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May 7, 2018 Posted by admin in angels

An Angel Visited Me at My House Last Night!

Acts 2:16-18(KJV) - But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

I woke up just after 3:00 AM this morning angrily shouting; "Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus." Thank God he didn't resist and left in a flash. However, so did my desire to sleep. Hence, today's blog. 🙂 What was strange is that I actually heard voices outside after I woke up. I looked out the window and two of my neighbors who only recently moved in across the street were talking in their porch facing the direction of my house. Yes at 3:00 AM in the still of the night they were standing up in their porch talking! I don't know what that's about but it's too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. A few minutes later there was silence again. I looked out the window and they were gone. Now that I know who they are, they are about to get a prayer drive-by with some machine-gun tongues; "Brrrrratatatatat!" More on that later.

Hebrews 13:2(KJV) - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

This blog is about my angel. He came to my house last night and this time we actually talked. For what it's worth he also finally told me his name. It's Michael. I know what you're thinking. Like Michael, the archangel? I don't know about that part. That's exactly what I thought when he first told me but I didn't ask him so I'll make no assumptions. He's Michael, the angel. That's what I do know. What's unique about this encounter is that he came to my house for the first time to talk to me like that. In addition, this is the first time he didn't give me a message about the ministry. He came to tell me something personal.

Psalm 34:7(NKJV) - The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Psalm 91:11-12(NKJV) - For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

I know by faith that angels are always there because I believe Psalms 34:7 and 91:11-12. Yet, the last time I actually saw one I was still a teenager attending college. In the space of about two years one appeared to me 3 times. He came to my aunt's basement and took me to heaven to show me where I fit in world history. Another angel met me on the side of the road outside of World Changer's Church International and told me God will take me to the nations. That angel appeared in the form of a woman in the passenger seat of a car.

Then the last time I saw an angel, he came into my 8:00 AM Statistics and Probability class at Georgia Tech during the 1999 summer session while I was falling asleep. That morning he just stood next to me saying nothing. God told me he was just there like personal security to keep an eye on things. He had nothing to say but I got the message. Since then, no encounters like that have come to my mind. I do remember last night distinctly wondering why God didn't encounter me like that any more. I just thought it to myself and it happened a few hours later.

Mark 4:15(NKJV) - And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

What's interesting is that during that season of my life, the angel of the Lord was not the only one who paid me a visit. Satan also visited me a few times. He actually came to my bed in my aunt's basement also. He didn't say anything but he brought this oppressive darkness that made it hard for me to move or even breathe sometimes. God reminded me of that a few minutes ago. Back then I didn't know what to do but scream out to Jesus for help. This time was different. As I said earlier, I rebuked him without thinking about it and he left immediately. I won't bore you with the rest of the details but remember this. When God shows up with a Word for you, Satan will come immediately to try to take it away. Don't ever let him do that!

Now why did God send angels to visit me so many times? I can't tell you I fully understand why but I do have an idea. Since those visits I started this website, preached countless messages, wrote 6 books and started a church with my wife. God used those angelic encounters to propel me forward in ministry. Now He's doing it again. Obviously, it's a signal that a new season has started. Even the enemy knows it because he came back again trying to stop it. I wish he wouldn't but it's not my choice. When there's a shift in the spirit realm, he takes notice and tries to get in the way. That's why he got himself rebuked this morning.

Genesis 28:11-19(NKJV) - So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.

In this account of "Jacob's Ladder" we are given a vivid picture of angelic activity. My father explained one time that the angels seen by Jacob were ascending from earth into heaven then returning from heaven to earth. In other words, they were already on earth to start with. They just went to heaven to get some stuff to bring back to earth. I know that the moment Jacob had his dream was not the moment the angels showed up. It was the moment God opened his eyes to see what was already going on. In the same way, I believe God's angels are always with us but last night he opened my eyes to see Michael.

When Jacob had his dream, he was in a period of transition. He had just received the blessing from his father Isaac and was following his father's instructions to find a wife. He was also running for his life from his older brother Esau who promised vengeance for losing the blessing. God showed up to reassure Jacob that He was was with him. Even though Jacob already received the blessing from his father, God confirmed everything that was said and added even more.

Why after almost two decades would the Angel of The Lord return to me like that? I'm in a period of transition myself. If you want to know the details, add me on LinkedIn. I plan to update it later this week. Now as I sit to write this blog The Holy Ghost is reassuring me that everything the angels told me as a teenager is about to start happening. That's why he returned. It's time!

(to be continued)

2

Fear Not! Don't Let Fear Rob You of God's Promises!

Exodus 3:7-8(NLT) - Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.

Exodus 3:16-17(NLT) - “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’

Exodus 13:5(NLT) - You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (He swore to your ancestors that he would give you this land—a land flowing with milk and honey.)

In the midst of oppression in Egypt, the Israelites still had hope. For hundreds of years, they knew that The Lord had promised them a land of their own. Over and over, God said they would be given a land flowing with milk and honey. Over and over He reminded them of their heritage. He spoke to them through His prophets. He spoke to them through His Sovereign Voice. He empowered them with His words to take their eyes off the pain and suffering of their present and fix their eyes on their glorious future. His words were not ambiguous or mysterious, they were clear. There was a specific place set aside for His people and the location was set in stone.

Even though the land would be beautiful. God made no pretensions about the challenge ahead. The land was not vacant. It was already occupied by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Yet God kept promising the Israelites that the land would be their own. He just left out one minor detail. How! How exactly were the Israelite people supposed to inherit someone else's land? Were the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites going to simply agree to give their property to the Israelites and walk away in peace? Most likely not! Nevertheless, after hundreds of years of anticipation, the time finally came for God's promise to be fulfilled.

Exodus 33:1-3(NLT) - The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.”

Finally, it was D-Day! The Lord told Moses to get up and possess the land. Think about it! God had already miraculously delivered them from Egypt with plagues like they've never seen before. Then He opened The Red Sea and caused them to walk on dry land. Then He fed them with manna from heaven. Miracle after miracle after miracle God proved Himself to His people. He is God Almighty! He can do anything! He destroyed Pharaoh's army with His mighty hand! Nothing can stand in His way! If anyone should have believed in God's ability and willingness to act in their favor, the Israelites should have.

On top of it all, God didn't even want them to fight for the land. He specifically promised an angel would go before them to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Not an army of angels! Not a few angels! Just one! In other words, six different armies were no match for one angel so God didn't need to waste any time sending more than one. Of course, at the same time, He commented about the stubbornness and rebellion of the Israelites. He knew the limits of His patience and they were close to the end of it already. If He went along with them to capture The Promised Land He knew He would kill them in an instant if He heard one more word out of them. So, here's how the story unfolded.

Numbers 13:1-3, 17-20(NLT) - The Lord now said to Moses, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran... Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land: “Go north through the Negev into the hill country. See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)

God's first instruction to Moses was to send out leaders from among the people to generate a scouting report. However, Moses also gave the scouts precise instructions concerning what to look for. He wanted a clear picture of what they were up against. There's no way to prove that God told Moses to get all of those details but that's what he asked for anyway. I guess Moses was being realistic. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. He wasn't questioning God's promise to them but he sent the men to explore the land just like God had requested. So, the spies went out and the people waited.

Numbers 13:21-24(NLT) - So they went up and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. Going north, they passed through the Negev and arrived at Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai—all descendants of Anak—lived. (The ancient town of Hebron was founded seven years before the Egyptian city of Zoan.) When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them! They also brought back samples of the pomegranates and figs. That place was called the valley of Eshcol (which means “cluster”), because of the cluster of grapes the Israelite men cut there.

Did the scriptures really say the men returned with a cluster of grapes so large that it took two men to carry it on a pole? Have you ever seen that many grapes in one cluster in your entire life? How did that even stay on the vine? What kind of vine is strong enough to hold a cluster of grapes so large that a grown man cannot hold it on his own? Well, they were definitely in the right place. That was The Promised Land. God promised them a fertile and spacious land so that's exactly what they should have expected. Just like God said, the promise stood right before their eyes. Yet, forty days after God, through Moses, first sent them to spy out the land, this is what actually happened.

Numbers 13:25-33(NLT) - After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too"

Large Fruit? Check! Bountiful country? Check! Milk and honey? Check! Powerful people? Check! Giants? Check! God specifically said in Exodus 33:2(NLT); "And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites." Why were the ten spies surprised to find Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites living there? For hundreds of years, God said they would be there. While the Israelites were still slaves in Egypt God prepared their hearts for this moment. He told them what lay ahead. Nothing was new! All Moses had to say was, "Thanks for the report, God promised an angel to drive them out. Let's see what He does now! Let's get out of this wilderness and go get our Promised Land!"

Unfortunately, after being born into slavery they had a very low self-esteem. So not only did they feel like grasshoppers when comparing themselves to the giants. They projected their low self-image upon the giants and assumed that the giants looked at them as grasshoppers. Yes, they were physically free from slavery but their minds were still in bondage. They were handed everything as slaves. They were completely dependent on their Egyptian masters. They had no fight left in them, even though they didn't have to lift a finger. Unfortunately, you probably know how the story ended. Here's a reminder.

Numbers 14:1-10(NLT) - Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”

Numbers 14:29-32(NLT) - You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. “‘You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness.

What would make a group of former slaves one step away from their Promised Land long for slavery again? What would make them turn on their leader just because he did exactly what God instructed? What would make them forget a promise that kept them going for hundreds of years under the worst conditions right on the brink of its fulfillment? Fear! After running behind a dream all of their lives, with the finish line in sight, they lost their composure and panicked! My God! They waited so long, so long. Their parents died waiting... their grandparents died waiting... their great-grandparents died waiting and God finally delivered. Yet, instead of celebrating God's promise, they simply panicked!

God told Moses that they didn't have to fight. An angel would clear their enemies out of the land. Why were they even thinking about dying in battle? What battle? Joshua and Caleb begged them not to disobey God. Please, people, don't stop at the end of the journey! They waited for so long to get there. How could they miss their chance? Come on! Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in complete agony. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and pleaded with the people to not be afraid. Yet, The Spirit of Fear that controlled them during slavery still controlled them during freedom. You see, that's how masters control slaves. They do it using fear. That's how ten security guards can keep one hundred prisoners in check. Fear! It's impossible for them to stop all of the prisoners if they fought back and it was impossible for Egypt to control one million slaves without fear.

So how did God prepare them for this moment and why should they have been ready for the challenge? Here's what God had said to make sure they didn't become victims of fear when the time came for them to possess the land.

Deuteronomy 11:8-12, 22-25(NLT) - “Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden. Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year! ... “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land.

What a prophetic Word! God told them ahead of time that the people would be greater than them! He warned them to obey His commandments and if they did so, He would drive the people out. Can you believe that? Before the spies even scouted the land, they all knew what to expect. Why on earth were they so afraid? God told the Israelites that the people occupying the land were greater and stronger than them. Yet, He said they would take over the land. What else was God supposed to do or say? He told them what to expect. He choreographed the entire situation. Occupying The Promised Land was nothing but a formality.

What is it about fear that can put a sudden end to God's plan? Why is fear so powerful? Fear is not a feeling. Fear is a Spirit! The Israelites met it in Egypt during slavery as Pharoah used it to rule them then it accompanied them out of Egypt! It's an oppressive, over-powering, selfish, illogical, evil spirit. You can't reason with fear. You can't explain fear away. You can't work your way around fear. You can't expect mercy from fear. You can't fight fear with positive thoughts. You have to cast it out like you would cast out a demon!

I woke up yesterday morning and The Lord spoke to me. He said, "Don't let fear and intimidation rob you of my promises!" He also led me to the scriptures using the journey of the Israelites as the perfect example. Once I started studying I realized it was time to return to the blog and articulate the truth for whoever is willing to listen. This blog is not about the Israelites. It's about us! Don't look down at the Israelites because they're no different from any of us. We are the Israelites. We are the people who receive prophetic word after prophetic word after prophetic word, year after year after year and still panic when the time comes for God to deliver His promise.

God promised you a raise but when He opens the door for you to further your education by returning to school or completing certification exams you panic. God promised you a promotion but when a vacancy presents itself you're too scared to apply because you're intimidated by the new responsibilities. God promised you a successful business but when it's time to take a risk by leaving your comfort zone to invest in your business you panic. God promised you a spouse but every time it looks like a relationship is getting too serious and you risk a broken heart, you panic. God promised you so much but it's much easier to dream about God's promises and talk about them than it is to get up and claim what's yours when the time is right.

Why You Must Say No To Fear!

1) Fear didn't come from God!

2 Timothy 1:7(NKJV) - For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If fear didn't come from God, you know who it came from. Hence, you need to give him back his stuff. God gave you power, love, and a sound mind. Those are good gifts which you should keep. The enemy gave you fear. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they opened the door for The Spirit of Fear to enter their lives. When God showed up to converse with them, here's what Adam said for the first time in Genesis 3:10(NKJV), "So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” There was no such thing as fear in the human heart until sin entered. Now, we have to remove it from our hearts.

2) Fear can't coexist with God's Love!

1 John 4:18(NKJV) - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Fear will torment you like the devil in hell. God's Love, which is perfect is the only antidote to fear. You have to believe with all of your heart that God loves you and will never let anything bad happen to you (Romans 8:39). You have to believe that He has your best interest at heart (Romans 12:2). He is looking out for you. His thoughts are good toward you (Jeremiah 29:11). His plan is excellent. You have to believe that He orders your steps (Psalm 37:23). He has given you power over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall be any means harm you (Luke 10:19). You have to believe in God's Love for you!

3) Fear will block you from God's Promise!

Hebrews 10:35-36(NLT) - So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

The Israelites had zero confidence in God's Word to them even though God said the same thing to them over and over. As a result, they never received His promise. Only Joshua and Caleb were given the opportunity forty years later to take the next generation of Israelites into The Promised Land. Fear took their confidence away and blocked them from God's promise. Don't let that happen to you. Patiently endure for as long as you need to until you see what God said. It's impossible for you to receive all that God has promised if you don't have confident trust in Him. It's your confidence in God's Love and in turn, His Word that positions you to be on the receiving end of His rewards. No confidence, no promises!

Final Words: Prayer Must Replace Fear!

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

If you want to be delivered from the torment of fear, you must first recognize that it's from the devil. Fear is not simply a part of being human. It's a part of being fallen! You then have to embrace God's Love. His perfect Love will cast the fear out of your heart. Then, you can open your mouth and pray with confidence. Be thankful to God for what He has already done for you and ask Him for what you really need. Only then will His peace replace the torment of fear. His peace is also beyond logic and reasoning. However, His peace will give you freedom while fear will keep you in bondage. Do not fear! You've waited too long to see God's promises fulfilled in your life. When God does what He says and places the answer to your prayer in front of you, you must be courageous enough to get out of your comfort zone and retrieve what's yours.

Mark 5:36(NKJV) - As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Do not be afraid; only believe!

5

Answering The Call of God

Answering The Call of God

1 Samuel 3:1-10(NLT) - Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

If you were sleeping and suddenly heard a voice call your name in the middle of the night, what would you do? Now put yourself in Samuel's shoes. He had no idea what was going on. As the scriptures outlined, it was rare for anyone to receive a message from The Lord at that time so he didn't have much of a reference point. Hence, his response was appropriate. In fact, his journey to hearing God's Voice clearly is indicative of what we all experience. Like Samuel, it takes us a couple times before we can comfortably discern God's Voice from everything else around us.

It took Samuel 4 times to recognize The Voice of God. Yet, more importantly, it took Eli 3 times to realize that it was God's Voice speaking to Samuel all along. Samuel was justified for not knowing God's Voice but Eli, the high priest, had no excuse. Maybe that further explains why the first prophetic Word Samuel ever received was a warning of impending judgment from God for his mentor and spiritual father Eli. If you read the preceding chapter you would also realize that Samuel was not the first prophet to warn Eli. God sent a prophet earlier to tell Eli basically the same thing. Since it didn't really work then, God had to repeat Himself which is never good.

Isaiah 6:8(NKJV) - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

I remember the first time I "heard" the Voice of God. It was during a Sunday morning service at Divine Encounter Fellowship in Arima, Trinidad. I was 17 years old and a group of us had responded to an altar call. We were on our faces in prayer before The Lord when suddenly I felt something shift in my consciousness. My eyes were closed and instead of seeing complete darkness I could see the stars as though I was deep in outer space. I then felt this overwhelming sense that God was calling me into the ministry. I couldn't articulate what He said to me because I actually didn't hear anything. I just felt something all over me and I knew it was God. So in response I told The Lord yes in whatever way I knew at that time. I didn't know exactly what I was agreeing to but I knew who I was in agreement with. As you can see, the rest is history.

Matthew 22:1-4(NLT) - Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In this parable like most others by Jesus, the King represents God. In addition, the specially invited guests represent His chosen people Israel and the people from the street corners represent the Gentiles. Salvation was first offered to the Jews and the bulk of them rejected it so God offered it to the entire world. It may not have been a good thing that the Jews turned down God's invitation but it was a good thing for the rest of us because that's how we got invited into God's Kingdom. Nevertheless, it's easy to read a parable like this and think; "Who in their right mind would reject the call of God? What could be so important in your life that it could be worth turning down a personal invitation from God?"

Well, think about it! The VIP guests had other things to do. They had things to take care of at home or work. They had money to make. They had their own dreams to pursue. They just didn't have the time to stop living their own lives to respond to The King. They weren't necessarily bad people, they were just busy people. Of course, that doesn't include the group who killed the messengers. Of course, none of us would ever do a thing like that. Now would we? Not so fast! How many prophets have spoken God's truth into the lives of Christians who are sitting on the sidelines and got totally shot down? "Beloved, God says you need to.... Ummm... no thank you. That's not God."

Romans 11:29(AMP) - For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].

What about you? Do you remember the first time God spoke to you? If yes, what did He tell you? Do you remember the day God called you to serve in His Kingdom? If yes, what have you done? Did you do what He said? Did you read The Book of Jonah? He thought that he could get away from God's call on his life by going in the opposite direction. God sent him for a swim with the fishes. God might be long-suffering and patient but He doesn't forget His call on someone's life. Have you tried to run away from God's plan? If you think you're just not going to do it and things are just going to work themselves out you're in for a big surprise.

Even if you've never heard God's call you have received God's gifts. Guess what? His gifts were given to you for one purpose and that's to carry out His call. If you don't think you're called by God, your gifts will disagree with that notion. The mere presence of natural or spiritual gifts in your life means God has a purpose for you and its directly connected to the use of those gifts. So even a person's inability to hear from God is not an excuse for not answering the Call of God. The gifts He's put into each of us speak to us on behalf of God telling us what He expects of us. They point us in His direction.

Find a place where your gifts can be developed and eventually used in God's service. If you can't do it where you are right now, find somewhere else. You can either stay where you are and use your gifts outside of that place or go to a place where you can use your gifts. Whatever you do, answer God's call on your life. He is never going to change His mind regardless of what you do. The only thing that changes is that the longer you wait, the less time you have to do the same thing.

Romans 12:4-8(NLT) - Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Each person in The Body of Christ has unique gifts which accompany specific functions. When you see The Church as a body you will realize how important you are, not just to God but to the rest of us. Do you know what it's like to be missing a body part? Even if all of your body parts are present, do you know what it's like when you have body parts which don't function properly? Now consider every Christian who is out of place and not doing what God has called them to do. Consider the impact their lack of function has on the rest of us. They handicap God's body by not fulfilling their roles. Are you one of those people? Are you the malfunctioning foot that's caused us to limp along for the last five years? Are you the missing finger that has made it hard for us to grasp what God has asked of us? Is it you? If it's not you, do you know who it is?

1 Corinthians 12:12-27(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

We're all in this together. When I answered the call of God on my life it was not just about me, it was about you. When you consider the call of God on your life, it's not just about you or your family, it's about the rest of us in The Body of Christ. We need you to do what God has called you to do and we need you to do it now. God is calling your name. Go ahead and say yes! Until we all do what we are called to do, The Body of Christ is not functioning at its full capacity.

4

Money in The Bible?

When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” Matthew 17:24‭-‬27 NKJV

This is the third and final sneak peek from the new book; "The Fish With The Gold In Its Mouth" and is a continuation from yesterday's blog entitled, "Ranking The Miracles of Jesus".

Ironically, while I write this introduction, it's tax season in the United States of America where I reside. For some people it's a season of celebration because they are guaranteed a return for overpaying during the year but for others it's a season of angst because they owe the IRS and know they'll have to pay. Maybe that's the reason why I chose to write on this topic right now. I need to call on Jesus, throw a hook in the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and hope I catch a fish with some gold in its mouth so I can pay the IRS. As the saying goes, "He did it once, He'll do it again." I’m just kidding or maybe I’m not.

On a serious note, the purpose of this book is to unlock valuable nuggets of wisdom concerning God's Kingdom particularly in the area of finances based on the life and teachings of Jesus. Yet for some people the obvious question that comes to mind is what exactly do any of the teachings of Jesus have to do with money. The short answer is a whole lot. The long answer is this book. He spoke about money more often than many of the more popular topics we remember Him for. A quick search of the New Testament shows money being mentioned 88 times compared to hell which is mentioned 17 times or homosexuality which is mentioned twice.

In fact, Jesus included financial principles in His parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus shared The Parable of The Minas in which He drew a direct comparison between financial management and Kingdom responsibilities. Consider the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 or The parable of The Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35. If you didn't know it already, those talents were not referring to dancing or singing but money.

Then in John 2, directly following His first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding, we read that Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem and dismantled the “flea market”. He threw their money on the floor, turned over their tables and ran them out of the building with the help of a whip in His hands. It’s not by chance that money played such a prominent role whether positive or negative in the ministry of Jesus.

Additionally, an important point to note is that money is not just a side issue in the rest of the scriptures either. On the one hand, Solomon, the wisest man to ever live outside of Jesus said in Ecclesiastes 10:19 that money answers everything. On the other hand, Apostle Paul, who wrote most of The New Testament said in 1 Timothy 6:10 that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Including the word “all” in both scriptures demonstrates the impact that money has on our lives. As an entity of its own, money is neither good nor bad. It answers all things yet loving it is the root of all evil. That irony underlines why we need a balanced understanding of God’s perspective on money. May God’s wisdom guide us through this process.

Do you want to write a book? Many people do, but very few are able to get it done for various reasons. Let that not be your story. Learn tips and tricks for effectively putting your thoughts on paper in a cohesive, continuous manner. Work with a group of other writers who share the same goal.

The end!

Join our club at Coffee Shop Conversations. We'll be working together on our books this year. Bring your ideas, share it with the group and let's help each other write our books. Say goodbye to writer's block. If you're stuck, we'll help with ideas to move the book forward. Once the books are complete, we'll learn how to get our books published for free. You just saw a sneak peek of the book I'm working on during Coffee Shop Conversations.

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Decatur Community Workshops Highlights - Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you.

For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Highlights from Coffee Shop Conversations: Book Writer's Club

Do you want to write a book? Many people do, but very few are able to get it done for various reasons. Let that not be your story. Learn tips and tricks for effectively putting your thoughts on paper in a cohesive, continuous manner. Work with a group of other writers who share the same goal.

Join our club at Coffee Shop Conversations. We'll be working together on our books this year. Bring your ideas, share it with the group and let's help each other write our books. Say goodbye to writer's block. If you're stuck, we'll help with ideas to move the book forward. Once the books are complete, we'll learn how to get our books published for free.

Date - Thursday February 9th, 2017

The Body Church
3015 Rainbow Dr,
Suite #142,
Building #3009,
Decatur, GA 30034

**Located in Building 3009 in South DeKalb Office Park, 3015 Rainbow Drive, Decatur, GA 30034**

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays - 9:00 AM

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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Decatur Community Workshops: Single Parents

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Single Parents - How To Set The Atmosphere In Your Home". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you.

For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Decatur Community Workshops: Preventing Burnout

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Preventing Burnout". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you. For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Decatur Community Workshops: Celibacy - Taking The Path To Sexual Healing

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Celibacy". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you. For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops or www.singlespointofview.com

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Understanding The End Times - The Islamic Antichrist

Every 2nd Friday at 7:00 PM, The Body Church hosts the workshop "Understanding The End Times". In this session we answer questions about heaven and the resurrection.

For more information visit our website at www.thebodychurchinc.org

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