God Won't Leave Us 'Hangin'
1 Peter 5:10 “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.” CSB
If you look at an ordinary wire hanger, you normally don’t think much of it. Its main function is to hang up shirts and keep them from being wrinkled. Day in and day out, it just performs one function. Some of us become depressed or feel like we are not worth anything because we see our lives similar to the hanger. We find ourselves doing the same thing, day in and day out.
Now when I was younger, my dad taught me a trick with the wire hanger. One time a member of our family locked their keys in their car. My dad took a wire hanger, untwisted it making it sort of straight. Made the end into a small loop and forced it between the rubber and the glass of the driver’s side window. I watched as that loop he made, attached itself to the door’s locking mechanism and with a quick pull, my dad had unlocked the door of the car.
We may go on with our daily lives and feel that we have no significance but God has truly created us for something great. You see after my dad used the hanger, it could not be used to hang shirts anymore. There will come a time in all our lives where we will not be able to do some of the things we have done, and that may make us sad or depressed as we dwell on those memories.
But fear not, God is not finished with us yet. When we pray to God and tell Him, “I am here Lord! Just as I am, use me for Your will!” This is when God will “...restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while…” Just like the hanger, God will take what the world has done to you, reshape and prepare you to unlock a door that could not be unlocked by anyone else!
Trust in the Lord and tell Him you are ready to be used by Him! So that you will do His will on earth, as it is in Heaven! May God bless and keep you under the umbrella of His peace in Jesus’ name.
How We Use Our Words
Psalm 19:4 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” ~NLT
All of us at one time or another have something on our minds that we want to say. Some of us say it, no matter what it is and regardless of who it hurts. There are those of us who do not because of a valuable lesson learned. They have reaped the negative benefit of the repercussions of saying something we cannot take back.
Family members hold grudges for years because of something that was said and cannot be forgiven or forgotten. There are those of us who have lost good jobs because they could not hold back from saying what was on their minds at that moment. Regrettably, this causes more harm than good. Think about it, would we talk to God like that?
This is why we pray the scripture above and ask God to guard us from speaking anything that is not of Him. First of all, the text describes God as our ‘Rock’ and our ‘Redeemer’. If we lean on His strength and remember He has blessed us with forgiveness, then we owe others that same gift. This gift was born from the sacrifice of His Son.
So, in prayer ask God to allow your words to be helpful and necessary to others you speak to, no matter how they treat you. In spite of how you may feel about the situation or the person, ask God to allow your words to be His words to those He places in your path. Because, when it is all said and done, it should only be the words God would allow to be seeded in His children for His purpose alone.
May God bless and keep you under His umbrella of peace and protection in Jesus’s name.
1 Thessalonians 4:1,3 “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 3 God’s will is for you to be holy...” ~NLT
Those of us that participated in sports know what it’s like to train to be the best. Best as a team in football, basketball, baseball, etc. And sometimes as an individual in track and field. But during these training sessions I have never met a coach that trained his athletes to come in second place. In fact, I don’t know any athletes I’ve trained with that wanted second place.
Did you know that second place is what we claim almost every day as believers? We know what pleases God, yet when we purposely fall short, we say, “I’m just human.” That is ‘Second Place.’ Can we really live with being in ‘second place'?
Well I’m here to tell you that I can’t. Not anymore and you shouldn’t either. In the text above Paul is pleading to the Thessalonians to, “...live in a way that pleases God.” Paul doesn’t have to guide them much because He continues, “...You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.” Continue to work hard at being the best Christian you can be.
Listen, if we love God, then we know we owe God. So let us take the wisdom He has given us, take every day one day at a time and live our lives pleasing Him. Pick an issue we may have that is not of God and pray for His strength and wisdom to rebuke, and get rid of that issue. When we do this, we will find He will give us the strength, through the Holy Spirit, to come in first place in conquering that issue!
Let us get rid of that “I’m only human” mentality and train to be a ‘Supernatural Servant’ of God. Let us all strive for that 1st place spot in that godly position. May God give you the strength, wisdom, and determination to achieve His will for your life in Jesus’ name.
What Christlike Looks Like
Hebrews 12:2 “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
In my youth I got into a lot of fights. And I thank God that I never bore the worst from any of those fights. But there is one fight, in particular, that would have changed my life for the worst if God had not stepped in.
I wasn’t saved then. My flesh was a lot stronger than my spirit. But on this particular night, God took over. I was in a room full of other young men. And it was a night where my flesh was telling me I needed to show everyone around who the real man was in the room. But this night would end up different and my life would be changed. This night God’s power enhanced the strength of my Spirit. And the Holy Spirit walked me right out of that room.
For years I often wondered what those other young men in the room felt when I made the decision to leave. I assumed their thoughts were that I was less of a man when I left. It’s funny, today I see those men, and now, like me, we are all grown up. We speak but the thought of their perspectives would always take me back to that night.
Nothing should consume our thoughts that much. We need to ‘...keep our eyes on Jesus...’ The scripture says that He is the “...champion who initiates and perfects our faith...” Therefore, we need Him. When we look at the text and it says that Jesus endured the cross, disregarding what the cross represented at that time, it shows that Jesus stayed focused. He was sent on a mission by the Father. And it was the Father, Jesus was going to do right by, not man.
I am thankful God stepped in and turned on His gift to me, (the Holy Spirit). From that the man I am and the life I have, was born. The family I have, the position I'm in as a minister, father and husband, all exist because God covered me that evening. It does not matter to me what others think about the decision I made that night. What matters is God being pleased with me.
The Scripture continues that because of Jesus staying focused and disregarding man’s perspective of His actions, I should be the same as Jesus and disregard the perspectives of man and move in the direction God has already cleared for me. If you have worries and stress on you that involve what others think about you, leave all that at the cross. Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and everything else will fall into place.
May God continue to guide, heal, and keep you safe in Jesus’ name.
The Power In Our Differences
Galatians 3:26-29 “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” ~NLT
Those of us that played with ‘Lego’ blocks when we were little will appreciate this. Legos were so cool
because they came in many different shapes and colors. What made them special to us as toys was
that it didn’t matter the shape or size, you could connect the blocks to each other anyway you
wanted. In fact, you could have a vision of what you were about to create in your head, but by the time
you finished building your creation, it turned out to be so much better than you imagined. You realized
that you took many pieces that were different and unique in their size and color, brought them
together and made a product that was more incredible than you first imagined.
That is the perspective God has with all His children. He created us to be different. Different shades of color and shapes. Different perspectives and ways of talking. He did that for a reason. The devil knows this difference, created by God, was meant for some enormously powerful reasons and outcomes. This is why the devil has trained us to dislike ‘differences’. The world we live in has trained us to be cautious of anyone different than ourselves, as well as situations that present the same types of differences. This attitude we have developed in our differences causes us to become weak in that power God gave us to excel together.
God created the uniqueness of our differences so that we could come together and build something
beautiful in Jesus’ name. Like Legos, our differences can and will go together in God’s will to create
victory and maintain His established control over this world. “For we are all children of God through
faith in Christ Jesus.” Amen
Call In Your Best Player
Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with
God everything is possible.”
In my youth, I remember playing basketball with my friends in the neighborhood. We would pick teams from the best player to the worst and play ball all day. We always had that one player though. This guy would keep the ball and try to score every shot. We used to call him the ‘ball hog’.
It was our term of words when we yelled, “Stop hoggin’ the ball! Pass it to somebody that’s open!” But
that player would continue to be the ‘superstar’ and eventually the team he played for would lose. Not just because of his selfishness, but also because that one player did not utilize his other teammates.
This is what happens in real life. God created us to be team players. He created us to play well with
others. But we like to take the situations we are in and ‘hog’ all decisions and actions for ourselves. We think we can win this game called ‘life’ without any help. Then that powerful player on the other team comes on the court. Let’s just call him, ‘Impossible’. And when we come up against him, we find that there is nothing we can do. Under our own power we begin to fold and eventually we want to give up this game because we realize there is nothing we can do.
This is where we need to become that ‘team player’ we were designed to be. When we reach that point in our lives when we know there is nothing physically, we can do, we need to call in our best player to take over. When we call God into the game, the whole game changes. There is nothing the ‘impossible player’ can do against God.
This is where God performs His miracles in our lives. This is where our testimonies of faith in God’s
existence in our lives take root in our souls. Not only do others begin to see Him in us, but they also
become aware and begin to feel His presence in them. Once we realize this as believers, that’s when we can observe our victorious, miracle story unfold.
May God continue to bless and keep you under His protection of peace in Jesus’ name.
Protect Your Peace
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~CSB
Peace. This is a tool that we need in order to stay in direct communication with God. So, why do we lose control of our peace from time to time? The answer lies in the ‘weakness’ of our flesh. I have endured many occasions where weakness kept me from doing God’s work in this world. What is your weakness?
Is it anger? Do you worry about every single thing? Or is it ‘social media’? Does social media snatch your peace every time you turn on the television or pick up your phone? I often hear people say, “I ain’t got time to pray right now, I’m too angry!” You see that weakness is taking away everything, (God created in you), that you need to navigate in this world.
The sinful desires birthed from our weaknesses must be removed. Peace is the tool we have that helps to dilute and discard those tendencies. The text above says, “...the peace of God, which surpasses ALL understanding...” meaning you may not understand how you will get through this situation, but God will make a way.
The verse continues, “...(Peace) will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Anything that tries to enter your mind, anything that tries to enter your heart that is not of God, will be blocked and you will be protected by the Son who was sacrificed for all the devil tried to curse us with.
Jesus Christ has been where we are now, and conquered what the world tried to do with God’s plan for all of us. It is because of the mighty name of Jesus that we have the gift of peace from God. And it is in Jesus name that we have the ability to use this tool to stay in spiritual sync with God and His will for our lives. So we must protect the gift of peace with all that we have in us that is good.
May God continue to provide you with everything you need to endure and live righteous in Jesus' name.
The Reward of Obedience
2 Chronicles 26:5 “Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.” ~NLT
When I was growing up, I did not like listening to my dad’s advice. It wasn’t that he talked too much, or that he liked to hear himself talk. It was because most of what he advised me on was right. He was correct in his advice because of his experience.
But still, I didn’t want to hear it. I would have rather lived my life on the “50/50” chance that my way was the right way. And often enough it wasn’t. This habit rolled right into how I received God’s Word. I remember reading certain scriptures and saying, “God’s not talking to me.” Or “This scripture right here, I’ll have to work on. I’m not ‘that’ Christian yet.”
There is a saying, “If you know better, you do better.” Easy to say and sounds good. So why can’t we put action to these words? It’s because we live our lives, reaping the success of our own actions and effort.
The world gives us these rewards because we pursue them the way the world teaches us too.
But remember, there is nothing the world can give us that God cannot surpass. If we would only live in obedience, we could taste God’s flavor of success and the rewards are more than we could imagine.
For example, as an alcoholic my wife only prayed for me to stop drinking. But because of her obedience, there are so many other changes that have happened to me. I am so much more than what she prayed for, and we both thank God for that! “…Seek Guidance from the Lord…” Try obedience in ‘…doing better…’ and watch what happens in our lives. The success will be more than you can imagine because the victory has already been won!
May God continue to bless and keep you under His umbrella of peace in Jesus’ name.
January 10th, 2023
John 6:44 “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…” ~NLT
Growing up during my middle school days, we played games in the neighborhood. Being picked for teams was important. You knew how good you were when you got picked in the top three.
Today, I look at this differently. I switched the word ‘picked’ for ‘chosen’. This day and time, being chosen for anything, first or last, is a blessing. In my Christian walk, I was approached by one of the Deacons at our church and asked to join the Deacon board. I was chosen by them with the consent of our Pastor. They saw the spirit of the Lord in me. To this day I consider that a blessing.
Not only does Jesus make the statement about us being chosen by God in the text above, but Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes…This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” ~NLT
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 Son’s eternal work!
We should embrace God’s love in including us in His Son’s journey. Be grateful that we are a part of God’s miracles! Knowing this, we can navigate better in this confused, deceptive, and destructive world.
Our flesh may not like the path of obedience, but the flesh has nothing to do with salvation. Our spirit does. And like Jesus said in John 6:63, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life.” ~NLT Feed the spirit with the Word. Starve the flesh and watch your faith grow strong. You have been chosen. Be grateful.
May God continue to bless and keep you healed, guided, and protected in Jesus’ name,
Much Needed Cleanse
1 Corinthians 15:53 “For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.” ~CSB
I have no taste in clothes. So, when my wife surprises me with a new blazer, some slacks, and a new pair of shoes to go with it, I get excited! Before I put on the new outfit, I make sure I shower, shave, and clean myself up well before putting on the new outfit. Then, I am ready to go out on a date night with my wife.
This is what the scripture is talking about above. Since we are all born into sin, our bodies have collected negative desires as we’ve walked in this world. And these desires have developed a corruptible body as a result. This body has made us corruptible in our thinking and our actions.
Thank God we all have the choice of knowing and accepting His Son, our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ, as a gateway to our salvation. With this gift, God is allowing us a new outfit saturated with ‘incorruptibility’. But before we put on this new spiritual outfit, we need to cleanse ourselves of all the dirt corruption has built on our bodies covering our souls.
We need to shower ourselves with the Word of God so that we can get rid of the dirt of ‘doubt’ in our lives. This doubt keeps us from believing in God and what his promises are. Scrubbing ourselves with scriptures like Isaiah 41:10 where God says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” ~NLT
Shower ourselves so we can get rid of the dirt of unforgiveness. This dirt will withhold the blessing not only for those who need forgiveness from us, but also that blessing that belongs to us because we gave it. This needed ‘body wash’ can be found in Ephesians 4:32, “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” ~NLT
After we have allowed the Word of God to cleanse us, we find that it has also made us stronger spiritually and things aren’t always as bad as they seem. In fact, because we know we live in victory, our situation will only benefit us when we endure. And God, because of His promises to us, will exchange our old clothes of ‘mortality’ with a new outfit of ‘immortality’!
We close this devotional with verse 58, “Therefore...be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~CSB
May the Lord bless and keep you in His peace and power 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.