Do You Wish to Be Well?

“Do you want to get well?” asked Jesus.  When Jesus saw the lame man at the pool, called Bethesda, Jesus challenged the man with this question.  It was at Bethesda where disabled people would come waiting for the opportunity to be among the first to jump into the water, while it stirred, to receive their healing.  For thirty-eight years, the paralyzed man had been in this condition (John 5:1-6 NIV).

The man’s reply to Jesus was “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.  While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Note these words. Someone else gets ahead of me.  Someone else gets ahead of me.  Someone else gets ahead of me.

The above is not a typographical error.  It is meant to register in your thoughts. “Someone else gets ahead of me.”

I ask you, “Do you want to stay well?”  “Do you desire to move forward in your assignment?  Is there someone else who is the focus?  I ask such questions because there are people who seek your focus.  They desire your supply of energy in their matters over your assignment.

There is a social disease, in our society, that has been defined as one which is permeating the minds of many.  It is called Munchausen (Mun-chau-sen) Syndrome.  Munchausen Syndrome (MS) is defined as an attention-seeking personality disorder.  Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) is the desire of one  to be the center of attention.  People who exhibit this type of behavior, according to research, often feel they are persecuted without reason.  They feel they are the victim.

The feelings of victimization causes people of MSBP to stand at odds with others.  It causes them to look for excuses in others for their reasons of being in a paralyzed condition.   “I would have more if it wasn’t for “Johnny.”  I could do more if it was not for….”  The excuses are surmountable but the result is the same .

In verse 8 of this scripture, “Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured. He picked up his mat and walked. What happened before  “then” is not in this scripture.  It is clear, however,  that there was some type of occurrence that made the man believe that he could get up and walk.  Those who desire to be well, will take advantage of the opportunity to get well.  Yet MSBP people do not desire to wellness; they are at ease to operate in this condition.

As servant leaders, it is important to “”Stay Well.  “Pick up your mat and walk.” Do not be occupied by the spirit of MSBP.  God has given you an assignment that is larger than MSBP.  You must use your gifts to support the whole of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus has told us that there will always be people who are poor (spiritually) among us.  To consume yourself with the cares of this world and not God’s agenda, is not gratifying to Him.  This does not mean that we are not our brother’s keepers – we are. Rather, it is a warning that we are not to allow MSBP to limit your ability to be God-focused.

MSBP people can cause you a sickness unawares.  They will exhaust you.  You will leave off God’s Will and take up their cause.  Your prayers become centered around them.  Your commitment becomes one to them – to walk in their direction and not the pathway that Jesus has called for you.  

Do as Jesus ordered, “Pick up your mat and walk.”  Immediately, the man did so and walked. He walked toward wellness.

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Gardenia’s Garden

Why Would God Take Care of Me?

Why would God take care of me? Why would He continue to preserve me? Some days, it feels as though, taking the first step, second step, etc. is all I can do. Why would God contend with the likes of me? It looks as if some people are the movers and shakers…and I am just standing still. Why would God keep dealing with me? He has given two commandments that He says hang all the law and the prophets and it seems that they are difficult to follow…

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39 KJV).

Perhaps you have questioned your purpose by asking similar questions. I know that I have asked such questions in my lifetime. Afterall, if I am not capable of being my own mind keeper, how can I help another?

God has the answer. He is the caretaker of the world He created. He gave man a choice – freewill. He is so wise that He knows who will accept Him and those who will deny His son and the resurrection.

God knows that I have need of Him. He knows we all have need of Him. God’s plans are based on His agenda – to save His children- not mine. I am here to help carry out His plan; because I made the choice to believe, He accepted me into His fold. The choice to believe in Jesus and his works, will lead to eternal life. That is His promise. So why would you take care of me? Because I am part of His plan for the righteous (Psalm 1:1-3). Thank you, God, for allowing me to be part of your plan.

You made me a winner from the very start (I got to the egg first) …and nine months later, Whoa! We are an imperfect people. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit who teaches and guides us in Your truth. Our fellow brother, Paul, to in Romans 12:1-21 NLT, to demonstrate good.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.d] Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Thank you, God, for taking care of me so that I do Your Will (follow your command).

Encourage Yourself

One step, two steps, three steps, four steps, five steps, six steps, …. You will make it. We need you to encourage yourself. You are a committee of one – a significant number. One person does make a difference. That person is you. You make a difference in the lives of others.

Yes, you may tire and feel unappreciated; but I am here to say, “Encourage yourself.”

What will happen if you refuse to take one step, two steps, three steps, etc. Who will lose out? There is NOT another like you; there never will be. All the things you can do, are not yet accomplished. Giving a glass of water may be the kindness thing you may do for someone else. I know. My mother does not ask me about my college degrees. More times that I can say, she does not even know who I am; but when I give her a drink of water, milk, or juice, she knows each has a different flavor and it satisfies her thirst. That’s you. You are fulfilling a space that no one else can do as you. You have a different flavor and it is to water in places that God gives you. There will be a time when we all can rest from our labor. Until then, take your steps. Each step is just one in your journey.

You have me, myself, and I – a committee of one. You, myself and I – a mighty team. Me, myself and I – not alone…God is with you.

You are wonderfully made for the task that He has equipped you for. You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. How amazing you are. If I can see it in you, I know you can because God made you a winner from the start. For every fall, there is a lifter; be that for yourself so that you will complete your journey. There is nothing too hard for God. He is there to renew your strength, your mind, your commitment, in His name, is His. It will bring honor.

Love you in the Lord.

Shut Out – Pushed Down – Lift Up

One of the things that I have learned as a caregiver is the danger of shutout. It is an emotional depression that leads to physical harm.  Most theologists agree that God created us because He was lonely, for fellowship.  Our make-up is to be around people.  Feeling isolated is an inner pain.

Spiritually, I am on a journey to be a better me as you are.  My book, which belongs to God,  “Servant Leadership NOW,” was birthed out of isolation.  The book was completed during a time when I felt so isolated from my normal routine.  As a minister of Jesus Christ, not to be able to physically be in the house of God, felt wrong. Since that moment in time, I have come to not just preach but experience, “We are the global church not the physical building.”

The story of the woman with the issue of blood is an example of someone who was shut out of society because of her physical condition.  Matthew, Mark and Luke record this story (Matthew 9:18-26,Mark 5:22-43,Luke 8:41-56). As a society, we shut out people culturally, socially, physically, and economically.    But more importantly, many of our churches, which are to be the welcoming stations, have done an extraordinary job of shutting out people as well.  To the church’s detriment, many have shut out Jesus; rather, they base salvation on man’s standard as to whom is deemed worthy in the church.  It can be as simple as giving more time in preparing for events and their causes (i.e., anniversaries, etc.) and much less time seeking out the unsaved.  Such shut outs lead to pushing people downward.

In this environment of cyber church, we are given opportunities to open up incredible avenues to millions. How will we accept the challenge?

I wish to use these opportunities to lift people up by preaching and teaching the availability of Jesus the Christ Lord for all.  In our shut-in, we can reach the shut out for Jesus.   We can be a church of one and reach at least one for Christ.

In closing, it is my prayer that God will continue to show us His view of servant leadership.  I am thankful for His eye on us and His willingness to do so.

#servantleadershipnow  #bulluckg.com  #servantleader  #servantleadership

Blessings During and After Captivity – Part 2

“Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon,” (Jeremiah 29:1).

In this text, Jeremiah, the prophet, sent a letter to the people of Israel while they were in captivity in Babylon. He addressed the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon. The letter contained God’s expectations of the Israelite people while they were in captivity.

What was Gods message to an incarcerated people? Moreover, why listen to God who had allowed this insidious evil to happen?

First, it is important to note that God had something to say exclusively about this situation. Although God had allowed this situation to occur (Jeremiah 29:4), He wanted Jeremiah to remind the people that He, alone, was their provider and deliverer. Incarceration got the people’s attention.

Second, God had plans that they must fulfill while in captivity. What they do during incarceration was essential to their survivor. While in captivity God said, “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit (verse 5). How is it that captive people were able to build and plant? The text does not detail in this chapter how a captured people acquired materials for building homes and planting gardens. Yet, the people built and flourished among their enemy. God is Jehovah Jireh (provider).

Third, God told the people that they must increase and not decrease in numbers. They were instructed to take wives and have children (verse 6) while in captivity. Family is important to God and God provided for multiple generations during this seventy-year period.

Fourth, God instructed them to pray and seek to be a peaceful people in their captured situation (verse 7). “ And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” If they live peacefully, they will have peace.

Fifth, in verses 8-9, God instructed the people to be watchmen; be wise. He warned them against false prophets who were among them. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.”

For God said,For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So Jeremiah preached that the Lord was part of the past, present and future of His people. In captivity, he reminded them that God knows the pain and suffering that they would go through. Jeremiah told them that in time of captivity they would learn to seek God. He prophesied, Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive (verses 12-15).”

The survival of Israel is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Every day, God shows judgement of His people; instead of justice, He grants us new mercy each day.

The text identified certain ones who were punished for misleading the people. They did not escape the judgement of God (verses 29-32).  There were those who He allowed to return home better and stronger.

I pray that God allows us to return home better and stronger.

What He Did in Captivity – Part I

Captivity is defined as a place of confinement, imprisonment, or detention – not a particular place that one chooses for solitude. The opposite of captivity is freedom. If one is held in captivity, one has lost freedom and someone else has been given charge over you. Today, millions are feeling this type of loss in the absence of less freedom to move about, especially in time of this COVID-19 outbreak. For the believer, there is a spiritual optimism that this too will pass. Thus, I bear witness with you that we have a future. Our faith is tested and affirmed through Him.

In Captivity – A Right NOW Blessing

One of the most profound things that God did Sunday morning, Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020, was to immediately answer my prayer. In the midst of giving my mother her bath, she began to pass out. Her eyes closed and her body went limp. Right there in the bathroom, I began to call the name of Jesus. I prayed for God to minister to me and order my steps as to how I was to help her; I asked God not to take her from me; allow her to stay with me a little longer. I thought if I called 911, she would more likely be in jeopardy because of COVID-19 conditions.

So many thoughts were racing through my head. “Jesus, Jesus, You know every cell of her body,” I prayed. “I need you now right to be the healer, her physician.” I applied cool water on her neck and forehead.  A few minutes went by.  It seemed longer, but I was able to place her body on the bathroom floor and go outside to get my husband. I asked my husband to help me place her in the recliner (it has a lift) – not the bed. I placed pillows under her feet and reclined her body. All the while, I was asking God for directions. When she began to respond, I gave her a protein drink and later orange juice. I am no nurse; I am a caregiver. Every instruction was from God, Jehovah Jireh. We needed Jesus, the healer, to act on our behalf. For the next hours, Mom comfortably rested in her recliner. All glory belongs to Him.  Even the more, I can witness to you that God can bless you in captivity right NOW.  If you need a right NOW blessing, don’t be afraid to put your trust in Him.

Your captive situation will look different than mine; but in a season of imprisonment, detention, incarceration, confinement, or internment, we still need the same Jesus. God is here.  In captivity, we must seek Him even the more.

I encourage you to seek Him for freedom from a captive mind, body or soul. Believers are not subject to captive situations. Captive situations are subject under His authority (Hebrews 2:8).

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