“It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
In John chapter 17, Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and His future disciples. Jesus is the Source of all life. Prayer is our connection to an all-powerful and loving Savior.
We underestimate the power of prayer, not only to receive peace and stay connected to God but also to receive our daily dose of spiritual strength. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us the discernment to recognize Satan’s targeted warfare against us and the strength to shun temptation. Acting as an Intercessor for others, whether they are believers or unbelievers is a vital role for a disciple of Jesus Christ. Stay connected to God by breathing whispers of prayer throughout your day.
“When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15
Prayer: Thank Lord, for the unmerited grace and mercies of a new day. Your Love for us is endless and unequaled. We pray for the wisdom to understand not only Your love but the desire to have an unbroken connection with you every day. Forgive us for the sins that easily flow from a heart filled with selfishness. We pray for cleansing from the bitter fruits of pride, unforgiveness, and lack of love and concern for others. We pray for the brokenhearted and for those who do not know You. We ask for the provisions to help those in need.
Anoint us with the Holy Spirit and reveal our purpose. Yes, Jesus, we are forever grateful for your sacrifice that we may live righteously on this present earth and forever in the New Heaven and New Earth in the future. Hear our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen.
Devotional–Grievances of the Heart from The Struggle of Sanctification by S. Johnson
Impossible productivity goals and mental and emotional distress were the focus of my coworker’s grievance about the productivity standards established by the Vice President who was also the Executive Director of the Quality Department. The Quality Nurses each had a caseload of 30-35 physician’s offices consisting of weekly visits with a travel radius extending from 30-40 miles. Our contractual agreement included the working hours of 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch and no overtime.
The daily productivity standards did not include exceptions for the late arrival of physicians who missed scheduled appointments, receiving a call from the Doctors office with last-minute cancellations [and we were already sitting in their parking lots], or heavy traffic conditions. The average time for completing our work day with traveling back to the office resulted in 1 to 2 hours of unpaid time every day.
Our courageous coworker represented those of us who remained silent and won the grievance. We no longer had to return to the office if the appointment was 3 pm or later. Our travel time was included in our workday. And for missed appointments, we would drop off the hard copy of their statistical report at their office without rescheduling a face-to-face meeting. Yes, we had someone who used her knowledge and wisdom to fight against oppressive and unrealistic productivity goals.
Not all grievances end with victory, especially grievances of the heart. Although the Israelites were emancipated from Egyptian oppression, they had grievances against God. They felt that God was punitive, that His commandments were too hard to obey, and that He desired them to live unhappy lives.
Didn’t the Israelites cry out for God’s intervention? Yes, but during their enslavement, many became involved in Egyptian pagan worship which involved pagan gods, sexual immorality, and child sacrifice. They desired God to give them the freedom to serve idols, follow their own evil desires, and live without restrictions.
“For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, ‘Obey me!’ I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.'” Jeremiah 11:7-8 NLT
Fast forward to 2022, it is unthinkable of sacrificing one’s children. Yet, many of today’s Christians engage in sexual immorality. Watching lewd movies and programs, and having sex outside of marriage has become a part of their secret lifestyles. Still, watching pornography has caused many believers to become addicted to this satanic, pagan practice, and without remorse, they sacrifice their marriages and families.
One must ask, how does a believer in the Most-High God become drawn into this level of rebellion against God? Answer: They have grievances in their hearts against God.
“You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.” Leviticus 20:26
The desire to be Holy by worshiping God through diligent study of the Scriptures, praying, and living faithful, obedient lives has been replaced with living for oneself. Many are tired of the restrictions to live the righteous life required of a disciple of Christ. Bible-based churches where God’s truth is taught have few members while pastors in stadium-size churches who twist the Scriptures into prosperity messages are filled every week.
According to the Gallup poll, church attendance continues to decline.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx
“But they did not obey nor incline their ear but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.” Jeremiah 17:23
Trending now: Many individuals research a church’s doctrinal beliefs until they find one that they can comply with and join based on the premise that they are doing enough for God by attending services once a week. The denial of materialism, the constraints of righteous living, Community outreach programs, and fulfillment of the Great Commission –witnessing to others are non-existent topics of weekly sermons.
“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 NIV
Yet, as the number escalates of those who possess grievances against God, there is a growing number of the remnant who are witnessing, helping those in need, and living pure, sanctified lives. Our hearts belong to Jesus Christ. We have renounced worldly pleasures and are staying true to God.
Despite the Israelites’ deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, the prophet Jeremiah petitioned God for His mercy. As we progress toward the end of this earth’s history, Satan is using false prophets to distract and console those who have grievances in their hearts against God. They are blinded to the signs and fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Our earth no longer has peace! And prosperity from worldly goods is only a distraction to keep their focus away from God.
It is time for us to confess our heart’s grievances against God as we focus on our relationship with Christ. Self-denial, praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and continuous study of the Scriptures will give us the knowledge, strength, and courage to live righteously. Loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds is possible!
Despite Satan’s temptations, we can live victoriously as overcomers through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Get rid of your heart’s grievances by dedicating your life to God. Every day, intentionally stay close to God. Prepare for the Greatest Event. Jesus’ Second Coming is sooner than we think.
Prayer: God, we are caught up in the pleasures of the world and living as if You do not exist. We confess that our hearts are desperately wicked. Lord, please forgive us and reveal the secret sins in our lives. We desire to serve You and to live according to the plans that You have for us. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.
Devotional–Steps to Living a Blessed Life from The Struggle of Sanctification by S. Johnson
If you are over the age of 50 then you can appreciate the innovative changes [technology, strategies to work smarter not harder, work from home, etc.] that have reduced the mental and physical strain we suffered from doing tasks that always required taxing efforts. Yes, change is primarily good, especially when it delivers quality results and allows time for relaxation and restoration of the mind, body, and soul.
God’s Divine Intervention is above and beyond our best efforts to have a better quality of life. Yet some believers do not have God’s joy and peace. They choose to live alternate lifestyles which include following the advice of others, busyness, and the pursuit of personal desires. Relying on their judgment, they create an overall compromise of the mental, emotional, and physical state of equilibrium of their minds and bodies. Not only are they stressed, but their resistance also places them outside of God’s safety net for receiving the benefits of His promises.
Yes, we have the right to make decisions without asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit, but the consequence is suffering from hardship and the additional burden of a failed solution.
We were not created to figure things out! “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
The Warning: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” John 16:33
The Promise: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit [penitent, humbled by our own sins and failures, seeking after God. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:17-19
God is never intrusive. He has given us free will of choice. Yes, God patiently waits for us to ask for His intervention. With His help, we can enjoy peace even when times are hard. Serving God does not stop life’s trials and hardships. Even so, unlike our best efforts of creating solutions, failing, and trying again, His promises are steadfast and provide fail-proof resolution.
With God, we have the opportunity to live a life without suffering the consequences of making unfavorable decisions. “Human Effort plus Divine Intervention always equals Victorious Outcomes!”
The Israelites received this promise: “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace'” (Exodus 14:13-14).
God is waiting to give us our best lives not only now, but also eternally in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Prayer: God, we have chosen the hard life of the transgressor by excluding You. We ask for forgiveness for doing it our way. Yes, we need Your help every day. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ worthy name. Amen.
“…For I will refresh the weary soul and replenish all who are weak.” Jeremiah 31:25
Many of us do not live in a peaceful, rustic environment where we can sit on our patio and hear the birds sing, watch streams briskly flowing or inhale unpolluted air while watching the deer in our backyard. The noise and constant busyness that has aggressively entered our lifestyles are out of control.
Sadly, we do not recognize the impact until we are mentally and emotionally weary and our physical health is impacted. Yes, we can take a couple of days off and catch up on much-needed sleep, but can we empty our minds of pressing issues or eliminate most of our to-do list? Rest and relaxation extend beyond physical rest. Even the most powerful machines require maintenance to keep them operating at peak performance.
“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)
Jesus tells us that optimal spiritual health requires a continuous relationship with Him. The demands of life are incessant and will create greater burdens if we do not stop, recognize, and rearrange our priorities. We were created to have a forever connection with God. Like inanimate objects that require a connection to a source of power, we must stay connected to our spiritual source–Jesus Christ.
Rest and relaxation of the mind and body are considered a waste of time by today’s influencers who give us their standards for our lifestyles. The lifestyle of pursuing worldly success is in opposition to the One who created us. Listening to tranquil music, verbalizing mantras, and performing non-spiritual meditation can never provide the spiritual gifts of peace and replenishment that our souls require.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Only Jesus can give us a life filled with daily spiritual renewal. And that means quality and quantity of time spent with Jesus in worship. Although divine intervention is always available, we must put forth the human effort of putting God first and asking for His help. Search the Scriptures! From Moses to Elijah, and Paul and Silas in their times of mental weakness and spiritual depletion, God’s intervention was immediate.
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
The righteous are promised Divine benefits. Yet, we must take the time to establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with the source, Jesus Christ. Through prayer, we have 24/7 access to God, the Father, Jesus, and, the Holy Spirit. Daily, we pray for strength and guidance to live according to God’s plans so we may receive the healing power of spiritual replenishment in our minds, bodies, and souls.
Prayer: God, we ask for Your divine intervention. Please reveal the busyness that keeps us spiritually depleted and distant from You. We pray for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.