Faith Can Flourish or Wither Away

Trusting God is investing our faith in Him. Pray and wait. God has promised if we take our measure of faith and invest our faith in Him that He will produce growth. We must endure the unknown if our faith is to increase. Is your faith increasing or decreasing?

Prayer: The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith” (Luke 17:5 NLT).

In Heaven: Will We Know Each Other?

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 NLT)

We are given a beautiful description of the New Heaven and the New Earth in Revelation, chapters 21 and 22. Not only will restoration take place, but there will be no more sin, sickness, or sorrow. Yet marriage will cease to exist. “For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

Still, the puzzling question remains, Will we know each other in heaven? Although heaven is a mystery, we do not have reason to believe that when Jesus comes, we will not recognize our loved ones who died in Christ [Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18].

Being raised from the dead: When Jesus raised Lazarus from death, certainly he knew his family, friends, and Jesus. The Old Testament records Elijah raising the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kings 17:21-22), in which we can safely assume the risen child recognized his mother. Jesus was human when He died; we know He did not have His memory wiped away when He arose from death.

For those who are alive when Jesus comes: “ Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

We can agree that throughout the Bible, God is consistent. From Creation, God stated, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). Family is an established insitiution set in place by God. To not know one another is not included in the Apostle John’s description of the former things passing away.

Although this is a highly sensitive subject, the 4th verse of Revelation 21 promises we will have no more sorrow. Many parents and family members are grieving daily over their loved ones who have strayed from serving God. Yes, we desire everyone in our family to be saved, but accepting salvation is a free will choice. If God has promised us no more sorrow from the former things, for us not to have sorrow, it would not be possible to remember our lost loved ones.

Never forget that God will have allowed everyone to confess, repent, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Throughout the Bible, Scriptures reveal that God established family to love each other providing mental, emotional, and spiritual support. When Jesus was born as a babe, He was raised by human parents and grew up with siblings. And 11 of the 12 disciples loved Jesus. In John chapter 17, read the three prayers Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and future disciples, including us. The importance of a loving relationship with family and friends is demonstrated in the Bible as a priority.

Again the question is: Will we know each other in Heaven?

The following quote is from the Author, Sister Ellen G. White.

If you are thinking that life is so great…read the benefits of eternal life. It will be worth it. God is preparing to give the faithful ones benefits beyond our wildest imaginations. [Jesus] died for us, and was raised for us, that we might come forth from the tomb to a glorious companionship with heavenly angels, to meet our loved ones and to recognize their faces, for the Christlikeness does not destroy their image, but transforms it into His glorious image. Every saint connected in family relationship here will know each other there. Heaven 39, Ellen G. White

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5). Whether we are the only one saved in our family or we will have many loved ones in heaven, the Apostle Paul states that we are one body in Christ, which is why Jesus said, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

Yes, the Apostle John says, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Remember, we will be one huge, happy, and loving family. With anticipation, we can look forward to seeing our redeemed family and friends and meeting countless individuals who are now one family in Christ. But, first and foremost, “We want to see Jesus!!! Amen.”

Always pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to give you discernment and understanding of God’s truth.

Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 13

Prayer: God, we prayerfully anticipate our heavenly home. Please teach us to love unconditionally on earth in preparation to love one another in Heaven. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Having Victory Over Our Feelings

“Thou are ever on their lips, yet far from their hearts” (Jer. 12:2, N.E.B.). 

Have you ever thought or expressed, “I feel so far from God?”

Today’s Christians place too much emphasis on the way they feel. The truth is our feelings have escalated to the point that we have an internal battle about whether or not we can really trust God. We place God on our level and have determined that His power and promises are severely limited. Our emotions have weakened our spiritual connection to God. How we think overrides our faith and trust in God and is an indicator of unbelief.

Historically, church services have consisted of prayer, praise and worship, and the sermon. But we have established churches where worship services are designed to elevate one’s based emotions by only singing. Yes, today’s culture is designed to feel good. And isn’t that what God wants us to be “happy”? The issue is that songs occasionally do not provide a spiritual foundation.

So, outside of the song experience, we have a mind full of conflict and uncertainty. Many are plagued by fear, doubt, and worries that have a vice grip on us, causing more profound unbelief in an Omnipotent God who says, “I change not, and Is there anything too hard for Me?”

“The point is that feelings and emotions are a very unstable basis for measuring one’s closeness to God.” D. Winn, His Healing Love

David did a self-analysis to call out his depression, “Why, my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, My Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5).

“Jeremiah complained to his Father about the attitudes of his people toward God: “Thou are ever on their lips, yet far from their hearts” (Jer. 12:2, N.E.B.).  Jeremiah knew that closeness to God was…measured rather by the alignment of the mind with the values of God’s kingdom.” D. Winn

Nike had a slogan, “Just do it.” We choose daily to rely on our limited abilities or to have total faith and trust in God. Make the declaration and commitment by speaking daily over your life, “My Feelings have nothing to do with my Faith in God. I will trust in the Power of God!!!”

Our faith obtains growth and strength by diligent prayer and knowledge of the Scriptures. We cannot be once-a-week Christians. Emotions are fed by the starvation of our spiritual connection with God. Our God parted the Red Sea and gave strength to the prophet Elijah to run past King Ahab’s chariot and horses. Has our Heavenly Father’s love, concern, and power ceased to exist?

We trust in ourselves and others who have good intentions.

Yet, God asks, “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal says the Holy One? Have you not known? Have you not heard the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the Earth, neither faints nor is weary? His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no strength he increases strength” (Isaiah 40:25, 28-29).

You can’t get any promises from humans that compare to God’s promises. We are created in His image with a spiritual connection more powerful than a baby connected by the umbilical cord to its mother. Our Father God never severs our relationship to Him. In fact, Jesus calls us friends because we know His plans and power.

No, you can never be closer than that with anyone, can you?

Prayer: God, we need Your help with our vacillating emotions. We desire a foundation that is rock-solid strong, built on faith and trust. We speak victory over our emotions and our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Jesus Calls Us His Friends

Sharing an excerpt from the Devotional, “Will you Lay Down Your Life?”

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends….I have called you friends… —John 15:13, 15

If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.” And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.

Prayer: God, we thank You for the priceless gift of Your Son, Jesus. Please give us strength in this world of corruption and unbelief. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Doesn’t God Desire Good Christians?

According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of good is “that which is morally right.” But then, in the error of the human mind, a secondary meaning is also given: “Righteousness.” We will immediately seek scriptural evidence that humanity’s definition of good does not come close to God’s definition of righteousness. No our standards of good does not equal Jesus’ definition of good, which is righteousness.

The Christian asking daily for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, praying several times throughout the day and night, studying the Scriptures, asking God’s will to be revealed, and living a faith-based life demonstrates the desire for Jesus to abide within. They demonstrate a human effort to which God’s Divine power is given, producing daily spiritual growth. And to stay on the narrow Path of Righteousness which is the life-long process of Sanctification.

Sanctification is growing daily to possess the Character of Christ. And for our diligence, we are granted the Omnipotent spiritual help to live according to God’s standards, surpassing our definition of “good.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).

Are we going to mess up? Yes, from Adam and Eve to the present, humanity will sin. That’s why Jesus gave the blood sacrifice of His death for the redemption of sin. Again in human error, we take advantage of the Plan of Redemption. Many of today’s Christians are abusing God’s grace. They have become apathetic, only giving God less than their best.

Every day, we desperately need help! If it was easy to live righteously, we would not need the daily Divine Intervention of our Spiritual Team–God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the angels.

How do we know that we are living according to God’s standards of Good-Righteousness? “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:16).

Faith is the foundation of righteousness. God tells us, “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).

Our Daily Commitment

  1. “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Through prayer, we seek God’s will for our lives daily.
  2. “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then” (1 Peter 1:14). Since we are fighting to overcome learned behaviors, hereditary traits, and the love of pleasure, we conform by obeying God in every aspect of our lives.
  3. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy” (1 Peter 1:15). Yes, the sinful worldliness has caused us to compromise “Holiness.” Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if the people you hang out with and places and things you enjoy, glorify God.

Our thoughts, behaviors, and actions indicate if we are serving God and living holy. Peter, the boisterous, big-mouth, show-off disciple, is the Apostle Peter who wrote the books of 1st and 2nd Peter in the Bible.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

And James speaks of one of our biggest problems, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

“The lips should be sanctified, that the words spoken may be few and well-chosen.” E.G.White

Our spiritual journey is not impossible or overwhelming. Pray for Divine help! When we think of having all of heaven on our side to live righteously, we should jump for joy by praising God for His Goodness.

Prayer: God, we thank You for loving us beyond our comprehension. Yes, we desperately need Your help. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment to reveal the people, places, and things that are preventing us from living holy. Thank You, Jesus for Your great love that caused You to die for us. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.

To Do No Harm

Nonmaleficence is a word that all Healthcare Professionals are very familiar with. We take an oath “To Do No Harm” to our patients. Yes, patient safety is always our number one priority. And one may think of physical safety, yet, there are other areas in which we keep our patients safe.

In 2017, I drove from Texas to West Virginia for my Aunt’s funeral service. After arriving late Friday night, I received a call from my Uncle to inquire if I could drive to Maryland to pick up my elderly Aunt and Uncle, who resided there. Both had Dementia but still were able to perform their activities of daily living.

Before our road trip, their youngest daughter told me I needed to stop by the pharmacy to pick up Auntie’s medication. When I spoke to the pharmacist, she informed me that my Aunt had taken 30 pills in 14 days, which accounted for running out of her medication and the increase in her Dementia. While in West Virginia, God provided His Divine Intervention. My Uncle [her husband] became alert enough to assist Auntie with taking the correct amount of pills daily.

Her daughters resolved the issue by scheduling an appointment with her Physician the same day I drove them back to Maryland. An alternate treatment plan was developed because my Aunt could no longer self-medicate. Thankfully, there was no permanent damage from the overdosage of her medication. Praise God this situation ended well.

As I thought about this situation, self-reflection was necessary. In many ways, most of us are like my elderly Aunt, who was self-reliant, believing she could self-medicate. How many times have we made decisions without praying for God’s guidance?

Self-reliance places us in harm’s way!

Even the most dedicated Christians struggle with disobedience by following the desires of our hearts. Yes, we are stubborn-hearted and self-willed, boldly pursuing and fulfilling our wish list without asking our Heavenly Father if we are in alignment with His plans. Without Divine intervention, we proceed with our plans. We start new jobs, purchase houses and vehicles, and begin relationships with individuals with hidden toxic traits.

Once we have made our purchases or found our “soul-mate,” with overt happiness, we congratulate ourselves, and tell others that God has blessed us. The irony is that we dare to pray and thank God for blessing us with our choices.

We have a loving God who promises “To do no harm” to humanity. Our Heavenly Father has made countless biblical promises to keep us safe. God promises to hold us up with His righteous right hand, send angels to protect us physically and from spiritual warfare, and be with us through trials, sickness, and sorrow. We are familiar with His promise in Jeremiah 29:11, which tells us that God has plans to give us a future and hope.

Sadly, God’s heart must be grieved that we [His children] do not trust Him enough to wait and rely on His perfect, bountiful blessings.

Christ is our example of the desire to obey God. The Four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] record Jesus constantly praying to stay in the will of His Father. Even if we have followed our desires–possibly placing ourselves in harm’s way because of an unknown future and the changes that could produce loss, we can repent and make a covenant to trust and obey God from today forward. Love God, Trust God, and Wait on God.

Prayer: God, we pray for forgiveness for living a life based on our desires. We do not know the outcome of our disobedience, yet, we must accept the consequences. From today forward, we make a covenant vow to ask first, trust You, and wait for Your answer. Thank You for keeping us from harm. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.