“I Will Listen”

In those days, when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:12-13

I have participated for 22 days in the SHOUT the Cry of Victory 30 days of Prayer. It has taken three weeks to establish constant communication with God and to build my faith and trust in Him. How did I accomplish this seemingly impossible task? I have been talking to God through praise and prayer throughout the day and night. Many whispers of prayer have passed through my lips to do my part in seeking God. Yet, my journey continues.

I have not reached spiritual self-actualization in which I have achieved my fullest potential. We strive daily because Sanctification is a life-long process. Jesus prayed, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” We cannot live off of yesterday’s prayers or Bible study. Yes, our relationship with God is high maintenance [no disrespect intended]. Several times a day, we must seek God and commune with Him through prayer, study, and praise. It is our faith and trust in God that reveals the depth of our relationship with Him.

The effort that we put into building a rock-solid relationship with God makes the difference between having unwavering faith, trust, peace, and inner joy or being distraught filled with hopelessness, anxieties, and worries. God loves us! At the end of the day, we may reflect and realize that we did not offer one prayer of thankfulness. Even so, do not fixate on what you failed to do. Instead, take a deep breath and begin to worship your Heavenly Father with praise. 

We build our faith through diligent study of the Bible. Knowing God’s character and His promises gives us hope when our trials and sorrows appear overwhelming. God promises to hear our prayers, “I will listen.” God is only a prayer away. Pray an honest prayer. God already knows that we are feeling down and out. He knows that our faith is weak. Still, our sins and challenges are never too big to seek God’s forgiveness and divine intervention.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51, verses 1 and 10.

Are you aware that Psalm 51 is King David’s prayer of forgiveness for committing adultery with Bathsheba? His actions were heinous. David abused his power by ordering her husband to be placed at the frontline of the battle, so he could be killed. Yet, God, with His unconditional love, mercies, and grace, gave the man who was once a shepherd boy that killed Goliath complete forgiveness. David confessed and repented. Did God forgive him? Yes, the second child born to David and Bathsheba was Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived.

God views sin as sin. Through human eyes we see sin in various categories considering one sin to be worse than another sin. Praise God that He is our Judge: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

We can change our perception of God by taking action to go above and beyond our human natures of only offering mediocre worship. Seek God as if your life depends on it [because it does]. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

Bible study: Psalm 51

Prayer: God, we ask forgiveness for not seeking you wholeheartedly. Please hear our prayer. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness and fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson 

Obedience Provides Peace

SHOUT the Cry of Victory 30 days of Prayer Day 22

If I am driving 70 mph in a 70mph speed zone and the GPS announces a speed trap, I have no worries. I am obeying the law, so I continue my journey in peace. We serve a loving and powerful God, yet, many believers live with anxiety, and worries. The reason: We are not fulfilling the purpose that God has for our lives. Maybe you are unaware that God has given every believer spiritual gifts, which indicate His plans and our purpose.

Study 1 Corinthians 12. Pray for God to reveal your gifts and purpose. Once you know what God has appointed you to do, exercise faith by moving forward. Remain confident. Never forget that you are not alone, God is directing your steps. The human effort of obedience to God gives us perfect peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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, we pray and ask you to reveal the plans that you have for our lives. We desire to serve you with obedience. Not our will, but your will be done. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. ©2021 Sonya Johnson

Following Your Heart?

SHOUT the Cry of Victory 30 Days of Prayer Day 16 Happy Sabbath!

Pursue happiness. Go for it. Follow your dreams. Live well. You only have one life. Look out for yourself.

Self-seeking gratification is at an all-time high. This behavior is the standard for most unbelievers, but are you aware that when believers make plans without seeking God’s approval, we are also guilty of pursuing our desires? For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. Romans 8:7

I can recall looking for a travel bag. I went to my favorite store first, and there it was the perfect bag. As I walked toward the bag, another person picked it up. No! I wanted that bag. But then something happened that I have only seen one time in my life. The woman bowed her head, prayed, placed the bag back on the rack, and walked away. Greedily, I grabbed the bag off of the shelf and thanked God for my blessing. But was it a blessing? I missed the message that God was sending to me. At the time, I had a serious problem with impulsive spending. I had three other travel bags, but I desired something new.

The story may seem insignificant. But following our heart’s desires always leads us in the opposite direction of God’s plans for us. Our goal is to always stay in sync with God by following His directions, which keep us on the Path of Righteousness. Even Jesus placed God’s will above His own. Everything He did pleased God. Saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42.

Part One of Surrender and Submission: Incorporate Jesus’ prayer before planning your day-to-day activities, pursuits, and schedule. Present your short-term and long-term goals to God in prayer. We can rely on God to always answer our prayers with, “Yes, No, or Not Now.” Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5. Pray and wait for God’s answers. Imagine living your life and never making another mistake because you seek God’s will first.

I developed an action plan: Every day, I pray, “Not my will [which only seeks to please myself], but your will for my life. God, help me to recognize your answer to my prayer.” Amen.

Part Two of Surrender and Submission: We wait until God gives us the answer. “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6. How will I know? God never makes us play the game of chance. When He speaks, you will know. Our position is to remain passive. We do not have to keep praying about the same situation. God never forgets.

Every aspect of our lives is a test to build our character and keep us humble, obedient servants of the Most-High God. Remember, it was our choice to make a covenant vow with God. And His expectations will always place us in the position to prove that we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. Romans 5:4

Bible Study: Proverbs 3

Prayer: God, we ask forgiveness for the never-ending pursuit to please ourselves. Our prayer is, “God, not my will, but your will be done.” In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson  

Delight yourself in the Lord

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Delight–to please someone greatly. For us to please God greatly, our love must run deep. So, how do you know that your love for God runs deep? You present yourself as a living sacrifice daily through prayer, “God not my will but your will be done in my life. Amen.”

It takes total surrender to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. It took most of my life to figure out that I was trying to compete with God by constantly making plans that were not His plans. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11. After many failures, I finally gave in by making a total commitment to trust and obey God.

In January, when I was facing homelessness, God proved His Omnipotence. He performed supernatural financial miracles. The picture you see is of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. I did not ask God to move me to the Florida coast, but He remembered the joy of my childhood. As a young girl, I learned to swim in the Atlantic ocean in New Jersey. Although I had forgotten my love for the ocean, God never fails. And now, as my hair turns gray, I can reflect on His amazing watery creation in person.

My love runs deeply for God. Not because of the things that He gives, God always keeps His promises. Our Heavenly Father has committed to take care of us. I desire to serve Him wholeheartedly because He loves me unconditionally. Still, I am growing in His grace. I decided to stop reacting emotionally to my trials and sorrows by immediately praying for divine intervention. God always extends His grace and mercies, which requires me to do my part.

We can change our perception of God by striving to delight in the Lord. God loves us! He desires that we have peace and inner joy, which is only possible when we put Him first. Have a beautiful and happy Sabbath.

Bible Study: Psalm 37

Prayer: God, we love you. Thank you for the Sabbath and for your love, grace, and mercies. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Indiatlantic, Florida

The Cry of Victory! Happy Sabbath!

Prayer: God, we pray that you open our spiritual eyes. Amen.

Jesus is here, walking in front of us. We are entering another storm, even so, keep your eyes focused on the Savior. Follow your Guide! The path is narrow. Don’t look to the right or to the left! And if the cloudy darkness of hardships and sorrows blind you, just call out, “Jesus, I can’t see you, Jesus, please help me.”

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

It is a conscious decision to awaken to a new day and invite Jesus into our life. “Behold, I stand at the door [our heart, which is our mind] 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.

Struggles are necessary to develop the faith that keeps us totally dependent: “…Without Me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Yes, we are required to surrender our will, along with the way we think and the things we desire. And why not? For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Read Joshua chapter 6.

But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.” Joshua 6:2‭-‬3.

Faith: Have we placed ourselves in the position to receive God’s plans? “Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10. Prayer keeps us connected to God. Why is studying the Bible a necessity? Not only do the scriptures reveal the character of God, but they also teach and remind us that faith, trust, and obedience are required to stay in alignment with God. Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Alpha and Omega is the only way to receive salvation.

Obedience: “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” Joshua 6:10

Victory: When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. Joshua 6:20

Like the walls of Jericho that fell, if we put God first, He will lead and guide us through every heartache, tribulation, and challenge. Put your faith and trust in Him. It is only then, we can cry the shout of victory!

Prayer: God, thank you for loving us. Please forgive us for our sins. We desire to faithfully serve, obey, and wait for you to reveal your plans for our lives. We thank you for the gift of the Sabbath–a time dedicated to redirecting our focus on you. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.