I have come to the conclusion that we [believers] do not love God enough.
Honestly, I cannot think of one person that is willing to die for me. Nor can I think of anyone who would promise to supply all of my needs for my entire life. And who can I talk to twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week? Even my best friend would get tired of hearing my voice after a while. This is the whole conclusion of the matter: I am ready to LOVE God with all of my heart, soul, and mind.
Bible verse: Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
One of the hardest things that you will ever do is maintain the courage to keep your covenant vow with God. You will be tested by Satan, who will use your closest friends, family, and your desires to test your convictions to serve God. Our desires indicate whether or not we are serving God with unwavering faith, trust, and obedience. Often we fall into the temptations of sin, still, you must pray and stand against the deceptions of spiritual wickedness. Human Effort + Divine Intervention = A Victorious Outcome!
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
Yesterday, I reached the crossroads of Obedience and Disobedience. God has spoken to me through my Pastor and several other individuals to stop all communication with an individual who no longer served God and did not have my best interest in mind. You know what? I prayed and asked God to give me the courage and strength to completely sever this relationship. God answered my prayer immediately. It happened yesterday. The relationship is over!
What made the difference? Divine intervention! God knows that I love Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind. Before the 30 days of Prayer, I identified deficits in my character that required change. I prayed for spiritual growth and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, God reached down from heaven and manifested His power to eliminate a huge problem that I struggled with for a long time.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33
We can agree that life is tough! Even so, obedience to God places us in the position to receive the blessings of peace and inner joy. When we do our part: Having courage [standing our ground] against all deceptions [people, places, and things] that Satan uses to lead us down the “Road of Disobedience,” then our Warrior God steps in, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14.
Choose to always obey God! Our reward of eternal life depends on the humility to be an obedient servant of the Most-High God.
Scripture: But Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the LORD’s salvation, which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again.” Exodus 14:13
Prayer: God, we ask for forgiveness of the sin of disobedience. We desire to serve you wholeheartedly. Please help us have the courage to give up the people and the desires that separate us from you. Thank you for your divine intervention. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
So Jesus, after raising His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” But He was stating this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for them, for each to receive just a little!” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?” John 6:2-9 NASB
The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand men plus women and children reflects His love and compassion for humanity, and His Omnipotence–being all powerful. Two disciples reacted to the situation in the same way that many of us react to our problems: Either we see Jesus as having limited power or we focus on our circumstances more than the Problem-Solver.
Interestingly, Jesus’ disciples had so little faith in Him even though they were constantly in the physical presence of Jesus. Phillip took no action. He focused on the lack of money and gave Jesus the pessimistic reality of the situation. Andrew’s optimism sparked his desire to search among the crowd for food, but he returned with deflated faith. Yes, Andrew took action, but he did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
Either we have faith or we do not have faith: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1. Faith says: I know that my God will take care of this according to His will.
Jesus was testing His disciples on two points: First, acknowledging Him as the Son of God, and testing them to reveal their lack of faith.
Many times we pray and become despondent when God does not answer our prayers. But God always answers our prayers.It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will listen. Isaiah 65:24.
Asking God to take action, but not believing He can solve our problems, prevents God from taking action. And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
When we see that God is BIGGER than our problems, we approach Him reverently, boldly, and with great faith!
Bible study: John 6
Prayer: God, please forgive our doubt and unbelief. Thank you for loving and taking care of us. We come to you asking in faith to alleviate our burdens and provide for our needs according to your will. In Jesus’ Worthy Name, we pray. Amen.
I awaken around 5 am every morning and give God a big hug of gratitude by thanking Him for new mercies. As my challenges increase throughout the day, I plead for His strength to enable me to have victorious outcomes. Finally, as the sun rests and the moon emerges, from tired lips, I offer God my song of praise. I love you Lord. Please protect us while we sleep. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Today, I intentionally paid attention to the many people that were at the beach. The sun’s dancing rays highlighted the pale blue waves, still, there were no smiles or laughter even among the children playing. As I contemplated on the reason for the somber mood, our time watching the Atlantic’s waves by Patrick AFB was abruptly cut short. The sirens blared as a robotic voice gave warnings of a pending storm with severe activity including lightning strikes.
I folded my chair and walked slowly down the walkway when a young woman turned her head to the left. As our eyes met, the sadness of her soul was reflected in her eyes. Yes, the same brokenness that I saw in my patients on the Behavioral Health Unit was evidenced in another victim to their circumstances. I decided to interrupt the melancholy mood that was prevalent among the beachgoers packing up to leave. I stopped, looked at the ocean and said, “Isn’t she beautiful?” to which she replied, “Yes, and the breeze makes it perfect.”
We smiled. But, before we could continue our conversation, again the siren sounded loudly, ending all thoughts of watching the serene waves become angry and forceful. The young woman left quickly with tears streaming down her face, entered her vehicle, held the steering wheel with both hands, placing her head into her outstretched arms. As, my friends and I drove away, I whispered a prayer asking God to heal the stranger’s broken-heart.
We live in a time where advancements in technology have soared along with the statistics for suicide, depression, anxiety, and worries because love is running on empty. I invite you to look outside of yourself and speak to someone with eyes that reveal “all is not well.” Just a simple “How are you ?” may provide a calm moment in their stormy sea of mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish.
Prayer: God, we pray for the broken hearted, for the weary, and the individuals who feel life is not worth living. We ask you, Holy Spirit to provide comfort for those who are grieving, and provide a way of escape for the abused, and the neglected. Help us to pay attention to the people surrounding us that know nothing about your love. Jesus, fill our hearts with the love and compassion that you have for all of humanity. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
Have you experienced loss within the past sixteen months? What are some recent or lingering changes or losses [death and dying are the exceptions]you are still facing? Two losses, which really hit hard during the pandemic are the loss of our jobs and relationships. And yes, our reaction to grief is huge and rightly so because we face financial instability and/or the abrupt change in the status of “us” becoming “me.”
We may view our loss as the end of our dreams or as new beginnings. Our perception of the change determines whether or not we will move forward to pursue new and exciting opportunities for growth. If we view ourselves as having great potential, then we may cry, but we will take baby steps [some individuals can take giant leaps] to pursue another path. Still, we cannot utilize a cookie-cutter approach to rebuilding our lives. Every situation is unique, along with various factors that determine the strategies to move forward.
Identify your resources:
God: Always approach Our Heavenly Father–Jehovah Jireh when the “Restart” button is pushed. Daily we must pray, God, not my will, but Your will be done. When we give God permission to initiate His plans for us, remember that we may endure hardships at any point in our lives. Because God knows the beginning to the end, we must trust His process. Admit in your prayers that you are not feeling your best, yet, you fully trust Him.
Study the biblical stories of victory: When defeat appears to be our only option, trust that God has you in His hands. God delivered the Israelites from enslavement in Egypt, opened and closed the Red Sea, destroying Pharoah and his army [Exodus 14], David, a shepherd boy, took Goliath down with a slingshot [1 Samuel 17], and Joshua marched around Jericho [Joshua 6]. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Spiritual Support: Speaking to your pastor, a prayer warrior, community resources leader, or even joining a support group is vital to prevent depression or hopelessness.
Family and friends: Identify the friends and family who you can trust to provide emotional and/or financial support during the transitional period. Do not isolate. Satan can present our challenges as overwhelming or cause us to see ourselves as victims. Often the break-up or unemployment is not our fault. Someone else made the choice that would change our lives. Still, we must not harbor or allow negative emotions to overtake us, or we will never move forward. Live one day at a time.
Pray for God to reveal your spiritual gifts, talents, and develop hobbies.
Research and identify your community resources.
There is another scenario that I must mention: What if you are without friends or family you can present your situation too, or you do not have a church home? Seek God in prayer, and thank Him for sustaining you. Establish a daily schedule. Get out of the bed or off the sofa. Go outside at least once a day for a walk. We may live alone, but God is always near.
Whether we are the only person in our home, have children, or extended family members living with us, never forget, our Father cares. God says He knows the number of hairs on our head. It is our trials and sorrows that build our faith. No, it does not feel good. Even so, God knows our circumstances before they happen. Trust Him to see you through.
Bible study: Matthew 6
Prayer: God, we are not feeling our best right now and we pray that you will comfort us and reveal your plans for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
When we decide to serve God, we make a covenant vow to serve Him by putting God first. Often our desires get in the way and we focus on people, places, and things. We fail to put God first. It is then that He begins house-cleaning. The relationship that prevented you from obeying God, He removed the person from your life, God did it for His glory and your good.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Prayer: God, thank you for your divine intervention to remove obstacles from our lives. Please help us to always put you first. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For the next 30 days, we will commune with God through prayer. Our goal is to establish and build an up-close, and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
We will pray individually in our homes every day for 30 days. Try to find a quiet place away from distractions. Sing, study the Bible, or listen to inspirational music to enhance your worship experience. Invite God into your heart and your life.
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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Prayer is communication with the God of this universe. He loves for us to take the time to approach Him with prayers of gratitude, repentance, intercession, for protection, to request healing, to ask for strength, resolve our challenges, help with big or small decisions, to provide basic necessities, give finances for unpaid bills, complete school assignments, give us a job, and to receive comfort when grieving. The list is endless.
Always thank God throughout your day. Prayers asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and spiritual discernment when studying the Bible prevent us from accepting false teachings and doctrines from deceptive sources. Remember who our greatest enemy is…Get behind us, Satan.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
God, we ask you to hear our prayer and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life for our sins. We acknowledge that we are blessed to be counted as the redeemed of the Lord. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.