Our Willingness to Learn Determines Our Destiny

Devotional Reading—Our Willingness to Learn Determines Our Destiny By Sonya Johnson

In the 1990s, the nursing staff at the facility where I worked were scheduled for a mandatory meeting. Many anticipated the news that we would receive a hefty raise in salary or that the company was purchased by another organization. No, our educated guesses were wrong. We were signing up for a mandatory one-week educational seminar to learn electronic medical records software.

I was among the younger group of nurses who were elated that the tedious job of handwritten patient documentation was ending. Yet, I remember looking at many faces portraying disgust and anger. In anticipation of refusal to learn the software, the Administrator emphasized that our jobs were reliant on making the transition from handwritten documentation to electronic documentation within 30 days.

The nurses who were resistant attempted to stifle progress by filing a grievance–which they lost. The facility lost 50-60% of its nursing staff [either by resignation or termination] who were not willing to learn electronic health record documentation.

Resistance to learning is a forever problem that impedes the progression of one’s life.

“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

God anticipated that we would need divine intervention. We were created with the innate traits and abilities to travel the journey on the Path of Righteousness. Our lives revolve around a continuous cycle of learning, falling down, and repentance. Yet, if we surrender daily to God, we change from fulfilling the desires of our carnal hearts to one of righteous living.

For the Christian believer, resistance to learning prevents us from achieving the daily spiritual growth of becoming like Christ, Sanctification. For our destiny to be the New Heaven and New Earth, we must endure the change necessary to have the Character of Christ. It’s a tough journey. Even so, we are never alone!

“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 Learning Curve: With the noise of world news, social media, and life events, we are challenged to recognize the quiet voice of God. Develop the habit of isolation when worshipping God. Forget about the cell phone and the cares of life in your communion with God. Taking the time to allow the Holy Spirit to provide spiritual renewal and restoration is of utmost importance. Break the habit of saying a prayer on the go. Many times we pray, say Amen, and never receive God’s answers because we failed to heed His command, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10, first part).

We require daily prayer to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Learning to remain in a posture [mindset] of waiting for God to reveal His will and plans along with the diligent study of the Holy Bible is vital for knowing who the Trinity Godhead—God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are and their purpose in our spiritual journey.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST (renewal, blessed quiet) FOR YOUR SOULS.” –Matthew 11:29, Amplified Bible

What does it mean to take Jesus’ yoke?

“Wearing the yoke with Christ means to…to be a copartner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. In accepting Christ’s yoke of restraint and obedience, you will find that it is of the greatest help to you. Wearing this yoke keeps you near the side of Christ, and He bears the heaviest part of the load.” Ellen G.White

“…to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). God comes and takes us out of our emotionalism, and then our complaining turns into a hymn of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke [burden] of Jesus upon us and to learn from Him.” Oswald Chambers

The reward of Eternal life requires us to give up all hindrances and worldly pleasures. To consecrate our all to Jesus Christ [which requires sacrificial giving] goes against our carnal heart’s desires. “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 3:17.

Continuous spiritual learning is the foundation for our lifelong journey of Sanctification. Obedience and restraint [temperance, self-control] mandate that our hearts are filled with humility and we have a mindset of perseverance. To be a disciple of Christ, we must learn to endure suffering. Yet, the Apostle Paul who lived the remainder of His life in prison and became a martyr for Christ gives us words of hope.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” –2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Yes, as Christians we are on a forever learning curve. Never forget that Jesus gave us the priceless gift of Redemption. Every test, trial, and hardship prepares us for eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. Just as an athlete learns to eat the balanced meals that provide them with the energy to sustain their daily training for competitive events, we must learn to feed daily on the Word of God to receive the spiritual strength to endure the Christian race.

Bible Study: 2 Corinthians chapter 4

Prayer: God, we pray for the strength to endure the race. Help us to understand that we must have the Character of Christ to receive the reward of eternal life. With humility, we ask You to empower us with the Holy Spirit so that we can learn to live obediently and righteously in preparation for our forever lives in Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sabbath Devotional–A Time of Peace

Devotional—A Time of Peace–From The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson

The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart. —1 Samuel 13:14

From a shepherd boy who killed lions and bears to becoming a teen giant slayer, David matured into a Warrior King who led armies to victory. Many know that he wrote the book of Psalms, yet, they are not familiar with his life events and reign as king that are documented in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st Chronicles. In studying Chronicles, we find that David’s reign involved continuous wars and victories over enemy nations.

How could David be a man after God’s heart when he intentionally committed adultery and ordered her husband to be placed on the frontline of the battle? Yes, he made errors in judgment by following his heart’s desires. God sent the prophet Nathan with a message to confront David regarding his sins [Read 2 Samuel 12].

For his grievous sin of taking Bathsheba and killing her husband, David received a twofold punishment, the death of their first child, and his life was filled with chaos. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you…” (2 Samuel 12:11).

Once David became king, he also sinned by taking many wives and concubines, bringing abject chaos into his home. Though his enemies sought to take his life, including King Saul, and two of David’s sons—Absalom and Adonijah rebelled against him, God’s righteous hand of protection was upon King Davids’s life. Despite his willful disobedience of following his carnal desires, David repented and found favor with God. The Psalms portray David’s heartfelt love for God.

“Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” (Psalm 27:7-8)

Nearing the end of his reign, David decided to build the Temple. Like many of us, King David assumed God would approve his plans to build the Temple because he made the human effort of gathering all of the materials [Read 1 Chronicles 29, verses 1-5].

God’s Answer: “Then King David rose to his feet and said, ‘Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it.’ But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’” (1 Chronicles 28:2-3)

From the disobedient act of taking Bathsheba as his wife, God forgave David. And from that union, Solomon, the wisest man was born and became King. With the love and mercy that only our Heavenly Father can give, David received this promise:

“But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.” (1 Chronicles 22:9-10).

King David’s command to Solomon: “Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary, be strong and do it” (1 Chronicles 28:10).

David’s life represents the lives of many Christian believers who face spiritual, mental, and emotional distress from unexpected life events, chaos in the home amongst family members, and the suffering of consequences from their acts of presumption and disobedience.

We have biblical accounts of the history of humanity’s defeats, disobedience, suffering, and victories. Still, God has shown His abundant love, grace, and mercy to those who followed their hearts. We will always suffer consequences for our disobedience to God. At times, we receive mercy and do not receive the full impact of what we deserve. Yet, we should not take God’s mercy for granted. It is a privilege to serve a God who expects us to be holy because He is Holy.

Sin changes the heart into a rebellious state against God. At that point, we lose the desire to obey God along with our spiritual gifts of peace and contentment. The state of the world in 2022 is the most perilous time in our lives. Staying obedient to God is a covenant vow that brings many benefits. Pray about every decision whether big or small. “Teach me Your way, O Lord…” (Psalm 27:11).

To have God’s Divine protection, provisions, and peace changes the very trajectory of our lives. More than ever, we need God!

Prayer: God, we thank You for protecting us against dangers seen and unseen. Thank you for Your grace and mercies. We pray for forgiveness for following our hearts instead of waiting for Your direction. We ask for Your divine guidance through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.

A Time of Peace

Devotional—A Time of Peace–From The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson

The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart. —1 Samuel 13:14

From a shepherd boy who killed lions and bears to becoming a teen giant slayer, David matured into a Warrior King who led armies to victory. Many know that he wrote the book of Psalms, yet, they are not familiar with his life events and reign as king that are documented in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st Chronicles. In studying Chronicles, we find that David’s reign involved continuous wars and victories over enemy nations.

How could David be a man after God’s heart when he intentionally committed adultery and ordered her husband to be placed on the frontline of the battle? Yes, he made errors in judgment by following his heart’s desires. God sent the prophet Nathan with a message to confront David regarding his sins [Read 2 Samuel 12].

For his grievous sin of taking Bathsheba and killing her husband, David received a twofold punishment, the death of their first child, and his life was filled with chaos. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you…” (2 Samuel 12:11).

Once David became king, he also sinned by taking many wives and concubines, bringing abject chaos into his home. Though his enemies sought to take his life, including King Saul, and two of David’s sons—Absalom and Adonijah rebelled against him, God’s righteous hand of protection was upon King Davids’s life. Despite his willful disobedience of following his carnal desires, David repented and found favor with God. The Psalms portray David’s heartfelt love for God.

“Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” (Psalm 27:7-8)

Nearing the end of his reign, David decided to build the Temple. Like many of us, King David assumed God would approve his plans to build the Temple because he made the human effort of gathering all of the materials [Read 1 Chronicles 29, verses 1-5].

God’s Answer: “Then King David rose to his feet and said, ‘Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it.’ But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’” (1 Chronicles 28:2-3)

From the disobedient act of taking Bathsheba as his wife, God forgave David. And from that union, Solomon, the wisest man was born and became King. With the love and mercy that only our Heavenly Father can give, David received this promise:

“But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.” (1 Chronicles 22:9-10).

King David’s command to Solomon: “Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary, be strong and do it” (1 Chronicles 28:10).

David’s life represents the lives of many Christian believers who face spiritual, mental, and emotional distress from unexpected life events, chaos in the home amongst family members, and the suffering of consequences from their acts of presumption and disobedience.

We have biblical accounts of the history of humanity’s defeats, disobedience, suffering, and victories. Still, God has shown His abundant love, grace, and mercy to those who followed their hearts. We will always suffer consequences for our disobedience to God. At times, we receive mercy and do not receive the full impact of what we deserve. Yet, we should not take God’s mercy for granted. It is a privilege to serve a God who expects us to be holy because He is Holy.

Sin changes the heart into a rebellious state against God. At that point, we lose the desire to obey God along with our spiritual gifts of peace and contentment. The state of the world in 2022 is the most perilous time in our lives. Staying obedient to God is a covenant vow that brings many benefits. Pray about every decision whether big or small. “Teach me Your way, O Lord…” (Psalm 27:11).

To have God’s Divine protection, provisions, and peace changes the very trajectory of our lives. More than ever, we need God!

Prayer: God, we thank You for protecting us against dangers seen and unseen. Thank you for Your grace and mercies. We pray for forgiveness for following our hearts instead of waiting for Your direction. We ask for Your divine guidance through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.

Born with the Strength to Overcome

Devotional–Born with the Strength to Overcome From The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson

A child has more than the physical appearance of their parents, they also inherit mommy and daddy’s personality traits, and learn their parent’s or caregiver’s observable behaviors and habits.

Whether we agree or not, humanity was made in the image of God. Those who believe in God most likely possess knowledge of the Creation story in Genesis. Still, a profound lack of understanding exists of God’s attributes as evidenced by our natural reaction to feeling defeated in times of adversity.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ ” (Genesis 1:26)

For us to have dominion over the animals, we must have the innate characteristics to perform the duty we were given by God. Our Heavenly Father is all-knowing and was aware of the difficulties we would face before He created us. We were born with the necessary attributes to be courageous and to perform the duties that our lives require.

  1. “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).
  2. “…Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us (Romans 12:3 NLT).

Our God-given gifts: Power, Love, a Sound Mind, and a Measure of Faith.

No, we are not demigods nor do we have divine power without asking for divine strength. Nor were we created to function independently without God’s Divine Intervention in our daily lives.

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.’ ” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The human effort of acquiring knowledge of who God is gives us the confidence that we are not alone to fight against spiritual warfare and our daily challenges. When the apostle Paul asked God three times to take away His thorn in the flesh [poor eyesight], Jesus answered with No. God does not give yes answers to prayers that would give us the ability to function without His divine Intervention. Many people choose to live without God, but “…the way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15).

Faith, love, courage, power, and a sound mind require spiritual nutrients for proper growth. Many of today’s believers rely on the pastor’s sermons to feed their minds and souls. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 timothy 2:15). God has given us the responsibility of studying the Scriptures for ourselves. The importance of studying the Scriptures is we learn of the divinity and power of the Trinity Godhead–God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and God’s will and plans for our lives.

“Pray without ceasing” (2 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is vital! Prayer sustains our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. Pray for the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit in the morning as soon as you awaken. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern the spiritual meaning and depth of the Word of God [the Bible]. Prayer is the way in which we communicate and stay connected with the God of the Universe who imparts His Divine power and strength through the Holy Spirit to us every day.

Yet, God does not impose Himself in our lives. If we do not take the time to worship through prayer and study of the Bible, we will be weak and despondent as a babe who does not receive proper nutrition. Anxiety, worry, and depression cannot enter the mind of a believer who stays connected to Jesus, the Source of Life.

The human effort of maintaining our relationship with Christ [He is the only way that we can come to God] prepares us for unexpected times of trials and sorrows. Faith carries us through even in lengthy tribulations because we have faithfully stayed rooted and grounded in the Foundation, the solid Rock–Jesus Christ.

“Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.” Maya Angelou

Prayer: God, thank You for the innate gifts that you have graciously given to us. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and for a stronger relationship with You. Jesus, we thank You for your great sacrifice and for being our Friend. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.