Blood is a peculiar substance, the site of which can overtake you. The Bible says that the life of the flesh is in the blood. That must be where the spirit lives. The blood is the only thing in your body that touches every single organ in your body. Back in biblical days, people would sacrifice animals and use their blood to atone for their sins. All of the blood that was shed for sacrifice before Calvary did not pay for our sins, they simply covered them like a loan with steep interest. The blood of Christ is that powerful! Many of your know about my daughter’s fight with Leukemia. The only way to cure the blood cancer she had was through a bone marrow transplant, but they couldn’t find a match for her. One day, a nurse came into her room and told us they had found a match through an umbilical cord. My daughter looked up at me and sad “Daddy, God allowed a baby to be born so that I can live!” God did the same thing for us. He allowed a baby to be born whose blood would save us all.
Praise means to laud, to applause and to give accolades. The opposite of praise is to criticize which means to find fault and condemn. Unfortunately, an attitude of criticism comes natural to us instead of and attitude of praise. You cannot condemn and praise as the same time. The bible gives three aspects of praise for this Palm Sunday. The first is the sacrifice of praise. Praise is a way of life that is not our human nature which is why praise is a sacrifice. The second is continually. When you praise Him continually, you praise Him all the time. Meaning, when you feel like it and when you don’t. The third aspect is the fruit if our lips giving praise to his name. Until you express it, you have not praised. Praise is expressive and most of the time it is verbal but you can praise in other ways like shouting, dancing, or even playing an instrument. People should be able to see or hear your praise. If you are alive, you should be praising because the bible says “Let everything that have breath praise ye the Lord!” Since there is no struggle for an apple to grow on an apple tree, it should be as simple for a praise to pour from our lips.
All dreams are not meaningless. Some of our dreams show our purpose. Our dreams have to be worthy because anything that we dwell on and dream about has the possibility of coming true. People die when they no longer have a purpose. God has placed a purpose in all of us that only he may be able to see. What has God put in you that other people don’t have? We have to transform our minds. When you use the power and energy that you normally use on negative things on positive things, it can change your whole life! There are two problems we face when we dare to dream. First, everybody is not going to be happy about your dreams because your dreams could take them out from where they are. Second, when we have a dream, we expect it to come to fruition right away. Sometime they don’t happen right away but they will come to past. We have to see our dreams through the eyes of faith, meaning we can’t go by what we see, we have to go by what God said. God’s word mixed with your faith will cause miracles to happen.
Chapters 5 through 7 of the book of Matthew are also known as the sermon on the mount. Most of this sermon is about our relationships with each other and not about our relationship with God. One of the laws back in those days was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This was not a law for revenge but a law to limit the damage we did to each other. Jesus said instead of doing this, when someone takes your eye, you give them the other one too. There are three basic thoughts behind this. The first is the hellish thought which says you give evil for good. The second is the worldly thought which says you give evil for evil and good for good. The final thought is the heavenly thought which says to give good for evil. Revenge will make you do stuff you will regret for the rest of your life. There is a big difference between a two miler and a one miller A two miler gives good for evil. A one miler is someone who just does what is required of them. A two miler goes above and beyond and most of the time they are the ones who end up successful. Now, two milers aren’t very popular because they make the one milers look bad.
In this game called life, we get to decide which team we want to be on. There is God’s team, Team Spirit, and there is the Devil’s team, Team Flesh. Now, we are the quarterbacks of our own teams. We call the shots on the field. The coach is there to influence us but the ultimate plays are our decisions. Not only do we get to pick our team, pick our coach, and make our own plays, but we also get to pick who plays on our teams with us, angels or demons. The purpose of the game is to score, to be successful. To do this you can’t let your dream be intercepted. In the game of football, an interception is when the reception of the ball gets interrupted by someone from the other team. An interception can seal your fate. There are going to be times when you fail, but hopefully it is not because you blatantly disrespect God. There are three things you can do to keep from getting intercepted. First, keep your focus on your goal and purpose and continually see yourself being successful. Second, have a good friend or mentor who is also on the spirit team, someone who is maybe even more spiritual than you are. Third realize that losing a play is not losing the game. Our coach, God, loves us so much they he brought his son, Jesus, into the game to show us how to play on the spirit team.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” When bad things happen in our lives, we tend to blame it on someone else. Often, we blame it on the devil. Sometimes while we are blaming it on the devil, it is actually God trying to grow you up. Our strength is made better through our weakness, We need to learn to embrace the things that are going on in our lives instead of looking at them as a curse. The ultimate purpose God has given us is to glorify the kingdom of God. Now, this Word is not for everybody. The first qualification is that you have to love the Lord. The second is that you have to be called. Once you meet this qualifications, there is no need to have fear because your problems are working together for your good!
To shift means to exchange one things for another, to move or transfer from one place or position to another, to alter, or to change gears. For anyone that has ever driven a stick shift, you understand that there is an art to shifting gears. If you don’t do it right you will kill it! When a shift happens, things are never the same again. Shifts change things forever. God makes major shifts in our lives. Instead of thanking Him for those shifts, sometimes, we can be just like the children of Israel. God led them out of Egypt where they were slaves but, when things got hard, they wanted to go back to Egypt. Like the children of Israel, when God makes a shift in your life he will even give you favor with your enemies. The same people who enslaved them showered them with precious gifts. The only thing we have to do is obey God. If you are never willing to obey, you’ll never move from where you are.
As we continue our study on the book of Acts, we come to the point of the book that introduces the church. God called us to be witnesses to others. Sometimes we want to be a judge and condemn people for their wrongdoings but God did not call us to be judges! The job of a witness is to give account for what they have seen. We are supposed to tell others what has happened to us. The bible is pretty simple about what we are supposed to do and how we are supposed to do it, all we have to do is trust and follow God.
The Bible says “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31, KJV). How far do you think an eagle could fly if it only had one wing? The wings of the eagle are prayer and praise. We need them both to keep going. Without one we are lost! Prayer is spending intimate time with God. If we can focus on a football team for hours and praise them, why can’t we spend time with God and praise Him? It is easy for us to praise God when good things happen to us but sometimes we need to praise him in our struggle. Sometimes, it takes sacrifice to praise, but that may be when God appreciates it the most. When you press though and praise Him, it not only benefits you but it can cause someone else to be free. Your praise can even cause your enemies to want to be saved. The eagle is the perfect depiction of strength. When a storm comes, the eagle is able to fly into the storm and it’s wings lift it up above the storm. Let your prayer and praise lift you up above the storm!
The Book of Acts is also known as the Acts of the apostles or the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Luke wrote the Book of Acts as a sequel to his account of the life of Jesus Christ in the Book of Luke. Luke told the story of Jesus from the standpoint that Jesus Christ was 100% human being. He was all man, just like us. In the Bible Jesus is mentioned first as a baby, then at the age of twelve when he stayed behind in the temple conversing with the scholars, then at the age of 30 when his ministry began. He spent his whole life preparing for a ministry that lasted less than four years. The first thing he did, when he began his ministry, was go to John the Baptist and ask to be baptized by him. Next he was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. He did all of this before he even chose his disciples. He was passionate about us as we should be about him.