The Resilience of Humanity

The most phenomenal event that I have ever witnessed occurred when I was in nursing school. I was in the Maternal-Child clinical rotation for 6 weeks and was disappointed because I had not seen the birth of a baby. There was an influx of mothers admitted as high-risk pregnancies, and the hospital’s policy restricted student nurses from being assigned to that category of patients.

After 3 weeks, I received the good news that I was assigned to a healthy young mother in labor with her first child. All went well, and within four hours, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. In witnessing the birth, I almost fell to the floor. No, it was not because of fear. At that moment, I knew that God was greater than my mind could ever comprehend. I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to fall to my knees and worship the Creator of all humanity. Even so, I had to exercise complete restraint or risk being expelled from the nursing program.

Although I studied Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, etc., and possessed theoretical knowledge, I was not prepared for the magnitude of seeing a new life enter the world. Perhaps that is the breakdown. If we took the time to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of our mind and body, our perspective of God would be one of reverence and grateful servitude.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Is it because I was born into a family with the hereditary gift of artistic creativity that I can create visual imagery of God bending down, making a man from dust, and breathing life into the first human being? Surely not! We have lost our desire to contemplate the wonders of God as represented in the human body and mind. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalms 139:14

Have you ever thought about your heart that beats without your intervention?

Your heart beats about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/heart/heartfacts.html

What did King David realize when he said that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? The emotional trauma or physical injury that many have endured does not stop the heart from beating or the lungs from breathing. The residual effects of sadness may cause us to feel as if we will not live another day, but we continue. And at some point, we accept that we are compelled to move forward. With each new day, even if therapeutic intervention is needed, we provide our bodies with the food and fluids required to sustain our lives. All it takes is a shred of hope and a mustard seed size of faith, and we begin to regroup and rebuild our lives.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 CSB

For those who have children, a parent will rarely throw in the towel on their maturing child. They respond to the child’s needs [or children] by using their mental and emotional strength to push them through the process of growth and development. Our Father God created us with the resiliency to keep going despite our circumstances. Even when we reject Him, God does not retaliate by distancing Himself or by ending our lives. He surrounds us. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence. Psalm 139:7

We must address the impact of the hardships of life that pierce our souls. 

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him. For the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5

In reading the Psalms, we recognize that David was a musician who was very intense and emotional.  Although he was a king who had all of the physical amenities of life, David struggled with discouragement. And rightly so, the individuals living in the palace despised the fact that God had anointed him to be their King. Many of us can relate to not having the love, understanding, and nurturing from those we lived with or were raised by. Yes, it produces sadness. But we do not have to end up the way we started. God is a healer of all infirmities. He is a God of new beginnings!

Even in his distress, David was aware that his duty was to maintain a close relationship with God. The book of Psalms portrays a man who experienced roller-coaster emotions, yet, David constantly acknowledged God’s omnipresence. The verses of his songs reveal the condition of the fragile human heart along with God’s compassion and His desire to heal our brokenness and soothe our hearts with His never-failing love. David continuously acknowledged his love and adoration for the God who always sees, is ever-present and never forsakes us.

Let us make the concerted effort to thank God for our highly complex mind and body that He made in His image. But also remember, we have a soul that longs for a constant spiritual connection to God. The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Prayer: God, we ask for your healing touch on our minds and bodies. Please comfort our hearts and reveal your love as we continue to faithfully serve you. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

For the Love of Money

Strong, self-reliant, in-control, achiever, talented, and powerhouse are just a few adjectives we use to describe the people we respect. Striving to achieve wealth is a core value among most individuals who live in Capitalistic nations. 

Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society. … It is this rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity. https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2015/06/basics.htm

The issue with Capitalism lies within the goal, “chasing economic prosperity”. Money produces divisions in social classes. But the love of money is more addicting than every illicit drug. The emotional roller-coaster that most ride on is caused by the love of or the lack of money. It is nearly impossible not to fall in love with the prosperity that money brings to our lives.

Most are powerless to their desire for wealth. Money embraces us with her comforting arms while blinding our spiritual eyes. We easily become the victim to its demand for servitude–“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

Our assets promote confidence and place us in a cozy comfort zone. We have no worries when our liabilities are under control. Living with plenty makes us kick our shoes off and throw our clothes on the floor, as we relax listening to some great music. Yes, we congratulate ourselves on our achievements. Life is good! Isn’t it?

Before we become annoyed by asking, “What’s wrong with enjoying the fruits of my labor and possessing savvy financial management?” That is a separate issue from, “It is this rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity.” Because I am a believer in the Most-High God, my life is patterned after Jesus Christ. So my blogs are from a believer’s perspective based on the Word of God–the Bible.

By no means do I consider myself a Bible scholar. But throughout my years of studying, I cannot find any scriptures that support Capitalism. In fact, the Four Gospels [written by four different men with varied personalities] vividly relays Jesus’ perspective on accumulating wealth. throughout their writings, King Solomon and the Apostle Paul addressed the complicated consequences that loving money brings. Read Ecclesiastes 5:10, Hebrews 13:5, and 1 Timothy 6:10.

Why was Jesus adamant about the destructive consequences of “riches?”

And He said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against every form of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 BSB. The Pharisees were hypocrites who lived by double standards. Their responsibility was to teach others about God’s laws, but they thought too highly of themselves to obey said rules for the ordinary people.

Luke 8:4-15, The Parable of the Sower, is a powerful revelation of the different types of people who hear the gospel of truth and how they react. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life and bring no fruit to maturity. Luke 8:14. When serving God, we must produce fruit while living a faithful, obedient life. We die daily to our sinful nature by striving for righteousness.

The pursuit of wealth chips away at your inner resolve–chasing wealth and comforting yourself with a “no worries ever” mindset weakens your God-given mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. Your perspective is fixated on your accomplishments and the good life. Where does dependency on God fit in?

I recall Joyce Meyer sharing a story of a red dress she purchased. One day while cleaning out her closet [to give to a woman in need], she saw the red dress, and pushed it to the keeper’s side of the closet. “I heard the voice, ‘Take out the red dress and lay it on the bed.” As she bypassed the dress and pulled out more clothing, the command repeated itself only louder. “God, is that you? I know that you are not telling me to give away my favorite red dress that I have never worn.” The shortened version of her testimony is that she took the dress out of the closet and gave it away. From her encounter with God, Joyce Meyer was taught humility and the purpose of her ministry, to provide for those in need, spiritually and physically. 

Every day we see the earth’s rich covering of beautiful and colorful plant life, the varied species of animals, and the diversity of humanity, which reflect God. The Master Artist loves “Perfect Beauty.” It was never God’s purpose for us to live in poverty or be plagued with social issues and rampant diseases. Sinful desires have escalated beyond our control. The love of money has prevented our nations from eradicating the misery of poverty and the rapid growth of diseases. Yes, we have gone too far. What human being is worth $208 million for a few games?

For the love of money, many believers have traded in their desire to live in the New Heaven and New Earth. We have thrown in the towel on preparing ourselves for Jesus’ Second Coming. Grasping the here and now has empowered us to create a “heaven on earth,” as reflected in the Lifestyles of the Rich Believer.

But Luke 12 relays Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool:

Then I will say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be required of you. Then who will own what you have accumulated?’ This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”…Luke 12:19-21 BSB

Prayer: God, please have mercy on us. We are distracted by the pursuit of happiness. We have lost our desire for eternal life. Living in the New Heaven and New Earth is a vague memory because of our love for money and earthly possessions. Forgive us, Heavenly Father. Create a clean heart and renew a spirit of humility within us. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

“Me versus We” Where Do We Stand?

When I awaken each morning, I enter into worship, thanking God for receiving the new mercies for a new day. This morning, the Holy Spirit prompted me to read my evening devotional, which spoke about “a life centered in self.”

In the mid to late 90s, I worked in New York City, which required public transportation due to limited parking and traffic gridlocks. The New Jersey Transit system accommodated their interstate commuters with comfortable buses, making the 60-75 minute commute tolerable. I experienced an entirely new dimension of life in Upper Manhattan. The diversity of the various cultures revealed itself through the foods, clothing, languages, stores. Yes, it was fast, but every aspect of the city’s daily activities was exciting, with one exception. One concept boldly stood out–people had no consideration for others. Their observable behaviors and spoken words reflected “Only Me.”

Growing up with a Mother who is an ordained minister produced a benevolent spirit within me. In the church we attended, members helped each other along with many people in their communities. My elementary education was in a private Christian school, which instilled in the students to help those in need. We had field trips 1-2 times monthly to participate in charitable community activities. But a change has occurred in my mindset since I now live as head of household. My prevailing thoughts usually consist of my present and future.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” Matthew 6:31-32

So, lets look at two perspectives [ psychosocial and spiritual] of “Me versus We.”

“Me versus We” is not a new concept. Sociology is a social science that analyzes human interactions, the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. 

One big difference that psychologists have found between cultures is the difference between independence vs. interdependence as ways of thinking. These two ways of thinking come down to how we think of ourselves. One way of thinking is to consider yourself as an independent entity, focused on your own needs and desires. Another way of thinking is to consider yourself as an interdependent entity, focused on how you fit within a group of people. http://socialpsychonline.com/2016/01/independence-vs-interdependence-mindsets/

New research has shown that these mindsets can have a lot to do with how we visually see the world around us. socialpsychonline.com.

What a powerful and revealing concept; we are influenced by what we see.

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. Mathew 6:22.

The things that we visualize with our eyes can propel us into changing our morals, values, and influence us to participate in sinful and dangerous activities. David warns us of looking without restraint: I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. Psalm 101:3. Our eyes feed our desires. Eventually, we become desensitized to the devastation of sin. Instead of hating sin, as God does, we begin to enjoy the things that our eyes see.

We may console ourselves by saying, “But I do help others through my contributions.” Yes, we have philanthropists, non-profit organizations, persons who give charitable contributions and perform good deeds because they are motivated to help those in need. But that is not how God sees the spiritual aspect of “Me versus We.” Being a servant of God is not the same as a being a financial contributor. Jesus is the role model for the believer. Throughout Jesus’ life, His love and compassion is displayed for humanity by meeting their physical and spiritual needs through teaching the Word of God, and countless acts of alleviating suffering. He stood for justice [remember the woman caught in adultery?], fed multitudes, healed physical ailments, and raised the dead.

Jesus’ conversation with His disciples:

When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is already late. Dismiss the crowds so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” “They do not need to go away,” Jesus replied. “You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:15-16.

We are also Jesus’ disciples. Where do we stand? Which mindset are we embracing, Me or We? Are we dismissing those in need by looking the other way? Do we consider giving back our tithe and offerings enough? What does God require of us?

Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the needy. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. Psalm 82:3-4

In all things, I have shown you that by working hard in this way, we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power, seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more, you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.”—Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 67, 68.

Bible Study: 2 Kings 4 [Elisha Helps a Poor Widow]

Prayer: God, we confess and ask repentance for possessing a “Me” mindset. We desire to serve others as you continue to serve us. We ask you to please reveal the persons who need physical provisions and spiritual comfort. As we enter the Sabbath, please help us to focus on your life of serving humanity. In Jesus’ Holy name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson

God’s GPS-Global Positioning and Protection System

Life is full of learning opportunities, but it also has many risks. Whether good or bad, most often we learn from experience. Truthfully, my preferences are to take the challenges to God and wait for guidance. Even so, God also provides us with the opportunities to learn from other individuals who have “been there, done that” and will share how to avoid a negative outcome–consequences. 

When the GPS directional system first became popular, my mom was in the hospital. Her Pastor and I were in the visitor’s lobby chatting about different things. And then, we started talking about the benefits of the GPS-Navigation, which provided the ease of putting in an address and simply following the directions versus maps. We laughed as we spoke about the wonders of human innovation and embracing progress. 

But then the conversation changed regarding the downside–yes, the cons of using a GPS. The system operates and is dependent on satellites–Satellite Navigation is based on a global network of satellites that transmit radio signals in medium-earth orbit. faa.gov. Pastor G. then proceeded to warn me against total dependency on the step-by-step directions, especially to a place you are traveling to for the first time. Your endpoint destination may differ from your desired destination, and inclement weather may interfere with or render the GPS useless. His last words, “God has given us a sound mind and common sense, technology cannot replace our ability to adapt to any given situation.”

In February, when traveling from Texas to Florida for relocation, I remembered and embraced the wise advice from Pastor G. The journey was 1400 miles in uncharted territory. I used Google Maps to plug in five destination points for my four-day journey and printed out several pages of directions. Several times during my trip, thunderstorms and heavy rain rendered my GPS Navigation useless. 

We face a life-long journey of unexpected challenges and dangers during our time on earth. Truthfully, humanity has a rough and rugged path to travel on from the day of our birth. “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” John 16:33 BSB. Even so, isn’t this the reason that we serve God?

Surrender and commitment to God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit is a requisite of serving God. He has positioned us in the 21st century [we are living in the last days] and provided us with the instructions and knowledge to tell others of Jesus. Through the power of our spiritual team along with faith, trust, and obedience, we can live a victorious life, and reach our final destination. And all of the instructions and spiritual road maps are neatly packaged in God’s Positioning and Protection System.

For us to be under God’s GPS, we must accept these doctrines:

Jesus Christ is the only one way to God. [Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6]. Fact: Every religion with the exception of Christianity negates Jesus as the only Way to Salvation.

Love: “‘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.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Faith: God has given each of us a measure of faith. Faith is action, we must believe without doubts.

And without faith [believing that God will always fulfill His promises] it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Prayer and Bible Study: Connects us to God and gives us the power to overcome.

The Bible-our roadmap to live righteously and have victorious outcomes.

Prayer-“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.” Ellen G. White

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = A Victorious Outcome and the Reward of Eternal Life

  1. Human Effort: Maintaining our relationship with Jesus is the only way to be an overcomer. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
  2. Human Effort: Prayer is our life-line. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17] 
  3. Human Effort: Diligently study the Bible. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  4. Human Effort: We need wisdom. Having knowledge is not enough. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
  5. Human Effort: Total obedience is required. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
  6. Human Effort: Pray for the Holy Spirit. 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 that I have said to you. John 14:26
  7. Human Effort: The Great Commission. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…Matthew 28:19-20, first part
  8. Divine Intervention: We are never alone! And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20, last part
  9. Divine Intervention: God-given instructions on how to overcome the temptations from Satan. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
  10. Divine Intervention: God promises that He would always take care of us by fighting our battles. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
    Exodus 14:14
  11. Divine Intervention: Our sorrows, trials, and hardships will not overtake us. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

God’s Protection

Truth: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

There is a trending fear expressed by many individuals on TikTok: Evil spirits can invade us [as in demon possession], our families, and our homes, although we are doing our best to serve God. Yes, we can expect attacks from the evil one. Satan enjoys placing fear, discouragement, doubt, and unbelief in our minds with many false beliefs and teachings. Do not believe the lies that the fallen angel is more powerful than the team of humanity and divinity! Hallelujah!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Satan and his evil angels are present on this earth. But in the next verse God gives us detailed instructions on what we need to do:

Human Effort:

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—Ephesians 6:14-19

Divine Intervention: For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up [hold you up], Lest you dash your foot against a stone [so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone]. Psalm 91:11-12

Everyday, our angels are protecting us from the evil ones [spiritual warfare]. If Satan had unleashed power, he would have killed Job [read Job chapter 1] and every present believer in the Omnipotent and Omniscient God would be dead. Do not fear! God loves us, and He has us. Even in our darkest storms, God will never let Satan beat us down. We are always protected by our Heavenly Father!

God’s Spiritual Positioning and Protection System works 24/7, especially during our storms. Let God direct you in every aspect of your life. Jesus loves us, died, and was resurrected for humanity. Stay under the protection of the Trinity Godhead. Do not look to the left or to the right. Keep your spiritual eyes focused on Jesus. Despite the last-day events and hardships we face, God’s directions are leading us home. Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

Bible reading: Psalm 91, a song of protection

Prayer: God, we thank you for placing us under the safety of your GPS. We desire to receive our reward of eternal life. God, please give us strength to continue our journey. We ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit to give us understanding, and wisdom as we study the scriptures. Thank you for loving us and the gifts of grace and mercies of a new day. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson

My Heart Belongs to You

We often think of the invisible God as being very distant from humanity. But is that accurate? Isn’t it in our hardships and sorrows that we feel abandoned? In Psalm 27, King David expresses that he was surrounded by enemies–men who were his closest advisors but wished his death. Was David aware that God knew his circumstances? Yes, but he honestly expressed his innermost feelings of being afraid. And rightfully so, we cannot imagine living every day with people in our homes plotting our demise.

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident. Psalm 27:1-3

Our Heavenly Father sees and knows that the human heart is fragile. God is also aware that our hardships usually result in disconnecting ourselves from Him when we feel threatened and powerless. We are weakened by the unexpected; spiritual warfare, financial difficulties, family issues, loneliness, material loss, illnesses, broken relationships, the death of a loved one. First, we must acknowledge that the trials and sorrows in our lives cause pain and suffering, mentally, emotionally, and physically in illnesses. But have confidence, knowing that it is not God’s purpose to break or crush us. God’s purpose for our trials: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 

During our challenges, human effort is required. God is waiting for us to seek His help and strength through prayer. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Within each of us is the buried response of “where is God? During our trials, we quickly forget God, our Deliverer when faced with overwhelming circumstances. Fear instead of faith comes easily when we perceive that our hardships are bigger than God. Identifying our perception of God involves an honest and in-depth self-evaluation. “How do I see God?”

Without believing, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27, we will continue to doubt the Omnipotence–supernatural power of God, our Creator, Provider, and Sustainer.

Still, in His loving-kindness and mercy, God reaches out to His beloved.

    1. Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
    2. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8

We may acknowledge the power of God, but do we belong to him? Have we given God our hearts? Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” John 10:14. Our commitment to God is reliant on surrender, commitment, total faith and trust. Doing our part means having a dependent relationship with God, our Father. Yes, we are to become as little children, totally dependent on the love and power of our Heavenly Father. Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory!

To experience daily spiritual growth, our hearts must stay connected to Jesus Christ, who is the only way to God. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

There are many benefits to giving our hearts to God. First, we gain total peace, resulting in spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength. Faith and trust in God, even during stormy trials, give us courage, contentment, and confidence. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:7

We can achieve peace during the harshest trials and sorrows. Knowing that we will feel the pain that accompanies spiritual growth; yet, trusting in God gives us the strength to press on, in Jesus’ name. God is preparing us for eternal life. Jesus gave His life that we may receive immortality and live in the New Heaven and New Earth when He comes again. Giving our heart [total commitment] to our Savior will produce the character traits of love, faith, trust, patience, obedience, courage, and confidence. Yes, it is time for us to have a heart-to-heart relationship with Jesus Christ.

Prayer: God, we are going through some hard times and we need your love, comfort, and divine intervention. Please give us the strength to endure our trials. We are confident that you will bring victory. We ask this prayer in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson

Having Certainty in Chaos

We live in a time of constant change. Despite our astute skills and life experience, many individuals struggle to maintain balance and consistency in their current lifestyles. The pressure remains for us to embrace and pursue upgrades from the food we eat to the vehicles that we drive. Instead of our homes representing a safe haven and comfort zone, someone has convinced us that happiness and tranquility are only available when purchasing their amenities. And yes, we convince ourselves that spending money does result in a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Technology represents power and demands a presence that remains unmatched in its hypnotic effects on our brains. We must have it, the latest and the greatest. The cellular device we bought six months ago is worthless and ready to be recycled. The dream of 5G and beyond has reached fruition and is the here and now. Is 5G available in your area? Because the big V not only “Has Thousands of Smarter 5G towers,” they also proclaim “This is 5G Built Right,” and we can “Feel the power of 5G Ultra Wideband.” Yet, a significant security breach has occurred, and customer’s demographics and other personal information have been displayed between the firm’s employees and customers. Bitdefender Total Security. Are we compromising our values to overlook the exposure of highly confidential data?

Yes, we are striving for the lifestyles of the animated series [cartoon], “The Jetsons,” created by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1962-1963. Almost six decades ago, the future was represented as the epitome of perfection. We were supposed to achieve self-actualization by the 21st century. Where is our utopia? “A utopia is an imaginary community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.” Wikipedia

Sadly, we sacrifice our mental and emotional health to fulfill our desires [that others have convinced us that it was our idea] for material possessions. We readily embrace the deception of a false sense of security that comes from possessing tangible assets. At what point do we say, “Enough is enough?”

We have so little time to give to God. Our spiritual health is suffering from malnutrition. In tough times of adversities that Jesus promised would happen: “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, we crash and burn because we do not have the knowledge of God’s promises. There is no time to build and sustain a relationship with God. The distractions of the “little gods” of this world have caused us to promise our Creator that we will do better tomorrow [by praying and studying the Bible], but tomorrow never comes. 

We can change if we have the desire and courage to change!

Embrace the sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 (BSB),

Jesus says to “Build on the Rock.” He is the only source of certainty in the chaos that engulfs our minds, bodies, and souls. It is the “Rock” that provides peace, true joy, and the reward of eternal life. 

Certainty: A firm conviction that something is the case.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (BSB)

Prayer: God, we admit that we do not know where to begin in achieving certainty in our lives. Yes, we desperately need your help and your guidance. Today we say, “enough is enough.” Please forgive us and reveal your plans to get us out of our chaotic lifestyles. We ask this prayer in the powerful and worthy name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson

Do not Fear!

This message was written in the 1800s and addresses a serious issue that has escalated among today’s believers, Fear. Be blessed, pray, and receive the victory from fear.

Morning Devotional by Ellen G White

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isa. 43:1

Often our trials are such that they seem almost unbearable, and without help from God they are indeed unbearable. Unless we rely upon Him we shall sink under the burden of responsibilities that bring only sadness and grief. But if we make Christ our dependence, we shall not sink under trial.

When all seems dark and unexplainable we are to trust in His love; we must repeat the words that Christ has spoken to our souls, "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Do not go about as if Jesus were in Joseph's tomb, and a great stone were rolled before the door In the trial of your faith show that you know you have a risen Saviour, One who is making intercession for you and your loved ones.

The Bible places the responsibility of our happiness upon ourselves. We are to look to the light of life. Our usefulness depends on our own course of action. We are so anxious, all of us, for happiness, but many rarely find it because of their faulty methods of seeking, in the place of striving. We must strive most earnestly and mingle all our desires with faith. Then happiness steals in upon us almost unsought.

When we can, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, rest confidingly in His love and shut ourselves in with Him, resting peacefully in His love, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil joy. This experience gains for us a faith that enables us not to fret, not to worry, but to depend upon a power that is infinite.

We shall have the power of the Highest with us. Jesus stands by our side. As the trials come, the power of God will come with them.

From My Life Today – Page 189 Ellen G White