How Did the Focus Change from Jesus to Us?

How Did the Focus Change from Jesus to Us? Devotional Reading and Podcast

Satan has invented a counterfeit for everything God has blessed as holy and righteous. Within the past five years, the focus of salvation has changed from Jesus to our emotions. Sermons on how to live a happy life with financial prosperity have replaced sermons on how to live a righteous, faithful, and obedient life.

“I Surrender All” has been replaced with songs entitled “Bless Me” along with one to two hours of singing-only worship services. How did we digress from Jesus to ourselves? Watching motivational videos has replaced daily worship, prayer, and studying the Bible.

We are distracted and too busy to have a meaningful relationship with Christ. We have readily embraced the false teachings of pursuing happiness because of the worldview of destroying boundaries to live your best life. Yes, we are victims of the ideology of self-worship.

Recently, one of the long-standing Pastors in Dallas, Texas stated in his interview that the subsequent generations who are in the church now do not understand the in-depth meaning of the Scriptures, so he had to change his style of preaching. There is a prevailing disinterest in all that is holy because of our desires and lifestyles.

Studying the Bible is no longer encouraged in the churches that promote happiness. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern the Truth which is God-breathed nor will we have a deeper understanding of who God is. The solution is to present one or two verses that will promote mental and emotional well-being. Truth is an area of debate that has led to various ideas. The erroneous ideas have caused many to commit sins that originate from presumption.

Presumption: an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain.

An example of misinterpretation is the verse when Jesus tells us to ask anything in His name and He will do it. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

It is our preference to hear the verse found in John chapter 14 as opposed to the verse in 1st John chapter 5. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

Because the spiritual meaning does not coincide with our desires, we misrepresent the Scriptures. Even so, Jesus will never give us everything we desire from a financial perspective. Although our prayers are not always financial, we cannot take for granted that we will be healed which is also an expectation of many Christians. We do not have the privilege of demanding anything from our Heavenly Father.

Satan has influenced the leaders whose messages contain a mixture of partial truth and worldviews. Churches whose focus is to keep their members happy will preach verse #1 from the pulpit. “All you have to do is pray and God will fulfill the desires of your heart, but you must first take action by pursuing the marriage partner, starting the business, and purchasing the house.”

The Bible Explains Itself by giving us examples of prayers that represent the things we should ask God for.

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?'” (1 Kings 3:5)

“…Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 King 3:8-9)

“The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:10, 12)

King Solomon not only pleased God with His request for wisdom, but God also gave him the honor of being the wisest man who ever lived. Because of Solomon’s humility, God also blessed him with excessive wealth.

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about Him going away, they were filled with sorrow. Jesus’ concern for His disciples, “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (John 16:24).

Sadly, like the disciples, we have an agenda of pleasing ourselves. We do not pray and ask Jesus for anything crucial to our spiritual growth. Instead of praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit or for our characters to be transformed into Jesus’ likeness [Galatians 5:22-23] and the spiritual power to resist temptation, we are asking God to “Bless Me” with tangible things, relationships, and marriages that are not in alignment with God’s plans for our lives.

Creeping Compromise

There is danger in taking our eyes off Jesus and placing them on our heart’s desires. Worshipping God according to how we feel results in a compromised relationship with Christ. The earthly things we must have and pursue without God’s blessings will determine our destiny.

Whether we commit the sins of presumption because we fail to study and lack knowledge of spiritual things, from self-interpretation of the Scriptures, being misled by church leaders, or wilful disobedience, we are still held accountable for our sins of presumption.

Jesus Defines His Divinity and His Righteous Position: “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). Jesus has provided us with the guidance we need to live righteously.

  1. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
  2. “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).
  3. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38).
  4. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Jesus not only identifies the requisites for His followers, but He also reminds us of His Divine Authority, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). “…I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

Our earthly agendas determine our destiny–eternal life or the second and final death. We are rapidly moving forward from living in the last days to the end of time. Jesus says that we must choose whom we will serve. Choosing Jesus requires us to redirect our focus off of self. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life to learn the accurate meaning of the Scriptures.

Love for Christ keeps us grounded in a world where spiritual warfare includes self-worship. Our desires must align with God’s plans and purpose if our goal is to live eternally with our Lord and Savior. Give up the blended ideologies that are designed to make us lose our heavenly reward.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for forgiveness for placing the focus on ourselves and our selfish desires. We surrender our hearts, minds, and souls to You. We ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and discernment. We need Your guidance and strength to continue to walk this spiritual journey. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Your Holy Name, Amen.

The Sabbath is Forever!

Throughout the Holy Scriptures, God has given us many commands and 10 Commandments including the Creation Seventh-Day Sabbath which is Saturday. We have no evidence that God changed the Day that He blessed and made Holy. Pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of Satan’s deception. Hint: Emperor Constantine.

In Jesus’ name, receive your blessing.

Restoring Our Relationship with Christ

Restoring Our Relationship with Christ Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast

All relationships begin with a foundation of faith, trust, and love. At the beginning of the human relationship, we place our faith and trust in each other and as time passes, we begin to love. But in our relationship with Jesus, we act on the innate love that is in our hearts by responding to His invitation.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

Reflect on the moment that you decided to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Whether you were in church, watching a religious program, listening to a podcast, or in mental, emotional, or physical distress and called on God for help that was your moment of acknowledgment and surrender to a higher power outside of yourself.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).

We did not accept Jesus because of a decision based on our efforts alone, the Holy Spirit touched our hearts, and we responded to the invitation from Jesus by saying yes. Why do we make an immediate decision to accept Christ or call out to God even though we have never acknowledged Him before? We can thank Jesus for His promise of sending us a Helper the Holy Spirit.

“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). From Jesus’ love, He created us with the innate ability to love God and others. “We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

If we were born with the ability to love God, then why do so many reject Jesus Christ? We were created with the free will choice to accept or reject the only way that we can come to God, and that is through His Son, Jesus. In the New Testament, the two apostles and two disciples who wrote the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) documented the longstanding history of those who chose to openly reject Jesus.

Throughout the New Testament, we become aware that most of the Jewish people rejected Christ as the Son of God. In Nazareth, Jesus was reading from Isaiah, and the people listening accused Him of blasphemy. “On hearing this, all the people in the synagogue were enraged. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him over the cliff. But Jesus passed through the crowd and went on His way.…” (Luke 4:28-30).

Even so, their rejection led to Jesus’ crucifixion which was necessary for the Plan of Salvation to be brought to fruition. When Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished!” He was referring to His sacrifice for the Redemption of humanity. Sadly, all who reject Christ will result in dying the second and final death as described in Malachi chapter 1.

The Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit

At Pentecost, when Peter used the writings of the prophet Joel and King David to explain they crucified Jesus, who was the prophesied Son of God, the multitude was filled with fear. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let every one of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call’ ” Acts 2:37-38).

Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we face a continuous struggle of staying in our relationship with Him. Jesus was aware that we would face many obstacles of spiritual warfare that would disrupt our commitment to becoming a follower of Christ.

We are pressured to accept worldviews that represent the decline of morals and values. Many proclaim the truth is what they believe it to be, and most Christians no longer separate themselves from unbelievers [which include those who acknowledge God, but do not have a relationship with Christ based on surrender and obedience].

Yet, the greatest obstacles are the constant busyness and overwhelming noise that have us distracted from our goal of loving God. We have acclimated to the constant noise of screen time, video games, digital programs, artificial intelligence, endless texting, and relying on our cellular devices as if they are a lifeline.

“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

Our spiritual relationship with Christ is broken because we are mesmerized by the distractions that Satan has intentionally placed in our lives. Most Christians are detached from God, barely having time to spend with Him in prayer and a meaningful study of the Bible. Our time is wasted on self-seeking activities that enhance our knowledge and skills but do nothing for building our relationship with Christ.

We are living in the last days! The time is now for us to renew our commitment to Christ through surrender and repentance. Daily worship in this earthly life is preparing us to worship God eternally. Without loving God and putting Him first, we cannot do our part in the plan of Salvation.

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—” Revelation 3:14-17

Spiritual transformation requires daily surrender, obedience, faith, trust, and hearing God’s Voice through prayer and Bible study. But most importantly, it’s about our love for God. The warning to the Laodecian church is for today’s 21st-century Christians which includes you and me. We are not upholding the standard of righteousness that God requires.

“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)

Christ was our role model on this earth. If he pursued solitude to pray for Divine guidance then we certainly need to separate ourselves from the noise of distractions to hear God’s Voice. We require Divine Intervention for direction to withstand temptations and to receive the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Silent Life—When that inner voice is not heard when a man cannot attain the Spiritual Peace that comes from being perfectly at one with His true self, his life is miserable and exhausting for he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the Spiritual Source of Life. Thomas Merton

We are pursuing the wrong sources to provide us with peace and contentment. Once we have accepted Christ and let our relationship falter, we recognize the change in our inner selves and lifestyles. Our thoughts, decisions, behaviors, and the people we socialize with fail to represent a Christ-like character.

“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)

Without Christ, we no longer have the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, and give us clarity [discernment] over any dilemma we face. Either we will make a change and renew our covenant with Christ or we will continue in our present state of disregarding the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

“The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence.” Ellen G. White

If you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, have gone astray, and do not feel any conviction or remorse with your current mindset and lifestyle then the Holy Spirit is no longer giving you promptings to repent.

The Apostle Paul tells us of the Perils of Not Progressing in our relationship with Christ.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6, NKJV)

A modern translation reads: “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6, NLT)

Restoration of our relationship with Christ is a personal decision that relies on each individual. God always requires the human effort of love, faith, surrender to His will, and obedience in the relationship with His Son. Without those intentional character traits, we lose our spiritual connection with God.

It is difficult to believe that one would reject Christ and suffer the consequences of the wages of sin. We may perceive ourselves as living acceptable to God because we do not engage in the worst worldly sins, yet, disobedience is a sin. Our Heavenly Father is doing all He can to give us a better life. His help is only a prayer away.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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 11:28-30)

As long as we have breath in our bodies and sound minds, we can decide to restore our relationship with Christ. Repentance—asking God for forgiveness requires humility and a contrite heart full of sorrow for our sins. And the prayer of forgiveness receives an immediate yes from God!

Staying on the Path of Righteousness requires the human effort of following Christ no matter the cost. When we do our part by remaining steadfast, we automatically receive the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit to give us strength and power. The walk with Christ requires the loss of relationships and surrendering our will to God’s will and plan for our lives.

Jesus is ready at any time to receive us when we desire to give up everything for Him. To be a disciple means to forsake all others and travel a life-long journey that includes suffering trials and sorrows. The reward: Living forever in a perfect, sinless, and majestic New Heaven and New Earth with Jesus, the King of Kings. Amen!

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who have lost their love for You. We know that we are living in the last days and are easily distracted by the busyness and noise of this world. We pray this intercessory prayer for those who have rejected You that they will return. We ask this prayer in Your Worthy Name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Are You Thriving? Peace, Joy, and Happiness are God’s Gifts

Are you Thriving? Peace, Joy, and Happiness are God’s Gifts Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” –3 John 1:2

With the escalation of sinful worldviews and the decline of morals and values, the life of a follower of Christ may portray one that consists of only a few friends or even isolation. Many believers are living a life without any close friends. Even those who routinely attend church may feel lonely. Yes, good friends are a rare find.

Still, we have options! Do not trade in your gifts of peace, joy, and happiness for discouragement and depression. There are positive changes we can make to ensure that we grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

Best Philosophies– Be content with what you have. Be willing to learn, and frequently ask yourself, What if I’m wrong? Get involved in church outreach ministries.

Best Character Traits–Love God, Love others, Laughter, Humility, Kindness, Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Help those in need.

Best Relationship–Jesus Christ is our Savior, but He also desires to be our Best Friend. Get to know Jesus by reading the Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A heart full of Love and forming the habit of frequent Communication is the foundation for building a forever bond with Christ.

Pray several times [whether you choose short or long prayers] throughout the day and evening bringing the power and presence of the Holy Spirit into your life. Prayer is simply talking to God. No one has to teach us how to pray! Strive to become a Man or Woman of God!

“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

Fruitful Habits

Pray—The Holy Spirit provides guidance, discernment, wisdom, and strength. Every day study the Bible and pray to receive restoration from the Holy Spirit.

Purpose—Utilize your Spiritual Gifts and Creativity to witness the love of Jesus. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, food pantry, community center, or church. Offer to teach others creative skills. You are called to reach out to desperate people living in desperate times.

Patience—Develop an Intentional Mindset to stop a spirit of annoyance or impatience. Practice Self-Control to change your inherited or learned behaviors that are not in sync with the Fruit of the Spirit. Present your dreams and goals to God and wait for His answer. If you need help with patience, God has a proven method of teaching us how to wait.

Perseverance—Build your Spiritual Strength and Endurance by learning how to apply the lessons learned from Biblical characters. God’s promises are still valid today. The righteous are the recipients of those many promises of blessings and protection. Spiritual Transformation can only occur when there is a union of Human Effort and Divine Intervention

Increasing Physical Strength–Move your muscles by exercising at least 3-4 times a week. Walking is not only excellent for muscle tone, but it also improves cardiac-respiratory function and produces hormones that combat discouragement and depression.

Going Solo is a way of life that many choose to embrace. Incorporate some fun into your life. Take day trips, travel, nature outings, boat rides, craft classes, and many other options are available. Get out of the house! Explore the beauty of our earth.

The well-kept secret? God created us to live happy, healthy lives despite the condition of our world. The good wishes in the letter to the Elder regarding prospering are not referencing financial wealth. Do not let your desires or emotions prevent you from prospering in the peace, joy, and happiness that is part of God’s original plan for humanity. The righteous have a Father who has promised to be with us even until the end of the world.

“For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” –1 Corinthians 15:53, NLT

We are sojourners living in a temporary earthly home. Our character is the only thing we will take to heaven. Joy, peace, and happiness are gifts from God. Do not live a miserable life on this earth! It will be a hindrance to receiving your heavenly reward. Remember you are the only person who can keep you from living your best [earthly and heavenly] life!

Prayer: Lord, we pray for the restoration of our peace, joy, and happiness. Help us to have a heart filled with gratitude. Because of Your great sacrifice, we can live with You eternally, if we so choose. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions