Like A Tree Planted By the Waters

Like a Tree Planted by the Waters Devotional Reading and Podcast

Spiritual Growth and Transformation is a life-long journey that requires total dependency on God. We dedicate ourselves to God, pray, and study the Scriptures, yet, there is a missing piece in our walk with Jesus, we are not diligent in the self-improvement of our characters.

Character is who we are because of our relationship with Christ. It is something that can be built and learned as we follow Him. Furthermore, genuine Christian character is not just about our personality or our disposition. It is a description of who we are as Christians ̶ and what we are called to be in our entirety.

A Noble Character is Formed by Stern Battles with Self—Christ has given us no assurance that attaining the perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-around character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. Mind, Character, and Personality, EGW

Throughout the Scriptures, we are admonished to overcome innate character traits that are a result of our desperately wicked hearts [Jeremiah 17:9]. James tells us a person who cannot control their mouth has a religion that is worthless [James 1:26]. The apostle Paul addressed the church in Galatia regarding their ungodly traits, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26).

“…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. –Romans 12:3

God has given us the mental faculties to do our part in changing our unrighteous characters and cultivating the character traits that are acceptable to Him. Reflecting on our present thoughts, habits, and lifestyle and admitting that we are not in alignment with God determines whether or not we will experience character transformation.

Faith and obedience to God along with diligent prayer and study of the Word of God demonstrate our efforts to have a steadfast relationship with Christ. “…for without me, you can do nothing (John 15:5). The human effort of seeking righteousness requires willingness, intentional actions, and persistent faith.

Spiritual transformation–Sanctification is being changed into the likeness of Christ [His Character] which requires a lifetime effort.

Prepare yourself for a tough battle in forming a noble character. Do not react with emotions when things go wrong. From the long wait to the mix-up in your to-go food order, remember you will be tested and your trials will increase! Humility prompts us to pray for God to search our hearts and reveal all sinful traits, whether inherited or learned behaviors. Faith, determination, and diligence are the requisites of human effort that facilitate change, but spiritual transformation does not come from works alone.

We pray daily for strength from the Holy Spirit. Not only will the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit give us the strength to win the battle over self, but we will also receive the anointing and power to overcome all unrighteousness.

The Scriptures identify the character traits that God expects us to have.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. …'” (Matthew 22:37-39).

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 and 23).

Behave Like a Christian
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9 through 21).

Most of us struggle with our faith. Especially when we have to use it to overcome temptations and in the waiting periods when God is silent. Think about this, we use faith every day in a secular sense. We expect our employers to render fair treatment and pay our salaries on time, and use our credit and debit cards to make online purchases.

Based on Google reviews and recommendations from family and friends, we learn of the longstanding reputation of companies that propels us to commit to long-term contractual agreements to purchase vehicles and houses. During the business transaction, we do not doubt the company and think about filing a lawsuit for retribution just in case anything goes awry. We place our complete faith and trust in their reputation.

Although our global economy is unstable, most of us never think about researching the financial solvency of a business, before signing a contract. Every purchase we make including clothing, furniture, and food, we place our complete faith and trust in the businesses. Now it is time for us to have unwavering faith in God!

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord’” (Jeremiah 17:5). It’s time for us to stop placing all of our faith and trust in humanity who will fail us.

We have received the innate gift of a measure of faith. It is up to us to exercise the steadfast belief in an Omnipotent God which is necessary for our faith to grow from mustard seed to a mountain. Throughout the Scriptures, God reiterates that salvation comes by grace through faith.

Paul who was transformed from the murderer Saul to a faithful and godly apostle knows that our faith triumphs in trouble, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4).

Make the steadfast commitment to change your character. Keep persevering! We are the recipients of a crown and eternal life made possible by King Jesus who is telling us to keep going.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17: 7 and 8).

Prayer: Lord, we pray for the strength, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to change our unrighteous character. We acknowledge that we need a spiritual transformation to receive our heavenly reward and wear the garments of righteousness. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Your Holy Name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Faithful, Available, and Teachable

Faithful, Available, and Teachable Devotional Reading and Podcast

There are specific careers that impact your morals, values, and lifestyle. Can you imagine an Accountant who possessed poor money management skills and had to file for bankruptcy? Or a Doctor who prescribed multiple medications known as polypharmacy instead of advising their patients to modify their lifestyles to include healthy eating and exercise?

“For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity].” –Romans 7:15, Amplified Bible

Because of the innate battle of good versus evil, humanity struggles with the ability to possess right-thinking. Even those with strategic skills and medical experts who use their rational intellect every day in professional settings can have messed up personal lives because they cannot control their emotions and desires.

From Adam and Eve to the disciple Peter, and the apostle Paul, we read biblical accounts of humanity’s inner conflict because of the heart’s desire to please self. We are not left helpless in our struggle against sin. For those who desire to live righteously, God is just a prayer away. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We have the assurance that God will always keep His Word. Yet, Divine Intervention requires human effort first. “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'” (Matthew 22:37). Every decision that we make reveals whether or not we love God or ourselves.

By putting God first, we not only demonstrate a heart filled with love and the willingness to please Him our hearts also reflect the spiritual requisites of humility and obedience.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” (1 Peter 5:6). Do we struggle with humility and obedience? Yes, all of us struggle with resisting the carnal desire to do what is pleasing to ourselves.

“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1)

Although Naaman had great status, he suffered from the incurable disease of leprosy. When Elisha the prophet heard of his dilemma, he sent a messenger telling him to come to his house.

“Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean'” (2 Kings 5:10).

Naaman’s Prideful Reaction

“But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy. Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12).

Naaman was healed of his leprosy but had to be persuaded with pacifying words by his servants before he would obey God’s command to wash in the Jordan river. Are we 21st-century Naamans, feeling disgruntled because God expects obedience? The difference between us and Naaman is that we have no one to convince us that we should obey God.

Many believers lose out on God’s perfect plans and blessings. Their hearts are not filled with unconditional love for God. There is no middle ground. Our love is demonstrated by giving God honor and glory through faithful obedience.

Three characteristics reveal our willingness to please God: We are Faithful, Available, and Teachable.

Faithful–Faith is believing and knowing without a doubt that we serve a dependable, unchanging God. Whenever we face temptations, the Red Sea experiences, and challenges in the routine of daily life, we pray, and confidently wait for God’s deliverance. Unwavering faith says, “I know that God will bring victory!”

Available–Here, I am, send me, is the response from the committed heart to be available to do God’s will. Even though we work full-time jobs, when it is time for us to go and witness, feed the homeless, or volunteer as a phone prayer warrior, God does not ask us to do the impossible, the Holy Spirit will always impart us with the mental strength and physical stamina to complete God’s work.

Teachable–Are we willing to learn? “Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning” (Proverbs 9:9). Spiritually, we are on a forever learning curve. When studying the Scriptures, we pray and rely on the Holy Spirit for the discernment of God’s Truth.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” –James 1:5

Wisdom is a gift from God that is necessary for us to live righteously. And like King Solomon, we have to pray for wisdom. As we seek knowledge from the Bible, the Teacher [Holy Spirit] not only gives us discernment, He teaches us to apply God’s Word to our practical lives. The Holy Spirit instructs us in changing our unrighteous behaviors and habits. We learn how to love and respond appropriately to our enemies and learn the principles of stewardship–to manage the financial resources given by God.

The Holy Spirit speaks to our conscience by guiding our decisions, and the choices we make to enable us to stay in perfect alignment with God’s will. Continuous learning is required in our journey of Sanctification. Never give Satan the advantage over your life because you possess a spirit of pride and the unwillingness to learn.

God expects that we will strive to live righteously as evidenced by our faithfulness, availability [putting God first], and our desire to learn [being teachable]. Our works are evidence of the love, faith, obedience, and willingness to meet God’s righteous standards which are unreachable without Divine help.

Those who have godly wisdom know that they cannot stay on the Path of Righteousness without Divine Intervention. Every day, we need Help! Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to live righteously and experience the spiritual transformation that is necessary to receive eternal life.

Scripture Reading: “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you, And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” –Genesis 12:1-3. Abraham was a patriarch who was faithful, available, and teachable.

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who are faithful, available to do your work, and seeking spiritual knowledge through the Scriptures. We ask that You will send the Holy Spirit to strengthen them in their times of weakness. And we pray for those who struggle with the inner conflict of right and wrong that they will surrender to Your will. We thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Royal Privileges of Spiritual Rebirth

The Royal Privileges of Spiritual Rebirth Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” –John 3:3

Through a sermon last year, I received godly knowledge that we should never attempt to study the Bible without a prayer of forgiveness of sins and asking for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment. According to Revelation and Mathew chapter 24, we are living in the last days. More than ever, we need the Holy Spirit to provide clarity of the Scriptures and teach us how to apply the Word of God to our lives.

The Holy Spirit also guides us through the lifelong spiritual transformation required when we are reborn through the redemption of Jesus Christ. First Corinthians chapter 13 and Galatians chapter 5 provide us with God’s definition of love and the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit which we should strive for daily in our spiritual journey.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” –1 John 3:1

Without the Holy Spirit, we do not understand who we are and whose we are. Nor do we understand the privileges that we have received because of our spiritual rebirth in Christ. Our value was determined when we were created by Jesus in His image and our status was defined as redeemed children of God when Jesus hung and said, “It is finished” before He died on Calvary’s cross.

As sons and daughters of God, we have a desperate need of the Holy Spirit–our lifelong Teacher who never grows weary of guiding us through our earthly journey of Sanctification. As we study, the Holy Spirit teaches us according to our level of understanding, which explains how little children can learn and understand the Bible.

The Holy Spirit imparts the strength to perform our physical duties required for that day. Whether we are in a peaceful or stormy season, at any time of the day or night, we have access to the Holy Spirit who is just a prayer away.

The Teacher-student relationship is one of the privileges that we have received from giving ourselves to Christ. From our prayer for help, we immediately receive wisdom with decision-making, meaning we never have to guess, stumble, and fall when faced with difficulties. Giving ourselves to Jesus is the best decision that an individual will ever make.

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ offers redemption, forgiveness, love, grace, mercies, joy, peace, and protection from spiritual warfare and physical harm. Do we think about the privileges we receive? Without fail, we should whisper prayers of gratitude. Living righteously and gaining much-needed strength, wisdom, and discernment requires a total surrendering of our will to God. For our commitment, we receive the continuous guidance of the Holy Spirit which eliminates suffering consequences from counterproductive decisions.

Fact: Living according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit causes a chasm [a profound difference in viewpoints, lifestyles, and priorities] between us and them [unbelievers].

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” 1 Corinthians 15:33

Because the world has nothing in common with the true followers of Christ, we are commanded to separate ourselves from those who choose to live in spiritual darkness. Satan has deceived many Christians into forming relationships with those who say they believe in God or that God exists, yet, there is no relationship with Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us, “…having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Timothy 2:5-6).

Unless we are witnessing, we accept that separation is required between the sons and daughters of God and unbelievers. Many of us accept that we cannot have close relationships with those in darkness, but we may exclude our family and friends from those we must separate ourselves from.

In 2017, I received a call from an Uncle who was inviting me to celebrate his birthday on a Friday night in a club/restaurant. After extending the invite, he reiterated that I did not have to sit near the bar where they are serving drinks. I declined by telling him that I would not be able to attend because I serve God. Still, I thanked him for inviting me and wished him to have a happy birthday.

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” –Luke 14:26

These are very strong words that Jesus used to emphasize the cost of discipleship. Our rebirth in Christ requires us to place our relationship with Him as the priority in our lives. We forsake anyone who attempts to break our spiritual bond and relationship with God. We also renounce the former life of unrighteous words, behaviors, and habits. Yes, that is the cost of following Christ.

Remaining faithful and true to God usually requires us to be isolated from those whom we love. And be aware that you may suffer rejection from fellow believers because of your steadfast commitment to Christ. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will. enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Fact: If we do not possess the unwavering belief that our rebirth in Christ placed us into the royal priesthood of God, we will not withstand Satan’s temptations or life’s hardships. And we will fall and stay down when separation from close family and friends escalates into isolation.

God’s Promise of Comfort: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

The diligent and daily study of God’s promises keeps us grounded. Every promise reminds us of our identity in Christ. Much prayer keeps us faithful, grateful, and obedient to God. We are living in the last days and cannot afford to lose our status as heirs of the only True and Living God. We have a Father who created us from love, in His image, and has plans for us to live with Him eternally.

“…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Yes, we are loved and highly favored. Pray for discernment of the Scriptures. The Bible contains symbolism that we cannot understand without spiritual discernment. God’s promises were not written only for the believers that live in biblical times. The same everlasting love that God proclaimed in the Old Testament applies to today’s believers.

We are never abandoned by Christ. Redirecting our focus on His love, great sacrifice, and current role in Heaven serving as our Intercessor allows us to express our gratitude to a long-suffering Savior. With humility, let us fall to our knees, thanking Jesus for the royal privileges we receive along with the opportunity for eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth.

Are you living with the confidence and courage that a son or daughter of God should possess?

Back in the day, there was a question that the elite of society used to ask, “Do you know who I am?” when they were flaunting their social status of privilege. The question for today’s believers is, “Do you know who you are?” Nothing is worse than the children of God having a mindset of defeat and a sense of worthlessness.

When your emotions have overpowered your sound mind, immediately pray!

The Holy Spirit is also our Comforter and will remind us of our heritage—we are created in Jesus’ image. Although we were born into sin, our Savior chose us, knocked at the doors of our hearts, and we accepted His invitation. It is a privilege to be part of the Kingdom royalty. If we are faithful and true one day soon we will receive our crowns from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Every day encourage yourself by looking in the mirror, and asking, “Who am I?” And yes, answer your question, I am King Jesus’ son or I am King Jesus’ daughter. There are times that we feel down and unloved. If you are new to studying the Bible then do an online search of Scriptures of God’s love.

There are countless declarations of God’s love which are for humanity. Never forget that Jesus called himself the Son of Man. He experienced the same emotions as us and much more especially in the Garden of Gethsemane [Luke 22:39 to 46].

Knowledge of the Scriptures reinforces our faith. The Bible is a love letter from God to us. We have a treasure map from the Voice of God. How amazing and wonderful is His love for us? Never lose your confidence and courage even when life is challenging. The Bible is God’s Truth. If God says we are His sons and daughters then we believe it.

Jesus has promised that He will finish our spiritual transformation up until the day He comes [Philippians 1:6]. If we remain faithful and obedient then we can look forward to receiving our crown and eternal inheritance.

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'” –1 Corinthians 2:9

Our Father’s Promises to His Sons and Daughters when they are feeling weak!

Scripture Reading: 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 might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. –Isaiah 40: verses 28 to 31.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You sacrificed Your life, allowing us to be reborn into your royal priesthood. We pray for the strength to forsake all others and prepare to receive our inheritance of the New Heaven and New Earth. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.

There Is a Better Way–To Possess Right Thinking

There Is a Better Way–To Possess Right Thinking Devotional Reading and Podcast

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” –1 Peter 1:6-7

When God emancipated the Israelites from Egyptian slavery the journey from Egypt to Canaan was only 11 days. Yet they were in the wilderness for 40 years because of their ungrateful hearts and disgruntled thoughts which led to continuous disobedience against God. When the Israelites were camping at the Red Sea and saw Pharoah and his army, instead of praying for God’s Divine intervention to save them, they blamed Moses for forcing them to leave Egypt. As a result, they verbally attacked Moses and accused him of placing them in harm’s way.

“Then they said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:11-12).

At some point in our lives, every Christian will have a wilderness experience. Trials are never something that we wish for, yet they are part of the believer’s spiritual journey. Trials are not random. God is specific in determining what each of us needs to experience continuous spiritual growth and transformation.

In the Bible, we have faith heroes, Joseph, and the apostles Paul and John along with many others who experienced lengthy hardships. God uses trials to build our faith and rid us of unrighteous character traits. When it is time for us to enter the wilderness do we willingly accept God’s plan for the testing of our faith?

To remain steadfast during our spiritual journey, we must have a mindset of “Right Thinking.” What is right thinking? “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

Right thinking acknowledges that our trial is permitted by God to produce spiritual growth in our faith and to transform our character into the likeness of Christ. Obedience, endurance, and perseverance are characteristics of right thinking.

Trials and sorrows are always unexpected unless we are suffering from the consequences of willful disobedience. Our first response to the trial is usually much praying and studying the Bible as never before. We have confidence that God will keep His promises and provide deliverance [as soon as possible]. But placing a time limit on the duration of our trial is the beginning of compromising “right thinking.”

Because of our expectation for quick deliverance, our mindset is not in alignment with God’s will. As the days become weeks, we continue to pray and remain hopeful that God will intervene soon. Yet, when the weeks become months, and months escalate into years, and God remains silent, our faith decreases and our hope fades into discouragement.

With time, we lose our spiritual focus. The frequency and fervency of our prayers decline. And we avoid the Scriptures that emphasize the reason for suffering and patiently waiting on the Lord. We no longer possess right-thinking.

Without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to think of options–plans A or B to end our hardships or ask God if He has forgotten about us. Some even attempt to negotiate with God by promising to attend church more often or confess that they have not been fulfilling their purpose, but they will do better.

When will it end? As the journey continues our emotions overrule our faith. Now our minds are filled with doubt. Without faith, our discouragement grows into depression, and anger may arise because we have grown weary of our circumstances. Our prayers no longer reflect the hope that God will deliver us.

A few years ago, I recall a good friend who was experiencing a wilderness trial saying, it’s just too hard to serve God. Despite spiritual counseling, attending church, and studying God’s promises, he gave up. Sadly, to this day, he continues to reject God.

God’s Perspective: Trials and tribulations prepare us for Kingdom life in the New Heaven and New Earth.

We do not see ourselves as God does. Humanity cannot judge itself. Because we do not engage in worldly activities, attend church, give our tithe and offerings, pray, and study the Bible, we perceive ourselves as righteous, and do not see the need for lengthy or frequent trials. Again our mindset compromises right thinking.

King Solomon says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

King David was aware of our spiritual condition. He prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24). How often do we pray King David’s prayer?

When God remains quiet and our prayers unanswered, those who do not have a steadfast relationship with Christ are filled with worries and anxieties. Then our wayward thinking increases. “Why isn’t God answering my prayers?” which leads to the demise of our faith, trust, and hope in God.

Satan takes advantage of us when he knows we are losing faith in God. Remember the fallen angel cannot read our minds, but he observes our downcast behaviors and listens to our spoken words of defeat and negativity. When our times of praise and worship almost become nonexistent then he works to bring his diabolical plans to fruition.

Satan uses the waiting period to plant the seeds of doubt in our minds. Without faith and right thinking, our perception of God changes from a loving Father to a God who is punitive. Our internal thoughts accuse God of withholding the job, finances, house, vehicle, husband, wife, the children we desire, or healing our illness that we rightfully deserve.

To make matters worse, like Job’s friends, our family and friends may ask what did you do that God is not answering your prayers or delivering you?

With our archenemy at work, we are filled with anger, resentment, a sense of entitlement, and despair. Unhealthy emotions easily permeate and corrupt the human mind. A heart filled with negative and ungrateful thoughts toward God eventually leads to a severed relationship with our Creator.

Although the apostle Paul was imprisoned until he died as a martyr, he never complained or spoke against God. Paul advised us to focus on the reward of eternal life when we are in times of suffering.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…” (Romans 5:3-5)

Waiting in the Wilderness Exposes Our Spiritual Condition: The wilderness trial has revealed the root of the problem, our faith in God along with our endurance and perseverance is weak.

Have you ever made a cup of coffee or tea, added cream or milk, and tasted it, only to discover it was spoiled? Without an alternate answer, we have to admit our responsibility for not checking the expiration date.

Yet, when we fail in our faith journey, we blame God for putting more on us than we can bear. We resent our wilderness trials because we do not desire a life of tribulations that God says is necessary for the growth of our faith. Spiritual transformation is lifelong. Trials and sorrows will remain part of our journey until we take our last breath or until the day of Jesus’ Second Coming.

“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)

Only God knows the strength or weakness of our faith. He also knows the true condition of our hearts and characters. Our Heavenly Father’s goal is to save our souls. We must ask ourselves if we desire the reward that Jesus promised to the faithful in Revelation. If yes, then our daily prayers reflect David’s prayer to God for Him to search our hearts and give us the strength to persevere.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

There is a better way to live—To possess Right Thinking. We surrender ourselves wholly to God by accepting that His plans are perfect for us. In humility, we agree that God is only allowing what is necessary to receive eternal life. Right thinking acknowledges that every trial, short or extended will produce a complete transformation of our minds and character, a steadfast faith, and the endurance, and perseverance necessary to receive our eternal reward.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Those who strive to have a relationship with Christ built on steadfast faith and trust will receive their crowns. Hallelujah! Amen!

Prayer: God, we have lost our right thinking. We ask for forgiveness for our wayward thoughts of not accepting the wilderness trials. We pray for a complete restoration mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We ask for the anointing, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit to impart the strength we need to remain in the wilderness according to Your will. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.

© 2023 Steps2yourspiritualsolutions

Calculate the Cost

Calculate the Cost Devotional Reading and Podcast

When purchasing vehicles, most individuals are accustomed to the 10% markup price by the dealership and are prepared to negotiate a better deal. Yet, everyday items such as brand-name bottled water have a markup of 2000%, clothing costs us 55 to 62% more, and pre-cut meat an additional 60%. Yet, the winner of the highest markup, eyeglasses at an inflated price of 250-1000%.

Last night, I listened to a minimalist who built a beautiful tiny home in a two-story boat explained why he enjoys a no-worries lifestyle. He has been sailing since a young child and desired to own a home that reflected his love for boats and the water. Before purchasing the boat, he established a budget of $40,000 to include the cost of the boat and the remodeling. Although it took a few months to find a structurally sound boat within his budget, he was successful. For $6,000, and six months of hard work, his patience and plan paid off–he is happy and debt-free.

We are mentally programmed to spend our money because of our uncontrolled desires. Retailers thrive from the people who think that they never have enough. Their homes and closets are overloaded with collections of stuff that they have forgotten about and probably will never use. Still, their lack of self-control has disrupted all rational thought processes. The evidence of excessive desire is reflected in most estate sales.

Calculate the Cost: The love of material things impacts a believer’s relationship with God and produces the character defects of selfishness and greed. The lack of self-discipline separates us from God and is not limited to our spiritual status. Unrestrained desires cause many to have impaired physical health due to unhealthy food choices and to suffer from mental and emotional instability–making spontaneous choices that have unproductive outcomes.

“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 6:20-21

We may have to eat a big slice of humble pie to admit that we have a serious problem–the love of earthly treasures. If our goal is to have eternal life, then we must confess to God that our desires are out of control and we desperately need His help. Human effort is always required before we receive Divine intervention.

Begin by donating to churches and privately-owned thrift stores everything that has not been used for six months or longer. Downsizing takes mental strength–rational thought processes must supersede emotional responses. Giving away excess achieves three character-building goals, it breaks down the hardness of a selfish heart, teaches us self-restraint, and we recognize the difference between our necessities and desires.

God’s command to all believers–help others.

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” –1 John 3:17

“Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too shall cry out and receive no answer.” –Proverbs 21:13

Money, clothes, houses, lands, cars, jewels, gadgets…they are exciting but worthless. As we progress into the last days, our focus must be redirected from things to loving Christ. We cannot miss our reward of eternal life because of an intense love for earthly treasures.

“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospels will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'” –Mark 8:34-37

Prayer: God, we admit that our desires are out of control. We pray for discipline and the strength to change and redirect our love to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Who Was Our Best Example of Faith?

Sharing this Daily Devotional by D. Winn

I have often asked groups of people to nominate whom they believe to be the best example of “faith” in the Bible. Most people favor the familiar heroes of faith: Abraham, Job, Moses, or Elijah. Some mention John the Baptist or David.

When asked to explain their choices, people usually speak of those events, such as Abraham’s offering of Isaac, in which people do remarkable things that don’t appear to make any sense. For many Christians it appears that faith has more to do with blind incredulity than with a life-changing relationship.

Jesus Christ is our best example of faithfulness!

Jesus spoke explicitly of His faith relationship with divinity outside of Himself: “I do nothing on my own authority, but in all that I say, I have been taught by my Father.  He who sent me is present with me, and has not left me alone; for I always do what is acceptable to him” (John 8:28, 29, N.E.B.).  The divinity that charged Jesus’ life with power and purpose was not His own, but His Father’s.

Prayer: God, we pray for an increase in faith and the desire to obey Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Potter and the Clay

But now, O Lord you are our Father, we are the clay, and you our Potter; And all of us are the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Timothy constantly sought Paul’s advice and instruction. He exercised consideration and calm thought, inquiring at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? The Holy Spirit found in him one who could be molded and fashioned as a temple for the indwelling of the divine Presence. TT 109.1

The question is, Are we surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit and allowing Jesus Christ to transform our character? God is not intrusive. He does not force us to change into His image. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Prayer: God, we desire to be molded in the Character of Christ. We pray for forgiveness of our sins. We ask to be molded in your hands. As we prepare for your soon coming, we pray for guidance in every aspect of our lives. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry