If You Believe……..



Imagine Her Cameo Perfomance in "The Wiz"

“If you believe
Within your heart
You’ll know that no one can change
The path that you must go
Believe what you feel and know you’re right because the time will come around when you’ll say it’s yours…………That’s why I want you to believe in yourself right from the start. Believe in the magic right there in your heart. Go ahead believe all these things not because I told you to. But believe in yourself; If you believe in yourself; Just believe in yourself as I believe in you.” source:http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/w/wizmusicallyrics/ifyoubelievelyrics.html

The Wiz was released on October 24, 1978. I was entering the preadolescent stage of development. My toddler aged sister was with my mom and I when we saw this groundbreaking movie. This was during a tumultuous season in my history as the dysfunction of my family was negatively impacting my maturity. The imagery of Ms. Lena Horne‘s performance singing “If You Believe” was a breathtaking moment as she entered the scene with an entourage of small, black babies, adorned in identical, purple outfits, complete with head coverings, as Ms. Horne captivated the screne and a stellar display of sparkling stars illuminated their background. At the close of her dialogue with Dorothy, the orchestral score initiated the transition and Ms. Horne delivered the soul stirring vocal captioned above.

How does this timeless portrayal of Glenda the good witch tie into this month’s theme – spiritual integrity? Here at ConquerorShots we maintain the definition of integrity as the quality or state of our spirit being complete or undivided. We stand on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and rely on the finished work at Calvary to realize spiritual completeness. This is the foundation of our belief in the power of God, NOT THE “MAGIC” IN YOUR HEART, through the Holy Spirit working in and through us from day to day. The results of which are a cumulative source of power to spiritually conquer our biggest enemy – sin.

The lyrical content of “believe” in the song has a strong identification in one’s self. However, ConquerorShots maintains that “self” needs a Savior in order to be its best. The Word clearly defines the condition of our heart i.e. “self” as “deceitful and above all desperately wicked…..”So, today the lyrical content helps to apply the principle of spiritual integrity in a defining way where we can attain belief in “self.”

When you have “Blessed Assurance” in your heart – not in your mind – about the finished work at Calvary and how it serves your spiritual needs from day to day, you are NO LONGER left with the task of being the source of your own destiny. God has provided all of the Mastery of ordering your steps before you lived your first day. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God has prepared in advance that we should walk in them.”

The spiritual principles of Honesty, Hope, Faith and Courage, all stemming from a healthy spiritual appetite for the Word of God and prayer, serve our daily belief system in “The Christ in us”. If you believe in yourself from this prospective, as God believes in you because He CREATED you, you have a ROCK SOLID foundation in spiritual integrity that can NOT be shaken from day to day.

Experience the blessing of SECURITY in CHRIST which yields FREEDOM to be who GOD created you to be IF YOU BELIEVE.



		
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Healing Hope


Jesus in Pray
Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Son of God called on “Daddy”

 

Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”(NASB)

 

 

 

I have a friend who I met a few years ago. It was at a time when I was devastated by the effects of separation from my wife and kids which ultimately led to divorce and continual estrangement from my children. During the first year of our friendship he would listen to me as I became willing to share my pain, misery, heartache and despair that plagued me daily. He too knew the suffering associated with a life dream of marriage bliss becoming a nightmare of perpetual horror disguised as divorce.

 

He listened.(Thank you Lord for giving me a friend who understood and listened!) He offered very little verbiage to the phone conversations at first. As I began to hear the words that were describing my issues, he would then share his awakenings with me. I had no idea how to begin to process any resolutions. It seemed that my ability to think rationally was completely destroyed by the constant barrage of emotional torpedoes that simultaneously connected to the unimaginable bull’s eye attached to my heart by my trials and tribulations. He instinctively knew when I was rid of the debris. Every time I had the wisdom to listen to his experience I opened myself to the origins of HEALING HOPE.

 

The first time we spoke in this manner I asked him to pray for me. I had no prior knowledge of his prayer life but I knew he possessed an  awareness and relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. To my surprise, gratefully so, he obliged. It is not uncommon for me to appeal to others for prayer particularly when I am too weak to pray earnestly for myself as in those prior months. Yet I was ALWAYS mindful of my personal need for prayer – even if the words were simply, “Lord, have mercy. In Jesus name Amen.”  There were many times when that was ALL THAT I COULD SAY………  My friend however, was primed and ready to offer prayer on my behalf. He began in the most prolific and personable manner – “DADDY!”

 

I sat straight up in the chair as he yelled with conviction this opening to prayer that was soul-stirring. His tone of assurance that God, HIS HEAVENLY FATHER, was listening and ready to attend to the specific needs he would offer which included a particular instance of thanksgiving that soothed my battered heart. My friend knew how fragile my spirit was. He was also aware of the constant associations that were in my immediate surroundings that intensified the matter. The manifestations of fear and bondage had greatly overtaken me then. His prayer reminded me of the depths of “ABBA FATHER aka DADDY.

 

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  It is for these results spiritually, mentally and physically, which are the direct result of my personal salvation, that I can call Him Daddy.

 

Calling God “Daddy” helps me get in touch with His Fatherly love for me. I was not fortunate to know a healthy human father/son relationship. I struggled greatly with the identity of this necessary human dynamic. It is no coincidence that God would ultimately have to demonstrate His Fatherly qualities to me over the course of my life – specifically my teens, twenties and thirties  It was during these years that I became a father myself. I remember the concerns I had as my oldest son was born and I realized how inadequate I was to be called his father. It was then that I became personally acquainted with the HEALING HOPE associated with “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” This is true even more so as God reveals His Heavenly designs of fatherhood in my life. God allowed for ALL my deficiencies in order for HIS SUFFICIENCY to have weight and depth IN my life.

 

HEALING HOPE is an extraordinary gift from God that originated in the beginning. Hope is Eternal when we realize how Heavenly salvation really is. However, knowing “DADDY” also provides HEALING HOPE when life happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed Delay


 

 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalms 27:13-14

Delayed
Delayed (Photo credit: Aquila) WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THERE IS A SUDDEN DELAY?

Recall a time when you were in need of DELIVERANCE and instead of an “IMMEDIATELY” result, you encounter a significant DELAY. Nothing is more dreadful than having to wait for a particular outcome you KNOW you need. The difficulty you face as you MUST “endure the hardships” of the circumstances can work in one of two ways:

 

 

1. The delay can distract you from the plan and purpose of the circumstance. This personal response fuels hopelessness and despair as you move away from God.  You will find human alternatives that can serve you like band aids on a bleeding wound.
2. The delay can propel you towards the plan and purpose of the circumstance. This personal response fuels hope and faith in God through prayer and reading and studying His Word. "His word is a lamp unto your feet and a light to your pathway." DARKNESS OR DESPAIR WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HINDER YOU. You will find His power and peace to preserve you while you "wait" and His Heavenly purpose will ALWAYS be revealed,BLESSED DELAY results in His Faithfulness.

I am blessed to have the gift of “waiting on the Lord” in my spiritual arsenal. However, I did not always consider the delays that God allows as a blessing. In fact, there was a particular delay in my life in which I thought I was receiving NO additional Godly intervention. I believed that it was God’s will for this particular matter  in my life and HE WAS NEVER GOING TO ALLOW FOR CHANGE. I WAS SO WRONG! While this was a painful reality for me to accept, it FORCED ME TO DRAW CLOSER TO HIM BECAUSE OF A PERSONAL NEED FOR HIS POWER TO SUPPLEMENT MY POWERLESSNESS. “His STRENGTH IS PERFECT WHEN OUR STRENGTH IS GONE!” Through the process of getting closer to Him He eventually allowed for MORE change. “GOD’S DELAY IS NOT A DENIAL.”

The more I realized #2 at work in my life the more HOPE I REALIZED AS IT WAS MANUFACTURED IN MY SPIRIT DURING THE BLESSED DELAY. All the while I could experience the goodness of the Lord through His continual provision for me, His peace in me and His plan for me. The essence of Him presiding over the “NEED” also manifested in the lives of my loved ones all around me. The song writer wrote “He Keeps On Doing GREAT Things For Me.” Ultimately, the presence of HOPE in my spirit yielded a fertile ground for SEEDS from the WORD OF GOD to cultivate IN ME. 
You too can experience “THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.” HAVE FAITH IN HIM and ALLOW for a BLESSED DELAY in your life. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. PLEASE WAIT ON THE LORD!
 

 

 

 

A Heart to Serve


Practice Love This Holiday Season
Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.

Not Outside Then Inside………


God gave us the cogent example of the Pharisee in the Gospels to demonstrate how human wisdom and human interpretation of God’s word leads to spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law but they did not have a clue about the significance of Christ – whose identity originates in the Old Testament to prophets like Moses, who wrote the Torah.

Consider the lesson contained in the reaction Christ demonstrates towards the Pharisees.

Cup and Saucer
Cup and Saucer (Photo credit: Cookieater 2009) WHAT GOES INSIDE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE BEAUTY ON THE OUTSIDE

If you too are so focused on keeping your outside clean for others to think you have it all together, yet you continue to neglect God’s goodness to your spirit, through his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy at Calvary, then, like the Pharisees, you too are guilty of hypocrisy.



Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.
 23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!
23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! (NET Bible)

What Message Matters Most?


Are you aware of what false teaching sounds like?  When you hear someone who is “making sense” is the message lining up with scripture or human ideology? How do you know when to tune someone’s message out or when to  readily receive it?

Finally, when words are “sounding good” and you are inclined to consider spiritual application, do you “consider the source” of the message being from The Word of God or the word of man?

1 Timothy 6:3 If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness,
 6:4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension, slanders, evil suspicions,
 6:5 and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit.
 6:6 Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit.
 6:7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. (NET Bible)

These verses are the "flashing light" of caution against false teachings that are designed to attract human interests rather than genuine Godliness.


The Apostle Paul was extremely familiar with how humankind IS predisposed to deny any behavior that is “Godly.” His epistles to the Corinthians, for example, consistently spoke against the Church trying to “understand” the gospel and God’s will in their flesh. His writings expose the elements of a Godly lifestyle and how the life of a child of God – one who is born again through the belief and acceptance of the finished work at Calvary – does not mirror a life of one who is in the flesh and living in the world.

In Corinth there were matters of division, revelings, immorality issues, and an assortment of Christian error that was based in carnality, rather than heresy. Carnality in these books refer to Christians who continue to adhere to worldly principles and fleshly, human ideology rather than the Spirit of God, His Word and His will. Paul had to repeatedly design the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be palatable to the hearers who were looking to hear “a word” that was pleasing to the ear and that edified the flesh. His descriptions of love and the resurrection are eloquent renderings that depict the power of change that comes through the spirit and NOT the flesh.

The gospel that he taught, preached, stood for and lived was a message of hope that, when received, changed peoples’ lives from the inside out. This is the message that matters. It is the message that heals, delivers, restores and renews a Christian day after day. Paul knew that a life that was lived in the flesh was destined to do EVERYTHING possible to discredit Godliness. “So then they who are in the flesh can NOT please God.”

The message of the gospel is CRYSTAL CLEAR! It does not need to be reinterpreted through countless attempts to humanize it. These tactics to “tickle” the ears of listeners with “words” that “sound good” are so prevalent today. One must ALWAYS BE AWARE of God’s Word through personal Bible study. If you don’t study the Bible, you are not equipped to discern what messages mater most. If you don’t have a firm foundation originating from the TRUTH of God’s word IN YOU, the following scripture will be your experience:

Ephesians 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.

I pray that your life’s experience lines up with a desire to “be filled with the Spirit” and realize true”spiritual discernment.”

Human wisdom is NOT what matters.

He’s Always There


This month’s theme is awareness. Having come through the Thanksgiving celebration, and ALL the trimmings, I hope that your awareness of God includes a consistent appreciation for God‘s Omnipresence.

 

GOD IS ALWAYS PRESENT.Omnipresence