A PREPARED HEART BY: Tiffany Tyler

Imagine this, your loved one needs a life saving surgery and the team of nurses and doctors have not preped the surgical unit since the last patient was in there, due to lack of time in between surgeries; would you allow them to take your loved one into a unsterile environment? Propably not, so why then do we go to God without preparing our hearts? How do you think it makes Him feel when we make time for everyrhing else but we just throw Him in whenever we get a quick minute? Trust me God is the life saving surgery that we all need and we will all encounter before we leave this earth.

To fully understand the importance of coming to God with a prepared heart we must first know what it means to prepare. According to Webster it simply means to make something (your heart) ready beforehand for some purpose (to encounter God), use, or activity (prayer). Truth moment, I can count on one hand how many times I have actually prepared my heart for God. I always come to Him with a heart that is not prepared. How do you know this you ask? Because I’m so busy that I tend to fit God into my schedule instead of scheduling my day around the things of God.

I’m a type “A” personality at least that’s what they tell me! So for me I love order, organizing and you guessed it, schedules! I almost always go overboard when it’s time to do a project because I immediately become diagnosed with “OCD”. I know this is a real disorder for real people but trust me when it comes to preparing schedules the shoe fits. So for me I pencil God in and most of the time I don’t because there is just not enough time so I’ll do a two for one; like pray in the shower therefore I got it out the way and now I can feel better, because I was able to give God 10 minutes of my precious time.

I can say with 100% certainty that this would not fall under the umbrella of preparation. So the question is how do we prepare our hearts for God? In Psalm 139, David ask God to search his heart and to see if he had any wickedness in him. I believe this is the first step of preparation. When we go to God without preparing our hearts we overlook the fact that our hearts are deceiftly wicked no one but God will ever know it. Since this is true it only makes sense to have God search it for you.

I know, I know, most people think they honestly know what’s in their hearts. Let me ask you this, have you ever thought you forgiven a person until that person showed up? All of a sudden feelings that you’d thought weren’t there are all of sudden resurfacing. “Where did that come from?” you ask yourself. Could it be that your heart deceived you into believing that you had nothing in your heart towards that person anymore?

Forgiveness or lack there of is one of the issues that affects our relationship with the Lord. Now don’t get me wrong nothing in this world can separate us from His love but there are things that can hinder us from receiving His love. This is why asking God to search your heart is a necessary part of the preparation process.

Now that you have asked God to search your heart (step 1), you must now be ready to repent (step 2) and ask the Lord to wash you. Repentance is a very difficult step and I’ll tell you why. It’s because most people when they hear the word they feel condemned. Let me let you in on a secret, there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ! Repentance is simple, you apologize, ask for forgiveness and you then stop doing that thing completely.

How many know the simple things are always the hardest to complete. King David had a very repentant heart! This is why we see his life despite all of his flaws God still said “that he was a man after His own heart”. WOW! To know that is amazing! David attained this by preparing his heart over and over and over and over again, unto death.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” I believe this verse tells us that it hasnt even entered our hearts because we have not prepared them. A farmer must first prepare the soil before he can plant seed. If the farmer did not make the necessary preparations then it doesn’t matter how many seeds are planted, nothing will come of it. Same difference with God, if we don’t prepare our hearts how then can we began to allow the things of God to enter in. The Lord loves us so much that even though we lack preparation He still prepares things that we will one day comprehend even if it’s not in this life time. How great of a Father do we have? One that makes ready despite our lack of preparedness. Selah.

Life will always be about preparations. You prepare your kids for school, you prepare your thoughts for a meeting, you prepare your money for a vacation, you prepare your house for guest and the list goes on and on and on. Remember that your relationship with God is a constant preparation of your heart. So, the next time you are about to say a quick prayer, I dare you to stop, allow God to look into your heart, listen to what He has to say through His word concerning you, repent and then receive God’s love. “If you fail to plan (prepare) then you are planning (preparing) to fail”-Benjamin Franklin

 

IDENITY CRISIS By: Tiffany Tyler

“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2:19

 When God decided to create man He decided that we should have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle, every living thing and everything that creepeth upon the earth according to Genesis 1:26.

This is where God gives his children authority, which is another word for dominion. We must understand that the things that we are facing in society today are presented to challenge our authority as heirs of the throne.

God first gave man authority (dominion) in Genesis 1 and then in Genesis 2 God gives us the ability or the authority to speak identity.   We must understand that in order to give something identity we must first posses dominion (authority) over it.

This is how I know that the decision to make same sex marriages legal is a direct attack on the authority that was giving to us in Genesis 2. How you ask? Because God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call (Identify) them. It goes on to say that whatever Adam called them then that was its name. So in short Adam gave every creature their identity including Woman.

This therefore gives us the right as sons and daughters of the only one and true living God, the ability to take back our children that are being lost to the deception of this world.

This does not just transcend to sexuality but also to gangs and drugs as well. Anything that comes against the authority that God has given us we should be in a position to combat it with Godly authority.

Let me clarify one thing and that’s according to 1 Corinthians 13 you can have all this dominion and ability to speak identity into someone’s life but if you don’t have love then it means absolutely nothing.

What am I trying to say? I am saying that once you get the revelation of who you are in Christ this should drive you to a place of showing love and kindness to others that have not yet received their identity. In other words this does not give you a pass to mistreat those that are lost because we have all been lost and thanks be to God that we are loved so much that He sent His son Jesus into the word that through Him we might be saved according to John 3:16-17.

If you don’t take anything else away please understand that you are a child of the most high God and that through the first Adam you received dominion and identity and through the second Adam which is Jesus Christ you are saved.

God is amazing and His restoring power is available to those who confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

 Go ahead look in the mirror and speak your identity according to the word of God!

Be blessed

GOING DARK-RADIO SILENCE By: Tiffany Tyler

Have your lights ever went out in your house during the evening time? Maybe you have never experienced this but let me tell you that it is a pretty scary time especially if you have children. Everyone is trying to grope their way either to the light switch, to each other or more importantly to the window to see if their neighbors lights are out as well. There is this fear that comes upon you even if it’s just for a split second. It’s almost crippling until you hear the sound of your refrigerator and then suddenly all the lights are magically back on. Today we are going to discuss what happens when God goes dark in your situation or does He really? Keep reading to find out.

The terms “going dark” and “radio silence” are both slang terms used in the intelligence world, which simply means to be “silent”. They are used to communicate to the entire team that somewhere we are compromised and we have to stop all forms of communication until further notice. When either of these orders are given it is done out of fear. Fear of eavesdropping or classified information being intercepted by the enemy. I have never been an intelligence officer but could imagine the discomfort, fear, anxiety and stress that hearing those terms could cause. The situation goes from a structured planned to the unknown, very swiftly. Everyone involved is left to their own thoughts of what has happened, what could happen and what will happen.

When we look at the story of Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane the question He ask His Father is “why have you forsaken me?” This seems like a fair question seeing that he was about to be crucified. But that’s not the real reason I believe Jesus asked that question. I believe it had nothing to do with the fact that He was about to die and more to do with the “radio silence” of his Father’s presence. Let me prove it.

In Hebrews 10 it talks about how animal sacrifices were no longer sufficient and how Jesus was going to be the ultimate sacrifice. Even the famous John 3:16 tells us that Jesus was the sacrifice (He gave His one and only son). Why is this important to know? It’s important to know because if Jesus knew and agreed to the plan to be crucified then the basis of his question does not stem from the fact that He was about to die.

In fact prior to Jesus being in the garden, He was at the Passover where He spoke about His betrayal and how his time has come. So again I ask why this question? Could it have been because Jesus could no longer hear or feel his Father’s presence? God had went dark and there was complete radio silence. So when Jesus asked “why have you forsaken me?” I believe he was asking where are you?

Jesus prayed three times to build up the strength to endure the cross and to accept that even though his Father had gone radio silent, it was His will. Jesus was in ministry for three years prior to his death and during that time He preached how nothing happens apart from Gods will; so I believe while He was crying out in the garden he remembered His words and found strength in them.

Why then has God been silent in your life? I mean that story is about His son and has nothing to do with what you are dealing with in your life. I beg to differ! Maybe you have served the Lord for a while now and no matter how much you pray or worship you can’t “hear” what He is saying, like you use to. Or maybe you have never given your life to the Lord not because you have never heard of Him it’s just that “my” life is fine without Him or any other God for that matter.

Whatever your situation you have to understand that there is a purpose to God’s silence. Think about it, most people are silent because they don’t want to say anything that they cannot take back, or it’s because they have given you everything that you need, or they are tired of repeating themselves. When God is silent it’s because believe it or not He has given you everything you need to come out on top.

God silence doesn’t mean that he is not present, it just simply means that he is allowing you to apply what you have already been given. Can someone be present and silent without you knowing? Of course, that’s where the term “startled” comes from. A person being present without the other person knowing and then all of a sudden the person realizes that they are not alone. What changed? The individual that was already in the room or the person that thought they were alone. Obviously to be startled means that it has to be the person that thought they were alone.

It’s the same with God. He is silent sometimes in our lives but He is still present and what happens is that we think that God silence also transcend to Him not being present. Hebrew 13:5 says”…..I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. God does go silent but He NEVER leaves.

           So the next time you find yourself in a situation where God has went silent, just fall to your knees, remember Hebrew 13:5 and then look in a mirror and ask yourself “what do I have on the inside of me to overcome this situation?”

 

FASTING:THE KEY TO SELFLESSNESS

Have you ever fasted because you needed the Lord to show up in a way that has never been done before? What were the results? If you’ve experienced the same results as I once did then you were disappointed. “What went wrong” was the question that resonated through my mind as I went down my check list. Abstained from pleasure {check}, prayed several times throughout the fast {check}, and studied the word of God {check}. In my mind there was nothing else that I could have done or was there?

Isaiah 58 describes a fast that the Lord has chosen for us as Christians to do and the results that a fast will produce. There are several examples throughout the bible of individuals fasting an achieving the desired outcome outlined in Isaiah 58. We will discuss a few of the reasons one should fast and a few of the results that a fast will produce if done with the right motives.
Reasons for fasting

To loose the bonds of wickedness
To loose something simply means to release them from that in which they were bound too. One of the main purposes of fasting is to release individuals from things that have them bound. Why? If you are bound you cannot operate the way that the Lord has intended for you to operate. It’s no different than being in prison, someone tells you when to shower, when to eat and when to sleep. How can you do the will of God if there is no room for Him. Once you are loosed from bondage the real work can begin.

To undo the heavy burdens
We often have so many cares that they become burdensome and this will weigh us down and instead of focusing on following Christ all we
can focus on is the cares of this world. When we fast for individuals the heavy burden is to become lighter. This is because we bring those individuals before God and request that their burdens be placed at His feet. Once the weight of the world is off of their shoulders than freedom is not far.

To let the oppressed, go free, and that you break every yoke
Do you know anyone that is oppressed by someone or something? If so this would be a good time to go on a fast so that they may be set free. I was speaking with my daughter about breaking every y-o-k-e and she asks “mom are you talking about the egg yolk because we always breaks those and plus you spelled it wrong it’s y-o-l-k”. I had to explain that the yoke that I was referring to was the harness that was placed over the head of animals to plow the land. When we have a yoke around our neck it restricts us from doing the will of God because we are controlled by something else and it makes everything harder. The Lord wants us to exchange the yoke that we have with His yoke because His yoke is easy.

To cover the naked and feed the hungry
One should have a desire to help the poor especially while your fasting. Why? Because this is the heart of God that the naked is covered and that the hungry is fed. We as a body of Christ must understand that feeding a person’s spirit is awesome but that means nothing if they are naked and hungry. God wants us to be in a position to minister to individuals spiritual and physical needs. This is how we literally show the love of Christ. Fasting for the poor and the homeless is the spiritual side of things but God wants you to physically provide the natural resources that they may need. The word of God teaches us that if we are in a position to help then we should help and not just pray about helping. Don’t get me wrong prayer is always in order but action paired with prayer brings God glory.
Results from fasting

Your light shall break forth like the morning
I am not a morning person so when I first read this I said to the Lord “I can do without this benefit”. This is why studying is very important because clearly that is not what it means. God will allow His light to overshadow every darkened area of your life and even the dark areas that are in your heart that you are unaware of. Who doesn’t want God to shine his light in those areas? I didn’t at first because light means exposure of the hidden things I don’t want to necessarily deal with right now or even later in the future. Exposure makes you feel vulnerable and it can even feel uncomfortable but it is necessary. As I was reading this I wondered why would God list this as a benefit? Then it clicked, if you are in a dark room you can’t see anything what do you do? You turn on the light so that it exposes your surroundings. That’s what God wants to do for His children, allow His light to expose the hidden things that has been covered by the darkness.

Your healing shall spring forth speedily
When we read healing we naturally associate it with the wound of the physical body. However, so many individuals need healing for their emotional wounds, their souls. The body of Christ as a whole is damaged. There is so much hurt that people carry that eventually manifest into a natural sickness. I’ve seen individuals who struggle with forgiveness have their body struck with stomach ulcers. Individuals that struggle with bitterness their bodies are struck with cancer. Once they dealt with the root causes their natural ailments were healed. Does this happen in all cases? I’m not sure I can only speak from my experience. Healing is the children’s bread and you can eat of it if you fast according to the word of God.

Your righteousness shall go before you
To be righteous simply means to be in right standing with the Lord. This does not mean to be perfect before God because you cannot obtain perfection on earth. What it does mean is that you try your very best to live according to the word and will of God for your life. Rightly dividing the word according to God’s standards and not your own. When your fast lines up with the word of God then the Lord will allow His righteousness to go before you.

The glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard
I think this is one of my favorite benefits of fasting and that is that is the Lord will have your back at all times. The Lord will protect you and back you up as long as your obedient to His word. How many times have we promised to have someone’s back or they promised to have ours and it just didn’t work out. God is not a man that He shall lie nor the son of man that He shall repent if He said it then it is so. Meaning that as long as you fast according to His standards then you have nothing to worry about. Does this make God a magician? Defiantly not, it makes Him faithful.

You shall call and the Lord will answer
How awesome is it to be able to call upon the Lord and watch Him answer you? So many times we as individuals pray on a daily basis and never receive an answer from the Lord. We cry out pleading with the Lord to save our loved ones but never see the manifestation of what we prayed and fasted for so we lose hope. The way we can regain our hope back is allowing God to choose our fast so that once we submit to His fast we will know without a shadow of a doubt we can call and He will answer. No matter how long the silence, we can stand on His word according to Isaiah 58.

There is a heart check that one must do prior to fasting. This is to really search out your true motives for declaring a fast. Are you fasting for yourself, finding pleasure during your fast as they did in Isaiah 58 or have you allowed the Lord to choose the fast for you? I challenge you to explore the scripture for yourself that you may be enlighten even the more. Remember, fasting is not a self-righteous act but the key to selflessness.