Monday, October 31, 2016

Are You A Cheater?

What a question for someone to ask or even to be labeled as. Often when we think about cheating or calling someone a cheater, we relate it to a person who has been or is being unfaithful to someone. Cheaters often try to hide what they are doing for fear of getting caught. Yet, they will often continue this behavior because of self-gratification or for whatever pleasure the flesh may be receiving at that time. A cheater also withholds emotions and things that rightfully should be given freely to his/her spouse, often giving part of these things to the person with whom they are cheating.

But did you know that most people who cheat truly do not want to lose the person they are cheating on, nor do they want to be the recipient of their own actions? Dealing with someone who has cheated on you is painful and damaging to a relationship. The very core of the relationship, which is trust, has been broken and often destroyed. Although it is not impossible to rebuild that core, it does, however, take a lot of time and work to do so.

Knowing the pain and feeling of being cheated on by someone you love, just imagine how Christ feels when we cheat on Him.

We are cheating on Christ when we don’t seek Him. When we put things and people before Him; when we don’t spend time in our relationship with Him by reading His Word and praying, and when we allow things and people to be first in our lives, we are cheating on God. He has already told us that if we seek Him first, He will give us those other things that we seek. (Matthew 6:33 ESV But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.)

However, when we don’t surrender ourselves completely to God, we are cheating on Him by withholding what is rightfully His - our praise, worship, and obedience. We allow our thoughts, actions, and time to be consumed with the things we deem to be a priority to us, often neglecting to give God any of our time. When and if we remember, we often squeeze Him in. (Psalms 86:12 ESV I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.)

When you truly love someone, you will try to spend as much time as possible with him/her. Whatever you do, you will always think about that person and how your words or actions will impact him/her. You will do whatever you can to maintain and strengthen the bond that you have. You will also become protective, not wanting any harm to come to whom you love. This is so with Christ when it comes to us.

Worship is when we spend that intimate time with God, honoring, adoring and showing deep sincere respect and love for the one who created us. When we praise Him, we are exalting, applauding, and magnifying Him for who He is, while showing our thankfulness for all He has done. When we get into his Word, we are spending time with Him, learning more about Him and all He has for us. We are allowing ourselves to become one with Him and take on His likeness. We are deepening our relationship and walk with Christ. (Matthew 11:29-30 ESV Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.") (1Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.)

But when we allow the things of this world to replace our time with God and to come before our relationship with Him, we have become cheaters. (Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.)

It’s time to be faithful to each other, as well as to be faithful in our relationship with Christ. (1Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.)

Be Encouraged!
Evangelist Steele

© Copyright 2016 Just A Diva Encouraging Ministries, All rights reserved

Monday, October 17, 2016

Living Pass Your Past Mistakes

(Don’t let the past steal your present.)

There was a time when I was in bondage to my past and what others thought of me.  I would allow my past mistakes to constantly be used to define me, although that person was no longer me.  Then one day during my crying out to God, He revealed to me that I was not who others wanted to keep labeling me as, and that I was no longer bound to my past. 
(2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!)

Understand that your past does not define who you are, no matter what that past may be. Whether you were rebellious; a backslider; divorced, on drugs; molested, a cheater; in prison; abused; cheated on; abandoned; teenage mom or dad, promiscuous, etc. You are not held hostage to it.  Is what you’ve done wiped away?  By man, “No.” But, through repentance and surrendering all to Christ, who died on the cross to take upon our sins, “Yes.”  Through Him, your past is wiped away.
(Hebrews 8:12, NLT And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.)

The hard part comes when you have to push pass your past, especially when those that knew you then and even those that are around you now, like to bring it up every opportunity they can.  You know the ones that say that famous line, “I remember when” and then begin to follow it with whatever you did then.  This alone may often cause you to reflect back to that period and begin to feel bad all over again about yourself or something you may have done.  Yes, there may be times when you are able to stand strong and firm and declare that the past is the past, but the enemies’ desire is to have you feel as though you will never live your past down, or that you are held hostage to it. 

But, I’m here to tell you that the devil is a liar.  I don’t care what it is, what happened to you or how bad you think what you’ve done is, our Lord and Savior is able to forgive and heal. He is “King of Kings.” There is nothing that has happened to you or that you’ve done that He doesn’t know about, and in spite of that, He still loves you.  You just have to accept that love and know that you are worth it.  Also, there are people that will never let go of your past because they are still there, and they are upset because of who you’ve become. There is even some feeling as if you are no longer beneficially to them or their way of life, now that you no longer allow those old things nor engage in what they are still doing.
(Romans 5:8, NLT But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)
(Rev 19:16, NLT On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.)

King David: Committed sins of adultery, deception, and murder.  David repented, asked God for forgiveness, and God forgave him of his sin. God went on to use him mightily, to the glory of His name.  (2Samuel 11:12, Psalm 51:10-12)

Apostle Paul (formerly “Saul of Tarsus”): Murdered, harassed, and persecuted Christians in the early Church.  Apostle Paul was not perfect, but he became an extremely useful vessel for God, teaching, growing, inspiring and encouraging. He went on to write much of the New Testament and continues to be a blessing to believers even today.  (Acts 9:4-5, 1 Timothy 1:12-13)

Rahab the Prostitute:  Rahab was a prostitute. Despite her sketchy background, she was used by God in a mighty way.  (James 2:25, Hebrews 11:31)

And there are others in the Bible that God used in a mighty way and did not let their past define who they were and what He wanted to do in their life.

Do you see what I’m saying? If God freed them from their past, then He surely is capable of doing the same for you.  Now it’s time for you to push past it and be free from that bondage and live.  Peace, love, hope, and joy are all the things that you will begin to experience when you no longer let your past or what others say, define you.  It’s God’s desire that we live a full life free from any bondage. 
(Romans 3:23, ESV For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.) (1 Corinthians 15:57, NLT But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.)

Yes, He can even use you.  Now, start living pass your past.

Be Encouraged!

Evangelist Steele

© Copyright 2016 Just A Diva Encouraging Ministries, All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Removing the Mask

How are you? How are you feeling? How is everything?  How’s the family? These are some of the most common questions that we are asked every day, and most of the time for many of us when answering these questions, we are answering them while wearing a “mask” (a covering, worn as a disguise).  Sadly, this is even more prevalent in the church. 

Somehow, we have gotten to a place where we are living day-to-day in the comfortability of wearing a mask and feeling the need to put up this false perception. A perception that we want those around us to see, while wanting them to think that everything is well when clearly things are not.  We would rather walk around with our struggles, hurts, and pains, and pretend that we haven’t been through anything, then to be transparent and remove our mask.  Some even hiding behind social media while trying to maintain this image.  This is not saying that we must tell everyone everything that’s going on with us or to be an open book, but somehow we’ve gotten so good at wearing the mask that we are even acting as if God can’t see pass the mask.  Our creator, the one that formed us and knew us before we even knew ourselves, not seeing behind the mask that we wear, often is one of the greatest forms of deception the enemy wants us to believe.
(Jeremiah 1:5 NLT) 5“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

If He created us, then obviously He knew what would take place and the precise moments it would, while also knowing that there would be times when everything would not be okay.  I’ve learned that what we may be going through at this time or what we may have gone through was not only to show us the areas in our life that God wants to deliver, heal, and restore us from, but it’s to draw us closer to Him as well.  Its purpose is so that God can take us to another level deeper in Him and at the same time keeping us humble.  When we are filled with so much pride that we are unable to reach out and say to our sister or brother that we are going through something or may need prayer or assistance, we often miss out not only on the lesson that God has for us but the blessing that’s waiting for us. Understand that God will lead you to whom to go to; but, if your pride is greater, you will fail to see who He is sending you to. 
(Proverbs 29:3NLT) 23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

We often wear the mask as a form of protection, wanting acceptance, hiding our past, not wanting to be hurt or not wanting others to see our needs, illnesses, flaws, weaknesses, disappointments, issues, short comings, pains, and vulnerabilities, not realizing the mask causes more harm than good.  While we may feel as though we are protecting and blocking out these things, we are also blocking the things that we need to be exposed to as well as the things that do need to enter into our lives. 
(Hebrews 4:13 NL) 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Imagine humbling yourself and removing the mask and being completely free. Trusting God totally!  Imagine beginning to see deliverance taking place in those areas of your life that you needed to be delivered; that you begin to experience and feel healing from the hurt that you’ve suppressed for so long; that the low self-esteem you walked around with has now begun to transform you into walking more confidently in Christ, and even those areas you thought were your weaknesses, you now see them as areas of strength.   Imagine your pain turning into joy when you humble yourself, when asked, and answer honestly by saying, “No, I’m not okay” during those times when you aren’t. Then watching God move in a mighty way, through intercession of prayer, financial blessing from someone, receiving words of encouragement that are needed to help you press on, or even receiving the necessary information or services you may need at that time.
(James 4:10 NLT) 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Choose today to remove the mask and let the process begin in your life.  Your journey has molded you for the greater good and you will never be able to truly enjoy life and all that God has in store for you until you remove your mask.  Allow the real you to be blessed and to be a blessing to someone who needs to hear your story.  Be transparent, willing to share your story to the Glory of God of how He bought you out, how He delivered you, but most importantly, how He healed you.  Something God has done for you may be just what your sister or brother needs to hear.

God already knows you and He loves the real you… REMOVE THE MASK!
(Romans 5:8) 8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Be Encouraged!
Evangelist Steele

© Copyright 2016 Just A Diva Encouraging Ministries, All rights reserved