John 10:10 “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” ~CSB
This past Sunday, the Lord allowed a great Word through me. He seeded this message in my heart about a month prior to me preaching it. I thanked God before the sermon because He had given me the ‘go ahead’ to sing again as part of the sermon. It is my prayer that the message was seeded and nurtured in those who received it. It turned out to be a blessing in so many ways.
But now, let me show you a dark pattern that I have noticed in my Christian walk. I got home and my wife and I were discussing service as we always do. She told me she was proud of me and the work that God is doing in me. I left home to run an errand and when I returned, I noticed our puppy, ‘Cooper’, locked in his caged area. I asked, “What did he do? Is he in trouble?” “My wife responded, yeah, you know how he is.” She gave me a hug and told me to go to social media and read what she posted about me and how service was. Well, I did, and it was a beautiful post. I hugged her and thanked her for such a beautiful message. Then I noticed her face change. It went to concern and somewhat apologetic.
When I asked what was wrong, she gave me the case to my ‘AirPods’. It was all chewed up. I looked up at her and she said, “Cooper got to it.” I opened the case and noticed that the Airpods were missing. She continued, “I thought the case was the only thing he got, but…” Then she handed me, two chewed up ear ‘Airpods’. First of all, she knew how much I ‘loved’ my ear pods. And for a brief second, I was ‘HOT’!
But then, I realized the pattern. Lately, whenever my wife and I are victorious in ministry, service or blessing families in Real Estate, a darkness attempts to come into our home to take away, steal, kill and destroy what we have just experienced as servants of the Lord. And if we are not careful with the victory we have in Jesus’ name, that darkness could make us give that success to the enemy, just like Adam and Eve did in the garden.
Well, Yolanda and I are not Adam and Eve. You, are also not going to give away any blessing to the darkness that may come immediately after God’s blessing to you. Recognize the pattern of the enemy as he comes to steal, kill, and destroy what God is doing for us in our lives. Last weekend, I changed my perspective. I understood that I didn’t love those ‘AirPods’, I love the Lord! And with that perspective, I did not give up our success in the victory God blessed us with!
Jesus said he came so that we may have life and have it in abundance. The devil knows this. This is why every time we receive a gift from above, the devil is right there, asking us, “You don’t really want that do you? Let me have it.” And under the stress, anger, conflict, and confusion that accompanies the enemy, we give it to him. Not anymore! The purpose of this devotion is to make you aware of this 'pattern' so that we can prepare ourselves to stay in God’s perspective and hold on to the gifts birthed from His promises to us.
Let us stay focused on God’s victories in our lives as steppingstones to bigger and better things. Don’t let the enemy steal our steps; kill our focus or destroy Christ’s cause in our hearts. I pray that God’s will in our lives always conquer the devil’s attempts. And may His Son’s mission for our abundance remain the victory we receive. May the Lord bless and keep you under his healing power and direction in Jesus’ name,
John 6:63 “The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” ~CSB
When I graduated from high school, I was given my first car as a present from my grandfather. I was very happy to get it. But I thought I was entitled to it. In fact, I did nothing to take care of it. I never changed the oil, nor did I care how I drove it. I was just glad to have a car and drive around. Eventually, I lost that car because I didn’t take care of it. Because I had no car, I was dependent on others and public transportation to take me places. Often that would prove inconvenient, but it was necessary.
Now that I’m older, I see this type of blessing different. I take care of the cars my wife and I have. I recognize the value of the blessing in being able to have transportation to and from our destinations. I’m using this example because this is how we place Christ, and His love for us, in our lives. We must be careful not to take for granted the blessing of God choosing us for His Son to embrace us. Wait…you didn’t know you were chosen?
In John Chapter 6 we see a lot of questions being asked by the disciples following Jesus. Jesus is explaining to them who He is and how to receive salvation and eternal life from Him, but some of His followers just didn’t get it. Then He says in John 6 verse 44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him…”
You see, this right here should be forever held and never let go! If you love Jesus and are thankful for what He has done for you: know that it is not because of anything you have done. It is because God choose you to be a part of His will in His Son’s eternal work! You are included in that! We must never fail in our faith on that.
Jesus says also in this same chapter, verse 37, “Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.” Jesus is explaining to all around Him that eternal life begins with Him. At that time, many around Him were so caught up in receiving and witnessing miracles that they did not want to take the time to ‘learn the lesson’.
They did not want to take the time to build that relationship with Jesus. It is not always about receiving the miracles of His promises, we must also spend the time to get to know the Father. When this happens, we find out what God’s intention is for us, and we are able to navigate better in this confused, deceptive and destructive world.
The trials and test become easier to endure because we know that the Father has prepared a glorious victory in His Son for us. We have something to look forward to in our obedience in His word. Our flesh may not like the path in obedience, but the flesh has nothing to do with salvation. Our spirit does. And like Jesus said, “The Spirit is the one who gives life.” Feed the spirit with the Word. Starve the flesh and watch your faith grow strong. You have been chosen.
May God continue to bless and keep you healed, guided, and protected in Jesus’ name,
John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them ‘eternal’ life.” ~NLT
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. We were talking about marriage. He spoke of how he was very happy in his marriage and could not understand why some men and women ‘cheat’ on their spouse.
I told him that according to the Word, the Lord placed a void, an emptiness in us that we try to fill under our own strength and intelligence. We seek, wealth and success. Some seek the physical desire of lust, drugs and alcohol. But this emptiness cannot be filled by us. In other words, A man can accomplish much success in being wealthy, but his soul can still leak and become empty.
God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted ‘eternity’ in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” ~NLT God has planted ‘eternity’ in our hearts, but because we do not know His plan from beginning to end, we must trust in Him. We must have His Son in our hearts.
Tony Evans explains in his Commentary Bible concerning this scripture: “Solomon is saying, that God has created time in such a way that it cannot bring fulfillment. Rather, it reveals a vacuum in the human heart that can only be filled by the transcendent—by Him. Humanity is in tension: we live in the routine of time, but our hearts are designed to long for something eternal.”
Therefore Jesus says in John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them ‘eternal’ life.” (There goes that word ‘eternal’ again.) That void, that emptiness is the longing for something ‘eternal’ that was created in us. It is a power that drives the flesh to seek the wrong things. And it can be controlled spiritually but we must allow the Word of God to fill it.
In the beginning was the Word…the Word was with God…the Word was God. The Word! It is the quench our thirst needs. It will fill the unknown in our hearts with the wisdom of trust in God who has never left us in need. Holding on to what He has done for us in the past.
Just as the Word will maintain and keep us filled, it will also produce fruit in the will God has for our lives. He says in Isaiah 55:11, “It is the same with my Word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” ~NLT
For the simple price of obedience and time with the Lord, not only will we never ‘thirst’ again, but we will oversee maintaining the blessing of a ‘fruit’ produced by God’s will in our lives. Allowing us to never experience the feeling of emptiness again! And share that fullness of God with others!
May God keep you healed, protected and directed in Jesus’ name,
Ecclesiastes 2:26 “God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please Him.” ~NLT
I was reading in Dr. Stanley’s devotional last week where he speaks of God’s wisdom. We know that God is all-knowing. So, for example, when we experience trials in different situations, God knows the beginning and the end of that situation, we don’t.
Dr. Stanley stated, “We make choices based on ‘partial information’, whereas God has the wisdom to take action based on truth.” Wow, how powerful is that statement. It opens our eyes to the fact that 90 percent of the decisions we make are based on what ‘we think’ the outcome is going to be. That means we are literally ‘rolling the dice’ on our futures, based on our decisions in actions.
The man I used to be was cool with that, but who I am now, would rather trust in the One that knows what’s ahead of me. We know that God loves us and wants the best for us. Jesus says in John 10:10, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” So no matter what the situation may yield, God has already cleared our paths. So what is the secret to letting go of the fear of the ‘unknown’? Hold on to another type of fear.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” This fear is our relationship with the Lord. This fear is us knowing and not knowing what the Lord is capable of. In other words, if we do not allow God’s will in our life, what are our chances of having His protection from the devil’s influences? If God has laid out a path for us, a path of prosperity, a path of everlasting life, what happens when we decide to walk a totally different path? There is no covering and no protection when we stray from who we were created to be.
When we understand that wisdom comes from God, then we must trust in His ‘all knowing’ in our situations, rather than trusting in our ‘partial knowledge’. We do this by staying on the path He has already made, and we place ourselves under His ‘umbrella’ of protection. The rains of destruction, death, and devil will not be able to affect the good God has in store for us.
When we live according to God’s will, the actions in our lives display ‘truth’. And it is this truth that God will ‘take action’ in our favor. When we please the Lord, because we truly love and trust the Lord in our situations, God will turn those trials into a tool which we can use to save lives.
God loves us so much and wants us to know in James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” ~CSB
Shows no favoritism and always sincere. That is you and me. We are favored because of the love from God. We must seek peace in wisdom everyday from above and trust God in everything. We do this and we will please Him. And when we please Him, He will allow us “…wisdom, knowledge and joy…” May God continue to keep you under His ‘umbrella’ of protection as you walk the path He paved for you. In Jesus’ name…
Matthew 18:32-33 “…I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” ~CSB
This story in Matthew is about an unforgiving servant. This servant went to his master owing him a lot of money he could not pay. Since he could not pay, verse 25 says, “…his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay his debt.” ~CSB
Imagine that! What a devastating situation for anyone, to be sold and separated from your family because of a debt you owe. The Word says that the servant fell facedown and begged his master not to do it. He asked for his master to be patient and he would pay everything he owed. The scripture says, “The master of that servant released him, and forgave him the loan.” ~CSB
The story goes on to speak about how this same servant encountered a servant of his own that owed ‘him’ a debt. But he was not willing to pass on the blessing that was afforded to him. Instead, he threw his servant in prison.
How many of us live this way? I mean really think about this. We may have been in a situation where our rent or mortgage was due. And because of our prayers, God made a way out of no way. But when one of our children ask for help, or a close friend is in need, we say, “I ain’t got it”. Or we may have been delivered from an addition of substance abuse by the grace of God, but we do not devote our time, (which is a form of tithe), to minister about our story to others who are under the grip of addition.
We are comfortable with being given a second chance from a blessing in the miracles of God, but we are slow to pass it on to others. Why do you think God delivers you from impossible situations? It isn’t just for you to hold onto. It is for you to let other know that He exists. Not just for you, but for others as well.
Jesus says in John 13:34, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” ~CSB “…just as I have loved you…” This is the key to how we live in Christ. We were forgiven; we were given a second chance; we did not deserve any grace. But the One who is without sin, paid our debt for us. And since our debt was paid to the Father, by the Son, we should waive all debt that is owed to us by others.
The servant in the story, chose not to forgive a debt owed to him by his own servant, forgetting that he had been forgiven for his and this cost him. His master heard of this and because of his actions and because his master was angry, verse 34 of Matthew says, “His master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything he was owed.” ~CSB
Let us not lose the grace of forgiveness by not forgiving others. If we do, the Word says in verse 35, “So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.” Remember the key phrase, “…Love one another…just as I have loved you…” Jesus paid for us. It is our duty to show others this 'receipt', in our action towards others.
May the Lord continue to cover you in His peace as you endure the trials of this world. In Jesus’ name,
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” ~NLT
Take a moment and remember a time when you said to yourself, “Whew! That was close!” You may remember that the situation was one that could have gone a different way, badly. In other words…
…if you had been there seconds later, you would’ve missed out; if you had said what you wanted to say, instead of restraining yourself; if you had put your hands on the person that angered you, but the spirit wouldn’t let you. If you had driven through that intersection when the light was yellow, that would be you in that accident. If you had not forgiven; if you had not loved; if you had not submitted.
We could go on and on about the ‘ifs’ in our lives, but one thing is clear, those ‘ifs’ were not ‘close calls’. God protects His children. We must give God His time in our lives. We must build a strong relationship with the Lord. And being the Father He is with His children, He will protect them. When we know Him, and know how much He loves us, His protection is great, and it is guaranteed.
We begin to realize good in the things we thought we lost out on. For example, that trip to the islands we did not go on, we find we were better off not going in the first place. We become aware that our blessings of money are not stolen, lost, wasted, damaged, or destroyed. We are blessed to be loved by our children as He guides us in raising them.
That ‘IF’ in our lives becomes God’s miracle of promise that He speaks about repeatedly in the Bible. Peace comes from the Lord, and with that peace, we can lie down at night and not worry about what happened yesterday. We can sleep well not worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow. Because with God, there is no ‘IF’. With God all things are possible.
And with this wisdom of God’s love for us, we know that it’s not our 401K that gives us stability. It’s not the pistol we have in our closet we have for protection. And it certainly is not the fear we have living in this uncontrollable world, never knowing what its going to do next.
It is knowing that God, “…alone…” will keep us safe. I pray His wisdom, in healing and direction, blanket you in the peace you need to endure. In Jesus’ name…
Romans 5:8 “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~CSB
How often do we tell others, “I got your back.” “Whatever you need, just let me know.” And a few days after we say that we get a text or call on our phone. We don’t answer. We may be busy or may not feel like talking. But for whatever reason, we have just made the statement we’ve said to them invalid.
How about when we tell others we love them? “Love you, my sister.” “Love you brother.” But when those we have told this to are in need, we must ask ourselves, “Are we really there for them?” In our Christian walk, we must ‘mean’ what we say when we say it. Let us stop throwing out words and statements just to sound or look good. Let us be about our Father’s business and be genuine to others when we speak.
The Word says in Proverbs 18:21 that the power of life and death are in the tongue. The Word also says in 1 John 4:16 that “God is love…” So, when we speak from our hearts and tell someone we love them and we are there for them, the power of love, that is God, will pass the seed of His healing power and direction to them, but we must ‘mean’ it.
After we practice ‘meaning’ what we say, we must ‘know’ without a doubt how much God loves us. If we knew how powerful His Agape love is for us, this knowledge would overpower and bring submission to our desires to worry, stress and quit in our times of trial.
Romans 5:8 tells us that God proved His love, by the sacrificing of His Son. That action of Christ on the cross caused a ripple effect that not only saved those in His time, but for us as well. All believers! God looked passed all of us being sinners, enemies, and destroyers of His will for our lives, and provided a chance for all of us to have salvation. Because of our transgressions, we deserved all that pain and suffering. But because God had other plans for us, because He loves us so much, Jesus took our place.
After we start meaning what we say and develop the awareness in the knowledge of how much God loves us, we must now live like we know. We must represent that love from above. If our Father in heaven could put His Son in the position of torture and death for us, we surely can be as godly as we can in the face of any works of the devil in this world.
In the face of anger, we must show peace. In the face of confrontation, we must show a calm path to solution. And in the face of hate, we must show love. And that should become easier, in time, for Christians because, “God is Love…” We represent the Most High, and we must become what He is. It is time to ‘Mean’, ‘Know’ and ‘Live’. Because we are all a part of God’s control on this earth. Let us, let Him…use us.
May God continue to bless and keep you in His will in Jesus’ name,
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” ~NLT
I remember being very little, second or third grade, and my family went on a trip to Disney. We went on this one ride, (a ride I don't remember the name of), but I will never forget ‘the ride’. I was sitting in one of those cars that take you through the ride and things started jumping out at me. Screams were heard along with terrifying laughter.
I remember yelling and crying because I was so scared. The only thing that kept me together was my grandmother’s voice. Even though everything was loud and in my face, I heard her sweet voice because I knew her voice. She was calling my name and saying, “Everything is alright! Nothing is going to happen to you. Grandma’s here!”
She continued to say that until the ride was over. I remember getting out of that seat, passing my mother, sister, everybody to get to my grandmother. When she wrapped me in her arms I felt so safe. Everything I experienced on that ride was behind me now because if they wanted me, they had to get through my grandmother.
Today, I feel that same way about God. You see we are all still on a journey, and it may feel like that ride I was on long ago. The way this world jumps out on us. We hear the loud screams of negativity, injustice, violence, and division every day, and it makes us want to cry out for relief.
Another way to look at the text above is that we may not have money for our mortgage this month. We may not be able to keep up with today’s gas prices. We may open our refrigerator and find there is not enough to eat. There may be some ongoing issues with our children or other family.
But we must not fear. Like my grandmother’s voice did for me when I was little, that relief in her voice that helped me keep my head when all things around me seemed to be going crazy; God’s voice should be the same for us today in all this madness. Because our Father tells us in Deuteronomy 31:8, “He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” ~NKJV
Therefore, we should rejoice in the Lord! His arms are always open! His Healing hand is always available to touch! He loves us so much. The sacrifice of His Son proves that. And also signifies His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 with His plan, “…to give us hope and a future”.
May God continue to heal, guide, and allow you the wisdom needed to live in your purpose, in Jesus’ name,
1 Peter 3:12 “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.” ~NLT
My youngest sister works hard. He does a lot for those who cannot do for themselves. If she were ever to call on me, I’d be there for her. If she ever needed anything from me, she would have it. Because I know her heart, I would not hesitate. This is the way God looks at those of us who live righteous. “His ears are open to their prayers…” because they live righteous lives.
Now, this is not saying God doesn’t answer everyone’s prayers. It is simply saying that those who live righteous just may have the wisdom, strength and received enough guidance from on High to attain, maintain and distribute the blessings of that answered prayer.
Others may have to wait on the blessing as they endure and learn through the trial they are going through. To understand where I am going with this, let’s break down the word ‘evil’. When we hear this term, we think about bad things. We may think about bad things that are done in this world. Hurting others, stealing from others or being deceptive toward one another. Some of us can easily convivence ourselves that we do not do any of that.
But let’s look at ‘evil’ as an entity. This enemy has an agenda, and it is against the cause of Christ. So, as we take another perspective on our walk in this life, let’s ask ourselves some questions. “Do I spend time every day in God’s Word?” “Do I spend time with the family He has blessed me with?” “Do I give my money, time and talent to the needs of the church built inside me by Jesus Christ when He went to the cross for me?”
If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no’, then we must consider that we are working under the agenda of the enemy and that falls under the ‘evil’ umbrella. Those questions are a few of many that define who God created us to be. It is the plan He designed for us in order to fellowship, raise our children and bless others who may not be in strong areas in their life. To fall short on any of these basic questions is leaving room for the enemy to work, and we must not let that happen.
“The Lord turns His face…” because He cannot be a part of anything under the ‘evil’ umbrella. So let us move into righteousness. Ask God today to give us the strength, determination, and wisdom to endure and walk in the victory that has already been attained by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Walk in victory so that when we pray for the tools we need to do God’s work here on earth, He will answer and bless us with just what we need to make it happen. In Jesus name I pray this victory walk on you today. May God continue to bless and keep you in His unchanging hands.
Job 11:7-9 “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld—what do you know? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.” ~NLT
Right now, how are you? What is running through your mind? Emotionally what is taking your joy? Often times, when we step back and look at ourselves, we realize what we allow in front of our faces. We become aware of what the root and/or the foundation of our stress may be.
For example, those of us that view social media all day, allow the topic of the day to set in our spirits and poison any word we may have in us. The violence, the drama, and the controversy give birth to anger, jealousy, and lust in our flesh. Our flesh becomes strong as it is fed by all the negative energy. It also gives birth to doubt in God’s promises we work so hard to believe on Sunday morning. How do we keep these viruses from growing in our spiritual bodies?
First, we must cut down on our intake of negative feedback that we receive from social media and news. Just like the alcoholic must push the bottle away, the drug addict must push the drugs away, we must push away that wasted time we give to the world and its issues.
Secondly, we must replace that time with the study, the learning and knowledge of the promises of God. Take on the task of, “…solving the mysteries of God…” Assume the responsibility of, “…discovering everything about the Almighty…” by feeding our spirits with God’s word daily. Not once a week, twice a week, three times a week, but every day. Look, if you are not at that point yet, work up to it. If you only read a scripture or if you are only exposed to God’s word on Sunday, pick another day out of the week to read a scripture. If you get into God’s word twice a week, pick a third day and so on. Until you have developed the good habit of getting into God’s word every day.
“Who are you?” When you leave the world of chaos, you receive the peace of God to discover who He created you to be for Him. You discover that the kingdom, the Good News, and the Gospel are, “…deeper than the underworld…broader than the earth and wider than the sea…” These mysteries should be pursued by the children of God every day. Feeding and strengthening our spirits so that we may all see through the smoke and mirrors of this world. We begin to see what God wants us to see; and what the enemy attempts to hide from us with all the distractions of this world.
This text from the book of Job is a promise from God that if we decide to pursue the mysteries of the Father, He will allow us the peace and the wisdom we need to not only endure everything the enemy can throw at us; He will also give us the tools we need to accomplish our purpose in this world for His kingdom plan.
Our prayer is that you receive Him and believe, trust and walk in His will for you in Jesus’ name,
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.