WHY WE NEED CHURCH GATHERINGS

Since more people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control guidelines have been relaxed, and now the masks can come off. That means that we can get back in church! Hallelujah!

God used online streaming for His glory. Many churches relayed that they reached more people through live stream than they would have through the in-house church service. That is awesome, but it’s so wonderful to be able to get back to the house of God because Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” So even though we had to forsake the assembling of ourselves together for a time, the Lord still wants us to meet together on a regular basis as believers for the following reasons:

  1. God says so. Hebrews 10:25 specifically says that we should not give up meeting together, and that exhortation is definitely relevant for us today. This verse unequivocally reveals that God Himself wants believers to meet together regularly.
  2. To spur one another on toward love and good deeds and encourage one another. That’s what Hebrews 10:24 relays. When we assemble together, that’s an opportunity for us to ignite a fire in one another to become more Christ-like.
  3. We can be kept accountable to live the Christian life. When we meet together, we create opportunities for us to connect, share what is going on in our lives, and keep each other accountable so that we can run our best race and be our best for Christ.
  4. There is a corporate anointing that you can’t get at home alone. Each Sunday you participate in praise and worship in church, you get the benefit of being saturated in the corporate anointing that is available to you to break chains of bondage off your life.
  5. God has ordained that some things will be revealed to you only through the man or woman of God. Some things you will not be able to get on your own, and that is why God put pastors over us to be shepherds of our souls.
  6. When we interact with one another and have to apply the Word to keep unity alive, we grow. When we have to connect with one another, work to keep the peace, and get over offenses, we grow and mature spiritually in a way that cannot happen in isolation.
  7. We can use the gifts and talents God gave us to bless others. Somebody needs what you have. Somebody needs your wisdom, your skill, your words of encouragement. You can be a blessing.

Beloved, of course, attending church is not necessary for us to be saved, and sometimes we can’t avoid missing church. God knows our heart. However, church attendance is necessary for us to become our best selves. When we meet, that’s our opportunity to be encouraged, edified, and held accountable by our brothers and sisters in Christ. Furthermore, when we become our best selves individually, we become the best body of Christ we can be, and we can maximize our impact in this world for Christ. Let’s not forget the assembling of ourselves together so that we can bless one another and continue to prepare for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are your thoughts about our need to assemble ourselves together regularly as believers? Please leave a comment below.

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born into this world to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

DON’T ABORT YOUR FAITH!

I pray that you and yours are wonderfully blessed and the fruit of the Spirit is flourishing in your life. I trust that you are safe and sound, and I pray that no plague will come near your dwelling. We are in covenant with the living God according to Psalm 91, and we can trust Him to be our protector and defender! Amen?

The other day I was on my way to the Salvation Army Thrift Store to drop off some items. I called ahead to see when they would close, and the attendant told me the store closed at 4:30 PM. It was 3:55 PM when I got off the phone, so I knew I had to move fast. I wanted that stuff out of my car, so I prayed and asked God to help me get there on time. Wouldn’t you know that traffic was horrendous! I told myself, “I’m not gonna make it.” So I decided to try to drop the load off at another thrift store that was half the distance away. I was in the wrong lane, so I put on my turn signal and tried to get over. However, the car in the lane next to me REFUSED TO LET ME OVER! I missed the turn and had to keep going. When I got to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, my original destination, I had three minutes to spare. Whew! I let out a sigh of relief, dropped off the items, and went on about my business.

Later when I got home, God had a discussion with me. He told me He was the One that didn’t allow me to move over to the next lane. I had asked Him for help to get to my destination on time, and He boxed me in and kept me from turning so He could teach me something. He kept me from aborting my faith for the following reasons:

  1. God wanted to care for me as any good Father would, and when I aborted my faith in the middle of the trial because it didn’t look like He would come through, I set myself up to rob Him of the opportunity to care for me. I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.”
  2. By aborting my faith, I was also going to rob Him of the opportunity to control circumstances and display His power. God wants to make Himself real to us even though we can’t physically see him. By using our faith and seeing Him move in the physical realm, He makes Himself all the more tangible.
  3. When we abort our faith, we rob God of the opportunity to build faith and trust in Him, and foster intimacy in our relationship. Faith comes by hearing, but it also comes by experience. When you hang on to your faith, you give God a chance to help you strengthen it when you see what you are believing for come to pass.

Saints, it’s important for us to exercise our faith. When I wanted to go to that other thrift store because I didn’t think my prayer would be answered, it was like I settled for second best. When you pray and ask God for something, and you feel you have gotten a Word from God, even if it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, don’t settle. Don’t abort your faith! Don’t throw in the towel! If you are going through a difficult time right now, I challenge you to hold on to your faith until you see victory. It’s important to your spiritual growth that you don’t “jump ship” or “bail out” in the middle of your trial. If you will just hold fast to your profession of faith, you will see God show out and prove Himself to be exactly Who He says He is.

Are you struggling to hang on to your faith? What have you done in the past to help your to help you to overcome? Please leave a comment below.

MOTHER’S DAY IS MAY 9TH!
If you are looking for a great Mother’s Day Gift, please consider my poetic devotional, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. The book is filled with power-packed entries designed to hydrate, nourish, encourage and inspire. Click here to order your copy today! 

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

NO CONDEMNATION

Peace and blessings to you! Today I want to talk about one of the main tools that Satan uses against God’s people: CONDEMNATION. Let’s face it, Saints. None of us is perfect. When we fail, the Holy Spirit will convict us and let us know that our behavior or speech does not line up with the Word of God. However, our failures also create an open door for the enemy to bombard us with condemnation, or negative thoughts injected into our minds designed to bring us down spiritually and emotionally and destroy our identity in Christ. Therefore, this devastating issue must be controlled and eliminated from our lives, which is no easy task. So how do we deal with condemnation when it arises?

  1. Remember that we have been made righteous through the blood of Jesus. Romans 8:1 says there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” No matter what we do or don’t do, God wants us to recognize we have permission to feel good about ourselves because HE DOES. Therefore, we need to prepare for those inevitable times when we do fail by making sure we declare that we are the righteousness of God BEFORE we fail. We need to say it to ourselves as often as possible because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
  2. Recognize when we accept the condemnation of the enemy, we are attempting to punish ourselves for our fallibility. In the GOD’S WORD® translation of Galatians 1:4 we read, “In order to free us from this present evil world, Christ took the punishment for our sins, because that was what our God and Father wanted.” In other words, God does not want you to punish yourself for your own sins. That’s why He sent Jesus. Therefore, if we punish ourselves and accept the enemy’s condemnation, we are trying to be our own savior, and that’s called IDOLATRY. As the song says, JESUS PAID IT ALL. Therefore, if you are engaging in self-punishment in your attempt to be SELF-righteous, it’s time to STOP IT.
  3. Use praise and worship as a spiritual weapon against the enemy. God gave King Jehoshaphat the strange battle strategy of putting the worshippers out in front of the army (2 Chronicle 20). As the worshippers sang, the three armies coming against the Israelites became confused and started fighting each other. In the same way, when we sing worship songs to God, we confuse the enemy. Furthermore, we can’t sing to God and think condemning thoughts at the same time. That’s why praise coupled with worship through song is such a powerful weapon. So when you are hit with condemnation by the enemy, declare you are righteous and keep on singing until the condemning thoughts and feelings subside.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God has separated sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and He also wants condemnation separated from you as far as the east is from the west. He has too much for you to do, and the anointing is shut down in your life when you allow Satan’s condemnation to get the best of you. Therefore, if you want to fulfill the purpose and plan of God for your life, as Joyce Meyer would say, “Climb out of the pit and skip the guilt trip.”

Have you battled with condemnation? What strategy has worked for you? Please leave a comment below.

MOTHER’S DAY IS MAY 9TH!
If you are looking for a great Mother’s Day Gift, please consider my poetic devotional, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. The book is filled with power-packed entries designed to hydrate, nourish, encourage and inspire. Click here to order your copy today! 

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

OVERCOMING OVERWHELM

OVERCOMING OVERWHELM

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Today I want to talk about how to overcome overwhelm. Have you ever felt overwhelmed? The definition of overwhelm is “to bury or drown beneath a huge mass.” Maybe you are facing a situation right now where you feel like you are buried, drowning, or about to burn up in the fiery furnace of affliction. It may appear that there is no way you can get the victory. But in Isaiah 42:1-3, God’s got a word for you:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


The first thing God says is, ” DO NOT FEAR.” Overwhelm, or the belief that the situation we face will drown, bury, or consume us, is a form of fear. Fear of not being able to overcome. Fear of the condemnation that is sure to follow when we fail to overcome. Fear of the confirmation of our own inadequacy. Our fear is fueled by the thoughts we think, and that is what is at the root of overwhelm. So how do we overcome overwhelm? 

  1. Make a decree. My pastor said we need to say out loud, “I am not getting overwhelmed.” Job 22:28 says, “You shall decree a thing and it shall be established for you.” Stand your ground and make your decree!  Mark 11:23 says, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
  2. Take authority over the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us the spirit of fear. So since Luke 10:19 says we have power over the enemy, we need to take authority over the spirit of fear that is behind the overwhelm. Resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7).
  3. Identify and get control of the thoughts that are fueling the overwhelm. Some of those thoughts that we may not be aware of include: “I am in this by myself,” or “This is way more than I can handle.” We need to remember to factor God into the equation. Tell yourself you are not alone, God is with you, and decree that you can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). God promised to never give you more than you can handle (I Corinthians 10:13).
  4. Surrender the responsibility for all outcomes to God. Your responsibility is to follow God’s instructions to the best of your ability. God’s responsibility is to accomplish His will through you as you obey. As Charles Stanley always says, “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”

Beloved, you don’t have to let your situation drown or bury you. Be willing to acknowledge that if it never gets done, when it’s all said and done, you are still the righteousness of God in Christ. When you know who you are in Christ, you know that regardless of the outcome, your identity in Christ does not change. Your value and worth are never at stake no matter what the outcome. Therefore, refuse to let the spirit of overwhelm go unchecked when it rears its ugly head. Again, you CAN overcome overwhelm when you recognize that the Almighty God of the universe is with you.

How have you handled overwhelm in the past? Please leave a comment below.

Image courtesy of koratmember via freedigitalphotos.net

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born into this world to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

FRUITLESS EFFORTS

Peace and blessings to you! I don’t know about you, but I hate expending effort and not getting fruit for my labor. Have you ever put a lot of time and effort not something and then got nothing in return? Like the time I had spent a lot of time on a writing project and then because I was tired, I ended up accidentally deleting it. Don’t you hate that? I had to start all over! My efforts were fruitless!

But you know, there are some things in our spiritual life that we do that bear absolutely no fruit as well. Here are some examples:

  1. Worrying. Worrying is simply trying to figure out a solution to something that apparently has no solution. If there was a solution, you would have taken action. But since there is no solution, you roll the problem over and over in your mind in an attempt to solve a problem only God can solve. When we find ourselves in a state of worry, that’s our cue to shift into Philippians 4:6-7 mode (prayer, petition, and thanksgiving).
  2. Complaining. Complaining about situations (also known as murmuring) will not change your situation one iota. In fact, you are opening the door for the enemy to come in and wreak havoc. For example, when the Israelites complained, they were bitten by snakes (Numbers 21). Furthermore, all we do is call forth more of what we already have. I’m not sure who said this, but instead of calling those things that are not as though they are, we are effectively calling those things that are as though they will remain.
  3. Engaging in Works of the Flesh. Works of the flesh are activities that we do that are not Spirit-led. Jesus said in John 15:5, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” When we take matters into our own hands, fail to consult God, and take presumptuous actions with the false belief that we know exactly what to do, we are not abiding in the vine, and we are engaged in works of the flesh.  But when it’s all said and done, we will find that works of the flesh bear absolutely no fruit at all.
  4. Trying to change other people.  This is truly a fruitless effort because, unfortunately, people don’t change just because you want them to. Only the Holy Spirit can change people. So why not just shift to a mode of doing what you need to do to take care of yourself, make yourself comfortable, and maintain your peace in a difficult situation? But never try to change them because that is truly a waste of time.

Are you engaging in any of these fruitless activities? If so, why keep wasting time and effort doing things that don’t bear fruit? Instead of worrying, let’s trust God. Instead of complaining, let’s express our gratitude for what God has done. Instead of hauling off and doing what we think is best, let’s consult God, and do only what the Holy Spirit directs us to do. Instead of trying to change people, let’s accept them and pray for the Holy Spirit to change them or change us. Only then will we bear much fruit and stop letting Satan get the best of us.

What is your experience with participating in fruitless activities? Please leave a comment below.

Image above courtesy of Garryn H. via Freeimages.com

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born into this world to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

THE ART OF ACCEPTING PEOPLE AS THEY ARE

Lately, God has been impressing upon my heart the importance of accepting people as they are. Have you ever confronted someone in a relationship about certain behaviors that you didn’t appreciate, and the person was not willing to change? Perhaps YOU ended up being viewed as the problem. When that happens, what can you do? If we want to avoid perpetual frustration, we have to learn the lesson of accepting people as they are. No, that does not mean we become human doormats. But let’s take a look at what acceptance actually looks like:

  1. We stop talking about the issue and pray. If you have talked and talked in an effort to get a person to change, and talking hasn’t worked, this is the first and most important step. Therefore, it’s time to stop talking and ask the Holy Spirit to change the individual OR to change you. Sometimes the Spirit will convict or arrest the object of your conflict. However, sometimes He wants you to change and come up higher so that the behavior or speech no longer bothers you, and you can stay at peace. Furthermore, if the person is indeed wrong, know that God sees it and promises to be your vindicator in the end (Hebrews 10:30) if you will trust Him.
  2. We actively seek to adopt a new mindset.  We need to make sure we are continuously renewing our mind with the Word in an attempt to get firmly rooted and grounded in our identity in Christ. That’s like putting on spiritual armor. Also, what would happen if we attempted to focus our thoughts on what experiences in the person’s past may be fueling the behavior? Perhaps compassion would well up in our hearts. Furthermore, as Don Miguel Ruiz relayed in his book The Four Agreements, we must realize that people do what they do because of what’s going on inside of them and refuse to take it personally. Many times, as Jesus said, “They know not what they do.” Sometimes, I go online and enter my topic of struggle in the Google search engine to glean how others are handling or thinking about the same situation. The point is this: if we can think differently about our plight when the devil attempts to work through people, we can stay peaceful.
  3. We set boundaries. When we set boundaries, we shift our efforts toward limiting the impact of people’s unpleasant behavior on our lives. Setting boundaries may take many forms. For example, there are some subjects I refuse to discuss with certain people in my life so I can maintain my sanity. Therefore, a boundary can be set by planning ahead of time how we will respond in the future versus reacting. Maybe we need to emotionally guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and spend less time with them. Sometimes, depending upon the offense, setting a boundary means making the quality decision to give yourself the gift of walking away. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to set appropriate boundaries so that you can block the enemy’s attempt to steal your peace and joy.  

The bottom line is this, brothers and sisters: We have to get to the place where we refuse to try to change anyone. When we try to do the Holy Spirit’s job, He is grieved, we have made an idol out of ourselves, and we effectively block Him from changing that person. Surely, we can lovingly confront a person as the Bible says in Matthew 18:15, but if our complaint is dismissed with a person’s refusal to change, accepting reality means we don’t keep talking about it. Why? Because they can’t hear us and the Holy Spirit, the Agent of Change, at the same time. Remember, the Bible says, and as far as it lies within you, be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). So the best thing we can do is to shift to a mode of self-care and self-comfort. Let’s make keeping offense out of our hearts and maintaining our peace our highest goal while God is working.

Have you been in a conflict with a loved one lately? What do you feel you need to do differently?

Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles via Freedigitalphotos.com

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born into this world to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

Tracey L. Moore (a.k.a. The Purposeful Poet) is a poet, author and speaker whose goal is to challenge you to be your best for Christ. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University and is an Associate Minister at Chesapeake Christian Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. Learn more about Tracey at http://www.TraceyLMoore.com.

LOVING GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH

Deuteronomy 6:5 says, Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. What does that mean? “All your heart” means spiritually. Those that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). “All your soul” means mentally. If you keep your mind on God, He will keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:23). “All your strength” means physically, and refers to your body. The Bible tells us to honor God with our body (I Corinthians 6:20). That’s what it means to love God with everything we have.

As I meditated on our need to love God with all of our strength, I began to think about how our love for Him is more than just the emotional high we feel during worship, but it’s about taking action. So how do we love God with all our strength in tangible ways? We do that by taking the following ACTIONS:

  1. Keep His commandments. Jesus says point-blank in John 14:15, ”If you love me keep my commandments.” The converse of that is, if you don’t love Me, you won’t keep my commandments. Therefore, God’s love language is obedience. We have to take action to obey the Word of God if we want to love Him with our strength.
  2. Love others. I John 4:20 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” In other words, you cannot love God without loving your neighbor first. Therefore, loving God with our strength requires that we love people by taking action and meeting their needs.
  3. Love yourself. We cannot love God with our strength if we don’t take action and love ourselves. For example, when you decide that you will take care of your body, the Temple of the Holy Ghost, by eating right and exercising, you are loving God. When you set boundaries with people to protect the treasure God put in you, you love God. When you take time to identify and attack wrong thinking so that you can believe right and act right, you are loving God because again you are able to keep His commandments. When you take time to renew your mind with the Word so you can be your best for Christ and represent him well and make His name great, that’s loving God. When we take the proper actions to love ourselves, we love God.

To sum this up, when we love God, others, and ourselves in a balanced and proper way with corresponding ACTIONS, only then are we are loving God with all our strength. We are not loving God with all of our strength if we are failing to love God in any one of these areas. We can say we feel love for Daddy in our heart, but when it comes right down to it, loving God with all our strength is about what we do, NOT what we feel, amen?

In what ways do you feel you can love God more with all your strength?

Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles via Freedigitalphotos.com

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born into this world to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

CONNECTING WITH GOD THROUGH WORSHIP

Today I want to focus on a very important topic in the Christian life: Worship. Worship is our opportunity to remind ourselves of how great and powerful our God really is. Worship allows us to intimately connect our spirit with God’s Spirit. He says those who worship Him, must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

i love to worship God. However, I’m far from perfect. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my mind tries to wander during worship. Honestly, if I don’t make a deliberate effort to stay on track, I can be singing one thing and thinking about something on my To-do List! That’s when I have to self-correct and reel it in! Is it just me?  Has anything similar ever happened to you?

You see, the devil is always trying to distract us when we worship because it’s such a powerful spiritual weapon. Therefore, we have to make a deliberate effort to keep our mind stayed on God or we’ll lose focus. In order to enter into a deeper spiritual connection with our heavenly Father, here some important steps we can take to enhance our worship experience:

  1. Focus intently on the words being sung. I know this seems so elementary, but it’s so important. Deliberate concentration will help to keep us from just singing words while thinking about something totally secular. Not only should we think about what we are singing, but most importantly, Who we are singing to. This is worship to our Daddy, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and we are attempting to connect with Him on a deep, intimate level. We must be intentional if we want to keep ourselves from going off on a mental tangent during worship and end up thinking about things like, “What am I going to have for lunch?”
  2. Focus on what He has done in your life during the week. We need to come into every worship service with a mental list of what God has done for us the past week. If He opened a door for you, that’s fuel for worship! Has he resolved an issue that you had been concerned about? Have you seen incremental personal and/or spiritual growth that only God could have accomplished in you? Did He rebuke the devourer for your sake (Malachi 3:11)? When you have a mental list of things God has recently done for you at the top of your mind, you will be able to quickly connect with Him and easily get into “the zone.”
  3. Focus on what He has done in your life since you got saved. How much have you grown since Jesus came into your life? I remember how crazy I was B.C. (Before Christ) Has he delivered you from craziness? Did He extract you out of a life of sin so that you don’t even have the desire to do what you use to do? Do you remember how the burden of sin was lifted off you when you realized you had received Jesus’ righteousness? Deliberately meditating on His goodness, His power, and past personal victories during worship is a great way to foster a divine connection with God.

Saints, I just wanted to remind you (and myself) of some things that will make our worship time with Daddy more fruitful. When we lift our hands and worship our God, we effectively plug into heaven and get recharged and energized for our spiritual journey. Let’s refuse to allow spiritual amnesia about the goodness of God to get the best of us and cause us to lose our spiritual fervor in worship. 

What insights do you have about worship? Please leave a comment below.

Photo by Charlie Balch from FreeImages


DON’T LET DISCOURAGEMENT BE YOUR DOWNFALL

Lately, we’ve had a lot that we could be discouraged about. So today I want to talk to you about what to do when you get discouraged. One of the main tools the devil uses to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life is discouragement. He orchestrates circumstances that are designed to make you give up. Don’t fall for it! As author Wilie Jollie said, “A setback is a set up for a comeback!” If you have experienced a discouraging setback, here are some strategies for overcoming the discouragement the enemy sends your way:

  1. Pull away and spend time alone with God. When you get discouraged, that’s your cue to go into your prayer closet, close the door, and allow the Lord to minister to you. Pour our your complaint before Him (Psalm 142:2). Go to the Word find applicable scriptures and let Him speak life back into you. Ask Him to give you a new strategy if the one you have been using has not worked. Be determined that you won’t come out of the secret place until you get encouraged.
  2. Encourage yourself. I Samuel 30:6 says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” Psalm 43:5 says David said to himself when he felt discouraged, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God!”  So when you are discouraged that’s the time to rehearse past victories and engage in some strong self-talk! Grab yourself up in your own collar and tell yourself to get it together! Speak the Word of God out loud to counteract the voice of the enemy!
  3. Engage in praise and worship. In 2 Chronicles 20:22-23, praise and worship confused the enemy and caused those armies coming against Judah to fight each other. When the enemy assails you with discouragement, that is the time for you to get mad and fight back!  Use your spiritual weapons and sing songs of praise and worship. And keep on singing until you feel better.
  4. Take your spiritual authority. Just as God has not given us the spirit of fear, He hasn’t given us the spirit of discouragement either. What we may think is the negative emotion of discouragement is actually a spirit of discouragement. Therefore, if there is a spirit behind it, we can take authority over it in Jesus” name! James 4:7 (NIV) says,” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Saints, when the devil pummels you with negative thoughts and attacks you with a spirit of discouragement, you must always wage a counter-attack. Don’t just roll over and take it and let the devil have his way with you!  You know the Word!  You must be like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and refuse to throw in the towel. Remember you are not in this by yourself. God says you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. 

The last time you got discouraged How did you come out of it? Please leave a comment below.

Image above courtesy of Tiverylucky via Freedigitalphotos.com

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EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!

HOW TO DEAL WITH LONELINESS

Happy New Year to you! Now is the time to thank and praise God for letting us see another year! Hallelujah! No matter what happened during 2020, if you are reading this, at least you can say, “I’m still here!”

During the pandemic, we have had to practice social distancing. We have not been able to see our friends and loved ones as often as we would like. Because of the isolation, loneliness has set in for many. Even King David suffered from loneliness at times. He writes in Psalm 102:7 “I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.”

I remember one Saturday night when I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was sooo lonely. I had graduated from Oral Roberts University, but everyone I hung out with was still in school. They had no time for me, and I completely understood it, but it didn’t hurt any less. That evening, there was no one was available to talk to, not even my family members. So I just turned on the worship music, danced before the Lord, and worshiped Him like I had lost my mind. To my amazement, that loneliness broke off me! I had a breakthrough at that moment. That’s when I saw that although everyone had abandoned me, God had not abandoned me, and I had survived an emotional firestorm!

So what are some other ways we can deal with loneliness? I think that if we have the right perspective during the inevitable bouts with one of the enemies of our souls we will fare much better. Therefore, I’d like to share the following thoughts about loneliness with you today:

  1. God orchestrates lonely times for a reason. He is in control of when they start and when they end because He is the “Master Chess Player” Who moves people on and off the “board” of our lives. If He allows the loneliness to set in, we need to ask, “God, what are You trying to accomplish in my life?” I personally believe that loneliness is God’s way of calling us into deeper fellowship with Him.
  2. We need to know who we are in Christ so that we won’t wrongly interpret the loneliness. No matter who comes and goes in your life, whether you have people around you or not, you must know that nothing affects your identity in Christ. Do not allow the devil to deceive you into losing the awareness that you are righteous, accepted, approved, blessed, and highly favored by God in Christ Jesus.
  3. We have to learn to be content in whatever state we find ourselves. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:12, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”  God said He will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He will not sentence you to isolation forever. In due time, fellowship with others will be restored.

So if you are feeling lonely today, don’t despair. God knows you are a relational being, and He will not let the lonely time last one minute longer than required to accomplish His divine will in your life. Therefore,  embrace the loneliness by spending more time with God. Get a journal and write down thoughts that come to your mind and let God speak to you. Finally, continue to reach out to others as the Holy Spirit leads until your change comes. Remember I Peter 1:25 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” That means loneliness cannot last forever because everything is subject to change except the Word of God.

How do you deal with loneliness? Please leave a comment below.

Image above courtesy of Katherine Evans via Freedigitalphotos.com

View this email in your browser
EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS!
We must be mindful of the fact that the personal relationship we have with God on a daily basis is possible only because Jesus was born to die. I encourage you to celebrate Christmas all year long and prepare to make a deliberate effort to keep Christ firmly anchored at the center of your family’s Christmas holiday beforehand. Get your copy of my latest book Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday at Amazon.com or purchase copies for those you know and love with small children! Help the Revolution that began in 2020 to continue in 2021 and beyond!