Pastor Joe Cotinola

God’s Perfect Timing

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:5-10

Trust. Such a small word that carries a huge weight behind it.  Have you ever put your trust in man? I think many of us have experienced the pain of a broken trust.  It’s not the best feeling in the world.  In fact, it can be real damaging in many ways.  That’s why God says, “cursed is the man who puts his trust in man.” He even goes on to say that he will be like a shortened bush…meaning he will be like a person who won’t reach their full potential.  If we want to be people who reach their full potential in life, we have to learn to put our trust in the one who controls life.  And that person is God.

Do you trust God? Now don’t be quick to say yes. Think about it. Do you really trust God? Let me ask you another question, has there ever been a time in your life where you had a need and wanted God to work it out the way you wanted Him to? Be honest. If you’re honest with yourself…then chances are you’ll be able to remember many times like that.  I’m sure there have been times when you said, “If I was God…then I’d…” But aren’t you glad that you’re not God? I’m glad you’re not God.  Truth is, it’s hard to wait on God.  But God is never late…he always shows up on the scene at exactly the right time.

When we don’t fully trust God’s sovereignty and timing, we’ll begin to ask the why and when question.  We’ll start to wonder “what are you waiting for God?” Our tendency is to want things now. But remember, God has an appointed time to answer your prayer.  I remember in my own life that I received a prophecy in my early walk with God that I was going to be a pastor one day and do all kinds of things for God’s kingdom.  You know how long it took for that to come to pass? 17 years! Let me say that again, 17 years!!! It’s hard to wait on God, but when you understand God’s timing…you’ll live a stress free life.  Don’t be like Abraham who received a promise that he would have a child with Sarah. Instead of waiting on God, he had a child with Hagar and had Ishmael.  There are too many christians that have Ishmael’s in their lives when God intended for Isaacs!

A few things that can help:

  • Wait patiently
  • God often works the most when we see it and feel it the least
  • Be wise. Learn to wait and trust on God’s perfect timing

Jesus Loves the Church

“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”Hebrews 10: 22-25 (The Message)

If you’ve ever stepped foot into a church service, you know it can be a battle! For every reason you can think of to go to church, you’ll probably think of just as many to keep you home or even go somewhere else.  It could be you’re sick, you’re not feeling well, maybe a relative needs your support, or you need to do something for work, not to mention the possibility that you have a hectic week ahead of you and you could use the extra rest…you following?  Hey, I feel like that sometimes…and I’m the pastor! I’ll tell you right now and listen carefully, there will ALWAYS be something in the way of you coming to church! It’s those who come to God in the good, bad and ugly that continue to find strength, discover their gifts and learn to trust in God’s promises.

The same was true for a young man by the name of Simon.  He was just a fisherman in the eyes of man but he was a rock in the eyes of God! And you know what, he sees you the same way! You can be someone who was emotionally shattered…God wants to make you into a rock! You can be someone who didn’t make all the right decisions..God wants to make you into a whole person.  You might just be a fisherman…but God will use you to be a fisher of men!

I have a question for you though…Are you using the keys that God has given to you? This is what Jesus is telling you and I today: “Why are you asking me for the keys? I’ve already given them to you. Speak to your mountain and yes it will be done.  You have to do something about it.  You have the power and the authority. I gave you the keys.  Open the door and walk through it.  You’re MY church. You’re MY prized possession.  The battle’s not yours, it’s MINE!”

Before I go, I just want to share a few things with you:

  1. Jesus intimately loves His Church – He sees your Potential, He sees you Prophetically and He sees you Positionally!
  2. Jesus wins over the kingdom of darkness through His church
  3. We provide protection by His church

If you’re taking the time to read this, I just want you to know that you’re apart of His church and that He loves you very much! He is going to make you into that rock that’s going to help build His kingdom! Keep going forward!

“It’s Our Time”

It’s a New Year and I’m believing now more than ever that “It’s Our Time!” I don’t just mean it’s our time for my family, or even just for my Ministry & Church but I believe that It’s Our Time for everyone that loves God to experience all that God has in store for them this year.  God is Opening the Windows of Heaven in 2011! And to kick this year off, I believe that we have to start out on the right foot.  The right foot meaning for us to seek God like never before.  If we want to do all that God has for us this year…I think it’d be great for us to take the time for us to hear from God ourselves.  We’ve declared a 21 day fast from January 10th – January 30th to really get a hold of God for this year.

Over the next few blogs, I’m going to be putting a few tips on fasting to help you become successful during this time:

DANIEL FAST GUIDELINES AND RECIPES

The Daniel Fast is a plant-based partial fast. It is based on the Prophet Daniel when he was under the rule of Babylonian kings for their personal service. Daniel recorded three occasions of fasting, though he likely fasted many more times since he was a man of God.

Daniel 10:2, 3 is where we find the model for the 21-day Daniel Fast. From this passage, a guidelines have developed over the years, primarily by Christians who use this as a form of fasting.

No Pleasant Food: This would include breads, sugars and sweet foods.

No Meat: All animal products are restricted on the Daniel Fast. That includes meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.)

No Wine: This restriction, coupled with previous fasts where Daniel drank only water (which is typical for biblical fasting), is where today’s Daniel Fast finds its roots for water only. Fruit and vegetable juices are acceptable.

One of the great things about the Daniel Fast is that you are not limited to any specific amount of food, but rather to the kinds of food you can eat. The Daniel Fast is limited to vegetables (includes fruits) and water.

Special Note: if you have health issues, please be sure to contact your health professional for advice before committing to any fast including the Daniel Fast.

Please make sure to READ THE LABEL when purchasing packaged, canned or bottled foods. They should be sugar-free and chemical-free. Keep this in mind as you review this list of acceptable foods.

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast

All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.

Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast

All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.

All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.

All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.

All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.

All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.

Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

You Can’t Out Give God

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.  I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” – John 10:10 (The Message)

From the moment that we accepted Christ into our hearts, we stepped into that better life than we ever dreamed of.  Salvation was just the beginning, it doesn’t stop there. Gods desire is that we have a full life for the rest of our lives.  Have you been living that life that God has specifically for you in every area of your life?  Could be with the relationships in your life? Your career? Schooling? Or even your finances? Take a second to think about your life and where you’re at right now.  In what areas could you use an improvement?

If you really desire change, then you’re off to a good start.  As christians, we should always desire to better our lives.  Why? Because that’s Gods desire for us as well.  God doesn’t want us to be in the same situation that we were in last year and I can guarantee that God wants next year to be the best year you’ve ever lived.  We serve a God that is always progressing…going from glory to glory.

In Christianity, there are two types of people: Followers of Christ and Disciples of Christ.  Which one are you?  The difference between the two is that a disciple is someone that is committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Does that change your answer to that question?  When we are fully committed to what Jesus said…we will begin to experience the well-being (which really means “prosperity”) that God has planned for our lives.

“32% of Christians in America claim that they tithe.” – George Barna

The sad fact about the above statement is that the higher the income bracket, the lower the amount that people gave.  We have to start here because our finances say a lot about what we are committed to. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21).  So let me ask you a question, where is your treasure?  We start with the tithe because that belongs to God.  What some people don’t realize is that the “rich, wealthy, etc.” is in the tithe.  Many wealthy people have learned this principle in their own lives and have lived wealthy lives.  One example is Henry Cromwell who gave 70% of his income to the Church.  See it starts at 10% but it doesn’t have to end there.  Remember, you can never out give God!

When we learn to let God take control, we are allowing him to be our shield.  If we take that a little bit farther, we are allowing him to become “El Shaddai” in our lives. That means, “The God who will reward you and provide for you…our source for everything we need in life.” Are you allowing God to be your source? I want to challenge you to really think about that question…don’t be quick to answer it and go about your day.  But take some time right now to think about whether you are allowing God to be your true provider or if you might be relying on another source for all your needs.