Tuesday, February 25 2014
Water is necessary to sustain life. That is an unarguable point. Health experts have suggested that we drink water everyday because our body consists of water and hydration is important to our well-being.
Although, water is essential to life, we can not afford to start drinking any and all water. When water is not flowing it becomes stagnant. Stagant water contains high levels of bacteria, stinks and creates opportunities for mosquito reproduction. It is not healthy to drink or bathe in and is not beneficial to our health. It is gross water!
The creation of stagnant water can be eliminated by simply the flow of water. Water that is moving does not have a chance to become a Petri dish for bacteria, smelly or the honeymoon suite for mosquitos.
As an Apostolic leader, we can not afford to become stagnant. We must constantly move forward through studying of the Word, prayer, fasting and faithfulness. The Apostolic leader must also look for training opportunities through seminars, conferences or online. Iron sharpens iron and not "rubbing elbows" with peers can cause one to slow the flow of their ministry.
Today on Twitter, it was posted "leaders are readers". Every Christian leader should be a reader. Our priority should be the scripture, but we can also glean from Christian writers. I must admit that, I do not always read just "religious" books, but enjoy American history.
Reading makes us critical thinkers and increases our vocabulary. When we communicate, we should connect with the audience and having an extensive vocabulary assists us in reaching a broader group.
Our ministries must never change doctrinally, but the method for which we do things should be under constant evaluation. The promotions, service order and outreach methods of the 80 and 90's may not work in 2014. For example, a song written in 1914 may not communicate to an audience now. When we train, spend time with other leaders and read, we are opening ourselves to the methods of others. Perhaps, you can avoid mistakes by learning from them.
Stagnant waters stinks and stagnant ministries (Sunday school teacher, music minister, usher, etc...) are ineffective. Please invest in your ministry just as you would a job, if not more so. Your ministry is a heaven and hell issue for people and your investment in the ministry or talent that God has given you will make the difference in the lives of the people of your community. Stay connected to the mover and shakers within the ministry that you are involved with and learn to flow as a blessing to those around you.
Monday, February 10 2014
Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV
 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord , and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61 verses 1 - 3, much like multiple scriptures in the book of Isaiah is speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ. They were not written for the time of Isaiah, but they were carefully penned so that at the exact moment in history that God needed them they would be available.
Hundreds of years later in Luke the 4th chapter, Jesus Christ himself would stand and read these scriptures and declare that they were fulfilled in Him.
Luke 4:16-20 KJV
 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
But what do they mean?
Isaiah 61 gives us the purpose of Jesus Christ.
One commentary says he will bandage the broken heart. In my mind's eye, I can see Jesus kneeling next to the one in need bandaging the deep wounds inflicted by life.
Like the Good Samaritan, Jesus places a bandage over the wounds caused by abuse, loss and misfortune.
This is a promise of the Spirit of God being given to us.
2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty.
God's Spirit or the Holy Ghost/Spirit gives life. It is freely given to all that desire it and is promise.
John 10:10 KJV
 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Sin binds us, but we have a promise.
Psalm 107:10-14 KJV
 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
Isaiah 61 is a message of hope for those that mourn.
The original Hebrew word for mourn is spelled A-B-E-L and it means "to lament".
Webster's defined lament as, "to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something".
We live in a lamenting society.
1 in 10 people are effected by depression with an increasing rate of diagnosis every year.
25% of people polled have posted something on social media that they regretted.
...and studies have shown that Americans are less happy than in the 1970's
Despite the problems of each individual or even society as a whole, there is hope.
We have been given a promise thousands of years ago that still holds true today.
It is a promise for those that mourn or lament. It is for those that lack happiness and joy.
It is a promise that God will give us "beauty for ashes".
In Biblical times, during time of morning those that would mourn would create a tiara of ashes around their head.
The promise for "beauty for ashes" was a promise of a beautiful crown. God is going to replace the ashes or mourning and repentance with a crown of life.
James 1:12 KJV
 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
We have a promise of "oil for joy".
In Biblical times, oil was used heavily during celebrations. God is promising His Spirit would give us joy and it would take away the sadness of mourning.
1 Peter 1:8 KJV
 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
We have a promise of "the garment of praise".
The garment of praise requires something of us. It is not something that is just given to us, but it requires a sacrifice of praise. Praise is something that we give God, but when we do give praise the heaviness of life is lifted.
The burdens of life no longer way us down.
When we put on the garment of praise. The heaviness of life that weighs us down will be lifted.