1. I am out of debt and all of my needs are met, and I have plenty of more to put in store.

Philippians 4:19

2. God has pleasure in my prosperity, therefore I do not lack any good thing.

Psalms 35:27 34:10

3. I am a giver and generous in all ways therefore my hands will be blessed and my soul shall be made fat.

Proverbs 11:25

4. I am in the body of Christ, and Satan has No Power over me.

1st Corinthians 12:27 & Luke 10:19

5. I am the head and not the tail, I am above only and never beneath.

Deuteronomy 28:13

6. God has not given me the spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind.

2nd Timothy 1:7

7. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

8. I cast my cares on Him because He cares for me.

1st Peter. 5:7

9. I am the righteousness of God.

1st Corinthians 5:21

10. His banner over me is love.

Song of Solomon 2:4

11. Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Psalms 23:6

12. I overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.

Revelation 12:11

13. I am healed from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.

1st Peter 2:24

14. I trust in the Lord with all my heart, and He directs my paths. Therefore I consistently make wise decisions.

Proverbs 3:5,6

15. God’s plans for me are for a hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

16. I sow bountifully and I reap bountifully.

2nd Corinthians 9:6

17. I delight myself in the Lord, and he gives me the desires of my heart.

Psalms 37:4

18. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

1st John 4:4

19. I will seek first God’s Kingdom and All that I need will be provided for me.

Matthew 6:33

20. The devouring spirit  is out of and off of my finances forever because I am a faithful consistent tither.

Malachi 3:11

21. Generational wealth is mine. I will store up an inheritance for my children.

Proverbs 13:22

22. God causes those that love Him to inherit substance.

Proverbs 8:21

23. I receive God’s law from His mouth through His Word and God blesses me with Good, and All Iniquity is broken off of my life.

Job 22:22-24

24. I trigger my harvests through my seeds of obedience.

Job 36:11

25. God’s Spirit enables me, therefore I shout Grace Grace to all my troubles. 

Zechariah 4:6-7

What Kind of Sinner Are You?

There’s and old saying that Christians are all just “Sinners saved by Grace”. This statement is a bit of a misnomer because you can’t be saved by grace and a sinner at the same time. Truthfully, you are either one or the other. But we don’t have to over spiritualize the concept because we understand what “sinners saved by grace” is trying to refer to. It means we all, no matter how saved we are, still deal with a sin nature. True, Christ defeated sin, death, hell, and the grave; but we still must navigate life with a sin consciousness. One that desires to rise again just like our Lord and Savior has done. So with that concept in mind; when your sin nature receives CPR and rises with full force; what kind of sinner are you?

For the purpose of this lesson I will break the sinner down into 6 separate and distinct categories. Using the power of alliteration each category will start with the same letter so they are easy to grasp and remember. Let us begin.

#1 The Momentary Sinner

This is the sinner who gets caught up in the moment. It wasn’t premeditated. It wasn’t preplanned. It’s momentary lapses in judgement. In this case often it’s when emotions get high. We must really pay attention to our emotions. When emotions run hot our capacity to sin runs high as well. For instance you may start the day well intentioned, but rush hour traffic brings an irritation and an agitation that you had not anticipated. Next thing you know your anger is high, judgement is low, and sin is ready to take advantage. That’s why the scripture warns us in

“Rom 7” that sin is advantageous and also warns us in “Eph 4”

to be angry, but sin not. Sin likes to attach itself to the heels of anger. So whenever you are angry be careful because in that moment you may be more prone to sin than you realize. This is not just true of anger. It’s true of many emotions. Many a sin was birthed in loneliness, confusion, anger, grief, disagreement, passion and so forth. Allow me to liken it to a car overheating. If pressure levels and fluid levels are not correct and if temperatures are too high, the car will overheat. It will make noise, it will smoke, it will refuse to run until everything cools back down. The fix is actually an easy one. Keep the car with proper fluids. Keep it cooled. Manage it ahead of time and you’ll be fine. Same thing with us. When our emotions run at a balanced level on a constant basis we can avoid becoming the momentary sinner more often than not. If you find yourself at the mercy of momentary sin often, course correction is easy. It may be as simple as getting more rest on a day-to-day basis. One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control; so trust God, lean on Christ, allow the Holy Spirit to be the gauge for all your levels, and the momentary sin will lose its momentum in your life.

#2 The Myopic Sinner

Anyone who is myopic is nearsighted or shortsighted. The myopic sinner lacks discernment. They can’t seem to see down the road. This is the sinner that falls for the same trap over and over before they realize it. This is the dear sister who keeps dating the same type of guy only to realize at the end of the relationship that this guy is the same as all the others. This type of sinner may have something they carry with them from their childhood that predisposes them to certain choices and paths. The problem is they can’t see it for themselves. They are too nearsighted. They often settle for right now pleasure at the expense of tomorrow’s destiny. Scripture reminds us in

2nd Corinthians 5:7 that “We walk by faith and not by sight” Esau was myopic, he was so focused on his present hunger that he could not imagine the possibilities of the blessing his birthright carried. So he sold his birthright for what amounted to a bowl of stew (Gen 25:29-34). When you are the myopic sinner you trip at the unnecessary. Satan doesn’t have to do much planning for you. Your lack of vision does it for him. Remember where there is no vision the people perish (Prov 29:18). One version says they actually cast of restraints. Meaning they won’t restrain themselves today because they fail to see the benefit that tomorrow holds. Jesus spent much of his ministry healing blinded eyes, so there is hope for the myopic sinner. Tell Jesus that yes He’s touched you. Yes you’re saved, but you still see men as trees and you need another touch so that you can see with the eyes of faith and make better choices today (Mark 8:22-25). You can go from being myopic to declaring my optics are focused on you Jesus the author and finisher of my faith (Heb 12:1).

#3 The Marginal Sinner

This is the person that justifies personal based on how big of a sin it is to them. They classify sin and if they deem a wrongdoing as marginal; they will indulge because after all it’s not that big of a deal. This is the person that believes in little white lies. They believe the lie that I’m not hurting anyone so it’s not an issue. They fail to grasp the concept alluded to in

Song of Solomon about the “little foxes that destroy the vine”

. Airplanes have crashed over something marginal. Super Bowls have been won by a marginal inch here and an inch there. Huge buildings have lasted 100’s of years because the builders paid attention to the marginal details. In Genesis Lot viewed the strife between his camp and Abrahams camp as marginal. He viewed his greed in taking what he deemed the best land from Abraham as marginal. Yet we are well aware that the place he settled in eventually became Sodom and Gomorrah; and he barely escaped losing his wife in the process. Satan loves when we define our participation in sin as marginal. He loves when we are ignorant of his devices. The sin you marginalize today will have you compromising something tomorrow. The more you compromise the more you’ll get outside of the margins God prescribed for your life. You’ll find yourself living on the edge, walking a thin line only because you saw your particular sin as marginal. Come back from the margins and get back to the center of God’s will where spiritual safety is.

#4 The Masterful Sinner

This sinner just simply doesn’t care. He is masterful at sin, or so he thinks. He thinks he’s getting away with things but instead of being masterful he’s being mastered by sin. Sin is a hard task master. Once it has you fully in its grips you are its slave. This is precisely why it should never be marginalized. The masterful sinner is the Christian that makes you wonder if they ever truly accepted Christ to begin with. The apostle Paul refers to them as people who have

“their conscious seared with a hot iron” (1st Tim 4:2). They are reprobate. They brag about partaking in evil. They show no remorse. They are false teachers. They are greedy for gain. They are comfortable with Mammon being their God. They are home wreckers. They are church splitters. They have a form of Godliness, but they deny the power. They are deceitful. They are laden with pride. Etc. From such turn away. These are the kind we are warned not to fellowship with. These are the kind that will pull you down before you can ever bring them up. Paul said these types should be “turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” that maybe their spirit could make it in, in the end (1st Cor 5:5). In other words let God and Satan deal with this kind. I know these are harsh words, but let’s face it this type of person won’t be reading this blog. This kind of teaching doesn’t appeal to them. This is written for you, it’s a warning of how bad it could get. This is your GPS saying make the first U-turn possible. Make up in your mind you only have one Master and it’s the Lord God almighty. Scripture boldly declares “Sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under the law, you are under Grace” (Rom 6:14).

The only way you can become the masterful sinner is when you choose to and if you choose to ignore all the warning signs along the way. Let’s not let this one ever be named amongst us.

#5 The Militaristic Sinner

This is the Christian who actually realizes they are in a war and everyday is a potential battle. They recognize that they are not wrestling against flesh and blood but there is a hierarchy of demons that they may face at any given moment

(Eph 6:12). They believe in Christ’s finished work at Calvary yet they are eager to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3). This sinner doesn’t sin easily or flippantly. They battle temptation. They confess the word. They attend church. They confess to accountability partners. They repent quickly. They truly put up a battle. Even in this honorable way they sometimes lose the battle, but they are guaranteed not to lose the war. They’ve read the back of the Bible and they know they win. Sometimes this sinner faces addiction. They are truthful. They call it what it is. They say I’m addicted to something but I’m fighting back. They are not too spiritual for 12 step programs. They are not too deep to seek clinical and professional counseling. They become what I call battle tested. Every church needs some militaristic sinners because their test eventually becomes their testimonies and their messes turn into messages. Their past failures guard them against self-righteousness and they tend to offer more grace than others. Jesus once noted that “those who have been forgiven much, love much” (Luke 7:47).

The powerful thing about being in the military is you are never expected to war alone and you are backed by a Govt. or a Kingdom. You are trained before you are sent out. You are prepared and equipped. Likewise, the militaristic sinner knows eventually they will outlast, overcome, and overthrow the sin. The militaristic sinner remains hopeful because they are backed by a Kingdom that is run by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Consequently, they will not only fight for themselves, they will fight for others. They will fight for families, neighborhoods, communities, cities, and nations. There is no quit in them. Once they’ve put their hand to the plow they won’t look back. They know a righteous person may fall 7 times but they’ll get up 8. Their lack of perfection and propensity to fail never weakens their fight.

#6 The Marvelous Sinner

Now I know this one sounds awkward, but I wanted to stay within the framework of our previous alliterations. I am actually using a play on words from

1st Peter 2:9b where it states “…hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This is the person with the highest level of spiritual maturity. This person shifts from fighting sin so much into more resting in the fact that they are already in the marvelous light. The more you realize that you were called, past tense, out of darkness the less of a hold darkness can have on you. Sin was birthed out of Darkness, but Light dispels darkness every time. You are in the marvelous light and the marvelous light is in you. You serve the marvelous One, and you are marvelously saved. The marvelous sinner is the one that sees himself as marvelously saved, not just in the process of time but right now present tense. Fighting sin like the militaristic sinner is honorable, however there is a more mature approach. The marvelous sinner understands this passage of scripture “Where sin abounds Grace much more abounds” (Rom 5:20) One version pens it this way “Where sin increased, Grace increased all the more” No matter how big the sin, God’s Grace has marvelously conquered it. More time is then spent on viewing life through the prism of this Amazing Grace. It’s even hard for this person to refer to themselves as a sinner. They don’t identify with sinful Adam, they identify with the last Adam. They aren’t arrogant, they know they will still encounter sin; it’s just that from the outset they already see themselves on the other side of the sin victorious through Christ. When they look in the mirror instead of seeing mistake prone, flaw prone, failure prone, and sin prone; they see themselves as the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Every achievement, every blessing, every triumph, and every prayer answered only humbles them. They look back over their life and can sum it up in one sweeping statement “This is the Lord’s doing and it’s Marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23)


I was working on the church newsletter and wanted to add a poem for black history month. I couldn’t find one that had the Christian undertones that I wanted. You see, while I am an African-American pastor, I pastor other races as well. After searching and being frustrated that I couldn’t find what I wanted; I decided, why not just write one. Here is what I came up with. It’s called “I Am Black”

“I am Black”

I am black, I am free

I am all God made me to be.

My heart has been heavy from

Years of hatred and strife

But I’m proud to be black

Because my God gave me this life.

I am black, and I am smart

I believe my color

Is some of God’s greatest art.

Whomever looks down on me

Is too blind to see

That I’m just being

All God created me to be.

I am black, but not overly proud

Because there is one point

I must make very loud.

My greatest pride is not my skin.

It’s in the shed blood of Christ,

In Whom All colors can WIN.

By Andre Mitchell


8 Keys to Becoming a More Effective Preacher

Briefly the other morning I began to contemplate what makes a preacher effective. Considering that I preach often, questions like these are great for me to ponder. I was shocked at the rapid fire responses that flooded my brain. I took a moment to organize my thoughts and quickly realized I had blog material on my hand. Being a fan of alliteration I wondered could I deduce these reasonings down to ideas with the same letter. Sure enough, I could. So, I did and here they are.

1. Understand your Assignment

Every preacher must understand their assignment. This first requires a close relationship with the assigner. We must always remember we are the messenger, but God is the owner of the message. He also has predetermined how it should be delivered, to whom it will be delivered to, and why. Before you preach, know what the Master desires and determine yourself to not get in the way (which is easier said then done). Ask yourself this question what is the end goal God is after with this particular message. Knowing that is half the battle. Once you know what God is speaking to His people; then and only then should you add yourself to the equation.  Because if you’re not careful speak your opinions, and ultimately elevate your agenda above God’s purpose.

2. Understand your Audience

Every preacher must understand their audience. To whom am I delivering this message. How might they best receive this message. Are they quiet listeners, who might be offended by shouting? Or, are they listeners who take great joy in being shouted at? Whatever you do; discern your audience. Do a group of teens really want to hear pages of notes on Greek and Hebrew words. Or can I take the truth of those words and hide it in a story that’s relatable to teens. You don’t need detailed research for this. Just a few observations are all you need. Remember the two most important people are your Assigner (God) and your Audience. You barely factor into the equation. God knows your audience He will show you just what you need to know about them if you will take the time to ask Him first.

3. Understand your Atmosphere

Every preacher must understand their atmosphere. Now here I don’t just mean your physical surroundings. You do need an awareness of that, but I want to focus on spiritual atmosphere. What is the spiritual climate you are in. Is it conducive for ministry. Does it need to be shifted. In Biblical times sometimes the prophet would not prophesy without the minstrel. The musician was called to help the atmosphere get right. You have to not only discern the audience, but you have to be able to discern an atmosphere. Here are a few things that change atmospheres. Prayer, Praise, Worship, Music, and Decrees. Let me briefly touch on the last one, decrees. On Sunday morning I decree “This is my Bible, I am what it says I am…Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert…” my audience repeats after me. It shifts the atmosphere from spectating to participating which aids my audience in their learning.

4. Understand your Argument

Every preacher must understand their argument. What is it that you are talking about. Yes you heard from God but are you delivering it in a way that makes sense. Is it succinct. Look at the angles. Play the advocate. Question what you are saying. Research it. Expose the holes in what you are saying, and rework them until the holes aren’t there. Sure someone will still disagree with you, but you want it to be because they simply refuse to believe and not because you were woefully inaccurate. It’s very difficult to be persuasive in what you are not convinced of yourself. You can’t wait until you’re in the pulpit, behind the podium. As a rule of thumb, don’t study to preach; study to live, and then preach what you live.


5. Understand your Anointing

Every preacher must understand their anointing. Another way I can say this is stay in your lane. The anointing of God is the approval of God but also the equipping of God. The mechanic doesn’t barge his way into the operating room because he’s not equipped for that. Likewise the surgeon doesn’t bust into the auto shop because he’s equipped to perform surgeries. Sure you can wear more than one hat, but only wear hats that fit. Don’t try to be a singing preacher if you aren’t anointed to sing. Don’t try to close out a message “hooping” to an organ if you aren’t anointed for that. When we do those things what we are saying to God is “what You equipped me with is not enough”. It’s ok to admire what someone else does, but don’t copy what you aren’t anointed for. It does everyone a disservice, and you will suffer immensely because of it. Many God raised up to have a voice, but they became a mere echo trying to be like somebody else.

6. Understand your need to Adapt

Every preacher must understand their need to adapt. What I mean here is outside influences. Don’t forget we have an enemy and distraction is one of his main weapons while ministry is going forth. Don’t be so rigid. Learn how to adapt. Mics will malfunction. Babies will scream. People will walk at odd times. Cell phones will ring. Don’t lose your focus, adapt. Even laugh about the situation. Never let the devil see you sweat. Never lose your ultimate focus. You know your assignment, your audience, and your argument; you are an unstoppable force in this moment in time. Stay the course, adapt, and finish strong.


7. Understand your need to Adjust

Every preacher must understand their need to adjust. I know this sounds like what we just covered. However with adapt I meant outside influences, but with adjust I mean inside influences. I’ve spoken about our assigner, God The Father. Yet, let me speak of The Holy Spirit inside of us. Don’t become so focused that you neglect the inward Witness inside of you. Don’t be so confined to your notes that you must say them verbatim and leave no room for the Spirit inside of you to speak. Adjust to what you feel inside.  Some of this worlds greatest messages were birthed in the moment where the preacher dared to adjust to what was pounding in their heart and overrode their head to declare what Thus says The Lord. Please don’t misunderstand this to mean being unprepared or under prepared. It’s time out for all of this winging it in the pulpit. Yet there is a power inside of all of us that should have free course to take over knowing that ultimately we will adjust and yield ourselves to this power from within.


8. Understand your Appearance matters

Every preacher must understand that people see you long before they hear you. How you look, how you dress, and how you present yourself all matters. Indeed the Bible says “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” but you aren’t talking to God you are talking to humans. As the scripture forewarns; humans judge the outside. There’s a statistic floating around that human beings make judgments about each other in the first 3 seconds of meeting. Often before you ever take the stage you are judged. If you look unkempt someone can assume your message is unkempt as well.  The same goes if you look disheveled.  Sure you can win them over with content, but its better to show up looking the part. If need be, ask ahead about dress code. Few things are more awkward than being either overdressed or under dressed. Appropriate dressing includes both appropriate sizes and modesty; especially for female ministers . Use the power of a mirror to your advantage. Use advice from television, magazines, and others around you to avoid fashion faux pas. You never want to be a visible distraction to you hearers. Lastly remember that you are speaking for God, so your attire and overall appearance should reflect that.



So here I am listening to some new music and just reflecting. Take a peek into the rousing of my heart, it just might bless your soul:

What can I become in this next season of my life? So many things are on the horizon of my thoughts. So many opportunities. So many chances to utterly fail. Do I sit back and do nothing or do I grab life by the horns and go with the flow? I am uncertain about so much, but certainly certain about so many things as well. Disappointments, I have seen my share. Yet it is important that I do not allow them to shape me. It’s OK to cry, if the tears deepen my resolve. It’s OK to get angry if my anger stirs up the survivor in me. It’s OK to be honest, if my honesty makes me examine myself first and foremost. It’s OK to fight lust, if the battles help me teach others how to yield their passions to God. It’s OK to be transparent if what people see leaves them longing for God. It’s OK to want to break free from poverty, if my prosperity doesn’t lead me to materialism. It’s OK to despise loneliness, as long as my need for companionship doesn’t jeopardize my morals. It’s OK to challenge old methods, as long as my new method doesn’t compromise the gospel message. As long as my heart is pure, It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.

U don’t have to have it all together to be used by God. He just might get glory out of these broken vessels of ours. One thing is certain; quitting should never be an option. Live for God, live holy, or die trying. This is just how I see it, because with God it’s always OK. He loves us just like, we are. It’s OK to stumble your way into your purpose. It’s OK because God doesn’t need your perfection as much as He craves your faith. If you can believe He is always able and will always make yourself available; then even in times of uncertainty, you can boldly say “ITS OK”

Heart of Worship

“Hear my cry Oh Lord, give ear unto my earnest prayer.” What a heartfelt sincere prayer. Sometimes we can pray from the mountain top; praying with powerful mountain moving faith, calling down power from on high into a situation. Yet how do you pray when you’re in the valley, not sure if you will survive another day? Deep down you know you should have the faith to believe you will make it, but truth is you don’t. You know God loves you, but you sure don’t feel Him right now. You know your sin debt has been paid, yet yielding to temptation seems a much better idea than fighting another losing battle. What is the use? You are saved but not certain when the last time you’ve seen considerable growth in your personal life. Church is cool and all, but once it’s over you seem to stare the same old problems in the face. The biggest problem stares back at you every time you encounter a mirror. Oh Lord what are you to do in a predicament like this?

I’ve got a 1 word answer for you: WORSHIP! One of the key ingredients of worship was told to us by the master himself. When Jesus encountered the woman at the well, they had a very memorable discourse. This encounter was so life changing that this woman with a shady past turned into a great evangelist telling everyone to “Come See A Man”. Yet hidden in this story is a glimpse into how Christ himself viewed worship. In John 4:23-24(niv) Jesus says “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

You see worship is not just about being spiritual, it is also about being truthful. In moments of extreme pressure and affliction don’t try too get so deep that you are no longer honest. Sometimes our troubles never get any better because we’ve trained ourselves to pretend they do not exist. This is not God’s idea of worship. God is looking for a people that despite the problem, they are

determined to find a way to give Him praise and adoration still. I may have to cry, I may have to scream, I may have to sit in silence just staring up towards the sky, but no matter what it takes God you will get the glory out of this. Now that’s worship. You don’t have to figure out the reasons why this thing has happened for you to worship. The pressure doesn’t have to let up for you to worship. You don’t have to see a clear solution for you to worship. You don’t have to feel goosebumps or have a smoke filled room for you to worship. You can simply be truthful about what you are facing and call out to God like the psalmist did in Psalm 86:6-7 “Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.” No one was in a worse traumatic life altering situation than our brother Job, yet scripture records his initial response to his calamity this way: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (Job 1:20-22)

You are worshiping because you are letting both heaven and earth know that when you are overwhelmed you can look to a God that is never stressed out. When you are broken you can call to a God that remains whole. When you are sick you yet know you serve a God that still is a divine healer. When you are unrighteous, you know a God that forever embodies righteousness from His head down to His toe. It is worship because in the trial you reach an honest realization that says God without you I am nothing. God I trust you. You can deliver me in 10 seconds, 10 minutes, or 10 years but one thing I know only You alone Father can do it. Daddy, only you can bring me out.

The first time Satan realizes that even your most confounding of problems still drive you back to seeking God; he will know you are a lost cause. He knows he will never have power over you again because in good times or in bad times you still have a heart that will worship. A Christian with the Heart of a Worshiper is a dangerous threat to the kingdom of darkness. I encourage you to ask God to allow a heart of worship to be birthed in you today. Then, as you develop, you will be able to boldly declare like the Apostle Paul “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14a).

What are you waiting on, start worshiping now. Right where you are start giving God the glory. He alone is worthy. He alone is faithful, and if it had not been for the Lord who was on our side tell me where would we be. Oh Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus. We will WORSHIP.


Because He Lives: a personal story of triumph in tragedy

(This blog was written for a publication produced by Evangelist Rena Wagner. She is a great woman of God. You can connect with her awesome ministry through Facebook)

It was the fall of 2008. I was in the midst of the worse year of my young life. The year started off great with the arrival of my first child. Yet as time went on the year became filled with challenge after challenge and trying time after trying time. By the time I reached November I was asking myself and God, “How much more can one man take”?

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was resting before I had to travel 68 miles one way to a job that I did not like. I was laying in the bed passing time when I got a phone call. It was a call that rocked my world. The voice on the other end said, “Uncle Mario is dead, he was murdered sometime last night. Your grandmother just identified the body”. Wow not at all what I anticipated hearing. My head started to spin. Mario was my mother’s brother. I wondered what she must have felt. I wondered about my grandparents. I was saddened, angry, and confused all at the same time. To top it all off, I still had to go to work.

Fast forward several days later. The funeral arrangements were set. My pregnant wife, myself, and my new child had traveled over 3 hours to be a part of the wake. We arrived into town with only a couple of hours before we would have to be at the wake for my uncle. I set the bags down, sat down, and my wife’s cell phone rings. She answers the phone and within minutes her countenance changes drastically. On the other end was my mother-in-law relaying that her doctors appointment did not go as expected and she had been diagnosed with cancer. Wow again!!!!! Here I am still in the throws of grief over an uncle whose life was taken from him, but before I can properly deal with that loss here I am being dealt another tragic blow.

You see, already that month I had had a loved one sentenced to prison time. I was being unfairly treated on my job, but stuck with very little recourse available. My church was in a building project that I was the lead person on and everything that could go wrong was going wrong and we still had no new building. My personal ministry was in a prolonged season of dryness. No speaking engagements had come in for months and nothing was on the horizon either. I was the author of a book that was no longer selling, but rather collecting dust on my shelves. If all that wasn’t enough, now death and cancer.

What is interesting is life has a way of bringing us to our knees. In these moments and seasons we may want to get upset with God, but the greatest comfort is found when we cry out to God. Crying out to Him is exactly what I did. I asked why. What had I done wrong. I would pray. I would cry. I would praise the best I knew how. Yet somehow in this process I could feel the healing of God taking place in my heart. I could feel a new resolve being built inside of me that made me believe it wouldn’t be like this always. Somehow I knew that even though weeping may endure for a night; Joy was coming in the morning.

It was God’s Word, Godly songs, and Godly thoughts that navigated me through these trying times. One phrase that kept coming to me over and over again was, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow”. I was going to have to be strong for those around me. I started believing that I could do it. I wasn’t believing in my human strength. I was starting to be convinced of His strength in me. That phrase reminded me that not only does He live, but He lives in me. He is active in me. He lives even in the middle of dark days and nights. If anybody could get me out of this one; He could and He would. Because of His triumph over 2,000 years, I knew I could win in the midst of my momentary affliction. I started feeling like together, God and I could do this. Actually, I had an entire posse. I had the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, plus Goodness and Mercy following me. Come on devil, because He lives in me I’m ready to fight this thing out. I’m ready to stand.

I started to think of all Christ’s suffering on the cross. All he endured. All he went through. My issues didn’t seem so daunting. Besides, the scriptures said the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwelt in me. To this day the phrase “Because He lives” is a source of great strength to me. In this coming Easter season remember that no matter what you are facing early one Sunday morning Jesus Christ got up out of the ground with all power in His hand. Because He lives, you can and you will make it out of any situation. Keep your head up because the last time I checked, He was still living.