1 Comment

Your King Has the Last Move

Your King Has the Last Move

Are you at a stalemate, with no viable options to move forward and win the game? Or, do you feel like you have been put in “check”? Well, here is the good news: Your King Has the Last Move!

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Life seems to be similar to the game of chess. When the game is at a stalemate, you feel as if you are in a hopeless predicament. You assess what you could have done differently to arrive at a different outcome and have fleeting moments of regret when you identify your missteps. There is no way out and no way to move forward. So, with stalemate, no one wins. Not so for believers, 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 provide an antithesis for every opposing life condition we may face.

I am not a chess master, but I did absorb couple of things while learning to play the game at the very amateur level. At first, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. When I did win a game, believe me, it was purely by accident.

Endurance is to persevere in spite of misfortunes and trials. It is the ability to hold fast to one's faith in Christ. Endurance keeps you in the game.

I didn’t understand that before you make your first move, you have to visualize your next moves and anticipate what your opponent may do as a counter response to your action--that is how you stay in the game. Next, I did not understand the freedom and restriction of movement for the chess pieces.

It’s just a game, right? As I studied, a spiritual application emerged. Let me explain. According to ChessGameStrategies.com, these are the names of the pieces in a game of chess along with liberties and restrictions:

1.     Pawn - Being a war game, the Pawn is like your common foot soldier, often the first ones into battle.

2.     Knight - the Knight is the only piece that has the ability to jump over other pieces. The Knight and the Pawn can make the initial move against the opponent.

3.     Bishop - Bishops are restricted to diagonal moves from one corner of the board to the other. The Bishop a formidable long-distance threat to your opponent.

4.     Rook - Part of your opening strategy should be to bring your Rooks inward (where they are most effective) to prepare for what takes place during the Middlegame stage.

5.     Queen – The Queen takes on an expanded range of attacking options. She combines the diagonal power of the Bishops, with the straight-line threat of the Rooks. The Queen can move in any direction on the board to effectively protect her king.

6.     King - the King is your most precious piece on the board. If attacked in such a way that there are no legally-safe places to move, your King will find itself in a situation known as "Checkmate" causing you to lose the game.

So, if I understand this correctly, as believers, it would go something like this:

It may be a game to the enemy but it is a battle for us (Ephesians 6:12). We must develop strategies to outlast the weapons formed against us (2 Corinthians 10:4-5Isaiah 54:17). Your strategic placement in God’s plan is vital to ensure victory for your personal battle.

1.     Pawn –the foot soldier declares that the opponent has been notified: the battle has begun.

2.     Knight – is capable of acceleration to promote a victorious end in your favor.

3.     Rook – represents Christ the mediator between God and man. He is the strength you need when you are in the thick of it; He is a very present help in the time of trouble.

4.     Bishop – represents the Holy Spirit: your indwelling power and protector. The Holy Spirit leads and guides you in a clear path..     

5.    Queen – is the protector of the glory of God in your life. Once you are empowered, you are well equipped to rise above any disappointment or regret that serves to undermine your victory.

And finally, the KING…

You may have exhausted all your options. Every possible solution may seem out of your grasp. This is the time that our God shows Himself in the form of creative miracles! You will never be at a stalemate or in checkmate. Remember, our King always has the last move.

See also: Psalm 20:6-9

Lynne C. Parker, Vision Steward™

1 Comment

Faith is the Key

Comment

Faith is the Key

Faith is the key to the promises of God.
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23
Have you ever received a promise from God that seems so impossibly out of your reach? Your ability is not what makes you eligible to receive His promises, it is your FAITH. Relax. It is not up to you to make it happen, just be in position to aggressively move forward with His instruction—without hesitation! All God wants you to do is to put a believing action to what He has promised you. Your faith in action is the catalyst to make your future promise manifest in your present “now”. Look at it like this; your promise is already recorded in heaven as a fact that has come to pass. So, all you are really doing is recalling your history—it is already done, in Jesus’ name!

Comment

Comment

Refocus Your Lens

Refocus Your Lens

Hebrews 12 suggests that believers take a closer look at what builds the endurance required to finish out the race. Before we begin, the prerequisite mandate is that we evaluate what will adversely impact our ability and preparation to participate as joggers, sprinters or cross-country runners.

As the writer brings us in, we are required to look at any and everything that may be an obstacle as we continue on to the finish line. In this race it isn’t how fast you move but rather, how well you navigate for the task at hand.

1-3 Do you see what this means…It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it…he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever…That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 1:1-3 (MSG)

Laying aside every weight and sin requires acknowledgement and repentance on our part. A weight is any feeling, attitude or action that promotes a voluntary embrace of anything that slows, aborts progression or sours your witness. When it comes to identifying sin, we are quick to name the “big” ones. However, all unrighteousness displeases the Father.

We have to transition from the current way we view things and change our mindset to see ourselves and others the way God does.

Refocus your lens to create a care to see the future of someone else.

If we are honest, we will be able to seek God’s “reset” to free us from bigotry, racism, and preconceived notions based on stereotypical information regarding the characteristics of a group or nation of people.

New vision, with the absence of a flesh view, enables us to live out 1 Timothy 2:1-3:

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

It can be an uncomfortable conversation, but nonetheless, it must be initiated to maximize our full potential to complete the race for our faith. When we refocus our lens, we can pray for those that do not love God without hatred in our heart for the persons who commit atrocities against humanity.

A refocus is when you can identify and address the ungodly spirit that rules in an individual. As believers, our fervent, effectual prayer:

1. Will loose the bands of wickedness or vice grip of the enemy.

2. Elevates heavy burdens-that the downtrodden may bring their cares to Jesus.

3. Breaks the spirit of the oppressor and oppressed that they may be free.

4. Causes every yoke (spirit of manipulation, intimidation and control) to be broken and destroyed.

5. Ensures that many poor, disenfranchised and disparate populations are relieved by kind acts. Isaiah 58:1-7

When we place primary emphasis on why Jesus came, we will be able to navigate toward His goal for all; that the lost be saved.

Reflection: Refocus your lens to stay in the race and finish strong.

Comment

Comment

Forming the Clay: We are His Works on the Wheel

Forming the Clay: We are His Works on the Wheel

In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet records an event where God sends him to potter’s house. During this metaphoric observation, the nation of Israel is likened to clay that needs to be formed. Our nations also are works on the potter’s wheel; His desire is to shape us into the vessels of honor as well.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. Jeremiah 18: 6

What happened before the clay made it to the wheel? 
Upon Jeremiah’s arrival, the potter begins to mold the material into a product according to the Master’s will and imagination. The clay’s pre-state is not mentioned. Since pottery making was a common occupation, we can expect the clay had been prepared before its placement on the wheel.

Preparation precedes Process
When the material has been properly prepared it is ready to be placed on the foundation of the wheel. The potter’s expectation for the finished product is not unreasonable. But, there is a caveat; preparation always precedes process.

 Preparation

  1. Remove air bubbles.
  2. Knead or roll the clay to keep it workable.
  3. Keep the clay moist so it does not dry out.

Ready for Use

  1. The clay is rolled into a ball shape and “thrown” to the center of the potter’s wheel.

If the clay is not centered, it will be off balance, and the clay will “fight” during the forming process.

God is intentional in purpose for likening the nation of Israel to clay. Clay is found in the layers under the earth’s crust. We paint a similar picture; our true thoughts and intent are often kept under the surface of the image we want to portray to others. As individuals that comprise our nations often pride, greed and the lure of power drive us rather than concern for our fellow citizens.

 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Jeremiah 18:4

The potter's skill or mastery was not at fault. Imperfections added to the clay influenced the outcome. God knows all He created was good; our actions have flawed nations with sin.

God used the potter and the clay to illustrate a national condition. Israel, much like our nations, no longer reflected the will or image of the Father. Disfigured from its original intent, the vessel had to be re-formed.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the CLAY, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Reflection: “We must find the courage to address what kind of nation we want to be…” Tavis Smiley

We must create self-fulfilling prophecies based upon visions of a future time and sync our behavior with our belief. Let us partner in prayer for proactive measures that cause Him to re-form us as a people and a nation.

Comment

Comment

The Possibilities of "If"

The Possibilities of "If" 

One of the most foreboding words in the combination of letters and vowels is the word if. 

This particular word contains only two letters has the capacity to attach itself to every failure or achievement in times past, present and future. It is a word that can cause history, create futures or fuel our dreams and visions.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word han translated to the word if is a hypothetical participle or interjection used to express sentiment or emotion. It can also be used as a sign of a condition or to introduce a conditional sentence.

In 2 Chronicles 6:12-42, Solomon dedicates God’s house and stands as the leader of the nation of Israel. He petitions God on behalf of the people to forgive, bless and protect them. The king goes on to provide several “if” scenarios for the possibility that God’s people would sin against Him.

God responds with His own possibilities for the tiny big word “if.”

13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

Of course, everything is not in our control. However, as individuals and as nations, we must own the myriad of current conditions we have allowed to overrun our countries and societies to result in mass moral decay.  As believers, we have been afforded conditional possibilities:

God explicitly attaches criterion to be met for the performance of this conditional clause:

  1. That we humble ourselves.
  2. Pray. Speak to God in your own way:
  • Acknowledge Him as God; Lord of all.
  • Confess sin (both personally and for others as a nation that has turned away from God).
  • Offer thanksgiving. Although detrimental conditions exist, thank Him for all that is good.
  • Petition Him on the behalf of others and yourself.
  1. Seek His face in honesty and sincerity with no pretense or self-serving agenda.
  2. That we turn (repent to make strides to change for your life choices or habits) as individuals and nations.

In return, God promises to create history.

  1. He will hear In this respect it means He will consider or regard our petitions.
  2. He will forgive us.
  3. He will heal our land.

Reflection: God has given you the possibility of “if.”  You have the power to treat your hypothetical participle as a condition of conquest!

Let us pray for our families, churches and communities until we affect positive and measurable change.

This post was inspired by Elder Darryle S. Hardy, Pentecostal Temple Church

 

Comment