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.
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ CSB
Today we are going to talk about the power of prayer. There is a difference between the ‘action of asking’ and prayer. Usually, (not always), when we ask, “Hey, how are you doing today?” We are expecting a quick response like, “I’m great, how are you?” this is usually followed by a conversation on an entirely different subject.
But when we ask, “How are you doing?” and we get the response that leads into a detailed description of how they are really doing, we rarely listen. “Oh, it’s funny you asked. My back is acting up, my legs hurt, I don’t know why I get these headaches and I haven’t been sleeping well.” We usually respond, “I am so sorry to hear that. Listen…” then we go into another conversation changing the subject.
The ‘action of asking’ is what we are doing. A term of endearment if you will. There is no concern, not because we don’t care, but usually we are already thinking of what we want to talk about other than, ‘how they are doing’.
On the other hand, I remember a time when I asked my mom for some money. At the time I was a single parent and I needed help. I presented a detailed need for why I was asking for money. Because it was going to my child my mother trusted me to do what I said I was going to do, and she gave me the money. In other words she answered my request because the request was genuine and directed.
This is the way we need to be when we pray. This is the difference between the ‘action of asking’ and prayer. Prayer is being mindful of what you are asking the Almighty and concentrating on every word sent to Him as a request.
Prayer is ‘knowing’ that what you are asking God, will be done by Him. It says it in verse 6, “…prayer and petition…” must be intertwined with ‘…thanksgiving…” Just as I knew my mother was going to come through for me because she had done so in the past, ‘know’ what God will do for you because of what He has done for you in the past.
Simply put, prayer is a request in the name of Jesus; (meaning it is a request that God can get behind); followed by the knowledge that it will be done by the Father because it benefits the kingdom. And after the request has been granted, we must give God the glory always. This is a long way from being an ‘action of asking’. It is a request for the blessing that is already yours.
And after we have practiced and formed the ‘good’ habit of prayer, God will give us His peace. Verse 7 continues, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Our prayers, properly prayed, will lead to our peace given to us as a gift, in addition to what we asked for by a Father who loves us so much. How about that?
What a blessing. Give God the praise as you walk in His Son’s precious name.
Psalm 118:7-8 “The Lord is my helper, therefore, I will look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humanity.” ~CSB
Have you ever awakened in the morning and felt great, just to have that joy taken from you during your morning travel to work? Or just got off a great call with a loved one just to run into someone that turned your emotions deep in the negative? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can take control of that.
God’s intent is not for you to suffer but to learn from all that happens to you. With Him everything will turn out for the good of the kingdom when you follow Him and not fall victim to the influences of the world. Let me show you.
First, everything must be looked at from a spiritual perspective. The person who insults you, tactfully degrades you, or who’s actions turn your day to a bitter feeling of stress and worry, you must know that it is not the person’s fault.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” ~CSB
Some of us, our minds are easily influenced by the circumstances of situations around us. Minds easily stressed when prodded by the actions of others in this world. These actions can be done right in front of us or miles away in a distance country. Even in that distance, we find out on social media it’s influence is strong enough to tear into our soul and strike us with enough fear to cause us to act out negatively with one another.
The devil’s playground in full effect. All used to discredit the cause of Christ. The devil’s influence is there to keep the Christian from having hope; to keep the Christian from depending on the Father for guidance and protection; to breakdown, kill and destroy the Christian’s foundation so that he will no longer exist and become a lost child of the darkness.
Do not fear my brothers and sisters. Hold your head up and lean on the text above when it says in verse 7, “…I will look in triumph on those who hate me.” Remember, it is not their fault for being influenced. The enemy will easily take hold of a mind powered by fleshly desire. But a mind guided by the Spirit of the Lord will protect you from that influence. Remember what Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.” ~CSB
It is better to know that God’s power is bigger than anything the world attempts to throw at you to make you fear it. God’s protection will always keep you safe from the weapons formed against you by the powers of the darkness. Trust in the Lord because His Word is true. Man, being influenced, is not. Therefore, cannot harm you if you do not let it.
It is so fitting to end this devotion with Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~CSB
May the Lord continue to guide and keep you protected and healed on your journey in Jesus’ name.
Proverbs 1:8 “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching…”
Being a good father takes time and practice. But how do you practice without instruction? You can’t. Some of us take life’s lessons as instruction. But did you know that God blessed all of us with His instruction?
For example, there are steps to follow toward each blessing God has for you. Since we are approaching Father’s Day, let’s look at the steps toward being a good father. In order to be a good father, you have to first be a good husband. In order to become a good husband, you have to become a good man. And you cannot become a good man until you have learned to be a good son.
I don’t know about you but becoming a man was hard for me because I missed the first step in becoming a good son. This is the stage where we learn to listen even if we don’t want to. We ‘do’, even when we don’t want to and we learn, even when we have a problem with the teacher.
This step is missed because we as boys think our parents, don’t know what’s going on with kids today. We label our parents old fashion and not ‘hip’ to what kids are about today. But little do we know…(that’s enough said right there), “…very little we know…” at that age. This is why it is so important to learn to be a good son first, before we level up.
It's funny because I didn’t realize, until I was married with children, that a part of my marriage issues was that I skipped the steps in being a good son, man, and husband before becoming a father. I didn’t take the Word of God as it said, “Listen to your father’s instruction…” and learn.
I realized that I, “…rejected my mother’s teaching…” so I didn’t learn how to be a good husband. Missing those steps just added to the mixture of failure in becoming a good father. The steps in manhood are important and should not be skipped. So, what do we do about it now?
We learn what we missed and lead our children so that they understand the importance of the steps in becoming a good man and a good woman. Go to the Word of God and follow the Father’s instructions right where we are in life. We cannot fix ourselves, but we can allow God to heal and provide us with wisdom.
Read scriptures of instructions like Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” ~CSB Let us as men imitate the Father in heaven as he says to us in 2 Corinthians 6:18 “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” ~CSB
The Word of God for the people of God is our instruction for all things. If we missed steps in our lives, lean on the Lord for guidance to receive the wisdom we missed. This way we can learn to use the tools God created in us to do the work He prepared for us on our journey toward the kingdom; and in all that He has for us. These blessings are promised to us by God, but we must learn how to receive, maintain, and pass the blessings on to others by leaning on Him for instruction.
May God continue to bless you with His healing power, wisdom and protection as you journey in Jesus’ name.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~CSB
In my lifetime, I noticed success was either harder to achieve or not achievable because I always looked pass my steps to the goal and focused on the end of the journey. My focus on the end, or the big picture, caused me to miss certain steps I needed to take while on the journey.
For example, when I would run long distance, I remember coming up on a long road. Now I would run three to five miles daily, but when I came to a long road where I could see in the distance the next turn or hill, I would get frustrated.
I would see all the road between me and that point, and many things would go through my mind. “Man, do I really want to run that far? I could be doing other things right now.” While these thoughts were going through my mind, I would stumble because I would trip on a rock I didn’t see, I would step in a pothole, I would almost twist my ankle as a result of stepping off the side of the road.
All this happened because I was focused on the end, instead of the steps. Jesus has given us the blueprint for success in Matthew. “…don’t worry about tomorrow…” When I was looking at the end of the road, that view was my version of ‘tomorrow’. “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Each day was each ‘step’. And that step had that rock I tripped on while focusing on the end of the road.
If I had focused on my steps, in other words, focused on my ‘day’, I would have noticed that rock, I would have noticed that pothole on my journey to my goal. When the scripture reads, each day has enough trouble of its own not only refers to the negative of life’s journey, but it also stands for lessons and blessings God has prepared for you on your journey in Jesus’ name. Don't miss the blessings by looking too far ahead.
God trains His servants, His children, in the way of the Word but we miss a lot of our homework, our lessons and our blessings because we are so focused on the vision God gave us in our hearts instead of the steps it takes to get to that point.
We must take each step in every day to receive what God is giving us, blessing us with and allowing us to notice what He may be pulling us out of or away from. This is especially important because when we know what God is doing for us, we begin to know where He is leading us. Down a path He prepared for us long ago.
May God continue to bless and keep you safe, healed and guided as we journey in His Son Jesus’ name.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 “…because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your benefit…” ~CSB
Now this text is powerful and should be taken in by your spirit automatically. For example, I had tickets to a Prince concert years ago when He came to Nashville. It was the concert where he had gotten the rights back to sing and play all the songs he had written. When I tell you, that concert was awesome from beginning to the end when he sang his famous ‘Purple Rain’.
I remember standing where I was seated when Prince came out. Everyone, (not only the ones that were around me), were on their feet. The singer did not ask for anyone to stand on their feet at any time during the three-hour concert, but no one sat during the entire show. Everyone took in what was being presented to them. And we all took home the energy from that concert.
This text should do the same for us in our daily lives. It should do this because in verse 4 of this same text, Paul says that “For we know…that He has chosen you.” This gospel of Christ did not just come to us who have been chosen by “…word only…” This means don’t get caught up with just reading the Word like you would any other book. When I spoke of the concert above, it shows you we take in what the flesh agrees with and loves.
It is time to allow the spirit to show you what to take in because of what ‘it’ loves. And if you let it, you will be pulled by the ‘spiritual’ desire to know that the word is more than just words. It is power, as explained in verse five. This power will ease pain in us physically, mentally and grow strength in our spirits that will allow us to endure any and all things of this world.
This power is guaranteed, and this is confirmed in verse five when the text reads, “…with full assurance.” If you have just read this, you should have felt something. You should have experienced a feeling of confidence in the Lord’s work in you. It is a guarantee of God’s promises. And if you need further proof, continue as Paul directs you when he speaks of himself.
He says, “You know how we lived among you for your benefit…” His actions, his convictions about Jesus even in times where he suffered at the hands of non-believers who attempted to shut him up about the truth. He lived a life of a chosen disciple of God, and it showed in his actions.
If you are looking for confirmation, walk this way in your life. Stay strong in your belief about God’s Word, God’s power, and that shows that you believe God will do what He says He will do. When others see this in you, they will not only believe, but they will realize that they were also chosen by the Father.
What a great work God will accomplish in us when we walk this way, the way we ‘live among others’. I pray God’s peace, protection, and guidance for you as you walk in the name of Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” ~CSB
Cooking is something I love to do. I am thankful for the desire to make delicious food because I can become a source for that particular taste that my family and I enjoy. Let me explain. I would go to a restaurant and taste an entrée and say to myself, “This right here is good! If I could just make this at home, we wouldn’t have to come back here to eat it.
That restaurant becomes a ‘resource’ because when my family and I crave that particular dish we go to that place, (that resource), to satisfy our craving. But when I learn to create the dish myself at home and can make that dish available to the family anytime, I become the ‘source’. I no longer need the resource because I can satisfy my craving for that taste of food under my own power.
Now let us look at this as it refers to being knowledgeable about Jesus Christ. Instead of focusing on memorizing our favorite scripture text, we should focus on knowing who Christ is. Tony Evans says in his Study Bible that, “It is not information about Jesus that will deliver you. It is Jesus who will deliver you.”
The information is the ‘resource’, the knowledge that ‘gets you there’. But when you get there, you need to be able to pull your own recipe for a blessing. Only ‘knowing’ God and The Son can do that for you. God is in us. Walking in the image of His Son allows us to create our own blessing recipes and allow the Source of the Lord’s power to work in us.
In other words, knowing the Son of God always supersedes walking around with just the information about Him. Knowing Him allows that power to come full circle in our hearts and allows the strength of our spirit to take over and tame our flesh.
It will allow us to receive God’s ‘peace’ during any storm that may attempt to toss our ships. This storm may be able to blow away the ‘information’ you have about the Savior, but it will just bounce off the power of 'knowing' Him every time. Why?
Because peace is the foundation of finding all solutions and the conqueror of chaos. When we know Him as the Lord of peace, then we can receive that peace from Him not only in our time of need, but also in our times of mediation and thanksgiving. It is during these times we mend our wounds from our trials and receive the blessings God always had in mind to give us when we are ready.
Paul prayed this for all believers. His prayer stands for you and me also. May God give us, “…peace always in every way. May God be with all of you.” Instead of going back and forth to a resource, (living on just information about God), let us learn from this text to tap into the ‘Source’, by knowing our Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. When we do this, we allow God to create that ‘dish of peace’ we crave so much, at anytime we crave it.
May the Lord always protect and guide you as you journey in Jesus’ name.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!”
This text brings to mind a dark time in my life. 98% of that time I was in the vice of my alcohol addiction I was in denial. I refused to admit or say I had a problem drinking. I argued with my wife, I lied to her about quitting and when I got frustrated, I yelled telling her I had it under control. The addiction mixed with the denial covered up an anger I didn’t know about.
But it was that 2% that saved my life. That 2% that that was revealed to me when God’s Word began to strengthen my spirit. That 2% was my confession. The day I confessed, what my spiritual eyes saw, is the day that began my transformation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, even though I confessed, there was still a cloud of doubt surrounding me. My confession was the spirit telling me that God was in control. But my flesh wanted me to continue to see what was in front of my ‘physical’ eyes. My flesh was telling me, “…you’ve been drinking hard now for over 24 years. How do you think you can stop? You have to have a drink every single day now. You are too weak to quit and get better.”
This is what I was faced with. The chaos of the text was my darkness. If your fig tree is your only source of food and does not produce fruit; If your olive crop is your only source of provision for your livelihood and it fails. My addiction for alcohol had its time to grow and embed itself in my flesh. This dark journey went on for so long, I couldn’t visualize a day without it. 98% of of the fear entangled in our personal being is a result of everything going on in and around us.
But if we hang on to that 2% of faith, the strength of our spirit will overpower that 98% of doubt. How? Because when we “…celebrate in the Lord…” and “…rejoice in the God of salvation…” we allow the power of God to lay a miracle of healing on anything going on in and around us! His mighty hand will lay on our issue and allow that issue to become a blessing.
Because of my testimony about my addiction, I can now allow others going through similar addictions to see victory through their darkness. They can see in me God’s miracle of forgiveness, love and protection. Because my 2% was my praise in God, that 2% was strong enough to save my life!
I pray God’s power in your 2%. Hold on to your faith and watch the Word make it grow.
May God continue to bless you with His power and strength 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.