How Did the Focus Change from Jesus to Us?

How Did the Focus Change from Jesus to Us? Devotional Reading and Podcast

Satan has invented a counterfeit for everything God has blessed as holy and righteous. Within the past five years, the focus of salvation has changed from Jesus to our emotions. Sermons on how to live a happy life with financial prosperity have replaced sermons on how to live a righteous, faithful, and obedient life.

“I Surrender All” has been replaced with songs entitled “Bless Me” along with one to two hours of singing-only worship services. How did we digress from Jesus to ourselves? Watching motivational videos has replaced daily worship, prayer, and studying the Bible.

We are distracted and too busy to have a meaningful relationship with Christ. We have readily embraced the false teachings of pursuing happiness because of the worldview of destroying boundaries to live your best life. Yes, we are victims of the ideology of self-worship.

Recently, one of the long-standing Pastors in Dallas, Texas stated in his interview that the subsequent generations who are in the church now do not understand the in-depth meaning of the Scriptures, so he had to change his style of preaching. There is a prevailing disinterest in all that is holy because of our desires and lifestyles.

Studying the Bible is no longer encouraged in the churches that promote happiness. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern the Truth which is God-breathed nor will we have a deeper understanding of who God is. The solution is to present one or two verses that will promote mental and emotional well-being. Truth is an area of debate that has led to various ideas. The erroneous ideas have caused many to commit sins that originate from presumption.

Presumption: an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain.

An example of misinterpretation is the verse when Jesus tells us to ask anything in His name and He will do it. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

It is our preference to hear the verse found in John chapter 14 as opposed to the verse in 1st John chapter 5. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

Because the spiritual meaning does not coincide with our desires, we misrepresent the Scriptures. Even so, Jesus will never give us everything we desire from a financial perspective. Although our prayers are not always financial, we cannot take for granted that we will be healed which is also an expectation of many Christians. We do not have the privilege of demanding anything from our Heavenly Father.

Satan has influenced the leaders whose messages contain a mixture of partial truth and worldviews. Churches whose focus is to keep their members happy will preach verse #1 from the pulpit. “All you have to do is pray and God will fulfill the desires of your heart, but you must first take action by pursuing the marriage partner, starting the business, and purchasing the house.”

The Bible Explains Itself by giving us examples of prayers that represent the things we should ask God for.

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?'” (1 Kings 3:5)

“…Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 King 3:8-9)

“The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:10, 12)

King Solomon not only pleased God with His request for wisdom, but God also gave him the honor of being the wisest man who ever lived. Because of Solomon’s humility, God also blessed him with excessive wealth.

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about Him going away, they were filled with sorrow. Jesus’ concern for His disciples, “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (John 16:24).

Sadly, like the disciples, we have an agenda of pleasing ourselves. We do not pray and ask Jesus for anything crucial to our spiritual growth. Instead of praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit or for our characters to be transformed into Jesus’ likeness [Galatians 5:22-23] and the spiritual power to resist temptation, we are asking God to “Bless Me” with tangible things, relationships, and marriages that are not in alignment with God’s plans for our lives.

Creeping Compromise

There is danger in taking our eyes off Jesus and placing them on our heart’s desires. Worshipping God according to how we feel results in a compromised relationship with Christ. The earthly things we must have and pursue without God’s blessings will determine our destiny.

Whether we commit the sins of presumption because we fail to study and lack knowledge of spiritual things, from self-interpretation of the Scriptures, being misled by church leaders, or wilful disobedience, we are still held accountable for our sins of presumption.

Jesus Defines His Divinity and His Righteous Position: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'” (John 14:6). Jesus has provided us with the guidance we need to live righteously.

  1. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
  2. “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).
  3. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38).
  4. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Jesus not only identifies the requisites for His followers, but He also reminds us of His Divine Authority, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). “…I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

Our earthly agendas determine our destiny–eternal life or the second and final death. We are rapidly moving forward from living in the last days to the end of time. Jesus says that we must choose whom we will serve. Choosing Jesus requires us to redirect our focus off of self. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life to learn the accurate meaning of the Scriptures.

Love for Christ keeps us grounded in a world where spiritual warfare includes self-worship. Our desires must align with God’s plans and purpose if our goal is to live eternally with our Lord and Savior. Give up the blended ideologies that are designed to make us lose our heavenly reward.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for forgiveness for placing the focus on ourselves and our selfish desires. We surrender our hearts, minds, and souls to You. We ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and discernment. We need Your guidance and strength to continue to walk this spiritual journey. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Your Holy Name, Amen.

The Sabbath is Forever!

Throughout the Holy Scriptures, God has given us many commands and 10 Commandments including the Creation Seventh-Day Sabbath which is Saturday. We have no evidence that God changed the Day that He blessed and made Holy. Pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of Satan’s deception. Hint: Emperor Constantine.

In Jesus’ name, receive your blessing.

Restoring Our Relationship with Christ

Restoring Our Relationship with Christ Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast

All relationships begin with a foundation of faith, trust, and love. At the beginning of the human relationship, we place our faith and trust in each other and as time passes, we begin to love. But in our relationship with Jesus, we act on the innate love that is in our hearts by responding to His invitation.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

Reflect on the moment that you decided to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Whether you were in church, watching a religious program, listening to a podcast, or in mental, emotional, or physical distress and called on God for help that was your moment of acknowledgment and surrender to a higher power outside of yourself.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26).

We did not accept Jesus because of a decision based on our efforts alone, the Holy Spirit touched our hearts, and we responded to the invitation from Jesus by saying yes. Why do we make an immediate decision to accept Christ or call out to God even though we have never acknowledged Him before? We can thank Jesus for His promise of sending us a Helper the Holy Spirit.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). From Jesus’ love, He created us with the innate ability to love God and others. “We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

If we were born with the ability to love God, then why do so many reject Jesus Christ? We were created with the free will choice to accept or reject the only way that we can come to God, and that is through His Son, Jesus. In the New Testament, the two apostles and two disciples who wrote the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) documented the longstanding history of those who chose to openly reject Jesus.

Throughout the New Testament, we become aware that most of the Jewish people rejected Christ as the Son of God. In Nazareth, Jesus was reading from Isaiah, and the people listening accused Him of blasphemy. “On hearing this, all the people in the synagogue were enraged. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him over the cliff. But Jesus passed through the crowd and went on His way.…” (Luke 4:28-30).

Even so, their rejection led to Jesus’ crucifixion which was necessary for the Plan of Salvation to be brought to fruition. When Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished!” He was referring to His sacrifice for the Redemption of humanity. Sadly, all who reject Christ will result in dying the second and final death as described in Malachi chapter 1.

The Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit

At Pentecost, when Peter used the writings of the prophet Joel and King David to explain they crucified Jesus, who was the prophesied Son of God, the multitude was filled with fear. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let every one of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call’ ” Acts 2:37-38).

Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we face a continuous struggle of staying in our relationship with Him. Jesus was aware that we would face many obstacles of spiritual warfare that would disrupt our commitment to becoming a follower of Christ.

We are pressured to accept worldviews that represent the decline of morals and values. Many proclaim the truth is what they believe it to be, and most Christians no longer separate themselves from unbelievers [which include those who acknowledge God, but do not have a relationship with Christ based on surrender and obedience].

Yet, the greatest obstacles are the constant busyness and overwhelming noise that have us distracted from our goal of loving God. We have acclimated to the constant noise of screen time, video games, digital programs, artificial intelligence, endless texting, and relying on our cellular devices as if they are a lifeline.

“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

Our spiritual relationship with Christ is broken because we are mesmerized by the distractions that Satan has intentionally placed in our lives. Most Christians are detached from God, barely having time to spend with Him in prayer and a meaningful study of the Bible. Our time is wasted on self-seeking activities that enhance our knowledge and skills but do nothing for building our relationship with Christ.

We are living in the last days! The time is now for us to renew our commitment to Christ through surrender and repentance. Daily worship in this earthly life is preparing us to worship God eternally. Without loving God and putting Him first, we cannot do our part in the plan of Salvation.

“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

Spiritual transformation requires daily surrender, obedience, faith, trust, and hearing God’s Voice through prayer and Bible study. But most importantly, it’s about our love for God. The warning to the Laodecian church is for today’s 21st-century Christians which includes you and me. We are not upholding the standard of righteousness that God requires.

“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

Christ was our role model on this earth. If he pursued solitude to pray for Divine guidance then we certainly need to separate ourselves from the noise of distractions to hear God’s Voice. We require Divine Intervention for direction to withstand temptations and to receive the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Silent Life—When that inner voice is not heard when a man cannot attain the Spiritual Peace that comes from being perfectly at one with His true self, his life is miserable and exhausting for he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the Spiritual Source of Life. Thomas Merton

We are pursuing the wrong sources to provide us with peace and contentment. Once we have accepted Christ and let our relationship falter, we recognize the change in our inner selves and lifestyles. Our thoughts, decisions, behaviors, and the people we socialize with fail to represent a Christ-like character.

“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)

Without Christ, we no longer have the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, and give us clarity [discernment] over any dilemma we face. Either we will make a change and renew our covenant with Christ or we will continue in our present state of disregarding the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

“The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence.” Ellen G. White

If you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, have gone astray, and do not feel any conviction or remorse with your current mindset and lifestyle then the Holy Spirit is no longer giving you promptings to repent.

The Apostle Paul tells us of the Perils of Not Progressing in our relationship with Christ.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6, NKJV)

A modern translation reads: “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6, NLT)

Restoration of our relationship with Christ is a personal decision that relies on each individual. God always requires the human effort of love, faith, surrender to His will, and obedience in the relationship with His Son. Without those intentional character traits, we lose our spiritual connection with God.

It is difficult to believe that one would reject Christ and suffer the consequences of the wages of sin. We may perceive ourselves as living acceptable to God because we do not engage in the worst worldly sins, yet, disobedience is a sin. Our Heavenly Father is doing all He can to give us a better life. His help is only a prayer away.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

As long as we have breath in our bodies and sound minds, we can decide to restore our relationship with Christ. Repentance—asking God for forgiveness requires humility and a contrite heart full of sorrow for our sins. And the prayer of forgiveness receives an immediate yes from God!

Staying on the Path of Righteousness requires the human effort of following Christ no matter the cost. When we do our part by remaining steadfast, we automatically receive the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit to give us strength and power. The walk with Christ requires the loss of relationships and surrendering our will to God’s will and plan for our lives.

Jesus is ready at any time to receive us when we desire to give up everything for Him. To be a disciple means to forsake all others and travel a life-long journey that includes suffering trials and sorrows. The reward: Living forever in a perfect, sinless, and majestic New Heaven and New Earth with Jesus, the King of Kings. Amen!

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who have lost their love for You. We know that we are living in the last days and are easily distracted by the busyness and noise of this world. We pray this intercessory prayer for those who have rejected You that they will return. We ask this prayer in Your Worthy Name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Are You Thriving? Peace, Joy, and Happiness are God’s Gifts

Are you Thriving? Peace, Joy, and Happiness are God’s Gifts Devotional Reading and Podcast

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” –3 John 1:2

With the escalation of sinful worldviews and the decline of morals and values, the life of a follower of Christ may portray one that consists of only a few friends or even isolation. Many believers are living a life without any close friends. Even those who routinely attend church may feel lonely. Yes, good friends are a rare find.

Still, we have options! Do not trade in your gifts of peace, joy, and happiness for discouragement and depression. There are positive changes we can make to ensure that we grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

Best Philosophies– Be content with what you have. Be willing to learn, and frequently ask yourself, What if I’m wrong? Get involved in church outreach ministries.

Best Character Traits–Love God, Love others, Laughter, Humility, Kindness, Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Help those in need.

Best Relationship–Jesus Christ is our Savior, but He also desires to be our Best Friend. Get to know Jesus by reading the Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A heart full of Love and forming the habit of frequent Communication is the foundation for building a forever bond with Christ.

Pray several times [whether you choose short or long prayers] throughout the day and evening bringing the power and presence of the Holy Spirit into your life. Prayer is simply talking to God. No one has to teach us how to pray! Strive to become a Man or Woman of God!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22-23

Fruitful Habits

Pray—The Holy Spirit provides guidance, discernment, wisdom, and strength. Every day study the Bible and pray to receive restoration from the Holy Spirit.

Purpose—Utilize your Spiritual Gifts and Creativity to witness the love of Jesus. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, food pantry, community center, or church. Offer to teach others creative skills. You are called to reach out to desperate people living in desperate times.

Patience—Develop an Intentional Mindset to stop a spirit of annoyance or impatience. Practice Self-Control to change your inherited or learned behaviors that are not in sync with the Fruit of the Spirit. Present your dreams and goals to God and wait for His answer. If you need help with patience, God has a proven method of teaching us how to wait.

Perseverance—Build your Spiritual Strength and Endurance by learning how to apply the lessons learned from Biblical characters. God’s promises are still valid today. The righteous are the recipients of those many promises of blessings and protection. Spiritual Transformation can only occur when there is a union of Human Effort and Divine Intervention

Increasing Physical Strength–Move your muscles by exercising at least 3-4 times a week. Walking is not only excellent for muscle tone, but it also improves cardiac-respiratory function and produces hormones that combat discouragement and depression.

Going Solo is a way of life that many choose to embrace. Incorporate some fun into your life. Take day trips, travel, nature outings, boat rides, craft classes, and many other options are available. Get out of the house! Explore the beauty of our earth.

The well-kept secret? God created us to live happy, healthy lives despite the condition of our world. The good wishes in the letter to the Elder regarding prospering are not referencing financial wealth. Do not let your desires or emotions prevent you from prospering in the peace, joy, and happiness that is part of God’s original plan for humanity. The righteous have a Father who has promised to be with us even until the end of the world.

“For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” –1 Corinthians 15:53, NLT

We are sojourners living in a temporary earthly home. Our character is the only thing we will take to heaven. Joy, peace, and happiness are gifts from God. Do not live a miserable life on this earth! It will be a hindrance to receiving your heavenly reward. Remember you are the only person who can keep you from living your best [earthly and heavenly] life!

Prayer: Lord, we pray for the restoration of our peace, joy, and happiness. Help us to have a heart filled with gratitude. Because of Your great sacrifice, we can live with You eternally, if we so choose. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

True Worship Is Life-Changing

“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.'” Psalm 27:8

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6

God desires that we have a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no one greater to have as a Best Friend. It is through our daily worship that we seek the Lord. Just have little talks with Jesus throughout your day.

We receive spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical strength and renewal from worship. Not only do we draw closer to our Creator, we receive peace, and have an overall calm in our minds because we have the assurance that God loves us. Placing our lives in His Righteous hands leads to victory!

We have the advantage of Divine Help, guidance, and comfort. The chaos turns into stability. Hardships no longer overwhelm us because we have a Father who cares and always listens to our prayers. Include meditation in your worship by closing your eyes for a few minutes which gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to bless you with a spiritual recharge.

Declare every day, I have a Father who created me and always desires the best for me. Stay close to Christ who loves you with an everlasting love.

Prayer: Jesus, we want to say thank you for the gift of Your love and Your life. We desire to have a close relationship with you. We pray for the blessings of peace and strength over our lives. We trust Your plans for us. Lead us through our earthly journey so we can meet You one day and live eternally in a perfect New Heaven and New Earth. We ask this prayer in Your Worthy name, Amen.

© 2020 Steps2spiritualsuccesswithsolutions

The Dilemma of Choosing the Familiar Over the Divine

The Dilemma of Choosing the Familiar Over the Divine Devotional Reading and Podcast

There is a great reward for faithfulness! “In yet a little while, He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” –Hebrews 10:37

As we grow closer to the Second Coming of Jesus, our struggle to remain faithful will increase. Fighting the inner conflict of right versus wrong every day is making us weary. Although we desire to have a close relationship with Christ, our sinful nature is drawn to things that are new and exciting. Satan is using many deceptions that are readily embraced by believers whose hearts do not fully belong to Christ.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Therefore, Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14 and 17).

It is now acceptable in the church community to socialize with and have relationships with unbelievers. Trending reasons: We are witnessing, or demonstrating the love of Jesus to others, “Jesus hung out with sinners,” and they know that we are Christians, but they respect us.

Satan has introduced the corruptness of false doctrines and omissions into our churches. There are Pastors and church leaders who rely on the recommendations from their advisory committees to only preach on certain parts of the Bible. The sermons are constructed as professional letters with a non-offensive tone and the Scriptures as a recommendation to live your best life.

The escalation of membership numbers proves that today’s Christians embrace churches with watered-down doctrines and those who sing for a couple of hours. Because we do not pray consistently for God’s guidance or study the Scriptures, we are led astray. The result of self-governance has led us to accept the opinions of others instead of seeking knowledge of the Truth for ourselves.

Following our inclinations has produced many denominations under the umbrella of Christianity who agree on only one belief that God and Jesus Christ exist. Many churches and Christians do not believe in the Triune Godhead, the Holy Spirit, or baptism by water immersion. There are countless manmade versions of God’s Truth. And Satan continues to deceive us into thinking that we can treat salvation like a multiple-choice exam.

We avoid pursuing God’s Truth because it causes mental distress and does not fit into our lifestyles. Unless we have a faithful relationship with Christ, we choose to face the vicissitudes of life alone, which leave us too weary to study for ourselves.

Without biblical knowledge and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we do not have a foundation based on the Word of God. We readily accept the half-truths preached from the pulpits of those who are pursuing wealth instead of eternal life. What are our beliefs and what does God require of us? With the various interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, we are confused, and console ourselves that we are doing the best we can.

Why do we desire the familiar of the past? And what has propelled us to form relationships with unequally yoked individuals? “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” –James 1:14

Many believers lost their closest relationships when they accepted Jesus. And as time passes, the life of being alone escalates into loneliness which Satan uses as a catalyst for compromise. Attending church once a week does not allow us to form bonds with fellow believers. We socialize with unbelievers because we desire to be around people that we know. Not studying the Bible leaves us with a void—even though we do not have the desire to return to a worldly lifestyle, we do not understand that God expects us to dedicate our lives to Him.

We begin to perceive the spiritual [Christian] journey as restrictive. Daily worship is not a priority. Our zeal for serving God rapidly declines which results in a change in our mindset and lifestyle. The inner conflict escalates and we begin to focus on our emotions. Being a Christian is not what we expected. Our heart desires the familiar friends and family we used to have good times with.

Without praying for strength, our resolve to live holy weakens. We contact our family who never understood our decision to become a Christian and former friends just to check and see how they are doing. And once we open the door of compromise, we make plans to visit and agree to attend select worldly activities that we determine to be acceptable.

The seed of compromise grows rapidly in our hearts. We justify our attendance at worldly social functions through rationalization. “It’s an opportunity to see my family or friends. Yes, there will be alcoholic drinks and smoking marijuana, but I don’t drink or smoke, so that has nothing to do with me.”

Common Ground: The workplace is an ideal environment for Satan to gradually introduce different philosophical theories, paganistic religious beliefs, relaxation techniques such as yoga, alternative lifestyles, modern worldviews, and diverse ways to pursue success in casual conversations between coworkers.

Most of us have a natural desire to be included at work and sit and chat, take breaks, and eat lunch with our coworkers. We passively participate by just listening but admit the information is interesting. We begin to think about researching and learning more about the various topics.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

Our enemy, Satan is a fallen angel. Without God, we are no match against His power over humanity. Our greatest earthly enemy is a mastermind of evil schemes. Easy targets are Christians who are naive, lonely, overly curious, overconfident, and prideful. Satan’s deceptions are personalized temptations. He is aware that each of us is unique in our desires.

Although Satan is not Omniscient and does not know our thoughts, evil angels observe our behaviors and lifestyle choices. Satan has many vices, but one characteristic that ensures his success in making us fall, Satan is patient! He uses the familiar people, places, and things, we like to make us fall hard into sin. Temptations are not presented in a threatening manner or else he would not be successful.

Satan’s favorite tactic is to use the familiar to deceive us. Familiarity leaves us vulnerable! We trust the people we are comfortable with, especially those whom we love and respect [family and friends, coworkers]. We reminisce on the places where we used to hang out or we tell others about a new restaurant with a live band. Our perception changes and we no longer view our friends, family, and coworkers as unbelievers. We desire to socialize with people we know.

The estimate of 6,000 years since the earth was created gives Satan the confidence we will choose the familiar over the Divine. The generations of people that he has presented earthly pleasures to and has fallen began with Adam and Eve. Our enemy knows without Divine help that He has the advantage over humanity.

His plan [with our name on it] will come to fruition because we become weary in well-doing. Giving in to our emotions or desires led us into the maze of temptation. At this point, either we will come to our spiritual senses or we will move forward into the depths of sin.

Reflect on your relationships. If the person or people you enjoy being with do not desire eternal life then they are living in darkness. In socializing with unbelievers, we do not fully understand righteousness or we desire companionship at any cost, including the loss of our reward of eternal life.

“If you dance with the devil, then you haven’t got a clue, for you think you’ll change the devil, but the devil changes you.” ― J.M. Smith. In this author’s book, the focus is on people who do not have a conscience. “…genuine and sincere feelings toward others are completely absent. In other words, they lack emotions, like love, kindness, compassion, remorse, and pity. Nevertheless, they pretend and impersonate those feelings, but theirs are superficial and false.”

Unbelievers are not aware that Satan is using them! Even with only basic knowledge of godly principles, we realize that we cannot serve God and hang out with worldly people. It is the familiar that Satan uses to set the background for his greatest deceptions to lure us away from God’s divine plan.

What makes a believer reject God and desire to return to their former life? It is a gradual process of desensitization to worldliness. Our habits and lifestyles reveal the reason we easily fall. The programs we watch, the music we listen to, and the conversations we passively engage in fail to honor God. We are double-minded.

Choosing one day [Saturday or Sunday] we put on the outward clothing of the appearance of righteousness, attend church, and listen to sermons, but we never make progress in our spiritual journey of transformation because of the sinful desires of our hearts.

“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” –1 Peter 1:15-16

We attempt to blend oil with water to produce a worldly Christian. If you have ever thought or verbalized, “There is nothing wrong with…” then you have crossed over the line of righteousness into sinfulness. With God, there is no middle ground or gray area.

There is no doubt that we are living in perilous times. Whether we are steadfast or not, we recognize the decline in society’s ethics, morals, and values, the rise of global financial instability, and political corruption. There are wars, rumors of wars, nuclear preparations, and civil insurrections that indicate Jesus is coming soon. The Bible gives us concrete evidence of last-day events in Matthew chapter 24 and Second Timothy chapter 3.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16

God knows the dilemma we face from being born in sin and shaped by iniquity. He gave us the ultimate gift of Salvation and Redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we are in a state of confusion and ready to turn back, God uses the Holy Spirit to appeal to us to accept His love and obey His commands. Yet, we have free will of choice. To grieve the Holy Spirit is to continuously reject the Truth as evidenced by our disobedience.

Satan knows his time is short, he is working overtime to customize the temptations that satisfy our heart’s desires. During the Dark Ages, the Christian church fell into apostasy, embraced false doctrines, and became corrupt. History is indeed repeating itself in our era.

“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

To follow Jesus requires us to give our all to Him. We accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior because we love Him. Our role is to be Christ’s disciples who follow in His footsteps. Maintaining a steadfast relationship with Christ requires a do-right mind. We give up our relationships with unrighteous people along with avoiding all forms of worldliness because we love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

Our Helper, 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…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” –John 16: verses 7,8, and 13

God knows we cannot live holy without Divine Intervention! Before Jesus died, He promised the disciples a Helper, the Holy Spirit. As disciples, we have the help of the Holy Spirit who is only a prayer away. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher who leads, guides, and comforts us through our earthly journey, keeping us on the Path of Righteousness.

When tempted by thoughts of the familiar, pray fervently! The union of human effort and Divine Intervention is required for overcoming temptation. Delete phone numbers, pray for strength at work, and exclude yourself from godless conversations. Invite your family and friends to church. Either they will accept the invitation or leave you alone. Keeping your relationship with Christ requires self-control, discipline, and much prayer.

In our natural, sinful state, we cannot live holy or receive the eternal inheritance that Jesus promises us in Revelation 22:12. The human effort of determination and the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit keep us from falling and failing in our spiritual journey.

Spiritual transformation requires faith, trust, obedience, and perseverance. We must decide for ourselves whether or not we will surrender and love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. God loves us but we must never forget that He is a Righteous Judge who will not tolerate sin whether it is through compromise or total and wilful disobedience.

We have too much to lose! With the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can say goodbye to the familiar! Preparation for life in the New Heaven and New Earth begins now and continues throughout our lifespan or up until the day that Jesus returns to this earth. Nothing on this earth will ever compare to the glory of living forever with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. –1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17

Prayer: God, we ask You to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. We pray for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to withstand the temptation of choosing the familiar over the Divine. Lord, we need Your supernatural strength as we prepare for eternal life. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

The Privilege and Power of Prayer

The Privilege and Power of Prayer Sabbath Devotional Reading and Podcast

Our Christian experience is like a stream of water always flowing forward from the source. Our Source of life is Jesus Christ. Consistent prayer keeps us connected to our Source which is the reason the apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing. Effective communication is the key to building a loving, faithful, and trusting relationship with Christ.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6, NIV).

Corporate prayer is not enough to build our relationship with Christ and produce the spiritual transformation necessary to receive eternal life. It is the daily one-to-one prayers that strengthen our faith and trust in God. We are promised rewards [not necessarily financial] for diligently seeking God.

Prayer is the precious privilege of speaking to our Heavenly Father—prayer is a two-way conversation between us and God. Our prayers are an essential element of worship. Personal prayers allow us to share our innermost thoughts which leads to an intimate relationship with Christ.

Establishing the habit of prayer draws us closer to God. We learn to recognize His guidance, and the various ways He speaks to us through the Scriptures, our thoughts, and sometimes other people who also have a close relationship with Him. “…Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” –Matthew 6:10

“…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” –James 5:16

Prayer changes our perception of God. We begin to love God from the depths of our hearts. Willingly we surrender and obey our Heavenly Father. Time spent with God reveals the benefits, we have peace of mind despite our hardships. Our faith and confidence grow and we dedicate ourselves to doing His will. Consistent prayer builds an unbreakable bond between us and God.

As we witness His miraculous power, we place our complete trust in God. And the benefits of being fully reliant on our Father? Faith replaces fear and we enjoy the blessings of peace and joy. We have the assurance that God always keeps His promises. Never alone!

There is no need to worry about tomorrow, our lives are in His hands. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

We are not limited to praying only behind closed doors. Whether our prayers are silent or audible, we can pray anytime and anywhere. Regardless of the circumstances, minor or major, whisper a prayer for Divine Intervention immediately. Never let yourself become too busy to pray.

Despite our job or stay-at-home obligations, we can always incorporate a few 5-minute mini sessions of prayer to ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit who will give our souls a spiritual refreshment of comfort and strength. Feeling tired at work? Pray for strength instead of having a cup of coffee.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

How did we end up thinking that we had to travel this spiritual journey alone? God never expected us to live without His Divine Intervention. For us to have the reassurance that God will take care of us throughout our lifespan, we not only need to become prayer warriors, but we also require knowledge. Studying the Bible is not optional in the believer’s life. The Scriptures reveal God’s character and His promises to the righteous.

There is a reason the apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Much prayer brings much power! The vicissitudes of life are challenging. We will always feel overwhelmed when trying to resolve our trials and sorrows alone. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls'” (Matthew 11:28-29).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

None of us are exempt from the hardships that cause our emotions to escalate and drain our mental resolve and physical energy. When faced with adversity, weighed down with sorrow, feeling lonely, or out of options, do not let your emotions think for you. Do not do what you feel like doing! Pray! Pray even if the tears are flowing like a waterfall. You may have to take a day off of work to be alone with Jesus. Pray in faith, believing God’s promises.

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…'” (Isaiah 43:verses 1,2, and 3).

“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).

When we approach God in prayer, He requires us to have faith—believing that He will do exactly what He said in His promises. Perhaps you are a new believer or never committed to accepting Jesus as your Savior and do not understand the definition of faith. Grab your Bible or use an online version with audio and study Hebrews chapter 11. Pray a simple prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for an understanding of the Scriptures.

Even if you are not familiar with any of God’s promises in the Bible, proclaim your faith by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior. This may be your first prayer, “God, I don’t know Your promises, but I believe in Your Son, Jesus, and accept Him as my personal Savior. I am tired of living and feeling like there is no hope. I am asking you to come into my life and change my heart. I need Your help. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.” Although it appears that we are in a hopeless dilemma, remember nothing is impossible with God!

The love of God is matchless! With determination, believe that we serve an Omnipotent God who promises to take care of us. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all…” (Psalm 34:19).

Praying in faith means that you trust God to answer your prayer according to His will. Yes, our heartfelt, honest prayer was received, but we may have to wait for the answer. The Holy Spirit intercedes by taking every prayer to Jesus, Our Heavenly Intercessor and High Priest.

Although, we do not have to beg God for help, praying once is never enough! Many pray and then worry or attempt to answer their own prayers by developing Plans A and B because they expect God to resolve their dilemmas immediately.

Never dishonor God by demanding Divine Intervention right now. There are times when God includes a period of waiting to test our faith. “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).

Never give up! Keep praying and stay faithful. “Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16

Incorporating the habit of prayer into our lives strengthens us. Any time of the day or night we can have unlimited talks with Jesus. Silent prayers are just as effective as audible prayers. Many Christians miss out on the blessings of peace, joy, and a worry-free life because they let the seed of doubt enter their minds.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” –Hebrews 4:14

If you nurture doubt, the weed of worry grows and suffocates your faith. When feeling any negative emotion, immediately pray. Pray without ceasing to obtain victory! Forming the habit of much prayer provides confidence and courage. We have access to our High Priest, Jesus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who never sleeps or slumbers.

Prayer transforms our hearts. With humility, we recognize our dependency on God. Through prayer, we honor and glorify God and we receive the power to resist temptation and uphold God’s righteous standards. Prayer allows us to commune with God.

Prayer is our highest form of praise and worship to a powerful and loving God. Those who have a consistent prayer life possess a spirit of reverence for God. They desire to please Him by seeking His guidance and following His plans.

Jesus is our Divine Role Model: “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” –Luke 6:12

“Those who have a humble, trusting, contrite heart, God accepts, and hears their prayer; and when God helps, all obstacles will be overcome.” Ellen G. White

Prayer keeps us in alignment with God’s will and His plans for our lives. From consistent prayer, we begin to recognize God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit who often uses our mind to give us answers. Have you prayed and then received the answer as a thought? Or you knew that the decision you were going to make didn’t feel right?

Always pray for protection from physical danger and spiritual warfare. Every day our prayers should include a request for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment.

Prayer allows us to receive blessings and victorious outcomes even when the outlook is dismal. Pray, pray, pray to stay connected to the Source, Jesus Christ!

The Lord’s Prayer: After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

© 2023 Steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

Traveling on the Path of Righteousness

Traveling on the Path of Righteousness Devotional Reading and Podcast

Many professions, including attorneys, accountants, doctors, and nurses require a professional exam for licensure. The academic journey is tough and rugged because the student’s knowledge base is not only crammed with massive amounts of theoretical information, they must learn to evaluate, use critical thinking skills, and make astute judgments in a matter of a few minutes.

Achieving one’s goal not only requires the humility to let go of prior knowledge but also possessing the strength to withstand extremely intimidating professors who are deemed experts in their professions. The intimidation is useful in eliminating the students with weak characters who would succumb to the pressures of real-life rigors of professional practice.

Pursuing one’s dreams demands sacrifice. A lifestyle that included frivolous activities ceases to exist. With perseverance, the resolve to achieve long-awaited goals consumes most of the body’s energy. Time management is critical because study and preparation result in sleep deprivation leaving little to no time for socialization.

One of the most difficult transitions to cope with is the separation from family and friends which may progress to isolation for the first time. The long journey may dissuade those who promised their support at the onset, yet for various reasons are not able to fulfill their prior commitment to be there at goal completion. Still, prioritizing one’s life when achieving educational and professional goals is the key to a successful outcome even if you must do it alone.

Each of us has received innate talents and spiritual gifts along with the ability to dream. The pursuit of academic degrees, technical skills, and self-employment from start-up businesses are just a few of the countless options that we have. Although advancements have given us many choices, Christians must align their goals with God’s righteous principles.

We are not our own. God requires that we develop our talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory and honor not only for our benefit. As Christ’s followers, we have the responsibility to minister to others. Our educational and professional pursuits reflect that we uphold godly standards and lifestyles. Our earthly pursuits reveal our desire for eternal life.

Walking and Staying on the Path of Righteousness is Our Priority

The same drive and perseverance that we possess to achieve our goals are also required to stay on the Path of Righteousness. “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Believers not only must remain steadfast in their commitment to achieving future goals, but we also have the additional responsibility of obedience to God by asking for His blessing of approval before taking steps to bring our plans to fruition. First, we present our desires to the Lord in prayer. Then we wait for God’s answer of yes or no. Our dreams must align with God’s plans for our lives to receive His blessing.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'” –Isaiah 55:8-9

But doesn’t God give us free will to choose? Yes, He does. If we decide to bypass God and move forward with our plans then we become players in the game of chance. Being powerless to predict the future outcomes of our endeavors places us in a lose-lose situation. Disobedience to God causes wayward thought processes. If we are willing to disobey God then we will not maintain our integrity when confronted by situations that demand compromise.

Overconfidence and Self-Reliance are Detours from the Path of Righteousness

Testimonial: The young woman explained that she was fixated on her dream to start a consultant business. Asking the church to pray for her endeavor and being prepared to move forward resulted in God speaking through someone to tell her to wait. But why wait? She had the funds to start, business contacts who gave her leads, and prospective clients. As the Women’s Ministry leader at her church, she and her team were active in the community. During the initial six months, the business thrived, but in the seventh month, the list of clients declined her consultant services and contacting business associates proved to be fruitless.

Without clients the business faltered, leaving her bankrupt. Not only did she lose her savings, house, and vehicle, but while the business was thriving, she stopped attending church and resigned as the ministry leader. But most importantly, she lost her relationship with Christ. In desperation, she applied for a high-interest loan to place a second mortgage on the house, but God intervened and the loan was denied. She explained that in God’s mercy, after losing everything she valued, there was just enough money to rent a small apartment. Her testimony ended with, “Please wait on God!”

Detours from the Path: Disobedience leads to the Compromise of our Integrity

Something happens when we invest time and money into our dreams and the tide turns to bring pending failure with it. Satan sees his opportunity and presents options that force us to compromise when attempting to save our business, financial investment or maintain a high academic standing. Temptations: A class you are barely passing and someone offers the answers to the exam or seeking a high-interest loan by putting a second mortgage on your home to save the failing business venture.

The quote by Pablo Escobar exposes the truth of humanity’s weaknesses: “Everyone has a price, the important thing is to find out what it is.” Human behavior is more predictable than most will acknowledge.

Without God’s approval, we chose to disobey God. The waiting season has caused many to stumble. We easily convince ourselves that it is the right time and we rely on our expertise to achieve our dreams. Overconfidence prevents us from anticipating failure. Suffering from the negative consequences of moving forward without God’s blessings results in one of two reactions, acknowledging our disobedience or blaming uncontrollable circumstances for the demise of our dreams.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). The NASB translation says, “He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.”

Self-measurement of our character will never equal God’s definition of integrity. The English meaning of the word integrity means to adhere to moral and ethical principles. The Spiritual meaning of integrity includes much more: “It is really the word for perfection and completion so we will know how to act perfectly before God and others.”

The future belongs to God. Our Heavenly Father’s answer of no is His Divine protection to keep us from disaster. We often forget that God knows our lives from beginning to end and is aware of every temptation we will face and the situation that will cause us to compromise our integrity.

Pride is the Roadblock that Prevents Us from Staying on the Path of Righteousness

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” –Romans 12:3

Self-reliance is a bitter fruit of pride that causes us to trust our inclinations. Thinking too highly of ourselves is fueled by the mindset that we are in control of our lives. We boldly say, “I can do this and win!” Satan will attempt to use the Scriptures against God, “Didn’t God say that He would never withhold any good thing from the righteous?” And we think, Yes, I am righteous, and proceed with our plans for success.

However, the apostle Paul reveals our fight against carnal desires, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do (Romans 7:15 and 19). None of our exempt from playing the game of chance when we are driven to achieve our desires.

Knowing the propensity to choose our sinful desires, has God created impossible standards for humanity? For those who think, yes, He has. We can refer to those who pleased God. God has given us examples of those who stayed on the Path of Righteousness.

Joshua’s challenge: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

“Then it happened, as they continued and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed [shunned] evil” (Job 1:1).

“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). “By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

God’s Exalted and Righteous Standards–God’s standards differ greatly from human standards. Acquisition of knowledge does not elevate our status with God nor does it produce the Fruit of the Spirit which reflects the anointing and transforming power of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. Faith, trust, obedience, and the Spiritual Transformation of our characters are requisites to serve God and to stay on the Path of Righteousness.

Satan desires that we embrace his lie that God’s righteous standards are impossible for us to reach. Some things are impossible: Pleasing God without faith, attempting to stay on the Path of Righteousness by using our efforts, receiving spiritual transformation without the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit, and the expectation of receiving the reward of eternal life when we possess pride and a spirit of disobedience.

Humility, Reverence, and Gratitude for God’s Divine Love, Grace, and Mercy Help to Keep Us On the Path of Righteousness.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10-11)

King David’s prayer represents a righteous person who suffered a great fall because he pursued his carnal desires. Every day we fight the internal battle of giving in to our fleshly desires [anything that causes us to disobey God] and the spiritual warfare of temptations by Satan.

“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse” (Proverbs 24:16).

God knows the desperately wicked condition of our hearts and the inner battle we face every day. Even so, not only do we have access to Divine Help 24/7, we are gifted with a sound mind and the power [2 Timothy 1:7] to shun evil and resist temptation. The determination to stay on the Path of Righteousness begins with loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

The righteous who rise again possess hearts filled with humility and strive to please God by readily surrendering themselves wholly to God. With a contrite spirit, we recognize our desperate need for Christ. And Jesus promises us that we will receive the greatest blessings from God. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Receiving the Power to Resist Detours and Stay on the Path of Righteousness

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

We are temporary sojourners on this earth–preparing for eternal life. The Devil is a liar! God has not left us helpless! Through prayer, we proclaim our love for Christ by surrendering our mind, body, and soul to Him. The daily prayerful plea for God’s Divine Intervention in our lives gives us the ability to rebuke temptations. It is up to us to use our free will of choice and live righteously. Surrendering our will allows us to receive the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power every day.

Divine Intervention always brings victory! The human effort of obedience and loyalty along with God’s power enables us to resist the detours of Satan’s deceptions. Remain steadfast! We have the intervention of our Spiritual team including guardian and messenger angels whose mission is to protect us and keep us on the Path of Righteousness.

“‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” –Isaiah 41:10

Hold on to the Savior’s hand and never let go. With Jesus holding us and receiving the Divine gifts of strength and power, we will persevere! Staying on the Path of Righteousness in our earthly lives will allow us to receive our reward of Eternal Life!

Scripture: “Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Prayer: God, we pray for Your Divine Help! We are in desperate need of the redeeming blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins of pride and disobedience. We need Jesus to walk with us. We ask for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to enable us to stay on the Path of Righteousness. We love You! And ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made From Love

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made From Love Devotional Reading and Podcast

Agape love is a sacrificial love that unites and heals. It is the love of God that we see through the cross of Jesus Christ. This love saves and restores humanity in the face of sin and death. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…'” (Genesis 1:26). “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).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16

God demonstrated His love for humanity by creating us in His likeness and the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrificial love gift of giving His life on Calvary for the redemption of our sins. “In this, the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

King David proclaimed, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Yes, we were created in the image of God by Jesus whose very name and character are synonymous with love.

In these last days of earth’s history, the darkness of sin and misery threatens to overshadow the light of God’s unconditional love. We are living in a time when earthly love has dwindled to a flicker and hopelessness pervades. Throughout this world, we have generations of people, including many Christian believers who are filled with brokenness as evidenced by anxiety, worry, and depression. Not only are they questioning God’s love for them, but many are also living their lives by just going through the motions and thinking, “Why am I here?”

In a recent sermon, Pastor Wintley Phipps answers the question, Why am I here? “We were created for three reasons, to be loved by God, to love God, and to love others.”

We also have a straightforward answer from the Apostle John for our internal brokenness: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Believers who feel unloved and perceive life as overwhelming or meaningless were once in a loving relationship with Christ.

But the relationship changed or else we could not feel unloved. “For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Two primary reasons cause us to forget the love of God: Allowing life’s trials and sorrows to act as a catalyst in producing the negative emotional response that God has forgotten me, how can He say that He loves me? Or the distractions from the busyness of life have left little time to maintain a heart-to-heart relationship with Christ. The interruption in our spiritual connection with God is always a result of our decision to change the conditions of the relationship.

In Revelation, Jesus tells the Ephesus Church [The Loveless Church], “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).

The members of Ephesus Church did not reject God. They were diligent in their church attendance, gave tithe and offerings, witnessed, and did not engage in pagan activities, but their service to God was ritualistic. They did the right things because it was what they were instructed to do as Christians. In losing their first love, Jesus was no longer the reason for their works as disciples.

Strengthening the bonds of love with Christ requires the human effort of demonstrating our love for God through daily praise and worship. When our lives exclude the daily power and presence of the Holy Spirit because we fail to pray and study the Bible the outcome is separation from God. Without a steadfast connection to God, we place ourselves in the enemy’s territory.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Trending fallacy: “Each of us has a soulmate who will make us complete.” By accepting the misguided worldview of a false definition of love, we expect someone else to make us whole. The unrealistic expectation for people to be our primary source of love will always produce disappointment and emptiness.

You may say, But I am married or in a committed relationship. Even so, the only consistent, never changing, selfless love that can make us whole is the agape love that our Heavenly Father gives. “…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3, last part).

By focusing on the demand for a nonexistent perfect love from others, we develop a spirit of discontentment. Unrealistic expectations cloud our perception and we forget about the selfless love of God which also causes us to lose our connection with Christ. Our example is King David who had many enemies in his kingdom including two of his sons, Absalom, and Adonijah. Although he loved them, they did not feel the same for their father.

From a young shepherd boy tending sheep who was anointed as the second king of Israel and Judah to having Divine protection from King Saul and forgiveness for his double sin of murder and adultery, God demonstrated His unfailing love for David. God even permitted David to have the status of a powerful Warrior King. The only thing that God withheld from David was building the Temple because of his history of bloodshed.

“Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 43:2 and 5). Yet, King David did not have peace until his last years of life. Throughout the Psalms, we read of his emotional distress because he was fixated on his enemies.

When our focus is not on God and we fail to remember our God-given victories, our faith fails and we lose the trusting relationship that we used to enjoy. Spiritual separation reveals itself in feeling unloved which easily leads to a downcast soul. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

God created humanity to live on this beautiful earth and to possess hearts full of love, joy, peace, and happiness. Yes, we recognize the detrimental effects of the lack of love on this earth. Because we were created from love, to love, Christians are not exempt from feeling the misery of the pervading evil that often causes us to forget that God’s love is always present and He is still in control.

Even in our seasons of lengthy trials, illnesses, and hardships, God promises that He is always with us. Without knowing scriptural promises and having an active prayer life, we become discouraged and feel that God has abandoned us. Does Jesus love us? Yes, we have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who promises to keep us in perfect peace and protect us. Study Psalms chapter 91.

This morning during worship, I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer that would help us [including me] to never forget that He loves us. The answer: Go back to the beginning of the Bible and read the Creation story. I am sharing my reflection on Jesus’ love.

When I look at the landscapes, the variety of flowers and fruits, forests of trees standing like soldiers, plants capable of thriving in a harsh desert, the rough terrain of mountainous regions decorated with a spray of multi-colored wildflowers, the oceanic waves that stay within their boundaries, the animal kingdom and the diversity of human beings, I know that Jesus is Love.

From studying the Book of Genesis, I am reminded that Jesus did not speak humanity into existence. Jesus bent down and created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from Adam’s rib. Yes, He knew they would reject His love by disobeying the command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The sacrificial gift of Jesus’ life for wayward humanity was approved by God, the Father before Adam and Eve. There is never an afterthought with the Omniscient God. The Righteous Lord Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross to give us an alternative to the wages of sin which is the final death. Refer to Malachi chapter 4. Yes, I know that Jesus is love.

Jesus the King of the universe who commands His angel armies not only exhibited the humility of agape love on the cross of Calvary but also demonstrated His majestic power and glory in the creation of human life and this world. Yes, I know that I am loved!

From receiving the gift of a new day, we are reminded of Jesus’ love, grace, and mercies. To receive the benefits from agape love, we must surrender our will to God. It’s not that God does not love the sinner, a disobedient and unbelieving heart is an open rejection of Jesus as Lord and Savior in one’s life.

The unbeliever views the life of a believer as one who has to obey a long list of restrictions. Our faithful love for Christ changes our outlook. True disciples desire spiritual transformation and we acknowledge that whatever God requires we will obey because this earth is temporary and will pass away.

Created from love, to love, not only God but also one another. Loving God keeps us spiritually connected to the Source, Jesus Christ. Understanding Agape love prevents our emotions from being in total disarray. We are steadfast in our conviction that God is love!

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the reason that you feel unloved. Are your beliefs in alignment with the Scriptures? Does your lifestyle demonstrate that God is first in your life? Feeling unloved or abandoned is always a consequence of us changing the status of our relationship with Christ.

The Holy Spirit will reveal the exact reasons for the loss of our first love. Then it is our choice of whether or not we will change our behaviors. Pray a prayer of forgiveness for abandoning Jesus as your First love, and recommit by verbalizing the desire for the restoration of your relationship with Christ.

Remember, Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us despite our free will choices. When we faithfully love and trust Jesus, we readily give Him our devout praise and worship every day. We will never feel unloved again. Diligently study the Scriptures to learn about the only lifetime soul mate that will always love us unconditionally, our Creator, Jesus Christ.

For those who have a steadfast relationship with Jesus are we witnessing to others that Jesus is love? We have the responsibility, to tell the truth about the creation of humanity and dispel the mythical teaching of evolution. Everyone needs to hear the powerful message that Jesus loves them and sacrificed His life to complete the plan of salvation.

Tell them if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior that this earth is not our final home. We have a forever home waiting for us where love will abound and death will cease. Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so!

The next time you are feeling unloved, relax by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Extend your arm and move your fingers, turn your hand over, and touch your face. In a normally functioning person, those movements are effortless.

Neurons carry messages from the brain via the spinal cord. These messages are carried to the muscles which tell the muscle fibers to contract, which makes the muscles move. This is a simple explanation of the physiology [function] of the highly complex Nervous System producing normal movement of our muscles.

Scripture: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

Prayer: God, thank You for creating us with fearfully and wonderfully made minds and bodies. We love You and desire restoration. Thank You, Jesus, for Your great sacrifice. We ask this prayer in Your Holy name, Amen!

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