“…My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 ~CSB
When I made the decision to join the Army it seemed like a great idea at the time. But when I stepped onto that base at Fort Jackson, so many regretful thoughts ran through my mind. We got in late, so after feeding us they put us down for a night's rest. I found myself in a room with 60 or 70 other men I did not know. Metal bunk beds lined up in rows in an open barracks. I started thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But what kept me going was that my goal was bigger than my fear of the unknown. I was twenty-five years old, married with two children and at a point in my life where the jobs I was working just didn’t pay the bills and limited the food for my family. The Army was going to give me a better chance to take care of my family. Their provision was more important than me wanting to change my mind about my current situation.
I think we all go through a time in our spiritual journey where we come to a point of weakness and fear in our lives that attempt to make us quit. But we must not forget that God has us on our journey for a reason. The bigger picture is His will for our lives.
In the scripture above, Jesus knows exactly what He is about to endure. The humanity in Him was seeking an alternative path, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” But He knew it was not about Him. In Matthew he prayed the same prayer three times, and you can see in verse 42 that He surrenders to God’s will in His mission, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
In Luke 22:43 after saying this the scripture says, “Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him strengthening Him.” Jesus knew how and when he would die, but He knew that His death on the cross would cancel our ‘sin debt’. His resurrection would be for our salvation. The victory was a blessing worth more than the pain and suffering. This is what we must see, God is bigger than our problems, fears, and pain. There is a victory in blessings beyond what we are going through.
My time in the United States Army not only allowed me to provide for my family but it opened doors of opportunity for me to have a career and move forward in God’s mission for my life. As we live in the image of Christ, we must trust in the Father’s will for our lives. We too must drink the cup that is before us as it will lead to a blessing in victory for the kingdom of God.
May God bless and keep you covered in His strength, peace, and love on your journey in Jesus name.
“But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” ~Luke9:62 CSB
A husband and wife should have the type of relationship where they trust each other’s judgement, no matter how the other feels about the decision being made. For example, in my walk in Christ, I know that the Father will grant me wisdom and guidance through my daily digestion of food from His word. This wisdom and guidance, because He has anointed my marriage, will also come from Him through my wife as she has surrendered and committed to His will as well. The Lord may bless me with a vision for our mission in one situation and He may bless my wife with a vision for another.
In the process of coming to a solution, I may not be comfortable with what is brought to the table so I will lay out my concerns. My wife will then either consider my concerns and agree with me or she will share the ‘conviction’ of her vision. It is this ‘conviction’ that comes from the Spirit. It is my relationship with God and my trust in Him that I release my concerns and follow His will in the vision He gave my wife.
A husband and wife work well together when they rely on God first. When they give God their concerns and receive His ‘conviction’ for the direction in their lives; whether that ‘conviction’ comes from the husband or the wife, they receive from God that it is meant for both to follow without reservation.
In the scripture above Jesus was traveling and encountered several individuals that said they wanted to follow Him but were not willing to make the commitment. One said in verse 61, “…I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.” This leaves room for a family member to talk him out of going or the individual to rethink his decision to follow Jesus.
Tony Evans says in his commentary, “To all who want to have it both ways—being the Lord’s disciple and maintaining control of their own lives—Jesus insists, “you have to get off the fence and follow me. You must not allow even family relationships to override loyalty to Me.”
We must have total trust and surrender to God for everything in our lives. God will allow great things for you if you just seek Him first, above all other people and situations. He has been good to Yolanda and me because we follow Him first. Whether I get it from Him or she gets it from Him, when we receive His will, we both get it. And so will you.
May God continue to bless and keep you on your journey in Jesus name. Amen
“A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9 CSB
When I graduated from High School and began my journey toward college, I chose Political Science as my major. At 19 years old I decided that I was going to become either a lawyer or go into politics. At 19, with the aspect of becoming a college student in my face, I had to make the decision of what I was going to do for the rest of my life and begin that educational training.
Speaking for myself, I had no clue what career I wanted to pursue. But I made the decision anyway. Many things changed on that journey. After three years, I fell short of graduating from college. I became a father my junior year. Eventually I joined the military and after seven years as a U.S. Army Aviation Soldier, I transitioned from that to becoming a Metropolitan Nashville Police Officer.
Wow, what a transition from my original decision! After giving you about the last 31 years of my life, career wise, you can see that my plans changed drastically. It seems I may have had some plans in my heart, but where did they actually take me?
Eight years ago, I gave my life to Christ. I’ve learned in the Word of God that He has already prepared our paths. What I did, was attempt to prepare my own instead of surrendering to His will for my life. This meant receiving the directions for the path He prepared for me.
But look at what God did for me. Even though I made decisions in my life without His guidance, He took what I thought were my setbacks and turned those results into tools for Him to use for my purpose. As confused as I was about my career, God showed me that, falling into the military then law enforcement, that I was a servant to His people.
And when the time came and He revealed Himself to me, I was ready to surrender and commit to His will for my life. That will of His would be for the kingdom. It doesn’t matter what decisions we have made in our lives. It doesn’t matter what we have done. Along with God’s forgiveness, He is still ready to take all our ‘results’ and turn them into tools that He will use for our purpose.
This year don’t set your goals without God’s direction for your life. Today, spend time in prayer. Praying in thanksgiving for wisdom to hear His voice on your journey. We must be a part of His plans for our lives, not us asking Him to be a part of ours. “…the Lord determines our steps…” not us. And when we receive this, we will begin to move in a direction already established by the Father.
May God continue to bless and keep you covered as you journey in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ Amen
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“Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.” ~Proverbs 12:25 CSB
Yolanda and I face many challenges in our ministry in the marriage community. We talk to couples all the time teaching strategies on how to overcome obstacles on the journey through marriages. There are times when these sessions end with question marks.
We may not hear from a couple we were working with. We ask ourselves, “Did we do this right? Are we doing God’s will in our ministry work?” And then we get our answer. We either hear from that couple or at least one spouse from that couple and they say, “We are still in prayer for our marriage, but I am better because the strategies I’ve learned from the two of you, have given me a better relationship with the Lord. And it is through Him I am strengthened.”
That was the Word of God through one He seeded through us. We care so much about the couples we talk with that it weighs heavy on us the future outcome of their marriages. But we had to learn that we have to be in position to provide the ‘good Word’, where God is the only One who can seed the healing of ‘cheer’, hope and strength.
As we journey on in our Christian lives it is important to remember that the more we are given knowledge from God about Him and His power, it becomes our duty to pass on that wisdom to those that are ‘weighed down’. Yes, even when we ourselves are weighed down; we still stand as a light for others to provide the hope that God has given us to pass on.
And then one day, God will reveal to you the fruits of your labor in the name of the Son. And in doing so, He will lift what weighs you down. Trust Him to do what He said He would do. And be proud and honored that He chose you for such a mission in hope.
May God keep you close in His protection and provide you the strength and wisdom you need as you continue your journey in Jesus name, Amen
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“But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with a message. “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” ~2 Kings 5:10 NLT
In the Old Testament there was a man named Naaman. Naaman was a warrior who had great admiration from the King he served. But in all his greatness, Naaman had leprosy. Following advice, he went to meet with a prophet named Elisha. From the prophet, Naaman learned what he had to do to be healed of his condition.
The instructions in the text above are clear and the actions required are simple. But as simple as they are, Naaman became angry and refused to follow the instructions.
His claims were that Elisha wouldn’t even come out to see him in person, and that the water in the Jordan River wasn’t suitable enough for him!
Looking at this text I say, “What’s wrong with Naaman? This blessing is right in front of him!” But how often is the answer, the solution to our healing right in front of us and we choose to refuse. I remember when I weighed 285 pounds. My blood pressure was high and I had ‘sleep apnea’. The doctor’s even said I was border line diabetic. I was told, what not to eat, what not to drink as well as what would benefit me as far as nutrition.
Just like Naaman’s situation, the answers were right in front of me. I knew! I had the knowledge but what was I willing to do? Did I listen? My flesh was strong and I couldn’t give up the foods that were bad for me. I mean when I had a choice between a nice salad versus pork chops in gravy with onions and mushrooms, I couldn’t do the right thing where my health was concerned. I was shortening my life span. I knew what to do, but my wiliness to do it was weak.
In 2 Kings we find that Naaman began to walk away angry until one of his officers stopped him and said, “If you were given instructions to do a ‘great thing’, you would have done it. How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’? ~2 Kings 5:13
Naaman does it and becomes healed. He understood, and became willing to do what needed to be done. You see, ‘Your blessing is in the middle of what you are willing to do!’ As you read, meditate and live in God’s Word. Be mindful of His instruction and feed your spirit so that you are willing to do what God has instructed you to do. When you know WHAT TO DO, what are you WILLING TO DO?
May God continue to strengthen you through so that your endurance can become complete in its work for you. Amen
Peace & Blessings,
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There is no doubt that for the wisdom we need during these times, we must refer to God’s word for that wisdom. “Billy, I hear that all the time, but what does that mean?” Search your heart. Reach back in your life and remember the times God took care in providing for you when you could not.
Let’s take a look at a scripture from the ‘book of instruction’. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” ~CSB
First ask yourself, do you love the Lord? “Come on Brother Jackson, you know the answer to that”, you say. But I ask you ‘do YOU know that? You have to know, that you know, that you KNOW, that you love the Lord with all you heart!
When you know without a doubt then this scripture’s power turns on inside you because the Word is saying, no matter what is going on around you:
It says this as we continue in verse 29, “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” We may feel a certain way about certain things in this world but in order for His blessing of miracles to work in us, we must change our perspectives to that of Christ. We don’t live for ourselves; we live for God. We do not strive for our own personal glory; we work to glorify the Lord. When this happens, He glorifies us!
“I don’t know Billy, this is hard to do.” It may seem that way, but God created you with everything you need to do it. Seek Him first and all that He has given you will show itself. He has already made you in victory as verse 30 says, “And those He predestined, He justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” ~CSB
This text is a foundation of instruction. Do not let it depart from you. As you go through this week recite it day and night. Let it get in your heart and soul so that what is written will reveal to you God’s will for your life. And after you allow this text in Romans to guide, lead, and heal you, do the same for other scriptures God reveals to you. Watch, as the Lord conforms you to the image of His One and Only Son. Then you will, “…prosper and succeed in whatever you do…”
In Jesus name I pray for your transformation into the servant that God created you to be.
May God continue to bless you in strength and wisdom on your journey in Jesus name!
Peace & Blessings,
“For I know the plans I have for you” this is the Lord’s declaration “plans for your will-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”~Jeremiah 29:11
When a person plans on buying a dog, this individual will prepare a place in their home for their pet. Whether it be inside the home or a doghouse outside, a special place is prepared for the dog along with food and love.
When a husband and wife are having a child, they prepare a home for that child. They buy the crib, they put the room together, buy pampers, food and milk. This home is prepared for the child by their parents.
Where do we think we get this ‘preparation’ from? This sense of preparation comes from on High. God has seeded in us to do for others what He has planned all along to do for us. God says in the text, “…I have plans for you…” When He created us, the plan for our existence was already laid out according to His plan for the kingdom.
He gave us guardians in this world to raise us, so that He may seed in us through them. We have the decision to listen and learn from those God placed over us. All direction for us that is good comes from above. But sometimes we overthink our situations and make those decisions that take us on other paths. It’s these ‘other’ paths that prolong our blessings.
For example; if that dog purchased by their owner jumped the fence of their home, they would be leaving the ‘place that was prepared and planned for them’. That place was where they would be kept safe. When that pet left that sanctuary, it is forced to live by its knowledge alone. And with little knowledge of life beyond their prepared place, the chances of that pet’s survival are at its minimum.
The same goes for the children as they grow. They have the choice whether to listen and learn from their parents, or, (when they are old enough), make the decision to leave their ‘prepared place’ and go into the world with only the knowledge they have. When they do this immaturely, they begin to walk paths that were not laid out for them by God.
I did that when I was younger, and life got harder for me. I was one who questioned God about why things were happening to me. When I got older and wiser in God’s word, I realized that I strayed from the path God had prepared for me. I strayed away from God’s plans for my life and that path was the only victorious path.
But in both stories, when the pet comes home, it is welcomed with love. When the child who once proclaimed, “I’m grown!”, now with the same lips says, “…I’m sorry, I did not know what I was doing…”, he or she is welcomed with the same open arms of the Lord through their parents. The seed of wisdom is still present in the ‘prepared place’ for them to receive guidance and awareness for their intended paths.
It’s amazing that God said He has plans for us because when we walk in those plans, we are covered and blessed. What is also amazing is what His Son says that confirms our reward of salvation. Jesus says in John 14:2 “…I am going away to prepare a place for you…” There you have it, God prepared plans for you while you walk in blessings in this world and His Son, our Savior, has prepared a place for you in heaven!
Don’t jump the fence. Stay where you are and be the blessing God created you to be. He will move you in His time. May God continue to bless you in strength and wisdom on your journey in Jesus name!
Peace & Blessings,
“I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in His word.” ~Psalm 130:5 (CSB)
This time and these tense situations that we are going through right now are truly trying. I told my children the other day, “I’ve been your age, but I did not go through a pandemic like this at your age. The two of you are going through something that I can’t give you advice on based on my experience at your age.”
We have been enduring ‘staying at home’ and not being able to enjoy our normal routines. It is getting to the point now that some of us are reaching our limits and saying, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this!”
Our finances are being tried; our relationships are being strained and our time as parents with our children are reaching peaks we didn’t know even existed!
Why is all this happening? And how much more CAN we take?
Well I am here to tell you that the belief in ‘God being in control’ is real. Do not ever lose the faith in that. This brought to my spirit that this is a time where God wants ‘His time’ with every single believer. In other words, God wants us all to individually seek Him during this season for direction.
God is working in us, preparing us and strengthening us. Allow Him ‘His’ power in you by believing while you wait. The scripture in Psalm says that we wait for the lord and we do this because we are waiting on deliverance from all that is in us that is not of God.
This waiting period is allowing you to recognize and get rid of idolatry, moral impurity, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, (Galatians 5:19-21); as it strengthens us in our good fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; (Galatians 5:22-23).
This is important because the second part of our Psalm scripture says we, “…wait and put our hope in His word.” What is God’s word on this waiting period?
Its scriptures like 2 Peter 3:9 where it speaks about the wait not being a ‘delay’ as we understand delay in His promises. But it is because of God’s grace, mercy, and patience that God does not, “…want any to perish but all to come to repentance.
This time we are going through right now, is a period where God is delaying His judgment on us because He ‘wants’ us to get it right! He wants us to have that chance to be with Him in the kingdom!
Understand and believe that this waiting period is not us waiting on God, rather it is Him waiting on us!
Let’s take this time, regardless of the pandemic, regardless of our financial status, regardless of what our relationships look like, let us take this time to heal, transform and rebuild our hearts and mind to live in peace, embrace love for one another and know with all our hearts and minds that God loves us and will not leave us fallen.
He created us to stand and live abundantly!
May God continue to bless you in strength and wisdom on your journey in Jesus name!
Peace & Blessings,
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and there were the Egyptians coming after them! The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the to the Lord for help.” ~Exodus 14:10 (CSB)
Have you ever read stories in the bible and wondered why faith seemed to be lost even after witnessing great miracles?
For example, in the text above the Israelites had witnessed the power of God through the ten plagues and their release from Pharaoh as his slaves. Through Moses God promised them their freedom and through Moses they were on their way to the promised land.
When we read this, we say, “How could they doubt? With everything they just witnessed, how can they doubt God’s love and power in setting them free?” In their defense, the ‘Red Sea’ appeared to be very intimidating. But the situation of them being between the Red Sea and the pursuing of Pharaoh's Army is not different than what we are facing as God’s children today.
If you notice, our faith is being defeated by our fleshly desire to be afraid and live in fear. The ‘Red Sea’ in Exodus is like the frustrations of facing life as we know it coming to a complete halt!
Just like the Old testament believers, Satan has us so worried because in front of us, we may run out of food and behind us that terrible virus is coming rapidly for us. This is our ‘Pharaoh/Red Sea’ situation.
I’m here to tell you to rebuke that feeling of doubt and despair. My Father says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that He, “…has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound mind (judgment).”-CSB
We must believe in Him and not lean more on our own understanding of what we take into our eye gates. Know and believe that God has already covered us in the blood of His Son Jesus. But that covering is only good if we accept the coverage.
How do we do that? We take action in what God has given us. Through ‘sound judgment’ we need to change our perspective about what’s going on in the world today. With the ‘power’ God has given us in our hearts and minds we must change what the enemy is telling us is tragedy; and understand that God is allowing us opportunity to show Him how much we love and trust Him. That's not a tragedy...that's strategy! #praisebreak
Yes, it is easy to give Him praise when our mortgage and/or rent is paid, and we are living our best life. But we need to give Him the same praise during times like these because when you ‘accept the coverage’, you will be covered the same in bad times as you are in the good times. That’s called good insurance...when you have God's assurance!
This is a time of opportunity for the believers! A time to give God praise for what He has done; is doing and will do in our lives as we live according to our purpose for the kingdom. And when we do this, we will witness God perform the miracle of recovery and restoration just as He did for the Israelites.
Don’t try and figure it out, because just like the Israelites didn’t know God was going to open up the Red Sea for them to walk through safely, you have no idea how He’s going to get you through today’s challenge. Just believe and give Him the praise and glory because nothing is impossible for our Father!
May God continue to bless you on your journey in Jesus name, Amen.
Peace & Blessings,
-Billy & Yolanda
“When a woman is in labor; she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world.” ~John 16:21 (CSB)
We all know that ‘ONE’ traffic light we run into on the way to work, home or any road we travel by car daily. As you approach it and it turns yellow you drive a little faster because you know if you don’t make it through before it turns red, you will be sitting at it for a long time. Too late!
The light turns red and you are stuck. Every word, (that’s not in the bible), comes to mind because you don’t like being stuck at the light. Then something amazing happens; the light turns green. And most of us don’t realize this but after the light turns green, you pull off and continue your drive, you never think about that light again.
All the stress you went through while waiting on the light has disappeared. You made it through your delay now the worry you had is gone. That’s the same way life is when you are going through your trials.
When you are suffering and enduring, the time seems so long. But that endurance builds character and that character gives you the strength you need to receive your gifts in blessing from God. The example of the ‘traffic light’ brings light to another thought, (no pun intended).
Just as you forget the struggle you had while waiting on the light after you leave it; in the same way we forget what God has done for us when we suffered during our past trials and tribulations. That’s right, there was a time in your past where you prayed and hoped relief would come. And what seemed like forever at that time, turned into a second when the Lord showed up and pulled you through.
Just like the ‘traffic light’ the stress of the trial disappeared in the newfound joy after the storm.
It is important that we remember those times we are stuck at our ‘red lights’ during our times of struggle. It will remind us, when we run into our next trial, that trouble doesn’t last always. In this we become stronger Christians.
Just as the text says in John, the pain exists because it is your time, but as soon as the spiritual fruits of that labor are born, you will no longer remember the pain because of the joy birthed from your endurance. This joy will outshine all misery and give light to new direction leading you out of that valley you were in!
Always remember what God has done for you. Give the Lord a shout of praise for his grace, mercy, power and forgiveness! Because He didn’t have to do it, but He did. Amen
Peace and Blessings,
Billy & Yolanda
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.