There Is a Better Way–To Possess Right Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2023 Steps2yourspiritualsolutions

Living Without Christian Fellowship?

Living Without Christian Fellowship? Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.” –Romans 10:9-10

Whether someone witnessed the love and saving power of Jesus or the Holy Spirit spoke to your heart through an online sermon or listening to worship music to accept Jesus as your Savior, we must agree that the beginning of our journey with Jesus brought us joy and excitement.

But what happened next? Each of us has a personal testimony of struggle after our commitment to Christ. Sadly, many new believers become discouraged within three months and return to their former lives. Although there are various reasons, loneliness and church hurt are the top two reasons for giving up on God.

We cannot have the world and Jesus. The commitment to serving God requires us to give up our friendships with unbelievers. At times, we become entangled with individuals who believe in God, yet, they are not interested in living holy. Our walk with Jesus will separate us from our friends and family. The earthly journey prepares us for heaven where our Savior is preparing a forever home to live with Him in a sinless world.

Jesus spoke to the prophet Jeremiah regarding His love for believers: “…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you.” –Jeremiah 31:3

Christians have a spiritual bond with Christ. From Christ’s heart, we receive Agape love flowing from His heart to our hearts. Love allows us to have a deep relationship with Christ that begins on earth and will last throughout eternity

Because we are commanded to love others, we seek fellowship with other believers who can give us spiritual support, which helps us to persevere through hardships. Because we have renounced the world, our relationships should extend beyond attending church once or twice weekly.

It is a joyful occasion when those who love the Lord socialize with each other. Not only do we build loving relationships, but we can also freely rejoice in the goodness of God and help others in their time of need. Yes, believers share a spiritual bond because we love Christ, are blessed with the gifts of joy and peace and look forward to our heavenly reward of eternal life.

The Family of God: Through scripture, the apostle Paul tells us of God’s original plan and expectation of the family of God, for us to have loving relationships and fellowship with each other.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” –Hebrews 10:24-25

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16

Let’s address the struggle of loneliness that many believers share in 2023. If God said it is not good for us to be alone, why am I alone? The answer must come from God. Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal your spiritual assignment.

Following Jesus’ baptism, He was led by the Holy Spirit to go to the wilderness for forty days and nights and to fast from food [Matthew 4:1-11]. God was preparing His Son for the anguish of rejection and suffering on the cross of Calvary.

God separates us when He is preparing us spiritually to use our gifts and talents for His glory and honor. During this time, we should pray, study the Scriptures, fast, and learn to listen for the Voice of God. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in many ways, He uses the Scriptures, places thoughts in our minds, and speaks to us during prayer, and sermons. Sometimes God will use a believer to whom you have not revealed anything to provide spiritual guidance.

The most important aspect is for us not to become discouraged, but to remain patient and obedient during our time of preparation.

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” –Revelation 21:2

Church hurt is misunderstood. In the Bible, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ. The truth is that people hurt people. Last week, I listened to a sermon and the pastor stated, “There are no mean Christians! To be Christ-like is to love others and treat them with kindness and respect.” “The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but He loves those who pursue righteousness” Proverbs 15:9.

Christian–Christ-like Characteristics

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, or envying one another. Galatians 5:22-23

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” –1 Timothy 6:11

We cannot rely on our judgment when looking for a church home. As believers, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to answer the challenges in our spiritual journey. The best advice I received from another believer is to Pray, Wait, and Obey.

Pray and ask for God to reveal a Bible-based church that performs baptism by water immersion. Study Romans chapter 6 for the Apostle Paul’s explanation of baptism and its significance. Water baptism has spiritual significance, we are now dead to sin and experience a spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ baptism is recorded in Matthew chapter 3. And we also learn of the Triune Godhead at Jesus’ baptism, God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Link to the significance of Baptism:

In Matthew chapter 28, verses 18-20, Jesus gives His disciples the Great Commission to Go and make disciples. Every Christian believer has been given the non-negotiable spiritual assignment of making disciples by witnessing the love and saving power of Jesus Christ. The only difference is how each of us will use our spiritual gifts to accomplish witnessing to others. Again pray for the Divine guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We have a great work to do before the Second Coming of Jesus! Focusing on oneself is a distraction that keeps us from fulfilling our spiritual purpose. Stay close to God. He will reveal your path and purpose.

Prayer: God, we pray for your disciples who are without support from fellow believers. Holy Spirit, we ask for You to comfort and reveal their spiritual gifts and how they should use them. Jesus, we thank You for Your love and sacrifice on Calvary. Please direct and give us strength. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Misconception of Spiritual Defeat

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV

Faith allows us to have a deep dependency on God. We abide in Christ to receive His fortifying protection from the continuous spiritual warfare that many believe will produce the destitution of Defeat.

Satan can only be successful in his ploys to defeat us when we help him. Sounds crazy? Distractions are his proven strategies to bait and switch our focus from Christ to our circumstances.

Loving and Trusting Jesus allows us to receive His never-ending power. Jesus is our only Hope. Human Effort plus Divine Intervention equals Victory!

Devotional–Heaven is Not for Everyone

Devotional–Heaven is Not for Everyone from The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson

Two concepts are truth: People know when they intentionally hurt someone who loves them and Christians know whether or not they are living a faithful and obedient life.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Satan has deceived us into believing that God understands our sinful desires and that His grace will prevent us from the consequences of sin. Yet, Obedience to God is not an option!

How often do we think of Jesus who is Divine, commanding legions of angels, every breathing organism, and the natural elements, yet, when He came to earth, God required Him to learn obedience and become subservient to the human beings He created? Jesus obeyed His earthly parents along with the governmental laws. Even to His death, Jesus obeyed the will of God, His Father. If God required His Divine Son to learn obedience, then God does not and will not understand the disobedience of us living outside of His will and plans for us.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

The prophet Jeremiah tells us of the natural condition of our hearts–deceitful and desperately wicked. We cannot self-evaluate or judge our sinful hearts. Only the Holy, Righteous and Perfect God can search our hearts and reveal our secret sins. God has set righteous standards that all who desire eternal life in heaven must obey without compromise. “…Be Holy, for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

God will judge each person according to His standards. He is the Righteous Judge who determines who will receive the reward of eternal life. Still, we play a significant part in our destiny. The Human Effort required for receiving eternal life in heaven is to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind demonstrated by living faithful and obedient lives on earth, and to love others. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12-13).

Because we were born into sin and shaped with iniquity, God lovingly gave his only Son, Jesus for our Redemption. Jesus Christ gave His life willingly for us to be redeemed from our plight of sinfulness. So the understanding that God has is we will not intentionally rebel by disobeying and sinning against his laws. Yet, many commit intentional sins because of the Plan of Redemption which provides us with grace and mercy.

The Apostle Paul asks, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?” (Romans 6:1-3 NLT)

The profession of love for God includes humility and surrender. Daily confession, repentance, and praying for God to reveal His will is the lifestyle of a Christian. Making decisions without God’s blessings demonstrates rebellion against His Divine authority. It is easy to fall into sin, the slip of the tongue [using profane words], mistreating others, compromising righteous standards when among unbelievers, speeding down the highway, and having vain and lustful thoughts are sins that we easily overlook. But if our true desire is to spend eternal life in the presence of a Holy God, then we cannot live every day according to our desires or feel no remorse for disobedience.

The church of the Laodiceans in Revelation chapter 3 had grown lukewarm and useless. Their hearts were filled with selfish desires of focusing on wealth and culture. Their love for the carnal, materialistic things of the world kept them from living righteously. Yet, because of Christ’s love, they were given a warning of the consequences of being neither hot nor cold.

There is no middle ground. Living a selfish life of disobedience is rebellion against God. The consequence: “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).

We have a choice to make. When we choose righteousness, God provides Spiritual Reinforcement. Our Omnipotent God knows that we are involved in the conflict of spiritual warfare every day. We have a Father who has made provisions for humanity: the Spiritual Team of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and guardian angels who never sleep are the Spiritual Warriors who help and fight for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

Yet, the human effort of surrender as demonstrated by faithful and obedient hearts, diligent study of the Bible, and much prayer is required for us to receive the Divine Intervention needed to live as Victorious Overcomers. It is only one way for us to obtain our Heavenly reward. By living courageously with a “Do Right” mindset that shuns evil, and a life that boldly proclaims to all, “I love God and I will not compromise!”

Saul, the ruthless killer being transformed into the Apostle Paul is our ultimate example of the power of salvation on the heart that willingly surrenders to Christ.

35-36 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

37 For in just a little while,the Coming One will come and not delay.

38 And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.

39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. (Hebrews 10:35-39)

Prayer: God, we confess and repent for our disobedience and wayward life. You have given us everything that we need to live righteously. We ask for forgiveness of sinful rebellion. Please cleanse us from all unrighteousness and fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask you to reveal Your purpose and calling for our lives. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit who empowers us to recognize sin, and to become faithful and obedient. Yes, we desire eternal life. We love You and ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.

Walking with Courage and Determination

Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—Walking with Courage and Determination

So Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

The speaker relayed that her life was in chaos and her marriage was at an endpoint. She could not figure out what the problem was until her best friend took a trip to Israel and gave her a gift. She looked at the small glass globe with a tiny seed inside. “Thank you, but what is it?” “It is a mustard seed.” As soon as she heard it was a mustard seed, the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said this is the amount of faith you must have to believe in God.

For the rest of the story, God caused a whirlwind of change when she ceased focusing on her inability to change their life. Over time, her marriage was restored and she is now a copastor with her husband in a bible-based church.

What is the spiritual meaning of mountains? Mountains represent the obstacles and tests that cause disruption and sorrow in our lives—trials, hardships, sudden illnesses, rejection from others, loss of relationships, marriages, jobs, and repossession of homes, and vehicles. To withstand the life journey of trials and sorrows, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must have faith, courage, and determination.

“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)

Without faith, the impossible remains impossible! Our spiritual journey reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ. Where does faith come from? God has given us a measure [a seed] of faith that requires wholehearted belief in Him. Truthfully, we dread the mountains, but hardships produce continuous spiritual growth.

Faith is believing in God’s ability to deliver us in His timing and move our mountains. Jesus says if our faith is as little as a mustard seed, our mountains will be removed.

Our faith is the catalyst that loosens the stronghold! Yet, it is God’s power that removes the obstacle and brings victory. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea'” (Exodus 14:15-16).

Whether from lack of knowledge or impatience, many believers give up [lose faith] when their obstacles are not removed immediately. God’s thoughts and ways are higher [read Isaiah 55:8-9], therefore, we cannot determine when we will receive Divine intervention. Yet, we can remain confident that God has heard our cry for help.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

It takes courage to have blind faith! God designed us to have the limited ability to see what is beyond today. In our weaknesses, Jesus gives us the strength to move forward in an unknown future. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Unwavering faith and trust in God give us the determination to keep going. Every day, tell yourself, I don’t know how God’s going to do it, but His promises are “Yes” to which I say Amen!

How will we get to the other side of victory? Do not attempt to figure out how God will provide and resolve your tribulations. Pray and believe! “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). Put God first! To hear God’s voice, we must reduce the world’s noise. Every day, separate yourself, go into your secret closet and pray for strength and ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

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

God is preparing us for a time of great tribulation. Our faith cannot stay the size of a mustard seed. God requires steadfast faith that grows to the point that nothing shakes our faith and confidence in Him. Reflect on your past victories. It was God who brought you through the impossible. Despite the size and number of mountains, we are victorious overcomers when we walk with the courage and determination to trust in God.

Prayer: God, we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Give us the strength as we move forward with the determination to live faithful and courageously, In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. 

While You Wait On God

Concepts you need to know while waiting on God’s answer to your prayers.

1. You don’t need what you don’t have for God to fulfill His purpose.

2. You don’t need what you used to have for God to fulfill His purpose.

3. You may experience a major life event that totally changes the direction of your life.

4. Don’t give up because you are counting the hours or the days since you prayed for God’s Divine intervention.

5. We do not have to beg God for His help or a miracle. He heard your prayers. Read Isaiah 65:24.

“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, please help us to understand that its your way and your timing. Please give us strength to endure and persevere the times of testing in our lives. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.

The Game of Chance

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12

A concept is causing significant dissension and division among Christians–prosperity! When we hear messages based on God promising us wealth, we will react in one of two ways, “It’s a false teaching” or “Yes, Jesus says to ask anything in His name, and He will do it.” Yet, Jesus has told us “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…” Matthew 6:19, first part.

Sin has given us a natural longing to desire the things we do not have. Is it possible for us to be content? The answer of yes or no is an individual one, which reveals our relationship with Jesus Christ. We will explore the response of no, which many hesitate to say. They usually respond with, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19). And the conflict of truth versus error begins.

The Desire–Are you familiar with the phrase, “Some people are their own worst enemy?” We begin the decline into sin by our heartfelt desires. We have entered Satan’s Game of Chance as inexperienced players at this stage. But Pride continually urges us to pursue our dreams. Unsure of ourselves, we seek and select people who agree that we should follow our hearts. We make sure that we keep our strategies a secret, especially from the Saints of God who always say, “Pray and wait on God.” We grow weary of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11. So, we begin listening to…the Influencers.

The Influencers persuade us to chase our dreams now. Many have become successful in the financial arena. We readily listen to the testimonials of social media’s elite, successful entrepreneurs or peruse the websites of powerful investment companies. JP Morgan advertises, “Set up a call or virtual meeting with a J.P. Morgan Advisor to discuss your investment goals and help keep them on track.”

An unequally yoked relationship is today’s believers’ second most prevalent deception. We have lost control of our senses, especially our eyesight. When children are younger, they are immature and desire the pleasant things they see. Yet, as they mature if taught restraint, they learn that not everything pleasing to the eyes is good for you.

The Rebellion–In these last days, Satan’s two deceptions are causing an internal conflict for first place in our hearts, seeking prosperity and having unequally yoked relationships with unbelievers. Chasing wealth and giving into lustful desires has many “Christians” renouncing God. Because compromise has overtaken the desire to obey God, they worship God with works–attending church or making tax-deductible contributions. But their minds are far from giving God the reverence of total obedience. “For let, not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:7-8).

The desire for what we do not possess has existed since the conflict with Lucifer in heaven. Adam and Eve gave up immortality and face-to-face communion with Jesus in the Garden of Eden for the deceptive lie of having God-like omnipotence–knowing all. We do not care! The Bible provides God-breathed historical accuracy in the Scriptures of fallen humanity and proof of God’s love, grace, mercies, and restoration. Yet, pursuing our desires becomes the driving force, and we willingly become players in the Game.

The Knocking on the Door of Our Hearts–“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

The Failure–Because our Heavenly Father loves us, He intervenes, and our dreams that we brought into fruition fail. The loss of our financial investment, or the business falters into bankruptcy, and the relationship [no matter how dedicated you loved] is over when the unbeliever continually disappoints or walks away without remorse.

The Choice–God’s Restoration: With heartfelt sorrow, we confess and repent, [leaving the sinful Game] and receive spiritual restoration from the blood of Jesus Christ. “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight…” (Psalm 51:3-4).

The Choice–Remain a Player: Many become angry and depressed, blaming God for not blessing their pursuits or relationships. They embrace the trending belief, “You can’t have success without failures,” and they decide to develop different strategies and continue to pursue their desires. Pride consoles them as they up the ante, “I’ll develop different strategies or find another individual with different values.” Now they have no need for God’s divine direction. They think of themselves as experienced players in the Game of Chance.

The Apostle Paul has forewarned us in 2 Timothy 3 regarding the condition of the last days. There is no middle ground. The player is seeking earthly rewards. But the righteous believe Jesus’ promise to supply all of our needs. We ask in prayer for God’s will to be done and patiently wait for God’s blessings. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7).

Prayer: God, we thank You for seeking us to save our souls when we have wandered away. We pray for forgiveness, not because of the devastating consequences we have suffered. But because we desire to leave the Game of Sinful pleasures. Today, we surrender our hearts and ask to renew our covenant vow with You. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.

Who Was Our Best Example of Faith?

Sharing this Daily Devotional by D. Winn

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

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

Jesus Christ is our best example of faithfulness!

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

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