Sunday, January 25, 2015

God is Always Working Behind the Scenes, Even When You Cannot See It.

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The book of Esther is a account in which we can learn that God has everything under control and that He is always working in our favor, even when we cannot see it.

Let’s start with the beginning of the book. There was a King who had a queen named Vashti. His queen refused to appear before him which made him mad and cause him to banish her from his presence and take her role as queen away from her.

But lets look deeper.  It was because Vashti was banished from the King’s presence that gave Esther the opportunity to be Queen. Which she may have not had before.

Now let’s go deeper than that.

The Bible states

“Later when King Xerxes' fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about he.” Esther 2:1

Once the king’s anger subsided he remembered Vashti, remember that he had no queen and he was regretful that he sent her away.

This is where the kings attendants suggested that the King find another queen better than Vashti. But if you look carefully the King learned an important lesson in sending away Vashti.  He learned that he acted too much in anger and he learned that perhaps he should not make a decision in his anger that can have permanent effects.

This lesson I am convinced had a direct influence on his interaction with Esther.

The Bible states

“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:17

The king loved Esther even more than Vashti.  So when Esther decided to go before the king uninvited and could possibly get her head chopped off I think several things went through the king’s mind.  He could kill Esther the woman he loved and later be sad about how he acted in his emotions, and then would have to find another queen.  (Like he did with Vashti)  Or he could take time to think about what he was doing, how much he loved her, and not make the same mistake twice by getting rid of another queen to save face.

And so he chose to extend his golden scepter to her and save her life.  He chose to soften his heart and even grant her whatever she wanted up to half the kingdom.

The point that I am getting at is if Vashti did not get banish, Esther (a Jew would not have became queen). If Esther never became queen then when Haman tried to have all the Jews killed there would have been no one to be able to come to the king on the Jews behalf.  And last but not least if the King had not gone through his experience with Vashti and regretted sending his queen away, then Esther may have had a different fate when she went before the king unsummoned.  

Even though the King did not know it, God was preparing him how to act when Esther came into his life so that he could play his part in saving the Jews from inhalation  Even though we may not understand what God is doing and why God is doing it, He is always working on our behalf behind the scene making a way for us.  You cannot lean on your own understanding.  You may not know why you are not married yet, but you have to trust that God is preparing the one that you are destined to be with through their life experiences and not try to take things into your own hands.

Esther’s whole life was not some coincidence.  Each situation involving her and others, including her uncle Mordecai, was carefully constructed by God.  Even though it may have not seemed like it when they were going through it.  Mordecai was literally seconds away from being hanged from the gallows by Haman.  But God changed that in the matter of seconds because the king (with God’s help) remembered Mordecai had him saved him from being assassinated.  And instead of facing death, Mordecai was honored in front of the whole kingdom in the presences of his enemies (Haman).  All because God was in it.

It is not our place to understand all that God is doing, what He is not doing, or when He is going to do it.  It is not our place to wonder when God is going to bring the one for us, give us what we want, or take us out of our miserable situations.

In the book of Esther the Jews were literally days from inhalation.  They had no idea where their deliverance was going to come from or if it was going to come at all.  No one knew the Queen was even a Jew.  But God was always working overtime in this, making sure that everything was working out according to His plan even though it did not seem like it to everyone else.

That is the beauty of God.  We always have to trust that He is not going to harm us but that He wants us to prosper.  And even though we cannot see it.

Check out Think Like A Queen To Get Your King For More on Esther

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God Will Have His Way!

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“And Paul said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5

Have you ever read this verse and wondered what it meant.  The meaning behind this verse can be very enlightening.

During the time in which this situation happened to Paul, there were cattle rods that were placed on the cows so that the owners could get them to go in the direction they wanted them to go.  The cattle rod had sharp pricks on them and when the cow went in the wrong direction or a direction that the owner did not want them to go, then they would be pricked by these sharp objects.

So you may be wondering, what does this all mean for you?

God was essentially telling Paul in this verse that the reason why bad things were happening to him was because he was going against the pricks.  He was going in a direction that God did not want him to go and therefore he was hurting himself.

So how does this apply to you?

Well, when God wants us to do something or has a plan for us and we decide to go in a completely different direction.  Then we are not covered by God in that direction leaving us open to be “pricked.”  Have you ever wondered why bad things continue to happen to you?

It could be because you are going against the pricks.  Meaning that you are not going in the direction that God wants you to go and therefore you are hurting yourself in the process.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day and she said something that was very interesting.  She said when she was younger she wanted to be more domesticated like her neighbor.  She decided to grow tomatoes and garden like her neighbor and like a good Christian she even prayed over them.  But soon when it was time to harvest the tomatoes the bugs came in and ate all of them ruining her harvest.  When she called her neighbor, her garden and tomatoes were left unharmed.

Joyce got mad and asked God why He allowed for her hard work to go in vein.  And God told her that he never told her to grow tomatoes and therefore he has no obligation to protect her tomatoes.  At the time she was called to preach and that is what God wanted her to focus her attention on.  Not being like someone else and not doing something that He did not call her to do.  And since she decided to go her own way instead of God’s way, she was in essence hurting herself.

How many times have you wondered why your relationships are going bad?
Why you are not getting the jobs you want?
Why things in your life seem to be going wrong?

It could be that you are going against the pricks.  You are heading in a direction that God does not want you to go in and pricks are going into your side to get you to snap out of it and get back on the track that God ordained for you.

Make sense?
So in essence we can never really get mad at God but only ourselves because we are not paying attention to God and the direction that God wants us to go.

I have had to learn to stop hurting myself, stop going my own way, and trying to do things my own way.  It was only hurting me and then I blamed God for the hurt I was causing myself.  When in fact, He never told me to do or go in the directions that I was sending myself in. It is better to learn the easy way over the hard way to just go along with God’s purpose and save yourself a whole lot of pain and frustration.  Even though you may not understand.  God’s way for us is always best.  And He is God and will have His way.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is God real?

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Is God real?  I know that this is the thought that goes through so many people’s mind.  As a person that is a Christian, I am ashamed to admit that this is something that goes through my mind.  Before you get all up in arms, I want to explain.

There are so many dreams and aspiration that I have for myself.  I know for fact that they can never be achieved if I do not have God on my side.  So I hope, dream, and pray tirelessly and more often time than not I do not see enough progress or I do not see any evidence that God is even listening.

As time goes on, times get harder, and prayers go unanswered.  There is a little voice in my head going off asking me why I believe in God, is God even real, and if God is real then why does he not answer my prayers?  Why does he allow more things to be on me than I can bear?

I have come to know that these voices are the devil.  Read my blog here on the devil. The devil is a cunning creature that know how to play off of what we fear and our insecurities.

But for so many of us who have been through hardships, pain, unanswered prayers, unfair treatment, death of a loved on too soon, loneliness, depression, and all the rest of it. We certainly feel that God is not real.  And that if by chance He is real, then He is actively choosing to watch us suffer and yet He does nothing about it.

If you are like me then you know all the Biblical scriptures and situations to explain the unfairness of the world.  You know that

“God’s ways is not our ways.” Isaiah 55:8

“God corrects a child whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

Job had suffering and God granted him will double for his trouble.

Joseph was through in prison and lied on and God rewarded him in the end.

These things are supposed to make us feel better in our times of hardship.  But what happens when they don’t?  What happens when you are tired of hearing scripture and and hearing about God’s goodness is never enough.  Because you simply do not feel that it applies to you.

Well, weather you want to believe it or not God is real.  I have seen God work too much in my life to sit and believe that He does not exists.  I think sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the things that God is not doing for you, that sometimes we forget the things that He has done.  This makes us doubt God’s love for us and even doubt that He is even looking out for us.

It is not the bad things that are happening to us that hurts us the most, but rather that we feel that God has somehow turned his back on us in the midst of all the bad things.  So for us, it is better to believe that God is not real.

I feel there are clear indications that signify to us that God is certainly real.  Even if you cannot see Him work in your own life you can certainly see Him work in the world around you.  How else can there be a world, sun, moon, water, stars, gravity and all the rest of if that was so carefully crafted that it can somehow support the life of man kind.  I cannot even think of how many coincidences it would take for all of that to happen all at once.  Or the fact that plants give out the very same thing that us humans breath in (see my blog here on God is all around us).

For those believing in evolution, this is no where near possible.  No one has yet to discover what these so called half monkey half humans even look like.  We can find dinosaur bones millions of years old, but someone has yet to find a fossil of a human-monkey.

For those of you who do not believe in God, those who use to believe in God, or those who are questioning if God exists.  I think that one can find the existence of God in somewhere in you life, even if it takes a really hard look to find Him.

What I would hate, is for nonbelievers to die and get to the afterlife when it is too late and realize that they have make a mistake with overlooking the existence of the one that makes the world go round just so you can live in it.

People often wonder why God doesn’t just show up?  Why doesn’t He just prove Himself?

Well I do not know the reason for that except for that God doesn't have to prove himself to us.  He is God.  He really does not have to do anything.  I know that answer may not be satisfactory but it is a reality.

I am convinced however, if were makes steps to move closer to God, then he will makes steps to prove his existence to us.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Devil Has A Hold On Me.

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If you are a Christian and do not believe in the devil, you better start.  This is not say that you should worship the devil, do not misconstrue my message. But this is to say that you should be aware that as a Christian the devil is out to destroy you (see my blog here for more on that).  I think it was TD Jakes that said it best.

“If the devil is not bothering you, then he does not see you as a threat, he does not see you as someone that is worth his time.”

Although this may seem like a good thing because no one wants to be bothered by the devil, it really is bad because it means that you are not doing your job as a Christian.  The devil has been after me lately.  He comes to seek and destroy you and to keep you away from your goals.

Just to give you an overview of what I have been going through.  I am taking the last classes in my PhD program before my dissertation.  I have always maintained above a 3.0, but for some reason in these last classes I have been doing terrible.  It seems like my mind is clouded, I am confused, I cannot think properly.  I am questioning my intellect.

Lately, my money has already been running thin.  But the devil true to form has been trying to attack my money even more.  Just yesterday my phone that I had for less that a year went out for no reason, and I had to buy a new one.  But in the midst of hardship God is always there.  I went to Walmart to get a new phone and a phone that should have cost me $129 was marked down by mistakes to $48.  As I went to the register, they told me the full price, but due to their mistakes they gave it to me for $48.

And just today, I needed my GPS to go to training at a location I did not know where it was.  My GPS malfunctioned, I was lost, and it put me in a frenzy.  Not just because of the GPS, but the failing grade that I got on my final exam due to a misunderstanding, and because of me having to spend money due to unforeseen circumstance.  It was because I was sleep deprived and I have not been on my A game at my job.  All this happened just this week. Not to count the past months or years that things have just been falling apart.

I was mad and tired and ready to take it out on God.  Wondering why after all this and me being tired, was God not protecting me?  Why was he allowing everything to fall apart, right before my eyes?  What was the deal with my heavenly father that he was allowing this attack to come against me? I was about to just give up and fall apart.

Then God spoke to me as clear as day.  He asked me why was I letting the devil get to me?  I know the devil was out to take away my future, the things I have worked so hard for.  And even more so, the devil wanted me to believe that God had forgotten about me and that God was not on my side, because everything and anything was going so utterly wrong.

Instead of calling out the true villan the devil, I wanted to blame God, because I felt that God was there.  But one thing that I have learned is that as a Christian, God does not promise that anything is going to be easy for us.  Not because God wants us to live a hard life, but because the devil is after us day and night trying to find ways that he can sabotage the promises that God has for us.

You may be asking the same question that I asked.

Why does God allow the devil to hurt us?

Why can’t God protect us from everything and we just live life in complete and utter  bliss all the time?

I do not know if I can adequately answer that question.  But what I do know is that the devil is in the world along with his fallen angels otherwise known as demons.  The devil tried to even stop Jesus from completing his assigned task, so we should know that he has no hesitation in trying to stop us from ours.

Unfortunately we live in a fallen world where the devil can roam free.  It has been like this since the day of Adam and Eve.  The devil was right there waiting to lead all of man kind down to the path of damnation.  And with the devil and Eve, he is responsible for the fallen world we live in today.  The only choice that we have it to just deal with it.

Not what you were expecting to hear huh?

One thing that I do know is that God is only going to let the devil go so far.  The devil may come against us, he may make us loose our job, our homes, and our money.  He may make other people come against us and be mean to us.  But he cannot stop our belief in God.  He cannot stop us from knowing that no matter what he does God will be with us making sure that the devil does not go too far.

Our only job is to trust God and not to fall into the devil’s trap.

My week could have went like this.  I could have walked off my job because I was getting frustrated.  I could have withdrawn from school because I was not doing so well.  I could have given up on everything that I have been working hard for because I do not see the results.  And then the devil would have won.  He would have cheated me out of a destiny that I know that God has for me.  And then I would be going no where fast.

But instead of giving up, I handle and do what I can and I believe that God is going to do the rest.  And guess what, He does.  It may take some sleepless nights.  It may take some tears and wondering why God has forsaken me, because sometimes this is how I feel.

Even though I do not see it clear in the natural.  This is what we call having faith in God and trusting him.  Having faith is having belief in something that you cannot see.  And this is what God wants. For you to follow him blindly even if it means walking with him in the middle of the storm, thinking you are about to die.

I have felt this way.  Wondering why I have followed God this far.  Wondering if this was some cruel joke, by God to lead me into the middle of no where only to put more on me than what I feel that I can bear.  And in this time and moment as I am sure many Christians reach.  God wants us to make a choice.  We can choose to walk away from him and out of the storm because it is too hard, we can choose to navigate our way through the storm on our own, or we can choose to hold on to God and allow him to take us all the way through the storm until we are on the other side.

Do you think it was easy for Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, being accused of rape, and spending years in prison?

Do you think it was easy for Moses stepping down from the Prince of Egypt, being an outcast murderer, and then coming back to do the impossible?

Do you think it was easy for David, running from Saul who wanted to kill him?

Do you think it was easy for Paul who was thrown in prison time and time again for declaring the word of Christ?

And do you think it was easy for Jesus, knowing he was the Messiah, to be persecuted, beaten, and then killed?

I have come to learn that life is not easy.  Especially when you are on the right path that God wants you to be one.  The devil will come on to you even harder.  We cannot get into the mindset of walking away from God during these times.  But drawing closer to Him, to make sure we get through.

If the devil is against you, then you must be doing something right.  He must see you as a threat that has the power to tear down his kingdom.  Do not let him destroy you.  Do not make him think that your problems will overcome you.  With God, you have already won.