Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.” ~CSB
When I was growing up and my daddy asked me to do something, it would never enter my mind to ask him, ‘why’. No sir! Not in my time and not my daddy. I know I am not the only one so understand, I may have not wanted to take the trash out, or go to bed, or wash the dishes, but I did it anyway and did not question him.
As parents we claim we don’t understand when our children ask us ‘why’, when given a direction from us. With today’s child, we can’t sound off like our parents did. In fact, we get better results from them when we give them the reason they are looking for. It’s funny how we give our kids the ‘You must be out of your mind’ look when they ask ‘why’, but don’t even notice when we do it to God.
That’s right, we question God all the time. In the little things like when we can’t find our keys, we talk to ourselves, “Not today. Why is this happening today?” To the big things like funerals, “Why did you take my loved one Lord?” “Why would you do that?” Big things like loss of jobs, homes and or cars, “Lord you know I need that car for transportation!” “Why?”
First of all, just like we tell our children, God allows us to know that some of the trials we go through are the results of the choices we’ve made. God tells his children, “I didn’t tell you to take that path. I told you to take this path. But you chose not to.” In our spiritual walks, we may come to certain paths that look impossible. We don’t want to walk those paths because it takes us out of our comfort zone. But it is in those paths where miracles happen.
Think about it, if you were to travel a path of ‘possibility’, that would be you talking about what ‘you’ did. But it is in that path of ‘impossibility’, that path of uncomfortableness, where you will talk about what God did for you! This is how healing is passed on and where miracles of blessings are born.
Let’s not be concerned with the world telling us to question God about whether we are up for the task. It is not about our abilities. It is about God’s power in us that will birth the success in the path we walk. The path God directs us. When God gives us direction, let us not question Him on ‘why’. Instead, be in position. Walk the path with our heads held high. We do this, “...For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.” To God be the glory.
Deuteronomy 30:16 “For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” ~CSB
We have been blessed by healing! Now what? Now comes the hard part, walking in righteousness! The devil is a tricky one because if it was up to him, he would not allow it. September 21st 2013, I was healed and the chains were broken from my alcohol addiction. God laid His hand on me by removing the craving from my body! It’s like I’ve never had a drink before in my life. Understand, God took it, but He did not give it to me.
You see, the devil knows what kind of blessing we will be in this world. He knows that God created us to do His work, with His power in this world. The devil doesn’t want that. So the devil gives people, (like myself), vices that they cannot get out of, in order to keep them from being proper servants to the Lord. When the devil got me hooked on that addiction of alcohol, that was his mission of stopping me from being what God intended for me to be. So when I confessed to the Lord and cried out for help, God healed me. Now I’m back on the job of making disciples for the kingdom.
What did the devil do after that? He tried to sneak another addiction on me. For some, the devil’s second try may be lust, anger, or selfish ambitions. But for me, it was Cookies! Now I know the consumption of cookies is not as bad as alcohol abuse, but it can be an addiction just as well. I realized that I was conducting the same routine and developing the same habit with cookies as I was when I was drinking alcohol. The same pattern existed. When God healed me, I made a promise that I would not let anything take control of me again. Thinking about those cookies, I came to the conclusion that I did not walk away from the bondage of alcohol just to walk into the destruction of diabetes.
I thank God for loving me so much to give me a third chance at this life. The first was Him creating me. The second was the sacrifice of His Son for my sins. And His forgiveness, healing and restoring me as the man I am today, that is the third. I will not throw this blessing away. “No devil, you cannot have my life!” Let’s tell the devil that we are no longer on His mission.
Tell him we are loyal to God and will wake every morning determined to walk in God’s ways! Tell him that God will deliver us from any temptation he is trying to offer! And that we will keep the commands, ordinances and statues of His Holy Word.
Say this with me: “Thank you Lord for allowing us to live and multiply! Allow us to tell others what you have done in our lives! And thank you God for blessing us on the path that you have created for us! This path that leads to the kingdom you have prepared for us! For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever…Amen!
Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live...” ~CSB
On this day, 10 years ago, I had no idea that my life was about to change…8 days from now. I had no idea that I would be involved in an extremely painful accident that would result in me losing certain abilities. Abilities that I have had all my life. I had no idea that the man I was, I would no longer be.
At the same time, I also didn’t know that the pain, the suffering and that transformation would be for my good. You see also at this time, 10 years ago today, I was about to lose my wife, my children and possibly (eventually), my way of life. But because people who love me prayed for me. Because I confessed to the Lord my shortcomings, the Holy Spirit intervened and put in a request to God for the help, I could not give myself.
This scripture in Deuteronomy came to me from a ‘Bible Study’ guide at that time. And the Lord put in front of my face, “...Choose life or death my son…” At that time I didn’t know what that meant. But it is this scripture that allowed me to realize the path I was walking led to death. I became afraid of this awareness. And in my heart and mind, the Holy Spirit recognized this fear as a cry for help.
Since I can’t tell myself ‘then’ what I know ‘now’, I’ll just speak to those of you who have an ear to listen. Before the healing through suffering and pain comes knocking at your door, (like it did mine); hear God when He tells you to stop walking down that path of destruction. Choose life and meditate on His Word so that you can actually stop, turn around, and become aware of that path he created for you on your own. For me, I was too far into my addiction to turn on my own, but God loves us so much that He will strike us hard enough to get our attention. And through the healing process, He will help you journey down that path He created. What may be difficult at first, will eventually become easier as you exercise Christ in your heart.
Choose life, choose the right path and choose God’s will for your life. Try your best to do it with the Holy Spirit in you. And should you have to be struck down to start over; know that rebirth in the Word of God is one of the best beginnings a Child of God can experience. Either way, thank God for loving you enough to bring you back to Him.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.” ~CSB
My wife and I took a trip to the islands earlier this year. Our children asked us why they weren’t going with us. I told them, “There will be a time we will all vacation together. But I enjoy my time alone with my wife.” As this statement was directed to my children, I said my ‘wife’ and not your ‘mother’ because I wanted them to understand the intent of my message about the relationship I have with their mother. My children observe, watch and receive my relationship with my wife. They see how I treat her, how she treats me, and how important we are to each other.
But please understand that we have raised our children to see much more than that. Our children see that it is because of our relationship with God, we are able to have a godly relationship with each other. Individually Yolanda and I have our very own strong, unique relationship with the Father. Because of this, we allow Him to lead us and show us the path we need to lead this family. Because we know how much the Lord loves us; and we know how to love the Lord; we then know how to love each other.
It is great for families to go to church together and sit in devotional meditation together. But the nourishment of godly ‘relationship exercise’ should also be fertilized with ‘godly lifestyle living’. This way our children see in us, God working, guiding, leading and healing us as well as them. And they will grow and take the same godly lifestyle with them.
Tony Evans puts it beautifully when he says, “That purposeful approach to spiritual training, that effort to welcome the Lord to be part of all aspects of life, is how parents can transfer to their children a biblical worldview so that God is their point of reference as they navigate choices.”
Let the love of God in your heart show in you always. Let this love be the words that come out of your mouth and, “...repeat them to your children…” Have godly conversations in your home and when you travel. Go to bed with God in your heart and wake up in thanksgiving with Him on your mind! When you live in the name of Jesus, your children will receive the blessing of knowing not only who He is, but just how much God loves them.
May God continue to bless and keep you under his guidance and protection in Jesus’ name.
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because He cares about you.” ~CSB
There comes a time in our lives where we have to make the spiritually right decision. Deep down in our hearts we may want to make another decision. Our flesh sends out warnings that we are about to make a mistake.
For example, there are many successful people in this world that will tell you that if they did not quit the job they had at first, they would not be as successful as they are now. But they will also tell you that before they quit that job, something inside them said, “You are stupid! Why quit this job for a dream you may never see?” This was their flesh talking. And those Christians will tell you that they gained the strength to move because they saw the spiritual decision alongside the fleshly decision. And because of their trust in God, they chose to move on the spiritual path which resulted in their success.
To ignore the flesh comes from the strength found in ‘humility’. We must all exercise our ‘humility muscles’ if we are ever going to walk this journey properly. God has some great things in store for this world through us but we must be humble enough to hear Him and take the directions He gives us. Even though the world has taught us the word, ‘impossible’.
God works in the impossible. God’s miracles happen in impossible situations. The world has no way of knowing what God can do. But we, his humble servants, do. The enemy will try us because he wants to stop the actions of God working through us by setting impossible situations around us. But those situations work in God’s favor.
We must stay strong in humility, faith and wisdom knowing that God will make the best happen for us, no matter what it looks like in front of us. We just have to believe. And when we cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us, He will, “...exalt us at the proper time…” His time, not ours. And don’t worry if you think you can not go on, or you don’t know what to do in certain situations; because verse 10 in this chapter continues, “...The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.”
May God bless and keep you under his protection of love, guidance, healing and wisdom in Jesus’ name.
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” ~CSB
A man visits a church for the first time. As he takes his seat he observes a soloist in the choir singing a song. It is the most terrible singing he has ever heard. To add to his annoyance, some of the members of the church were standing, praising and yelling in support of the horrible singing the soloist continued to sing.
After service, the man was walking to his car, saying to himself, “l’ll never come to this church again.” But as he is about to get into his car, he can hear members of the church mumbling about the soloist as they too, were getting in their cars.
They were saying things like, “They sure have come a long way! You could really tell what God has done in their life by the way they were singing!” Almost immediately the man began to look at the soloist differently. He began to see the situation through God’s eyes. He began to hear the situation through God’s ears. He began to realize that the song he heard and the voice it came from, really wasn’t that bad.
We were not created to judge. The world has taught us to judge. And with that action, we have allowed judgment to dictate our lives in negative ways. Judgment that will keep us occupied in other people’s business rather than paying attention to what God is doing for us in ours. Judgment that will make us look so closely at another’s situation that we begin to ‘desire’ their blessings, instead of pressing through our trials and receiving our own blessings from God.
The starting line, at the beginning of the walk in Jesus’ name, begins with our relationship with God. When we develop a strong relationship with God; through His Word, prayer and meditation; we begin to realize God wants us to love others as He loves us. We begin to realize that God wants us to see ‘Him’ in situations He brings us to, no matter what is going on.
When we do this, judgment will not be a working action in our lives anymore because we leave that act to the Father in heaven. How is your relationship with God? Take some time and pray on that this week. May God continue to bless and keep you in His peace and love as you walk in Jesus’ name.
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” ~NLT
This year I will be ten years sober. I have transformed into a very different man than the one I was back then. With that said, (and I know I am not the only one who has experienced this), I have had some conversations with others that have alcohol problems, and we were not always on the same page. We get to a point in the conversation where they sense me ‘attempting’ to relate to them. They begin to step back from me because they feel I have no idea what they are going through.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they don’t quite believe you are who you say you are? I mean, they seem to come very close to calling you a ‘liar’ attacking your testimony. Avoid getting upset because someone questions your testimony. If you do, your flesh will make you take them into a debate in which one of you suffered more. And this way is not God’s way.
I’m here to tell you, don’t get defensive or frustrated with this. The reason we may receive that kind of negativity is because we don’t look like alcoholics, drug addicts or any of those addictions anymore. In other words, your transformation has given you a light that may give someone currently struggling a hard time believing you were in their shoes.
That’s okay. Just because someone doesn’t believe your testimony; that disbelief does not ERASE all that you have been through. It is God’s power through your testimony, (not your testimony alone), that will heal the person in front of you. David says in the text that he ‘waited patiently for the Lord’. Through the ‘mud and mire’.
One of my ‘mud and mire’ situations was my alcohol abuse. But because I don’t 'look like' what I have been through, doesn’t mean that testimony isn’t powerful. Always remember the times God pulled us through. In a calm, loving, godly way, take those people God has placed in your path back to those days, telling them what God did for you and allow Him to heal them through your story.
When given the opportunity, let others know how God ‘set your feet on solid ground’ and ‘steady you as you walk along’! Let them hear that ‘new song’ God has placed in your heart! Then many will see what He has done through you and ‘they will be amazed’! Because of God in your testimony, they too will join you ‘in trusting in the Lord’.
May God continue to bless and keep you under His umbrella of healing, strength and power as you walk in Jesus’ name.
Psalm 133:1 “How delightfully good when brothers live together in harmony!”
As far as siblings go, I never had a brother. But being the ‘brother’ of two sisters I can relate to the message the text above is giving. As I have grown as a brother, I feel I am in the position to protect my sisters. I am also the oldest so I have always felt I should set a good example for them as well. In fact there is a lot of responsibility in being a brother and I am honored that God put me in that position.
As far as the world is concerned, we have taken the term ‘brother’ even farther. At one time people of a certain ethnicity called each other ‘brother’. That has grown into good friends calling each other ‘brothers’. Certain organizations, like bikers, Jeep owners, police officers, military personnel, call themselves ‘brother’. This is because their relationships have been birthed by what they all have in common.
But if we stand back and look at it, we ALL can call each other ‘brother’. We don’t have to be biological brothers. We don’t have to be involved in certain organizations in order to call ourselves ‘brother’. But we can embrace as a family because we all fall under the umbrella of being children of God.
When God created us, He did so out of the love He has for all of us. And, as any parent, He wants His children to get along. God has a purpose in His creation of us, and that purpose has a lot to do with the differences He created in us. The devil knows this and this is why he wants us to fight and find fault in our differences. But God created these differences for us to become strong in His will for this world.
Because of God, we should not be strangers to each other. Because of God we should always seek His will in how to act, speak and pray for our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. To say that we are not brothers and sisters, is to say our God makes mistakes. And I will not say that. Therefore I believe in God’s purpose in all of us as a family; His family.
It may take some time before we stop fighting each other in this world. But I can do my part by accepting God’s children as my family. Why don’t you join me? May God bless and keep you under his umbrella of peace and love as you journey in Jesus name.
Genesis 3:5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
And just like that, their lives changed, and ours became a ‘doomed’ blueprint.
There are many things we have experienced in our lives that have frightened us, traumatized us and left us wounded and broken. However, we endured and we all thank God for his power that allowed us to endure. In these things we may not have recovered or forgotten, but by the grace of God we have become stronger.
Now as parents of very young children and grandparents of young grandbabies, we purposely do not share these stories with them. Why? Because we want them to have some time to grow with innocent minds. We want them to know the good things that can lead to the best opportunities in their lives. And if we have anything to do with it we are going to try our best to help them live their best lives; better than ours.
In my heart I believe this was God’s intention when He created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden. He didn’t want them to know about the heartbreak of Him casting out one of His angels that rebelled against the kingdom. He did not want them to know about the evil that sought to destroy the kingdom.
No, He wanted Adam and Eve to have a chance at His original version of everlasting life here on earth. He surrounded them with beauty and nourishment. Every and anything they would need for a fruitful life. And because God ultimately wants us to desire Him and His will, he gave them only one command and that was to leave that ‘one’ tree and its fruit alone. But Adam and Eve fell to the ‘Forbidden Whisper’ of the Devil and because of that the fall of man began.
Now through Jesus Christ we have another chance to live in the garden here on earth. But we must not listen to the whisper of the fallen one. Instead we must immerse ourselves in God’s Word so that we may hear the voice of our Lord give us the direction we need to move His way, not ours. We need to heed the Word of God so that we may have the strength to endure when the enemy throws those stones of pain and tragedy at us.
God loves us and is always ready to give us what He intentionally created to give us. But we must know Him and know His voice. His voice is our only choice. May God continue to bless and keep you safe, protected and healed as you walk in Jesus’ name.
Isaiah 54:16 “Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task...” ~CSB
I don’t like using the word ‘fear’ so let’s substitute that word with ‘issue’. I used to have an ‘issue’ with heights. Being up high and looking down brought out feelings and emotions in me that would sometimes cause me to freeze in my tracks. But even though I had this issue, I was always able to move forward in any task that was laid out in front of me.
One great example was my job in the military. I was a crew chief on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for the Army. Not only did I perform maintenance, but I also flew aboard the aircraft during missions. When I did this, I would secure myself with a harness and hang out of the aircraft while in flight. I also attended Air Assault School where I learned to repel out of the helicopter over ninety feet in the air; jumping out feet and sometimes ‘head’ first. Now does that sound like someone who has issues with heights?
Believe it or not, I did. To this day I feel a little queasy going up in high places but I have control of my issue. How? God has given me the tools I need within myself to see my tasks through, no matter what my situations may be.
In Isaiah 54 God is allowing Israel to know He loves them and, “…will not become angry or rebuke…” them again. He is allowing them to know in the above text that He has angels at work in creating the weapons needed for His will to be done. Some of those tools were created within all of us who believe for that very purpose.
It doesn’t matter what your issue may be in any given situation, God has given you the tools to overcome it. The enemy will gladly use ‘fear’ to stop you on your Christian journey. Remember, this issue comes from the enemy’s influence, (as he does not have any power), and we have the strength, through the power of God in the Holy Spirit, to overcome this influence of fear.
As I take control of my issue with heights, stand in defiance of your issue! Show the enemy that what God has given you is stronger than what the enemy has given you from the world! (1 John 4:4) Use that weapon God has created in you. You will find that it is “…suitable for its task…”
May God continue to bless and keep you on your journey 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.