Thursday, July 12, 2018

Just a Word!

Just a word 

My two year old rode his first roller coaster this summer and it was hilarious!  Roller coasters are kind of like a right of passage for my thrill seeking family. As we climbed the first hill, he smiled with excitement. His smile rapidly morphed into a scream as the ride dipped, turned, and sped around its course. Afterward, he looked me directly in the face and said, “Let’s do it again daddy!”  I think we rode that coaster 10 times! We spent hours at the park riding, eating, and just enjoying the day. Just about to leave my son broke down crying in an inconsolable fit. The only accepted solution was to head back to kiddie land for a few more rides.

How many times can you tell your kid, “This is the last ride?”

The final final ride he got on was the rotating strawberries. It slowly ascended into the air and then gradually descended while rotating. 

All of sudden the park became deafening silent. Every sound from every automated machine, game, and ride ceased.

My heart launched into my throat as my son yelled, “Save me Daddy” while suspended several feet in the air.  I could not reach him with my hands but I knew my words would get to him.

“Be calm…daddy won’t leave you. I will make sure you get down safely!”

What do you do when you can’t physically reach someone in need? How do you help an individual you can’t hold?  Can you imagine wanting to save someone you care for but having to wait for someone else to solve the problem?

The Gospel of Matthew chapter eight reveals the story of a Roman officer who crossed Jesus’ path. The officer was absolute in his intentions with Jesus. He had a sick soldier that only Jesus could heal. The officer was not concerned with how well he himself knew Jesus but rather the fact that he knew Jesus had healing authority and his soldier needed help.

My favorite part of the story is Matthew 8:8,The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.”

The officer understood that a touch from Jesus could fix it all but even if Jesus could not reach him physically – the strength of his statements would do the work. 

My friend often says, “Words mean things” and I often tell my child, "Use your words."

When we speak the Word of God…
When we live the Word of God…
When we exercise the Word of God…
When we stand on the Word of God….

Whatever it is that is opposing you has to fall in submission even if you are seeking and speaking a word for someone else’s healing.

I argue that the soldier's healing took place in two parts:

1.    The moment the officer cried out “Lord” – Romans 10:13 says salvation is for everyone that calls on the name of the Lord.
2.    The moment Jesus said “Go” – If Jesus says it – that determines it. 

So how do you reach someone you can’t touch? 

If you understand that a phone can connect people that are continents away how great is the connectivity of prayer. A call to Jesus can meet anyone at the point of their need. When you can’t fix it physically do it audibly.

Your prayer goes quicker than your presence. 

Before the park’s maintenance team arrived, there was a level of calm in my son’s rotating strawberry. He was in the strawberry with two other terrified children. The difference was that my son could hear his father’s voice. And, when my son called on his father, he received enough comfort to share his peace with them. 

After nearly 40 minutes suspended in the air, the park’s maintenance staff arrived at the ride. The strawberries completed their decent and the boys rapidly exited the ride like nothing had happened. 

There is something about a word that provides supernatural peace and healing…


I pray that you enjoyed this post. 

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I Will Rejoice! It's Will Day!

I will Rejoice!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 will forever remain in my memory. To get the whole story we have to start with that Monday evening. My oldest son was hanging out on the couch watching one of his favorite cartoons. I noticed it was getting near his bedtime so I suggested that he get ready for bed. He looked at me and confidently responded, “It’s William Cumby day tomorrow - may I stay up a little later with you?” I laughed and gave him so more time. The next morning, my son woke up with a burst of excitement, “It’s William Cumby day and I’m skipping school!” He put on a new outfit that his mom purchased for him and rode with me to City Hall. He was also wearing the biggest smile I had seen since Christmas.

Because we arrived early to City Hall, we were able to get prime seating. When anyone asked why he was there, my son proudly responded, “It’s William Cumby day!” The City of Houston’s Mayor and the city council members entered the room and William sat up real straight in his chair. Then the announcement came for me to stand and walk to the podium. As they read the proclamation for William Cumby day, my son stood and waived every time they said William Cumby.

After all of the speeches it was picture time. Guess who had to stand up front so that everyone could see him on TV and in the pictures? You’re right! My son stood in front of the mayor, the council members, our family, and even me.

One of the best parts of the day was at the celebration dinner. My son elected to say the prayer for our meal. He started out, “Dear God, thank you for the Mayor making today William Cumby day…” I didn’t know whether to laugh or shed a tear.

I love how God speaks to me through special moments with my children. 

My son carries the same name as me and in his mind, because we carry the same name he deserves every accolade and accomplishment that his father receives.

Psalm 118:24.

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

When David the giant slayer wrote this Psalm, he could have been referencing Jesus’ entrance into in Jerusalem, His resurrection from the dead, the Sabbath, or just the days that we can carry out His message through our lives. The entire 118th Psalm eloquently punctuates David’s unbridled appreciation for grace, mercy, faithfulness, love and more. David is elated at the day His heavenly created. It is His savior’s day but David is rejoicing.

Watch this. The very breath you inhale and exhale is a gift from God. The sun emitting its rays of heat and energy is a gift. The fact that you feel the heat of the sun is a gift. The truth that you get to do things that you don’t have to do is a gift.

Every day belongs to God but we should have an extreme appreciation for every day He gives us to celebrate with Him. We are a product of His handiwork and because we are related to the creator, every day belongs to us as well. It is up to you to determine how you will respond to your Father's day.

Will you stay up late to spend more time with Him, will you stand when His name is mentioned? Will you share your appreciation with others?

I will rejoice.

Friday, February 16, 2018

He Never Gave Up...

He never gave up...

I had a life changing experience while in prison this week. Honestly, I didn't go because I had done something wrong yet my time there helped me realize that I had some wrong ways of thinking.

My mother is very active in prison ministry and just finished leading a 15 week class for some inmates. Because she regularly talks about her experiences in the prison, I requested to join her at the next class. The day we went, the room was full of energy as the men eagerly reveled in completing their course. We fellowshipped together, ate some great food, and one recently released individual told his story.

As we were nearing our time to leave, the men began sharing how the class affected them.

A bigger man quickly exited the room and another man stood up to speak. The speaker started by saying that there was a special man on their unit that had a big heart but was short with words. The man called "Big", had a severe stroke while in prison and was told he would never regain his short term memory and some of his long term memory.

The story teller went on to say that "Big" really loved Jesus and frequently read his bible. When "Big" saw people struggling, he wanted to share what his bible said yet he couldn't get it out. The stroke not only twisted his body and mind, it also wrenched his fluidity of speech from free flowing to nearly a trickle.

Can you imagine carrying life saving information in your mind and not being able to articulate it to anyone??

Essentially, the doctors gave up on "Big", the other inmates gave up on him, and to some degree I believe "Big" gave up on himself.

1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (NLT) says, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[a] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!'

Paul wrote this letter to share that God's love is greater than the temporal things that we use to define love and admonishes about the tenacity that true love holds.

When we adhere our faith to the truth that God and love are a seamless union, we will believe that God never gives up on us and just the same He and His love lasts forever. 

So..."Big" walked back in the room as the storyteller was finishing up. The storyteller closed by saying that my mom's unyielding belief in God and her relentless love for "Big" changed him forever. "Big" can now recall scriptures as well as share scriptures with others. "Big" sat in his chair with a tear that ran the length of his face and before I realized, I was crying also.

Allow me to take this moment to encourage anyone that has ever given up on someone or felt like someone has ever given up on them. Despite their or your justification for giving up, you have a Father in Heaven who has not and will not give up on you. I also believe that there is someone in the background still rooting for you too!

  • Maybe you have ignored God - He still loves you
  • Maybe you have walked away for a while - He still loves you
  • Maybe you have given other things greater prominence than Him - He still loves you
  • Maybe you just haven't fully give your life to him - He still loves you

His love last forever and is waiting for your return. Don't give up on God - He hasn't given up on you...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I Know I'm Close!!!!!

I know I’m close…

Celebrated gospel singer Marvin Sapp wrote a song titled, “Close”

Pay attention to these lyrics:

Almost There by Elena Nosyreva
I must be close to my destiny
Extremely close to my victory 'cause here comes
Trials and troubles, jealousy and envy
I must be close to what You have for me, I must be close
To my overflow
Extremely close to my miracle
'Cause here comes
Confusion, problems and enemies
I just believe
That I must be close to what You have for me

Do you know what it is like to be close? I affirm that when we are close to what we have prayed, cried, and sought after that experiences will drive distance between Jesus and us.

Today let’s shorten that distance. You are close to what you need – let’s get closer to Christ

The temptation to quit or slow down is greatest right before we reach our goals!

For marathon runners, it’s called bonking or hitting the wall. It is the part where both your mind and your body have lost the ability to make another step.

Competitive runners say that the best advice to beat the wall is to
1.     speed up
2.     psych yourself out – talk yourself into power

If you will walk with me, you will see that the wall is bigger than a marathon runner in a competition. It is a metaphor for the place in our marriage, our dreams, our college/university degree plans, or our hopes for pregnancy where the attacks of doubt, disappointment, and detours are about to derail us.

I believe that in that sullen place it is not time to fall out but to follow through with every effort you have to complete your goal.

Let’s look at the story of Jacob.

Genesis 32:22-32 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jacob Wrestles with God
22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel,[a] because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.
“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel,[b] and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. 32 (Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)

Consider these Three points:

1.  Evening denotes an ending but also sets up for a new beginning!      
a.   You can have everything and still feel like something is missing (v22)
b.  Even when you think you are alone you really aren’t (v24)

2.  Endurance is built not given!
a.   The battles you experienced to this point have prepared you to stand this war. Do you remember the story of Jacob and his pursuit of Rachel.

3.  Know your name! – (v27)
a.   Know who you are and not just what you are called
      Stop allowing unqualified people to label you what you have not been called or named!
b.  Outlook determines outcome; to end with joy, begin with joy!
c.   Jesus tempted in the wilderness (matthew 4) and Jesus tempted in the garden (Luke 22)

Storms aren’t always sent to take you out – some are sent to clear your path…

Monday, February 5, 2018

Now You're Talking My Language!

I enjoy watching the news before leaving the house. Recently I watched a reporter tell the story of a Floridian escapee. As the escapee swiftly moved through the streets, an officer passionately pursued in his SUV. As the officer got right next to the fleeing escapee the officer barked out, “Stop!” It was to no avail. The officer raised his tone and added more emphasis, “Please, stop!” Each demand fell on seemingly deaf ears. Despite the lights and sirens of the officer’s truck as well as the authority of the officer, the escapee was not concerned.

As the reporter ended the news segment she chuckled the question, “Why didn’t the officer just say woah?”

The escapee was a horse.

I love this story! It is a personification of the communication challenges that leaders typically face. Quite often we believe that because of our title, our age, or our gender that people should immediately respect our commands.

When people do not swiftly respond to our authority it usually has little to do with our title and more to do with how we communicate.

Proverbs 18:2 relates, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”

There has to be a place of mutual understanding before real progress can be made. 

Fussing without figuring out how to properly communicate is a waste of breath and time.

Paul said, “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT).

This is a challenge to anyone. Have you really made conscious effort to adequately communicate? In Steven Covey's, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he wrote that we should seek first to understand, then to be understood. Before you get annoyed, get a better idea of all that is really going on.

Communication is crucial to achieving any goal. Take time this week to consider what you are saying, who you are saying it to, and how you are saying it. Even if your intentions are awesome how you articulate those intentions is just as important.

Learn the language of your audience and speak well!