Friday, November 23, 2012

Gather the Leftovers

John 6:12-13 "When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted. They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves."

One of the best things about eating a good home cooked meal is the leftovers.  But to get the leftovers, one must ensure that the food is properly put away and stored.  It will be a great waste to leave all that good food sitting out all night to go bad.  In fact, the quickest way to frustrate a cook or dinner host is to squander the leftovers of the meal they provided.

In the prior passage, Jesus fed five thousand men (not including women and children) with 2 fish and five loaves of bread.  The disciples, despite seeing Jesus perform many miracles doubted that it could be done.  But Jesus multiplied a meal of 2 sardines and five biscuits (remember it was a little boy’s lunch) into a great dinner for a stadium full of people.

And after all of them ate as much as they wanted, he made the disciples gather the leftovers so that none is wasted.  Perhaps the disciples were lackadaisical toward the food that was left. Maybe they were moving slow.  Or maybe they did not believe in eating leftovers.  But I can hear the Lord saying don’t take my blessings for granted.  Go get my leftovers.  

Leftovers are a big deal to the person who shopped, paid for the food, cooked the meal, or in the case of Jesus multiplied the food.  No one wants their food wasted. And Jesus does not want his people to take the miracles of God for granted. Jesus told them to gather the leftovers as a testimony of what God had done, as a lesson of not to doubt God, and as provision for each disciple to participate in the overflow.

In the spiritual realm, leftovers are overflow blessings that go beyond the initial provision.  Leftovers are the miracles that remain after the first wave.  As we walk with Christ, let us be thankful and yet careful not to waste the blessings that God has provided and gather the leftovers.

God leaves leftovers or remnants of his miracles to remind you of what he has done.  Be a blessing to somebody else and know that God can make a way.  And appreciate the opportunities that you know were only from God. So as you put away leftovers from tonight's dinner, remember to handle all of God’s blessings with care.  And Gather the Leftovers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let's Get it Started

Philippians 1:6 “Being Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” KJV

God is in the business of beginning Good works. Don’t be afraid to allow God to begin a good work in you- to save, deliver, take you higher, revive, or do something special, unique, and awesome in your life.  And regardless of what you are going through, or the problems you are dealing with, God is able to begin a good work in you. But you first have to initiate the start. Without question, finishing is better than starting. And the end of a thing is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). But in order to finish, you first have to start. And to complete a work, one must first begin. So let’s get it started.

God is the energy source behind gifts that begin good works. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  I have been blessed to start a few things in my life: From my educational goals, my family, my business, my ministry along with several other projects. And I have come to realize that starting something is never easy. Allow me to make three brief observations about starting:

1. Don't start none won't be none. Excuse my slang, but if you don't start the project or business, it will never happen. The world needs your contribution. Otherwise, you will be left saying "woulda, shoulda, coulda" as time passes and the world will never have the pleasure of experiencing the thing you were supposed to start.

2. Despise not the day of small beginning (Zechariah 4:10): Don't look down on the situation just because you are small, and have little resources. Don’t be embarrassed because of where you are right now. Keep working at it. Everybody had to start somewhere.  Be glad for what you have and the ability and resources God has given you.  And move forward to initialize your start.  Little becomes much when placed in the Master's hand.  .

3. Remember, It’s not how you start but how you finish: It might be a small start or a slow start but at least it’s a start. Everybody had to start somewhere. Many are afraid to start small so they fail to start at all. And the finished product is never reached. The quickest way to the finish line is the start.

So let’s get it started. Where would the world be if ordinary individuals cease to start their great things. What if Alexander Bell never started his invention of the telephone or Thomas Edison never started his improvements on the light bulb. God begins good works by showing individuals a better way something can be done, or by revealing a new idea, a fresh approach, or an innovative technique. So don’t allow the barrier of the "Three Ds" (distractions, delays and discouragement) to hinder you from beginning the good work God has placed in your heart.

So let's get it started. Step out on faith and go forth in your destiny.  The key is to trust God and lean on his word knowing that he is able to perform the good works he has placed in you to accomplish. The time is now to write your book, produce your music CD, launch your business, start your ministry, pursue your educational goals, begin your new career. And as you start and seek God, He will perform it. God has a performance measurement that is unmatched and a record that is undefeated. For with God nothing shall be impossible. So in the words of the famous Boxing Announcer Micheal Buffer, "Let's Get Ready to Rumble."  Put simply, Let's get it started.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Don't Stop Dreaming

Genesis 37: 5 “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.” On the surface, Joseph’s dreams seem to suggest a mere symbol of leadership over his brothers and his parents. However, the reality of his dreams would prove to be far greater than the limitation of his father’s house. Such is the case with all who dream. For when we dream, we go beyond the boundaries of familiar surroundings into the possibilities of unknown greatness.

Perhaps Henry David Thoreau said it best: “Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.” Allow me to make five observations regarding this scripture text that relate to pursuing your dreams.

1. Don’t Let your haters distract you from dreaming: Joseph’s brothers hated him not simply because of the favor of his father; they hated him because of his dreams. But despite their hatred, he yet dreamed another dream. Even when others are critical of your aspirations and your vision, dream on. But be careful with whom you share your dreams. Joseph was cast into a pit, sold into slavery, accused of rape, and served time in prison, but the dream still lived.  People who are envious, and jealous of your talent, and ambition will often attempt to block your dream. However, with God on your side, it really does not matter.

2. Dream big: Joseph’s dream was huge. Your dreams should be bigger than what you can presently accomplish, bigger than what you qualify for right now. Your dream ought to make people laugh and shake their head as if they are not taking you serious. So in the midst of setting goals and facing obstacles, hang your hat on the loftiness of your dreams.

3. Be excellent and righteous in pursuit of your dream: Despite his barriers, Joseph was promoted to the head of Potiphar’s house and even while in prison he managed the entire facility. Also, be sure to maintain integrity and truth in pursuit of your dream. Joseph was placed in an uncompromising situation when his boss’s wife pursued him daily for sexual intercourse. But he maintained his integrity despite the consequences and refused her advances. Don’t lie, cheat, steal and kill to realize your dream. It will always come back to you.

4. Live to build toward your Dream: From Potiphar’s house, to the prison, God placed Joseph in a position to learn the skills needed to manage the kingdom of Egypt. Place yourself in a position to obtain the necessary resources and skills to make your dream a reality.

5. God is Faithful to bring your dream to pass: As we bring the story of Joseph to a close, it just so happened that when the Butler remembered Joseph, they lifted him out of prison to offer an interpretation for Pharaoh’s dream. And Pharaoh just so happened to make Joseph second in command in the land of Egypt. And it just so happened that Joseph was overseeing the distribution process when his brothers arrived in Egypt to buy corn. And it just so happened that they bowed down themselves before him with their face to the earth. Joseph’s dream became a reality. It may not happen overnight, but determination, hard work and faith in God can bring your dreams to pass. 

Finally, the Bible says in Proverbs 18:16 "A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men."  To the extent that we are more than conquerers through Christ and we can do all things through his strength, God is more than able to help you accomplish your dream.  In fact one of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as stated in Joel 2:28 "....your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."  And as we put God first in our lives, He is able to make our dreams come true.  So don’t stop dreaming.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

I Samuel 16:7 “...for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

In this passage, the prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to anoint one of Jesse's sons to be King of Israel. And Samuel expressed excitement when he saw Eliab and assumed he was God’s chosen because of his appearance. So God advised him not to look on the outer appearance because God considers our heart.

Truth is, the heart of person is the essence of who they are. It is not how someone looks, or the clothes they wear, the house they live in, or the car they drive that depict the true measure of a human being. The heart of a person is the essence of who they are. From what we speak to how we behave even down to our deeds are said to be a reflection of one's heart.

The heart is not simply the main vessel in the human body from which blood flows. It represents the mind of one's soul. And is the key ingredient of our conscience. The feelings and emotions of a person come from the heart. There are a lot of phrases we use on a daily basis that refer to our heart.

When someone consistently carries out acts of kindness and behaves nicely, we say that they are "good hearted." In the field of sports, when a player wants his/her teammates to demonstrate more determination, he/she  encourages them to "show some heart.” When someone is very sensitive about things, we say “Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.” And when someone we love hurts us or leaves us, we refer to it as having a broken heart.

In the spiritual realm, matters of the heart are very important: The book of Jeremiah helps put things in perspective- Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

There are certain blessings granted to believers and certain favor withheld from others based on if our heart is right with God. Here are five things every believer should do when it comes to matters of the heart:

1. Believe in your heart (Romans 10:9-10) that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

2. Trust God with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding

3. Hide the Word in your heart. (Psalms 119:11) “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

4. Seek God for a clean heart. (Psalms 51:9-10) “Create in me a clean heart Oh God and renew a right spirit within me.”

5. Don’t worry in your heart. (John 14:1-2). “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions.”

Finally, as we respond to God in the proper way concerning our heart, God will reward us with a deeper relationship with him. Jesus said in Matthew 5:8 "that only the pure in heart shall see God." And if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4). As it relates to serving God, this is the heart of the matter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Daily Bread

One of the lessons that Jesus teaches in the Lord’s Prayer is a request that God will “give us this day our daily bread.”(Matthew 6:11) Thank God for daily bread weather its food, or any other basic need like shelter, or clothing.

We serve a God who is a great provider and he specializes in meeting the needs of today. So I have come to realize that in the midst of making plans and setting goals, and throughout the course of having dreams and desires for a brighter tomorrow, it is most important to trust God to meet your needs today.

I have also learned not to worry about tomorrow but to focus on what God can do for me right now. Feed me today; Meet my financial need today. Deliver me today; heal me today. Bless me today Lord. Give us this day our daily bread.

In these difficult economic times, there is a great deal of fear and stress among many over the future. Sometimes tomorrow’s prospects can appear bleak and depressing with financial despair, termination of employment, failed business, broken relationships, home foreclosures, and failing health looming in the forecast.

But we must resist the temptation to worry about tomorrow and instead focus on how we can get through today. So hang in there and survive today. Press on and be strong today. Give God the glory and have faith today.
Getting through the current day strengthens your chances to make it tomorrow.

When God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, he fed them every day with manna from heaven. But they were only supposed to gather enough manna to get them through the day (Exodus 16). If they took more than a day’s portion it would spoil (with the exception of the Sabbath day). Just as with the Israelites, God wants his people to learn to trust him to meet the needs of today.

So “give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matt 6:34 MSG Bible) And if he cares for the sparrow-I know he watches over me: Today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

All of You

God wants your all. He is not simply interesting in part of you, some of you, or a piece of you. God wants all of you. So time is out for half doing, half stepping, and half living for God. He wants your full 100% commitment.

To give your all to God does not mean that you must talk about the Bible 24/7, act super spiritual, and preach to everyone you see. However it does require that you make God the top priority in your life and first in all your decisions.

In his response to a religious leader in regards to the greatest commandment, Jesus provides a direct answer by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “that you love God with all of your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” It is interesting that Jesus actually ranks the scripture. Many would suggest that all of the Biblical commands are equally important without any scripture being higher than the others. Yet Jesus ranks this passage as number 1, above the Ten Commandments, above other principles shared in the Gospel or the Epistles.

This is the greatest commandment because it acts as an umbrella passage of scripture in that if you do this commandment- all of the other scriptural commands fall under it. The fact that this is listed as the greatest commandment also suggests that it is God’s greatest expectation and greatest area of judgment for our souls.

So we must give God our all in every aspect of our lives. God deserves all the glory and all the praise. He expects us to obey His Word and to live Godly. And yet even in our routine activities, God wants us to do our very best in our homes, on our jobs and in how we treat others.

Finally, as we give God our very best, remember that God has already done so for us knowing “that he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) God wants our worship and our praise because at the end of the day His requirement is simple; His expectation is a basic one. God’s ultimate desire can be summed up in these three words: All of You.