These are great questions we should ask ourselves.
Month March 2018
Give yourself a big warm hug and take a nice long nap……….Just kidding!
I have read several blogs about self-love. Some of them are to the extreme of self-ish while others seem to maintain a balance of self-care without total disregard for others. If you have an idea of who I am by now, you might guess that I would try to address this subject from the Bible. If you guessed that, you win the grand prize – the joy of being right.
I began meditating on the commandment “love thy neighbor as thyself”. God did not condemn loving yourself, but notice that He does say that we should love others JUST AS MUCH AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. For some people, that would be a whole-lot-a-lovin!
God wants us to take care of ourselves. We are made in His image. As believers, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (my note: the temple shouldn’t be worshiped more than the One who created it…just sayin). We should never be so enamored with ourselves that everyone else because another person to step on so we can “get to the top”.
When we reach a deep level of spiritual maturity, we will know what it is like to “deny ourselves, take up the cross daily, and follow” Christ. He demonstrated a love that was more concerned about others than self. God created us in such a way that we are fulfilled the most when we are giving. If we are always on the receiving end, it will never be enough. I hope this puts things in perspective.
Photo from wikihow
Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
Have you ever come close to choking on food? Maybe you have successfully done so and were rescued by someone who performed the Heimlich maneuver on you. The ladies at work know well that I have a tendency to get choked even on liquids. It’s a running joke at the office.
The phrase “biting off more than you can chew” is another phrase that communicates that you have taken on more responsibility than you can handle. I had to take an honest look at my life recently and ask which endeavors I was connected to were distractions and which ones were really of God. While some things are great things for other people, they may not be meant for you.
Here are some things that are of top priority for me:
- Family – My first ministry is my family. If anything distracts me from leading them in the ways of God, I must remove it.
- Other Ministry – My weekday job and my service as a pastor are both ministries. You may think that I feel that way because my weekday job is that of a hospice chaplain. Even when I was doing custodial work at a plant, it was a ministry. Colossians 3:23, 24 admonish us to do work as if we were doing it for the Lord Himself.
Christ is the center of it all. Family, work, and Overcomers Church receive my greatest attention. Other things are great, but they cannot distract me from these things. We are only meant to “chew” so much. The rest is meant to be shared with others. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
Photo from lexicallab.com
Dear Younger Me
I read a post from another blogger, Lea’s Spiritual Journey, titled “An Open Letter to God”. It provoked this thought which is also a popular song title of a newer Christian song. I’m surprising myself that I may be so open about my earlier years, but here we go.
Dear Younger Me,
Look how far God has brought you! You were the insecure little boy who dramatized most everything and took so much too personally. When you could have enjoyed being a child, you were too busy trying to be an adult.
Because of your feelings of inadequacy, you tried to find an identity not in who you are but in what you did. The result was that you buried yourself in music. You excelled in it and developed your identity as the musician, and you surpassed what you expected. Then God called you into ministry.
Because you were still so insecure, you developed your identity as the minister. You watched 7th Heaven and wanted to be the next Eric Camden (note to reader: this was from a tv show that started in the 1990s in case you are unfamiliar). You wanted to be the one who saved the day. You wanted to build a résumé that would be rather impressive and have people sit in awe of your ability to preach and solve people’s problems. You accomplished some of that, but at what expense?
So much of your life was spent trying to make an identity that you didn’t realize you already had one. No divorce, number of children, amount in your checking account can take that away from you.
When everything in your life shifted, you learned that your true identity is a child of God Who is washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. You are forgiven, redeemed, justified, sanctified, and all those who big Bible words. You don’t need a big congregation, a big salary, or great earthly possessions to give you that identity. And NO ONE can take that away from you!
Live the rest of your life on the basis of your true identity. Enjoy the journey! Laugh a lot! Talk to God yet listen more than you talk to Him! Love people where they are! And remember the words that have inspired you for quite some time: “Great it is to dream the dream as you stand in youth by the starry stream. But a greater thing is to fight life through and say in the end, ‘The dream is true'”.
Matthew D. Winters, March 26, 2018 (age 37)
How Can You Turn Pretend Into Reality Now?
This post more than likely convince you to quit pretending if you do so.
“Pretending to be someone, have something, or feel anything all starts with our imagination and dreams. The only way pretending becomes reality is when you believe and do what is necessary to have what you want and become the person you want to be.” -Michael J. Fite
Keep this in mind whenever you stop and think about how pretend can lead to reality in your life.
We all have pretended to be someone, have something, or feel a certain way at times. Pretending happens to be a double-edge sword in a way because although we may like how it makes us feel at times, it is frowned upon when someone is not actually what they say feel or think.
Today’s inspiration is all about turning the people and things that we pretend to want, feel, and be into reality. The good news for you is that you have done this…
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Give Up Negativity
This is another great post from Pastor Randy. If you think his writing is good, you should hear this man preach. I told him he has an open invitation to preach for me anytime.
(This is the sixth of my current message series GIVE IT UP! (for Lent and Beyond)
Here lately I’ve been accused of stepping on some toes. Well, have I got some good news for you! This message will not apply to you. It’s for those other folks—the person sitting next to you—on the other side—your neighbors—your in-laws—your coworkers—your boss! We’re going to look at Giving Up Negativity! Only 1 verse for today. Proverbs 10:11 (NLT):
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.
You know I was being facetious about this message not being for you but all those other folks. The truth is, at any time all of us become guilty of being negative. Look at these words again, this time from The Message—“the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.” Don’t shut off your…
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Stories of Overcomers Series
Since we started Overcomers Church, I have had the idea in my heart of a series called “Stories of Overcomers”. This series would highlight people who have overcome some major issues in life by the power of God. We have done that for the last 5 Sundays. Most churches would not allow a pastor to do this, but I don’t get paid so I don’t have anyone dangling a paycheck over my head because I’m not “earning my keep”. (If only people realized that a pastor still does a lot even if he doesn’t preach.) I led the discussions most every week, and it has been fun.
Week one, a family shared how their daughter was 11 at the time she was diagnosed with cancer. The community came through with lots of love and prayer, and this young lady is now healed by the power of God. They are walking closer with God and recognize His grace in their lives.
Week two, a lady who had a background in the occult shared how God delivered her. She is now a prayer warrior who has had a power impact in my life personally as well as countless others.
Week three, one of our own shared the story of difficulties he experienced growing up and how God saved him and called him into ministry. When he experienced divorce, he was given “sympathy” while being told he could never fulfill his calling. Thankfully, some pastors who have been his friends for some time came along and assured him that God did not “uncall” him, and that he is still usable to God. He leads our study in Revelation right now and preaches for me on occasions.
Week four, a guy who struggled with addiction shared his story about how he has been clean for nearly 4 years and is now helping others. He shared the journey leading to this and the joy he has experienced since then.
Today, one of our couples shared their journey as individual believers and their journey as a married couple. She was instrumental in him coming to Christ. He instantly got involved in youth and music ministry in their church. Later, they married and he was injured some time later while serving our country in the military. He was told he would never walk again, but he walks today as a testimony to our Healer. He is now involved in our worship ministry. He and his wife shared how the devil tried to use all that against them, but they are serving the Lord and we are so thankful to have them involved in what God is doing.
Everyone has a story. If your story has been nothing but a bunch of bad twists and turns, God can change your story. Cry out to Him today and ask Him to forgive you. Determine this day that, by His grace, you will walk with Him and devote your life to Him as He gave His life for you. You may have been overcome by life, but your story can become a story of an overcomer.
Photo from jeffdavis.blog
Wage War for Your Pastor!
Tonight, pastors across the country are experiencing the onslaught of the enemy. People who claim to be Christians are tearing them to shreds. These pastors are doubting if the message they have is good enough. They have worked hard, prayed hard, and given their lives for the sake of the gospel so that people will come to know Christ. The devil is trying everything to rob them of the power of the Holy Spirit, but you and I can stand in the gap for those who proclaim the truth. Would you join me in praying boldly?
Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, that you will break down every stronghold, every thought that the enemy is using to distract pastors around the world. I ask that you would fill them to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bind back the demons of hell that Your Word May go forth clearly and those who hear it will gladly receive and obey it. May people be delivered from the chains that bind them. May this Sunday not be an average Sunday. May the demons of hell tremble because churches around the world are seeing true conversions rather than people just getting emotional and repeating a prayer. For those pastors who are under great attack by committees, deacons, and those who exalt themselves above Christ, may their enemies be brought down. I believe it and trust that this prayer will come to fruition in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!!!!!!!
I hate waiting! I want instant answers. We are told that we are entitled to instant gratification, right? We are told how much we deserve, so I should just be able to demand that I get what I want when I want, right? WRONG!
Yesterday, I found out something for which I must wait for the answer. I immediately wanted to react rather than respond and start talking to a bunch of people and getting advice. God said, “Wait!” The only thing I could say was, “Yes, Lord!”
What does the Bible say about waiting?
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 KJV
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 KJV
This last verse is extremely important to my situation. The vision will come, but we must wait for it. Waiting does not mean inactivity as we twiddle our thumbs waiting on God to do His part. We continue to walk in obedience and do what we already know to do. He will reveal Himself.
I will close this with a song that has meant the whole to me during those times in God’s waiting room.
Make Me Clean
This is a great post on God’s thoughts on what it means to be clean.
clean: free from contamination, free from guilt, separated from anything that makes one unclean
Before the priests could enter the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, they had to wash their hands and feet in the outer court. They had to appear before God clean.
I recently asked the Lord to make me clean and the reason why I asked Him to do this is because sometimes we engage in things that corrupts us (Exodus 32:7). You may immediately think I’m talking about sexual sins, but sometimes it is our conversations that corrupts us. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
Then, I began reading about lepers in the bible. Leprosy is spread by direct contact and the reason why…
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