There is something unique that you were born with: a talent, a skill, a natural ability - we can call that your gift. But you might be surprised to learn that you aren't the biggest beneficiary of this gift. When your gift is exercised, you benefit as a byproduct. The major benefactor of your gift is mankind.
Click below to download a copy of this prayer.
Neh 6:12-13 Lord, reveal and expose any persons around me that the enemy may be using to gain entry into my life and this ministry.
John 10:12-13 I bind and remove from my life and ministry every hireling that cares not for the sheep, but would leave them defenseless against wolves.
I bind and remove every Judas, in whom betrayal and thievery is a way of life.
I bind and remove every Absalom, who is seeking status through subversion and stealing the hearts of the people from God ordained leadership.
I bind and remove every Nabal, whose heart is against your anointed and has no intent to help or assist in fulfilling our mission.
I bind and remove every Cain, who through jealousy and disobedience to God would seek to destroy the upright.
Neh 2:19, 6:2 I bind and remove every Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshum who instead of helping us, their hearts are set on mischief to be our enemy and our adversary.
I Kings 21:25 I bind and remove every Jezebel, sent to cut off God’s ministers and stir up wickedness.
And I bind and remove every agent of evil from my life, ministry, business, and family and I thank you Lord, for angels as ministering spirits who guard and protect us, hearkening to the voice of your Word.
Ps 91:10, Ps 33:10 I loose your protective covenant of protection over us, that no evil shall befall us and no weapon formed against us shall prosper. You bring the counsel of the heathen to nought, and make the devices of the people of none effect.
Isaiah 66:14 Lord, execute vengeance upon those spirits and agents of the devil. Cause your hand to be known toward your servants, and your indignation toward your enemies. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
With the turn of every new year comes fresh new opportunities to get back in shape. All across America, millions of Americans this month have made one of the most common new year's resolutions: get in the gym. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to stick with it for the whole year. You will be certainly glad you did.
This week I was back in the gym and I had a powerful revelation while I was there! Now, I like to work out and have been consistently for 14 years. I actually was so passionate about it that I got my bachelors degree in health & exercise science from Oral Roberts University (Go golden eagles!).
But anyways, Monday was leg day. I hate leg day (as most guys do lol). But I have to do it. For optimum health and physique you must work out the whole body. It’s especially hard for me to do leg day because I was born with naturally strong looking legs. (Shout out to the parentals Dr. Bill Winston & Veronica Winston - thanks guys!) Because of this, I have always gotten compliments on my strong looking legs. People would ask me about the workouts that I did to get them that way.
Those complements would always seem to dampen my desire or even need for growth. As a result of this, I would skip some leg days. But just like any other muscles, when I didn't work them out they would get weak. Now instead of actually being strong, they just LOOKED strong. SO when the weight was put on, I couldn't hold up under the pressure. Here's the critical point:
Don’t let compliments talk you into compromise. Don't let compliments become your containers.
We all like compliments and feelings of appreciation. However, if we are not careful they can talk us into becoming lazy and compromising our work ethic or future efforts. If you are naturally good or gifted at something, don't think that is enough. Keep growing...keep building...keep learning...keep pushing! Chances are, you have only seen just a small portion of what is really possible!
I have made a decision this week that I will never allow compliments to talk me into becoming comfortable. In reality, compliments can become the enemy of my growth. And who really wants weak legs anyways?
I love my wife Niki Winston! She is amazing and I feel the same way about her now as I did when we were first married, and my love for her has even grown! Many people ask how do we do it after almost 10 years, 4 kids, and tons of ministry and life responsibility. Well the first answers are obvious: prayer, selfless love, and being committed to God... but the second is DATING!
I cannot stress this enough to married couples:
If you want to keep the marriage DATE YOUR WIFE (or husband)! How can you keep something growing if you don't pay attention to it? Dating is like watering the flower of your marriage ? . When I say dating I mean spending concentrated time outside of the house together. No kids, no work, no household tasks, no distractions. Doesn't matter so much of what you do, just do it TOGETHER. Make it a priority. For real for real.
Just because you are in the same room with your spouse doesn't mean that you all are spending quality time together. Roommates can do be in the same room, but experience little to no connection at all. It's like you bringing a pitcher of water and setting it next to the flower of your marriage...just because the water is in close proximity doesn't mean that the flower is actually receiving water. Many couples get so used to being around each other that they forget to be WITH each other. Then over time the other person changes (which life will naturally do to you) and you will feel like your spouse is a stranger - Because you were NOT consistently getting to know them again every week as they changed. But dating will keep you close. Locked in. On par with their changes, challenges, desires, heart shifts, passions, and serious warning signs.
Niki and I have had dozens of DEEP meaningful conversations that brought out important points...where did they happen? DATE NIGHT. Away from the noise and distractions of life - In a focused and intimate conversation. Niki and I try to date once a week. We have to make time for it. We eat out, go to plays, shop, walk around town, travel occasionally, go to a movie, go to dance class/karaoke, etc. If you are on a budget, there are low cost options too: walking in the park, taking a bike ride, picnics, library (yes I said library lol)... you get the idea. Just do something! It's critically important if you want to divorce-proof your marriage. You can never grow something that you refuse to pay attention to.
If you WANT your marriage, treat it like so. Date your spouse and never let go. ❤️
Yesterday, I got the most AMAZING revelation and I just had to take a moment to share it with you! I was in the middle of teaching a message on receiving God's love (you can listen to it below). We know that God's love is limitless and unconditional towards us. And as I was teaching the message at our weeklyGo Hard for Christ youth service, this revelation hit me like a truck! This is what happened in the few minutes leading up to it. I asked our teenagers a simple question:
How do you feel loved by other people close to you?
I got all kinds of different answers. I feel loved...
"When people are honest."
"When people say nice things to me."
"When they encourage me!"
"When they are loyal to me."
"When they are looking out for me."
"By the way they take care of me!"
"When they give me things."
"When they go out of their way to do certain things for me."
The list went on and on... then the revelation hit!
If that's how you feel most loved by other people, how do you expect to feel loved by God if you don't allow him to do those same things to you and for you?
God is capable of doing each one of those things listed. God is love, and every scenario that we can come up with on how we feel loved will lead back to something that God did first and does best! God is love and He wants to love us unconditionally! But it's our job to put ourselves in the proper place so that we can receive God's love, and not reject His love. So ask yourself, how do I feel most loved by people? Then take inventory and see if you have allowed God to love you in that same way.
Several years ago my wife introduced me to something that changed my life forever. It changed how I viewed my relationship with my wife and with others. It also helped me to discover more about myself. It is called the five love languages - based on a popular book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It's a great way to find out how you most feel loved by others. I found out that the way I most feel loved by my wife is words of affirmation and acts of service from her towards me. Amazingly, when I applied those things to my relationship with God, I found out that the same holds true. I feel so loved by God when he affirms me by speaking to me, and even receiving prophetic words from others. When God says those things to me I write them down and I go back to read them often. Then when God does things for me to make things easier or better in my life, that's just the icing on the cake. When He sends people to me to help serve the mission that he's given me, it expresses His love towards me. Even thinking about Jesus dying on the cross for me speaks love to me because it was the ultimate act of service and sacrifice.
Take the test and find out what your most dominant love languages are!
If receiving a gift from someone makes you feel most loved, then how will you ever feel loved by God if you never choose to receive his blessings in your life? You MUST receive those gifts/blessings from God. Or if you are a person that translates love as spending quality time together, then it is of utmost importance for you to spend TIME with God, in His presence. If you don't, you might find yourself not feeling loved by God -- not because God has stopped loving you, but because you have not put yourself in proper position to receive His love. If loyalty and faithfulness are important, then it is important that you trust God especially in the hardest seasons of your life. It is then that God can show His faithfulness towards you and the resulting feeling will be love!
I believe this principle holds the key to TRULY receiving God's love. And as it says in 1 John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us..." Receiving God's love is how you put yourself into a position to live the blessed life that He's promised.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David S. Winston
I want to help others discover how they can live the best of life. I have been a youth pastor and ministry executive for since 2009 and I love inspiring people to become greater! Learn more about me here.