Isaiah 49:15 “…Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” ~NLT
On national TV the other day I saw a man apologize to his wife because he left the freezer open. He was apologizing because all the breast milk she had stored for their baby had melted and gone bad. Now as a man, I never understood, but one of the female reporters explained it well.
She said that as a mother, the process of their body producing milk is painful. Every ounce of milk produced from them is important as they save it for the baby. The reporter stated that being upset about losing a weeks’ worth of milk by leaving the freezer open is not only upsetting but unacceptable. But she was surprised and appreciated the action of husband apologizing on national TV.
The mother’s anger toward her husband for leaving the freezer open, was in consideration of the child. The mother’s pain in carrying the child for nine months, the pain in birthing the child and the painful healing process after birth is an unbreakable bond for a mother and that child. They both went through something together and the love present is the foundation for that unbreakable bond.
With that said, anything that requires blood, sweat and tears forms a bond for those who go through it together. When I went to boot camp at Fort Jackson, I met some great soldiers. I have many friends and I keep in touch with those I met in my military career, but I have not seen or been in contact with any of those I met at boot camp. But because of the blood sweat and tears we went through together; I won’t forget them.
Going back to the ‘mother and child’ bond. Understand that the mother’s side of the bond is stronger. The child was not understanding of the pain when it was born. The child sometimes grows up not being grateful for the mother’s love because it did not share in the pain and was unaware of the experience of the blood sweat and tears.
This is how we as God’s children are with the Father. We were unaware when He created us. We were unaware of the world and its history and because of that history God was creating us for the purpose of making this world better. The mother’s love for her children comes from God’s agape love for His children.
God says in the text above that even if it is possible for a mother not to love her child, He will still love us. Just as a child should trust its mother, we should trust the Father as He guides us in our lives. We should look to the Father for His direction in the purpose He created in us for our involvement in His plan and control for this world we live in.
I say this all the time; if we really knew just how much God loves us, we would not worry, doubt or live in fear in this world. Even though we go through the blood, sweat and the tears, know that God made us strong enough to endure, because that painful journey produces the good fruits of God’s plan for us all. Just like the precious fruit of a baby to a mother who endured the pains of labor.
May God bless and keep you as you journey in Jesus’ name,
Place a hula-hoop down at your feet, step in it and consider those you would allow in that circle. When you look at it, it is a very small circle. So maybe you would say your spouse. Your children, maybe even your parents because that is such an intimate space.
Now widen it. Who would you allow in that circle? Friends, certain co-workers, family members you feel close with. Now put some distance between you and this next group. This is going to be your biggest circle, with the most distance. Let’s talk real feelings and emotions, who would you place here?
That person that talks a lot and you just can’t get away from. That person you feel gossips a lot and tells all your business. How about those family members you do not get along with but must have a relationship because they are family? Those co-workers that you don’t see eye to eye with. It’s obvious that this circle is for all of those you do not care to socialize with even if you must maintain some kind of relationship with them.
Think really hard about your circles. Then think even harder about the command you were given as a Christian. Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” ~CSB
When you refer to this text in Mark, this sets you up for your spiritual cleansing. You see it’s not about you or how you feel about a person, it is about your purpose and that person’s purpose. One may need the other to get the ‘kick-start’ they need to live in that purpose. If you deny a relationship with someone, regardless of how you feel about them, you are denying another of God’s children to be seeded by Him through you. And God will do this seeding through the love you have for that person. Therefore “…loving your neighbor…” is a command because it is a conduit for the Lord to work His miracle.
The next Word from the Lord to help us as we ponder our circles, is found in Matthew 28:19, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” In a way that only God can do, allow Him to teach, train and bring awareness of His great power in miracles through the testimony of what He has done for us. Our testimony about God in our lives mixed with God’s gospel is the foundation of your purpose for the kingdom.
That person we are trying to avoid because they talk too much, may have a blessing hidden in their words for our direction. That family member we wrote off may need God to reveal Himself through the love He created in us to give them so that they can become aware of the purpose that is inside them.
In other words, God did not give us the authority to decide who we place in those circles that we have created. It is God who decides who crosses our paths. And those paths are crossed for God to do a good work in us as well as those we encounter in our lives. We may not like the situations. But do not let those situations keep you from being a witness to the victory at the end of those encounters because this is how God shows the non-believing world He exists. And He choses to use you and I to do that. What an honor!
May God bless and keep you as you continue your journey in Jesus’ name,
“There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish — but what are they for so many?”
John 6:9 CSB
I’m writing today’s devotional as I sit here watching my son warm up to play in his team’s football game. He is in middle school, and I am really proud of the athlete he is. He is little, but he accomplishes a lot. Last week he asked me, “Dad, do you think I’ll make it to the NFL?” My response to him, “Son, you can do whatever you put your mind to.” But in my mind, I had already quit on him. My immediate thought was how can he make it? All the kids that play football at this age won’t make the pros. My perspective was negative. Mainly because the world has shown me that the odds were against my son making the pros.
But I did look at the other perspective. I thought, all who play in the NFL once played at the age my son is. There was something special about those who excelled and made it. Those individuals realized their gifts. They spent their lives sharpening their skills and strengthening their talents so they could be the best at what they do.
God may bring us to a point in life and instead of us feeling that the task is too great for what 'little' we have. We must remember that He is our creator and has already given us all we need for the situation He has brought us to. This is my job as a father; to raise my son in knowing that his gifts come from above. And although he may be good now, he has to continue to sharpen his skills to make God’s gift in him stronger.
That young man in the text came to the services that day with just his lunch. That’s all he had. But God took that gift, and through His Son, feed 5000 people. That young man’s ‘little’ became bigger than the problem. And through that miracle everyone saw that God was in the house!
You should be excited when God puts you in the position of the miracle. My son for example, by me telling him he can do whatever he puts his mind to, I said this knowing that it’s my job to teach him to put God first.
When he does that, he then realizes what he has in strength and talent, he received from God. Being grateful for these gifts, he will work hard to keep his skills sharp so that the Lord can use him to teach and bless the world in His own way, not my son’s and not mine.
Now my perspective is clear and positive, if it’s God’s will, it will happen. God will take the little bit my son has and make it bigger than the problems of the world. Let God do that with you. Tell the devil that God has made you bigger than any problem and watch the Lord prove that to everyone around you. Just like He did with the boy with the five loaves and two fish.
By the way, my son caught the game winning touchdown tonight. As I pray that God Will teach him how to use his gifts for the kingdom, I equally pray God will bless others through you as you learn to use what you have from Him.
May God bless and keep you as you journey in Jesus’ name.
1 Peter 4:10 “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” ~NLT
I played football from 5 years old to 12th grade. I developed into a very impressive cornerback and strong safety. Often, I thought I would become a professional football player but that dream never happened. Why don’t some things fall in place when the chances look so good? Maybe it’s because if it’s not in God’s plan, we should be happy those things don’t happen.
On the other hand, little did I know, that during the same time I trained so hard to play football, I was spiritually being trained to do something else. In elementary school I drew comic books. I used to pass them around to my friends in school and they would read them. I would always leave them ‘hanging’ at the end of the comic so that they would want to read the next one.
I continued to draw in High School but no longer drew comics. Drawing and writing comic books were the foundation that would later lead me to another type of writing. During the late 80’s and mid-90’s, I wrote three books. I never published these books but instead wrote them as a hobby.
It wasn’t until 2017 when God would show me why He trained me spiritually in the ‘literary arts’ for all those years. I co-wrote with my wife our first published book concerning marriage ministry. Later that year I began to write devotionals. God allowed me to use my testimonies and mix them with His Word to serve others and allow Him to save lives through my actions in writing. This is a gift God has given me and I gratefully accept. In other words, even if I wanted something else for my life, if God is not in the plan, I don’t want it.
Think about this: if you feel stuck in an area you are strong in, search yourself through God’s Word and see if that’s really where God wants you to be. Just because we may be good in the area we are in, doesn’t necessarily mean we are on the ‘path prepared’ for us.
The scripture above says “Based on the gift each one has received…” The gift given from above was given from, “…His great variety of spiritual gifts…” and must be recognized. Each one of us has a gift from His variety of spiritual gifts. Our own custom-made gifts for Him to use through us for our own individual purpose in this world. This gift will not allow us to be ‘stuck’. Instead, this gift will allow us to bring meaning, light and hope to those God places in our path.
This gift can only be used if received. I didn’t receive the gift of written testimony until I submitted and gave my life to Christ. It was then the Lord allowed me to realize that I had this gift from Him all the time. Scriptures saved my life and made me aware of the beauty in an otherwise dark world. We all have access to that.
A great tool for seeking God’s Word for direction is through devotionals. Feel free to grab a copy of my new book, ‘Testimonies of Faith and Encouragement: A Weekly Devotional’ at this link: bit.ly/testimoniesoffaith
Allow God to take you to your place of purpose, so that you can be aware of the beauty of God’s existence and His power as He uses you to save lives. May God continue to bless you with His healing, direction, and love as you walk in Jesus’ name.
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” ~Genesis 12:1 NLT
Last week we talked about “Disciplining the Desire” and how the effects of not getting caught feeds our flesh in wanting to continue to do wrong. Today we are going to talk about the consequences of those actions as it relates to God’s will for our lives. God created us in His image and with a purpose for the kingdom that He has every intention to use us for. Are we ready for our change of direction?
Last week I talked about me getting caught taking my mom’s car. I said in that devotion that I got into some “serious life changing trouble”. My life changed as a result of that punishment as I was spiritually set in another direction. What I didn’t cover last week was that I was living with my mother and stepfather. I was a young son/stepson that was giving his mom and stepfather a hard time because of the ‘you are not my daddy’ syndrome.
Well this last attempt at rebellion was a ‘last straw’ for my mom. The agreement had been made that I leave Alabama, the home of all my grade school and middle school education, football career, friends and family, and return to the city of my birth to live with my father for my high school years. Basically leaving my, ‘…native country…’ and everything I knew and was used to.
In the text above, Abraham was directed by God to trust Him and leave everything he knew. The trust and faith were so strong that Abraham didn’t know where he was going. He was just given an order to leave, and he did. He walked his journey trusting in God. And the results of that included him leading God’s people to the promise land.
I didn’t see this when I was directed. I was young and not in God’s Word enough to recognize what was happening to me, but the spirit God gave me guided me. I was able to walk my journey. Even though I didn’t know what was ahead. Even though I was scared at times, I was protected and allowed to make decisions good and bad. But everything I went through came together in the purpose God created in me.
You see, if I had remained where I was, I would have never been in the position to be used in the places God intended for me to be. If I had stayed in Alabama, I would have never attended the historic Pearl High school and met the friends that I hold dear to this day. If I had stayed in Alabama, I would not have attended historic Fisk University and met the friends and fraternity brothers I hold dear. If I had stayed in Alabama, I would not have joined the Army and developed the relationships and received the training and experience that helped develop the qualities required for the strong foundation needed to support the man I would become.
All of this allowed me to become the man I became in Christ almost 30 years later. My life, my wife and my children may not be as they are had I not accepted ‘change’. When I embraced the change in my life, God turned my short comings into huge blessings. For that I am forever grateful. God’s Miracles only happen in His time and in His area of choice. That is why when God says move, we must move. We may not like some of the aspects of the journey, but these aspects play an important role in our Christian development.
May God continue to bless and keep you under His protection on your journey in Jesus’ name.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 “Because the sentence against an evil act is not carried out quickly, the heart of people is filled with the desire to commit evil.”
When I was in middle school, I lived in the country in the middle of nowhere. My nearest friends lived about five miles away. At first, I would get on my bike and ride those five miles to visit them. They, from time to time, did the same. But it was the nighttime that would draw me into an area where I would get in trouble in the future. Some nights I would be on the phone talking to them and since they all lived in the same neighborhood, they would get together and hang out and play. I wanted to be with them. So I came up with a plan.
First night: Now it was too dark to ride my bike, so I got creative. After my parents went to sleep, I took my mother’s keys that were hanging on the keyring in the kitchen. The carport was an open bay and was literally right in front of my parents’ window. I put the car in neutral and pushed the car far enough to start it without being heard. I drove to the neighborhood where my friends lived and partied. (Yes, I did this as a middle school kid).
On the way back home, it was late, and I was praying, “Please don’t let me get in trouble! Please don’t let me get in trouble.” I also remember saying, “If I get out of this, I won’t do it again.” I pulled up to my dark home. All lights off. I was smooth as I turned the car off while coasting down the driveway to the original parking spot under the carport. I eased out of the car and closed the door quietly. I was able to sneak back into the house, into my pajamas and into my bed. The next morning, I didn’t get in trouble. My parents and my sister did not know I had been out. It was because I didn’t get in trouble, I threw everything out about ‘not doing it again’. Instead I was planning my next adventure. I think I pulled the journey off a few more times until I was eventually caught. And when I got caught, I got into some serious life changing trouble.
This is what happens to us all the time. We do things we know we are not supposed to do because in our eyes we get away with it. We think if the repercussions from what we do don’t come then they wont’ come at all. This is not true. Especially if your audience is God.
What really occurs is the fleshly desire to continue to do wrong. Because we haven’t gotten caught, this desire pulls at us resulting in us going forward in a sinful way. For example, I know a few co-workers that thought they could get away with drinking heavy the night before coming into work. This has occurred often because so many days they have gotten away with having hangovers at work, thinking no one noticed. Until that one day they came into work and finally had to deal with the consequences because someone noticed.
We do these acts in our marriages. Just because our spouse doesn’t say anything, doesn’t mean we aren’t caught. We do these acts to our children. We think we act angrily, ungodly and sinful and our children don’t notice. But when they grow older, we see the results of their noticing our short comings in their depressions, addictions and failed relationships.
We must rid ourselves of this desire to do evil. When we know wrong, avoid it. When we know what not to do, don’t do it. And when we know God would not be pleased, seek his blessing by doing good. Because unlike my parents concerning their car, God is always watching.
May God continue to bless and keep you safe in His Son’s precious name,
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.”
Have you ever sent a text that was intended for someone, but you accidently sent it to someone else? If it is a grocery list, or if you are sending a spiritual greeting to someone, it should be okay. But when you send something personal that is only meant for one person and you end up sending it to another, well now that's embarrassing. Sometimes scary because those texts cannot be deleted or retrieved so the words go out never to return.
How about if you are on the phone with someone you are trying to get off with; they finally hang up and you proceed to express how you really feel about that person. After a full on ‘vent’, you look at your phone and realize they have not hung up. They are actually listening and heard every negative thing you just said about them. These are words you cannot take back.
The text and the continued conversation on the phone will always be with the person who received the negative spiritual comments that you gave. Those actions cannot be erased. But it doesn’t mean you can’t create positive spiritual actions going forward.
After all is said and done; after the trials and troubles of this World show their ugly faces, “…the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands…” This is for all of us. The following is a passage from Tony Evans from his Commentary Bible regarding this scripture:
“The truth applies to everyone. You are not an exception. “For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” Life isn’t over when it’s over. The actions of humanity—good and evil—are all on tape. And while you can’t erase what’s on your tape, you can create new and better footage. As long as you draw breath, the recorder is still running. Therefore, don’t waste your days.”
We cannot worry about not being forgiven when God holds healing power; we must focus on walking in Christ from the point of the negative action, on. God will allow the healing and the direction when His children decide to walk on their own free will in His way. He will allow us all to come together and all our mistakes, short comings and ways that were not of God, will be transformed into positive testimony of what God has brought us through and what He has brought together.
Remember, we are not to let the confusion of the trials of this world, take our focus off the fact that our fear is not in the world and all its ways of ungodliness. The fear should arise in God, (knowing that there is no problem bigger than Him.) And that He will bring every act done by man to judgment. So while the ‘recorder is still running’, make sure your actions count in making this world a better place.
It is never too late to walk in Christ. Take this walk one day at a time, training yourself with the Word so that you do not fall back into the ways of you past. (Psalm 199:133 “Guide my steps by Your Word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” ~NLT)
May the Lord continue to bless you and all He places in your path to be touched by Him through you,
2 Corinthians 4:4 “In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” ~CSB
When God created us, He created us with a purpose. He created us with everything we need to succeed in His plan for our lives. The enemy knows this That is why in the text, the enemy is referred to as ‘the god of this age’. In the text it says that he has, “…blinded the minds…”. And even though the text says he has done this to the ‘unbelievers’. Think about what his worldly influence has done and will do to those of us who believe.
For me it was my ego, anger, and alcohol. The world taught me that I wasn’t going to let anyone say anything to me that I felt was an insult. I wasn’t going to be outdone by the next one. I didn’t have an anger issue, (that’s what I told myself). I was just speaking my mind when I yelled or kept someone from talking or giving their opinion.
And as far as the drinking, I would always say I only had ‘two or three’ drinks. I was a grown man; and I could handle my liquor. When we take stands like these, we are allowing ourselves to fall into the world and way of the enemy. Just because another individual challenges our manhood or position in life, we don’t always have to respond in a way that is not of God.
But the world has taught us, we do. Non-believers don’t know any other way, but those of us who are Christians, well, we soon forget what the Word has taught us. That devil, because we allow him control of our flesh, ‘blinds’ us to the gospel that tells us God says to love our neighbors, enemy and friends alike, (Matthew 5:44; 22:39).
Whenever you get to that place in life where you feel you are about to walk in ‘ungodly’ territory; meaning you are about to do, say or act in a way that is ungodly to defend yourself, think about where God has brought you and why. The beginning of Chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians says that since we have this blessing of wisdom from God in knowing our purpose because of His love for us, we should not give up. Even though we may remember shameful things, we don’t act on those desires anymore.
But we now walk in God’s eyes, with Him as our only audience knowing that if anyone or anything is attempting to destroy what He has created in us, He will deal with it, not us. He wants us to act according to His will so that He and His glory can be shown in us. This way the unbelievers that cross our paths have a chance at redemption from what they witness in us.
Allow God to reveal Himself to others allowing them the chance to transform on their own free will, just as we did. And just as we received the blessing of forgiveness and love from our Father in heaven, they will as well. Don’t allow the enemy’s influences to blind you from what you already know. Allow what you now to feed your Spirit and make it strong enough for you to always ‘see’ God’s glory and receive His wisdom.
May the Lord continue to keep His unchanging had upon you as you journey in His Son Jesus’ name,
Proverbs 23:12 “Apply yourself to discipline and listen to words of knowledge.”
For years I have gained and lost weight repeatedly. I realized at this point in my life I needed to change my strategy. In October 2012 I decided that instead of focusing on losing weight, (which I needed to do at 300 pounds), I was going to focus on becoming healthy. I began to study how many calories I needed daily, and foods I needed to learn to wean my way off.
Going into the year of 2013, Yolanda saw how serious I was about my health journey, so she supported and surprised me with my first juicer/extractor on Father’s Day 2013. I spent the next year researching for the right nutrients to prepare for my new health journey. One of the ingredients I found to better my blood pressure and heart were raw beets.
The beet was a taste that I could not stand when I first used it in my extractor. Even with the sweet fruits and carrots, you could still taste the beets in the mix. But I knew that if I could incorporate beets in my diet, in the long run my health in the cardiovascular area would be great. My father died of a massive heart attack in 2002 and I was headed for the same fate going in the direction I was going.
Whether I liked it or not I made myself drink beets in my juice every morning. It became so routine that I eventually forgot I didn’t like the taste. And to this day, I crave the taste of the beet in my juice. On the days I run out of beets and must do without, I’ll make a juice with the sweetest fruit, and it tastes so good. But because of the relationship I developed with the beet, I miss it and have the feeling like I’ve fallen short on one day bettering my heart against disease.
This is the way we must be with the Word of God. Our sinful nature keeps us from enjoying the taste of the fruit of God’s Word. In other words, some of us can’t develop an interest in the bible when we first begin to read it. Others of us have a problem with the messengers in the church and refuse to hear the Word coming from them.
Whatever the case, that taste in spirit may be bitter like that beet on my first encounter. But keep adding that taste to your Spirit daily in your life. Eventually you will find that the pages of the bible began to turn just a little bit better. It’s not that you are more interested, but it is because your spirit has grown stronger and It is allowing you to ‘receive’ God’s gift of knowledge and power.
You see with me and health, the beets began to heal me in ways I could not understand. And before I knew it, my doctor visits about my blood pressure were the best I’ve had since I was a teenager. This same blessing will come to you in the form of a transformed life.
When you make the time to get into God’s Word, you allow His healing power to strengthen your spirit so that it will tame your flesh and keep it from denying you your blessing in a God-led, wisdom-filled life! That bitter taste will turn into the best flavor, and you will crave the blessing of the fruit every day for the rest of your life. In fact if you miss a day without the taste of the Word, you will know it and correct it.
May God continue to bless and keep you safe, healed and directed in His Son Jesus Christ,
Zechariah 8:12 “For they will sow in peace: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the skies will yield their dew. I will give the remnant of this people all these things as an inheritance.” ~CSB
When I became a father in the 80’s, I became ‘my’ father. I raised my daughters the way my daddy raised me. I was fun, but I was strict. What I said, I meant and my rules, were my father’s rules. That didn’t work out too well for me as a father.
My second born was so young when her mother and I got divorced. I was a totally different father, man, and husband during that time. As a result, my daughter held resentment towards me and eventually grew to a point where she did not want to forgive me for the kind of father I was in raising her and hurting her mother.
At one point I was told by her not to call anymore. My baby girl who I love very much, wanted to cut off all communication with me. Now this is an area where I could not be a father, like my father. I needed some other direction in the healing of the relationship with my daughter. I am so fortunate that this situation occurred when I was growing in the Word of God daily. It was time for me to become a father like ‘The Father’.
John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” ~CSB My whole life, when it came to my relationships and family, I tried to work it by myself. I didn’t invite Jesus in to help me. Knowing the Word I realized that I was doing this ‘parent thing’ all wrong. God knows my life and my destiny. Therefore He knows the destiny of my children. It is His seeds and His will that need to be planted in my children, not mine.
We need the Lord in our lives to guide us in directing our children. So according to the book of Zechariah, I must first sow seeds in peace, that means allowing God’s presence in my thoughts concerning direction. The Spirit led me to respond to her and reply, “I cannot just disappear from your life because I am your dad. But I will give you your space. I will call you once a month. You do not have to answer, but I will call just the same. Eventually she would answer. We would talk briefly then the conversation would end.
But you see, believing that “…the vine will yield its fruit…” and allowing God to grant me the wisdom to become a better father, along with the healing to soften my daughter’s heart, we began to communicate again. Through the grace of God, she and I began to grow a stronger relationship and to this day we talk to each other almost once a week.
When we trust in His will for us, God says He will give us, “…all these things as an inheritance.” In other words, God has already laid out our paths and charted our destinies. He has blessed us with our children and blessed our children with us. What we must do is stay in sync with God’s plan for our lives so that we are able to pass on the blessings to our children according to the way God’s will is for it, not our own. God’s Word is the blessing in producing the ‘fruit’ that comes from the ‘vine’.
May God continue to bless and keep you covered under His 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.