Give Me My Inheritance

During the past six years, I lived the small-town life, which allowed me to speak or talk to strangers and my neighbors every day. Because of a large shade tree and a house facing east with a country-living sized porch and a screen door, I was able to enjoy the fresh air and birds tweeting their songs. One of the daily highlights was to hear Roger, our postman, talking and laughing to someone on the phone as he delivered our mail. I often wondered who is the person on the other end that could make this man have this level of happiness.

Then I noticed that we had a substitute postman for two weeks. Something was not right. Roger could be on vacation, but it was during the school year, and he had two daughters. My first concern was that he may have contracted the Coronavirus (my nursing thoughts). One day, I noticed that Roger returned, but the talking and laughter had ceased. As the mail truck neared my home, I walked to the end of the driveway. When I saw Roger, his face was etched with sadness. I relayed that all of us really missed his laughter. At that point, he told me that his mother, the love of his life, had passed away.

I expressed condolences, and asked him, “If you could share something about your mother that you would want the world to know about your mom, what would it be?” Roger responded, “that she loved everyone.” But then he expressed that although he was sad about her death, the inheritance that he received caused his siblings to have bitter feelings against him and their parents. Roger’s mother had remarried, and he was the only child from her second marriage. His father, who passed away many years ago, stated explicitly in his will that if Roger’s mother passed away that he was to receive 100% of his estate. But life is not that simple.

Roger had two sisters from his mother’s first marriage [who he loved] demanding that he sell the house and divide the estate equally among the three of them. Although he offered to give them the entire contents of the house, they refused to accept his offer and were leaving daily voicemails stating, “you were always the favorite child.” And now the twist, “Miss Sonya, what would you do in this situation? I know that you are a Christian, and you will tell me the right thing to do.” I mentally prayed, “Holy Spirit, help me.” To make a long story short, I asked him to express his desires regarding the situation and make a final decision based on his morals and values. The dilemma involved emotional turmoil because he loved his sisters, yet, he wanted to honor his parents’ wishes for him to receive the house, and to keep as part of their legacy.

We are familiar with the story of the prodigal son: To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.'” So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. Luke 15:11-12

The youngest son had plans that were in opposition of his father’s plans. He was restless. Why should he live as his father desired? No, he would demand his inheritance!  After all, he was young and couldn’t see himself living this boring lifestyle, not one more day. Because the father had the greatest love for his son, he would not force his principles, values, or morals on him, so He willingly granted his request.

What do you think of the youngest son? Selfish, ungrateful, or he didn’t really love his father? Maybe. But we are the youngest son. God tells us, “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. Because God is a fair and just Father, He gives us free will, as he watches us choose the prodigal’s path.

We desperately seek after our desires, regardless of the consequences. Our dilemma is that we cannot wait for God to fulfill His perfect plans, we demand our inheritance now, and we are willing to disobey God to get what we desire.

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:17

Self-reveal: Yes, I have family and friends who love me, and I love myself. But are my thoughts precious about myself when I step outside of the will of God? No, I would readily admit that I frequently play the game of chance. Yes, I become a player by making plans based on my desires and creating strategies to get what I want.

In Psalm 139, verse 17, David tells us: How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 

I invite you to change your perception of God, the Father who willingly gave Jesus, His only Son, to suffer and die for us, loves us unconditionally. And His plans never have consequences!

Bible Reading: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the desire to make this covenant with you, “Not our will, but God, your will be done in our lives.” In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson 2021

The God Who Knows

God is Omniscient–all knowing. Nothing that happens in our lives comes as a surprise to Him. Did you know that God is aware of every trial and sorrow that we will face [present and future]? He also knows how we will react to each challenge. It is by faith that we can grasp His promise to never leave or forsake us. And it by faith, that we can have the reassurance that He will bring us through as victorious overcomers.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Prayer: God, we thank you for loving us. We are overwhelmed by the hardships that we are going through and ask you to give us peace while we endure suffering. God, our confidence is in you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson

God’s Perfect Plans

“Whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:33

Discipleship: Our commitment to following Jesus means that we abandon all of our desires to obey God faithfully.

Satan’s deception: The Garden of Eden had countless trees that Adam and Eve could eat from (God gives us free will). There was only one tree that God commanded Adam and Eve that God instructed them not to touch. Yet, the desire to eat from that one tree caused the fall of humanity. Eve was deceived because she chose to involve herself in a lose-lose conversation with Satan. But it didn’t take any effort for Adam. He intentionally chose to disobey God by just taking and eating the fruit. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Matthew 6:24

Jesus tells us that it is not possible to live a double life. And this is an ongoing struggle. Our hearts pull us in the opposite direction of God’s plans. We are encouraged to follow our dreams. “Success” is aggressively promoted by our society. Where do we turn? Everyone else is achieving their goals, and we feel as if we have nothing. Praying for God to reveal His plans opens the door for many wonderful blessings that God is waiting to give to us.  

The Controversy: Yes, I love God, but…

Fixated on loving ourselves causes us to have minimal love for Jesus Christ. Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. Accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord of our lives means that we must renounce [to abandon all] our pursuits, our will, and our desires. So, does that mean that we cannot have dreams or goals?

God created us with a sound mind. He gave us talents, gifts, and abilities that we use to glorify Him first. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11. Yes, God desires that we reach for the dreams that are part of His plans for us. As disciples, we present our goals and dreams to God in prayer. And we wait for God to reveal His purpose for our lives. 

Answer to the dilemma: For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. John 6:38. We are Jesus’ disciples. When we wait on God, He will reward us for our faithfulness.

God’s Omnipotence: Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us–none can compare to You–if I proclaim and declare them, they are more than I can count. Psalm 40:5

Peace and joy are fruits of obedience. Can our plans compare to the plans that God has for us? Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Bible study: Matthew 6

Prayer: God, we confess that we have not put you first. We ask forgiveness for attempting to live double lives. Let your will be done in our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

Have Great Expectations!

During the last ten years of my nursing career, I transitioned from working in direct patient care facilities to corporate healthcare settings. The culture differed significantly in that the drive to compete against coworkers is the standard and considered a strength. But the most thought-provoking was the interviewing process. I can recall the first time that I was asked, “If you are hired, what are your expectations of the company?”

My answer, “I expect the company to adhere to their policies, provide additional training to increase my knowledge base, and provide me with the ability to independently perform my job within my probationary period.” Yes, I was hired. I was confident in my expectations because a very close friend, a nursing colleague, explained the differences in the culture and goals between clinical nursing positions and non-clinical, corporate positions prior to my interview.

Yesterday, I received a package from Amazon, and the driver’s hat said, “Faith over Fear.” We chatted briefly about the goodness of God. He shared a story with me about a prior delivery where the customer relayed that she was very discouraged in her relationship with God. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

We are allowing our feelings [emotions] and circumstances to overshadow our love relationship with Jesus Christ. The root of the problem? We lack knowledge of God’s promises that are in the Bible. Secondly, we are caught up in the busyness of life, which makes our prayer life nearly nonexistent.

    1. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
    2. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Our relationship with God is not thriving because we do not have any expectations of God. Do we know His character? Our Heavenly Father’s precious promises are in the scriptures. It is faith, not overconfidence, when we expect God to keep His promises.For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 

Relationships fail without communication–prayer is essential for spiritual growth. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:6. 

The corporate job was high-stress. But during my lunch hour, I went to my car, ate lunch, listened to music, prayed, and read a few Bible verses. Not only was I spiritually re-energized, but the mid-day worship also provided the physical strength to drive the 60-minute distance home.

Believe that God never intended for us to struggle through life without the help of the Spiritual team, God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the messenger angels. 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

The only way to have complete joy during the peaceful and the dark, stormy times is to have great expectations. We must pray with faith and believe that God will always keep his promises. 

Make a change in your study habits: Utilize a hard copy of the Bible and an audio Bible app to read and hear the scriptures. Consider listening to the song “Great is thy Faithfulness” before having worship. 

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

 Bible Study: Psalm 27

Prayer: God, thank you for being faithful in your promises to us. We desire to strengthen our relationship with you. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Spiritual Self-Evaluation

Last night, I prayed a prayer that left me feeling uncertain about my relationship with God. I asked God to reveal “all of my character flaws.” I desire to change and to live my life clothed with Christ’s righteousness. The reward of eternal life that Jesus has promised those who faithfully serve Him;  yes, I desperately want the reward of living with God in a perfect world.

Presently there is the curse of sin upon this world. Even so, God is preparing a New Heaven and New Earth for the righteous to live in forever with Him. 

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. Revelation 22:3.

The reward for the faithful: Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13

Now is the time for us to self-evaluate. I promise you that God will readily answer the prayer of anyone who desires to get rid of ungodly character traits. Never lose hope. We are nearing home!

Bible Readings: Galatians 5:22-23, Hebrews 12:14

God, please reveal the flaws of our characters and our sins that we may confess and repent. We pray to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.