It’s All or Nothing

I can recall trying to find a nursing job in Orlando, Florida, when there was an overabundance of Registered Nurses. Finally, I found a position where I was hired on the spot. The irony of being immediately hired is that I had to have security clearance which involved fingerprints, DMV abstract, and nursing license verification. Yes, the red flags were waving from every direction. The following day I received a quick one-day orientation–policies, payday, dress code and was told that I needed to arrive at 6 am in the morning to do rounds with the Wound Care Doctor. Not a problem. The issue was that I never received a job description because the position was recently created.

My day started at 4 am, including travel time. All went well for the first week, which had me thinking that I had overreacted. Monday of the second week revealed the truth. The evening nurse who worked from 2:30 pm to 11:00 pm called out sick. I was notified that I needed to speak with the Assistant Director, who informed me that I would be working until 11 pm that night. The duties of a floor nurse were nonstop. I made it through the night. But decided that my last day would be the following week on payday.

The nurse did not return to work for three days. So, I double-shifted for three days and evenings and was told I would be happy with my check. I found out from the other employees that the facility had a very high turnover of evening nurses, and there was no guarantee the staff nurse would return. I must admit that for the first time in my career, I felt miserable. Being half-committed along with the administration’s dishonesty regarding my job description made me so stressed out that I did not make it until payday.

Our spiritual journey requires 100% commitment to God. Serving God is an All or Nothing covenant promise. We commit to a relationship with Jesus Christ that is high maintenance. Building our spiritual connection with Christ requires surrender, faith, trust, obedience, studying the Bible, praying, helping others, attending church, and allowing God to do a complete character makeover.

I have heard many people say, “It’s just too hard to serve God. The things that I cannot do or the things that I have to do for God it’s overwhelming. The dilemma of placing our desires before God is not a new concept. The Laodiceans possessed material wealth and felt their spiritual knowledge was equal to their social status. They were not interested in doing the practical duties required of the Christian believer in the early church. So, they decided not to stress themselves out. They felt that whatever they did was enough to serve God by continuing their daily routines and just showing up for church.

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—”Revelation 3:14-17

It is difficult for those who feel secure in their attainments, and who believe themselves to be rich in spiritual knowledge, to receive the message which declares that they are deceived and in need of every spiritual grace. God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare. It is by constant, unceasing effort that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. It is not enough to merely profess to believe the truth. All the soldiers of the cross of Christ virtually obligate themselves to enter the crusade against the adversary of souls, to condemn wrong and sustain righteousness. But the message of the True Witness reveals the fact that a terrible deception is upon our people, which makes it necessary to come to them with warnings, to break their spiritual slumber, and arouse them to decided action. Testimonies for the Church, volume 3. 

Serving God is not a laid-back, easy lifestyle that requires little to no human effort. We cannot attend church once a week or sing our way to heaven with uplifted hands. The motivational speeches that have replaced sermons based on scriptures have many deceived into thinking that serving God is based on an  emotional response. 

The Laodicean Church received a strong rebuke from Jesus. You have to be hot [completely committed] or cold [same status as an unbeliever] because lukewarm individuals [who have decided how they will serve God] will be spit out [no chance of receiving the reward of eternal life].

Matthew chapter 28:19-20 is the Great Commission, which is applicable to every believer–witness and make disciples. 

 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

It’s up to each of us to serve God giving our All or Nothing. 

Prayer: God, we confess that we are not giving you our best and for this sin, we ask for forgiveness. Please reveal the work that you have for us to do as we prepare for Jesus’ Coming. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry 

The Power, Peace, and Prosperity from Prayer

Has anyone ever said to you, “Don’t be so hard on yourself?” Although it is an attempt to console the individual for making a mistake, we should reflect on why we are in a dilemma. Humility leads us to self-evaluate when we have acted on our desires. The desires that place us in opposition to God’s plans for our lives. Thankfully, we have a Heavenly Father who provides unmerited grace and mercy along with unlimited forgiveness of our sins.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Throughout the Bible, prayer is emphasized as the way to receive God’s Divine Intervention. John chapter 17 is a perfect example of Jesus praying to His Heavenly Father. Maybe we do not understand the purpose of prayer. Prayer connects us to the Spiritual Team–the Trinity Godhead, God, the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through prayer, Jesus, our Heavenly Intercessor acts on our behalf, presenting us as forgiven to God. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:14. Yes, our prayers must begin with the request for God’s will to be manifested in our lives. And the Holy Spirit, who is available to all people at all times, still remains a mystery. Yet, it is the Holy Spirit who provides comfort, wisdom, guidance, and discernment from our heartfelt prayers.  

The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rule in our hearts. The strength acquired in prayer to God, united with persevering effort in training the mind in thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances.—(Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 85.)

We gain spiritual prosperity–a total transformation from our weaknesses to possessing spiritual strength from daily prayer. Prayer is the only way to maintain the connection between humanity and divinity. Unlimited 24/7 access to the Trinity through prayer is a gift. With gratitude, we acknowledge that God has anticipated our every need. It is time that we receive the abundant life that God has planned for us by praying in humility throughout the day, evening, and night.

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17. 

Feeling blessed and highly favored? Let’s pray.

Prayer: God, we are thankful that you have given us everything that we need. We are thankful that we can communicate with you through prayer. Thank you for  full access to your Divine resources. We love you. And ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Come and Rest Awhile

How do you feel at the end of your day?

Taking a few minutes to analyze our daily and weekly schedule provides organization and consistency to our lives. Although we cannot anticipate unexpected challenges, we should prioritize our day-to-day responsibilities. Becoming aware of unnecessary interruptions not only allows us to establish boundaries, but we can also fulfill God’s plan for our day. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Busyness is intrusive and often goes unnoticed. Waking hours easily melt into night and before we realize it, our sleeping hours are significantly reduced. Too much on our agenda propels the aging process. It is not difficult to recognize the individuals who do not get enough rest. Their eyes and facial expressions reveal the effect of ongoing mental and physical fatigue.

Thankfully, God provides us with the mercies of a new day. But have you considered the time that you set aside to worship God? Even more devastating is the impact that lack of rest has on our relationship with God. We cannot engage in the depth of worship required for spiritual growth when we have overtaxed our minds and bodies. Falling asleep while reading the Bible or saying a three or four word prayer prevents us from receiving the much-needed spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical renewal and refreshment from the Holy Spirit.

God Speaks On Not Putting Him First

You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14. 

Identifying the demands that prevent mental and physical rest is the first step to changing our lifestyle. Self-denial is required to shut down the stimuli that keep our minds in a constant whirlwind. Too much time on social media, ongoing phone conversations, texting, and placing too many errands on the to-do lists leaves us burned-out. Always taking on the responsibility of being the go-to person also puts us in a lose-lose situation. Time wasted can never be retrieved. 

Remember, spiritual warfare includes the temptations from the evil one. It is Satan’s plan to keep us distracted by presenting opportunities that we chase after. Chaos and confusion are not of God. The Creation story gives us the perfect example of the structure and order that God requires. Make a three-day time log. And on the fourth day, perform an evaluation of time spent. You may be surprised how easily additional responsibilities, personal habits, or performing duties for others who can achieve the task themselves chips away your rest and relaxation time.

Even so, God expects to be first on our daily agenda. In morning worship, we acknowledge the new mercies received of a new day. Praying for God’s will to be done along with protection from spiritual warfare and physical danger demonstrates obedience and dependency on our Heavenly Father. Starting our day with God provides spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical strength to sustain us for the rigorous opposition that we face.

Evening worship provides communion with God and should be the last activity before sleeping. Taking the time to invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts through prayer produces endurance and perseverance. We develop a spirit of gratitude despite our hardships. Studying and memorizing God’s promises in the Holy Scriptures provides spiritual reinforcement in times of weaknesses and trials.

God is not intrusive. His Divine intervention is available 24/7. Still, He waits for our invitation. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. To be still is not living in a state of doing nothing. It is setting aside time–quantity [without distractions] to establish and maintain a 1:1 relationship with Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Intercessor. Returning the love we receive from God is demonstrated by putting God first! He is the Sustainer of our being.

Develop Strategies for Eliminating the Extras

Learn to decline, “At this time, I am unable to do that or attend, etc.” [a tactful way of saying no]. Turn away from ceaseless activity. Resting from life’s stressors by communing with God imparts spiritual strength. We are energized by the heavenly power that connects humanity with divinity. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1:2.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Prayer: God, we ask you to give us the wisdom to identify and eliminate the busyness of our lives that prevents us from spending time with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Fruitless Trees

Born and raised in the concrete jungle of the Northeast, I was clueless about the nature of fruit-bearing trees. One day, my BFF visited and informed me that the large shade tree was a pecan tree in our yard. I started laughing as I relayed that the tree was well past her reproductive stage in life. She stepped off of the porch, walked around the yard for a couple of minutes, returning with a shelled pecan nut in her hands. “Who’s laughing now?” I had a mature tree that produced pecans, my favorite nut, and was totally unaware for five years. The squirrels who were always on the branches enjoyed the tree’s fruit of which I knew nothing about.

Many of us accept Jesus as our personal Savior, understanding that He is the only way to God. Yet, we fail to embrace our Helper, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity Godhead. We have access to the power of the Holy Spirit that would make our spiritual journey bearable even through severe trials. If God sent the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove [Matthew 3:16-17] to Jesus following His baptism, then as humans without Divinity status, we desperately need the Holy Spirit.

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 NKJV

Jesus defines the line of separation–the world cannot receive the Spirit of Truth. If we reject the Holy Spirit through unbelief, then we are part of the world. There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-15

“Why do believer’s reject the Holy Spirit?”

John 3:8-9 tells us of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus regarding the Holy Spirit. To which. “Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be?” The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery to humanity. Jesus told His disciples, I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12. We can thank Jesus for recognizing our limitations.

Truthfully, we struggle every day just to maintain our faith in God. We are often plagued with discouragement and disbelief in the power of the Almighty when facing lengthy trials and sorrows. “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 NLT. Our loving Jesus is full of compassion. He knows that we are easily overwhelmed with our daily struggle to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Still, the human effort of confession, repentance, praying, studying the Bible, and living faithful, and purpose-driven lives, while trusting and serving God with obedience is a requisite to receive eternal life. Help! Holy Spirit to the rescue!

We cannot afford to reject the Spirit of Truth. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern truth from false teachings. Nor can we fully understand the scriptures when studying the Bible. Believe it or not, false teachers read the Bible and may have more biblical knowledge than we possess. Their problem–a corrupt heart. They begin to analyze the scriptures and search for logical, rational explanations. When none can be found, they begin to develop their own theories.

The victims are the spiritually malnourished who feel they are fully capable of taking care of themselves without embracing and accepting The Trinity-God, the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Living as the redeemed requires spiritual reinforcement only available through our willingness to obey God with a spirit of humility. To bear fruit, we have no other choice than to feed ourselves with the scriptures, which are the Voice of God. Communication with God–through prayer invites the Holy Spirit in to strengthen us, to correct us, and to guide us through our life-long journey of sanctification. Without the Holy Spirit, we are fruitless trees.

Without the Holy Spirit, we will never have the faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego possessed when facing the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:16-28]. Nor can we fight spiritual warfare [Ephesians 6:12] alone. Christian believers, we watched our brothers and sisters suffering in Afghanistan, but our time of persecution will come. We cannot afford to be like the five foolish virgins who were not spiritually prepared [Matthew 25:1-13]. The oil that they lacked represents the Holy Spirit. Jesus is on the way. We have but a short time on this present earth. The Holy Spirit is available for all who just ask and believe. Thank you, Jesus.

Without the Holy Spirit, we will not have the fruit that is described in Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Our character must align with God’s requirements to receive the reward of eternal life.

And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Prayer: God, we thank you for your love and for giving us access to the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. We pray for an outpouring and anointing, wisdom, and discernment from the Holy Spirit. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

God Promises Restoration

Many individuals are attempting to cope with the loss of relationships. Whether the loss is from a breakup, divorce, or death, the impact leaves a heart filled with sadness and grief. The saying, “Time heals all wounds,” is simply not true. Speak with someone who lost a nurturing and loving relationship with their parent, child, husband, wife or best friend, and they will agree that time has nothing to do with easing the pain of their loss.

Jesus, the Lamb of God understands that we require Divine Intervention to alleviate and heal our brokenness. Death penetrates the core of our soul, leaving us wounded. Loss of relationships that do not involve death still produces intense sorrow. We do not have to pretend that all is well. Our ability to cry allows the release of emotional pain, promoting expression of the sting of sorrow.

God does not require us to be stoic in times of loss. In fact, the philosophy of Stoicism is in opposition of the Creator’s gift of emotions. Our tears combined with faith enables us to embrace Jesus’ promise to heal our wounded hearts. In Psalm 147:3, God tells us, “He heals the Brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Jesus wept. John 11:35. Yes, Jesus openly cried. This was a true expression of human grief. Jesus cried for two reasons: 1. From their reaction, even Jesus’ close friends, Mary and Martha did not fully believe in His power as the Son of God. They reacted to their brother’s death by blaming Jesus. 2. The loud wails of sorrow from the crowd and the grief of the sisters, Mary and Martha touched Jesus’ heart deeply. As one theologian states, “Jesus did not cry silent tears. He wept openly with audible sound. It was His humanity that allowed Jesus to feel pain and sorrow from the death of his friend, Lazarus.” Who knows pain, grief, and sorrow better than the One who suffered so grievously for us?

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener), to be with you forever—John 14:16

The Holy Spirit is only a prayer away. We will receive the strength and comfort to move forward one day at a time. Reflect on your precious memories and thank God for the time that you had together. Pray, cry, and listen to music. Do not allow well-meaning individuals to convince you to discard items or to embrace anger and hold grudges. God is aware of every loss that we will experience in our lives. The Spiritual Team is available to assist us in our journey of healing.

Healing takes time. God does not rush us through the healing stream. We have access to His never-ending comfort. Still, it takes human effort to fight against depression. Push yourself to open the window-blinds to let light in and be certain to make your bed every day. Your appetite may be poor, but remain motivated to care for yourself physically by eating small amounts of nutritious foods throughout the day. It is easy to weaken the Immune system during the grieving period, which places the body at risk for physical illness.

Address your spiritual needs by joining a grief support group or seeking pastoral counseling. Never forget to study the Bible [use an audio app]. The scriptures provide beautiful promises of healing and restoration. At times, the only words that can escape our lips are “Jesus, help me.” Every prayer, every tear, every crying whimper is seen and heard by our Heavenly Father. We are loved. God will never leave us or forsake us. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Prayer: God, we pray for healing of the many broken hearts. Please send your Holy Spirit to comfort us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Please share this devotional with someone who is grieving from loss of a relationship.

You Are Not Your Own

Lord, I know that peoples lives are not their own, it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23

When we surrender to Jesus Christ and accept the free gift of salvation, we commit to discipleship. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27. We are followers–sheep. Jesus Christ is our Shepherd. Like many of us, the original twelve disciples were a rowdy, self-seeking group of men that had their own agendas. Why would Jesus choose men like this? Especially Peter, who was prideful [And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Matthew 14:28]. Yes, Peter was impulsive and lacked self-control. Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” John 18:10-11].

Again, Jesus reprimanded Peter: But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.… “Matthew 16:23-25

The Apostle Peter who Jesus prayed for: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”… Luke 22:32, wrote the Books of 1 and 2 Peter giving us instruction in the areas that pose the greatest challenges, “Living for God” and “Suffering for being a Christian.”

The reason that Jesus chose the original twelve disciples is that He knew eleven of them would eventually experience a complete spiritual transformation. And Judas Iscariot would fulfill the act of betrayal that was required for the redemption of the human race. Yes, they were wayward, but each went through a complete spiritual makeover following the crucifixion of Jesus [Judas died before–Matthew 27:5].

Jesus chose every human–past, present, and future to willingly give His life for. If only we could make a definitive choice like Christ did. Can you imagine Jesus wavering in His decision to die for us? No, it is unthinkable. Yet, many individuals never hesitate to satisfy their desires through willful acts of disobedience against God.

For those who made the commitment to serve God, but are in the valley of indecision: “You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.” 1 Peter 4:3. Is this Jesus’ disciple? Yes, but a changed man who allowed God to transform him into a spiritually converted Apostle.

We cannot serve God and seek after our desires. The Apostle Paul clarifies the status of Jesus’ disciples: 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? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In accepting God’s gift of His Son, Jesus, we give up our natural inclinations to “Have it our way.” Full surrender and obedience are required, But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added. Matthew 6:33, which we willingly do because we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Matthew 22:37.

Many will fall away from God because they want to belong to themselves. Even so, for those of us who are weary from suffering the negative consequences of disobedience, and believe that we fully belong to God [as evidenced by our faithful obedience] Jesus is waiting to give us the reward of Eternal life:

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Bible Readings: 1 Corinthians 2 and 1 Peter 4

Prayer: God, we ask forgiveness for seeking after our desires. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your love, grace, and mercies. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Love in Action

“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.…And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:36-40

Our various backgrounds produce different views and definitions of what love is. A child raised in a hands-on affectionate home possesses an inner warmth, easily connecting with others. For the child who learned that love was associated with receiving tangible items, their defining characteristics for loving others consists of giving gifts or doing tasks for their loved ones. And then, the emotionally neglected child who received food, clothing, and shelter, the basic physiological needs, but grew up in an environment where love was [somehow] understood. A home full of provisions, but they never heard “I love you” or “you did a great job,” or received the joy of a parental hug. These are the quick handshake or “don’t touch me” individuals.” Unfortunately, they usually develop into people who do not possess the knowledge or the experience to give and receive the most powerful need, Love.

Even so, the child who has past emotional scars are the most dangerous to try to love. Abusive homes were corrosive eating away all of their intrinsic abilities to learn and embrace love. They are hurt, bitter, angry, and feeling dejected from past relationships gone wrong. Their capacity to love again is overshadowed by the darkness of unforgiveness, hatred, and revenge. Yes, they appear to be in a lose-lose predicament. But it is the battered ones to whom God reaches out and wraps them in His blanket of love that pierces the soul and erases the darkness while healing their broken, fragile hearts. It is then that they learn love does not hurt.

Love, is the emotion that caused God to create humanity despite knowing that we would mess up His perfect plans. Love was the foundation for the sacrificial gift of Jesus’ life. The covenant between the matchless Lamb of God and His Father provided redemption for the sins of the human race. Every person can receive the unmerited gifts of forgiveness, grace, and mercy from a loving God. We have the love and benefits from our Spiritual Team. Messenger and guardian angels keep us safe every day from evil and physical danger. Yet, we repay God with open defiance–disobedience by refusing to love Him with obedience, faith, and trust. Nor do we love one another unconditionally.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, RSV)

As a child, I witnessed the National Guard and the war of humans against humans in the 1967 Riots of Newark, New Jersey. I never thought I would relive this terror again on earth, but in 2020, America established a new diabolical standard of hatred. And on January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., was violently attacked by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump. Our disregard for established government, hatred for one another as evidenced by our prejudices, lack of compassion for those in need, the pursuit of selfish desires, and abolishing godly morals and values has a deadly proliferative root. We do not love God!

Still, God lovingly reaches out to each person giving us the opportunity to embrace salvation. God knew that we would not understand how to love, so, He gave us the Bible whose central theme is love. Like the Pharisee’s, our spiritual insight would not understand the miracles throughout the Old and New Testaments were based on agape love. But God sacrificing His only Son, Jesus Christ should have opened our eyes and hearts to recognize that agape love–an unfamiliar level of love to most was the only reason for the suffering, shame, and spilling of Jesus’ precious blood on Calvary’s cross. God and His Son created an invincible team to save us.

Jesus died and was resurrected because we were born into spiritual bankruptcy. From the depths of our soul, we should acknowledge that Redemption is for humanity [we are the only living beings created in the image of God] who required mercy. Jesus did not die for the angels. It is you and me who are the recipients of the redemptive Plan of Salvation. Thank you, Lord and Savior, for giving us the opportunity for Eternal life. 

Reflection of our lives complete with God’s grace, mercies, and miracles should prompt us to desire immediate change. God specializes in New Beginnings. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19. We must empty ourselves of past dysfunctions and previous experiences by praying and fasting. Our thoughts are redirected toward God when we diligently study the scriptures. When we put forth human effort then Divine intervention provides completion. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Loving others is a requisite to receiving eternal life. There will be no heavenly neighborhoods based on economic or social standing. Debating, anger, holding grudges will not be part of our character [Read Galatians 5:22-23]. We will have nothing to apologize for in the New Heaven and New Earth. If you do not enjoy the spectrum of colors now, you will not have the opportunity to see Jesus. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20

Learning God’s definition of love requires unlearning and acquiring new knowledge and wisdom. Loving God means putting Him first. Surrender to God equates to seeking His will in every aspect of our lives. It is then that we experience a complete spiritual, mental, and emotional transformation. Not one plan is developed or strategy executed without bringing it to God in prayer for His Divine approval. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 provides us with a complete definition of how to love others. The core emotion of unconditional love must permeate our hearts, souls, and minds. Love is not a word or a fleeting feeling. Love is an action that manifests itself in the manner in which we love others and bow in humility to serve a Most Loving, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent God.

Bible Reading 1 Corinthians 13

Prayer: God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, we just want to say thank you, and that we love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry