Straighten your crown

Revelation 3:11Amplified Bible

11 I am coming quickly. Hold tight what you have, so that no one will take your crown [by leading you to renounce the faith].

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In this passage the church of Philadelphia was being warned of an upcoming persecution. The call was to take courage and be bold in the face of persecution so that their faith would remain in tact. The power to do this comes only from the Holy Spirit. There’s also other ways satan will slip in to try and take your crown. Most often it comes from people thrown into our life’s that cause chaos and wreak havoc. In these moments we must remember 3 things. Number one: we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood but rather satan (Eph 6). People will always be people and when satan is using a person to test your patience, remember that it’s not the person we must fight, it’s satan! Number 2: Matt5:44 teaches to love the people and pray for them anyway. Even if they’re against you, persecuting you, using you, we must remember to still do good! Scripture says overcome evil with good! Number 3: We must remember who we are in Christ! We can never allow anybody to get us out of Christian character. But if our crown gets knocked sideways, don’t fear! Just straighten your crown! And continue the work God has called you to. (1 Peter 2 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.)

God has called us to be separate from the world! Straighten your crown and move forward! For you belong to the King of Kings!!!

Forgiveness = Freedom

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Matthew 6:14-15
Amplified Bible
14 For if you forgive [a]others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.

This is something we all want. It’s one of the easiest things in the world to accept, yet the hardest to give away. Harboring the feelings of being hurt is like a cancer that will rot the soul. It robs you of joy and steals your time, captivates your thoughts, dictates your actions, and makes you a slave to the pain the situation created to get you to that point. The grudge that you hold in your heart is like a dark plague that not only torments you but hangs like a shadow over everyone you love. The pain will begin to effect the ones you hold dear as you punish them for the pain inflicted on you from other people. This pain will be felt in your dreams as you sleep and be played over and over in all your life experiences as you look for the next blow to come from those you desperately want to trust. This cancer of unforgivable circumstances will destroy you from the inside out and take away from each beautiful relationship you could’ve had. The longer you hang on to the pain the more irreparable damage will be done until you’re reduced to a prisoner of a dark empty shell of who you use to be. You’ll look for the worst in every person and every situation until you find yourself unable to see good and beauty in anything. And despite knowing this it’ll feel impossible to JUST LET GO! When you finally get to the end of your rope you realize the pain caused by holding the grudge doesn’t even compare to the small inconvenience of the pain that caused the grudge. Scream to yourself today…. I will no longer allow these past hurts to weigh me down! I’ll no longer be bitter and calloused! I’ll no longer be a prisoner to the pain! I’ll break free from the chains and LET GO! The pain will not rule me anymore! Today I break free!


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Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hupomone pronounced, hoop-om-on-ay. It is the Greek word for patience in this passage. It means endurance, steadfastness, the idea is a NO QUIT ATTITUDE! But let’s break it down. There’s several things this scripture says we need to do in running this race. First, be encouraged that others have ran this race of faith in Christ and they’re witnesses to the fact that it’s worth every pain. You can find these in Hebrews chapter 11. Second, the writer says, “lay aside every weight, and sin that would hinder our running. It’s time to shed anything that you drags you down. All of these aren’t necessarily sin. Sin still needs to be dealt with and we should strive to live a life free from sin. When Christ died on the cross and rose again, it didn’t only take care of the consequences of sin, but also frees us from the power of sin. John 8:34-36. This weight could be worry, anxiety, maybe relationships, or anything hindering you relationship to Christ. He says shed it all! And he also says, keep your eyes on Christ! The author and finisher of your faith! When you continue on, it teaches that we can be encouraged by considering all Christ has overcome for us! John 16:33 says that though we have tribulation in this world we can be of good cheer knowing Christ has overcome the world! But finally, the writer says “run with patience”! That’s hupomone. Years ago my wife and I visited Panama City Beach, Fl. It just so happened the iron man triathlon was going on. After swimming and riding bikes they ran. This started just before daylight and they were still running late into the evening. We watched as they ran up the strip, down the strip, and back again. One lady stood out from the rest. She wasn’t the fastest, she didn’t appear to be the strongest, she didn’t have on the coolest outfit. She was EXHAUSTED! Her feet were barely moving, drenched in sweat, her pant leg was torn just at the bend of her knee, and her leg covered in blood from what looked like a nasty fall. Her elbows and hands scraped up. But a face full of determination! She wasn’t worried about the cost, only the finish! That’s what HUPOMONE looks like! So what is this race? Living a life that glorifies God. Reading the word, going to church, maintaining a strong prayer life, but most importantly doing good to others in an effort to show them the love of Christ. Running this race is making an impact for The Lord. While running this race, you’ll have many falls, bumps, bruises. You’ll carry many scars and heartaches! I know you may be weary, but press on knowing the reward is well worth the pain!

Galatians 6:9King James Version

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Where’s God?

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Genesis 41:1King James Version

41 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

Have you ever been in a place where you felt forsaken? That your prayers wasn’t heard and God was nowhere around? This is precisely where Joseph was. Joseph was a young Hebrew boy that had a dream that his family would bow to him. He was also his dad’s favorite. Because of this, his brothers threw him in a pit with plans to leave him for dead. They eventually had a change of heart and sold him into slavery. And now as a grown man in Genesis chapter 41, Joseph is setting in prison for a crime he never committed. While in prison he interprets his cell mates dream and tells him, “when you get out, don’t forget me”. His cell mate (the cupbearer for pharaoh) gets out of prison and reinstated to his position serving pharaoh, just as Joseph had said. But it’s been 2 years and the cupbearer has still yet to remember Joseph.
This has got to be a horrible time for Joseph. He’s been waiting 2 years for the cupbearer to mention his name. Joseph could’ve very easily had the same attitude that we often get. The attitude of Where’s God in this? Why won’t God do something?! But without Joseph’s knowledge God was working. This dream pharaoh had was exactly the opportunity the cupbearer needed to mention the name of Joseph. You see The Lord had been setting things in order for Joseph before he ever experienced the problem. Matt 6:8 says God knows your needs before you ask! We must learn to trust in God even in those times we feel imprisoned and forsaken.

Psalms 27:14

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

After this, the cupbearer tells Pharaoh of this Hebrew servant that interprets dreams. Pharaoh calls, and after Joseph gives God glory for the interpretation, pharaoh sets him up as 2nd in command of all Egypt. Shortly after, Joseph’s dream is realized! Trust God today! He hears your prayers and is working on your behalf!

What is your fig tree?

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John 1:47-51Amplified Bible

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor duplicity!” 48 Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do You know [these things about] me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered, “Rabbi (Teacher), You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus replied, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe [in Me]? You will see greater things than this.” 

There’s several interpretations of what Christ means by “under the fig tree”. I happen to lean more towards the literal view that Nathaniel was actually under a fig tree. But what was he doing? Praying, meditating, perhaps eagerly anticipating the messiah to come? We aren’t really told but it doesn’t take away from the awesome, yet simplistic message being given. That is that Christ knew where he was! The Lord had his eyes on Nathaniel the whole time, waiting on the moment that Nathaniel would walk his way. This a very exciting concept. He continues to tell Nathaniel that he will see great mighty works. Christ knew the purpose for Nathaniel’s life and it was to do a work for Him.

The same way he knew Nathaniel, he knows us too. He knows where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. As I said, I believe Christ was talking about a literal tree, but indulge me for a moment. What tree are you under? A tree of depression and despair? A tree of hopelessness? A tree of hard circumstances? A tree of confusion, lost without direction? Whatever the tree you’re under, you can trust that Christ knows where you’re at. He knows how you’re feeling, and what you’re facing! He’s seen your tears, and heard your prayers! He knows the plans He has for you and can’t wait to show you greater things ahead!

Jeremiah 29:11King James Version

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

So, the question remains. What is your fig tree? And most importantly. Why are you waiting to answer the call to come to Christ? The Lord sees you. He knows you. He created you! And he longs to show you great and mighty things! Come out from under the fig tree and follow Christ!

Ephesians 3:20-21King James Version

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

A Friend You Can Count On!

Proverbs 18:24

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” 

King James Version (KJV)

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It’s very hard in this day to find a solid friend. One who will support, encourage, and seek after your best interest without any ulterior motives. This life can get pretty lonesome and dog eat dog sometimes. But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. It’s thought provoking that Prov 17:17 teaches that a brother is born for adversity. In other words it’s a brother that you can count on even in the hardest of times. But the scripture says there’s one that sticks even closer. So many times we get so overwhelmed by the struggles of life that we feel all by ourselves. Maybe it’s the passing of a loved one and you feel nobody understands. You feel that nobody has empathy or sympathy. Maybe it’s a horrible break up or a close friend betraying you. It could be a mental, emotional, or spiritual storm that has raged on for years sucking all the energy out of you, leaving you without any joy and full of hopelessness. Maybe right now you’re in the darkest place you’ve ever been and feel forsaken and forgotten. There’s a friend that will be by your side. This friend loves you so much that he died for you even as you were a sinner. (Romans 5:8). He’s so much more than a friend King David calls him a shepherd that will provide,protect, and comfort us even in the valley of death! (Psalms 23) The writer of Hebrews calls him our high priest, that encourages us to come to the throne of Grace with confidence, in time of despair! Peter refers to him as savior. (2 Peter 1:1). Paul when come face to face with him on the road to Damascus refers to him as Lord. (Acts 9). He’s been called so many things. The Lilly of the valley, the rose of Sharon. In the gospel of John it’s taught the he’s the creator of all creation. But the most precious to me is friend. Yes he’s our savior! Yes he’s our Lord! But who are we that the creator of the world, the one who hung the stars, and tells the ocean where to stop, who according to Colossians 1:17 holds all things together, would take the time to be our friend? But not just a friend but a friend who sticks closer than s brother! This man is Jesus Christ and he’s promised to never leave or forsake us. Even in our deepest, darkest valleys, Christ can be found by our side. Call on the name of Christ and I assure that you’ll find a friend you can count on!

Arm yourselves

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Ephesians 6:10-18
Amplified Bible
The Armor of God
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.

We’re all entangled in spiritual battles it just comes down to who you’re fighting for. Matt 12:30 Jesus teaches you’re either fighting with him or against him. When you declare that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life satan begins to attack, he’ll come against you, your family, friends, and whatever or whoever else he can use to try and break you. These spiritual attacks are often manifested in the physical. Sickness, loss of possessions, being betrayed or treated badly by friends and loved ones, even death. (Refer back to Job). Paul says here under inspiration of The Holy Ghost that we need to be prepared. God has given us everything we need to be successful in this fight. But notice that the responsibility to put these things into action falls on us. We must diligently seek after God’s will by studying God’s word, applying God’s word, putting God’s word into practice, Trusting fully in God’s word, and Prayer. It’s not enough to just go to church. If you want to be successful in spiritual warfare there must be a daily dependence on God, a daily relationship with Christ, and a constant obedience to the leadership of The Holy Ghost. It takes an effort from the believer to grow in Christ and the power of his might. Christian don’t just set on the sideline being a spectator hoping a battle won’t come your way…. get in the good fight of faith and run your race with endurance.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Amplified Bible
Jesus, the Example
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].
3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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