Enjoy Life More in 2018

Are you ready to enjoy your life more? Are you tired of living the same old way? If you’re a Christian, you ought to be enjoying life more than ever. After all, Jesus didn’t redeem you so that you could be sad, depressed, sick, and broke. He came so you could have “life, and … have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

As the New Year quickly approaches, I wanted to share some tips for enjoying life more at any age, whether you’re 18 or 120.

Enjoy Life More by Continuing to Grow

As a Christian, you shouldn’t simply maintain the faith you’ve developed in the past. You must keep growing in your relationship with God. You can’t afford to get so busy with the mundane affairs of day-to-day living that you get complacent. That only leaves you vulnerable to discouragement, fear and complacency. Instead, dive deeper into your Bible study. You can do this by joining (or starting) a Bible study with like-minded believers, or listening to messages or reading texts by trusted ministers and writers of the Word (Romans 10:17). Look for ways you can strengthen your faith every day.

Enjoy Life More by Listening to the Holy Spirit

The Lord will speak to you through your Bible study, but He’ll also speak directly to your spirit as you pray and listen. Spend time in prayer every day—not just speaking, but also listening. Obey whatever the Lord leads you to do. If you will listen, the Holy Spirit will direct you throughout your day (Psalm 37:23).

Enjoy Life More by Reaching Out

As you learn more about the Lord and His Word, your desire to share God’s goodness with others should grow, too. Begin looking for ways you can be a blessing to others. Volunteer your time at your Church, a hospital, nursing home, food bank, animal shelter or children’s outreach. The Corporation for National & Community Service reported in January 2016 that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life. If you’ll pray every day, God will begin to lead you to do things that will bless others.

Enjoy Life More by Speaking Life

Pay attention to your words. Begin speaking words of faith about your life, your body, your family, your marriage, your job and your finances. Instead of speaking negative words that tear yourself and others down, speak the Word over everyone and everything.

When a difficult situation arises, don’t rehash the dreary details, pray about it, find scriptures to stand on for it and proclaim, “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Enjoy Life More by Forgiving

As a believer, love is your greatest commandment. If you’re not walking in love, you’re in a dangerous place. If you’ve done anything unloving toward someone, do whatever the Lord shows you to do to make it right. If they’ve done something unloving toward you, forgive them. It doesn’t matter what they did. If you forgive them, you’ll be free of it. If you don’t, unforgiveness will keep you in bondage.

God wants you to enjoy your life in Christ, and He’s provided some practical ways for you to begin doing just that—starting with these five tips. Putting them into practice will help make 2018 your best year ever!

Waiting for Your Healing?

Years ago, when I first started studying about healing and being healed, a friend of mine who had been struggling with sickness made this comment: “I know God heals,” she said, “I just can’t figure out how to get Him to do it!”

If you ever find yourself in that situation, follow the example of the woman in Mark 5. She knew what it was like to have trouble getting healed. Mark 5:25-26 tells us she had been sick and broke for twelve years.

If anyone had a reason to say, “I can’t figure out how to get God to heal me,” this woman did. But she didn’t take that attitude.  Instead, she took a series of steps that connected her with God’s power, and she ended up hearing Jesus say, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole” (verse 34).

I have witnessed the truth of these steps throughout my life and ministry. The following steps will help so you don’t have to wait any longer for your healing.

  1. Receive Your Healing by Hearing the Word

Mark 5:27 tells us this woman’s first step: She “heard of Jesus.”

She heard that Jesus came to bring peace (Acts 10:36-38), which in Hebrew means “to be whole, with nothing missing, and nothing broken.” She heard He came to heal all who are suffering from sickness and oppression, which are works of the devil. She heard He had been sent by God to do us good—and that includes your healing.

  1. Receive Your Healing by Speaking Faith

Next, she spoke words of faith: “She kept saying, If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed” (Mark 5:28, NLT).

This woman spoke the Word in faith. Your faith won’t work without God’s Word. You must keep it in front of your eyes, in your ears and in your heart constantly, otherwise you won’t speak with faith. Instead, you’ll talk like the world.

With every cold or flu that comes to town, the world proclaims, “I’m going to get it. I get it every time.” By contrast, faith says, “Jesus took all my sickness and disease on the cross. I walk in total health. Thank you Jesus!”

  1. Receive Your Healing by Acting on It

Once the woman, with the issue of blood, heard the Word and said it, she went into action! She pressed through the crowd and touched Jesus’ clothes (verse 27). She behaved as if what she believed and said were true. She acted on her faith.

After you have heard the Word, begin to do what you couldn’t do before.  If you couldn’t bend over, then bend over. If you couldn’t lift your arms, lift them. If you used to get the flu, stand on the Word and declare your healing. Speak the answer, not the problem! It’s amazing what happens when you take action!

  1. Receive Your Healing by Receiving It and Shouting It!

The woman in Mark 5 reached out in faith and received from Jesus the healing she needed. Faith and determination made her touch different from everyone else’s, and she received her healing (verse 30-34).

It’s one thing to reach out to the Lord hoping to get healed. It’s something else to take, by faith, the healing He has already provided!

Don’t wait another minute. Say, “I take my healing now!”

This woman’s example still stands true today. Don’t sit around saying, “I’m so tired of waiting for my healing. Maybe one day God will do it.” No, put these principles to work and soon you’ll have your own healing testimony to share!

Praying For the Lost

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me, “If we have free will, what good does it do to pray for people who consciously refuse to receive Jesus as Lord? Can they be saved against their will?”

One of the primary keys to understanding how to pray effectively for the lost can be found 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.  Here the Apostle Paul says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Most unbelievers who have purposely refused to receive Jesus as Lord think they have made that decision of their own free will.  But according to the Bible, that’s not so.  Unbelievers are being blinded by Satan.  He is blocking their perception of the truth.  Thus, their decision hasn’t been freely made at all.

That’s an important point for us to grasp.  Because even though there is no prayer you can pray that will change the will of another human being, through the prayer of intersession you can interfere with the satanic forces that are influencing that person.

You can also change circumstances with your prayers and help create situations that would bring your friend or family member in contact with the Lord.  You are well within your spiritual rights when you do that.  In fact, Jesus Himself instructed us in Luke 10:2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Ask the Lord to send His messengers, Word believing, Spirit filled people across the paths of your lost friends and family.  I have prayed that prayer with friends who had prayed for their friends or family members, to no avail.  In almost no time I would receive reports of their loved ones coming to Christ.

Don’t sit by and let the devil take your friends and family without a fight!  Pray.  Pray.  Pray. For in every circumstance and in every life, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

Walking In The Will of God: Part 3 – How To Walk In God’s Will

Before doing anything, make sure your will agrees with God’s.  How? – By spending time in His presence and by reading and meditating on His Word.  God can also reveal things to you through your spirit. You can get the ball rolling by demonstrating your willingness to fulfill His plan for your life.  He promises that if you will hear Him and obey His commandments, His blessings will overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:2).

Ask yourself this question: “Am I in the will of God right now?”  Judge yourself.  Are you following the lead of your self-will, or God’s will?  God has a plan for you.  However, if you begin to make excuses and fail to do your part, you will miss out on the blessings He longs to give you.

Now don’t think that life will become a bed of roses once you begin walking in God’s will.  There will be a few thorns here and there.  You may think, “Will this really work?” or “Things were easier before.”  That may be true. However, the benefits of being in His perfect will far outweigh any rewards you’ve ever received by doing things your way.  No matter what happens, don’t give in.  Just stay focused.

Renewing your mind is also important.  The best way to do this is by spending time in God’s Word.  Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”  The more time you spend in His presence, the more He will reveal to you, and the better you will recognize His voice.

Remember to use God’s Word in your prayers (1 John 5:14-15), and expect Him to respond.  Prayer is having a conversation with God.  He talks and you talk.  But it is equally important to listen.  So often, God is ready to reveal answers to us right away. But as soon as we’re finished talking, we whisk off to carry out our plans.  Then we wonder, “Is He really listening?”  The better question is, “Are you?”

When God reveals His plan to you – and He will – write it down.  Writing the vision down assures you there is a plan for your life (Habakkuk 2:2).  Keeping it before your eyes serves as a constant reminder you should be doing something daily toward accomplishing the task.  Post it several places – your refrigerator, mirror, car, doorway, and computer.  Be sure to write the vision down clearly.  God will send laborers to help you accomplish the goal, and they must have a clear understanding of how they may assist you in getting the job done.

If you already know God’s will for your life and are walking in it, praise God!  If you know His will and are not actively working toward fulfilling your calling, I encourage you to begin.  And finally, if you don’t know God’s will for your life, ask, and you shall receive, so that your joy may be full (John 16:24).

Walking In The Will of God: Part 2 – Perfect Will v. Permissive Will

Walking In The Will of God:  Part 2 – Perfect Will v. Permissive Will

Simply put, God’s perfect will is His plan and purpose for your life, not your own.  Elevating your self-will above God’s will leads to God’s permissive will.  Permissive will is when God allows you to make all the choices.  Oftentimes we end up making mistakes, hurting ourselves, and living with regret.  But it’s never too late to change.  If you repent and yield yourself to God, He will forgive you and lead you back into His perfect will.

You see, God will never force you to do anything.  If He did, everyone would be saved right now.  And although it is God’s will for them to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), He will not force anyone to accept salvation.  The same is true of the will of God.  He will reveal it to you, if you’re willing to listen.  The truth of the matter is, without obedience, God’s will for your life will never come to pass.

I experienced this very thing when I took a position with a law firm about 30 – 45 minutes from my home.  I took the job to earn more money to purchase things I needed.  However, my plan failed because it was not the job God wanted me to have.  And when you’re out of the will of God, things just aren’t right.  You are always struggling to make ends meet, and there is no peace in your life.

When I finally realized I was in God’s permissive will, I repented and made the necessary changes.

Now, just because that job wasn’t God’s will for me doesn’t mean it wasn’t God’s will for someone else.  His plan for me is not His plan for you. Not everyone can be an architect, teacher, or accountant.  You may say, I’m anointed to do all things,” however, the Word says you have to be willing and able.  You may be willing to sing in the choir, but are you able to sing?  Can you even carry a tune?  If I tried to be a surgeon, I’d make a mess of things.  Why?  Because God didn’t call me to be one!

God has a plan and purpose for everyone, but we must be careful not to get weighted down by selfish desires.  It’s not about what we want, but what God wants.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “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.”  He warns us in verse 7 to “Be not wise in your own eyes.…” Simply consult God first and trust Him, because He sees the big picture.

When you obey God, you can count on His protection.  Your provision is on the other side of your obedience.  Healing, debt cancellation, deliverance, wisdom, and anything else you need is made available to you when you walk in God’s will. 

Next Time: Part 3 – How To Walk In God’s Will

Walking In The Will of God

God has a specific plan for your life.  His greatest desire is that you operate in this plan daily.  Paul tells us to “…walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Why?  So we can enjoy the blessings of God and avoid the pitfalls that come from disobedience.

Many Christians today presume to know the will of God for their lives.  I’ve heard people say they are called to the ministry, and then struggle with finances, marriage, and the people they serve until they become weary in well doing.  We are to walk carefully, cautiously, and prudently.  In other words, we should be cautious of the things we do and the choices we make.

Now, to understand means to comprehend, grasp, or be familiar with.”  To understand the Lord’s will is to piece together, or make sense of it.  The only way to do that is by developing a relationship with the Father.  And it is not something you learn all at once.  It is actually, a steady unfolding of revelation.  The key to receiving this revelation is found in simple acts of obedience.  It’s like a jigsaw puzzle; once completed, the pieces create an entire picture that could not be discerned when they were separated.  As we operate in obedience, we begin to see more clearly God’s perfect will.

Next Time:  Part 2 – Perfect Will v. Permissive Will

What’s Your Reputation?

“The person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

When Jesus trained the first 12 disciples, He taught them the same strategy He had been using on the earth: “Go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:  freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8).

He also told the 70 disciples in Luke 10 the same thing in verse 9.

“Well, yes, that’s how Jesus said to do it back then,” you might say, “but He has a different plan for us now.”

No, He doesn’t.

His last words before He ascended into heaven were the same instructions: “Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:15, 17-18).

Hallelujah!  We have the same new birth, the same Holy Spirit and the same commission those first disciples had.  And you remember what happened to them after Jesus left, don’t you?

They kept right on doing what Jesus had done.  And, the crowds responded to them just like they had responded to Jesus.  They brought the sick to the disciples so they could be healed.  In Jerusalem, they actually laid the sick in the street so Peter’s shadow might fall on them as he walked by.

Why did they do that?  They had heard if you could get to a place where the Christians were, you could get healed.

Christians had a reputation.  It was the same reputation Jesus had.  As a result, the early Church grew at a rate of thousands per day!

That’s the way it should be for us today.

“But I can’t heal the sick!” you say.  “I can’t cast out devils!”

Maybe not…but God can…and He’s in you!  In fact, the Scripture says the person united to Him becomes one spirit with Him.  Think about that for a moment.  You are united with the Lord.  You are one spirit with Him.

Jesus said it this way, “At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20).

You and Jesus are one.  He is the Head and you are the Body.  You are His instrument in the earth.  Dare to believe that.  Be bold enough to speak the words the Bible speaks and do whatever Jesus tells you to do.

Believe me, people will come to you for help.  The Spirit of God will anoint you – and great things will happen!