"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." -- Psalm 100:4-5 KJV
Lord, for every time that I open my eyes, I thank You. For every word that I am able to speak, I thank You. For the ability to move and think, I thank You. There are people who are paralyzed, bedridden, or did not wake up this morning. I am still here, because my work is not finished, so I thank You for your mercy and grace. For my family, my friends, and my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, I thank You. You have commanded us to walk in unity (Eph. 4:1-6), to encourage each other and help each other stay the course on our journey to heaven. For every test and trial that was set before me, I thank You. You allowed each one to strengthen my walk and draw closer to You. The word says to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations...that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:2-4). I thank you for making me perfect and keeping me holy. Father, I thank You for all these things, in the name of Your son Christ Jesus, I pray, Amen.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." -- Exodus 20:7 KJV
You've probably heard it all before: OMG! Holy Moly! Jesus Christ! I could go on, but you get the idea. Every time I heard someone use the Lord’s name in their foolishness, I’d cringe. Why in the world would they do that? Don’t they know that Jesus’ name is sacred? I now realize that it’s part of the enemy’s agenda. The name of Jesus has so much power that the devil wants to render it worthless. He wants to make it so common that if someone cries out “Jesus!” there’ll be no effect. And while it may seem as if he’s succeeding, it’s still a vain effort. The Bible says “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: we CANNOT live a life that’s contrary to God’s word. The word says “...that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth...” (1 Jn 1:5-6). As believers, we want our talk and our walk parallel to each other. We can’t allow the devil to distract us and make it seem like our work for God is in vain. He knows that he has already lost the war (Rev. 17:14) but continues to cause a ruckus and take as many people as he can with him. Let us not be one of them.
*For more teaching on the 10 Commandments by Apostle Curtis Louis, click here to listen on our Audio Page!
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." -- Exodus 20:3-4 KJV
Recently I wrote a post, titled "First and Foremost," about putting God first and making Him Lord over every situation in our lives. Nothing should come before Him. This is His first commandment. His second commandment is more detailed: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Ex. 20:4). As an illustration, I'm reminded of the story of the golden calf back in Exodus. It wasn't long after God gave Moses the 10 Commandments that the Israelites disobeyed Him. When it seemed as if Moses would never return from the mountain, they requested Aaron to make them an idol god that they could worship. Aaron took all of their gold, melted it, and made a golden calf. This action angered God and soon enough angered Moses. Around 3,000 men were killed as a result of their sin against Him (read Ex. 32). God said that He is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5), meaning we hurt Him when any person or thing grabs our attention more than He does. God is so good and so faithful, but He is also just. We can't expect blessings when we're in disobedience to His word. If you're looking to renew your relationship with the Father, seek His face, and ask Him to create in you a clean heart and renew in you a right spirit (Ps. 51:10-11). He promises to take care of His people and preserve us from all evil (Ps. 121:7), but we need to trust in Him and make Him our only source.
*For more teaching on The 10 Commandments, check out Apostle Curtis' "The 10 Commandments Series" on our audio page.
"...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." -- Matthew 22:37, 39-40 KJV
Remember the 10 Commandments? You know, thou shalt not kill, steal, or bear false witness against thy neighbor? If you had to think about it, then you were like me a few months ago. When our Apostle first taught on the 10 Commandments, my first thought was "It's been awhile." I remember learning them in Bible Study years ago, repeating them over and over until I knew them by heart. However, I didn't realize it had been so long since then. It goes to show just how lost the commandments have gotten in the church. I honestly didn't know how important they were to God. They are the foundation of the Bible, the first principles we should learn as babes in Christ (Heb. 5:12-13). If we don't understand the 10 Commandments, then we won't understand what it means to live a righteous life. The commandments, known as the Love Law, are broken into two categories: how to love God and how to love each other. In Matthew, the disciples asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus replied that the first and great commandment is to "...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." He then says that "...the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:36-40). Over the next week or so, I will be revisiting these lively oracles (Acts 7:38) and sharing with you the teachings from our Apostle Curtis Louis.
“The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” -- Psalm 29:11 KJV
Father, I come to You today on behalf of the men and women who have fought or are fighting for the United States of America. You have allowed them to fight for the freedom of this country, and we do not take that for granted. To the families that have lost loved ones, I pray that You give them Your peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). While it may seem like their world is dark now, I ask that You guide them and keep their hearts and minds set on You (Phil. 4:7). To the soldiers who are over seas, I pray for their strength, that they be of good courage and know that You are with them always (Deut. 31:6). You said "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1), so I ask that You cover them during battle. To the veterans here at home, I thank You for allowing them to make it through. The Bible says, "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee" (Ps. 91:7). You allowed their feet to be planted back on American soil. I pray that their testimonies be of Your goodness, Your strength, and Your mercy. You have shown Yourself as the Lord who is mighty in battle (Ps.24:8). Through these testimonies, I pray that each soul seek Your face, becomes born again, and know You are the true and living God. I give You all the glory, the honor, and the praise. All these things I ask, in the name of Your son Jesus Christ, Amen.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” -- Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
I’ll cut to the chase: Donald J. Trump is president-elect of the United States of America. There, I said it. Yes, it was a surprise to those who expected a different outcome, but it happened, and we can’t change it. The Bible says in Romans 13, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (13:1). So what does that mean exactly? It means that we must respect the position Mr. Trump will soon attain. Just as God has allowed every president of days past to hold the Oval Office, Donald Trump is NO different. God said that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. What God sees is on a whole other level from what our minds can dream of (Isaiah 55:8-9). Now, while we must respect him, we are not to put all our faith and trust into a government official, NEVER. I’ve seen so many people distraught, upset, and worried about what will become of their livelihoods when Mr. Trump takes office. Whether or not they are good presidents, senators, governors, etc., we should never rely so heavily on man as we should God. If anything, God said, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish” (Ps. 146:3-4). If you know who your true source is, then there is no care in this world that can shake you. Proverbs says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5-6). Therefore, let us pray for all authority figures that govern over us (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and know that God is still working.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." -- Proverbs 9:10 NKJV
My Mom raised us to be humble, to use common sense, and to respect authority figures. If we ever acted a fool in public, she either got us in that moment or at home (we hoped she would forget but of course she didn’t). Thank goodness it hardly ever happened because we knew and feared the consequences. You remember that saying “Have respect for your elders”? That’s how we should be towards the Father. Fearing Him means to respect Him and respecting Him means to obey Him. You don’t want your children (or nieces and nephews) to say or do just anything in front of you, right? So why would we want to do or say just anything around God? The Bible says “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10), and "...is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). If we don't keep His commandments, we don't love Him. If we don't have His character (Colossians 3:12-15), we don't know Him. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22), so let's "...act in fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a loyal heart" (2 Chron. 19:9).
*Click here for more teaching from Apostle Curtis on "What It Means to Fear God"
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
-- 1 John 4:18 KJV
A few months ago one of our ministers did an exhortation called "The What Ifs." As she spoke, I began to reflect on all of the missed opportunities I had because of my "what ifs." I would ask, "What if everyone laughs at me? What if they don't receive me? What if they ignore me?" I missed opportunities to minister love to someone, because I was afraid of the outcome. When God gave me an assignment, I became so fearful that my stomach turned violently, and if you asked me a question, my mind went blank. It was horrible! I hated feeling this way, as if people's reactions meant more to me than God's voice. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love...perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." If we say we love God, but doubt His ability to use us, then we don't truly love Him. Instead, we put Him and ourselves in a box. God said He didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). He said that He would strengthen us, help us, and uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). If we seek Him, He will hear us and deliver us from all our fears (Ps. 34:4). I choose to walk in His perfect peace and trust Him in every step I take. No more missed opportunities.
*For more encouragement on overcoming fear, click here to listen to Apostle Curtis' "Another Goliath"
"I am the Lord thy God...Thou shalt have no other gods before me." -- Exodus 20:2-3 KJV
I think it's interesting how some people say they're too busy for God, that there's not enough hours in the day. I used to think that way. In college, and even high school, I felt so bogged down with life's challenges that I forgot about the One who brought me through them. If I did read a scripture, it was only to make me feel better, to make me feel like I had spent "time" with Him. If I made a schedule, I would list everything else (meetings, homework, projects, etc.) FIRST and "save the best for last." Problem was I could never finish the list. I'd say, "But God you see what I'm dealing with. You understand, right?" Wrong! God doesn't want your excuses, He wants your fellowship (John 14:23). I repented and asked God to help set my priorities straight. Sooner than later, I found myself with more time than I had before. When I put His work first, everything else fell into place (Prov. 3:6, Prov. 16:3). No matter what we're going through, no matter how hectic our environment seems, we CANNOT minimize God. We can't let schedules get in the way of our quiet time with Him. In Matthew, Jesus said to "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (6:33). Whatever you need, He'll provide, but ONLY when He's before everything else.
"Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being." -- Psalm 146:1-2 KJV
I understand now what God meant when He said, "Don't be afraid of their faces..." (Jer. 1:8). Whenever I'm singing during praise and worship, I'll glance out at the congregation and notice that some people either cross their arms or stare out into space. It can be intimidating and a little disheartening. I keep asking myself, "How can they stand there and not do anything? The Lord woke you up this morning, and you can't even clap a hand?" Psalm 150:6 says "Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD," which means when our eyes open, our first thought should be "Good morning, Father!" not "I don't feel like getting up." We weren't made to live on this earth for ourselves and our own needs. We were made for His pleasure, to give Him all the glory and all the honor (Rev. 4:11). We are not to store up earthly gifts but heavenly gifts, and where our treasure is, so is our heart (Matt. 6:19-21). This is not our home and until we understand that concept, we'll continue to be lovers of ourselves. So I will look to the hills which come my help (Ps. 121:1). I will forever lift my hands and my voice, because I know I'm living to live again.