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.

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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. https://www.gcu.edu/blog/theology-ministry/dear-theophilus-why-did-god-create-world

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.

God’s Promises, Presence, and Power

Sabbath Devotional Reading–God’s Promises, Presence, and Power

In 1963, a TV program starring David Janssen called The Fugitive, a man who was innocent but deemed guilty due to circumstantial evidence. Besides running for his life and hiding from the misguided authorities, his concentration was divided because he was also attempting to prove his innocence.

The show lasted for four seasons. Yet, it is quite interesting that the TV series imitated the story of David, the analogy of an innocent man who becomes a fugitive–running for his life.

First Samuel chapters 18 to 22 give us an in-depth account of David’s struggle to stay alive. How does one transition from a shepherd boy whom God used to kill Goliath to becoming a fugitive running from the same king who celebrated his victory over Goliath?

From Shepherd Boy to a Fugitive

After the slaying of Goliath, King Saul kept David with him, and would not permit him to return to his father’s house. The king was aware that God had a divine purpose for David. He possessed courage, strong warrior traits, and leadership qualities unusual for a young man his age. After God gave David and the soldiers victory over the Philistines, all was well until Saul heard the Israelite women’s song honoring David.

“As the troops were returning home after David had killed the Philistines, the women came out of all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs, and with tambourines and other instruments. And as the women danced, they sang out: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ And Saul was furious and resented this song. ‘They have ascribed tens of thousands to David,’ he said, ‘but only thousands to me. What more can he have but the kingdom?…'” –1 Samuel 18:6-8

The demon of jealousy entered the heart of the king. He was angry because David was exalted above himself in the song of the women of Israel. Patriarchs and Prophets

Because of Saul’s unrepentant and disobedient spirit, God told Samuel that He had rejected the self-exalting king. The prophet Samuel loved Saul like a son, which led to an emotional response to God’s decision. He petitioned God through prayer to reconsider removing Saul as king.

God’s answer: “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.'” –1 Samuel 16:1

God’s Promise: God chose David to be King Saul’s replacement as king of Israel. “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…” (1 Samuel 16:13).

God’s Presence: Although we do not know the exact number of years that David ran from King Saul, scholars estimate between 8 to 13 years. From a human perspective, it is difficult to understand the reason for David’s extreme hardship of living in caves and constantly on the run. Yet, God was aware of David’s strengths and weaknesses and the adversity required to shape his character and prepare him to lead the nation of Israel as their king. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4).

God’s Power: Every moment of every day, God was with David. Saul tried with all of his might to kill the giant slayer and the next king of Israel, but he failed. Read 1 Samuel chapter 24 to learn how God’s Divine Intervention adds an unexpected twist to King Saul’s relentless pursuit of David.

David did not avoid Saul using strategic maneuvers or relying on his knowledge and skills. David was more than a victorious warrior of battles, he was a prayer warrior who communicated with God about every tribulation he faced. Not only did he praise God in hard times, but David also wrote an entire book of songs [the book of Psalms] that demonstrate his love and appreciation for God.

As children of God, we face spiritual warfare every day that comes in many forms. Psalm chapter 34 is a song of praise proclaiming “The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God.” David was captured and taken before King Abimelech. He pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

Psalm 34 contains thirteen of God’s promises to the righteous. Study the Scriptures and pray diligently for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life. Each of us will face time as a fugitive. At some point, we will have a hardship in our lives where family or friends cannot help us.

Spiritual Insight and Wisdom are Received From Divine Revelation

Although we may feel abandoned while in the wilderness of overwhelming hardships, from David’s life as a young shepherd boy to a fugitive, and finally becoming the King of Israel, we gain spiritual insight into who God is and the victory that comes from facing adversity when we pray for help. Despite life’s tough challenges, our faith should remain steadfast. Never forget that we serve a loving God who says, I change not!

Remain teachable by studying the Bible and praying. The human effort of maintaining our relationship with Jesus allows us to have steadfast faith in the most challenging times. Like David, although pursued by the enemy, our confidence and courage should never waver. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

Yes, we know who will deliver us from all of our troubles–our Dependable God who fulfills all of His promises, whose presence can be felt by whoever asks for Divine help, and who has the power to prevent, reverse, and remove all warfare against our lives.

Prayer: God, we thank you for Your promises, presence, and power. In faith, we surrender our hearts and commit to serving You as obedient disciples. Thank you for giving us the Sabbath– a time to rest our minds and bodies by shutting out the secular noise. We pray for spiritual insight, wisdom, and a blessing as we commune with You today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of Love

We love because he first loved us. –1 John 4:19

In John 16:33, Jesus warns us that our spiritual journey will be our hardest journey. But we can succeed with His help because Jesus overcame the world and all its tribulations.

Asking ourselves, Why have I excluded Jesus as my Divine Helper? will redirect our focus. God has perfect plans for each of us. Sadly, many Christians reject God’s purpose and spiritual assignment for their lives to pursue their own desires.

It took me too long to surrender to God’s will and plans for my life. But I finally did it. Just in Psalm chapter 34, there are 13 promises for the righteous. And God continually demonstrates His love and safekeeping in the peaceful times as well as the stormy seasons.

The righteous receive many benefits from dedicating themselves to Christ. Receiving the gift of peace changes our outlook and allows us to view Jesus through eyes of love. Be blessed 🙌

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Trust In YAH

Trust In YAH Devotional Reading

The minds of young children represent one of the pure and lovely things that still exist in life. Yes, the little ones are concrete thinkers. Concrete thinkers usually take information at face value without thinking beyond or generalizing the information to other meanings or situations.

Telling a child, “If you pick up your toys and put them in your toy box every day then you will go to the animal petting farm,” simply means, if I pick up my toys then I am going to the animal farm. Their understanding of the conditional promise is not filled with doubts or complexities. Young children have genuine faith and trust in their parents. They can only think one way–my parents said it and I believe in their promise.

To trust in YAH, in humility, we must become like little children. Our faith and trust in God are evidence of a converted heart.

The Condition: “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and 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. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.'” –Matthew 18:2-5.

Faith is pure and simple: “And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'” Acts 16:31

Not faithfully believing in God’s promises reveals a problem deeper than we realize–an unconverted heart. You may ask, But how can that be the truth when I believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Our belief in God must extend beyond the fact that He exists. When a Christian fails to have the mindset of little children who simply believe and fully trust in their parent’s promises, they possess the same disbelief as those who say there is no God.

The roadblock to trusting in YAH originates from our hearts [our minds]. We may attempt to hide our faithlessness, but God knows the true condition of our hearts. Some believe that their careful strategic planning produced victorious outcomes that happened in their lives.

Trusting in our knowledge and life experiences not only builds false confidence in our limited abilities, but eventually, we will reach the crossroads of No Options Available leaving us with a mind filled with doubt, anxiety, worries, and frustrations. Instead of acknowledging that our disbelief brought unforeseen consequences to our lives, we tend to blame God.

God’s Design for Our Lives: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” –Jeremiah 10:23

Converted hearts acknowledge daily that we cannot live without the consistent Divine Intervention of the Heavenly Father who sustains our very existence. Having the knowledge, faith, and trust in God and His promises in the peaceful times of our lives fortifies and gives us the strength to remain steadfast when our faith is severely tested.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jesus’ answer to eliminating our distrust in YAH is that true conversion requires us to become like young children who simply believe in the spoken promises. Our faith pleases God! No doubts or questions, just believing that if God said it then His promises are Yes to which we say, Amen.

Bible Study: In Psalm chapter 34, David gives us 13 promises from God for the righteous.

Prayer: God, we desire to faithfully trust in You and Your promises. We ask for forgiveness for not trusting in YAH. We believe in and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

No Condemnation in Christ

No Condemnation in Christ Devotional Reading

What are the most profound statements you have heard or read in your lifetime? To qualify, it should be words that you will never forget because they initiated a shift in your outlook on life and caused you to redefine your values.

I will share two that initiated a deeper love relationship within me for Jesus Christ. 1. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). 2. “Why would you want to die for your sins when Jesus already died for them?”

I had to do some deep soul-searching and confront myself for having a spirit of ingratitude toward Christ. Am I the only one facing this vicarious predicament of not loving Jesus as I should?

We know that Jesus died and rose again to complete the plan of Redemption. Still, our thoughts of Jesus’ sacrifice are usually fleeting and superficial. In our carnal thinking, we cannot appreciate the greatest miracle humanity has received–the gift of Spiritual Transformation.

Our love gift from God, the Father is one of forethought and commitment. He accepted Jesus’ sacrifice to save our souls even before humanity was created. Jesus ransomed us from the second and final death by giving His life for all–the people who once lived, those who are living presently on this earth, and all future births.

Yes from Adam and Eve to everyone born up until His Second Coming, Jesus has promised us, “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). Hallelujah! The righteous will receive more than this earthly life that is full of trials and sorrows.

Jesus’ Offer is Salvation Not Condemnation

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. –John 3:17-19

Yet, as with all of God’s promises, they are conditional. We must do our part. There is no guessing or confusion, the Scriptures tell us exactly what God will do for us if we surrender and faithfully obey His commands. The greatest problem that we face is the condition of obedience always causes ambivalence–we must decide between God’s will and our desires. If we choose to live according to our desires, then we choose to place ourselves in the darkness of self-condemnation.

The Invitation: 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

It’s Time to Look Back: When Jesus knocked at the door of our hearts and we accepted His invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him, we were in love with the Savior. As time passed, we begin to waiver in our desire to live righteously. Nor did we understand the conditions required to sustain the love relationship between ourselves and Christ. Discipleship is a life of servitude that requires us to obey God.

Initially, we were excited by our spiritual rebirth, but we failed to realize that Sanctification, to be transformed into the likeness of Christ takes a lifetime of humility and self-denial. We became weary from the continuous internal conflict of obeying God versus giving in to our plans and goals. We failed to remember that our lives are ordered by God for His purpose and glory. Gradually, a change of heart happened and we started living for ourselves.

The Missing Element: Love

“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law? Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.…'” Matthew 22:36-38

The Bible is a Love letter from God to us. As we study the Scriptures, we come to know God as a loving, Heavenly Father who desires the best for His children. Yet, love must be reciprocal. Keeping Jesus’ loving sacrifice in the forefront of our minds results in spiritual growth, understanding, and wisdom. Love for God keeps us in alignment with Him. The Holy Spirit empowers us to understand and accept that God’s thoughts and plans are perfect and always end in victory.

As our love relationship with Christ grows it is with a cheerful heart that we seek God’s will through prayer and study of the Scriptures. Our daily prayer of surrender to God is fueled by love, faith, and obedience. Abiding in Christ gives us the strength to remain steadfast. We no longer veer to the right or the left, leading us wayward into the pit of self-condemnation.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” –Romans 8:1

Godly love ensures that we look straight ahead. Love keeps us focused on Jesus, our Lord, and Savior who promises to keep us on the Path of Righteousness when we put forth the human effort to follow Him. Yes, through surrender to Christ, we are freed from the indwelling sin which condemns us to death, and we receive His promise of life eternal. Amen!

Prayer: God, we pray for Your help to return to our first love, Jesus Christ. We ask for forgiveness of self-seeking behaviors that have separated us from You and Your purpose in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Praying for Opportunities

Praying for Opportunities Devotional Reading

The process of progressive discipline by employers did not always exist. Many employees with tenure and excellent job performance were terminated because of personal dislike from their supervisors. Before 1991, we worked under a dark cloud of fear, never knowing if we would have a job from one day to the next.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1991 made major changes in the federal laws against employment discrimination enforced by EEOC.”

Yet, we had those who recognized the opportunity to take a stand. No matter the cost they worked tirelessly for federal laws that protected employees against discrimination and unfair treatment. These forgotten heroes demanded from the government enforced laws that prohibited the practice of immediate termination without progressive discipline [exceptions were extreme infractions against company policy].

Seeking opportunities to help others is God’s expectation of all Christian believers.

To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). If you have heard that line of wisdom, you know it means we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others. https://law.utk.edu/2016/05/10/to-whom-much-is-given-much-will-be-required/

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

Micah 6:8 is a clear, crisp, and simple summary of what God expects from you and me. These three things that matter so much to God are the three things God wants to see in us: justice, kindness, and humility. To act justly is to treat people fairly and respectfully. http://www.bible.com

Although it is against our naturally selfish hearts to seek opportunities that benefit others, we are committed to being like Christ. Every day we should pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal opportunities to witness and alleviate the suffering of those who need our help. Random acts of kindness do not fulfill our duty to God and humanity.

Our love for God ensures that we maintain our spiritual connection with our Heavenly Father through prayer and study of the Bible. We form a bonding relationship with Christ that produces a never-ending river of love that flows from His heart to our hearts. Pray for guidance and the humility to willingly accept your assignment to show the love and mercy that Christ gave to others throughout His life on earth.

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” –Revelation 22:12

Prayer: God, we ask for forgiveness for having a mindset to seek after our desires. We pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the opportunities that fulfill our daily requirement of discipleship. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.