Can these dry bones live? Speak to IT

Ezekiel 37:3-4 King James Version (KJV)

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

The fact that there were only dry bones left in the valley, meant that the body had not only died but had been dead for sometime. God asked Ezekiel his opinion on the matter, “do you believe these bones can live?” He was questioning his faith on the matter, even though every evidence pointed to the absence of life in the bones, He wanted Ezekiel’s take on it. He was given a diplomatic answer too “Lord, thou knowest”.

Ezekiel was then commanded to prophesy to these bones, speak to these bones, apply the Word, the precious promises to these bones. The very dry, dead bones became connected with his manual input, they grew flesh and became a large army.

Now, what dead situation or dying situation are you looking at this morning? Ministry?  Relationships? Finances? Church Growth? Marriage? Get into the Word, apply the promises found in the Word, speak them, pray them, think them. I’m believing with you that newness, life, and growth will enter that situation.

 

Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves
But we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid
we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
~Lauren Daigle (Come Alive – Dry Bones)
Be blessed,  MARANATHA
img-20161229-wa0009 Lady Shaki is an eleventh grade geography teacher and youth leader for her church. She is energetic, vibrant and willing to try most things at least once. She has a heart for God and a passion for young people. Be blessed as she shares on Establish Her.
Advertisements

It’s Gonna Rain

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 1 Kings 18:41

There was a drought for three and a half years. Water was simg-20170105-wa0007carce as there was no rain and no dew, this in turn impacted the food supply as crop failed, and the livestock died. Persons were distressed as there was limited or no food and limited or no water.

But the Man of God told the king, there is a sound of abundance of rain. The interesting thing was even as he uttered the word, the sky looked the same, nothing changed to indicate that there was gonna be rain. It seemed that only Elijah heard the sound of the abundance of rain, he alone caught the vision, he alone sensed the change and shift in the atmosphere. He declared not just rain, but abundant rain, torrential rainfall, rain to fill the rivers, the streams, the springs. He declared rain that would bring back life to a nation that was agrarian in nature, the soil would get water, the crop would strive, the livestock would live.

Have you been going through a dry season in your life? Finances seemed to have dried up, health is failing, relationships (whether marital or family) are in trouble, ministry at a standstill? Things seem stagnant, and to make matters worst, you can’t seem to get a hold of God?

It’s gonna rain, your situations might not indicate that, but it’s gonna rain, the sun might be beating down on you as you survey the dying things or seemingly dead things in your life, but take heart, IT’S GONNA RAIN. Maranatha

img-20161229-wa0009 Lady Shaki is an eleventh grade geography teacher and youth leader for her church. She is energetic, vibrant and willing to try anything at least once. She has a heart for God and a passion for young people. Be blessed as she shares on Establish Her.

In The Beginning…God

in-the-beginning-god

“In the beginning…” There’s something about a beginning that brings hope. Even for those that say it is just another day, deep inside, they know this isn’t true. We all want a clean slate. We all want a fresh start, and getting one gives us joy and brings new commitments. Most of us make resolutions. We promise to do better and, for a while, we actually believe we can. The new year is an opportunity to begin over. It is a chance to start again. This is something we all want, and we all desperately need.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

“In the beginning, God…” He is the only way to truly begin again. Without Him, the clean slate of the New Year is just an empty concept. It cannot truly happen, but with God… He makes all things new. If you are reading this and you have never really made God a vital part of your life, I encourage you to do so. Let Him give you a new start. If you have made resolutions this year for eating, fitness, work, etc. why not make one more? Why not commit to doing something great for, or with, God this year? Why not start this new beginning off with God? Why not commit your life, for the first time or for the hundredth time, to Him?

Dear God,
I give You this year. As I start it out, help me to do it by following You. You are all I really want for 2017. Take me down paths in these coming days that are far more than I could ever have imagined. Help me to follow You today, tomorrow, this year, and for the rest of my days. I’m Yours, again, for the very first time. In Jesus Name.
Amen

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins…and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1: 21-23)

I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour (Isaiah 43:11)

Happy New Year all! God Bless You

An adaptation of a beautiful passage  from Beejai @https://theriverwalk.org/2017/01/01/january-1-in-the-beginning-god/

God’s Crossed-Hand Blessing

Genesis 48:13-14

13. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.

14. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn

download

It was the custom in those days for the firstborn of the family to be given the birthright.This included the position as the head of the family along, the accompanying prestige and a double portion of the inheritance. Manasseh owned the birthright being the firstborn, and by right he should have gotten the greater blessing but Jacob crossed his hand.

This resulted in the younger son Ephraim receiving the greater blessings. Joseph their father was surprised and maybe even upset and tried to correct what he perceived to be a mistake but the crossed hand was intentional. The blessing was Jacob’s to dispense of as he pleased.

God blesses whom he pleases with what he pleases, he doesn’t necessarily give to those we think are worthy or those we prefer. He’s the God who specializes in unqualified blessings, promotions that leave the world scratching it’s head and wondering “how did that happen?”

Some of us are living testimonies of the crossed-hand blessing of God. We came from the wrong address, we’re from the wrong family, we don’t have the right look, the right qualifications but God elevated us to some positions that even us in our wildest hope and fondest dreams could not envision our present status . God’s ways and thoughts are certainly not ours and he has a way of preferring what man looks down on.

I believe he’s getting ready to bless you, do you? MARANATHA

A FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM

“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less”. John 3:29-30

As Christians, we often spiritualize the idea of self-promotion.  After all, the more successful and popular we become, the better Christian witnesses we will be, right?  But surprisingly, that’s not God’s pattern at all.

At the peak of John the Baptist’s ministry, Jesus started baptizing, and people began coming more to Jesus than to John.  John’s followers seemed disturbed by this trend, and told him, “Behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (John 3:26).  They must have felt jealous on behalf of John, thinking, “Why is John suddenly getting overlooked?  People aren’t noticing him as much now that Jesus is around!  John should do something to promote himself and his ministry!”  And yet John knew that his sacred commission was to make Jesus – not himself – known to the world.

He told his followers, “I am only the friend of the bridegroom; not the bridegroom Himself; when the Bridegroom is ee0e98db35658c4bed8a5200113540f4seen, my joy is complete.” (John 3:29, paraphrase) And then John made a truly profound statement, completely opposite of the self-promoting messages we are so used to today.

He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  What an amazing attitude!  His primary concern was getting out of the way, so that Jesus could be seen.  John knew that if he tried to take center-stage, Jesus would not receive the glory that He deserved.

The same is true in our own lives.  When we try to be seen and applauded, Jesus fades into the background, and people look at us, not Him.  But when we focus on getting out of the way and pointing others to Him, He receives the glory He deserves. This doesn’t mean we can never cultivate the unique talents and strengths that He has given us.  It is certainly possible to use our gifts to glorify God (in fact, that is why He gave them to us in the first place!) But first, we must ask some critical questions:  “Am I doing this for His glory or for my own applause?  When people see this part of my life, are they drawn closer to Jesus, or are they merely impressed with me?”  If we are more concerned with what others think of us than what they think of Jesus, then we have not learned how to be a faithful “friend of the Bridegroom” as John the Baptist was.  If we are pursuing our dreams in order to “get what we want out of life” rather than to lead others to the Source of true life, we are missing a crucial part of the Christian life.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  (Matt 16:24)  The word “deny” here means “to forget one’s self and lose sight of one’s own interests.” What an incredibly different message from the “do what makes you happy” notion that our culture promotes!  Jesus says that in order to truly follow Him, we must lay down all pursuits of self-glory and seek His glory alone.

I once heard a true story about a young woman who left everything – all her dreams and personal pursuits – in order to share the hope of Christ among the destitute and dying in a foreign country.  One day she was walking down a filthy alley, watching several sad old men sifting through garbage cans in search of food. They were long-time drug addicts at the end of their miserable and hopeless lives; their bodies shriveled and wasting away, their souls lost and despairing. No one knew their names or cared whether they lived or died.  As the young woman watched the heartbreaking scene in front of her, she silently said to God, “It would be worth my whole life if I could just reach one of these old men for You, Lord.”

At the peak of her youthful potential, when she had her whole life ahead of her, this young woman was ready to leave it all behind just to lead one hopeless old man to Jesus Christ. Such a self-sacrificing attitude might at first seem foolish to our logical minds.  If we could speak to her, we might say, “You are such a bright and beautiful young lady; don’t throw away your life for the sake of one old man!  Surely there are better ways – bigger ways – for you to make an impact in God’s kingdom!”

But God doesn’t measure success the way we do. Mary of Bethany poured out her most priceless ointment upon the feet of Jesus without applause, recognition or fanfare, and some thought it was a waste.  Yet Jesus said, in essence, “what she has done for me is a picture of the Gospel itself.”  (See John 12:3-8)

The apostle Paul had loads of worldly accomplishments and accolades that he could have been leveraged to gain a bigger platform for his ministry. But only when he was willing to consider his earthly achievements worthless and become a fool for Christ’s sake, was he truly effective as a witness of the Gospel.  (See Phil 3:8, 1 Cor 1:27)

Jesus said that if we cling to our lives, we will lose them, but if we are willing to give up our lives for His sake, we will find true life.  (See Matt 10:39)

Instead of striving to be noticed and appreciated, we are to take an entirely different posture into every area of our life – one of humility and self-denial. Whether we are recognized and applauded, or disregarded and overlooked, it should make no difference to us.  A woman who has truly taken up her cross to follow Christ only cares about knowing Him, and making Him known.

Thanks to Leslie Ludy of Set apart girl for these words of guidance. https://setapartgirl.com/devotional/friend-bridegroom

Being the ‘bigger person’

There is a saying which reads:

the first to apologize is the Bravest

the first to forgive is the Strongest

and the first to forget is the happiest

Humans have a propensity to constantly seek to justify themselves. Let’s think now in the context of arguments or ‘unfair’ [according to their estimate] reactions towards them or any other kinds of disagreement. We generally tend to try and present our case to others in our favor, a ‘one-sided’ story kinda, where of course WE WERE NEVER WRONG. I guess this has to do extensively with our innate selfish desires, and this could possibly be the reason or part of, why Jesus implored us to first deny ourselves if we desire to follow him.

Admitting when we are wrong, confessing a fault, taking the blame for a fault of ours, forgiving those who wronged us, learning to ‘drop it’, restraining our ‘ego’ are all a part of being the bigger person and I can say from experience that it is never easy to be the bigger person even as Christians.

‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’St. Matthew 5:23-24.

I recall to mind a situation where the ‘lamp unto my feet’ effect of the Word was actualized through this scripture. A cousin of mine decided that it was better to malice me for ‘no apparent reason’ [see that propensity I spoke of coming out]. Of  course, malice makes me feel uncomfortable not because I am a Christian but because it puts me in an awkward position and I hate feeling awkward. So I still tried to keep up the relationship but the sarcasm and snobbish behavior I was met with was more than I could bear. I managed to somehow turn a blind eye. The following annual Conference [UPCJ], I remember just before the worship segment of the night service started I suddenly felt guilty before the Lord and was stopped in the middle of my worship. Here came the Holy Ghost with the word as audible as one could imagine ‘if thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against you……’ So to this I replied ‘but God, I didn’t do anything wrong, you are God judge between him and me’.

The word was repeated, to which I again replied ‘but why should I be the one to apologize when I am the one who was wronged? I did nothing wrong’. I thought the admonition was through but then He said ‘the word did not say if YOU have ought against your brother but if HE has ought against you’. I was dumbfounded. It occurred to me that I had never paid much attention to the scripture.

Here was Jesus saying that it is not a case where you have an issue with your brother, which would put him/her in the right and you in the wrong, but if they have an issue with you. You must now GO, and not ‘fiesty wid dem’ (be rude) but ‘be reconciled unto them’ in other words seek THEIR forgiveness. I was much disappointed at this. How could God not give me the right which I clearly deserved [I didn’t ask this out loud this time but my heart thought of it] and His answer was that I needed to be the ‘bigger person’. So out of the fear of the Lord, I went and did just that. I had to swallow my pride and go ‘beg fren’ [in Jamaican terms]. And what was even more disturbing was the pride-filled remark that greeted me: ‘I was wondering how long it would take you’ (screams), but this was the first of my learning to be the bigger person. I’ll distract you for a lil bit with this saying

‘no one has ever suffered from indigestion by swallowing their pride’.

Let’s continue shall we? A similar situation happened with another relative and this time I was thoroughly wronged, and there was no need to present my case in favour of me before anyone because it was clear to all who was wrong [lol]. So you can imagine how disgruntled I was when the Lord stopped me in the middle of a prayer and told me to go apologize. May I be a little frank with you? I was growing tired of this scripture and the Lord must have known this so this scripture was now accompanied by the one from St Matthew 5:39-40

‘but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

But again thank God, my heart complied to the instruction from the word and again I swallowed my pride and went and made peace. This continued, not only with family members but with church members also and close friends, very close friends, and each time it would happen the word discerned my thoughts and became a lamp unto my feet. It takes gut to be the ‘bigger person’, it takes humility, it takes love, it takes Romans 12:16, it takes the full control of the Holy Ghost.

So what if they never receive a just reward for their actions [if in fact you are in the right]? It is not up to us to decide that. The bible says ‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves but rather give place to wrath. For vengeance is mine I will repay saith the Lord’. And the sad truth is, some folks may NEVER realize their wrong, but hey, who made us the judge of the saints? Have we not read how James spoke in the book of James 4:12?

here is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

I started out by saying it is never easy being the bigger person, but the truth is being the bigger person really means being the lesser person. Learning how to forgive without recognition or applaud, learning how to ‘let go’ solely for the purpose of letting peace prevail and the Word and Name of Christ be exalted. Learning how to ‘drop it’; to just move on from the fact of knowing that you were right BUT, it’s not worth the dispute.

Paul implored us to ‘be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things but to condescend to men of low estate; be not wise in our own conceits’. All of which begs for the child of God to be perfected in humility, for this was one of the noble character traits of Christ, and therein is the reward of being able to dwell in the high and holy place with the eternal God as expressed by Isaiah in Isaiah 57:15. So my friends, I hope there was something in this my rambling after all; I encourage us to be the BIGGER person. Let Jesus Christ be seen in you, in US.

CC.jpg

Our guest blogger, Crystal Chambers, hails from the hills of Trelawny, Jamaica. She believes in baptism and repentance in Jesus name. She is a photographer and nurse in training. Thanks Lady Crystal

Love and Fear

I always want to understand what is happening in my life. I can put up with a lot of discomfort and even misery if I know why.

Gideon felt that way. One day the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, Mighty warrior”. “But sir”, Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?'” (Judges 6:12-13). I can relate to that!

Yes, I know in my head that God has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. But if all that is true-and it is- why am  I going through such a hard time? As Gideon put it, “Why has all this happened to me?” When things arenwhy‘t going my way I don’t understand, I begin to be anxious. Fear grips my heart.

John writes something that is very profound, but it will take a little mulling over to appreciate the full meaning. He says, “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). My first impulse is to respond, “No, John, I think you have it wrong. That should read, “Perfect understanding drives out fear’.

If God would just tell me why  I have to deal with this problem or situation, I wouldn’t be afraid….right? But that’s not what John says. He says that perfect love drives out fear-that love is the supreme weapon against fear.

When I truly understand how much God loves me, fear leaves my heart like darkness when the sun rises. That’s because love always says…

  • I want the best for you – always
  • I have in mind your ultimate good, not just your present comfort
  • My love includes discipline, for I care too much for you to allow you to become a spoiled brat

The best thing I can know during a difficult time is that the One who allows that difficulty is the One who loves me more than anyone else does in the whole universe. No, I may not understand the state of affairs, but I know He loves me-deeply- just as He loves you. Fear not, You are loved by God.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

I need H-E-L-P!

help-png

When you see a storm approaching in your life, one that you know is too big for you to handle, where do you turn for help? On whom or what do you rely?

The prophet Isaiah said

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
    and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
    or seek help from the Lord. ~ Isaiah 31:1

In our own day, people are no different from those who lived in Isaiah’s time. When people see disaster headed their way, some turn to those they think they can count on to help bail them out-friends or “contacts” (Egypt, in Isaiah’s case). Others rely on material resources they can touch and see (horses). Still others rely on “numbers” (multitude of chariots). Some depend on the sheer power of their own resources (the great strength of their horsemen).

Yet God says, “Seek help from the Lord”. All the time we’re looking to other sources, God wants us to look to Him and call on Him for help. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask God for help; it’s a sign that we trust that He will come to our aid. When we call, we believe He will answer. This is no puny, incapable God we’re turning to. No way! He is the “Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). And, what’s more, He is our Father.

Continue reading “I need H-E-L-P!”

The Dimensions of God’s Love

When I am in the middle of a difficult time, I may not feel loved by God. That’s because my entire perspective is warped. The circumstances are so close to me that they seem to tower above God’s love and block it from my vision. But that doesn’t change the reality that God’s love abounds all around me. It reaches far above me. It transcends time past and time to come.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love….For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him….From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him. Psalm 103: 8, 11, 17

Look at the dimensions of God’s love-“high as the heavens” and “from everlasting to everlasting”!

dimensions

Continue reading “The Dimensions of God’s Love”

LOVE

do-you-love-me_personalityhacker

What a wonderful difference love makes in our world! And it all started with God. He is the root from which all love springs. John says: “This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”. 1 John 4:10. Jesus asks us to apply the love He so freely gives to us to others. Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you”. John 15:12

Now that’s difficult! Ask Elizabeth Charles. She was born back in the early 1800s, yet I find that what she wrote is as true in the twenty-first century as it was during her lifetime:

It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm to our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira (far-off places to her). To love the whole church is one thing; to love-that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects-of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiarities infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another.

Yes, Elizabeth, it’s hard to love the one who rubs me the wrong way. Yet, that is loving with the love of God.

Continue reading “LOVE”