Loud and wrong

I remember in school, there was almost always one student who would shout out answers without raising their hand. Sometimes they’d actually be right, but other times they were wrong and my teacher would say “Look at you, loud and wrong!”. We used to laugh at that student, assuming they were embarrassed for having had so much confidence, only to be wrong. But in actuality, they were in the perfect place to be wrong. The questions asked by the teacher were meant to gauge our understanding, therefore that student’s wrong answer let the teacher know she might need to go back and reteach the skill. That was the best time for the student to attempt to answer the question because it was at that moment that he could receive the help he needed, in order to master the skill being taught.

Spiritually, instead of being like that student who called out without raising his hand, sometimes we are the student who doesn’t really get it but says nothing. We struggle silently, then get to the test and bomb it because we never asked for help. Turns out though, God would rather for us to be loud and wrong.

“For we do not have a high priest who can not sympathize with our weaknesses but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” -Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB

In order to become a teacher, the teacher first had to be a student and learn. Most likely, their academic journey wasn’t easy nor perfect. At some point, they probably gave the wrong answer or didn’t understand what they were learning. They’ve “walked a mile” in student shoes before. Jesus is our teacher, but before he was promoted to that, he had to walk out this life. He had the opportunity to experience all that we would ever face. He is well versed on trial and temptation; He gets it. Since we know He understands,  it should be easier for us to go to Him and ask for help. He has the answer to every problem and test. Not only that, but He has taken all the tests and passed them!

So why loud and wrong?

The thing is, God doesn’t expect us to have it all together or even know it all. In fact, the whole idea is for us to depend on him completely. Because God knows about the temptation and trials we face daily, He’s already calculated that we would mess up, that’s why He went ahead and covered our sins by Jesus’s crucifixion. Knowing the provision that has been made already, we should come to him boldly or with confidence and without shame. Don’t be ashamed that you’re battling something you thought you were delivered from, don’t be ashamed that you fell after you told God you were done, don’t even be ashamed that it took you so long to come to Him.  J U S T  C O M E. The throne of grace is not for your perfect moments. It’s especially designed for your moments of weakness; when you need help.

The student didn’t know he was wrong until the teacher brought it to his attention. He would have never known if he had kept his mouth closed. You should know that the throne of grace is a safe place for you. Get the help you need and be confident about it.When you do or say something that ends up being wrong, don’t hang your head. Go to your Father and say something like: “I thought this was okay, but I realize it was wrong. I repent God, help me. Show me what I need to do so that I can pass this test.”

There is a place for the righteous. 

Lately I’ve been seeking out more understanding on God’s protection. To be honest, I’ve realized that there have been times when I’ve felt unprotected by God and I didn’t understand why because I know based on His word that one of his many attributes is protection. Today I was reminded of Proverbs  18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run in and are safe”. I’ve heard this scripture so many times in  prayer and even in exhortation, but I needed a deeper understanding, so that I could stand on this promise and “know for myself”. Well, in my study I looked up the Hebrew meaning of some of the words and got the revelation I needed.

 First I searched the word name. In Hebrew, one of the definitions was reputation, which got me immediately. Reputation is everything in society and even in the business world. If you have a bad name in the streets and the word gets out, soon, no one will trust you or give you even the slightest chance. But if God’s reputation is a strong tower that means that you can trust in His track record, even if someone has been keeping track.  God has street cred. That part!  

That also means what we tell each other about God is key. Your testimony of God’s protection just may be what someone needs to hear to know they too are being protected by God.

The other word that changed my life is the Hebrew  translation of safe. When I think of safe, the most basic definition is ‘out of harms way’ or protected. But in Hebrew, safe translates to being inaccessibly high! Now if I had used my context clues, I should have been able to figure that, considering that His name is a strong TOWER (and I’ve never seen a short tower before). But knowing now that being safe itself means to be in a high place is so reassuring. And to be inaccessible just puts the cherry on top. Just think about it, you can be in a house with the door locked but that still doesn’t make you inaccessible because there are still ways to reach you. Inaccessibility speaks to the level of protection in the name of God. Abiding in God keeps you safe and inaccessible to the enemy. In other words, the weapon will form but it won’t prosper. Things that would usually take you out won’t even get near you! Blessed assurance! 

These are perilous times, as the old folks say. We are indeed living in the last days, but I encourage you to make sure you are counted among the righteous, for they are the ones who find themselves in the high place of protection. You can’t earn righteousness though, it is afforded to us by Christ’s sacrifice. Believe in His crucifixion and resurrection for you and receive His protection. Repent of your wrong doing and commit to living  a new life in Him! 

I hope to see you in the high place! 

Kiana

Father’s Day Came Early This Year

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Father’s day is this  Sunday June 19th, however on Sunday June 12th, I got a message from God about my father. My father passed in 2009, a week after my high school graduation. We were extremely close, so needless to say, I was devastated. While he was alive, my father had answered the call to ministry and he had been going through the process to become a pastor. Life happened and he was unable to complete the work God had put on his heart. After talking with my friend about it, we concluded that my father hit a glass ceiling because of some requirements of the religious organization he was apart of, which discouraged him and ultimately hindered his ability to fulfill his purpose. So in service on Sunday, God began to lay on my heart how he has been positioning and equipping me to continue my father’s legacy.

I felt that God was telling me to pick up where my father left off. Obviously God has endowed me with a unique set of gifts, but since there is no male nor female in Christ, I believe my inheritance and birthright is the mantle my father once carried. I am commissioned to continue the work and it is a privilege.  We learned about the 7 blessings of passover at my church and one of them was Divine Birthright. Initially, I didn’t think it applied to me because I thought it had to do with the first male child. Since I’m an only child I still wasn’t sure how it worked. Additionally, since my father had passed so long ago, I wasn’t really sure what there was for me to inherit spiritually.

I will admit, God had to change my mind about generational callings. I had heard and seen so many people feel pressured into ministry because of the family legacy, that I had doubted that the calling of God was passed generationally. I still don’t believe that God wants us to feel obligated to do things in His name. He wants us to desire to do it out of our love for Him. You can’t make the exception the rule, so although some people were reluctant to follow in their father’s footsteps, I’ve realized that God indeed moves generationally. Lineage was a big deal in the Bible. Now that I have this understanding, I can better receive what God had been wanting to give me all along.

It is so cool to be about my Father’s business in relation to my earthly father. It’s touching to have a lasting memory of him, remembering his love for God and people. Instead of buying a gift for my father on Father’s day, God gave me a gift in the form of a reminder that I carry my father’s legacy of service and ministry.

The Effects of Boredom

From my experience as a school teacher,  there’s always a student or two who is always causing trouble during class. Sometimes that student is actually one of the smartest in the class. What happens is they finish their work quickly and find a way to entertain themselves. Unfortunately they’re usually found being distracting and bothering other students. I’ve learned to always be prepared with a little extra because you have to keep those students busy.

It appears that some local assemblies have reached a place where there are not enough assignments being handed out. There’s only room for those who have already been ordained or those who can do service related duties on Sunday morning. Sunday morning service can be very powerful and life changing but when too much energy is put into the mechanics of it, it loses its substance and focus. If what’s going on INSIDE the church is the biggest focus, we’ve already placed ourselves in a bad position concerning our work on the great commission. I would like to submit that the saints have become like the students in the opening paragraph: BORED.

There are many parts to this dilemma and I will try to discuss them all briefly.

  1. Teaching

The sermons we hear seem to be getting further away from the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus. We have so much to say about what God has promised us, where we’re going in life and everything else that seems to benefit us or what everyone is doing wrong without providing solutions. We don’t spend enough time discussing the benefits of a relationship with God, how to serve our community by walking in the supernatural authority of Christ and other matters of the Spirit. We’re not challenged to live better because we don’t recognize or aren’t made aware  of the mandate outside of the church.

2. Assignments

Nowadays assignments are considered to be preaching engagements or leadership positions over church ministries. Of course, those tasks are reserved for a select group of people. The clerical offices are revered, however there is something for all to do, title or not. Or if we acknowledge a person or environment in our life as an assignment, we complain about the difficulty of it and want out before the person/ people even receive what you were there to deposit. A more inclusive Christian lifestyle would commission all who are saved to go out and witness to who ever they encounter.

3. Misuse/Misunderstanding of Spiritual tools

The day of Pentecost was the day when the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and empowered them to go out and spread the Gospel. He gave them strength to endure the persecution they would face while telling people about Jesus and working miracles in places where it was not accepted. We are not properly using the tools given to us by God. Heavenly Tongues is evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit but we rarely use Holy Spirit for his guidance and instruction. The truth is, our assignment is to exemplify God every place we go and to the people we encounter. We should get to a place where our very presence changes people and draws them closer to Jesus, much like the healing in Peter’s shadow.

4. Responsibility and Accountability

It is debatable whether or not giving a responsibility to a person will keep them accountable to the character they should have. But from a different perspective, it seems that the bored saints are living below standard because of their perceived insignificance. If we realized the impact that could be made by us being led by the Spirit in all we do, perhaps we would have more of a hunger and desire to be more like God. But because evil gets more attention than good works, conforming to Christ is a much slower and less sought after process. It is indeed our sole purpose in life. Responsibility does bring pressure but with the strength of God, you can endure and be successful. We ought not shy away from the high calling because of what it costs us. We are instructed to deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow Jesus.

It makes no sense for us to continue to disregard the fact that there is a harvest that is ready to be gathered as if we have something more important to do. The assembly of the saints should be a refilling station, but can only operate as that after the saints have gone and poured out what they were given. No need to fill a tank that is already full. It’s time that we stop wasting our gas driving around the gas station parking lot and use our gas for something more rewarding throughout our city.

If you find yourself bored, just think about ways that you can display the fruits of the spirit in all areas of your life. It’s sounds simple but it is the mission and God will be glorified as you continue to reflect more of his attributes.

 

God’s Desire to Be With Us

God desires to be with us so much so that when Jesus went to heaven to He still made sure a part of himself was with us (Holy Spirit). The whole point of His death on the cross was to restore the relationship and communication line between us and Him. Although He planned for us to come spend eternity with Him, it wasn’t enough, He couldn’t wait. We spend our life learning of Him, with Him showing His benefits and courting us, to prepare us for the ultimate marriage with Him.

Simplicity

God created life to be simple. Everything is supposed to be within reach. Since God is the one with the ability to provide all and do all, our only responsibility is to be close to Him and He will give all we in its time. He knows what and when we need something. Adam and Eve didn’t need faith because God took care of everything, but once they stepped out of pure and complete reliance on God, they were introduced to a new way of life; life without God. A harder way of life. Now we battle with the understanding of God’s place in our life.We know who He is according to His word but we don’t completely believe it right away, because our minds also understand the other possible outcome of each life situation (Knowledge of good and evil.) Now life is difficult and things don’t come as easily as they could. We have to fight and deny ourselves just for our minds to get to the place to believe God can do something simple, that He wants us to have anyway.

The Weight of Your Request

There are a lot of nice things to see and have in this world. Some things we may never see or experience in a lifetime, because of financial limitations. For that reason, many people spend their life wishing, hoping and sometimes praying for God to “bless” them with an abundance of money. I won’t deny that it would be great for nothing to be out of my reach financially, there would be nothing I’d have to deny myself. But there is one thing I don’t think we consider immediately, and that is the weight of that request.
There is a story in the Bible about a rich ruler who sees Jesus and decides to find out what it takes to have eternal life. Jesus gives him the run down of the commandments he should keep and the ruler says “Well, I’ve been doing that, what else?” Then Jesus tells him to give away everything he owns to the poor and that he’ll get a reward for it in heaven. The ruler didn’t respond, he just went away sad knowing that he had a lot of possessions. After that Jesus says “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:16-23, paraphrased)
So when your desire is to be wealthy, you must realize the risk you run of not making it to heaven. That’s seems kind of extreme, but it’s really that serious. Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
There are countless other scriptures in the Bible pertaining to money, which further supports how big of a deal it is to ask for and have a large amount of it. The thing is that like I stated before, in this world money can get you everything you want. And on the flip side, many think that they can’t get what they want without it. Because of the “liberty” and access that large amounts of money makes available, it is easy to fall into trusting and hoping in money over trusting and hoping in God. He refuses to be replaced and second to anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that anyone should desire to be poor, because God definitely is not. The earth belongs to him and everything in it too, and since we belong to Him, we can have access to His possessions, therefore, we need not worry about being taken care of. But what I am saying is that if you are praying a prayer to be wealthy, also ask for an extremely close relationship with God. If you’re in your right mind, you wouldn’t want to “ball out” on earth and have everything your heart desired, if you knew that once this life was over, you’d be burning for an eternity. Eternity is forever, which can’t be calculated. It just continues and you never die. So, is having a bunch of stuff, that you’ll leave here when you die, worth having only to suffer for a very long time? I would hope your answer is no. It isn’t worth it at all. Of course God wants us to enjoy his creation and see everything he made for our enjoyment, but at some point your desire has to match His, which means that if He gives you a large amount of money, you would feel moved to donate it or use it to be a blessing to someone who does not have. Like I mentioned before, money gives you access to things, so why not share your access with someone who needs it, instead of using it to please and serve only yourself.

Don’t get caught up in the things of this world. If you aren’t careful, they will snatch you from your eternal destiny, which is heaven and what God has in mind for us all. He doesn’t want to send us away, He wants us to return to and remain in Him. So if you feel God has called you to steward a lot of money in your lifetime, stay in constant communion with Him. Hear what He would have you to do with the money and always be willing to give. I am so glad God knows what’s best for us and He saves us from our naive and mindless desires which could lead us away from Him.

Focus on a strong and close relationship with God, so that you are prepared to handle the great wealth He will give you. You don’t want to be dragged away by your youthful lusts and be found displeasing to God because of your love for money.

What Happened to you?

 

Today I watched “God’s Not Dead” which inspired the title of this post and it’s content. Without spoiling the movie for you , basically a Christian meets a wholehearted atheist who tries to persuade others that God is dead. This Christian takes the challenge of standing up for God. In one of their last debates, the Christian asks the atheist what happened to him. Then it is revealed that when the athiest was five, his mother died of cancer, after him having plead God to heal her. He said that a God that would allow that to happen is not worth believing in. Although that is not everyone’s case or circumstance, many times there is that one situation that has hindered one’s growth in Christ. We can’t always find reason for the bad stuff we experience, especially when it’s still fresh and God has not yet shown a deeper purpose for it. While this may be the case, it was never God’s intention to drive us away from Him when these things happen. His desire is for us to run to Him for comfort in those times.

Just because God allowed it does not mean He doesn’t care about you or the situation. What we need is a greater understanding of God’s ways. James 1:5 says that if any man lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. The dictionary describes Wisdom as ‘knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action’. Religion tells us “Don’t question God.” Yet we find ourselves wanting to understand and having a broken relationship with the Lord because we’ve basically been told we don’t have the right to ask God what’s really going on. The Bible tells us we can ask AND that God finds no fault in us asking. If you can be open enough to receive God’s explanation for your situation, you’ll be better. God’s intent is to draw us nearer to Him when things happen. He wants us to realize that HE is our source of strength, peace, love, etc.

I encourage you to be honest with God. Tell him how life situations have hurt you. I pray that you believe that He is for you and not against you so that you may receive healing and closure from Him.

Character

God just showed me how quickly character can be destroyed.

We just had an amazing Bible Study that ended with an intimate moment of worship. I’m known for getting lost in worship at the drop of a dime and it definitely happened tonight. Usually after those moments I’m a bit vulnerable and sensitive. When Bible Study was over, I had to take a friend home but I couldn’t find him. When I finally found him, he said he had forgotten that he had to ride with me, so he apologized. I said no problem, I was about to leave but then I saw his stuff in the car. So as we walk toward the car he apologized again and I said “Just stop! Drop it.” This attitude came out of no where and the hallway is silent. The car ride was very tense. Then I realized, it was my fault. So i ask him if he’s ok and then he reveals he was offended by how I shut down his apology in the hallway. My explanation was that after I have a moment with God I tend to be sensitive and I just didn’t need him to continue to apologize. I said I didn’t know why I responded so strongly but I’m working on it.

First, I cannot blame my rude remark on my sensitivity from a worship experience. If anything that should be the moment I express love in its purest form. Love is what I should be exuding after a moment like that. I think we get caught up in deep stuff and miss the simplicity of situations. No matter how deep you go in worship, you’re still human and you’re going to mess up. Don’t blame that on the holy spirit though because he did not prompt you to be rude or to ignore someone. He is the helper and he helps us make good choices even when we are vulnerable. We just have to be aware of the practical use of His voice and direction.

I told this story to say that we can talk and counsel people all day but we must be accountable for all moments. Your voice of reason could be discredited because of the way you responded to someone in “the heat of the moment”. Granted, you won’t always choose the right words or react perfectly for the given situation, however it’s important to clean up our mess and not put it on God when we misjudge. At the end of the day we don’t want to lose our credibility as ambassadors for Christ. It can happen so fast but it takes a while to recover if it is not handled correctly.

God Restores Purity: Here’s How I Know

Yesterday I watched the movie Holy Ghost which is a documentary of some guys going around the world and being used to expose people to the power of the Holy Spirit. There’s a part where they go to India and one of the guys sings about Jesus and plays the guitar. Most of the people didn’t understand what he was singing (language barrier), but they felt something in their hearts, they started to smile. The missionary then explained to them that they were experiencing the Holy Spirit. I reflected on that moment and it took me back. When I was younger, I would lead songs in the choir. Once I remember my mom telling me that when I sing, she felt something good and she couldn’t really find the words to describe it. I just thought the feeling was her being a proud mother. Now that I think about it, she probably was feeling the presence of God. As a young girl, my worship was pure. I loved God as much as I knew how to and I loved to give my gift to him (sing).

Although I remained in church throughout my teenage and young adult years, I have done some things that have tainted my purity. I’ve had sex with several guys who weren’t my husband. I’ve gone places where God is not glorified. I’ve said and done many things that did not represent God. I continued to sing through my sin and by the mercy of God alone I lived through that part of my life.

One day God changed me. I had the power to leave those things that brought shame to my relationship with God. And guess what? When I lead praise and worship almost a year ago, someone told me my worship was pure and that I shouldn’t lose it. I’ve been through a lot and the journey of restored purity has not been easy but it’s worth fighting for and it’s available to you.

I encourage you to pray this prayer:
God I thank you for restoring my purity. Thank you for taking away my shame and guilt when you died on the cross. I am no longer bound by the life I once lived, no matter how long I lived it. I ask that you remove all things that taint my purity and connection with you and that you fill me with your Holy Spirit. Fill every void that may try to appear because of this new life. I will be satisfied and experience joy because of my restored purity. Thank you so much God for giving me the power to live holy and please you! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.