Rev Fave

It’s Time to Change Our Cry

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At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about Bartimeus and how he changed his cry from tangible desires to a need for deliverance. This stayed with me for several weeks until the Lord gave me a sermon to write on the same subject.

If you change your cry, Jesus will change your life. The truth is that we got it all wrong. We are crying out for these things because we believe it will greatly improve our quality of life. Things only last for period of time. Even if it lasts a lifetime, when you die it won’t go with you. A true life changing experience that lasts a lifetime on this earth and beyond, only comes form a relationship with Jesus Christ.

After Bartimeus gained his vision by his faith in the Messiah, he got rid of his cloak, his uniform and began following Jesus. He didn’t have to beg anymore because he had a relationship with Christ.

Three Years a Preacher

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Today I celebrate three years of sharing the Gospel.

I’ve learned that, when you run from God, the road of life is paved with challenges, disappointments, heartaches, anger, pain, victories, betrayal, increase, friends turned enemies, enemies turned friends, attacks, inner-battles, happiness and sadness. You must run swiftly with no real breaks, polluted water to drink and worn out shoes.

But “twistedeth not unto thine self.”

The irony is that, when you decide to run towards God, the road is STILL paved with all those things; with some parts of the road having MORE challenging elements. It’s the same road (life) but thank God He gives you rest [Matthew 11:29], He empowers you to be at peace regardless of the road conditions [Philippians 4:7], His living water is the best you’ll ever drink [John 7:38] and your shoe game is on point [Ephesians 6:15].

The road doesn’t change yet your journey is so much better. And you don’t have to be a preacher to experience this pivotal moment. You just have to believe.

Smoke Free Blessing

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The aim of “Smoke Free Blessing” is to encourage believers in that, as we endure the fires of life circumstances, God is with us and He is why we do not and should not carry the residue of what we’ve been through.

We know fire is dangerous; but the greatest risk to our minds, our bodies and our possessions — is smoke.

Crying Times

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Someone once told me, “You don’t have a money problem, you have a faith problem.”

This was hard to receive, considering every challenge in front of me came has a price tag dangling in the shadow of my limited resources. I’m a consistent tither. I’m a good steward over my finances. I’m spirit-led to sow into the causes and needs of others. I strive to show joy regardless of what’s in my bank account. I praise God for being my source. I know I won’t always be where I am; but I find myself crying at times, for not being where I think I should be.

Yet I’m struggling with being able to see the spout from where my blessings were promised to flow. I fight to prevent my logic, skills and personal creativity to get in the way of God’s work in my life. I trust that He’s working things out for my good because I love Him, but I rarely have a clear view of what He’s doing. I can’t see the inner workings of my victory; yet my problems broadcast on a vivid, 60-inch, 1080p HD screen with more clarity than I’ll ever need or want.

But it’s a faith problem.

In the New Testament, Bartimaeus wondered the streets, blindly and aimlessly, crying for money. When he heard Jesus was on the scene, he changed his cry from a plea for money to a plea for mercy. Bartimaeus’ surroundings could only respond with money; but he knew that Jesus would respond with a deliverance money couldn’t acquire.

I’ve got to change my cry.

I’m blind. I’m having issues seeing my way through the negativity. I’ve been crying for resources, when I should have been crying for revelation. I don’t have a money problem, I have a faith problem. I don’t have a family problem, I have a faith problem. I don’t have a health problem, I have a faith problem.

My faith needs to flow through my tears and cascade down my heart, where my trust is renewed. We can’t see always see how things are going to work out, but we must find peace in the surety that God already has it worked out.

 

Life in HD (Holiday Depression)

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It struck me during Finals Week of my senior year in college. The end of exams meant driving back to my parents’ house in Northwest Indiana. My girlfriend was five months pregnant with twins and we had just lost one of them. It had been several weeks since I spoke with my mom; I suppose the disappointment of becoming an unwed father was too much. It was going to be the first Christmas without my grandfather. They were cutting hours at work; despite having a car, I was slushing through dirty snow to the bus stop because it was cheaper. It was the first time Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas anymore.

Family tension, financial challenges, academic pressure, adapting to life without my (very large) family’s patriarch… sent me spiraling into holiday depression (HD).

The next 10 years were spent wearing the smile for the sake of the kids. Money came and went. More family members passed away. I pacified my wounds with relocations, pseudo-serious relationships (while sabotaging real ones) and career aspirations. I had kept HD at bay until I my first year of marriage. My decision to wed was so abhorred that my parents declined our invitation to attend. I went from company cars and expense accounts as a corporate executive to unemployment and sporadic freelance work. Money got smaller while the kids’ Christmas list grew bigger. It was going to be the first Christmas without my grandmother. I locked myself in a room and stared into the darkness.

Family estrangement, financial turmoil, blending a dysfunctional family… sent me further down the gravely road of holiday depression. This time, I didn’t care.

It got worse before it got better: separation came, divorce followed, losing lucrative contracts and more relocations continued to wear on my body and spirit. But I thank God for rescuing me from a mental breakdown and spiritual catastrophe.

I endured the symptoms that many share during the holidays (and beyond): grieving dead loved ones, dealing with money problems, the isolation of family conflict and other life events seem amplified during the holidays… driving some precious people to question the validity of their existence and others to attempt to end theirs.

It’s hard to hear their yells in the midst of “jingle bells.”

God’s grace is the only reason holiday depression did not swallow me. This is a magical time of year; yet, my heart remains tuned towards those whose spirits are low during the holidays. While others enjoy the holiday feasts, laughter, classic films and time off… I’m compelled to pray for those who can’t wait until the first week of January, when all this will be over. I’m praying for those who are skipping through the store with the false satisfaction of knowing that they have their suicide planned out and the pain will be over soon.

I’m praying for grown orphans. I’m interceding for those who thinks no one cares (like I once did). If it’s nothing but a silent prayer, quick tweet, engaging Facebook message, clever Instagram post, sincere text or unexpected phone call… I want us all to make it to 2017 while leaving HD empty handed from an unsuccessful grasp at our souls.

In the interim, we can implement our own anti-HD strategy through increased exercise, adequate sleep, sun exposure, abstaining from alcohol and gluttony (IKR!), avoiding family conflict and getting help. Getting Help. GETTING HELP.

The PrayerLine is 1-800-365-3732.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

You can also talk to God 24/7. No phone required.

Get Righteous

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“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)

Being righteous doesn’t mean you’re a mega-holy, Bible-thumbing, “Super Christian” – looking down on the heathens around you.

It just means that your relationship with God is on point. It means when you text Him with your needs, He doesn’t text back, “New phone. Who dis?” You’re not perfect, but you ARE connected beyond your distress signals to Him.

When the righteous pray, incredible things jump off and the end result is so superb that only God could (and should) get the glory.

Recent events challenged me not to beg for healing, but to thank Him for the healing He promised. What I asked for was information that would counteract anxiety of the unknown. What I asked for was for rest, alertness and kindness, amongst those that would come in contact with the challenge, to be abundant. What I asked for was supernatural recovery, not just for restored quality of life but so others can be encouraged by the testimony.

It is in the midst of prayer, praise and worship that God does His thing in our lives. Casting our cares on Him. Trusting Him. Speaking His Word is always better than anything we could say on our own. In doing so, speaking His Word hides our ignorance behind His excellence.

Speaking His WORD hides our IGNORANCE behind His EXCELLENCE.

Speaking GOD’S WORD (instead of words from our limited, logical thinking) hides our ignorance (of not knowing) behind His excellence (that’s all-knowing).

It’s better to pray to God than to say something ignorant. No, seriously. If you don’t know what to say to the point you’re talking negatively or against what you’re believing God to work on…I believe you should have not several…but ALL the seats.

Shut up.

Let’s shut our minds and mouths off to the rhetoric that is not of God (or in private supplication to God) in order to open up our hearts and spirits to the promises and awesomeness of God.

All this is so much easier to do when you have a relationship with Him; hence, righteousness, love and trust.

At that point, your prayers become powerful and produce results so wonderful that, even the things/people/words/attacks begin to work for YOU (Romans 8:28).

No person on earth, no imp from hell, no circumstance of life, no physio- or psychological battle will be able to withstand your faith.

 

The Knew You

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The Knew You — Our self esteem is also improperly connected to our abilities. I don’t care how empowering and encouraging it sounds, when you tell your baby, “You can be whatever you choose to be,” you are not telling her the truth. When the reality hits them, they’re disappointed AND they’re still in search of the truth — that you can’t be “anything you want to be.” Your only bet is to be everything God wants you to be, which is better than anything you could ever be!

Your worth to GOD was calculated before you were even conceived. You were birthed in the mind of GOD before you were birthed from your mother’s womb. You were a pre-meditated masterpiece before the world began. You are a product of GOD’s creativity and a reflection of His love.

And while our situation on earth may change, our looks my change, our jobs may change, our abilities may change — GOD is our Daddy and that is something that cannot change and, more importantly, we cannot lose.

GOD knew Jeremiah and GOD knew you, too. Translation: He CHOSE you and that is where our worth can be and should be found. Brothers and sisters, it’s time to live in the KNEW you. In order to do that effectively, we need to have an ACCURATE VIEW OF THE KNEW YOU.

Trust: Put That On Everything

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It’s like hot sauce.

Some consider it a necessity in our savory meals. Hot sauce can awaken the essence of an entree or send a surge of flavor through our side dishes. We drench our chicken wings in it and we sprinkle our soups with a few drops. Despite the varied quantities, I submit that some instances of hot sauce infusion are merely psychological pacifiers that have no substantial taste impact; but the comfort of its presence creates a reality of perceived enhancement. Whether the hot sauce brings spice to your life or simply pretends to punch up what’s in your pot — we ultimately have it because we want it there.

So we put that on everything; and so we must transform this sensory habit into a spiritual habit as it relates to our trust in God.

Our trust in Him goes on everything, from the grandiose to the simplistic. Like hot sauce, we benefit from God’s presence in every facet of our lives. The only difference lies in the fact that His presence doesn’t pacify but amplifies everything by which we trust in God. Trusting Him transcends circumstances, reaches beyond our (temporal) feelings and withstands any attacks on the mind, body and spirit.

Trusting God in every area of your life, strengthens your relationship with God. This strength brings forth spiritual maturity as each opportunity to trust God prompts us to make a choice. That constant choice to trust God in everything will be reflected in your lifestyle; therefore, your lifestyle of trusting God becomes a testimony that encourages others to do the same.

When my car wouldn’t start, I thanked God for being in a safe area. I praised Him for insurance and free roadside assistance. I acknowledged Him for giving me wisdom and resources to purchase a warranty at the time of sale. What I didn’t do is panic or exude any level of fear. I trust God above my circumstances.

Life departures have touched the lives of those whom I respect and fellowship; one of which has me feeling a deep sense of loss and sadness. I’m not so holy that I don’t feel the shock, anxiety, frustration, anger and sorrow that anyone else would feel. I thank God for relationship and subsequent communication that has encouraged me to a place of peace beyond my own understanding. Trusting God and expressing myself corporately and privately has been an encouraging reminder of my growth in God’s grace.

The streets are watching. Many don’t trust what they cannot see; ironically, they will find a modicum of trust in you as you believe what you cannot see. When your situations are the epitome of ratchet, yet you’re calm. When everyone around you is feeling some kind of way (and justifiably so, in the natural) and your heart is steadfast in the promises of God’s Word. When the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy your life, and everyone connected to it, and your trust enables you to stand firmly on the Word of God. That’s trust. In everything you do and it cannot go unnoticed.

There is not an area of your life that doesn’t require a trust in Him. Activating that trust will have monumental impact on your journey — so put it on everything.

 

 

 

GPS: God’s Positioning System

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There are many of us who are traveling down the road of life and, due to our erratic positioning, we don’t know whether we’re coming or going. Some of us have an idea of where we want to be, but have no idea how to get there. Others are simply lost with no direction or guidance.

The purpose of this message is to encourage believers who may feel lost in their (spiritual and natural) walk of life and/or struggling with their next move.

By illustrating the Word of God as the only way to discover our true position in life, we learn how to navigate through our paths with victory.

For Real For Real

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What happens when you believe in limitations? I’m not talking about speaking negativity; but what about speaking faith over dreams that are beneath the factory settings God placed in you before you were born? I was given dreams as a child. I pulled them out of the shrink wrap and exposed them to the elements of peers who laughed, family who belittled, media who distorted and life experiences that diminished the fresh, new plastic smell of my dreams over time.

Keeping it 100 begins with myself. This summer has been an intentional focus on fighting the good fight of faith in various areas. Ironically, it wasn’t until I began fighting that the enemy began accelerating towards me. Challenges in my career, business endeavors, creativity, health, finances, relationships, family and self-image — all required an increased activation of my faith. I believe this happened because all of the aforementioned are influenced by God’s purpose for my life.

In response to the exposure, I subconsciously made my dreams smaller and palatable to the tastebuds of mediocrity.

By the grace of God and the potency of His Word, this faith fight has awakened me to the reality that my original dreams are bigger than the ones I’ve been speaking in faith to manifest. There is an initial greatness that God wants to make even greater in my life for His Glory.

So, now what?

Dream for real. Not the dwarfed dreams of outside perceptions. Not the reluctant dreams of internal insecurities. It’s time to trust God to put your dreams back to factory settings. Those dreams are huge. Those dreams are fearless. Those dreams awaken the child who sees nothing standing in the way. Those dreams ascend to the tangent of your soul sphere of imagination and orbit your mind as you sleep.

And God wants to take you even further.

In my faith fight, I shouldn’t be fighting myself. I was fighting my conviction to embrace the enormity of my dreams. My real dreams. Speaking faith on 75% of what I truly wanted, wasn’t faith at all. It was only when I spoke God’s Word, prayed and asked Him for the grandiose blessings — that I felt my faith getting stronger. I’m not talking about solely material things, but relationship restoration, emotional intelligence, spiritual maturity, wisdom and healthy, edifying connections with people.

I want it all and I thank God for revealing to me, through His Word and people in my life, that He wants me to have it all, too.

And I’ll always give Him the glory.

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