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.
Mark 9:22-24 “…But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can? Everything is possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” ~CSB
When I was under the vice of my addiction to alcohol I remember when I realized I was losing control. I had one day that I would not drink and that was Sunday. That day I would be in church and later I would be around my Pastor, my mother-in-law, and others for family dinner that evening. Sunday was off limits for drinking.
But the time eventually came when I couldn’t even stop that. I would save me a ‘stash’ of alcohol in the house so when we got back home from dinner, I would sip on something before I went to bed. This was when I realized, I could not control my alcohol consumption for the whole week. Seven days in a row, drinking something.
This was a time in my life when I thought that I would never be able to let go of the alcohol addiction. I would live my days dying a slow death, poisoning my body. Even though I was a ‘church goer’ and ‘worship participator’ I didn’t believe or even allow myself to think about what God could do for me. I didn’t believe and I didn’t pray.
The text above tells the story of a man who brought his son to Jesus to be healed. His son had been possessed by a demon “…from childhood…”(9:21) The man says to Jesus, “…if you can do anything…” See right here, it appears the man is exhausted so much with his son’s circumstances that he may have given up on hope. So much so that he lost faith that even the Son of God could heal him. After all, the text does say that the disciples could not heal the young man.
How often do we as ‘church going’ Christians, put God on the back burner and put our problems out front, giving our troubles the most time and attention? Instead of realizing that it is not under our power that the miracle will take place. No, it is ‘where’ we realize the true power of change and healing will come from and ‘when’ we direct that focus, in prayer, toward that source.
The day I realized, holding a bottle of liquor in my hands, that I could not fight my battle in my own power, was the day the Holy Spirit sent prayers in praise to God that I was ready to be saved. It was my admittance that I wasn’t strong enough to pray, I wasn’t strong enough to let go of my vice and I wasn’t strong enough in my faith, that I had to ask for that strength. And because I couldn’t do it, the gift of the Spirit did it for me and my life was changed!
The text says that Jesus told the man, “…If I can? Everything is possible for the one who believes.” The man’s spirit led him to confess and cry out, “I do believe…” and he admitted that he was not strong enough to ask for help, “…help my unbelief!”
It is time to cry out during your times of struggle! Cry out when the devil tells you that you are done! Cry out to God Who is bigger than your problems, bigger than your fears and bigger than your sickness! He was bigger than the demon in the boy and He is even bigger than the demons in your life. Cry out to the Father and trust him. He will make a way out of no way.
May God continue to bless and keep you on your journey in Jesus’ name,
Galatians 5:16-17 “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” ~CSB
This past weekend I attended a function for the 4th of July weekend. Like most functions they had plenty of food, fun, family, and friends. Now what function wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s favorite beverages.
Alcohol always enhances the mood and adds flavor to the party. But the world is full of individuals, like me, that have a problem controlling how much we drink. Events like these can be so tempting, but on my journey, I learned to ‘…walk by the Spirit…’. In this walk, I am able to see alcohol, smell alcohol on the breath of others and refuse it when offered.
Walking in the spirit has allowed me to live without ‘craving' it. I was able to enjoy my time with family and friends without the unneeded desire to go against my Spirit. You must know that I did not get this way under my own doing. I am so grateful to God because He has not only healed me, but He has trained me to ‘walk by the Spirit’. He gave me, as a gift, the Holy Spirit!
It is that Spirit that allows me to stay opposed to the same things It is opposed to. My vice, my shackles, that addiction I had, was the ‘favor of the flesh’. The scriptures continue in verse 17 and shows you that both oppose each other. The purpose of this is so that you don’t do what you want to do.
For example, when I was under the influence. I remember waking up the next morning with a hangover, and saying to myself over and over again, “I need to stop all this drinking.” But the flesh was stronger. And in its opposition to the Spirit, what I wanted, I was not strong enough, spiritually, to accomplish.
Only God can reverse that condition. Only God can give you to power to tame the flesh. God stepped in and took that craving away from me. Then He blessed me with a ‘band aid’ to help my wound of destruction heal in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Because of the Holy Spirit, my Spirit became stronger than my flesh. Now, my flesh, couldn’t do what ‘it’ wanted to do. In other words, don’t feel bad when you still have little desires that enter your mind after you have been saved. It is not you, it’s your flesh.
Now your flesh is being overpowered by your Spirit. It is now a little easier to resist the flesh and walk in the Spirit. I am here to tell you that I am a witness that God can heal you to the point from where you could not do without, to a place where now you have no need for it. That is God!
Walking in the Spirit is having a strong relationship with the Lord. And that relationship comes from reading His word daily, (like you are doing with this devotion), for guidance, healing and strength. “…Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
May God continue to bless you, keep you and guide 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.