The Power of Influence Devotional Reading

The Power of Influence Devotional Reading

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” —Proverbs 12:26

Becoming a product of our environment is a psychological theory that is not true when we are loyal to God.

The gospel singer Kurt Carr was raised in a family who never did acknowledge that God existed. Although he lived in a worldly environment, God revealed that He had a plan for his young life. In his testimony, at the age of 13, the church on the same block that he walked past twice a day for his round trip to school, God told him to attend and sing in the choir, and from his obedience He would bless his life.

Despite the influence of the music/entertainment industry, throughout the years of his music ministry, Kurt Carr has stayed true to his calling by writing and producing gospel music that glorifies God.

Can you imagine being the only Christian in your home? God’s power defies all evil strategies to keep us from having a fruitful relationship with Jesus. Still, we must do our part by obeying God and letting go of the people, places, and things that separate us from God.

One of the greatest challenges we face in life is being influenced by people—family, close friends, social influencers, and financial consultants with various agendas. Satan always uses people to test our loyalty to God. We easily succumb to deceptive tactics when familiar persons are involved. Yet, I recently listened to a story of success by someone famous posted who convinced us that we should pursue our dreams at any cost on social media.

Most of the time someone else is involved who influences us to make decisions that do not align with God’s plans for our lives. Where do we stand? Who is influencing our minds? Our loyalty to God is tested every day.

“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” —1 Corinthians 15:33

Maybe our first reaction to this Scripture [warning us to stay away from unbelievers] would be, “I wouldn’t consider my family, friends, or that entertainer to be evil,” but we cannot see them as God does. The people who do not have eternal life as their goal, God says they are bad company. Plans and pursuits that do not glorify God are dangerous to our spiritual status.

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?…” —1 Corinthians 6:9

Either we influence others for good or we are influenced by evil. Truthfully, we cannot influence those who have not given their hearts to Christ. Our spiritual journey is tough enough without allowing those who have no desire to dedicate themselves to God to convince us.

“It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

With an intentional mindset to follow Christ all the way, do not allow the bonds of close relationships to form with unbelievers [whom Satan will use to influence us] to result in spiritual conflict. Staying true to God requires us to avoid the influencers whose advice can result in disobedience and missing out on our blessings.

Prayer: God, we pray for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to give us discernment and wisdom to avoid following the influencers of this world. We ask You to reveal Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.

Staying Alert in the Enemy’s Territory Devotional Reading

Staying Alert in the Enemy’s Territory Devotional Reading—May 8, 2023

The drought lasted eight months in the African savannah, leaving only one remaining water hole. Jackals, giraffes, elephants, and gazelles risked their lives to nervously drink just enough water and quickly run away. This was the enemy’s territory. The only remaining water hole was ruled by a strong and ruthless lion pride with two mature male lions and four lionesses who were skillful hunters.

All of the animals were at their weakest point due to the intense heat and lack of rain. Yet the lions maintained their strength and resilience. As the water level continued to drop, the prey animals were at a disadvantage—they could not drink and watch for a lion attack. The narrator emphasized paying attention to the lead lioness who exhibited an unusual behavior–she began watching the giraffes dipping their heads low into the deep ravine to drink and that’s when she stalked her prey and completed the kill.

The lions were able to maintain their strength as they no longer had to go after their prey. The bigger animals, who are not usually caught by lions, were caught off guard as they were focused on quenching their thirst. Despite weighing only 300 lbs, the lioness’ sharp observation skills helped her take down a giraffe that was 18 feet tall and weighed approximately 4,000 lbs while it was drinking water.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. –1 Peter 5:8, BSB

The rapid pace of life and the never-ending busyness of the activities of daily living has robbed many of having a close relationship with Jesus. When our spiritual reservoir is depleted from no time to have daily worship, we are left in a weakened condition. Like the animals who had to bend their heads deep into the ravine, we become prey to Satan’s covert tactics because we lose our spiritual eyesight [discernment].

Without daily communion with God, our perception is skewed. We lose the ability to discern Satan’s deceptive strategies that separate us from God. On Sunday, we attended church, received a spiritual refresher, and made the commitment to study the Bible every day. When we arrive at work on Monday, an email is asking for volunteers to work overtime for the next two weeks including weekends. We choose to work overtime because we could use the extra money.

“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

Studying the Bible daily is a commitment that pleases God and helps us gain knowledge and wisdom. Our faithfulness to God is evident in our loyalty to Him.

As Christians, we face daily challenges from the “Roaring Lion,” but we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus, the Commander of the angel armies, protects those who remain faithful, loyal, and obedient. We must remain vigilant and seek refuge in our Savior, who promises to deliver us from Satan’s schemes and temptations. We were not created to become prey to the spiritual warfare we face daily.

“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” —1 Peter 5:9-11

Prayer: God, we thank You for Your love and Divine Intervention to keep us protected from the enemy’s spiritual warfare. Jesus, we desire to have a closer relationship with You and commit to spending time worshiping You every day. We ask this prayer in Your Holy Name, Amen.

© 2023 and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries

This Day With God

This Day With God Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Give us this day our daily bread.” –Matthew 6:11

Receiving a new day is the gift-wrapped mercies from our loving, Heavenly Father. It is with joy that we have the opportunity to put the frustrations and failures of yesterday behind us. Nor should we try to anticipate the unexpected events of today or tomorrow. Faithfully trust God and pray for help if the known events of today are threatening to take away your joy and peace. The newness of this day should reflect a joyful heart along with praying and singing praises of gratitude.

Reflection for today and every day should begin by focusing on our relationship with Jesus. Each of us falls short in the hearing and doing of the Word of God. Believing in God is more meaningful than proclaiming the spoken words of, I am a Christian.

God knows that our spiritual journey is the most challenging aspect of our lives. It is a journey that we cannot travel alone. Faith, prayer, and diligent study of the Scriptures keeps us connected to the Vine, Jesus Christ.

“It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” –Isaiah 65:24

Let this become one of your go-to scriptures. God knows our every thought. Never attempt to resolve any hardship or sorrow without God. He knows that we need His Divine intervention and Jesus reassures us, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

Living a faith-based life requires dedication to God. The distractions of spiritual warfare threaten to break our connection to Christ. With steadfast perseverance, we make a covenant vow to keep God first. Still, this is where human effort falls short. Despite our best intentions, we require spiritual help to stay on the Path of Righteousness.

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

Rely on God! It takes spiritual discernment and wisdom to recognize the daily distractions that prevent us from maintaining our relationship with Christ first. Pray for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in your life as soon as you awaken. Never forget that our human effort will never be enough. We must receive Divine intervention to have victory through Christ.

Develop the discipline of not allowing distractions to disrupt your day. I remember one of my best friends [who now is asleep until Jesus returns] would always respond when she was asked to do anything, “I have to pray first, receive my answer, and I will let you know.”

Loving God is giving Him first place in our hearts, minds, and lives. Our desire is for Jesus to be the Lover of our souls. When we comprehend the reality that Jesus sacrificed His life for us and promises to sustain our lives, we can say, Yes, to His will and will eagerly accept His decisions. Surrendering to God is a free will choice. When we make a habit of letting our first response of asking God to show us the way, we stay in alignment with His perfect will. Live to always to please God.

Possessing the Love, Humility, Faith, Trust, and Obedience of Children

“He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 18:3)

We decide every day if we will commit ourselves to God. Our love for God is proven by the prayer that Jesus prayed daily, “Father, not my will, but Your will be done in my life.” From a loving heart flows humility, faith, trust, and obedience. Without obedience to God, we think and make the same wayward decisions as unbelievers. Yes, like young children, we love and live with joyful anticipation by eagerly believing, trusting, and waiting on the Lord.

Holiness is demonstrated by having an obedient mind that is in Jesus Christ.

Serving God requires a heart transformation. We were born in sin. The struggle to do right is real. Even the apostle Paul said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). One of my prayers is, “Lord, save me from myself.” Our lifestyle of self-denial helps us to “…be doers of the word…(James 1:22).

God’s Standard for the Righteous: “…Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2).

The word for holy in Hebrew is qadash [pronounced kaw-dash], which means to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, holy, sanctified, and separate. We have a reward of eternal life promised to us by King Jesus if we choose to accept it.

The Holy Spirit’s Awesome and Mysterious Power

Holiness is striving for righteousness which is right doing. We cannot attain the righteous standards nor experience spiritual transformation [that God requires] without the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit. Staying close to God by praying and inviting the presence and power of the Holy Spirit enables us to discern the truth, gain wisdom, and most importantly, hear God’s voice.

Pray brothers and sisters! Prayer is our lifeline to heaven. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When faced with the spiritual warfare of distractions, fatigue, confusion, anxiety, worry, stress, and discouragement, pray for comfort. Do not wait for something drastic to happen before you pray. Include every challenge in your life and take it to God in prayer. Our Heavenly Father is waiting to hear from us.

Serving God is all or nothing. From embracing forms of worldliness, many believers have left their First Love–Jesus. If you are confused about your spiritual status, think about the people in your social circle. Do your conversations reflect your relationship with Christ? In our daily activities, do we see every interaction with others as an opportunity to witness? Is it important that we help those in need?

What can we do with our blessing of a new day to reflect our love for Christ? The darkness of hopelessness pervades humanity and leaves many with the desire to stop living. People from all walks of life are consistently medicating themselves with alcohol and illicit substances. Show love, kindness, and gentleness to yourself and to everyone else who you interact with. We cannot live with a mindset of not wanting to get involved. We represent Jesus who is the Light of the world.

Prayer: God, we thank You for the blessing of a new day. We desire to dedicate ourselves totally to Your will. We pray for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. And we ask You to reveal those whom we can encourage today and every day. In Jesus’ powerful name, we claim victory. Amen.

God’s Blessings Require Spiritual Transformation–Joseph, From Slavery to an Egyptian Ruler

God’s Blessings Require Spiritual Transformation–Joseph, From Slavery to an Egyptian Ruler Devotional Reading and Podcast

Bible Reference: Genesis chapters 37-50

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age. Also, he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” Genesis 37:3-4

The emotions that arise from reading the story of the teen-aged Joseph sold as a slave by his brothers is one of disbelief. Can you imagine being sold as a slave by your siblings? Who could understand the hatred in each of his brother’s hearts? Certainly, his mind was filled with disbelief and his heart experienced a level of unimaginable pain and sadness.

In reading the story of Joseph’s brothers, we realize there is nothing new under the sun. As a result of sin, hatred, and jealousy have existed in families since the creation of humanity [Cain killed his brother Abel]. When Satan creates division in the home, love and harmony no longer exist. Still, what purpose could possibly come from this heinous action?

When God’s Divine Intervention is involved, our minds will never understand His ways and thoughts. Remember, nothing comes as a surprise to God. He was fully aware of the brother’s lifelong hatred for Joseph and their decision to sell their brother as a slave. Satan’s spiritual warfare against believers is limited by Jesus Christ. Never forget that the fallen angel still must function within God’s guidelines.

Because God is love, He allowed Joseph to be comforted by the memories of Jacob’s steadfast love for him. God’s divine plans for Joseph included the blessing of leadership in a foreign land. Being sold as a slave was the beginning of Joseph’s spiritual journey of preparation to become the second in command in the land of Egypt. Throughout this story, we can see God’s plan slowly come to fruition.

And our Heavenly Father who is always in control proved His overwhelming love and intervention for Joseph.

Divine Intervention: “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man, and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.” Genesis 39:1-4

The earthly life of a believer is riddled with many hardships and sorrows. Like Jesus, we must travel on a road of suffering. Yet, we have Divinity on our side–God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the angel armies are just a prayer away. We are never left alone or forsaken.

The Test of Faith–“So it was when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, ‘Your servant did to me after this manner,’ that his anger was aroused. Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.” Genesis 39:19-20

Potiphar’s wife lied and accused Joseph of a sexual crime for which he was imprisoned. When tempted, Joseph remained steadfast. Although Joseph did not understand the why of his situation, he had faith and confidence in God because of his innocence and obedience.

Faith is the key that unlocks the door to courage and confidence in God when our lives are out of control. We do not have to understand God’s plan, His expectation for us is to, ” Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Despite his situation, Joseph never lost his faith, trust, and hope in God. Yes, God honors the faithfulness and courage of the righteous. There is no record of Joseph ever praying and asking God, “Why did this happen to me?” God knows that tribulation produces the transformation we need to obtain spiritual growth. Joseph’s imprisonment was part of God’s plan to shape Joseph into a powerful leader.

Divine Intervention: “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper. Genesis 39:21-23

God always keeps us on a “need to know” basis. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “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).

Joseph’s story reflects the unlimited blessings that God has for the faithful who patiently wait on Him. Sadly, during our trials, many Christians become resentful, discouraged, and begin to distrust God. They do not believe the promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God says, Keep Moving Forward: “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, how it shall spring forth, Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

God has great plans for every believer. And they are personalized plans designed to give Him honor and glory. Throughout the Bible, we read accounts of miracles and blessings beyond our finite comprehension. Trust God! His plans are perfect! God has a perfect reputation that He always maintains.

Satan desires that we have the mindset that God withholds His promises because He is punitive. The truth, we are not ready to receive our blessings. Love, faith, and obedience are the characteristics that form the foundation of our relationship with Christ. We learn to hear the Voice of God by seeking Him through dedicated worship every day. Receiving blessings requires us to be in alignment with the will of our Heavenly Father.

Every believer must travel the lifelong journey of Sanctification–to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Through daily prayer and study of the Scriptures, we experience daily spiritual growth. God’s Omniscience gives Him the ability to know our entire lives. When Joseph achieved the level of spiritual growth that God desired then he became second in command of Egypt.

God’s priority is for us to receive eternal life. Yet, our expectation of God is to give us earthly blessings. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

God desires to save our souls and Jesus is waiting to give the righteous their heavenly reward. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

To receive earthly blessings and miss out on the heavenly reward is not in God’s plan or purpose for our lives. Many become weary in the waiting period, but that is our greatest mistake. Impatience reflects a heart filled with doubt and disobedience toward God. Then God closes the open door and we may never receive the outpouring of heaven’s greatest blessings.

Some believers choose to run ahead of God and attempt to bless themselves which always reaps consequences. Have you ever been late to an event where food was served and you missed out on most of the good food and ended up eating the scraps of what remained? The little that we give to ourselves can never compare to the miraculous blessings of our Heavenly Father.

We know how Joseph’s story ends. He patiently endured many hardships, yet, Joseph trusted God. Remaining faithful while God transformed him spiritually and intellectually brought an unexpected reward–wisdom and discernment of dreams. Yes, God used Joseph to interpret Pharoah’s dreams to manifest His Divine plan.

Although Pharoah was an unbeliever, he recognized the power of God and the gifts of discernment and wisdom given to Joseph. After enduring slavery and imprisonment, Joseph obediently persevered and received his blessing. In Genesis chapter 41, we read about Joseph’s Rise to Power.

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt'” (Genesis 41:39-41).

Strive for a clean heart and to live righteously. Trust God with your life. Remain faithful and obedient even when going through tough times.

Prayer: God, we confess that our perspective of life is misaligned with Your plans and purpose for us to live with You eternally. We ask you to search our hearts and reveal the hidden sins that are against You. Lord, we desire a spiritual transformation. We pray for guidance and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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.

Good Deeds and Kind Acts

Good Deeds and Kind Acts Devotional Reading and Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

The Righteous Exalt God

The Righteous Exalt God Devotional Reading and Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created in His Image–For What Purpose?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He created people out of love for the purpose of sharing love. People were created to love God and each other. Additionally, when God created people, he gave them good work to do so that they might experience God’s goodness and reflect his image in how they care for the world and each other.

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

Pray for the Holy Spirit to Reveal Your Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mountains Will Move

The Mountains Will Move Devotional Reading and Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Is the Promise?

Where Is the Promise? Devotional Reading and Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham and Sarah’s Promise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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