Moving Forward Always Requires Transitions

Moving Forward Always Requires Transitions Devotional Reading

Many of us aspire to grow both professionally and personally, but often, we become discouraged when faced with the difficulties that come with growth. To progress, one must surpass their usual limits to successfully adapt to the various phases of transition. Whether we agree with the process [which may be short or lengthy] embracing continuous change is always required to achieve a victorious outcome.

Except for spiritual growth, the areas in which we require growth differ for each person. Yes, we must stretch ourselves beyond the ordinary routine of life by expanding our knowledge base to achieve optimal growth and development. Learning credible information, pursuing academic degrees, developing creative skills, embracing a healthy lifestyle, starting a garden, and reflecting on current relationships to assess if they are healthy are some of the ways that we indicate the desire to live our best lives.

Embracing the need for growth and development and taking the steps to achieve said goals results in the joy and happiness of possessing optimal mental, emotional, and physical health. However, it is important to acknowledge that creating strategies to accomplish both short-term and long-term objectives provides us with the confidence that we are progressing intentionally and at our preferred speed.

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if we had the opportunity to live as projected and prevent unexpected setbacks?

“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

Reflection: What steps have I taken to ensure that I could move forward from an unplanned life-changing event? Even with emergency-preparedness plans, when the storm hits the area, modifications are required. Except for God, our future is unknown. Yet, we have received God-given qualities along with the ability to pray for Divine Help to endure and persevere through life’s trials and tribulations.

“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

In the course of our lives, we will face unexpected changes that may lead us in a different direction, often impeding our ability to accomplish set plans and goals. Unless we regroup and face the necessary challenges to push us forward, resulting in progress, we will view the life change as negative and impossible to overcome. Holding on to bitter, angry, fearful, and sorrowful thoughts produces roadblocks that cancel our God-given resilience to move forward.

Without determination, our thoughts will become counterproductive and result in a mindset that dwells on the past. It is often easier to reminisce about memories [perceived or real] of better times and become stagnant, rather than persevering with the courage to develop new strategies and forge ahead on a different path.

When studying Genesis, we learn of the Fall of Man. Yes, it was a choice for Adam and Eve to sin, but God never left them alone to make the painful transition from their perfect garden home to a new life that included suffering the unexpected. “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Even in our disobedience, God’s love never changes.

The Promise: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” —Deuteronomy 31:8

We need the rock-solid spiritual foundation that diligent Bible study and much praying provide to endure the struggle of transitioning—planned or unexpected. Knowing God’s promises and praying for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit gives us Divine strength and provides us with the spiritual reinforcement necessary to face our challenges for the growth that moving forward requires.

Christians have a life that includes continuous transitions on a spiritual level. Sanctification is the lifelong spiritual process of our character being molded into the character of Christ. To grow spiritually, we must pray for the help of the Holy Spirit every day!

It is crucial to understand that the Scriptures about love, forgiveness, and the Fruit of the Spirit are not optional. Moving forward requires spiritual growth and development that prepares us to transition from our earthly lives to our heavenly reward of eternal life. Christ’s life on earth exemplified His faithfulness and obedience to God, His Father, as He constantly prayed for God’s will to be done.

Whether by necessity [spiritual growth], choice [personal growth], or facing the unexpected, our lives will always be victorious if we choose to include God’s divine intervention while transitioning. The creation of humanity included a Divine blueprint for continuous growth. It is the will of God that we possess the highest level of spiritual, mental, and emotional development, and optimal physical health.

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

Prayer: God, we pray for Your Divine Help as we face the many transitions in our lives. We admit that we cannot go through this journey of life without You. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.

Choosing Jesus Places Us in Spiritual Warfare—Preparing for Battle

Choosing Jesus Places Us in Spiritual Warfare Devotional Reading

“Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”…2 Timothy 3:5, 7

From the many generations that have lived since humanity was created a little over 6,000 years ago, the 21st century Christians are living in the most critical spiritual period of earth’s history. Every condition the apostle Paul describes in 2nd Timothy chapter 3, verses one to seven exists for today’s believers. Additionally, Paul tells us that we will have trouble discerning who is really a faithful follower of Christ.

Why are we so easily deceived? To be a follower of Christ requires much prayer, diligent Bible study, faith, obedience, courage, and a listening spiritual ear to hear God’s plans and will for our lives. Truthfully, most of us fall short of the requirements to armor up for our spiritual battles. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles [tricks, deceptions] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

The desire to be a middle-of-the-road Christian [which will never exist] causes us to fulfill our heart’s desires and to serve God according to our whims. Without biblical knowledge and guidance from the Holy Spirit, Satan easily deceives us into compromising God’s righteous standards resulting in the loss of receiving God’s perfect blessings and eternal life.

“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

Misaligned with the Will of God Through Disobedience

Two roadblocks cause us to detour from the Path of Righteousness: Seeking earthly desires [money, success, houses, vehicles, luxury items, etc.], and desiring relationships and marriage with partners that are either unbelievers or those who believe in God, attend church, but their lifestyles reveal they are worldly.

It is comforting to know that God’s righteous standards never change. With His omniscience, God will not grant us a new home or vehicle if our job is soon to end, nor will He provide us with a half-hearted, uncommitted spouse who would bring turmoil into our lives. Without complete surrender to His will, we cannot attain the wisdom to be wholeheartedly devoted and find refuge in God’s protection.

Sooner or later our disobedience will bring heartache. Living outside of God’s plans always results in negative consequences.

The Second Roadblock: True Worship versus False Worship

“Then a herald cried aloud: ‘To you, it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.'” —Daniel 3:4-6

Their Response: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. —Daniel 3:16-18

Personal Testimony: Although I was raised in a Christian home, the church we belonged to taught their members a mixture of easily understood Scriptures along with a lot of self-interpreted erroneous false teachings. Please know that I am not criticizing the Pastor or my parents. Because the Bible is God’s Truth, complete with righteous thoughts, spiritual precepts, and symbolism the reader must pray for the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom and discernment.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

Satan knows that his time is short on this earth, so he has increased widespread false teachings through individuals that love God but have not prayed for the anointing power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to give them correct discernment of God’s Truth. Membership is highest at the churches that conduct services that only involve singing without any Scriptural teachings. We cannot believe every reel, message, or post on social media. Pray before you listen to any religious content.

Sadly, the chaos within the Christian community is impacting our ability to witness to others. Those who are interested in serving God are verbalizing that Christians are always in constant disagreement with each other. Prosperity, Politics, and Prejudice are promoted and tolerated in many loveless churches whose duty is to proclaim Christ’s love. Most denominations are in opposition with each other over the Scriptures. Yet, we do not have to be deceived. God has provided us with Divine Help!

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” —1 John 4:1

Our mass confusion stems from the many false teachings spread throughout Christianity, such as messages of prosperity [God desires for us to be wealthy] and all-inclusive theories—because of grace a person is guaranteed eternal life in heaven [whether they sin or not]. Additionally, without biblical proof, most churches are teaching that God changed the seventh-day creation Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change…” —Malachi 3:6, the first part

These teachings focus on the human heart’s desires rather than salvation in Christ and Scriptural proof. Satan will continue to spread these false teachings until the end of time. Yet, the book of Revelation proclaims that Jesus Wins and Satan Loses. We will not receive our reward of eternal life collectively. Every person has to answer before God in Judgment for their wrongdoings. Either we will be Sealed by Christ’s Righteousness or accept the Mark of the Beast which is false worship.

We can be on the winning side in this spiritual battle! Put on your Spiritual Armor! Increase praying. Devote study time to the Scriptures. Take the time to have quiet meditation. The Holy Spirit is waiting for us to ask for His help!

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

Prayer: God, we pray for those who are in the valley of decision to take a stand to become steadfast Soldiers in Your Army. We pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Give us wisdom and discernment as we seek knowledge. Jesus, we thank You for Your love, grace, mercy, and salvation. And ask this prayer in Your Most Holy Name, Amen.

Trusting God’s Divine Love and Wisdom

Daily Devotional Reading—May 24, 2023

“When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen.” —Isaiah 60:22

Our hearts always demand immediate gratification. Although God provides our daily necessities, the majority of God’s blessings are placed on hold to be given at the right time. “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14). Our test of faith and obedience is demonstrated by waiting on the Lord.

When we love, honor, and reverence God as the Sovereign Ruler of our lives, we naturally exhibit qualities such as faith, trust, patience, and obedience. It’s important to resist the temptation to prioritize our own instincts and desires over God’s divine wisdom. Instead, we should embrace humility and surrender to God’s plans and His Omniscience, which demonstrate the highest level of trust in our devoted Heavenly Father who always wants what’s best for us.

Prayer: God, we trust Your perfect plans for our lives. Thank You for Your great love, grace, and mercies. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.

© 2023 and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries

Overcoming the Impact of Verbal Abuse AKA Emotional Abuse

Overcoming the Impact of Verbal Abuse AKA Emotional Abuse Devotional Reading

“What Is Verbal Abuse?” Verbal abuse, also known as emotional abuse, is a range of words or behaviors used to manipulate, intimidate, and maintain power and control over someone. These include insults, humiliation and ridicule, the silent treatment, and attempts to scare, isolate, and control.

From a therapeutic perspective, verbal abuse is synonymous with emotional abuse. Because we live in times where it is acceptable to say whatever is on your mind many individuals bully and hurt others with words that have the strength of lethal daggers. Why is this hurtful behavior tolerated?

Learned behaviors begin at home. The majority of abusers have a history of being raised in a home where they were either a victim of verbal/emotional abuse from childhood or witnessed a sibling targeted by abusive parents or caregivers. And history [almost always] repeats itself. The unhealthy home environment portrays love as flawed and gives an inaccurate example of a loving relationship.

The abused children equate harsh damaging words with love. Because no two individuals express themselves the same, not all verbal abuse is readily perceived as verbal abuse. Statements such as “Use your brain to think,” “Why can’t you be like your brother or sister?” or “You are just like your mother or father’s side of the family” are words that humiliate but are often ignored as verbal and emotional abuse.

How many children are doing their best but are consistently told they can do better, or mature in a home hearing they are worthless and will never amount to anything in life? Put-downs, yelling, and profanity are examples of injurious words that produce lifelong detrimental effects.

Yet there is another consequence—not every abused child matures into an abuser. Children and adults who endure verbal abuse always have low self-esteem. They are drawn to anyone who will give them attention which results in many unhealthy and counterproductive relationships throughout their lives. Verbal and Emotional abuse always produces children and adults who cannot function normally.

“The psychological effects of verbal abuse include fear and anxiety, depression, stress and PTSD, intrusive memories, memory gap disorders, sleep or eating problems, hyper-vigilance and exaggerated startle responses, irritability, anger issues, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, self-harm, and assaultive behaviors.”

The bottom line is there is no such concept as abusive love!

With over 20 years of experience in the Behavioral/Mental Health field, I have never seen a patient achieve complete healing solely through therapy. While ongoing counseling is crucial for gaining insight and promoting change, neither theories nor human professionals can truly heal a person’s soul. The only one capable of providing complete healing is God.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” —Psalm 34:18

The steps to healing from a history of verbal and emotional abuse must involve God who promises to make us well. And no other person can dare say that they have the Divine power to heal!

There is a condition to receive complete healing: Forgiveness. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).”If we cannot forgive the abusive person [whom Christ died for and loves, although He does not love their sin] then we cannot expect to receive healing or to be forgiven of our sins.

We do not have the God-given right to demand the other person to ask us for forgiveness! “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13, NLT). Acknowledging wrongdoing requires humility and the desire to change. Only a loving and humble heart will ask for God’s forgiveness and forgiveness from those whom they hurt.

Let God have His Righteous Vengeance! “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Condemned people are those who refuse to confess, repent, and change their evil ways. God says they will not receive the reward of eternal life.

Take Action! There are some very important variables that we must consider in our healing journey.

Our relationship with Christ is dependent on our willingness to forgive the abuser. Jesus whispered this prayer to God, His Father while hanging on the cross, “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots” (Luke 23:24, NIV).

When someone apologizes for verbal abuse, it may not necessarily mean that they are truly sorry or willing to make a change. It’s important to carefully listen to their words and assess whether they are acknowledging the harm they caused and are willing to seek spiritual and professional help. Keep in mind that both divine intervention and human effort are necessary for someone to truly experience transformation of their hard heart and stop hurting others.

Using all necessary means, pray and trust in God by removing yourself and ceasing all contact with the abuser. We are created in the image of God and He does not expect us to tolerate a life of never-ending abuse even in marriage and from our family members. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11).

There are very few circumstances that prevent one from ceasing all contact with the abuser. Joint custody or visitation [determined by the courts] of children is a situation where legal compliance is required and mandate that the mother or father have short contact with the abuser. Yet, remaining in the same physical location [living with the abuser] is not an option—remove yourself from the physical domain where you are dominated by the whims of the abuser.

There is no honor in staying in a unhealthy relationship with the abuser. God does not require us to suffer from the venomous spoken words of others.

The abuser is fully aware of what they said, and how they made you feel. It was an intentional action because they feel it is their right to harm you. Why? Their character is unholy. Yet, most will never acknowledge their abuse is a reflection of the evil condition of their heart. But God says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9).

How do we handle a situation when the abuser is elderly or has impaired cognition and memory and does not remember their abusive ways, or the abuser may have died? “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12). With a loving heart, we forgive, or throw away all chances of happiness [in this life and eternally with God]. It is a terrible choice to live with a mind filled with ambivalence and internal chaos until we take our last breath.

There is no amount of love from another person that will change an abuser’s heart and behavior. We are expected to set healthy boundaries for those who have no conscience of harming others. You have the right to walk away. Every human deserves love and respect!

If we must interact with an abusive family member or husband or wife, only discuss pertinent information and do not engage in meaningless chit-chat. Remain cordial while responding and pray silently for the Holy Spirit to give you strength. Interacting with someone who Satan is using to try to destroy you may be the hardest action required in this earthly life.

Still, as Christians, God expects us to treat the abuser with kindness, but not to stay in the abusive relationship. I am a living witness that God will give us the strength to separate and heal from those [we love] but hurt others. God always gives us hope!

“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now 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

Jesus asked the lame man of 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). Regardless of therapeutic advice, do not attempt to discuss the past with abusers or think about their terrible words over and over again. God instructs us to go forward! When we say, Yes, God, I desire to be made well and restart my life, Christ will accompany us on the spiritual journey of healing for as long as it takes.

Prayer: God, we thank You for creating us with love, a sound mind, and the power to restart our lives despite the abuse we have suffered. Lord, we surrender all unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness, and we ask You to give us strength as we heal one day at a time. We ask this prayer in the Holy Name of Jesus, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries

Taking God Seriously in Perilous Times

Taking God Seriously in Perilous Times Devotional Reading

Where are we in the progression of life on earth?

“You can be certain that in the last days, there will be some very hard times. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud, stuck-up, rude, and disobedient to their parents. They will also be ungrateful, godless, heartless, and hateful. Their words will be cruel, and they will have no self-control or pity. These people will hate everything good. They will be sneaky, reckless, and puffed up with pride. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure.” —2 Timothy 3:1-4, CEV

For the worshipers who ask for the daily anointing of the Holy Spirit, pray, and study the Bible, we can feel deep in our hearts that we are progressing toward Revelation prophecies being fulfilled. Yes, we are moving toward the times of tribulation for the remnant worshipers of the Most-High God.

How do we know that we are in the right standing with God? “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). The Contemporary English Version states, “God’s people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

Obedience is a character trait that does not happen naturally. We were born with sinful hearts destined to seek and fulfill our desires that always go against God. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

The most important action for us to do every day is to surrender ourselves to the will of God. What does that mean? In morning worship, we pray and tell God that we desire to do His will [surrender] by committing to stay in His presence by seeking Him first before making any decision that impacts our life.

Joyce Meyer wrote “The Battlefield of the Mind” many years ago, explaining that the struggle between good and evil within us is never-ending. However, there are steps we can take each day to achieve spiritual success. The first and most crucial step is to pray for God’s Divine Intervention daily, even though it may seem like an impossible battle.

Jesus explained our spiritual dilemma and gave us the solution to living faithfully [how to stay on the Path of righteousness] despite the raging internal war of right versus wrong. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'”(Matthew 16:24).

The key to victory is prayer! We do not pray enough! To be an overcomer in a world that is moving toward godlessness, we desperately need God’s help. Even on our jobs, we can worship God throughout the day by taking a moment to pray. Not all prayers are audibly spoken words. At any time or place, we can pray silent prayers for the Holy Spirit to give us strength, wisdom, and discernment.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness…” —Psalm 95:6-8

The Permanence of Practice. We become what we practice. “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” —1 John 3:7

The Power of Influence. We influence others for good or we are influenced by evil. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).

Be Intentional and Consistent in your efforts to maintain and grow your relationship with Christ. Surrender daily, pray throughout your waking hours, and ask for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.

“And I will pray for the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” —John 14:16-18

Before Jesus was crucified, He promised His disciples that He would send a Helper [The Holy Spirit]. As today’s disciples, we also have 24/7 access to the Holy Spirit. We must stay close to God by seeking Spiritual Reinforcement through the Holy Spirit. For us to be successful in our daily walk with Christ, we can never gain victory over innate sinful desires without the determination to go all the way with Jesus.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” —John 14:15

Love for Christ is proven by the human effort of worship, faith, obedience, and the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit will keep us steadfast despite living in perilous times.

Scripture: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart.” —Galatians 6:9

Prayer: God, we desperately need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We ask for forgiveness of our sins. We ask for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit. Give us direction and spiritual discernment when facing internal battles of right and wrong. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray, Amen.

© 2023 and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries

The Game of Chance Has Many Players

The Game of Chance Has Many Players Devotional Reading

“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” —Jeremiah 10:23

Every decision we make without God’s blessing and approval places us in the same position as a gambler in Las Vegas. But the stakes are higher than any dollar amount–we are risking our reward of Eternal life. Self-reliance is disobedience, which automatically makes us a losing player in the Game of Chance.

With confidence, we place our highest bets using our finite knowledge to live according to our thought processes. By the time we realize that our mistakes have placed us in a spiritually lose-lose situation, it is usually too late—not because we cannot repent, but sadly, we no longer trust in God. The habit of trusting in oneself eliminates the desire to depend on God.

Unless we completely surrender our will to God every day, we lose our reward of eternal life.

Prayer: God, we pray for those who have lost their desire to submit to Your Sovereignty and Righteous Authority. Help us to realize that our lives are not our own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2023 and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries

Love Guides All Matters of the Heart

“We love because He first loved us.” —1 John 4:19

God’s Demonstration of His Loving and Tender Heart

God’s very name is Agape Love which He demonstrated by extending grace and mercy to Adam and Eve when He did not destroy them for their wilful disobedience. Yet, He went above and beyond by giving us His son, Jesus Christ for the redemption of our sins Truly when we think about the options God had, [but did not consider] we are aware that God has a tender and loving heart.

“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

As human beings, we possess inherent qualities such as courage, strength, love, and the ability to exercise self-discipline. When our hearts are filled with love for God, it naturally radiates towards others. Our treatment of ourselves is reflective of how much we love and value the physical vessels gifted to us by God.

Love is the foundation of every godly relationship. Our thoughts and actions towards ourselves, others, and God are influenced by the loving state of our hearts. Love is a mindset that permeates our entire being. In Galatians chapter 5, verses 22 and 23, the Apostle Paul lists love as the first characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit.

Loving Others is a Matter of the Heart

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:34-35

Jesus understood that His disciples were preoccupied with worldly status. Their prevalent thoughts were “Who would be the greatest when Jesus became King and delivered them from Roman oppression?” The disciples were mistaken about Jesus’ purpose and mission on Earth. Because they were ruled by the jealously and envy in their hearts, they constantly argued with each other.

The internal conflict within their hearts posed a threat to their spiritual growth and ability to fulfill their duty to God and humanity. Yet, Jesus [the Creator of everything that was made] would complete His work in them. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).

Before giving the commandment to love one another, Jesus experienced rejection from many disciples who followed Him. After giving the parable that He was the Bread of Life, many who just followed to witness miracles turned and left. Their hearts lacked the love that it took to go all the way with Christ.

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” —John 6:66-69

Eleven of the twelve disciples loved Jesus with all of their hearts, souls, and minds. The love within their hearts for Jesus overpowered their innate jealousy for one another. And that love for Christ prompted them to follow His every command. Except for Judas Iscariot, the remaining eleven disciples experienced a complete spiritual transformation that bound them strongly to Christ and one another.

Loving God is the Most Serious Matter in Our Hearts

With the struggle that most of us face every day of keeping our love consistent for Christ, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to give us the answers for a never-failing love for His Son.

  1. Acknowledging the Father-Child Relationship with God requires the foundation of possessing a loving, faithful, and obedient heart. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience not only demonstrates our love for God, but it also reveals our humility and reverence to God.
  2. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Love reveals itself through our daily commitment and covenant vow to surrender our will, plans, and lives to God’s will and plans.
  3. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Great love for God and strength from the Holy Spirit gives us the continual daily determination to renounce the pleasures of wealth accumulation and pursuing our carnal desires of the heart. Every day, we put God first by worshiping Him and preparing ourselves for the reward of eternal life.
  4. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). We trust God’s promises for the provisions of our daily necessities. Looking beyond today increases self-reliance and gives us the burdens of unnecessary anxieties and worries.
  5. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). As we pray for humility and obediently seek God’s will, our sinful character begins to change. We see others through Jesus’ eyes and realize that Christ loves and died for the 8 billion plus individuals who live on this earth.
  6. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23). Our commitment to serving others allows us to walk in the footprints of Christ. On this earth, Jesus demonstrated His great love and compassion for humanity by feeding the hungry, healing physical and mental illnesses, and giving hope to those rejected by society.

Loving and serving God along with helping others has always been and will forever be a matter of the heart.

Scripture: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” —1 John 4:7-8

Prayer: God, we confess that we have not loved You as we should and it is impacting the way we think and live. And for this lack of love, we ask for forgiveness. We desire to experience a complete spiritual transformation of our hearts as we seek Your will. We pray for the anointing, power, presence, guidance, strength, and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Jesus, we love You and we ask this prayer in Your Worthy Name, Amen.

God Allows Us to Make Mistakes

God Allows Us to Make Mistakes Devotional Reading

Why does God allow us to make mistakes that cause devastation in our lives?

From Adam and Eve who desired more than the perfect life gifted by God to Christian believers in 2023, we exhibit more trust in our decisions than in seeking God’s will. Created as free moral agents with the freedom to choose, but quickly forgetting that we were born into sin gives us a natural desire and attraction to fulfill our heart’s carnal desires.

The desire for earthly gratification is innate and produces a pattern of wilful disobedience. By following the worldview of going ahead and doing it, there is little to no resistance to making choices without praying for Divine guidance. Unfortunately, the freedom to choose easily becomes a habit that boosts self-reliance and overconfidence—leading us to sin against God.

“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” —Jeremiah 10:23, NIV

We may justify that our small decisions do not require God’s involvement. Yet, the Scriptures indicate that God expects us to pray for direction in every matter in our lives. God is detail-oriented. Every aspect of creation along with the human body and mind is perfect and exudes excellence. God pays attention to every small or great detail in our lives. Without praying for God’s blessings and direction we have placed ourselves outside of God’s plans and will for our lives.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” —Isaiah 55:8

At some point in our lives (the timing being unique to each individual), we experience a period of success that reinforces our belief in our decision-making abilities. During this time, we feel content and self-assured, basking in the positive outcomes of our choices. This self-assurance leads us to congratulate ourselves on our flawless decision-making skills and admire our strategic thinking, which we believe has honed our minds into wise and skilled vessels.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” —Romans 12:2

But our self-willed choices are gift-wrapped in an unknown future that always produces consequences that we never anticipated. And for our exclusion of God’s direction, we will eventually experience disappointment. Why would God allow us to make choices that would bring chaos and devastation?

I recall a spiritual counseling session with a former pastor who explained that God looks at our mistakes on an individualized basis. If we were ignorant [lack of knowledge] when making the wrong choice, God extends His mercy, which usually prevents us from suffering full consequences.

When we have formed the habit of disobedience which results from a heart that is haughty and proud, we begin to view ourselves as wise. It is then that God allows us to suffer the full impact of the punishing consequences of our blatant disobedience. Our thoughts, actions, decisions, and lifestyle reflect our loyalty or disloyalty to God.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” —Galatians 6:7-8

Accountability: to be responsible, (of a person, organization, or institution) required or expected to justify actions or decisions.

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” —Hebrews 4:13

There are many Christian testimonials from brothers and sisters who experienced the life-altering consequences of their disobedience. Without God’s approval, they started the business, accepted the once-in-a-lifetime career offer, purchased the house, or car, or married the person based on their desires. Self-confidence produces self-perceived “human wisdom.”

Remember that bad decisions can change the course of our lives forever. The unholy marriage that ends in divorce, the loss of employment, or foreclosure and repossession have a long-lasting impact spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The healing of emotional wounds requires a long spiritual journey. And most people never recover from lost finances. We do not have to become a statistic suffering from the consequences of self-willed disobedience against God.

If you are already in the group of believers who are suffering from long-term consequences that have altered your life, confess and repent of your sins. God promises to give you restoration. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9.

Never forget King David’s heinous crimes of taking Bathsheba and giving orders for her husband to be placed on the frontline of the battle so he would be killed. Psalm chapter 51 is David’s prayer of repentance. Yes, the consequences included the death of their first child, but our Merciful God anointed their next son, Solomon to become the wisest man to ever live.

Pray the prayer of surrender and obedience. Contrary to Satan’s lies, we have a Loving, Heavenly Father who does not crush us with eternal punishment even when we make intentional mistakes.

Prayer: God, we thank You for creating us with the free will of choice. We confess that we have messed up our lives by making decisions that are outside of Your plans. And for our disobedience, we repent and ask forgiveness. We pray for strength, direction, discernment, and the patience to wait on You to reveal Your plans for our lives. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.

28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:28-31

© 2023 Steps2spiritualsolutions and Woman

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.

What Do You Think About? Food for Thoughts Devotional Reading

Fact: “Thoughts repeated become thoughts ingrained [like tire tracks] in our minds. When our thoughts are firmly fixed and established the brain responds by making us think those thoughts repeatedly.” Pastor Mark Finley

Fact: Feeding our minds with false information, gossip, fantasy, principles of evolution, sensationalism, profane, and vulgar information produces a mind that automatically rejects God’s Truth.

Fact: We cannot empty our minds as the myth of Eastern mysticism promotes. Replacing currently-held traditions and beliefs with biblical truths is the only way for us to experience a change in our thoughts.

Fact: We do not have empty spaces in our minds. Either our minds will be filled with good, wholesome thoughts that reflect the righteousness of Christ or bombarded with all that is unholy.

Our Responsibility: “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” —Ephesians 4:22-24

Changing our habits requires a significant amount of effort. It’s essential to be critical of what we watch and listen to and guard our minds. Discipline is crucial in altering the things we feed our minds, but spiritual transformation also necessitates Divine Intervention. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s assistance through prayer can aid in changing the habits of our past that we brought into our new life in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: God, we confess that our habits are worldly. Lord, we desire to think pure thoughts and speak positive words that reflect Your Righteousness. We pray for Your Divine Help for a spiritual transformation of our minds. In Jesus’ Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

© 2023 and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries