I have a new website! You will be redirected to my brand new blog. Cory Nickols: May 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Will You Serve Others?

For much of my life, I served my own needs and cared only about me! I was selfish to the core and honestly, I did not even know it. In other words, I was blind to my own sinful condition. One day in my early twenties, I was seeking God and I remember thinking in my mind about something I had to do, and these thoughts about “ME, MYSELF and I” were consuming my inner conscience, when all of a sudden, God showed me how self-centered I was. My life revolved around me. I rarely considered the needs of others, especially if it meant sacrificing something personally I was doing to benefit them. The Bible says,

“Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same" (Luke 10:31-37 NAS).

This passage describes how two religious leaders of the day refused to help someone in desperate need that had crossed their paths. Instead of stopping to address his wounds, they walked on by as if they had never seen him. Maybe they felt like they had to be on time to a business meeting or they did not have the energy or resources to help. Whatever their excuses were, God was not pleased with them. A third man came walking down the road and noticed the same injured man, but the Good Samaritan took pity on him and stopped to help. It was an inconvenience to the Samaritan because he was on a journey, but the Bible says he helped bandaged him up and took him to a hotel to stay until he got well. Not to mention, the Samaritan paid for all the injured man’s expenses. Now that was being a neighbor to his fellow man. How often do we come across people in our world, our community, our neighborhood or workplace and like the religious men, ignore the very people God wants us to help. Instead of reaching out to them, we make excuses why we can’t lend a hand.  

I am reminded of a story that took place in Atlanta, Ga at a church I attended. A good friend of mine was on her way to church, when her car went out of control due to a hard rain and she hit a telephone pole. Needless to say, she did not make it to church that morning. Several cars drove on by without stopping because it was pouring down rain, but one gentleman decided to stop and help. What my friend did not know was that this man was a preacher in the community and he was on his way to preach at our church at the second and third service that morning. He could have made excuses like: “I am supposed to go preach the word of God and set others free. I cannot stop. I will be late. After all, I am a guest preacher and they might not ever invite me back to speak.” Or he might have said, “There are many drivers on the road, one of them will stop to help. I cannot stop or I will be late for my speaking engagement.” I was amazed at his actions. The preacher stopped, got out of his car in the pouring rain and went to help my friend who was shaken up pretty badly. He missed both services that morning because he was a true “neighbor” to my friend. God was smiling on him that day because he offered assistance to someone who crossed his path over his own religious obligations. The Bible says,

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35)

God is looking for people who will lay down their lives for the good of others and see them succeed. We are to love others the way God loved us and by this everyone will know that we are followers of Christ. This preacher exemplified what it meant to love God and his neighbor. Don’t get discouraged if you have been a person who has lived for “self” most of your life. The good news is that you can start today and ask God to help you be others centered and see the way He sees. God can open your eyes to people in your everyday life that need His love and you can be His chosen instrument to make a difference in their world. Will you step up to the challenge? The Bible says,

"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9a New American Standard).

Become a servant for others and watch God do extraordinary things in your life. It is amazing that when we surrender our lives to God, He can empower us for His service. 

In my journey as a Christian, I began to realize I needed to change and be others centered. However, on my own I was powerless to do so. I asked God for His help and little by little He empowered me to walk by the Spirit of God instead of my fleshly impulses. At times opportunity would present itself for me to help someone, but it was at an inconvenient time. As I learned to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, He empowered me to accomplish His assignment, even though my flesh was telling me to go do what I wanted. I definitely have a ways to go, but I am not the person I once was. Just today, I was answering the phones for my brother’s company even though I do not work for him, so that he can be out getting work done for clients. When we spend our lives helping others, we are sowing seed that will one day come back into our lives. We reap what we sow. Will you begin sowing seed that is pleasing to God? Look for ways to bless others and when an opportunity crosses your path, be open to God so that He can accomplish something great through you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Be Grateful In All Things

Have you ever been in a situation so long, you became ungrateful? You no longer saw the good in your circumstances, but perceived it from a negative vantage point? If you have, you are not alone. The Israelites did the same thing when they left the land of Egypt. They had been enslaved for 400 years and were treated unjustly and with much cruelty. The Bible says, “Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act” Exodus 2:23-25. The Lord sent Moses to deliver his people from the Egyptians. By mighty miraculous acts God conquered the Egyptians and led His people into the wilderness to worship Him and move them into the land He swore to give to their forefathers. The Israelites had some inconveniences on the journey, but nothing compared to the slavery and oppression they had just been freed from. They cried out to God for help and He rescued them – just not in the way they thought it should happen. In response, they complained and murmured. The Bible says, “Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink” (Exodus 15:22-25). And another time shortly after this episode, His people complained again. The Bible says, “Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. ‘If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,’ they moaned. ‘There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death…’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God’” (Exodus 16:1-3, 11-12). Instead of being grateful and thankful to God for saving them from slavery and bondage, they complained because they did not get water exactly when and how they wanted it. Then they complained because they did not have the type of food they had in Egypt. God was their Deliverer and Provider and was leading them into an amazing land filled with many blessings, but He first tested their hearts to see if they would trust Him in the wilderness. Have you ever prayed for God to do something amazing in your life and then you found yourself in one difficult situation after another? If you have not, you eventually will. Learn to trust God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. He will guide your steps and will eventually bring you through the difficult trial and help you receive all the good things He has for you! You will be much stronger and better equipped to face other challenges in life and help others who face similar circumstances. The Bible says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4). God saw how He was going to take His people out of slavery and into a land that was filled with blessing, but His people had to learn to trust Him. Many refused to lean on God and ended up in the wilderness their entire lives. Will you trust God to take you into your promise land despite some inconveniences along the way?
Through the financial difficulties the last two years, I lost my job, my house, my car and almost everything tied to my name. I did everything I could to make good financial decisions and I still ended up bankrupt. Before this took place, I was praying for God to help me step into the plan and purpose He had for me and then my financial collapse. So many times along the way, I asked God, “What are you doing?!!!” He simply replied, “Trust Me.” At times during this process, I had to rely on other people to take me places, help me out financially and acknowledge my complete dependency on God! To say the least, I was uncomfortable, humbled and broken. As I learned to trust God, He began to open doors for me in a career that would not have opened had all these things not taken place. God was orchestrating my steps. I needed to trust Him and be thankful for all the good things He was doing in my midst instead of complain and murmur. He provided people to take me where I needed to go, He provided a place for me to stay with my parents…so grateful…He provided food and clothing for me and I have never gone without! I was tempted at times to go back to the way things used to be, but it never worked out. God’s plan for me was forward by faith, trusting Him because He sees above the storm clouds!
Will you trust God today and have an attitude of thankfulness and a grateful heart? It could be the very thing you need that propels you into your Promise Land.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right

Have you ever wondered how a couple so in love could hate each other weeks, months or even years later? Thousands of people tie the not each year never thinking that their marriage could be in trouble the day it started. Do you want some pointers that can save you a lot of grief when selecting the right mate? Read Cory Nickols Good News article: Looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Who knows, it could save you much heartache at the end of the day.

Looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dream Center - You Were Born For Greatness

Are you trying to find your calling in life? Do you sometimes feel as if you were born to do something great, but can't quite put your finger on it? Check out my latest article for the Good News: Dream Center - You Were Born For Greatness. I interviewed Pastor Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA about his life, ministry and his latest New York Times bestselling book, "The Cause Within You." He found himself looking for answers as to why God put him on this planet. This is a must read!

Dream Center - You Were Born For Greatness