19:10-11 (AMP)

The word of God is so very relevant to our present and future but yet we take light of its importance. If you need direction or guidance on anything in your life – spiritual, financial, relationships, career, health or wellness, emotional, professional – you can look in God’s word for help. There are so many ways to feed ourselves with the word that we have no excuses for not knowing what God says in about specific aspects of our lives or for not living it out daily.

  1. Read the Word daily. Read it like a book – from cover to cover – and gain insight into life through the accounts of God relating to man. I try to read it through at least once a year. If I don’t succeed the challenge of finishing it by the end of January, I try to continue until I’ve reached the end.
  2. Pray the Word. Remind God what His word (His promise) is concerning you. However, you can only do this if you know what the word says about that area of your life.
  3. Speak the Word. I am not talking about praying here but about making God’s word a part of your everyday conversation with friends, family, work colleagues, and whoever you interact with in your day.
  4. Study the Word. If you want to know how to manage your money, how to raise your child, how to related to your family and friends and about anything pertaining to your life and your relationship with God; the answers are in the word of God. You can research specific passages, people, topics, etc. You can also adopt certain methods of study like in the inductive or manuscript method and others that would help you gain a better understanding of God’s word.
  5. Teach the Word. God commands us to teach our children His word. Through family devotions and classes at church we can teach them. But of importance is to teach them through our lives – what we say and do have great impact on how they view God. Therefore we must aim to live God-honoring lives and as we do God promises that training our child in His ways will help them to remain in Him.
  6. Memorize the Word. I never really took much effort in memorizing though it is highly recommended. I realize that the more you study the Word, you will remember it and the Holy Spirit will remind you of specific scriptures when you need encouragement and guidance.
  7. Meditate on the Word. In the Hebrew language “meditate” means to speak or to mutter repeatedly. When I read and I find a scripture that stands out, I would personalize that verse or passage and speak it out. I would put it on a cue card to visualize it throughout the day or I would do further study on it and write it out in a personalize way. I recently shared Psalm 91 with you.
  8. Believe the Word. If you claim that the Bible is written by men who were inspired by God to pen this message to us, then believe it. If you choose to become a disciple of Christ, take God at His word.
  9. Share the Word. God’s word is good news that isn’t for one but for all. Share with those who believe to encourage, exhort or even reprove. Share with those who don’t believe that they might come to believe and accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
  10. Apply the Word to you. The Word is not just for the purpose of gaining knowledge but it’s meant to change man to become like Christ. The Word is like a mirror but searches deeper the surface. It shows you who you in your heart are and gives you the insight on how you can change. Let the word enter your heart and bring the life transformation your need.

Once during Bible reading month challenge this verse above (Deuteronomy 30:14) really stood out for me. As I thought about it I realized that when this was said to Israel the Word (then the Law) was read to them on occasionally. Yet God said the Word is in their mouths, and their hearts and they should live it out.

What about us today? We have access to the wonderful gift 24/7 in hard-copy form in various translations, on our cell phones, on e-readers, in CD or audio format, in DVD format, on television and there are even programs that would help you by sending reminders to read the Word. Check out: Bible Gateway, You Version, Faith Comes by Hearing, and The Word of Promise. We can read, we can listen, we can watch the Word anytime.

God promises that His word will bring you all-round and ongoing success when rightly applied (or lived out) – Joshua 1:8-9. I encourage you to intentionally spend time in the Word of God and apply the methods above to make it a part of your daily living.

How near is the Word of God to you? This week, make a plan to study specific areas of the Bible outside of your daily devotional time. It will bless your life.

 

Living Separate Lives, a novella by Paulette Harper Johnson

A good read about relationships, forgiveness and emotional healing – Living Separate Lives

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Thy Word Publishing (November 9, 2013)
***Special thanks to Paulette Harper for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?

Product Details:
List Price: $8.10
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing (November 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098996910X
ISBN-13: 978-0989969109

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“Who cares anyway if I die? I hate my life; I curse the day I was born,” said Candace as she rolled out of her twin bed to face yet another day of sheer disappointments. Her feet landed on the beige, shaggy, dirty carpet that had seen better days. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she looked around the small apartment as though she was expecting to see something different, but nothing had changed.
“Lord, can I get a break? Can something good happen in my life?” she cried as her head collapsed in her hands. She knew within herself that today would be like all the rest: gloomy, sad, and most of all, lonely. After all she had experienced in life, how could she think today would be any different?
Candace lived in a small studio apartment off of School Street in the city of Pittsburg, California, a city surrounded by the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Her apartment had enough room for only one dresser and a nightstand, which she got at the neighborhood Goodwill store.
The walls of her apartment were dirty from years of cigarette smoke that didn’t escape out of the window. Her kitchen table was made of plywood, which she covered with a red table cloth. The table was encompassed by two chairs, one for her and the other one she had hoped would be occupied by someone who genuinely wanted to be with her. The blue and cream décor in her kitchen came from visiting the neighborhood garage sales. Her neighbors knew her so well because of the frequent visits she made to their sales. Although Candace always had a roof over her head, she did not like the environment in which she lived. After looking intently at her dwelling place, she lay back on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Her thoughts shifted from her disappointing apartment to her anger about the issues she had to deal with, problems that had been with her for years, issues with her family.
Since high school, life was hard for Candace. Almost every decision she made never retuned a good dividend. The men in her life came and went, except for Derrick. He stayed the longest, but his bout with kidney failure ended whatever dreams she had of getting out of what she called the “ghetto.” Derrick was her sure ticket to a better life, she hoped. The only consolation to his memory was the pictures on the stained walls and a locket she wore around her neck.
Candace grew up with both parents and two siblings. Her sister, Monique, was three years younger than her; her brother, Zach, was two years younger. Candace always felt that she got the worse end of the stick when it came to Monique. Monique was light-skinned with long, black, wavy hair, which belonged to her, by the way. Candace’s skin tone was a few shades darker than Monique. She was short in stature; five feet, three inches tall, to be exact. She wore her hair down and straight, although it mostly contained black hair extensions, which she bought from the neighborhood beauty supply store.
Monique was the image of her mother minus a few inches of hair. She stood five feet, eleven inches with a small frame; she could have been chosen as America’s Next Top Model. But Monique decided to study law, passing the bar on her first attempt; she then started her own practice and moved it to Los Angeles. Monique and her parents could not figure out how Candace didn’t make more of herself. To them, Candace was merely existing and taking up space. They wrote Candace off years ago.
Her parents would say they didn’t show favoritism to any of their children, but let Candace tell the story; she would disagree. Candace didn’t have a great relationship with her parents, nor did she have one with her sister. She longed to connect with her mother, Vivian, even dreaming of having meaningful conversations with her, but that never materialized. Vivian grew up without love, so showing love was not something she did or knew how to do.
Nothing Candace did was ever good enough for her parents. She realized long ago that they would never validate or accept her for who she was. And that always bothered her. The only relative that Candace found solace in was her baby brother.
Zach was the comic relief in the family and the only one who tried to keep Candace from running away from home when they were teenagers. Despite what he saw from his family, he found laughter to be a source of comfort. A joke at the right time would always make Candace laugh instead of crying many days. Now that he was older, his life revolved around school, his baby, and opening up his own barber shop.
Zach had similar features like his dad. He had a body like LL Cool J, muscular in built, which required him to spend more time in the gym and less time getting into trouble. His skin tone was the same as Candace’s, and his hair was black and curly, which he kept cut low.
Their dad, Robert, didn’t care about too much except a good home-cooked meal and the wrestling matches that he saw nightly. He was content to spend his time sitting in his brown leather recliner with a blanket next to the wooden table that had enough room to hold his can of soda, the remote control, and the cordless phone.
While reminiscing about one’s family may bring happiness to others, memories of her family only angered Candace even more. The longer she lay there, the angrier she got. In order to avoid another day filled with anger, she started thinking about how much her life would change for the better if only she could win the lotto or meet a rich man. But that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, especially if she continued to linger in the bed all day like she had been doing for the last few days. Candace sighed and finally decided to climb out of bed. Maybe today would be her lucky day.
Candace made her way to the small kitchen and began fixing breakfast. Today’s meal consisted of a slice of toast and coffee. Once she finished her breakfast, she stepped into the shower and let the warm water sooth her. She grabbed a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, and headed out the door.
Outside her apartment she could hear the normal chanting from the neighborhood kids. “There she goes,” the kids began to yell. Candace was often referred to as “crazy Candi” because many times while walking to the corner store to pick up her soda, cigarettes, and a lottery ticket, they often observed her muttering to herself. Whenever they mocked her, she would turn around and yell back at them.“I ain’t crazy,” she would yell. “I know y’all think I am, but I’m not. I’m talking to God. That’s something y’all young hoodlums should think about doing sometimes.”
While walking along the street, Candace decided to do something differently. Instead of passing by the church on the way to the store, she decided to go in and pray. She made herself comfortable in one of the pews. The soft music that played inside the church made her thoughts wander to the first time she went to church.
Candace was introduced to Christ by one of her friends, Kaylan, To Candace, going to church was the last thing on her mind or on her agenda. But she figured church couldn’t be any worse than being home with people who didn’t give love or show love. “I’ll give church a try,” she said to herself. “Maybe I could find some answers to my probing questions as to why God didn’t give me a loving family and why nothing good happened to me. Maybe the church folks would love me and help me, but most importantly, pray for me,” she said to herself.
She remembered the first time she walked into New Life Christian Center on Christmas day. All the people were raising their hands, which was so foreign to her. It didn’t seem real. She was feeling something, but didn’t know exactly what to call “it” or if “it” had a name. This was one feeling she couldn’t identify.
The church décor was beautifully decorated with poinsettias placed around the stage area. For the first time in Candace’s life, she thought that maybe this was exactly the thing she needed. When she and Kaylan entered the sanctuary, the usher wanted to sit them close to the front of the church, but Candace would not have it. She leaned toward Kaylan and said, “Oh no, can’t we sit near the back? I might need to go to the restroom.” Kaylan agreed. Seating them in the front was not a good idea for more reasons than one. And Kaylan didn’t want Candace’s first visit to New Life to be her last.
Kaylan motioned to the usher, “We’d like to sit in the back, if that’s okay.” With reservations, the usher directed them to the empty seats in the back of the church. During service, the choir did not sing songs that Candace had ever heard. Luckily, the words were plastered on the screen for people like her, the un-churched. Yet the sound that came from the choir calmed her apprehension. The choir leader invited everyone to stand and join along. Kaylan turned to Candace, as she stood up to join in on the praise.
“Come on, Candace; it’s okay. Let go and let God.” Candace looked skeptical.
“Let go and let God,” Candace muttered. “What in the world does that mean?” Maybe Kaylan will educate her on the church lingo later, she thought. Candace slowly stood on her feet and joined Kaylan and all the church folks who didn’t have the same problem as her. Not feeling as comfortable as Kaylan, Candace left her arms by her side.
As the music continued, people began clapping, shouting, and running around the church. Candace’s brown eyes widened as big as saucers as she watched all this, and her focus went from the choir to the little lady doing what appeared to be some type of praise dance. All Candace could do was laugh. A nudge from Kaylan on her arm got her attention back on the choir. After thirty minutes into the singing, the Pastor emerged and took the podium. “That’s Pastor Jonathon Williams,” Kaylan proudly announced to Candace “That’s my Pastor,” she said with excitement.
“Good morning, saints. This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice,” Pastor Williams said in a baritone voice.
“Praise the Lord,” echoed the congregation to the pastor; well, everyone except for Candace.
“First, the usher wanted to seat us in the front of the church. Then they wanted us to stand. Now we get to yell back to the Pastor?” Candace whispered right before Kaylan let out a loud “Glory to God.” More claps and more shouting came, and the applauses became louder. The roar reminded Candace of a sports game when the winning team finally scored. She remembered that, but had no idea “church” was anything like that.
“Today’s text comes from John 3:16. You may be seated,” said Pastor Williams.
Candace and Kaylan exchanged glances, and Candace’s voice let out a soft “Praise the Lord.” They immediately started smiling and took their seats.
Candace’s five-inch, black stilettos were not the ideal pair of shoes to wear to church. They were cute, but being cute was not good enough. Candace didn’t realize that it took preparation to come to church, something she’d have to really consider next time.
Kaylan reached down into her purse that was located on the floor and pulled out her notebook, a Bible, and a pen— all of which Candace had none.
“You taking notes?” Candace inquired. “You didn’t tell me to bring a notebook.”
“Don’t worry. Here you go.” Kaylan quietly tore out several pieces of paper from her notebook and handed them to Candace along with a pen.
“The words will be up on the screen, or we can share my Bible,” Kaylan said as they moved closer together on the seat. In his message, Pastor Williams talked about the reason why Jesus came to the world and why people needed to be saved; in his message, he explained the real meaning of love. While Pastor was speaking, the ushers were walking around the sanctuary, offering Kleenex to those who were apparently shedding tears. Candace declined the offer. Instead, she wiped the tear from her face with the back of her hand when the Pastor began to talk about love, something she yearned for from her family and men.
“God is love, and God showed His love by given the ultimate sacrifice by sending His son, Jesus,” said the Pastor. At one point in his message, he stated, “We try to find love in all the wrong places; the void in our lives can only be filled by God’s love.”
During his message, Candace’s mind traveled back to all the times she wanted to be loved by her family, excluding Zach because he did love her. Her mind wondered about the men who had been in and out of her life. The Pastor was right; she had been looking for love in all the wrong places. Unable to stop the flow of tears, she realized the reasons why her life was in such chaos.
Loud shouts of “Amens” startled her, and brought her back from her reverie. At the end of the message, Pastor Williams gave what Kaylan called “an invitation to salvation.” Before Kaylan could ask Candace if she wanted to accept Christ, Candace was already making her way down to the altar.
Yes, it truly had been a while since Candace first felt that love and acceptance from others. After the death of Derrick, it was hard for her to see that God really loved her. But as she walked into the church this dreadful afternoon, she decided that it was finally time to make a change.

Book Reveal & Giveaway: Christians with Pervasive Issues

Christians with Pervasive Issues Even as a faithful Christian, there may be times when you feel that there is no hope of escaping issues and themes in your life that ensnare and trip you up time and time again. When a certain pattern of behavior or type of suffering has been following you all your life, it’s hard to believe that you can ever escape from it. Christians with Pervasive Issues shows us that every child of God can be delivered from issues that cause them to be a victim, rather than walking in victory. In compassionate, no-nonsense language, Annie Brown demonstrates that with genuine repentance, using God’s principles, and the right counseling/support, you can overcome anything. Christians with Pervasive Issues gives you the ray of hope you need in order to heal your life, and get closer to God.

Annie Brown is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win a copy of her book. Two winners will be chosen. Sponsored by author Annie Brown. Contest ends October 7, 2013

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A Remedy to Get to the Root of the Problem

WHAT IS NEEDED is that the people of God “must” clean out their secret compartments and confess that they need the Lord to deliver them. Confession is made unto salvation (deliverance). If we confess our faults, the Lord is faithful in forgiving us. You may ask, “Why do I have to confess if I was not responsible for what happened to me?”

The issue then becomes whether you have forgiven the person that caused me this harm. If there is no forgiveness, then you become a victim twice: a victim of circumstance, and a victim of bondage. This can be in some ways more dangerous than cancer. This will always be eating away at you. With cancer, at least you know what is going on in your body. Being a victim of circumstance and having an unforgiving heart bring torment. This torment becomes a part of you in such a way that it eats through your mind, destroys your inner peace, and puts your soul in jeopardy because it becomes a heart matter of sin.

Annie Brown, author of Christians with Pervasive Issues

Annie Brown is the mother of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and social worker. As a social worker, Annie works the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life. It is Annie’s desire that Christians work through their pervasive issues before the end of life, so that the transition between death and eternity can be smooth, and not cluttered with unresolved conflicts.

You can get a copy of Christian with Pervasive Issues at:

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Christians-with-Pervasive-Issues-ebook/dp/B005IAAPMK/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

Outskirts Press: http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432775766

Connect with Annie:

Email Address: aclara2002@yahoo.com
Publisher Website www.outskirtspress.com/christianswithpervasiveissues

Author Website: www.anniecbrown.com
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christians-with-Pervasive-Issues/333501483361141

Four Given by Malo Bel, Chance to Win a Kindle Fire

Four Given by Malo Bel – The Mystery of Godliness

Four Given by Malo Bel

Four Given by Malo Bel

My story started on a beach, a strange place for a journey to begin, but nothing compared to where it would lead me!

Near the end of a relaxing vacation I was walking by myself towards the beach showers. As I walked I was thinking about my life. Something is wrong! My life is all about what I want, what I do, what I feel. Where’s God? I suddenly felt empty, like it was all “me” and no “Jesus”. I was so shallow. So self obsessed. And so I asked him, “Lord, how do I let go of me and take in more of you? Please Lord, help me! I want to let go! I want to be filled with you.”

However, rather than an answer I got a question back – “How do you let go?”

What do you mean ‘How do you let go?’” And so for a while I pondered his question, “How do you let go?”

“Of course! It’s obvious,” I replied, “If you have to let go something you have to open your hand.”

What does it mean to open your hand?” he asked.

“I suppose an open hand is a hand that gives,” I replied. “Must my journey to you begin with giving?”

“Of course!” It suddenly hit me. “Is not giving the defining act of love? ‘God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son…’ And then like a flash God’s holy name leapt into my mind, and I looked and saw and was stunned. There at the very start of His name is the smallest of all Hebrew letters, the letter Yod (י). The very name of God, which defines Him, begins with an open hand, with the ultimate demonstration of love, with giving.

Is it a message to us, a journey we should take? I could feel the overwhelming sense of God’s presence wash over me, as I stood there lost in my communion with him. There was a discovery, a journey that God was calling me on.

However as quick as the excitement arose so too did my doubt. Was this really a path God was revealing to me or was it just the vain imaginations of my mind? “Maybe I am just imagining hearing him, imagining his answers. It’s all in my mind. Maybe….” At that exact moment my thoughts were interrupted by a voice.

“Excuse me,” she said. I turned around to find one of the girls who had been showering talking to me. “What are you thinking about?” I was blown away. Why would a complete stranger ask me what I am thinking about? How did she even know I was thinking anything and not just staring at the sea? Startled, I stammered, “Umm, I was thinking about…about a path. A path to God.” And before I knew it I was sharing everything with her, a complete stranger. I was giving voice, my voice to the silent conversation in my heart.

She listened intently, and then smiling said, “Wow. That’s deep, very deep.” And with that she turned and walked off leaving me with my doubt washed away. For no sooner had doubt crept in that God had spoken, than God made me give voice to what I had heard, with my very own mouth. No sooner had doubt crept in than a complete stranger would say about someone despairing in his shallowness, “That’s deep, very deep.”

And so began my journey, and my calling to write this story, and the beginning of many more miracles.

As someone who loves a good mystery, especially a real one, you can imagine how mind blowing it was for me to discover a mystery so important, so divine, so life changing, hidden within the very name of God! This is not some cleverly constructed fiction, something we read, enjoy and put aside. This is a map, a journey, a vital path for every single human being, encoded in the holy letters of God’s name. A journey that begins with a small open hand but that ends in a place called Eternity.

I invite you to join me on my journey to discover the very mystery of Godliness and life eternal in the most startling of ways. A journey that will leave you changed…forever.

Four Given is being showcased by the John 3:16 Marketing Network as part of their September Book Launch Event. Be sure to visit http://bit.ly/Christian_Books for a chance to win a Kindle Fire, a $25 gift card and a $10 Starbucks card, as well as purchase Four Given.

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Malo will be giving away 50% of all proceeds from sales during the book launch to a charity that works in Africa to uplift families and communities, especially the disabled and children.

To discover a mystery about Malo Bel, point any QR Code reader on a mobile phone at the QR Code alongside.

To learn more about Malo, please visit:

Website – www.malobel.com

Blog – www.malobel.com/blog – Would love you to subscribe

YouTube – www.youtube.com/4giventv – See Malo’s book trailers and the micro message ministry

Twitter – www.twitter.com/malo_bel

Google+ – http://bit.ly/malobel

 

5 Life Areas to Review with Your Finances

As the old saying goes, “Time flies”. Six months of the year 2012 is almost gone! My last post focused on the importance of living on purpose and what are some of the things you can do to live intentionally to achieve your goals. One way we can keep on track is by doing quarterly reviews. Occasionally we have to access where you are compared to where you want to be and determine or revise your plan of action to get there.

Every quarter I like to take a look at my finances to see how I am progressing. I realize that as a child of God I am accountable to Him for all the resources He has placed in my care, including money. God requires us to be good managers of everything He has blessed us with.

Usually we tend to look at our finances in a bubble without taking into account the other areas of our lives. Sometimes we approach reviewing our finances and life goals with apprehension because we feel we haven’t measured up with our expectations. However, an honest assessment of our progress will not only reveal areas for improvement but will clarify our accomplishments and victories. We need to approach this time with openness and gratitude.

Over the next week, as your take time to review your life goals consider the financial side to each of them. Sometimes we tend to make plans without making the link to our finances and may later realize that we don’t have the financial backing needed to help us accomplish our goals.

So, consider these questions when you review your life goals:

Spiritual Growth

  • Are you faithful in tithing and giving?
  • Is there a retreat or conference you want to attend this year?

More important for Christians is to plan giving. You may be the one God wants to use to help another – include a little extra into your budget for giving. Be open to the leading of the Spirit of God in this area. Also consider how you can grow spiritually and account for this in your plan.

Career & Business

  • Are you satisfied with your current career or the growth of your business?
  • Do you need to study more in your field or start a new career?
  • Are you making enough income or do you need to increase revenue?

Career and business development requires a cash outflow.  However, how much will depend on the type of career or business that you are pursuing. It is important to weight all your benefits and options before moving ahead. The key is making sure this aspect is accounted for in your finances.

Physical / Health

  • Do you exercise regularly three or more times a week?
  • When was your last physical done?
  • Do you give yourself enough personal time and care?

Keeping fit means either cost of recurring gym fees or exercise equipment if you workout at home. On the other hand, the cost may be minimal because you have a few exercise videos to help you out.

I have a friend who often says that the grocery bill cheaper than a hospital bill. How true! The price you pay for being healthy is a lot less than the price of being sick. Keep healthy has financial benefits.

Family & Relationships

  • How would you rate your relationship with your family?
  • Do you spend time developing your connection to them?
  • What are some of the best ways to connect with my family?

Spending time with your family does not have to be costly. A family night with games and snacks is great for bonding. A regular time prayer will not cost anything but afford you many spiritual blessings. Society tries to convince us that we need expensive electronics and extensive vacations to have family time. I aim for simple yet effective ways to keep my family strong. Ask the Lord what’s best for your family.

Personal Development

  • Do you read as your personal growth plan?
  • Are you taking courses to increase your knowledge outside your career aspirations?

I am a reader of mainly non-fiction material usually on finances, success, and leadership and of course, Christian living. I factor books into my budget. E-books have proved to be more cost-effective but I occasionally I like to have to feel of a printed book in my hand. Apart from that, I also consider seminars or courses which will cost more than books.

I have not exhausted all the core life areas but hope you find this a helpful start. If you can see some level of success or growth – applaud yourself and keep moving forward. If you find that there are some areas where you are not progressing as you would like – don’t beat yourself up. Find out what’s lacking and why, ask God for direction and then make a plan and start with small steps to success.

For your benefit, I challenge you take some time to review your goals including your finances and align them. You may be surprised by what you have accomplished so far.

Share with us what you have accomplished to date since the start of 2012.