Last night I had the privilege of listening to Bishop T. D. Jakes preach at World Overcomers Christian Church in Durham, NC via live-streaming. The title of his message was "Stay Connected," and it was right on time! In this particular blog post, I just wanted to share some quotes from Bishop T. D. Jakes and also some of my own related insights as I felt inspired throughout his message. I hope those reading this will be encouraged and inspired as well.
"Don't waste your passion in confusion." In other words, don't waste time dealing with things that are not helping to bring order to your life. You can be passionate about something, but that fiery passion can grow cold if you are in the wrong environment that is full of things that are not conducive to your proper growth and development and don't help you to grow wiser.
"Everything rises and falls on the back of relationship, not religion." Jesus did things that were out of the box, so-to-speak. The religious leaders of His time did not like Him because He did not conform to their rigid, rule-based ways. Jesus challenged the status-quo and fulfilled His purpose of bridging the gap between God and man by living a sinless life, dying in our place as the sacrificial Lamb on the Cross, rising again in three days, and instituting reconciliation between God and mankind. Jesus taught his disciples about the power of building relationships with other people and staying connected to Him by abiding in Him. Some people can love God, but not get along well with other people. The Cross has not only a vertical aspect, but also a horizontal aspect. Away with those who would love God, but hate other people. We need good healthy relationships with people. We cannot make it all alone. God calls us to community and if we cannot be in sync with others who are striving to do God's will, then collectively we could fall.
"If you seek to be popular, you will never be powerful." If you are trying to conform to the ways of the world just so more and more people can like you, you will never reach the fulfillment of your true potential. If you feel like you have to ask people permission to do certain things that you know God wants you to do, if they say no, what are you going to do? Are you going to be a people pleaser, or are you going to be a God-pleaser? You don’t need man’s permission to do what God has ordained you to do to fulfill your God-given purpose. Man does not give true power, but God can and He does!
"God will never leave you nor emotionally abandon you." God will not leave you when you are present. Where ever you are God wants to be right there with you. But if you are not really there, why should you expect God to be there? Someone can be “there” physically, but not emotionally or intellectually. Sometimes we want God to bless a situation for which we ourselves are not really present! But the reality is that God does not want to bless your situation; God wants to bless YOU! But God won’t bless what you have forsaken. So if you are absent from your own life, why should you expect the blessing and favor of God? Are you really there all the time, or are you just making appearances every now and then?
God wants to bless you, but "you've got to stretch out" by faith! - Moses had the staff in his hand as Pharaoh’s army was behind the Israelites, and there were mountains on either side of them, and the Red Sea was in front of them. Moses had to stretch out his staff by faith then God parted the Red Sea. Sometimes we think we are waiting on God, but God is sometimes waiting on us to “stretch out” by faith. God meets us at the point where we are putting our faith into action.
"Give to what is giving to you." - If you breathe in only or breathe out without breathing in again, you will experience asphyxiation. Some people are choking in various environments because they are taking so much from others that those people cannot give back certain things to them to help them when help is needed. On the flip side, some people give so much of themselves that they are struggling to “breathe” for the eventual lack of resources that they need coming back to them from others to whom they originally gave. There has to be a balance.
"Just because you cry, it doesn't mean you are not recovering." - Sometimes when you get hurt, the recovery from what hurt you hurts more. Pain might very well be present, but don't withdraw from the growing process. Stay connected to Jesus! Many times when people hurt us, we have a tendency to withdraw and stay in isolation. But when we are isolated, that gives the enemy an opportunity to attack us. We’ve got to stay connected to Jesus and the people He has placed in our lives for the season that we are in, for there is strength and safety in numbers.
"God cannot bless you if you keep leaving the place of blessing!" - Faithfulness is a badge time gives. You cannot prove yourself to be faithful after only a short time. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden he hid himself. God was coming to meet with Adam to bless him like He always did before Adam sinned, but then Adam stepped out of place to hide. Are you trying to hide from God? Have you stepped out of the place of blessing because you don’t want to have to deal with your issues that God wants to work with you on?
Stay in the right place so you can grow. Stay rooted and grounded in God’s Word. God is glorified the most when we are the most fruitful in the place where He planted us.
"Realize the fierce urgency of NOW." - Deliverance from a dark past is great. Excitement about a bright future is great. But are you HERE for the present? While you are praising God for your tomorrow, the devil is trying to steal, kill, and destroy your today. Keep it by staying connected to what God has for you right NOW. Understand the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time for building up, so the devil is attacking the hardest now. So you've got to be on your A-game all the time.
"One of the hardest things to get out of Christians is honesty." - Don't protect a false image, but be real and honest. So many times we encounter believers who have been “fakin’ the funk” for so long, it’s hard to tell if they are being real or fake. But we’ve got to get real with ourselves. We’ve got to really know how we truly are in certain circumstances and situations. When we get real with ourselves, we can then become ready to embrace the truth about what we need to do to continue to grow where God wants us to be. Besides who knows how many people we could actually end up helping if we decide to be real and take off the masks we wear too often?
How often do we hear people say, "Money is the root of all evil"? But that is not true. That is not biblical. The Bible lets us know that "the LOVE of money is the root of all evil..." (1 Timothy 6:10). Money itself is neutral. It can be used for good purposes or bad purposes. But it's the love of it that gets us into big trouble. Honor God with your money by tithing (bringing Him a tenth of each financial gain), giving it in offerings, and simply helping others. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10). The storehouse was the temple to the Jews and that translates to the local churches for us today. And notice, we are to BRING God the tithe, not give it to Him. You can't give to someone whatever is already theirs. So since the money already belongs to God, we are to simply be good stewards over it, like managers in a sense.
The world "arubbah" in the Hebrew, from which we get "windows" in "windows of heaven" in Malachi 3:10 translates as "floodgates." So God wants to bless us by pouring out blessings from heavenly floodgates! Who wouldn't want that?? (But let's be careful and make sure that we are not trying to leverage our prayers or use God to get more money. Our focus should be on chasing after God and He will then provide Himself to meet our needs.)
And bringing the tithes and offerings to a local church is not about giving money "to the pastor" per se' ... it's about our hearts. Jesus has more parables in the Gospels about money and possessions than about anything else because He knows those things concern us. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Jesus addressed mammon in Matthew 6:24 because mammon is a spirit that causes people to desire money and material possessions instead of God. Tithing and giving cheerfully are acts of worship to God because you are honoring Him and not giving in to mammon. So the question is: Does God have your heart? ... Do you have money or does money have you?
#Affirmation I do not love money and use God. Instead, I love God and use money to honor Him.
You can change your exterior layers but it doesn't really matter if you haven't been transformed in your core. It's interesting that many of us pay a great deal of attention to the exterior layers of others, and yet we sometimes fail to see what's under "everything." What's under all the material possessions? What's under all the money? What's under all the make-up and nice clothes? ... And isn't it funny how some people can seem to know all about everyone else, yet they hardly know themselves? They think the outside is the only thing worth focusing on, but they have all these issues on the inside. They don't know what they want in life and somehow believe that getting more things is the best way to express who they are to others.
But getting more and more material things does not help with you knowing what God created you to do and be. Know who you are at your core so you can be the expression of your best self God created you to be. When you begin to explore the inner layers of yourself, you'll see things you like and things you don't like that might be hard to change in your own strength (so give it to God). If you focus too much on what's "wrong" with you, you can end up discouraged. But Bishop Jakes put it this way: "Don't focus so much on fighting what's wrong in you, but work on developing what's right in you." Develop the gifts and talents God gave you for fulfilling His purpose for your life. For you are not supposed to be here in vain.
When you are really transformed you are changed from the inside out, not the other way around. When you are transformed for the better, your walk improves, your talk improves, the way you carry yourself improves. When you are transformed you begin to run with people who have also been transformed. When you are transformed, you don't want to spend too much time around people who are stuck and who actually don't want to move forward. So who are you spending time with? What kind of information are you taking in on a daily basis? Challenge yourself with these questions and you might be surprised about what you come to realize.
A true change can come not because you change your geographical location, but because you change your mind about the situation you're in. The change for the prodigal son didn't occur when he left the hog pin. The change for him did not occur when he got new clothes to wear. The true change for the prodigal son occurred when he changed his mind about his situation. If the enemy can get you in your mind then he can get you to be stuck in a negative situation. Our minds are like steering wheels: we tend to go in the direction that we turn our minds. You have to get your mind focused on what God has promised you in His Word. Consider Romans 8:28.You have a real paradigm shift not from getting more money or material things, but from having your mind renewed by the Word of God.
Believers in Christ, it is so important that we share our faith with others. Some people may ask themselves, "Well, why should I share my faith?" There are 6 major reasons why we should share our faith in Christ.
1 - Jesus has commanded us to do so (Matthew 28:19-20).
2 - Sharing our faith demonstrates our love for God. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep My commandments."
3 - All are, before they come to know Christ as Lord and Savior, lost (Romans 3:10, 23).
4 - Our sharing the faith is God’s way to tell all people. He could have used angels for all our days, but He chose not to.Only sinners who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb can tell other sinners who are lost about Christ’s saving grace.
5 - God desires to save all people. "The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). (However, of course, we know that unfortunately not everyone from history, and not everyone in the present age, and not everyone in the years to come will have actually received Christ as Lord and Savior due to the fact that some were ordained to experience condemnation because of constant rebellion against Christ and His Lordship (Jude 1:4; Revelation 20:15).
6 - Someone once shared their faith with us. That person has the right to expect that we will do for others what they have done for us.
Don't ever think that you are too low for Jesus to reach way down to pick you up. Jesus can reach us right where we are! We get up from a low place by letting Jesus pick us up. Won't you grab His loving hand? See we've got to let Christ in; He does not force Himself on us. Man can try to force his own rules and religion on people, but Jesus is not into forcing people. He is into loving people unconditionally. But even though Jesus loves people, He hates sin. Sin cannot stand in His presence. That's why we need to be washed in the blood of Jesus. Jesus died in our place to nail our sins and the ordinances that were against us to the Cross (Colossians 2:13-15).
Yeshua was a common alternative form of the name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ("Yehoshuah" – Joshua) in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which, through the Latin Iesus, comes the English spelling Jesus. The biblical meaning of the name Joshua is: A savior; a deliverer. Jesus came to deliver us FROM sin and to bring us TO God. Sin brings about shame and guilt and eventually death. Christ offers true life and peace in Him.
Who/what you worship is so crucial. There is a spiritual war that is over the destiny of the souls of people. God does not want us to be deceived by satan. Satan will try to get you to believe the lie that you can just do whatever you want and worship whatever/whoever you want, and somehow "be a good person" and make it to paradise when it's all over, or whatever. What satan really wants for us is to sow to our flesh to reap corruption. However God wants us to sow to the Spirit to reap everlasting life (Galatians 6:8).
The late Pastor Jesse J. Williams used to say, "[If you're saved], you might lose some personal battles here and there, but you haven't lost the war since you haven't lost your soul." Sometimes we sin, sometimes we make big mistakes but we can't stay down. We've got to get back up and keep fighting the good fight of faith!
As a freelance graphic designer, I wish I could say I designed that cover for Bishop T.D. Jakes' new book, Instinct, which is in stores now. But I can say that I really do want to get my hands on a version of this (i.e. for Kindle or a hardcover). And I encourage everyone else to get a copy of this book as well! I have watched different messages by and interviews with Bishop Jakes about instinct and I've really been inspired. One thing he's been saying is this: "It's good to have intellect, but don't forget about instinct. Intellect loads the gun, and instinct pulls the trigger. You might have a lot of bullets, but what's the point if you don't know when to pull the trigger?"
Instinct is that little nudge you feel to go ahead and embrace that new opportunity. You might have great intellect, but without good instincts, you just might miss a prime opportunity for success. ... You might know a lot about something, but knowing about that thing and knowing how and when to use it are two different things. The timing of what you do is so crucial when stepping into your purpose, when stepping into destiny.
You are not a mistake or a mishap. God created you on purpose for a purpose. So seek God's purpose for your life. God gave you everything you need for every environment He ordained you to be in. Moreover, you can have all these accomplishments and look successful in the eyes of the world, but still not be fulfilled and satisfied. You might have five degrees and a good job, but if you don't know what God ultimately created you to do, it doesn't really matter. Bishop Jakes said while preaching at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas on one occasion, "People might tell you you're doing good and you've come a long way, but it's not about doing good, it's about being fulfilled." That is a powerful statement!
The thing is, how do we know when we are walking in fulfillment? How do we know we are fulfilling the right things God wants us to do in life? We know when we come to flow in our right element. Some people are struggling because they are not operating in their proper element, doing what everyone else is telling them to do. When you know what God's called you to do, you can flow in the right element and it won't be a struggle as you live for an audience of One.
Do you see a fish or a shark struggling in the water? Do you see an eagle struggling in the air? No. It's because they instinctively know what their elements are. You've got to find your zone. You've got to find your proper element. When you do that, you'll be better off. And getting into that right zone might mean leaving some things and people behind. As hard as it might be, sometimes it must be done. When God called Abram (who later became Abraham), He told him to leave all that he knew to go to a new place. Imagine if Abram had not obeyed God? Then he wouldn't have become the father of many nations. There are going to be some people who are going to be mad because you left them behind to do what God's called you to do, but so be it! God has something new for you that is going to blow your mind and it will blow the minds of your supporters and haters alike.
You've got to have courage to move forward when people are trying to hold you back. Whether you know it or not, some people around you can sense the greatness in you for your future. They might be quiet about it, but they can sense it. People can do either one of two things when they sense the greatness God put in you for your future: they can try to help you because of your future or try to hurt you in spite of your future. Watch out and be careful about who is in your circle(s).
As you step out as a new leader, some people might try to set some things up for you to do, but that doesn't mean it is in you to do it because God might not have put it in you to do it. Some people have good intentions, but they can miss it if they don't know exactly what you need when you need it. But be careful, some people are right on point in their efforts to help you. Are you gracefully receiving the help or are you in the way?
When you are flowing in what you know God wants you to do, no devil in hell can prevent your ultimate progress! If God called you to it, He will bring you through it. Be encouraged, God will perfect that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8)!
I can count on one hand how many best friends I have. You can't be a "best friend" to everyone. You don't have the unlimited strength and resources for that. But God has unlimited resources. When you start trying to be everyone's best friend you start trying to please everyone and you'll stretch yourself too thin. You can't be pleasing everyone in your sphere of influence and be pleasing God at the same time. Not everyone is walking in God's will. So choose carefully who you befriend. See who has your best interests at heart and who does not. Also strive to maintain good, strong friendships with those who are your friends by being a good, strong friend yourself.
Today my wife, Kaneika, and I celebrate our first month of marriage! I am so glad that I married her. She is such a blessing to me, and not only to me, but also to my family and friends. My dad, step-mom, and sisters have bonded with her in such incredible ways. And I love how Kaneika and I strive to work as a team to accomplish our goals, hence Team K&K. =) She is passionate, focused, loving, kind, big-hearted, and most importantly, she serves Christ! As we serve Christ together, and draw closer to God I know we'll draw closer to each other. I look forward to the point where 12 months equals a year and we'll celebrate our first anniversary. And we'll celebrate many many more months together! I love you babe! #HappyMonthaversary
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.