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June 21, 2015 Posted by admin in Vision

Who or What's Blocking Your Vision Of The Lord?

Who or What's Blocking Your Vision Of The Lord?

Isaiah 6:1(NKJV) - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

According to 2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah became King of Judah at 16 years old. He was a good king during the days of the prophet Zechariah. As a result, The Lord prospered him and gave him victory over his enemies. Unfortunately, when he became very strong his pride got the best of him. He thought he could usurp the authority of the priests and opted to burn incense on the altar of God. While he was in the act, the priest Azariah and eighty other priests confronted him in the temple concerning his transgression. Instead of being repentant, he got angry and God struck him with leprosy. They ran him out of the building and he spent the rest of his life in isolation until he died. Interestingly, it wasn't until the year he died that Isaiah saw The Lord. Maybe it was circumstantial but what if it was not?

Isaiah 6:1-8(NKJV) - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged." 8 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."

Not only did Isaiah see The Lord but he also received and responded to his call into the ministry. If there was nothing important about King Uzziah's death taking place just before Prophet Isaiah's heavenly vision of God it would not have been mentioned. Obviously, there was a reason why King Uzziah had to be taken out of the way before Isaiah could have been released to do what God had called him to do. Perhaps, Prophet Isaiah was called by God to operate in a season that began only after King Uzziah's death. That's a fair assertion. Perhaps, King Uzziah's rebellion against God would get in Isaiah's way. Whatever the reason, God had no intentions of showing up to Isaiah with King Uzziah still alive.

Is there a King Uzziah in your life that has to go before God can be free to reveal Himself to you in a whole new way? Perhaps, God recently moved someone out of your way and you can't seem to understand why. What if that person was blocking your vision of The Lord? What if you had to keep looking around that person to see God for yourself because your experience with The Lord did not exist apart from that person? Who is your King Uzziah? Whose shadow falls on you when the light of God shines in your direction?

Is your Uzziah a spouse? Is your entire experience with God tied to that person? If that person ever fails, will you backslide? Is your Uzziah a parent? Are you still worshipping your parent's God? Is your Uzziah a pastor? Can you only see God through the eyes of your pastor and you are unable to see Him for yourself? Who needs to get out of your way so you can see God for yourself? What if your only understanding of God is what someone else has seen and relayed to you causing you to have a third party Christian experience?

On the other hand, perhaps Uzziah is not a person in your life. Perhaps Uzziah is your education. You're just too intelligent to let go of logic and believe God for the ridiculous. Perhaps Uzziah is your denomination. You can't receive certain things clearly depicted in the scriptures because people in your denomination just don't believe that stuff. Perhaps Uzziah is your own pride. You know that God is calling you to something deeper but you don't want to deal with it so you ignore the tug of God on your heart. Hence, you never get to see Him on the level He wants you to.

Matthew 5:8(KJV) - Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14-15(KJV) - Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Last, but certainly not least. Is sin blocking your vision of The Lord? The Lord says that the pure in heart and those who are holy shall see God. You can repent according to 1 John 1:9 and clear your spiritual vision. Jesus died so you can access God without any blockage so don't let any sin get between you two. Nonetheless, maybe it's not your sin that's blocking you, it's the sin of others you continue to associate with. Let's return to the story of Isaiah. I think we may have just stumbled upon the answer to why something or someone was blocking his vision of The Lord during the time of King Uzziah.

Isaiah 6:5-7(KJV) - Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

From the top down, the people of Judah were unclean and it started with King Uzziah. As a result, when Isaiah was confronted with the holiness of God, his own uncleanness was highlighted. In response, God dispatched a seraphim with a live coal from the altar of God to cleanse him. He did all of this BEFORE calling Isaiah into the ministry.

Isaiah 6:8-10(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." And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."

Once Isaiah was cleansed by God, he was called into the ministry. That's what happened the year that King Uzziah died. God purged Isaiah from the sins of the people he lived among while under King Uzziah's corrupt leadership. So what The Lord is showing us through these scriptures is that your personal holiness and your purity of heart could be corrupted just by your association. With that, comes a limitation of your ability to see God and to accept His calling on your life. In a situation like that, God is left with no choice but to either get those people out of your life or get you out of theirs. They are unwelcome because they are blocking your vision of Him.

So what's the moral of this story? Don't hang around people who lower your level of spirituality and cause you to drop your desire to go deeper in God. Evaluate your relationships and decipher who in your life is helping you see God better. Those people you can keep. Then decipher who is blocking or skewing your clear vision of God. Those people can go. It's time for you to see The Lord high and lifted up. It's time for you to see His angels. It's time for you to see His throne. Maybe King Uzziah is not a person in your life. If so, evaluate everything else in your life and decipher what is helping you see God better and what is not. Keep what's helping you and eliminate what's blocking you. It's time for King Uzziah to get out of the way. God wants you to see Him on a whole other level. Don't you want to see Him too?

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Understanding The Purpose of The Sacrifice Of Jesus

Date - Sunday, June 7th, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

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
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

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June 17, 2015 Posted by admin in Success

The Power of Consistency

The Power of Consistency

Proverbs 20:6(NKJV) - Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

Look around. Can you find someone faithful? Many people talk a big talk but when you really need them to be consistent you can't find them. If you find any faithful folks in the Atlanta area tell them we need them at The Body Church. The more consistent people we have the more effective we will be. It's tough to be consistent. That's especially true when it comes to being productive with your time. Human nature is to be emotional and emotions fluctuate. So if we are led by our emotions we cannot be consistent at anything. We'll feel like doing one thing today and something else tomorrow which is the recipe for stagnation and ineffectiveness.

I'm human. Sometimes, I just want to be random... just do whatever I feel like doing... whenever I feel like doing it. Forget the schedule. Forget the responsibilities. Forget the future. Forget what I'm working on. Random people seem to be having so much fun. They live like free-range chickens that drift wherever and whenever the wind blows them. Yet, I know too much to do that. I understand the power of consistency. So, each day I do the same things at the same time with the same intensity regardless of how I feel. Hence, I continually move closer and closer to the fulfillment of my destiny. What about you?

Proverbs 22:29(AMP) - Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Are you diligent and skilful in your business? Many people want to stand before kings but few want to be diligent and skilful to get there. Few want to put in the work. Few want to earn their stripes. They want shortcuts. They want luck. They want someone to do them a favor. They want the hook-up. That's like a student wanting all A's without being willing to study or complete assignments. Or it's like someone who is out of shape wanting to look like a professional athlete without the willingness to eat right and work out. Let that not be said of any of us. We must refuse to be lazy and undisciplined yet expect the rewards that are reserved for the diligent and skilful.

Matthew 24:45-48(NLT) - "A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.

Consistency is even more important in kingdom business. If we are to grow spiritually, we must be consistent in our communication with The Lord, diligent in our church attendance, disciplined in our time in The Word of God and faithful in our service. Throughout the scriptures, God makes it abundantly clear that He values faithfulness and intends to lavish the faithful with rewards. Can you be counted in that number? Have you been a faithful, sensible servant of God? Have you done what He left you on earth to do? I sincerely hope so. Otherwise, you can get started now.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32(NKJV) - For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Let today be one of personal reflection. Let this be a time to judge yourself in the privacy of your own thoughts without anyone else being in your business. What is it that you are expecting out of your life? Have you been consistently doing what God requires you to do to achieve it? If yes, then remain faithful because your time of reckoning is approaching and your reward is sure. If not, why are you expecting what you are expecting to happen? It's not going to happen because it's not supposed to happen until you obey God's directions concerning it.

Proverbs 13:4(AMP) - The appetite of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the appetite of the diligent is abundantly supplied.

THE END! 🙂

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Ask Donnell: If we're the church must we still go to church?

church

Welcome to "Ask Donnell". If you have a difficult question and you need an answer from The Bible, feel free to submit it here. We received the following question from Martin;

"People make the excuse of not attending church or most importantly accepting the Lord Jesus in their lives because they say that I don’t need man to talk to me about God. What shall I say to them?"

Martin, this is a great question. I gave you the short answer a few days ago but today let's invest a little time to develop a more comprehensive response. As I stated then, let's focus on Christians who don't attend church. Church attendance is an issue that needs to be addressed because confusion abounds concerning it. What is the church anyway? Let's start by defining it. That's an important place to start because some people who are Christian yet don't go to church think nothing of it since they don't see why it's necessary. The Holy Ghost lives inside of them and they can access God for themselves so what's the use of joining a church? Do they really have to anyway?

Additionally, when we use the word "church" what do we really mean? We know that according to the scriptures, the church is not just a building even though we call our buildings "churches". It's not just a specific denomination even though we use "church" in some our names. It's not even just an organization, per se with our affiliated church boards and church by-laws. So what is it? Better yet, who is it? Let's see what The Bible has to say. A proper understanding of the definition will shed light on whether or not we need to go to "church"?

Colossians 1:24(NKJV) - I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

Boom! The Church is the Body of Christ. I know, I know I came in a little strong there. Some might be thinking right now, so what? Why is that a big deal and what does that have to do with anything? So The Church is The Body of Christ. That doesn't mean I need to show up on Sunday for services anywhere. It also doesn't mean I need to associate with any other Christians in a formal setting. Why does The Church being The Body of Christ matter at all? Well, I'm glad you asked.

1 Corinthians 12:12-19(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!

One of the most important points we can glean from this passage is that one part alone does not make a body. In other words, by yourself, you are not The Body of Christ. You are one of the many parts of The Body of Christ. Hence, I am not The Church and you are not The Church. I am only a part of The Church and you are a part. Therefore, when you isolate yourself as a Christian you become a disjointed body part that provides little benefit to the body as a whole.

Pay close attention to the illustration used here. If we think of each Christian as a foot, ear or eye, it would make no sense for any of us to separate ourselves from the rest of The Body. The same way it would be silly for any of these parts to exist separate from a human body so it is with individual Christians. Therefore, in order for us to be The Church, we have to be together. Let's now address the issue of church attendance directly.

Why Join A Local Church Assembly?

1) It's A Biblical Requirement

Hebrews 10:24-25(NLT) - Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Some people miss regular gatherings of The Church and that's not good. When we're together, we have the opportunity to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. We also have the opportunity to encourage one another especially in these last days before the return of Jesus. When you isolate yourself you miss out on the support of your church family.

2) The Power Of Agreement

Matthew 18:19(KJV) - Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

When The Church meets together we can capitalize on the power of agreement. We can worship together with one voice. We can pray together and see more results. We can share each other's burdens. There's nothing like a family of Christians working together for the same goals. Problems arise when people skip church. If we don't see you, we don't know if you're going through anything and we can't help. Show up and talk to someone. We're a family.

3) The Presence of The Lord

Matthew 18:20(KJV) - For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

There's a special manifestation of the presence of The Lord that's reserved for the gathering of Christians. Regardless of what you do or who you are, you cannot experience it alone. This is very important because good things happen in the presence of The Lord. Psalms 16:11 says that in the presence of The Lord there is fulness of joy. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of The Lord is your strength.

4) Healing

James 5:14-15(KJV) - Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

When you're sick, if you can make it to church for prayer go for it. If not, you can reach out to your church family and let the elders pray for you. That's how it's set up in The Bible and that's how it's supposed to work. Yes, you can pray for yourself but God created The Body of Christ so that you can benefit from the faith of others, especially the elders. God specifically put these people in The Church to provide you with prayer support whenever you need it.

5) Forgiveness

James 5:15-16(KJV) - And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

When some Christians fall in sin the tendency is for them to stay away from church. They're ashamed and feel so condemned that they choose to separate themselves from their church family. Bad idea! That's the direct opposite to what the scripture says. If you've committed sin, God has provided people in The Body of Christ for you to share your struggle with so that you can receive forgiveness and restoration. When you're at fault, your church family is there to pray for you so that your heart can be healed.

6) Community

Acts 2:42-47(NLT) - All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The local church is a community. That's the model of church that was established at the beginning and it continues to be the gold standard. We study God's Word taught by our leaders together. We fellowship together. We hang out together. We pray together. We help meet each other's needs. God never designed His people to experience life alone so that's why every Christian is supposed to be connected to a local church.

7) Equipping, Edification, Unity, Knowledge and Maturity

Ephesians 4:11-15(NKJV) - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —

This scripture presents several important reasons why every Christian needs to be a part of a local church. We need apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They equip the saints for the work of ministry. They build the body of Christ. They ensure that we're unified in the faith. They help us know more and more about Jesus. They help us to mature so that we're no longer spiritual children who are easily led astray by false doctrine. They help us to become more like Jesus.

What does that mean for people who don't go to church? They miss out on the benefits of the five-fold ministry gifts. They are not equipped to do the work of the ministry. They are not built up as part of The Body of Christ. They are not unified in the faith and they do not have a full knowledge of Christ which is demonstrated by their lack of understanding of The Body of Christ. Last, but not least, isolated Christians are much more vulnerable to false doctrine. They don't have the checks and balances presented by the steady leadership of the five-fold ministry gifts. Therefore, it's much easier for them to stray from the truth.

In sum, even though we can access God as individuals, He wants us to find our place in His Body. Even if you don't have a home church right now, God has put the solitary in families according to Psalms 68:6. Find your church family.

4

Pressure

Pressure

Turn on your television, browse the Internet or flip through the pages of some popular magazines and what will you see? You'll see images of success everywhere. You'll see popular, smiling, good looking people with perfect teeth, perfect hair, fit bodies, big houses, fancy cars, money to spare, happy families, amazing talents, thriving careers and everything else you DO NOT have. Compare yourself to any of them and what happens? You will feel the pressure of not measuring up. Man! If I was just a few inches taller. Man! If I was just a few sizes smaller. Man! If I just had a better job. Man! If I could just do something with these gray hairs that keep popping out. Man! If my knees would just stop hurting me. Man! If someone would just notice me. Goodness! My name is not AIR. I'm not transparent. Give me a chance!

2 Corinthians 10:12(NKJV) - For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Comparison is so dangerous. When you compare yourself to other people it is not wise. Nothing good usually comes out of it. If you look down, you'll feel like you're higher than you really are. If you look up you'll feel like you're lower than you really are. If you look around you'll feel average. When we measure ourselves among ourselves, we measure with a sliding scale which is skewed in whatever direction the world wants it to be. The scale changes suddenly so even if we measure up today, tomorrow we might be big disappointments.

If any of this connects with you, keep reading. Welcome to today's blog. If you enable the audio capabilities of the device you are using to read this message right now you will hear the song, "Pressure" from Jonathan McReynolds playing in the background. Scroll down and you'll also see the video. All I can say is "Wow!" That song has been ministering to my soul for the last two days. The Lord has been using this brother to speak the powerful truth which has the power to bring freedom in every way. He's been assigned to remind me of what really matters.

John 21:19-22(NLT) - Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

Take a look at that fascinating exchange between Peter and Jesus. After Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, Jesus told Peter how he would die as a martyr. Peter looked around and saw John. So He asked Jesus about John. Jesus' response was classic; "Why is that any of your business? You follow me!" Wow! Jesus made it clear that what He called Peter to do was between Peter and Him and what He called John to do was between John and Him. He didn't want Peter comparing himself to John. That's the Word of The Lord for us too. You be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing or not doing.

Revelation 12:11(KJV) - And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This topic is close to my heart because just like you, I have had to deal with this in my own life. Let me be real with you for a minute. The pressure is real. Ministry pressure, career pressure, social pressure, etc. abound and have done so for years. Yet, nothing and nobody puts more pressure on me than I do. Everyday I wake up, everything I do, everywhere I go, I constantly remind myself that I could be better and I could do so much better. I'm 35 years old and I wonder, "What have I done with my life?"

When I look around at the kinds of amazing things people have accomplished at my age around this earth I'm reminded that I'm nowhere close to the best. So what do I do? I work harder. I try harder. I think harder. And what happens? Nothing really. I just end up tired. Tired of trying and getting mixed results. Tired of giving it everything yet not getting everything in return. Tired of wondering when I'll finally get invited to join the others at the top. Tired of getting a pat on my back and the customary "Good job. You're the man." Then nothing but the sound of crickets when it's time for something substantial.

I thought the system was "merit-based". At least that's what I was told by those who seem to be enjoying the benefits. If you work hard, it will happen for you too, they said. 🙂 Umm.. really. So, where does that leave me? LOL! I stopped being angry about it a while ago. I can laugh about it now but there was a stage in my life when it was not funny at all. Thankfully, God was with me all along and one day, He decided to kick in the door and turn things around. Now I have a testimony and it's real. If God brought me through the pressure I was under during some of the toughest seasons of my life He can do the same for you.

Psalms 139:13-18(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Lord, how can I thank you? I know the truth and it cannot be taken from me. I matter to you. I mattered to you while I was in my mother's womb. I mattered to you the day I was born. You made me exactly the way you wanted me to be. I'm not in a competition with random people all over the world. I am in a competition with my best self. Your expectation is that I be the man you created me to be and I do what you created me to do. You laid out all the days of my life in full detail before it started. You spoke the end of it before the beginning. You did it. It was you all along. I love you.

Romans 12:2(NLT) - Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Oh, you're still reading. I just had a little personal time with The Lord there. Now, back to the blog. Don't be a copy of anyone else but let your thoughts match God's thoughts concerning you. Renew your self-image by seeking out your true self through the scriptures. It's time to discover your purpose. Aren't you curious to find out what God had in mind when He laid out the days of your life? Find out now.

One of the greatest sources of pressure is the lack of knowing who you are and what you were born to do. It's easy to measure yourself against other people when you are unable to measure yourself by your best self. If you don't know who you are you won't know what's best for you. Changing yourself to match what you see around you is a fruitless exercise. Find out who you are and just be you. If you need help, we have resources available at Well Done Online.

2

Don't Set Yourself Up For Disappointment

Don't Set Yourself Up For Disappointment

Jeremiah 17:5(NKJV) - Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord.

How many people have to let you down before you stop expecting more from them than you should? I once learned that disappointment is very subjective. Your level of disappointment is measured by your expectations. As a result, if your expectations are too high for people in your life you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You don't rely on unreliable people. You don't expect consistency from inconsistent people. You don't expect people to give up their comforts in order to help you out.

You don't expect commitment from people who haven't proven their commitment to you. You don't expect support from people who don't value what you do or who you are. Even when people show you a limited level of support don't expect them to take it to a level that costs them something. Whatever you do, don't set yourself up for disappointment. It's not their fault when they let you down, it's your fault for expecting them not to.

Romans 3:4(NKJV) - Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

People lie! Some do it on purpose and others don't mean to do it. Don't let anyone play you for a fool. If you put your trust in human beings you are cursed according to Jeremiah 17:5. Those are some very strong words but we must take heed because they are exactly what The Lord said. What does it mean to be cursed? It means that things won't go well for you or you are empowered to fail. When it's put like that it makes a lot of sense. Putting your heart in the hands of people instead of in God's hands is a recipe for failure so you probably shouldn't try it.

A few years ago while complaining to my wife about folks letting me down again and again she responded with the following great advice; "Be thankful for what people bring to the table and don't complain about what they don't". In other words, when they come through for you be happy but don't make an issue when they don't. Just thank God for what you do get from them instead of being disappointed about what you don't get because you could have gotten nothing. People are people and after some time you will learn that human beings are inherently selfish. It is in our nature to look out for ourselves first. Hence, my expectations have been adjusted to match what I know now.

John 2:24-25(NLT) - But Jesus didn't trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

Learn from the example of Jesus. He didn't trust them because He knew human nature. There's no better way to say it. He knew people couldn't be trusted so He didn't trust them. He was smart and some of us need to be as smart as He was. You know how people are. So why do you keep getting your hopes up only to have them dashed over and over? Have you not learned from your past experiences already? The first time they let you down, it's their fault. The next time they do it it's yours.

Jesus was not gullible because He understood people. He knew Judas would betray Him. He knew Peter would deny Him. He knew most of His disciples would abandon Him as He walked alone to the cross. He knew His own people would reject Him. Armed with that knowledge He adjusted His expectations to limit the level of disappointment He felt when people did exactly what He knew they would do in the first place. He loved them to the very end but He knew what to expect. If Jesus didn't trust them, why would you?

Isaiah 26:3(NKJV) - You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Putting your trust in people positions you for disappointment but putting your trust in God positions you for peace. Are you tired of the disappointment yet? I hope so. Put your trust in God and receive His peace!

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God Defends His Friends!

Date - Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Body Church
Courtyard Atlanta Midtown/ Georgia Tech
1132 Techwood Dr NW, Atlanta
GA 30318

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
10:00 AM - Worship With Prayer

6

Surrender Your Plans

Surrender Your Plans

Proverbs 19:21(NLT) - You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

I once heard a preacher say; "If you want to make God laugh, show Him your plans." I can count on one hand how many times things in my life turned out exactly the way I planned. Sometimes they did but most times they did not. It took me a while but I finally accepted the fact that I don't have the privilege of making plans that God has to follow. In contrast, He makes the plans and I have the privilege of following them.

For instance, after flying through my tertiary education at a torrid pace I had three degrees by the age of 23. I planned to keep up the pace in my career and make tremendous strides at a very young age. Instead, I ran on the corporate treadmill to nowhere for almost twelve years before God's divine intervention. Had it been up to me, I would have been much further along as a professional. However, during that season of professional stagnation, I made substantial progress as a minister of the gospel. Among the highlights; I established The Cracked Door, wrote five books and along with my wife, started The Body Church. Obviously, God had me right where He wanted me and His priority continues to be what I do for His Kingdom before anything else.

Proverbs 16:9(NLT) - We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

What about you? Which of your plans are you still holding on to even though they're obviously not happening? Note the key distinction between your plans and God's. You must make your own plans happen and God must make His. If both plans are pitted against each other Who do you think will win? Now extrapolate that over an entire lifetime. It could get pretty frustrating, huh? It's like swimming against the current yet you continue to move in the direction of the current just as fast as if you were simply floating. The only thing you will accomplish from that exercise is a good workout.

When I completed my undergraduate degree I planned to attend UC Berkeley in California where I would complete a PhD in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural. Everything went according to plan until UC Berkeley said no thank you to my application. In rapid succession, my Plan B; Stanford and Plan C; California Institute of Technology followed suit. So, I accepted my fate and waved goodbye to my plans to move to California and live the West Coast life. Thankfully, I also applied to my alma mater Georgia Tech and they accepted me for the MSCE program. I tried so hard to leave Atlanta but had little choice but to hang around. The rest is history.

Mark 14:36(KJV) - And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

What's your story? Still trying to pack up and leave where you are and move somewhere on the other side of the country or perhaps the world? Still want to pursue a certain relationship regardless of whether or not it's in God's plan for your life? Still attending a church because you like it instead of finding where you fit in The Body of Christ? When your plans and God's plans are the same you can be assured that they will work out well. That's the best and most efficient way to live. Surrender your plans today.

Jesus showed a momentary display of human weakness when He thought about the possibility of not going to the cross. However, He quickly corrected Himself and accepted God's plan for His life. Hence, there's room for your human nature to struggle with the thought of putting your dreams aside to complete God's dream for your life. However, when you're finished struggling, the end of your struggle should match that of Jesus. You should declare from your heart, "Not my will but Your Will be done, Lord." He accepted the Will of God for His life and carried out what The Father required of Him. The struggle was over for Him. It's also over for me. I want to do God's Will. What about you?

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Don't Be Shaken By Bad News! Only Believe!

Don't Be Shaken By Bad News! Only Believe!

Mark 5:35-36(NKJV) - While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

For a moment things looked quite good. Jesus was on His way to the ruler's house to heal his daughter. All would be well. There was nothing to worry about. Things were working out perfectly. That was, until he received the only news that could have spoiled everything. His daughter was dead. They were too late. His heart sank and Jesus noticed. Immediately, sensing his fear, Jesus made a profound statement that would change the course of what seemed inevitable, "Do not be afraid; only believe."

Welcome to today's blog. If you haven't done so already, read yesterday's blog; "God Knows Best!" This week we're reminded to trust God and today our emphasis is on doing so even when we receive bad news. Think about it. Nothing kills a great day like some bad news. You may have been on a blessing streak riding high from victory to victory but all of that goes out the window when suddenly something goes terribly wrong. Bad news just has a way of stopping your positive momentum like a brick wall.

When bad news struck the ruler of the synagogue, thankfully Jesus was right there with him. In response He presented a two-pronged solution for handling bad news;
1) Don't fear.
2) Only believe.

1 John 4:18(KJV) - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Fear becomes a huge problem whenever we hear bad news. Romans 10:19 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God. In the same way, fear can also come by hearing and that's one reason why bad news is so dangerous. So much so, that Jesus instantly released an encouraging word to the ruler of the synagogue to counteract the bad news and put an end to fear. So what tools are available in The Bible to help us win the war over fear?

The first is perfect love which has the power to cast out all fear. What's perfect love? Simply put, it's The Love of God. As a result, we must receive and be sure of God's Love for us if we are to defeat all fear. It's not a very complex solution but it's an effective one. The moment we receive bad news, our next thought should be to remind ourselves of God's Love. It doesn't matter how bad it sounds, never let it cause you to question God's Love because without it you are incapable of combating the powerful grip of fear.

2 Timothy 1:6-7(AMP) - That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Another Biblical tool available to combat fear is the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. This approach looks at fear from a purely spiritual perspective. In this case, it's referred to as a spirit of fear and The Bible clearly states that it does not come from God. What does come from God is the gift of The Holy Spirit who provides us with power, love, a well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control. Therefore, when fear strikes, respond by stirring up the gift of The Holy Spirit inside of you. Respond to bad news with instant prayer, worship, praise, singing and/ or talking in tongues. Otherwise, just find an atmosphere where The Holy Spirit is active like your local church. In that way, you stir up the gift of The Holy Spirit and cast out the spirit of fear. A perfect example of this took place in Acts 4:29-35.

Acts 4:29-35(KJV) And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

When their lives were threatened, they prayed for boldness and how did God respond? He filled them with The Holy Ghost. Armed with such a poignant illustration, it should be obvious to us that we need a fresh infilling of The Holy Ghost whenever we feel afraid. It's The Holy Ghost who will give us the boldness to keep believing God in the face of bad news.

Psalm 27:13(NKJV) - I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.

If you let bad news cause you to stop believing God you have been defeated. There's not much you can do if you remain in that position. Jesus ensured that the ruler of the synagogue kept believing right after he heard of his daughter's death. That's truly because it was his only option. If he stopped believing, his daughter was not going to live again. When we're stuck in a terrible situation and we need a miracle from God to get us out, all we have is our faith. Therefore, we cannot lose heart and stop believing. Don't be shaken by bad news! Only believe! We'll continue from here tomorrow.

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God Knows Best!

God Knows Best!

Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV) - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Do you trust God? Before you say a religious "yes" just think about it. Trust comes from your heart. What you know definitely feeds into it but in the end, how you feel in your heart is what matters. You may know that God can be trusted but is your mental position supported by your heart? Can you say with complete confidence that you trust The Lord with all of your heart? That's the issue we need to address today because until you fully trust God, He can't direct your path.

Yesterday, we kicked off a new blog mini-series with "Embrace The Process!" Several people indicated that it was The Word of The Lord for their lives and for that He gets all the glory. While sitting through a meeting yesterday I thought about today's blog. God spoke to me and said to write, "God knows best!" Perhaps, you need a reminder of that because if you can just believe it, you would be willing to trust Him.

There are two major reasons why we would trust anyone. The first is that the person has our best interest at heart and the second is that the person knows what he/ she is doing. When you know someone really cares about you, it's easy to trust that person because at the very least you know the person would not do anything to intentionally harm you. In the same way, you know that God loves you so if He does anything or asks you to do anything you can trust Him. You can be sure that if it comes from God it's only for your good. Yet that's not all. You also need to believe that God knows what's best for you. Hence, you can trust Him not only does He care for you but He knows what He's doing.

2 Samuel 22:31(NKJV) - As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

God's way is perfect and His Word is proven. He doesn't make mistakes and His track record is unblemished. There's nothing else He needs to do to prove to any of us that He deserves to be trusted. In fact, He is a shield offering protection to whoever chooses to trust Him. Are you one of those people? Again, think carefully before you respond and be completely honest. Do you think that God needs to do something to earn your trust? Absolutely not! If He doesn't have it already He is not to blame.

So what does trust really look like? In the context of our relationship with God, it looks like obedience and patience. Obedience when we trust His instructions and patience when we trust His actions. As we learned yesterday in Hebrews 10:36, those two go together. After you have completed your obedience you still have to be patient as God brings to fruition His promise. Your trust in God is demonstrated in your obedience and patience throughout the process.

Isaiah 46:9-10(NLT) - Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

What has God done in the past for you? Try to remember some of those testimonies. Has He not come through for you before? He alone is God. He deserves your trust and rightfully so. All that He says now is from the vantage point of the future so you can trust anything He says. He knows what's coming so He prepares you now with wisdom to make the most of a good situation or avoid a bad one. Regardless of what you choose to do, He will eventually do whatever He wants. Yet, it's His heart's desire for us to be participants in His Will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

This should give you comfort. It does for me. When I am assured that I have followed God's instructions I know that my future is secure. If He tells me to do something He already knows why and has played out all the options in His head. By His very nature, His instructions are the best options available. For instance, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, Apostle Paul says don't be unequally yolked with unbelievers. God knows that if you do so, there is pain coming in your future. He tells you now so that you would avoid it. On the other hand, disobedience puts you on a collision course with disaster. Don't let it happen.

1 John 5:3(NKJV) -"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."

It's not a burden to obey God so why not just do it. God knows best!

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