New Year, Really?

GM Monday.

Is 2013 timing up? Technically, yes. Usually at this time of year, we start taking inventory of ourselves and whip out the Steno pad to list what we resolve to do more or less of. have you ever wondered why we do this year after year? Is it fruitful? Does it really matter? “Is it working for you”? Hmm, let’s get into this. 

Where are You?

Social media is so prominent in our culture. When coupled with our willingness to literally share every thought, opinion, and preference, I’ll bet you could look back and find your posts and tweets from December 2012.
If you can, compare them to what you were about to jot down. Are you still on the hamster wheel of good intentions that vow to be healthier, more available, more generous/less stingy, etc? Do yourself a favor, dear ones, stop running in place and break out of the cycle that over promises and under delivers. Be cautious with what you vow to do.

Are You in the Same Place?

Take some time to locate yourself. I mean, really, really look. I’ll bet you have made progress in certain areas of your life. Progress is black and white–it’s either there or it’s not. Regardless of how much there is, praise God for that morsel of consistency that you didn’t have last year. Thank Him for helping you to maintain the deliverance you have freely received and the grace to continue to grow.

No Resolutions Now What?!

Okay, since I’ve jerked the security blanket of good intentions from you, allow me to replace it with the Comforter that can actually keep you warm. Don’t lose your vision to want to do better.  It’s good that you don’t want to stay where you are. However, why don’t we do something different? Let’s choose to look for the Lord’s guidance regarding the areas of our life that displease us and really believe that He will guide you clearly. More than likely, those particular areas displease Him too; let Him work on those areas. Let’s allow the Word of God to seep in to our spirit and change us from the inside out.

God doesn’t measure eternity in years; so with the new year coming up, keep moving forward. Time is not up yet, keep working on your test.

Proverbs 8:8-36 NLT

My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the L ord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. “The L ord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the L ord . But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”

~KP

It’s Christmas

Merry Christmas good people! This is my favorite time of year! Christmas time is the best time, hands down. This time last year, I was preparing to take the GRE and finishing up my application for my internship (which I am ace-ing  btw, praise the Lord!).  Also, I was terribly sick and let me tell you, taking a computer-based standardized test with a head cold is no bowl of grapes.

Anyway, enough about that; let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this post.  Get ready to smile.

This Year and Beyond…

I can say with confident faith that I am working out the plan that the Lord has given to me.  Honestly, it feels great to say that. I am moving forward in the process of perfection and that’s a good thing.  Please don’t misunderstand– I don’t intend to sound arrogant or prideful, but you need to know that your words either carry faith or fear.  You must learn to confidently speak faith statements with boldness regardless of your current perception of yourself, your ability (or lack thereof), or past mistakes.  You have to speak your destination before you get there.  The choice is yours.  Furthermore, learn how to celebrate yourself.  When others around you (especially those who you consider closest to you) refuse to give you that well-deserved pat on the back; give it to yourself.  Or, better yet, believe the Lord to surround you with people who will give you that pat on the back when you need it.  Trust and believe, He will do just that; He’s done it for me.

I suppose it’s the sense of completion that accompanies the end of the year which causes us to take an inventory of ourselves.  To do so is perfectly fine and good; however, don’t paint yourself into the proverbial corner with a brush dipped in comparison.  As long as your rubric of success and value is drafted according to your perception of those around you, you will always be disappointed, sad, and even discouraged.

Believe it or not, we all decide what we want others to see.  I don’t know anyone that excitedly runs to the phone to call 50 people to yak about their latest epic failure nor can I think of anyone who chooses to fill their twitter feed or Facebook profile with tweets and posts about their deepest fears and shortcomings.  We each have our own brag box filled with successes and triumphs.  Usually, that is what we willingly share with others.  I can almost guarantee you that for every 10 brag boxes on the living room coffee table, there is at least one old, busted, dilapidated, shoebox shoved in the back of a closet somewhere filled with our past heartaches and disappointments and most of the time, we avoid showcasing it when company stops by.

Moving Forward

With all of that being said, this Christmas, let us take time to enjoy this holiday for what it really is; a celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Take time to refocus and clear your vision for the budding new year.  Start some new traditions! Whether you are by yourself or with family, remember you are never alone.

Get excited about your future, it looks awesome! I love you all; Merry Christmas!

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A Short and Sweet About Communication

GM Thursday, a few weeks ago, I shared an excerpt from the book “Ministering to Your Family” written by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin, Jr. (see: On the Matter of A Mate fantastic read and great words of godly wisdom) and wanted to share a short and sweet reminder with you regarding communication.

If you are trusting the Lord to be your guide, keep the lines of communication OPEN. Primarily between you and the Lord, second between you and your family, and third between you and your fellow man.

Stay out of strife and unforgiveness. Do not let circumstances yield negative thoughts. Everything starts with a thought, so keep your heart right. You can hear the guidance of the Lord best when you maintain the garden of your heart.

Have a great day today.

~KP

Interesting Article: “What We Forget About Jesus”

Ordinarily, I choose not to analyze what I consider minor details regarding Christianity. However, I stumbled across the following link; see below.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/blog/188-what-we-forget-about-jesus

The most important fact we need to be concerned with is that Jesus is real and that He is alive. He came from heaven, was born to a virgin on Earth, lived a holy life, died for your’s and my sin, and rose from the dead three days later that we may have eternal life.

Eternal life…the issue of melanin kinda pales in comparison, don’t you think?

~KP

Chin Up

GM Thursday; how is it Thursday already?! Just want to take a quick moment to wish all the students well on their exams as finals week comes to a close.  Good luck :)

Here’s a short and sweet reminder to keep your chin up as you go through the tests and trials of life. You can either doubt and question the process which will lock you into reasoning and ultimately slow you down, or just trust the Lord and “go on through” (as the saints say).

Trust the Lord, He is your protector; He knows exactly what He is doing.

The devil is going to lie to you with doubtful thoughts like: ‘you prayed, but you didn’t pray hard enough’ or ‘you can’t have what you want and ask for because you don’t deserve anything good’.  Or even worse he’ll say: ‘your standards are too high, that’s impossible, you’ll never marry anyone like that’. These lies keep the focus on you. You can’t get too far in life if you are always stuck on “you”.

Whatever it is, if your thoughts incite fear, torment, or unbelief, then I guarantee you have purchased a lie from the devil; (check your receipt).

The Lord is ABLE to do exceedingly above all we can ask or even think! He’s a BIIIIIIIIIGGGGGG God! You can’t contain Him.  He has some goodies, just for you, just because you love Him and He loves you.  You didn’t do anything on your own to earn such goodness, He just gives because that’s part of His character. All good things come from Him. You can have good things.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

James 1:2-3 (NLT)

~KP

Before You Spend

According to the USDA, the average monthly cost of food for an American family of four ranges anywhere from $600-$1200 USDA Food Plans Cost of Food at Home.  Given the rising cost of food, it is imperative to spend money wisely each time you visit the grocery store.  Below, you will find several money-saving tips to manage the rising cost of food.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Make a plan before you set foot through those automated double-doors. Whether it’s a hand-written list or the sales flyer, determine which items you need to purchase beforehand and stick to it.  It doesn’t have to be anything extensive, you can jot down a quick list before you get out of the car.

Go In To the Aisle; Look Up and Look Down

Food suppliers pay top dollar for their products to be placed where consumers are more likely to see them.  Where are these prime areas? The edge of the aisle and at eye-level.  Take a few steps to the middle of the aisle and look for items that are placed either above or below eye-level and you will find better bargains.

Shop Alone

This can be difficult if you have little ones or even an overzealous spouse :) When you are alone, you are more likely to be  focused and spend less time in the store.  The quicker you shop; the less you spend.

Do Not Shop When You Are Hungry

We have all been there– it’s 7pm, you just left the office, you are starving because you skipped lunch and you know that you need to stop by the grocery store because you have been eating sandwiches and soup for dinner for the past two days.  Shopping while hungry is a sure fire way to increase your likelihood of impulse buying.

In particular, when you are hungry, you are more likely to purchase more expensive, convenient items such as frozen meals, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, and higher calorie foods and beverages that have little to no nutritional value.  Do your wallet and your waistline a favor, keep a snack in the car to take the edge off of that hunger before heading into the store.

Plan Your Meals

Now, you don’t have to have a fancy, dancy menu board with 3 weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners planned and posted on the fridge door, but do what you can.  Often, it helps to stock your kitchen with ingredients that you often use to prepare meals such as canned beans or other lean protein sources, dry pasta, canned soups, etc.  When these items go on sale; stock up!

Eat Your Leftovers

If you don’t like to eat the same thing more than once in a week (like I do) prepare entrees and sides that can easily be converted into another dish or prepare smaller amounts of two different dishes that require similar base ingredients. For example, prepare a basic tomato sauce which can be converted to either chili or spaghetti sauce during the week.

Eat At Home

Yes, I know we can go through the drive-thru and spend less than $5 on lunch or dinner and there is nothing wrong with eating outside the home, but it can get expensive.  If you spend $5-7 per day buying lunch, that is at least $25 per week that you are using to purchase only 5 meals (assuming that you buy lunch Monday-Friday).  All other things constant, that’s $100 per month; $1200 per year! You can stretch your dollars further by purchasing foods at the grocery store and preparing more meals at home.

I hope these tips were helpful, I’d love to hear how you manage your household food costs, please leave a comment below!

~KP

On the Matter of a Mate

Excellent excerpt from the book, Ministering to Your Family (Chapter 1, © 1986), by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin Jr. Reprinted by permission of Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc.


On the Matter of a Mate

In what areas can you exercise faith? What can you believe for?

First, you can believe for everything the Word of God promises you or provides for you. But you can’t believe beyond the Word. Why not? Because “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Faith is based on what God’s Word says, and you cannot believe beyond your knowledge of God’s Word. If people try to do this, they will get in trouble.

For example, years ago I met a denominational pastor who received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and was kicked out of his denomination.

With no church to pastor, he had gone into business for himself in a large city, and he started attending the largest Full Gospel church in that city. This man was unmarried and was probably between 35 and 40.

He told me that a beautiful woman sang in the church choir, and because “you can have what you say” and “whatever you desire, just pray and believe you receive,” he was going to pray and believe he was going to get her for a wife.

However, I can’t find where the Bible says, “I promise John that he can have Mary for a wife.” Mary may not want to be his wife—and John may be just as well off without her anyway!

So I asked the man, “Have you ever talked to this woman? Have you ever had a date with her?”

“No,” he replied.

Sitting out there in the congregation while the choir sang on Sunday mornings, this man had seen the woman, was attracted to her, and thought because “you can have what you say,” he could just say they would be married and it would come to pass.

But under what conditions will it come to pass?

“Well, if I believe it strongly enough,” some will argue.

No, faith must be based on God’s Word. As we have seen, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. And the Word of God says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

“Whoso findeth a wife” implies that you have a part to play, all right, but you must be open to the Lord’s direction, and you must realize that you cannot go against another person’s free will.

The Lord will lead and guide you. You have a right to claim His guidance because He has promised to guide you. But just to pick somebody out and say, “I’m going to believe God and she’s going to be my wife,” won’t work.

Another’s Will Is Involved

The woman you want to marry may not want to be your wife. That would work the other way around for women: The man you want to marry may not want be your husband.

Friends, you’re not going to be able to override another person’s will in the matter, so you may as well settle that once and for all.

God Himself does not exercise authority over human spirits. If He did, He’d make everybody in the world get saved today, and then we could enter into the Millennium.

We only have authority over evil spirits; not over human spirits. God has granted mankind free will to choose for themselves.

In the first meeting I held after leaving my last pastorate, an unmarried woman in her thirties asked me, “Brother Hagin, do I have the right to believe for a husband?”

“I believe you do,” I replied, “because the Bible says, ‘Whoso findeth a WIFE findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord’—and it would be a poor rule that wouldn’t work both ways.”

Will faith work here?

I told the young woman, “You can’t just pick out somebody and say, ‘That one’s mine.’ But you can ask God to lead you. You can claim a mate by faith and let God work out the details because you believe Him.”

Standing in Faith

For many months, it didn’t look like things were going to work for this young woman: No young man came into her life. Every time I saw her, I encouraged her to stand in faith. She would say, “I’m standing in faith. It’s going to work. I know it is!” She had certain ideals in mind. She said, “I’m not a minister myself, but I have been in the work of the Lord for many years, and I want to marry a minister.”

In the process of time, I saw her, and she had married a fine man—a minister. Her faith had worked.

I also remember two beautiful young women who attended a revival meeting I once conducted in Oklahoma. They had just graduated from high school with the highest grades in their class. Both were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in my meeting. Some months later, when I returned to that church for another meeting, the Lord led me to minister a word of wisdom to one of the girls.

Afterwards, the pastor said, “Brother Hagin, I’m so glad you did that. You didn’t know this, I’m sure, but that young woman is engaged to be married, and we’re concerned about it. The young man has attended church here, but I’ll just be honest with you—I’m sure he pretended he got saved so he could marry her.”

Something Better

I hadn’t known these details the night the Lord had me minister to the young woman. She was sitting on the front row that night. I asked the congregation to sing because I didn’t want everyone to hear what I told her. I said to her, “The Lord told me to tell you this: ‘I’ve got something better for you. Don’t marry right now. I’ve got something better for you.’”

Two years later I was out in California in a campmeeting when a fine-looking young couple came up to me. The woman said, “Brother Hagin, do you remember me?”

“No,” I said, “but your face looks familiar.”

She told me her name, but I still couldn’t remember who she was.

“Well,” she said, “you’ll remember this: You called me up while the congregation was singing and you told me the Lord said not to marry then because He had something better for me.”

“Oh,” I said. “I remember that.”

“Well,” she said happily, “here he is!”

Then, she told me she and her husband were in Bible college preparing for the ministry. “Oh, I’m so glad the Lord arrested me and ministered to me,” she said. “I would have made a fatal mistake. We’re so happy. And we’re working for God.”

God did have something better for her. God can lead and guide us. We need to be open to the leading of God.

You see, we can believe God and exercise faith for anything that is promised in the Bible. But we must base our faith upon what God’s Word says. If we get into areas beyond the Word, we will get into gray areas—into dark areas. As long as we’re in the Word, we’re in the light. Then we’re on safe ground—sure ground.

Some may say, “I don’t know just what direction to take in life, so what shall I believe for?”

Well, trust God for guidance, because He has promised to guide you. Claim His guidance by faith. Say, “The Lord is guiding me. He is leading me. I may not see it this moment. I may not even know what to do at the moment; but, He is my Guide and I trust Him.”

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). God will guide you. But remember that He leads you just one step at a time.

Reprinted from the book, Ministering to Your Family (Chapter 1, © 1986), by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin Jr. Reprinted by permission of Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc.