The Privilege and Power of Prayer

The Privilege and Power of Prayer Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast

Our Christian experience is like a stream of water always flowing forward from the source. Our Source of life is Jesus Christ. Consistent prayer keeps us connected to our Source which is the reason the apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing. Effective communication is the key to building a loving, faithful, and trusting relationship with Christ.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6, NIV).

Corporate prayer is not enough to build our relationship with Christ and produce the spiritual transformation necessary to receive eternal life. It is the daily one-to-one prayers that strengthen our faith and trust in God. We are promised rewards [not necessarily financial] for diligently seeking God.

Prayer is the precious privilege of speaking to our Heavenly Father—prayer is a two-way conversation between us and God. Our prayers are an essential element of worship. Personal prayers allow us to share our innermost thoughts which leads to an intimate relationship with Christ.

Establishing the habit of prayer draws us closer to God. We learn to recognize His guidance, and the various ways He speaks to us through the Scriptures, our thoughts, and sometimes other people who also have a close relationship with Him. “…Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” –Matthew 6:10

“…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” –James 5:16

Prayer changes our perception of God. We begin to love God from the depths of our hearts. Willingly we surrender and obey our Heavenly Father. Time spent with God reveals the benefits, we have peace of mind despite our hardships. Our faith and confidence grow and we dedicate ourselves to doing His will. Consistent prayer builds an unbreakable bond between us and God.

As we witness His miraculous power, we place our complete trust in God. And the benefits of being fully reliant on our Father? Faith replaces fear and we enjoy the blessings of peace and joy. We have the assurance that God always keeps His promises. Never alone!

There is no need to worry about tomorrow, our lives are in His hands. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

We are not limited to praying only behind closed doors. Whether our prayers are silent or audible, we can pray anytime and anywhere. Regardless of the circumstances, minor or major, whisper a prayer for Divine Intervention immediately. Never let yourself become too busy to pray.

Despite our job or stay-at-home obligations, we can always incorporate a few 5-minute mini sessions of prayer to ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit who will give our souls a spiritual refreshment of comfort and strength. Feeling tired at work? Pray for strength instead of having a cup of coffee.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

How did we end up thinking that we had to travel this spiritual journey alone? God never expected us to live without His Divine Intervention. For us to have the reassurance that God will take care of us throughout our lifespan, we not only need to become prayer warriors, but we also require knowledge. Studying the Bible is not optional in the believer’s life. The Scriptures reveal God’s character and His promises to the righteous.

There is a reason the apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Much prayer brings much power! The vicissitudes of life are challenging. We will always feel overwhelmed when trying to resolve our trials and sorrows alone. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls'” (Matthew 11:28-29).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

None of us are exempt from the hardships that cause our emotions to escalate and drain our mental resolve and physical energy. When faced with adversity, weighed down with sorrow, feeling lonely, or out of options, do not let your emotions think for you. Do not do what you feel like doing! Pray! Pray even if the tears are flowing like a waterfall. You may have to take a day off of work to be alone with Jesus. Pray in faith, believing God’s promises.

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…'” (Isaiah 43:verses 1,2, and 3).

“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).

When we approach God in prayer, He requires us to have faith—believing that He will do exactly what He said in His promises. Perhaps you are a new believer or never committed to accepting Jesus as your Savior and do not understand the definition of faith. Grab your Bible or use an online version with audio and study Hebrews chapter 11. Pray a simple prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for an understanding of the Scriptures.

Even if you are not familiar with any of God’s promises in the Bible, proclaim your faith by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior. This may be your first prayer, “God, I don’t know Your promises, but I believe in Your Son, Jesus, and accept Him as my personal Savior. I am tired of living and feeling like there is no hope. I am asking you to come into my life and change my heart. I need Your help. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.” Although it appears that we are in a hopeless dilemma, remember nothing is impossible with God!

The love of God is matchless! With determination, believe that we serve an Omnipotent God who promises to take care of us. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all…” (Psalm 34:19).

Praying in faith means that you trust God to answer your prayer according to His will. Yes, our heartfelt, honest prayer was received, but we may have to wait for the answer. The Holy Spirit intercedes by taking every prayer to Jesus, Our Heavenly Intercessor and High Priest.

Although, we do not have to beg God for help, praying once is never enough! Many pray and then worry or attempt to answer their own prayers by developing Plans A and B because they expect God to resolve their dilemmas immediately.

Never dishonor God by demanding Divine Intervention right now. There are times when God includes a period of waiting to test our faith. “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).

Never give up! Keep praying and stay faithful. “Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16

Incorporating the habit of prayer into our lives strengthens us. Any time of the day or night we can have unlimited talks with Jesus. Silent prayers are just as effective as audible prayers. Many Christians miss out on the blessings of peace, joy, and a worry-free life because they let the seed of doubt enter their minds.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” –Hebrews 4:14

If you nurture doubt, the weed of worry grows and suffocates your faith. When feeling any negative emotion, immediately pray. Pray without ceasing to obtain victory! Forming the habit of much prayer provides confidence and courage. We have access to our High Priest, Jesus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who never sleeps or slumbers.

Prayer transforms our hearts. With humility, we recognize our dependency on God. Through prayer, we honor and glorify God and we receive the power to resist temptation and uphold God’s righteous standards. Prayer allows us to commune with God.

Prayer is our highest form of praise and worship to a powerful and loving God. Those who have a consistent prayer life possess a spirit of reverence for God. They desire to please Him by seeking His guidance and following His plans.

Jesus is our Divine Role Model: “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” –Luke 6:12

“Those who have a humble, trusting, contrite heart, God accepts, and hears their prayer; and when God helps, all obstacles will be overcome.” Ellen G. White

Prayer keeps us in alignment with God’s will and His plans for our lives. From consistent prayer, we begin to recognize God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit who often uses our mind to give us answers. Have you prayed and then received the answer as a thought? Or you knew that the decision you were going to make didn’t feel right?

Always pray for protection from physical danger and spiritual warfare. Every day our prayers should include a request for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment.

Prayer allows us to receive blessings and victorious outcomes even when the outlook is dismal. Pray, pray, pray to stay connected to the Source, Jesus Christ!

The Lord’s Prayer: After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Creator, Teacher, Savior, Intercessor, King of Kings, and Best Friend

Creator, Teacher, Savior, Intercessor, King of Kings, and Best Friend Devotional Reading and Podcast

“To Whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal? says the Holy One.” –Isaiah 40:25

From Genesis to Revelation, we read of Jesus’ overwhelming love for humanity. Sadly, like His disciples, many still do not understand that Jesus is our Savior and only Hope. Jesus Declares His Earthly Purpose to His Disciples: “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” –Luke 9:56

Jesus referring to Himself as the Son of Man has caused every religion other than Christianity to reject Him as the Son of God.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'” (John 14:6). “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

There are also growing controversies in the Christian community. Most believe that Jesus is God’s Son, He came to this earth, and died on the cross, but deny that complete surrender and obedience are required to have a heart-to-heart relationship with Him. Nor do they believe that Jesus’ command to fulfill The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to witness and make disciples applies to today’s Christians.

The price of disbelief is costly! Disobedience determines one’s destiny leading to the loss of the reward of eternal life.

What is Jesus doing in heaven now? Jesus’ commitment did not cease when He said, “It is finished!” on the cross. Jesus, our Savior, and High Priest is continuously working on our behalf as our Heavenly Intercessor.

“…It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16-17).

Although we are born in sin and shaped by iniquity, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus is the Source of grace and mercy and we can approach Him with confidence through our prayers. Because of our sinful natures, we also require intercession from the Holy Spirit. “Now, in the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…”(Romans 8:35).

Salvation and Redemption extend beyond Jesus’ crucifixion. The message that Jesus saves is relevant today and will remain until the day of Jesus’ Second Coming. Prayer is vital in the believer’s life. We pray to God, and the Holy Spirit intercedes by transforming prayers from sinful beings into acceptable groanings to be received by our Heavenly Intercessor, the Perfect and Holy Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, Our Best Friend–“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

Whether we are in the valley from trials and sorrows or on the mountain highs from victorious outcomes, we have a Best Friend who tells us to approach Him at any time. Prayers for God’s help always receive Jesus’ immediate Divine Intervention. “It will come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

The ability of the Holy Spirit to intercede for an infinite number of people at the same time is a mystery. Not every prayer receives an immediate answer, but the prayers of forgiveness, help in times of distress when facing the temptations of spiritual warfare, and before studying the Scriptures are answered before we pray. We should be in awe of the Omniscience of the Godhead. During our prayer, the Holy Spirit comforts, strengthens, and gives us peace, and wisdom.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”(Romans 12:2).

When our minds are in a state of confusion by Satan’s many deceptions, false teachings, liaisons with sinners appearing to be saints, and decisions regarding financial offers that would eventually bankrupt us, Pray! We do not have to succumb to the enemy’s spiritual warfare, pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit first!

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).

God’s thoughts and ways will remain a mystery until the Second Coming of Jesus and we receive the completion of our Spiritual Transformation. With the measure of faith that we received, we believe and accept that Jesus is the Son of God, He is the second person of the Triune Godhead, and is in the Heavenly Sanctuary serving as our High Priest and Intercessor from whom we receive grace and mercy.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made.” –John 1:1-3

The apostle John validates that Jesus was always present with God, His Father from the beginning of time. The Word is Jesus Christ who created the world and everything in it. From the commitment to die for us before creating humanity in His image to His lowly birth and gruesome death on the Cross at Calvary, Jesus demonstrates a heart filled with an overwhelming Agape love that we will never understand in our earthly existence.

By studying the life of Christ, we have evidence that He has always welcomed us with open arms. Jesus’ earthly life and ministry are documented in the Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as witnessed by four men–Matthew and John, two of the twelve disciples, and Mark and Luke, two followers of Christ. The Son of Man’s sacrificial love is evident in His teachings, outward display of love and compassion, the innumerable miracles of healing, and His responses of reassurance.

Agape love revealed itself through spoken words of encouragement and comfort which provided spiritual and emotional healing to everyone who believed. Jesus displayed gentleness and kindness to those with whom He interacted.

To the woman with the 12-year history of the issue of blood [that in faith] touched the hem of His garment, He asked, “Who touched Me?” When she made herself known, Jesus was aware that she was fearful. But with gentle words, He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer, your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48).

And to Jairus, the father who was distraught because his daughter was dying, Jesus gave words of comfort by telling him to have faith.

“And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death…While He was still speaking, messengers came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.'” (Mark 5:verses 22, 23, 35, and 36).

Still, my favorite New Testament story is the Feeding of the 5000 plus when Jesus displayed His never-ending love and longsuffering toward the disciples who were faithless and self-centered.

“When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is already late. Dismiss the crowds so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ ‘They do not need to go away,’ Jesus replied. ‘You give them something to eat'” (Matthew 14:15-16).

What a busy life Christ led! Day by day He might be seen entering the humble abodes of want and sorrow, speaking hope to the downcast and peace to the distressed. The poor and suffering received the greatest share of His attention. Children loved Him. Humble, gracious, tenderhearted, pitiful, He went about doing good, feeding the hungry, lifting up the bowed down, comforting the sorrowing. None who came to Him for aid went away unrelieved. Ellen G. White

With parables and sermons, Jesus provided the opportunity for Salvation and eternal life to all who believed. Jesus, the Teacher gave hope and healing to those who were impoverished, cast out, rejected, and oppressed by the hypocritical Pharisees who viewed themselves as the “righteous upper class. Jesus was approachable and He interacted with the publicans and sinners who were despised by the leaders of the synagogues.

The Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 is a powerful sermon full of promises that uplifts the downcast soul. Jesus’ sermons provided clarity that it was not the rich oppressors who would be rewarded by God.

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:1-12).

Through the study of the Scriptures, we learn of Jesus’ character of love, meekness, and longsuffering [patience]. He called twelve rugged and rowdy men–at least three or four were bullies and one was a thief to become His disciples. Even though they observed Jesus’ loving character, their spiritual vision was blinded because they had an agenda built on selfishness and the desire for an elevated status in society. Their primary concern was, “Who would be the greatest?”

Despite their many character flaws including faithlessness, Jesus lovingly persevered with His twelve disciples. In John chapter 17, Jesus’ prayer for the disciples gives evidence of their spiritual transformation. “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You, and they have believed that You sent Me” (John 17:8). All were converted except Judas of Iscariot.

Our Savior’s love and longsuffering along with His method of teaching is an example for us when witnessing. The outpouring of Jesus’ love was felt by the recipient and provided spiritual healing. The multitudes not only followed Jesus because He healed their mental, emotional, and physical maladies and performed miracles to alleviate their physical hunger, Jesus was a Balm to the destitute whose hearts were broken and scarred.

John the disciple whom Jesus loved because he had the desire to have the Character of Christ ends His Gospel with a loving summary of Jesus’ work on earth. “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen (John 21:25).

Where do we stand in our relationship with Christ? Is He our Savior and Best Friend?

Approximately 2000 years ago, on this earth, Jesus provided hope and healing to all who would receive Him. In 2023, we live in a world full of broken people who feel unloved and hopeless. Globally, countless individuals have never heard of Jesus or if they have, they do not possess the knowledge of Jesus Christ as a Savior. We have work to do! It’s time for us to follow Jesus’ example. We must do more than attend church, pray and study the Bible, and listen to sermons. Our Commission is to Go!

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” –Micah 6:8

As disciples living in the last days, Jesus gave us the command to share the Plan of Salvation with the unloved, abused, neglected, anxious, worried, depressed, and weary. We are the beacons of light that shine and reflect the love of Christ. Every believer is called to alleviate the anguish of hopelessness. Someone needs to know that Jesus loves them.

The message of God’s love and Salvation are not complex, “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” (John 3:16).

Give hope! Everyone needs to know, “Jesus loves you and if you believe in Him, you will have eternal life. And yes, He promises to bring comfort to your broken heart.”

Scripture: “For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

Prayer: God, we pray for a spiritual transformation of our hearts. Lord, we have lost our love, and compassion along with the desire to tell others about You. Forgive us for the self-centered spirit we possess. We pray this prayer of surrender and commitment to do Your will. Anoint us with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Give us the boldness to tell everyone that we interact with that Jesus loves them. We ask this prayer in the Loving and Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.

© 2023

Traveling on the Path of Righteousness

Traveling on the Path of Righteousness Devotional Reading and Podcast

Many professions, including attorneys, accountants, doctors, and nurses require a professional exam for licensure. The academic journey is tough and rugged because the student’s knowledge base is not only crammed with massive amounts of theoretical information, they must learn to evaluate, use critical thinking skills, and make astute judgments in a matter of a few minutes.

Achieving one’s goal not only requires the humility to let go of prior knowledge but also possessing the strength to withstand extremely intimidating professors who are deemed experts in their professions. The intimidation is useful in eliminating the students with weak characters who would succumb to the pressures of real-life rigors of professional practice.

Pursuing one’s dreams demands sacrifice. A lifestyle that included frivolous activities ceases to exist. With perseverance, the resolve to achieve long-awaited goals consumes most of the body’s energy. Time management is critical because study and preparation result in sleep deprivation leaving little to no time for socialization.

One of the most difficult transitions to cope with is the separation from family and friends which may progress to isolation for the first time. The long journey may dissuade those who promised their support at the onset, yet for various reasons are not able to fulfill their prior commitment to be there at goal completion. Still, prioritizing one’s life when achieving educational and professional goals is the key to a successful outcome even if you must do it alone.

Each of us has received innate talents and spiritual gifts along with the ability to dream. The pursuit of academic degrees, technical skills, and self-employment from start-up businesses are just a few of the countless options that we have. Although advancements have given us many choices, Christians must align their goals with God’s righteous principles.

We are not our own. God requires that we develop our talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory and honor not only for our benefit. As Christ’s followers, we have the responsibility to minister to others. Our educational and professional pursuits reflect that we uphold godly standards and lifestyles. Our earthly pursuits reveal our desire for eternal life.

Walking and Staying on the Path of Righteousness is Our Priority

The same drive and perseverance that we possess to achieve our goals are also required to stay on the Path of Righteousness. “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Believers not only must remain steadfast in their commitment to achieving future goals, but we also have the additional responsibility of obedience to God by asking for His blessing of approval before taking steps to bring our plans to fruition. First, we present our desires to the Lord in prayer. Then we wait for God’s answer of yes or no. Our dreams must align with God’s plans for our lives to receive His blessing.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'” –Isaiah 55:8-9

But doesn’t God give us free will to choose? Yes, He does. If we decide to bypass God and move forward with our plans then we become players in the game of chance. Being powerless to predict the future outcomes of our endeavors places us in a lose-lose situation. Disobedience to God causes wayward thought processes. If we are willing to disobey God then we will not maintain our integrity when confronted by situations that demand compromise.

Overconfidence and Self-Reliance are Detours from the Path of Righteousness

Testimonial: The young woman explained that she was fixated on her dream to start a consultant business. Asking the church to pray for her endeavor and being prepared to move forward resulted in God speaking through someone to tell her to wait. But why wait? She had the funds to start, business contacts who gave her leads, and prospective clients. As the Women’s Ministry leader at her church, she and her team were active in the community. During the initial six months, the business thrived, but in the seventh month, the list of clients declined her consultant services and contacting business associates proved to be fruitless.

Without clients the business faltered, leaving her bankrupt. Not only did she lose her savings, house, and vehicle, but while the business was thriving, she stopped attending church and resigned as the ministry leader. But most importantly, she lost her relationship with Christ. In desperation, she applied for a high-interest loan to place a second mortgage on the house, but God intervened and the loan was denied. She explained that in God’s mercy, after losing everything she valued, there was just enough money to rent a small apartment. Her testimony ended with, “Please wait on God!”

Detours from the Path: Disobedience leads to the Compromise of our Integrity

Something happens when we invest time and money into our dreams and the tide turns to bring pending failure with it. Satan sees his opportunity and presents options that force us to compromise when attempting to save our business, financial investment or maintain a high academic standing. Temptations: A class you are barely passing and someone offers the answers to the exam or seeking a high-interest loan by putting a second mortgage on your home to save the failing business venture.

The quote by Pablo Escobar exposes the truth of humanity’s weaknesses: “Everyone has a price, the important thing is to find out what it is.” Human behavior is more predictable than most will acknowledge.

Without God’s approval, we chose to disobey God. The waiting season has caused many to stumble. We easily convince ourselves that it is the right time and we rely on our expertise to achieve our dreams. Overconfidence prevents us from anticipating failure. Suffering from the negative consequences of moving forward without God’s blessings results in one of two reactions, acknowledging our disobedience or blaming uncontrollable circumstances for the demise of our dreams.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). The NASB translation says, “He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.”

Self-measurement of our character will never equal God’s definition of integrity. The English meaning of the word integrity means to adhere to moral and ethical principles. The Spiritual meaning of integrity includes much more: “It is really the word for perfection and completion so we will know how to act perfectly before God and others.”

The future belongs to God. Our Heavenly Father’s answer of no is His Divine protection to keep us from disaster. We often forget that God knows our lives from beginning to end and is aware of every temptation we will face and the situation that will cause us to compromise our integrity.

Pride is the Roadblock that Prevents Us from Staying on the Path of Righteousness

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” –Romans 12:3

Self-reliance is a bitter fruit of pride that causes us to trust our inclinations. Thinking too highly of ourselves is fueled by the mindset that we are in control of our lives. We boldly say, “I can do this and win!” Satan will attempt to use the Scriptures against God, “Didn’t God say that He would never withhold any good thing from the righteous?” And we think, Yes, I am righteous, and proceed with our plans for success.

However, the apostle Paul reveals our fight against carnal desires, “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. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do (Romans 7:15 and 19). None of our exempt from playing the game of chance when we are driven to achieve our desires.

Knowing the propensity to choose our sinful desires, has God created impossible standards for humanity? For those who think, yes, He has. We can refer to those who pleased God. God has given us examples of those who stayed on the Path of Righteousness.

Joshua’s challenge: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

“Then it happened, as they continued and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed [shunned] evil” (Job 1:1).

“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). “By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

God’s Exalted and Righteous Standards–God’s standards differ greatly from human standards. Acquisition of knowledge does not elevate our status with God nor does it produce the Fruit of the Spirit which reflects the anointing and transforming power of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. Faith, trust, obedience, and the Spiritual Transformation of our characters are requisites to serve God and to stay on the Path of Righteousness.

Satan desires that we embrace his lie that God’s righteous standards are impossible for us to reach. Some things are impossible: Pleasing God without faith, attempting to stay on the Path of Righteousness by using our efforts, receiving spiritual transformation without the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit, and the expectation of receiving the reward of eternal life when we possess pride and a spirit of disobedience.

Humility, Reverence, and Gratitude for God’s Divine Love, Grace, and Mercy Help to Keep Us On the Path of Righteousness.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10-11)

King David’s prayer represents a righteous person who suffered a great fall because he pursued his carnal desires. Every day we fight the internal battle of giving in to our fleshly desires [anything that causes us to disobey God] and the spiritual warfare of temptations by Satan.

“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse” (Proverbs 24:16).

God knows the desperately wicked condition of our hearts and the inner battle we face every day. Even so, not only do we have access to Divine Help 24/7, we are gifted with a sound mind and the power [2 Timothy 1:7] to shun evil and resist temptation. The determination to stay on the Path of Righteousness begins with loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

The righteous who rise again possess hearts filled with humility and strive to please God by readily surrendering themselves wholly to God. With a contrite spirit, we recognize our desperate need for Christ. And Jesus promises us that we will receive the greatest blessings from God. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Receiving the Power to Resist Detours and Stay on the Path of Righteousness

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

We are temporary sojourners on this earth–preparing for eternal life. The Devil is a liar! God has not left us helpless! Through prayer, we proclaim our love for Christ by surrendering our mind, body, and soul to Him. The daily prayerful plea for God’s Divine Intervention in our lives gives us the ability to rebuke temptations. It is up to us to use our free will of choice and live righteously. Surrendering our will allows us to receive the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power every day.

Divine Intervention always brings victory! The human effort of obedience and loyalty along with God’s power enables us to resist the detours of Satan’s deceptions. Remain steadfast! We have the intervention of our Spiritual team including guardian and messenger angels whose mission is to protect us and keep us on the Path of Righteousness.

“‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” –Isaiah 41:10

Hold on to the Savior’s hand and never let go. With Jesus holding us and receiving the Divine gifts of strength and power, we will persevere! Staying on the Path of Righteousness in our earthly lives will allow us to receive our reward of Eternal Life!

Scripture: “Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Prayer: God, we pray for Your Divine Help! We are in desperate need of the redeeming blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins of pride and disobedience. We need Jesus to walk with us. We ask for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to enable us to stay on the Path of Righteousness. We love You! And ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made From Love

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made From Love Devotional Reading and Podcast

Agape love is a sacrificial love that unites and heals. It is the love of God that we see through the cross of Jesus Christ. This love saves and restores humanity in the face of sin and death. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…'” (Genesis 1:26). “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

“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.” –John 3:16

God demonstrated His love for humanity by creating us in His likeness and the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrificial love gift of giving His life on Calvary for the redemption of our sins. “In this, the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

King David proclaimed, “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). Yes, we were created in the image of God by Jesus whose very name and character are synonymous with love.

In these last days of earth’s history, the darkness of sin and misery threatens to overshadow the light of God’s unconditional love. We are living in a time when earthly love has dwindled to a flicker and hopelessness pervades. Throughout this world, we have generations of people, including many Christian believers who are filled with brokenness as evidenced by anxiety, worry, and depression. Not only are they questioning God’s love for them, but many are also living their lives by just going through the motions and thinking, “Why am I here?”

In a recent sermon, Pastor Wintley Phipps answers the question, Why am I here? “We were created for three reasons, to be loved by God, to love God, and to love others.”

We also have a straightforward answer from the Apostle John for our internal brokenness: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Believers who feel unloved and perceive life as overwhelming or meaningless were once in a loving relationship with Christ.

But the relationship changed or else we could not feel unloved. “For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Two primary reasons cause us to forget the love of God: Allowing life’s trials and sorrows to act as a catalyst in producing the negative emotional response that God has forgotten me, how can He say that He loves me? Or the distractions from the busyness of life have left little time to maintain a heart-to-heart relationship with Christ. The interruption in our spiritual connection with God is always a result of our decision to change the conditions of the relationship.

In Revelation, Jesus tells the Ephesus Church [The Loveless Church], “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).

The members of Ephesus Church did not reject God. They were diligent in their church attendance, gave tithe and offerings, witnessed, and did not engage in pagan activities, but their service to God was ritualistic. They did the right things because it was what they were instructed to do as Christians. In losing their first love, Jesus was no longer the reason for their works as disciples.

Strengthening the bonds of love with Christ requires the human effort of demonstrating our love for God through daily praise and worship. When our lives exclude the daily power and presence of the Holy Spirit because we fail to pray and study the Bible the outcome is separation from God. Without a steadfast connection to God, we place ourselves in the enemy’s territory.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Trending fallacy: “Each of us has a soulmate who will make us complete.” By accepting the misguided worldview of a false definition of love, we expect someone else to make us whole. The unrealistic expectation for people to be our primary source of love will always produce disappointment and emptiness.

You may say, But I am married or in a committed relationship. Even so, the only consistent, never changing, selfless love that can make us whole is the agape love that our Heavenly Father gives. “…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3, last part).

By focusing on the demand for a nonexistent perfect love from others, we develop a spirit of discontentment. Unrealistic expectations cloud our perception and we forget about the selfless love of God which also causes us to lose our connection with Christ. Our example is King David who had many enemies in his kingdom including two of his sons, Absalom, and Adonijah. Although he loved them, they did not feel the same for their father.

From a young shepherd boy tending sheep who was anointed as the second king of Israel and Judah to having Divine protection from King Saul and forgiveness for his double sin of murder and adultery, God demonstrated His unfailing love for David. God even permitted David to have the status of a powerful Warrior King. The only thing that God withheld from David was building the Temple because of his history of bloodshed.

“Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 43:2 and 5). Yet, King David did not have peace until his last years of life. Throughout the Psalms, we read of his emotional distress because he was fixated on his enemies.

When our focus is not on God and we fail to remember our God-given victories, our faith fails and we lose the trusting relationship that we used to enjoy. Spiritual separation reveals itself in feeling unloved which easily leads to a downcast soul. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

God created humanity to live on this beautiful earth and to possess hearts full of love, joy, peace, and happiness. Yes, we recognize the detrimental effects of the lack of love on this earth. Because we were created from love, to love, Christians are not exempt from feeling the misery of the pervading evil that often causes us to forget that God’s love is always present and He is still in control.

Even in our seasons of lengthy trials, illnesses, and hardships, God promises that He is always with us. Without knowing scriptural promises and having an active prayer life, we become discouraged and feel that God has abandoned us. Does Jesus love us? Yes, we have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who promises to keep us in perfect peace and protect us. Study Psalms chapter 91.

This morning during worship, I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer that would help us [including me] to never forget that He loves us. The answer: Go back to the beginning of the Bible and read the Creation story. I am sharing my reflection on Jesus’ love.

When I look at the landscapes, the variety of flowers and fruits, forests of trees standing like soldiers, plants capable of thriving in a harsh desert, the rough terrain of mountainous regions decorated with a spray of multi-colored wildflowers, the oceanic waves that stay within their boundaries, the animal kingdom and the diversity of human beings, I know that Jesus is Love.

From studying the Book of Genesis, I am reminded that Jesus did not speak humanity into existence. Jesus bent down and created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from Adam’s rib. Yes, He knew they would reject His love by disobeying the command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The sacrificial gift of Jesus’ life for wayward humanity was approved by God, the Father before Adam and Eve. There is never an afterthought with the Omniscient God. The Righteous Lord Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross to give us an alternative to the wages of sin which is the final death. Refer to Malachi chapter 4. Yes, I know that Jesus is love.

Jesus the King of the universe who commands His angel armies not only exhibited the humility of agape love on the cross of Calvary but also demonstrated His majestic power and glory in the creation of human life and this world. Yes, I know that I am loved!

From receiving the gift of a new day, we are reminded of Jesus’ love, grace, and mercies. To receive the benefits from agape love, we must surrender our will to God. It’s not that God does not love the sinner, a disobedient and unbelieving heart is an open rejection of Jesus as Lord and Savior in one’s life.

The unbeliever views the life of a believer as one who has to obey a long list of restrictions. Our faithful love for Christ changes our outlook. True disciples desire spiritual transformation and we acknowledge that whatever God requires we will obey because this earth is temporary and will pass away.

Created from love, to love, not only God but also one another. Loving God keeps us spiritually connected to the Source, Jesus Christ. Understanding Agape love prevents our emotions from being in total disarray. We are steadfast in our conviction that God is love!

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the reason that you feel unloved. Are your beliefs in alignment with the Scriptures? Does your lifestyle demonstrate that God is first in your life? Feeling unloved or abandoned is always a consequence of us changing the status of our relationship with Christ.

The Holy Spirit will reveal the exact reasons for the loss of our first love. Then it is our choice of whether or not we will change our behaviors. Pray a prayer of forgiveness for abandoning Jesus as your First love, and recommit by verbalizing the desire for the restoration of your relationship with Christ.

Remember, Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us despite our free will choices. When we faithfully love and trust Jesus, we readily give Him our devout praise and worship every day. We will never feel unloved again. Diligently study the Scriptures to learn about the only lifetime soul mate that will always love us unconditionally, our Creator, Jesus Christ.

For those who have a steadfast relationship with Jesus are we witnessing to others that Jesus is love? We have the responsibility, to tell the truth about the creation of humanity and dispel the mythical teaching of evolution. Everyone needs to hear the powerful message that Jesus loves them and sacrificed His life to complete the plan of salvation.

Tell them if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior that this earth is not our final home. We have a forever home waiting for us where love will abound and death will cease. Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so!

The next time you are feeling unloved, relax by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Extend your arm and move your fingers, turn your hand over, and touch your face. In a normally functioning person, those movements are effortless.

Neurons carry messages from the brain via the spinal cord. These messages are carried to the muscles which tell the muscle fibers to contract, which makes the muscles move. This is a simple explanation of the physiology [function] of the highly complex Nervous System producing normal movement of our muscles.

Scripture: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

Prayer: God, thank You for creating us with fearfully and wonderfully made minds and bodies. We love You and desire restoration. Thank You, Jesus, for Your great sacrifice. We ask this prayer in Your Holy name, Amen!

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