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Jesus is With Us in the Storm

This is the post excerpt.

Despite our unexpected stormy trials, believers are never alone.  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Trials, sorrows, and difficulties are designed to give us spiritual growth and dependency on God. We were not created to live without God’s divine intervention. Yes, it is natural for our emotions to escalate when we perceive our hardships as overwhelming. But uncontrolled emotions make us forget the power of God. And then we lose our faith and hope.

Take the time to separate yourself and pray for help. Pray an honest prayer. “God, I am feeling overwhelmed and disappointed. I need your help. I know that you love me and will bring me victoriously through this situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Praise God and thank Him in advance for His Divine Intervention. Prayer does not take away our trials. Consistent prayer allows us to receive strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Study the Scriptures every day. Include time for quiet meditation. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. We hear the voice of God through our thoughts, the Scriptures, reading or hearing another believer’s testimony of victory, and sermons. Sometimes God uses spiritual dreams or another believer with who you may not have shared your situation. God is creative and He determines the method in which He will speak to us. Faith prepares us to recognize and receive God’s answers.

When the disciples were in the boat, fearing for their lives, Jesus appeared to them by walking on the water. “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Remember, we are never alone. Jesus is with us in every stormy trial. The human effort of faith and trust along with Divine intervention always ends in victory! During the challenges of the raging storm, Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Take the giant leap of faith and “Go Ahead! Walk on the Water.” © Sonya Darcell Johnson 2022

Good Deeds and Kind Acts

Good Deeds and Kind Acts Devotional Reading and Podcast

Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world. –James 1:27, Amplified Bible

Benevolence is a word that many are unfamiliar with. The dictionary definition of well-meaning or acts of kindness omits the source and the character trait which gives us the desire to help others. We must have a loving Christ-like heart to understand the true meaning of serving others. Benevolence is not performing random acts of kindness, it flourishes from a heart that is dedicated to God.

How often do our prayers focus only on our needs or desires? All Christians must pray for those in distress and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the individuals we can help. Christ spent His life on earth focusing on the needs of others. We must follow in His footsteps. Too much is given, much is expected.

Then let your voice be often heard in prayer for the Lord to give strength and courage to the sick and afflicted, and that His light may cheer them in their suffering loneliness. Let every one of us think that we can do something to make the burden a little lighter for our brother or sister, who has more to bear and suffer than ourselves. Young and old, let your life be made up of good deeds and of kind acts. EGW

Prayer: God, we pray for those who are suffering from loneliness, hopelessness, discouragement, and physical illnesses. We ask for the Holy Spirit to provide comfort and strength and to convey the message of hope that Jesus loves and cares for them. Lord, reveal to us how we can help others. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

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The Righteous Exalt God

The Righteous Exalt God Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” –James 1:17

We have a loving and powerful Heavenly Father who gives us abundant gifts of provisions and mercies from His loving heart. Jesus commands angel armies to protect and keep us safe from spiritual warfare. Do we have a heart bursting with gratitude for our Father who keeps giving? Sadly, we usually exalt ourselves for the abundance of a good life.

Why is it so easy to place confidence in our limited abilities? We are influenced by the worldlings who promote self-made success and the deception that humanity can manifest whatever we speak into existence. The distractions in life overwhelm us to the point that we forget that God is our Provider.

Our world is dynamic. Without our consent, we are forced to move forward at such a rapid pace that we forget this is our Father’s world. Changing our worldview to a Biblical view is necessary to sustain our joy and peace when hardships arise that we are powerless to resolve.

King Solomon also reminds us that our lives are a vapor–quickly lived and quickly forgotten. Because our world is so full of chaos and threatens to weaken our faith and destroy our gift of a sound mind, God comforts us with His promises, “I change not! and I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Giving God gratitude readily flows from hearts bursting with love for our Heavenly Father. Daily worship reinforces our belief in God’s Divine Intervention in our lives.

“You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.” –Psalm 118:28

Exalt God every day through prayer and praise. Who else can give us never-ending love and mercies? Placing our faith and trust in God when our lives are peaceful provides us with the courage and confidence to face the stormy seasons that threaten to shake our very existence.

The righteous exalt God because we love Him. We know our hope is in Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. Christ is the only stable foundation we can rely on in our perilous, changing world.

Prayer: God, we have placed too much confidence in ourselves and others. Thank you for sustaining and providing for us. We exalt Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.

Created in His Image–For What Purpose?

Created in His Image—For What Purpose? Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” –Psalm 139:14

Have you ever wondered about God’s plans for humanity? With over 8 billion people on the planet, it seems impossible that everyone would have a purpose that would make a difference. Yet, we must trust in God when He says that there are plans for each of us. Without God, we are only living to exist. A mindset filled with uncertainty leads to discouragement, depression, anxiety, and worries.

Yes, the question of Why am I here? is frequently asked. God has the answer in the Scriptures. God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Spiritual Gifts: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

God has equipped us with innate gifts and talents that enable us to live joyful, productive, purpose-driven lives. We have talents that allow us to work and earn money to obtain our life necessities. Our earthly labors require time management skills, structure, and discipline. Although our jobs provide monetary compensation to take care of ourselves and our families, they are secondary to our spiritual assignment from God.

Do Not Let Your Career Become a Roadblock! Give us this day our daily bread is asking God for today’s necessities of life along with the daily strength to perform our spiritual purpose and our tasks of labor. For His grace and mercies, at the end of the day, we thank God for the mental and physical strength to achieve our accomplishments.

God defines His role in our purpose. “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Christian believers have three responsibilities, to worship God every day, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Psalm 95:6). At every given opportunity, we are to witness the love of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, “Go, and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:18-20). And to help those in need, “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17).

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

Jesus warned us that our earthly lives would be filled with disappointment. Satan, our enemy loves for our emotions to escalate in response to our activities of daily life. When we pray, the Holy Spirit gives us strength from Jesus who reminds us that He is the Source of our daily strength. We are the only created beings that can think, reason, and choose to have faith and trust in a Higher Power outside of ourselves.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or terrified of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” –Deuteronomy 31:6

When we choose to have a relationship with the Creator, we are guaranteed victorious outcomes from all adversities. Jesus told the apostle Paul, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Jesus’ strength is power!

Faith is the catalyst that allows us to proclaim that all things are possible with Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Divine intervention requires that we do our part first by believing the scriptural promises of God. We remain courageous while living out God’s purpose because His plans are perfect. We never have to figure out the answers.

Humans can persevere and overcome challenges when we pray for Divine Intervention. When God is involved, be prepared for a change in your life.

Why am I here and what is my purpose? Think of yourself as one of God’s priceless investments.

Before God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26, first part), we know that God’s heart was full of love and we can only imagine that He was excited to see replicas of “His likeness.”

Maybe we cannot imagine the beauty and perfection of the Garden of Eden. Yet, our Earth has areas so phenomenal that the beauty of nature is a magnificent expression of God’s adoration and majesty. From a loving heart, Jesus created humanity, the earth, the world, and the universe for us to live happy, joyful, and contented lives.

God, our Heavenly Father, freely pours out His love, grace, and mercies to us every day. Yet, the wonderful gift was allowing Jesus to die to redeem us from the second and final death. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Why did God create humanity? We were created to worship and give God the highest praise from His agape love. We were created to love God and one another, marry, and have children. Even so, we were given free will of choice.

In Psalm 118, King David begins his song to remind us that God created us to worship and give Him our praises of gratitude, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).

One of my favorite writers states, “We were created for dignity, purity, and elevation of character in this life, and for joy unspeakable and full of glory in the future immortal life.” EGW

He created people out of love for the purpose of sharing love. People were created to love God and each other. Additionally, when God created people, he gave them good work to do so that they might experience God’s goodness and reflect his image in how they care for the world and each other. https://www.gcu.edu/blog/theology-ministry/dear-theophilus-why-did-god-create-world

Jesus promised in Matthew chapter 6 that He would give us all of our provisions when we seek the Kingdom of God first. Has God given us too much? The thought comes to mind of parents who love and adore their children. Their home is filled with affection, laughter, and adequate playtime. They patiently teach good morals and values, only for that one child to reject their love, disobey, and rebel against everything good and lovely.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to Reveal Your Purpose

Maybe we have never thought about the reason we were born to live in such a time as this. God has a pre-determined purpose for each of us. Do we love God enough to obey and do His will? Do we love God enough that we desire to live with Him eternally? If not, we are like rebellious children who continuously reject their parent’s love.

After some deep, reflective thinking, I am not proud of the disobedient choices that I have made with my gift of free will. Yet, my spiritual insight into why I was created has given me the desire to love God through humility and obedience. Yes, I can love and live differently with the deeper understanding and wisdom the Holy Spirit gives when I commit to my God-given purpose.

I pray that we will whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love, for Jesus’ love and His continuous service to humanity as our Heavenly Intercessor, and for the Holy Spirit, who is our Teacher revealing the truth that we are not deceived and our Comforter in the seasons of hardships and sorrows. Nor can we forget the guardian angels who serve humanity to protect us against physical danger and spiritual warfare.

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” –Psalm 105:4

The commitment to fulfill our spiritual purpose on earth reflects obedience and demonstrates our love, honor, and respect for the Creator God. Our life on earth reveals our decision to choose God first.

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” –Psalm 118:29

Prayer: God, we confess and repent of possessing a rebellious mind. We love You. Thank you for creating us in your image. Please reveal our spiritual purpose. We give You the praise, honor, and glory that You deserve. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Confidence in Christ

Confidence in Christ Devotional Reading and Podcast

I recall the excitement of being hired by United Healthcare as a Quality nurse. The training center was in Dallas which was a two-hour commute round trip, but at the end of the five-day orientation, we would return to our assigned location which was 30 minutes from my home.

On the first day, an incident happened that caused a wave of shock throughout the room. One of the nurses who was a former school principal with two Master’s degrees–education and nursing challenged one of the company’s processes as outdated, time-consuming, and not a reflection of the theory of working smarter, not harder.

The trainer made the simple comment, This is our process, and moved forward. Our coworker was asked to meet with the supervisor during the last 15 minutes of training.

The following day, she was extremely quiet and made no comments. At lunchtime, she invited several people to go out with her for lunch. Two of us declined the invitation because we valued our reputation and our new job. But she did not lack the determination to attempt to recruit the only two people who were not in agreement with her thought processes.

The following day she did not go out for lunch. As the three of us sat quietly eating in the large room, our coworker attempted to persuade the two of us that she was right in her evaluation of the outdated process. I ignored her rant and kept eating.

Our other coworker was a quiet, young man with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He responded respectfully, “If you feel that you cannot be loyal to the company and have confidence in their processes then this is not the right place for you,” ending the conversation as the three of us finished our lunch without speaking another word.

Self-Confidence = Spiritual Dilemmas

Many believers are in a spiritual dilemma because they have overconfidence in themselves. Thinking too highly of oneself diminishes our confidence in Christ. We can easily verbalize that God is powerful, but excluding Him from our daily lives is evidence that we feel we are doing a good job of taking care of ourselves.

Decision-making based on prior life experience, educational achievements, and emotions brings unnecessary consequences into our lives. Eventually, we will face a challenge that we cannot resolve. After trying everything humanly possible, we will stand at the spiritual crossroads finally recognizing our need for God.

The Spiritual Side of “You Can Do Nothing”

Jesus tells us that He is the Source from which all power flows. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” –John 15:5

Every day we demonstrate in whom we place our confidence and loyalty, either in Christ or ourselves. Although we do not verbalize our unbelief in Christ telling us we can do nothing without Him, the decisions we make, the friends we hang out with, and our lifestyle reveal the true status of our hearts.

What did Jesus mean when He said, “…for without Me you can do nothing?” We can never achieve daily spiritual growth leading to a complete spiritual transformation–the change of our carnal heart into the likeness of Christ [Sanctification]–without love and loyalty to Christ. Divine Intervention is required for us to be saved and receive the reward of eternal life.

Misunderstanding the Importance of Agape Love

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.'” –Matthew 22:37-38

Love is the foundation for our faith, trust, confidence, loyalty, and obedience to God. Love motivates us to put God first! Love causes us to willingly give our all to God. Love causes us to persevere and keep running the race because we have confidence in God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Dilemma of Not Recognizing Our Limitations

The closer you get to Jesus, the more sinful you realize you are. –Billy Graham

When we study The Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 and the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5, verses 22 and 23, we realize that despite our excellent decision-making skills, spiritual transformation is impossible without abiding in Christ.

Steadfast love for God strengthens our faith and gives us the right standing to have a thriving relationship with Christ. Without the angelic hosts who protect us, we cannot fight the demonic forces of wickedness. Excluding God places us in the same dilemma as unbelievers who reject God–suffering the hard way of the transgressor. Satan knows that humanity is defenseless against his spiritual warfare so he distracts us with worldviews that promote self-confidence and self-made success.

Having confidence in our abilities robs us of the joy and peace that flows from Jesus, our Lord, and Savior. When we have to face the unexpected alone, our spiritual state is already compromised causing our emotional state to rapidly decline. Faced with a situation that is beyond our capabilities leaves us anxious and worried. We were not created to resolve trials, tribulations, and sorrows without Divine Intervention.

Building our Confidence in Christ

Acknowledge your weakness and repent: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” –Romans 7:14-15

Pray for Christ’s Divine help: The Apostle Paul expressed his continuous struggle to live a Holy and righteous life. He knew that we could not live righteously without Divine Intervention. Paul proclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Make the Commitment to Put God First: Every day when you awaken, set aside uninterrupted time for worship. Pray a daily prayer of surrender, “God, what do you want me to do?”

Study the Scriptures: Study the book of John to learn about Jesus and His life on earth as seen through the eyes of the disciple whom Jesus loved. John was far from perfect, but he desired to be like Jesus.

Align Yourself with Christ: We cannot live to please ourselves. Forsaking our desires and praying before we make decisions places us in harmony with God. Have you ever thought about doing something, but then you had a thought that said, No? It was the Holy Spirit’s intervention to keep us in the will of God. The Holy Spirit teaches, reveals God’s plans, and gives us spiritual discernment to keep us from making decisions that lead to unforeseen consequences.

Live with the determination to have Confidence in Christ!

Those who focus on Jesus will be empowered to do many things for His honor and glory. The Christian believer will always be courageous when their confidence is in Christ. We are never alone! Maintain a daily relationship with Jesus to strengthen your faith. Be consistent in your worship in the good times, so that when the stormy times come, you will have unwavering faith and the confidence that Jesus is with you.

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” –Philippians 1:6

Prayer: God, we thank You for your love, grace, and mercies. We repent for excluding You from our lives. Thank you, Jesus, for your life, love, and strength. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.

The Mountains Will Move

The Mountains Will Move Devotional Reading and Podcast

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.'” –Mark 11:22-23

As we read Mark 11, verses 22 and 23, Jesus tells us that when we face the mountains of adversity, our steadfast faith is the gateway for God to manifest His power in our lives. Contrary to popular belief, even with unwavering faith, humanity does not have the power to manifest miracles or remove our trials and sorrows.

For example, we may face the mountain of a severe illness, yet, we cannot command our bodies to be healed. God’s response is activated by the human effort of praying a prayer of faith asking for healing. “And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven” (James 5:15).

Jesus created us, so He is aware of our frailities, and the fact that most of us are easily overwhelmed when facing the mountains of adversity. Thankfully, our all-knowing Father anticipated that we could do nothing without Him. So, He generously gave us spiritual gifts at the onset of our journey of life.

Our gifts never achieve growth unless we use our human effort to believe and trust in God. Each day approach God when you awaken with a prayer asking for wisdom and an increase of faith. Personal worship builds our love, trust, and confidence in God. In Psalm 34, David testifies that from our prayers, God initiates His Divine Intervention to deliver the righteous from their many troubles.

We greatly benefit from doing our part to strengthen our relationship. When our first response to challenges is to pray and wait on the Lord, our faith and trust in God gives us assurance in His power and we confidently live by faith.

Spiritual Gifts: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sound Mind and a Measure of Faith: “For through the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

Our spiritual gifts cannot remain dormant. It is impossible for a believer to be faithless. We require continuous spiritual growth and development which is only achieved by staying connected to the vine, Jesus Christ. Our journey of traveling on the Path of Righteousness has a spiritual purpose [which includes suffering], to build our faith, trust, obedience, confidence, and courage in God.

Pray: We grow by communicating with Christ through prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures. The apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing every day. Developing a habit of prayer gives us the faith and courage to rely on God through every season of life. Through prayer, God has given us access to the spiritual help and reinforcement we need to live righteously.

Study: The Scriptures are from the Voice of God. We also learn of His character and promises that reinforce our faith. The prophet Hosea relays God’s warning to us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The importance of studying the Bible is defined by King David, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

As believers, we never graduate from our status as Bible students. Yes, we gain knowledge and wisdom from the consistent study of the Scriptures, but our love relationship with Christ grows stronger from studying God’s love letter to us. The Holy Spirit brings comfort in times of distress by reminding us of God’s promises which require us to memorize Scriptures. If I know that God says, when I pass through the waters that He will be with me, then my outlook is not hopeless.

Pray throughout the day to receive the anointing and empowerment from the Holy Spirit, which is necessary to experience spiritual growth. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

The faith that can speak to the mountains and move them is built on a foundation of love for God.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'” (Matthew 22:37).

Love is the foundation of our relationship with Christ. From loving Christ we receive His strength and the power to overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Sanctification is the daily spiritual transformation of our character changing into the likeness of Christ.

From a heart filled with an unwavering love for God flows humility and the desire to obey. For our dedication, we receive the Divine strength of Christ which empowers us to speak in faith to the mountain. With courage and perseverance, we live to do our Father’s will.

In His short time on earth, Jesus lived the struggle of humanity. He faced many mountains–who can imagine fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness and enduring rejection from those with hateful hearts up until the moment of His death on Calvary? Yet, Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world!” Through our Lord and Savior, we can also live as overcomers.

Human effort is required to move mountains: “…But the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4, NKJV).

Prayer: God, we pray for the steadfast faith to speak to our mountains and through Your mighty power they are removed. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

When Change Leads to Victory

When Change Leads to Victory Devotional Reading and Podcast

1998 was a momentous year. At 40 years of age, I had an excellent career, was pursuing my nursing degree, and was in a loving relationship. Yes, I was thrilled because not only did I have love and financial stability, but the pursuit of taking academic courses part-time came to fruition. Now I only had to complete the clinical portion of the nursing program.

I requested transcripts to be sent to the six colleges [within a 50-mile radius from my home] that offered a nursing program in the State of New Jersey. As I mailed the six envelopes containing my application for review and acceptance, I felt overjoyed. Within two weeks, I received acceptance letters from four of the programs, along with an explanation from the other two that they were on probation with the Board of Nursing and could not accept new applicants.

As I read the acceptance letters again, I could not believe what I saw, the start date was August 2000. This had to be an error. How was it possible that I was placed on four waitlists for two years? After speaking to the admission counselors from the four colleges, they explained their admission quotas for 1998 and 1999 were filled.

“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9

The defeat of disappointment overwhelmed me like arriving at the beach and 10 minutes later, dark storm clouds fill the sky. I didn’t know how to proceed, but I was determined that I would not wait for two years. In a prior life, I lived in Upstate NY and was aware of several nursing programs. After speaking to a friend who graduated from one of the programs, he told me to apply and in May 1998, I received an acceptance letter to begin in August of 1998.

My happiness was short-lived. How would I attend nursing school on a full-time status four hours from New Jersey? What about my job that I would be fully vested within six months? And I was in love, most long-distance relationships fizzle out and I was 40, not 20! The ambivalent feelings destroyed my peace of mind. Instead of celebrating, I was overwhelmed by the possibility of making the wrong decision.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Finally, I remembered that I needed to ask God for help. The dilemma of choosing my present life of love and financial stability versus the consequences of choosing the unfamiliar and losing everything that I valued resulted in anxiety and fear.

In June 1998, I took a leap of faith by traveling to Upstate NY to look at a couple of apartments. Even as a full-time student, the rent was affordable. I signed a 12-month lease with the option to renew. Within two weeks, the love of my life accompanied me in disbelief to help me move. He gave me the option to call him if things did not work out.

As we said our final goodbyes, I knew that God orchestrated my new journey. Yes, I lost my relationship and resigned from a stable job that had much to offer, but God had other plans for my life. Graduating in December of 2000 brought tears of joy because I obeyed God. Through God’s divine intervention, I accomplished my goal to become a Registered Nurse. He removed all distractions that were a hindrance to achieving His plans for my life.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.” –Isaiah 55:8

If you are facing a major life change and feeling the defeat of disappointment, failure, or fear, pray and involve God before you make any decisions. Yes, I was fearful, but I obeyed God. Our Heavenly Father never makes mistakes. His promises are yes, to which we say, Amen!

The path to victory always requires three things: To have faith in God’s plans, to let go of the things [and some people] that we value, and to move forward despite the fear of the unknown. When we fully rely on and trust in God, His promises evolve into greater things for our lives.

Remember unexpected life events come as a surprise to us, but not to God. It is 2023 and as I reflect on my life-changer from 1998, I proclaim with confidence, Go ahead, and let God lead you into victory! God will manifest His greatness and power by giving victorious outcomes that you could never envision.

Prayer: God, we are standing at a crossroads and need your guidance. We ask You to reveal the steps that we need to take to fulfill your plans for our lives. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray, Amen.

Where Is the Promise?

Where Is the Promise? Devotional Reading and Podcast

“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9

We diligently prayed and asked God to let us be accepted into the university, start our business, change jobs, purchase a vehicle or house, get married, or after miscarriages, have children. God gave us a yes answer, but when we do not receive the promise immediately, we become impatient.

Where is the promise? Distracted by the delay causes us to forget that we live by God’s standards and not the prevailing worldviews of completing self-made accomplishments at a certain stage in life.

God has given each of us innate talents, spiritual gifts, and the ability to dream. Why do some people move forward and make achievements while others never see their desires come to fruition? Several reasons prevent us from receiving God’s promises: Doubt, unbelief, impatience, ingratitude, and rushing ahead of God by taking steps to make it happen faster.

One deception that many believers embrace is the comparison game–we begin to measure our lives by comparing ourselves to the success of others. My friends and siblings have achieved their goals. We begin to think wayward thoughts, Why am I last on God’s list? Comparison breeds impatience, disappointment, and disbelief in God’s timing and perfect plan for our lives.

“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” –Proverbs 20:24 NLT

Biblical history reveals that humanity’s challenges and emotional responses are already documented in the Scriptures. Our wavering faith in God is predictable behavior.

Abraham and Sarah’s Promise

In Genesis chapter 18, Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent. When he looked up three men were standing by him, knowing that these men were heavenly visitors, he bowed himself to the ground and offered them food. After eating, the Lord asked, “…Where is Sarah your wife?” So he said, “Here in the tent.” (verse 9).

The Promise: “And the LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.” –Genesis 18:10, the first part

Sarah’s Response: “…Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'” –Genesis 18:10-12

Jesus’ Response: “And the Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ –Genesis 18:13-14

Sarah’s Attempted Coverup: “But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh!'” –Genesis 18:15

Sarah represents two groups of believers, those who react with unbelief to God’s promise for them because they look at their circumstances instead of believing in the power of God. And the second group of believers wholeheartedly believe that God will give them exactly what He has promised, but their joyful anticipation turns into doubt when they have to wait for an extended time to receive their promise.

God knows the state of our hearts. He knows who will react with doubt and who will lose hope. Did our promise die? If God said it then He will do it. We are the stumbling block. We are the reason that our promise did not come to fruition.

“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” –Hebrews 11:6

What can we do now? Go back to the Promise-maker! In God’s mercy, He waits for us to confess and repent that we have a heart full of doubt and unbelief in His promises and power. Our Heavenly Father is not punitive! He will help us change our unbelief into a faith that grows daily.

Accept God’s timing! We cannot rush the process of spiritual growth and development. For our faith to grow, we will be given obstacles and trials that require us to depend on God. Our goal is not to receive the promise that is on hold. Never forget that faith is the foundation of our relationship with Christ.

Faith keeps us believing in the plan of Salvation. Faith keeps us steadfast when the storms of life appear to overtake us. Faith is required for us to receive the strength from Jesus to endure and persevere when our natural tendency is to give up! Faith empowers us to hold onto every promise that God has made to humanity. And our faith will give us the joyful anticipation to believe that we are on the verge of receiving our promise from God, despite the waiting period.

Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. Is there anything too hard for God?

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

Prayer: God, we confess and repent for our faithlessness in Your promises and Your power. We desire for our faith to grow and to have a closer relationship with Christ. We commit to waiting until you say that we are ready to receive our promises. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.

God’s Promises, Presence, and Power

Sabbath Devotional Reading–God’s Promises, Presence, and Power

In 1963, a TV program starring David Janssen called The Fugitive, a man who was innocent but deemed guilty due to circumstantial evidence. Besides running for his life and hiding from the misguided authorities, his concentration was divided because he was also attempting to prove his innocence.

The show lasted for four seasons. Yet, it is quite interesting that the TV series imitated the story of David, the analogy of an innocent man who becomes a fugitive–running for his life.

First Samuel chapters 18 to 22 give us an in-depth account of David’s struggle to stay alive. How does one transition from a shepherd boy whom God used to kill Goliath to becoming a fugitive running from the same king who celebrated his victory over Goliath?

From Shepherd Boy to a Fugitive

After the slaying of Goliath, King Saul kept David with him, and would not permit him to return to his father’s house. The king was aware that God had a divine purpose for David. He possessed courage, strong warrior traits, and leadership qualities unusual for a young man his age. After God gave David and the soldiers victory over the Philistines, all was well until Saul heard the Israelite women’s song honoring David.

“As the troops were returning home after David had killed the Philistines, the women came out of all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs, and with tambourines and other instruments. And as the women danced, they sang out: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ And Saul was furious and resented this song. ‘They have ascribed tens of thousands to David,’ he said, ‘but only thousands to me. What more can he have but the kingdom?…'” –1 Samuel 18:6-8

The demon of jealousy entered the heart of the king. He was angry because David was exalted above himself in the song of the women of Israel. Patriarchs and Prophets

Because of Saul’s unrepentant and disobedient spirit, God told Samuel that He had rejected the self-exalting king. The prophet Samuel loved Saul like a son, which led to an emotional response to God’s decision. He petitioned God through prayer to reconsider removing Saul as king.

God’s answer: “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.'” –1 Samuel 16:1

God’s Promise: God chose David to be King Saul’s replacement as king of Israel. “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…” (1 Samuel 16:13).

God’s Presence: Although we do not know the exact number of years that David ran from King Saul, scholars estimate between 8 to 13 years. From a human perspective, it is difficult to understand the reason for David’s extreme hardship of living in caves and constantly on the run. Yet, God was aware of David’s strengths and weaknesses and the adversity required to shape his character and prepare him to lead the nation of Israel as their king. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4).

God’s Power: Every moment of every day, God was with David. Saul tried with all of his might to kill the giant slayer and the next king of Israel, but he failed. Read 1 Samuel chapter 24 to learn how God’s Divine Intervention adds an unexpected twist to King Saul’s relentless pursuit of David.

David did not avoid Saul using strategic maneuvers or relying on his knowledge and skills. David was more than a victorious warrior of battles, he was a prayer warrior who communicated with God about every tribulation he faced. Not only did he praise God in hard times, but David also wrote an entire book of songs [the book of Psalms] that demonstrate his love and appreciation for God.

As children of God, we face spiritual warfare every day that comes in many forms. Psalm chapter 34 is a song of praise proclaiming “The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God.” David was captured and taken before King Abimelech. He pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

Psalm 34 contains thirteen of God’s promises to the righteous. Study the Scriptures and pray diligently for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life. Each of us will face time as a fugitive. At some point, we will have a hardship in our lives where family or friends cannot help us.

Spiritual Insight and Wisdom are Received From Divine Revelation

Although we may feel abandoned while in the wilderness of overwhelming hardships, from David’s life as a young shepherd boy to a fugitive, and finally becoming the King of Israel, we gain spiritual insight into who God is and the victory that comes from facing adversity when we pray for help. Despite life’s tough challenges, our faith should remain steadfast. Never forget that we serve a loving God who says, I change not!

Remain teachable by studying the Bible and praying. The human effort of maintaining our relationship with Jesus allows us to have steadfast faith in the most challenging times. Like David, although pursued by the enemy, our confidence and courage should never waver. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

Yes, we know who will deliver us from all of our troubles–our Dependable God who fulfills all of His promises, whose presence can be felt by whoever asks for Divine help, and who has the power to prevent, reverse, and remove all warfare against our lives.

Prayer: God, we thank you for Your promises, presence, and power. In faith, we surrender our hearts and commit to serving You as obedient disciples. Thank you for giving us the Sabbath– a time to rest our minds and bodies by shutting out the secular noise. We pray for spiritual insight, wisdom, and a blessing as we commune with You today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of Love

We love because he first loved us. –1 John 4:19

In John 16:33, Jesus warns us that our spiritual journey will be our hardest journey. But we can succeed with His help because Jesus overcame the world and all its tribulations.

Asking ourselves, Why have I excluded Jesus as my Divine Helper? will redirect our focus. God has perfect plans for each of us. Sadly, many Christians reject God’s purpose and spiritual assignment for their lives to pursue their own desires.

It took me too long to surrender to God’s will and plans for my life. But I finally did it. Just in Psalm chapter 34, there are 13 promises for the righteous. And God continually demonstrates His love and safekeeping in the peaceful times as well as the stormy seasons.

The righteous receive many benefits from dedicating themselves to Christ. Receiving the gift of peace changes our outlook and allows us to view Jesus through eyes of love. Be blessed 🙌

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