Deny Him Access!

As I prayed the other day, I heard this title loud and clear. Now at first I was perplexed where God was going with this, but it had everything to do with how I was living. I will start this off with a brief story.

In November 2019, I had backslid into sin for a moment. I understand that we are not perfect by design, but we can fully understand what is right and wrong. However, I had chosen a path of unrighteousness at the moment that led to a consequence that I was not prepared for after repentance.

I had unintentionally invited torment into my life that manifested physically and mentally. The devil was literally playing mind games with me in negative self-talk, insomnia, and making me believe that I would die. I had forgotten the scripture, John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and destroy…”. I felt that I could not escape this until December.

As I cried out to God to take this burden away from me, He exposed the truth behind this madness and how my deliverance would come. If I had looked at the second half of John 10:10, I would have known what God was about to tell me: “…I am come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly.” The only thing that wanted to take me out was the enemy, not God. He brings life, not death. However, I was missing out on what I possessed inside of me, the power of the Holy Spirit. Just like the disciples in Luke 9:1, we have “the power and authority over all devils…”. So, how was I going to proceed in doing all this? I did not understand the supernatural battleground, nor did I have a strategy. All I knew was that I would win because of Christ and that I had to keep fighting.

Just like any battle, you can’t use the same tactics from previous battles. My communion with God would have to be more frequent, my prayer life would have to deepen, and my knowledge of the word would have to increase. When everything came together, then was I given a plan.

What kind of plan was this? This is the plan that God made for me. It was what He wanted out of me at the time for my deliverance. And this is what I want to share with you.

  • To focus solely on God (to keep the enemy away):
    • Realize that you will go through some things in Christ (Luke 9:23).
    • It’s important to make a daily sacrifice/offering to God. What does that look like? That in whatever we do that it is “it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord” and done DAILY! (Lev. 3:5)
      • Reading the Word
      • Worship
      • Praying
      • Fasting
    • When delivered from ailments or sin, do not go back to the very things that caused you to do it before “lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14)
    • Always repent! About all sin, not just the sins you know about consciously, but those that are secret or you have no knowledge (Psalms 19:12-13)
    • Let your speech and thinking reflect what is acceptable to God. (Psalms 19:14)

So what does this have to do with my title? Absolutely everything.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Do you realize the strength in this verse? We can say NO to the devil! Not only that, but when we do it, he’s got to go! Just as Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me…” so can you. (Matthew 16:23).

Don’t let the enemy rob you of something that he can’t take. You would have to give him access to entry to take it, but we won’t do that. Today, DENY HIM ACCESS! Tell him he cannot come in. Tell him that his card declined and he cannot buy you. Tell him he doesn’t have enough flier miles to fly on your plane. Tell him he cannot have you!

The Mouth

How many of us have run into trouble because of our mouths? Be honest.

Credit: Giphy.com

This week, I definitely fell into my old ways of being quick-witted, sarcastic, and talking slick to… wait for it…

my family

Now I could say that it wasn’t completely my fault or any other excuse for my actions, but I knew I’d have to answer the Most High. I previously read, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 2:5 KJV).

However, I had forgotten all of it last week. In a trial of taming my tongue, I had completely failed. It seemed like everyday I was going back and forth with my parents over the smallest things. Very meaningless things.

However, God always knows how to get our attention (especially mine) and cause us to change our ways. So how did God call me out on my mess? In my sleep through a dream.

It mirrored one of our previous arguments about pet peeves. I was relentless the entire time; I couldn’t find it within myself to stop talking. As the conversation peaked, my mother said to me, “I cannot protect you anymore. You brought this to yourself.” In an instant, my family fell apart. I had never felt so distant from my family at that moment.

I would like to say I woke up at that moment, but I didn’t. My mind was awake, but my body wasn’t. Clearly, God had much more to say to me before I fully was awake.

Even now, I find it uncanny the parallels of life to spirit. When we step out from under the protection that God gives us, we can be susceptible to anything including our lives falling apart, but thank God for repentance.

As I laid there, He spoke to me about myself and what I needed to do to right my wrongs. As He finished speaking, it felt like someone was rubbing their hands across my eyes to clear dirt away.

I can’t help but think that was God’s way of revealing to me my own actions. From that moment forward, I had to dig deep inside of myself and thoroughly process what to do next.

Going back to James 3, verse 8 says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Here dear folks is where I made my first mistake.

Only with the help of God can we truly fully control our mouth!

No wonder I couldn’t find it in myself to be quiet in my dream, I had left God out of it and forgot one fruit of the spirit: self-control.Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

Next, I realized that I went against one commandment I heard my entire life: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). As much as our society pushes independence and speaking your own mind, the gospel still holds precedence over my life. Sass ain’t holy and I still have to respect my parent. If my mortality being on the line wasn’t enough to convict me, I read John 14:15 this same week:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

I know I love God, so I had to follow through. Yet there was still one more piece missing: Forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13 says, “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do.” Not only did I have to apologize to my family but pray that they forgave me.

How easy it could be if we put God first in our conversations! However, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, but God always shows us how to go about life in the right way.

As each day brings new mercies, remind yourself to have God at the forefront of your conversations. To think before you speak, to let the Holy Spirit move through you and use you. I have on my bathroom mirror Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Every morning I read this to remind me of the life I’m supposed to be living.

I hope this PKE helps you to find your scripture to tame your tongue and speak life to not only yourself, but to others.

“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Proverbs 16:24

The Eyes

When I think about Sunday service now, there are many words I associate it with: virtual, Facebook, drive thru, zoom meetings, etc. Definitely not the same way I would describe Sunday service about 2 months ago, but this is our reality.

However, that’s not what I’m getting at here.

As my family held service in our home, I recall hearing the dream my dad (who’s a pastor) had. He had a dream of entering a hotel he had no access to at first, then seeing Christians partying and drinking in disguise from the rest of the world. Now I really pondered this thing.

Why would our fellow brothers and sisters go down a path knowing that the end only breeds destruction?

Then I thought about the dream I had:

It started out as with my cousins and I being on a road next to a church that I knew. I saw many of my family members headed down this long wide road. We asked what was going, but they said they would see what was going on. Instead of entering the church, we walked down the road and eventually we came to an impasse where the road met water.

We stood back to watch how others were navigating this route to go down. They would stick one foot into the muddy, rushing water. A huge step into the muddy water would cause them to fully submerge, then pop back up to rush down where the others were. They coaxed me to do the same, but I claimed, “I don’t want to get my feet to get dirty.” The road had now become flooded with muddy water. I turned away and began to head back to the church.

I felt anxious about the water coming up to my leg until I looked up for strength to run. I ran past other family members headed the same way until I bumped into a familiar man. He was not kin to me, but I embraced him from the side like I would my dad. Then I cried. The man said nothing to me as I sobbed, he only embraced me, to comfort me.

As I finally entered the church, I came in to see one of my aunts smiling and fanning, like she was dancing. I asked her had my cousins I came with made it; she answered and told me to find a seat. Going through the crowd, I noticed the other half of the church (where my aunt wasn’t) was weeping. They were mourning for people, but I didn’t know who. In contrast, my aunt and eventually my cousins were sitting with high energy waiting for a concert to come forth.

Dream only last two seconds, but this felt like an hour. I was so confused about what it all meant, so I looked up what certain images mean using Understanding the Dreams You Dream by Ira and Judy Milligan. After I searched, I still needed more explanation for what it meant. Then God spoke.

His explanation: Think of your family as the church. Some of you will go down the wide road of evil/destruction because of the unwillingness to change. Even now, after falling deep and popping back up in faith, they will still choose the same destructive path. Others of you will turn back and follow me. That’s why the church split emotionally. You will mourn for those who have fell to the ways of the wicked, but you will rejoice in worship of the coming of Jesus.

Although I had this dream March 29th, it made little sense to me until I came across Romans 11, specifically verse 7-8:

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

I know Paul was talking about the Jewish nation here, but I couldn’t help but wonder how true this is for us now. This crisis right now feels like a wake up call, but I am concerned for those who have not yet answered. Like my dad’s dream, I pray that none of us are trying to hide behind the facade of a pandemic to live in sin.

But we serve a gracious God who has forgiven us of our sins if we only choose salvation and to serve him. In Romans 11:23 :

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

So I urge you, anyone who is reading, to not fall into the spiral of sin, but to follow Christ this day. While you yet have breath in your lungs, thank God for saving power and His grace on your life. Turn your life fully over to him and choose the path of righteousness.


Don’t forget to like, subscribe with your email, or comment on this blog! I would love to hear your feedback!

Be Blessed!

Chan

The Hands

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening wherever you are! As you know, today’s blog is a PKE or Preacher’s Kid Experience. This time, it is fairly recent. Specifically, this yesterday or Sunday if you live in the US.

Typically, I have some trepidation about sharing, but that’s not what PKE is about. It’s about being vulnerable with y’all as Christians and revealing the inside of my life.

Moving on, at the beginning of this month, my pastor reached out to me with a question I haven’t heard him ask in about a year. He said to me…

Do you mind preaching the 4th Sunday of this month?

Now, my first human instinct was to say, “Oh no no no!”. But, before I could voice my no to his question, I said “yes, I will”.

Why would I do this?! Who knows! However, God was clearly about to use me to give a word prepared for His people.

I will say I am a procrastinator at heart (God is still working on me with this), but when we’re on God’s timing, He reveals the word whenever he sees fit. I was just unaware. As Friday rolled around, God got me in a quiet place away from all distractions to show me what needed to be said.

He led me to Haggai 1:1-13 and 2:1-9.

*insert long pause here so you can go read those verses*

Haggai 1:1-13 highlighted many things for me:

  1. Where are the priorities of the people?
  2. God will purposefully do things to get our attention.
  3. After the Word of the Lord goes forth, we must decide to either obey or suffer more consequences.
  4. Fear God and know that He is with you.

When I applied this to life now, I was speechless. Sometimes we get so caught up in our fleshly self of beautification or distractions around us, we ignore the spirit man dying inside of us. That in verse 5 & 7, there was a reiteration of serious thinking about where our priorities lie. With the revelation of us neglecting our spiritual man, God gives us instruction on what to do and after that we should obey.

However, how often has God tried to get your attention, given you clear instructions, then you ignored what you should do? Where does that often lead us? Still in the same spot.

So, once we obey and rebuild our temple, then what?

In Haggai 2:3-4, the people still felt that the temple being built paled compared to that of the one Solomon built. Now, I thought, “well God, isn’t that like us sometimes.”

We dive deep into our faith, establishing a deeper relationship with God, then suddenly we compare ourselves to others. Asking ourselves, “well why can’t I do that yet?” or “they are closer to God than I am.” But that is not something we should do. Everyone of us has an individual walk with God, and different relationship, and different gifts from Him. As I told the church on Sunday, “you can’t compare someone’s chapter 35 to your chapter 1”. So don’t get discouraged. God reassured the leaders and all the people of the land in verse 4 to “Yet now be strongand work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts;”. That means to persist in building up what you have. Stay committed. Do the work.

So what Haggai 2:1-9 highlighted for me:

  1. Don’t compare your walk with others. Your rebuilding won’t be the same as someone else’s.
  2. Be Strong. Stay persistent and committed to your walk of faith.
  3. God will shake heaven and earth to carry out what needs to be done. That’s God’s sovereignty.
  4. When we commit to rebuilding what we have, it can only become greater than what was previously.
  5. God brings peace.

So at the end of reading this, I feel like now this is a call to action. Not just for myself, but everyone. That we need to “strengthen the things which remain,” and rekindle our relationship with God (Revelations 3:2). That starts with a heart of repentance. In asking for forgiveness, we also must change our behavior or perish (Luke 13:3,5). In Romans 10:13 KJV, it says, “For whosover shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And that means anyone.

So I encourage you all, as you sit at home, practicing social distancing or if you are one of the few warriors out there still working, to also be reminded of the spirit man inside of you. To strengthen your faith in this time of turmoil. Whether it be fasting, praying, seeking God’s face, whatever it may be, just…

DO THE WORK.

The Heart

February may be one of the shortest months of the year, but it has been so impactful this far. From previous posts, love has been the overarching theme. The Weekly Soap touched on how we should love God, and love others the way we love ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). The Song of the Week gave us “Wild” , a song about the overwhelming love of God.

So I guess my question now is:

How’s your heart?

With the outpouring of love or the opposite for the past couple of days, how are you doing? Are you treating yourself? Are you giving love? Receiving it? Whatever your status, let’s talk about what’s in your heart.

Take a minute and think. How many times have you heard the phrase “follow your heart”? Is following your heart always the best decision? Be honest.

As a PK, my parents taught me to hug every person in the church as soon as I came in. I had no issue carrying out this task because it was something I loved to do. I’d hug everyone so tightly that you could feel the love transferred from me. As I grew older, hugging lost its luster. Before I even entered through the doors, I wished no one would come up to me at all. I didn’t want to fake the funk, nor did I want to even attempt it. Soon after, my mood followed this same pattern.

It bounced from grumpiness to anger to frustration and back again. I wanted no parts of what was going on in service. It became so bad that I had soured towards people in my church. I remember making it my mission to avoid others. By ducking into the bathroom or occupying myself with technical work, it allowed me to escape hugging people. This went on for years. Every Sunday, I continued to spiral in this apathetic mood towards the church and my faith.

But, I couldn’t recognize how far I was falling down the pit because my heart kept telling me I was right.

God had to put me in a place where I had to run a heart check on myself. After many heartbreaks and unnecessary sacrifices, my mother preached one Sunday from Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NIV):

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”

These two verses alone hit me like a ton of bricks. Immediately I felt so much conviction, but a revelation on why my life produced such ugly results.

Our fleshly heart is sick and “beyond cure” meaning it can lead us to believe that the same can of Coke that can clean toilets is also good enough for us to drink (no shade to Coca-Cola products). Now, I’m not saying that your choice of drink is wrong, but our heart’s desire may not always match what is best for us. We know that Coke tastes good. We know what it can do, but if we continue to drink it, there are adverse effects: diabetes, obesity, even tooth decay. Like verse 10, the Lord gives us the reward of our conduct; for every action, there is a reaction for what your heart carries out.

Yet, the only cure for our sick heart is God.

When we have the word of God in our hearts, it extends our life (Proverbs 3:1-2), we are blessed (Psalms 119:2), and He gives us the desires of our heart when we align with Him (Psalms 37:4).

So instead of trusting my heart, I had to trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6). Hardening my heart towards my church family or even acts of love did a disservice to me and my creator. It’s a commandment to love one another, and I wasn’t following through. I asked for forgiveness from God and a repentant heart, so it would make me new (Ezekiel 36:26). I had no reason to feel bitterness, especially when no one had provoked me. But, a change like this doesn’t come overnight. It takes an effort to turn away from a wrongful path. Joel 2:12 says that “return to me will all your heart with fasting, weeping and mourning.”

After all this, I hope that you run some diagnostics on your heart. Ask God to reveal what hides in your heart. Pray that what you desire in your heart matches the will of God. If you spiral or become malicious towards someone or something, ask yourself:

How’s your heart?


Don’t forget to like, subscribe with your email, or comment on this blog! I would love to hear your feedback!

Be Blessed!

Chan

The Mind

In the Weekly Soap, we started out with a prayer to focus on the Lord and to have peace during overwhelming times. In the Song of the Week, I recommended a song that quieted storms for me, but now I want to explain why this has been on my heart.

As a young child (age 3 or 4 according to my mom), I remember having this vivid dream. I was in a dim room with a dark figure; I thought it was the devil himself. He had all these surgical tools laid out in front of me. With a marker, he tried to write a huge X on my forehead, like a surgical incision. Clear as day, the devil said, “I’m going to kill you, right there, in your mind”. All I can recall after that is pleading the blood of Jesus. Repeatedly. I did not stop until I was sure the devil disappeared. This brings me to my first lesson as a preacher’s kid.

God protects his children.

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” – Psalms 42:4

As I grew older, this dream replayed as my battles revolved around my own mental health. Diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), I faced depression, low self-esteem, and indecisiveness; my brain was a battlefield within itself. Sometimes I’d question my own beliefs or wonder if God was still there. I convinced myself that I was too far off the deep end to receive help. However, I never forgot what I read in the Bible. I never overlooked what my preacher-parents had instilled in me since day 1.

And that’s the funny thing about being a preacher’s kid. Those Sunday morning services at church that overflowed with prayer, praise, and preaching carried over into the four walls of our home and the week ahead. God’s reminders of the faith-planted seeds in my mind were the encouragement I needed during these times of decreased faith. The scripture, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6), echoed in times like these. 

So, how did I know I was God’s child? How did I know his protection was over me?

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” – Galatians 3:26

Before I even realized the depth of my dream or the scriptures taught to me in preschool, the word of the Lord had already outlined for me, for us, that if we have chosen and “clothed [y]ourselves with Christ” that we are God’s children (Galatians 3:26-4:7). How easy it is for us to know that if we choose God, we are in the family of Christ. Because we are his children and God is our Father, He hears our cries and rescues us in our time of need (Psalms 34:15,22). When I called him, God reached in to liberate me from the hands of the enemy and from the things that plagued my mind. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart,” (Psalms 91:4). My parents encouraged memorizing Psalms 91 into my brain to know that God is our refuge and our protector (it is also the foundation scripture of their church).

Most importantly, I wanted you, who is reading this, to know that it is not some complicated process to be a part of the body of Christ. All it takes is a simple yes to the will of the Lord and to surrender all over to Him. I wanted you to know that although the worst punches may get thrown at our faces, God blocks the blows that can take us out. To know that we as children of God, although we may suffer, we also can rejoice in the glory to come (Romans 8:17).


Don’t forget to like, subscribe with your email, or comment on this blog! I would love to hear your feedback!

Be Blessed!

Chan