Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:15-26
Focus Scripture: And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21 (NKJV)
“But I don’t really vibe with her like that. I mean, I’m not going to like everyone I come in contact with, right? I don’t hate her, I’m just not too fond of her, that’s all…”
I was trying to justify to God my not so loving feelings I had towards someone in the past.
Then God spoke, in His gentle, small voice, “She’s instrumental in building My Kingdom.”
Have you ever had to interact with someone that you didn’t hate, but you just didn’t like all that much? That, “ I mean they cool, but…” person?
What the Lord was teaching me during this time was, despite the way I feel, everyone is instrumental in building His Kingdom. And because my heart’s desire is to be instrumental in doing so as well, I have to get past my feelings and focus on the purpose.
God cares about relationships. He never created us to navigate this life alone. Everything that we go through is to build His Kingdom and impact the lives of others. 1 Corinthians 15 teaches us that everyone has a role and part in building God’s Kingdom, for His purpose, verse 18. Despite the way we feel, when one person is not playing their role the whole body is out of line. When one person suffers, the entire body suffers. However, when one person is honored, the whole body is to rejoice with them (See verse 26).
Do you have someone in your life that, although you don’t hate him or her, you would prefer to not have to interact with them? Maybe God placed them in your sphere of influence because your experiences could bless them, or vise versa and ultimately God gets the glory.
Prayer: God, it is my desire to be used by You and I realize, that may mean, I have to interact with a number of different people. I confess, there have been times where I wasn’t thrilled about everyone You called me to come in contact with, and for that I ask for Your forgiveness. Thank You for giving me the grace to be able to put my feelings aside in order to focus on the purpose. Now, I ask You to show me how to operate in that grace, so that You may be glorified. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:23-27
Focus Verse: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
Often times we think this scripture is about putting a wall up and guarding ourselves so we don’t experience pain. However, this scripture is about being mindful of what we focus on, entertain and think.
A while ago, I was faced with the question, “What is one’s process of forgiveness without growing bitter?”
2010 was starting out to be a great year, I had moved to DC, started my career, found a church that I loved and started to develop friendships that I knew would last a lifetime. Everything in my life was perfect, or so I thought.
“You have to forgive him.” are the words I heard, one Sunday while driving home from church. I knew exactly what the Holy Spirit was referring to. But I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to forgive my father, I didn’t feel like I needed to. I had adapted to our relationship; no, it wasn’t the best, but it was better than it had been in the past. I had moved on and wanted to put the past behind me.
My childhood wasn’t an easy one. I experienced things that no child should have to; abuse, alcoholism and all the demons that go along with them. Because of this, throughout the years, I harbored a lot of unforgivness and bitterness towards my dad. But God was calling me to a new place, an unfamiliar place. After wrestling with Him, I gave in and began the process of forgiving my father.
During this process this is what I learned:
Bitterness, which stems from unforgiveness, often times occurs because we entertain and replay the wrong that was done to us. Playing out different scenarios, justifying our victimization, which further leads us to justifying our unforgiveness, which then leads to bitterness. But, if we guard our hearts, and make a DECISION to not entertain those thoughts, the actual action, or look at ourselves as “the victim”, and make a DECISION to forgive, bitterness doesn’t have the opportunity to grow. The path to forgiveness begins with making a DECISION to do so.
I could no longer base the action to forgive my father on how I felt because quite frankly, I knew I would never feel like doing so. I had to decide to do so, and make certain my future actions lined up with the decision I made. It wasn’t an easy process, but it was necessary in order for me to move forward, towards all that God had for me.
Has God placed it on your heart to forgive someone that may have wronged you in the past? Have you been trying to move forward but have been unsuccessful because of past experiences? What name/s are coming to mind as you are reading this?
Pray this prayer: Holy Father, thank you so much for speaking directly to my heart. You know exactly what I need, when I need it. God, I have been hurt, but I don’t want to continue to walk in unforgiveness. I want to be whole and begin the process of true forgiveness. Bring to my memory anyone that I have not fully forgiven so that I can begin the process to forgive. Help me to take proper actions that line up with my decision to forgive. I know that alone, I will not be able to accomplish true forgiveness, but I know that with You, I can do all things, so I exchange my weakness for Your strength, in Your son, Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
Bible Reading: 1Peter 5: 8-10
Focus Scripture: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Don’t be fooled, majority of the attacks you encounter are directly related to the impact you are making in the Kingdom.
A few months ago, the Lord led me to pay attention to when and how the enemy attacks me. I was sharing with a friend my faith and things that The Lord has been revealing to me and teaching me. My friend commented on how she was blessed by my testimony and was compelled to start being more intentional with her walk with Christ. As I was praising God and thanking Him, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Be watchful for the attacks that come because of this.” It was then that I became more intentional in learning the patterns of Satan.
This is how it all played out:
I was going through a really rough time, mentally. It came after I made some deliberate decisions, decisions that I believed would strengthen my relationship with Christ and allow me to know Him on a deeper level. I was so excited about those decisions and what God had already started to do on my behalf, that I began sharing with everyone I came in contact with. On one account, while sharing a testimony with a friend, unbeknownst to me, someone else overheard our conversation. It wasn’t until later on that I found out she heard us. She stopped me and said, “I know you weren’t talking to me, but I was listening to what you were saying…” She then proceeded to tell me about the decisions she had started to make with developing her relationship with Christ.
A few days later, when I was talking to another friend, sharing some things, I then realized the connection between my conversations and the constant mental attacks that had come, some of which originated from a conversation that someone overheard, that I knew nothing about.
As Christians, we have to begin to move from a defensive mindset to an offensive mindset. Satan has no problem with attacking us, tormenting us and stealing our joy, so why do we struggle with being intentional in our actions in attacking him to keep it?
Spiritual Warfare is a real thing. The devil is not excited about your walk with Christ, let alone your efforts to develop others and help win them over to The Kingdom to God. Be on alert so you’re not blinded and miss what’s really going on! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Prayer: Lord, thank you so much for opening my eyes to see the truth. Allow me to be more intentional in paying attention to what’s really going on so I know how to respond in the future. Continue to place people in my life that I can help direct to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Focus Scripture: And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. Luke 9:23 (AMP)
I recently heard a testimony of how Anthony Brown, songwriter, gospel artist and musician, wrote his latest album Everyday Jesus. Daily, as he sat down to write, he would pray, inviting God to speak through him, everything he needed to say to His people, and then he would wait… Wait until God gave him the words to say. “It felt weird at first because I would just be sitting there… it’s difficult because, I’m a song writer, that’s what God gifted me to do, so I could have just started writing, but I was determined to write what He gave me.” He then spoke about how God gave him songs at church during worship, in dreams, at night while sleeping. “It got to the point where I moved my keyboard next to my bed, so when I was awakened by God with songs, I would get up, half sleep, play what I heard, record it and then the next day set out to write the song.”
How many times do we as Christians intentionally set out to seek God’s direction and guidance for what He has gifted us to do? Just because God called us to a certain area to minister and serve doesn’t mean, He’s not interested in continually leading and guiding us through that ministry. When God blesses us with a gift, the sole purpose of Him gifting us is so that He is glorified. Today, far too many Christians are using the gifting of God without the anointing of God; God intended for them to be used together.
You may not be a songwriter or a famous Christian artist with a global platform, ministering to millions; however, God does have an assignment for you. The only way to successfully walk in both the gifting and anointing of God is to 1) set aside your selfish interests, 2) express a willingness to endure whatever may come and 3) conform to God’s example of living.
Make a vow today, that you won’t move until you know God is leading you and you won’t speak until you hear God speaking through you. Then, because of your obedience, watch how God is able to use you for His glory!
Scriptural References: Psalm 119:89; Romans 11:29; 2 John 2:27
Prayer: Father and King, my Leader and Guide, thank You for Your unfailing love for me that You show daily. I thank You for all the gifts You have placed in me, and Your anointing that abides in me. Forgive me for not always seeking You for direction in how You would intend for me to use the gifts you have placed in me. Allow me to always be mindful that in order for You to consistently be glorified in my life, I have to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You, daily. I love You, and thank You for being patient with me, it is in Your Son, Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
Bible Reading Matthew 6:25-33
Focus Verse: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
I am a highly analytical person, sometimes to the point where it used to make me physically sick, nauseous, headaches, etc. I remember a few years ago, I had been praying about a particular issue, I mean really praying about it. I woke up and prayed about it, all through the day, I was praying about it and before I went to bed, I would pray about it. “Show me what it is you want me to do God, I need to hear your voice regarding this situation.” Bless my heart, I thought I was doing it right, I had a problem and I was submitting it to God, laying it at His feet, seeking Him for direction and guidance, right?
One morning as I was preparing to pray yet again for this issue, I heard the Spirit of God say, “seek Me, not My answers.” I was instantly quieted. The Lord began to reveal to me that I had been so caught up in getting the answers that I had totally neglected to seek God, just for Him and His presence. I had started to idolize His answers and place them above Him.
How would you feel if one of your friends only comes to you when they have a need? They never take the time to call you or contact you just to talk and spend time together, or to get to know one another and build a relationship, but instead, because they want something. Maybe you have someone in your life right now, like that. Or could that person be you?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we are not supposed to bring all of our concerns to Christ. The Bible teaches us, in multiple places, that we are to bring every burden to God, He is concerned with the things that concern us. See 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7; Psalm 138:8 However, we have to be very careful that our burdens and cares are not the only things we are bringing to Him. Scripture instructs us that we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. See Psalm 100:4 It is when we are seeking Him, that the answers to our prayers are revealed.
Have you fallen into the trap of seeking His answers more than His Face? Do you have a situation that you have allowed to overcome you so much that, it consumes all of your alone time with Christ?
Prayer: Lord, I love You. Thank You for opening my eyes to see the truth. I confess that I have idolized Your answers and I ask You to forgive me. Give me the desire to seek You and only You, just for who You are, knowing that when I seek You, everything that I need, You will provide, as Your Word promises, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
The sun was shining, birds were chirping and the snow had finally stopped! It had been snowing all weekend long and all throughout the area, people were snowed in their homes. But now it was time to break free! However, this wasn’t going to be an easy task. We had just received an estimated 2ft of snow! Typically, I would have been less than thrilled to tackle the daunting task of shoveling myself and my car free, but not today, for today was different.
I made a vow that I would not complain about the things that I prayed for. When it was time for me to get a new car, I prayed for that car and prayed that God would provide exactly what I needed. Two years ago, when I was in the process of purchasing a home, I prayed for my home and solicited prayers from others. I prayed for these blessings and I was not going to let some snow keep me from having a heart of gratitude. I was going to shovel myself free and I was going to enjoy it!
I bundled up, grabbed my music, my headphones and headed out for a nice day outside. I was shoveling and singing along to the music blasting through my headphones, really enjoying myself, but after about an hour, I decided to take a short break. I went inside to grab some water and a snack. After sitting for a few minutes, it was time to head back out for round 2.
Just as I was about to start shoveling again, my phone rang. It was one of my friends from church, checking on me to see if I needed any help shoveling. He said he was praying for someone to bless and the Lord put me on his heart! I was honored.
When we choose to rejoice in all things and have a heart of gratitude and thankfulness, for everything God has done for us, He honors that and finds pleasure in blessing us exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I could have chosen to complain about my situation, having to shovel all that snow by myself, not being in a relationship or married for someone to help me, etc. But instead, I choose to adopt the attitude of Paul in Philippians 4, where he talks about being content in every situation.
God is not ignorant to our needs and desires. When we begin to bless Him for the things that He has already done and is doing in our lives instead of complaining about the things He hasn’t done, that’s when we show Him we are in a posture to receive the unexpected blessing.
Prayer: My God, my King, You are so amazing! Thank You for all of the unexpected blessings You have bestowed upon me. Continue to allow me to be content in every situation and know that You will supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory as Your Word says, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Focus Scripture: Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
As I was writing out my goals and desires one morning, I had a long list of things; new job position, new vehicle, expand my jewelry business, start a lifestyle blog, etc. I heard God say, “What about the devotional?”
A few years ago, I had an idea to start a devotional with a friend of mine. We talked about it and tossed some ideas around, but nothing ever came of it. Nonetheless, this was still something that was on the list of things I wanted to accomplish, but honestly, I didn’t think I had what it took to be a devotional writer.
That soon changed. The following year, God really developed me and began to elevate me to a deeper understanding and relationship with Him. It was difficult, but I knew that during this time, He was indeed growing what He had already placed in me.
With all the excitement of the new year and the things that I wanted to accomplish, I sort of lost sight of the real picture and what really mattered, the thing that God had instructed me to do. I had orchestrated all these plans, to meet all these goals and totally overlooked, the most important plan to meet the most important goal. Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having plans and dreams and things that you want to accomplish, the bible actually encourages it, Proverbs 16:9. The problem comes when we place them before the things God directs us to do. The Bible instructs us, before anything else, to put God’s work and what He wants us to do first and everything else will be taken care of, Matthew 6:33.
Have you, like myself, lost sight of that thing God instructed you to do a while back? Has God reminded you of an idea you had sometime ago? What had God directed you to do that you have not completed? Make a list of everything you KNOW God instructed you to do. If there is anything that you think God might be calling you to, include that as well and note it as something that you still need confirmation on. God doesn’t mind repeating Himself, so don’t be ashamed to ask for clarity and confirmation.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for reminding me of what really matters. Forgive me for not placing Your things first. I know that our ways and thoughts are different, so help me to see what it is that You desire for me to do, and as Your word says, direct me to those things. Now Father, the things that I am still unsure of, give me clarity and confirm in those things also, and I will give You all the glory, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1-14
Focus Verse: Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:2
God: “Release your grasp”
Me: “But God, You said…”
God: “Release your grasp”
Me (ANGRY): Why would you show me a promise and then tell me to release it… I’m tired…Tired of waiting… I never asked for this… Everything You instructed me to do, I did… I trusted You…
This was a conversation between God and myself one evening while watching a sermon online. Instantly, tears began to fall from my eyes. I was devastated.
Back in 2013, God had revealed to me one of His promises for my life, and since then, the promise has been confirmed, through His word, multiple dreams I had, and other people. After going back and forth in my mind for a while, pondering if indeed the promise would come, I finally pushed my fears and doubts out, received the promise and was ready to walk into it! And then this happened…
What do you do when the very thing that God promised you, He turns around and requests you to sacrifice? God has so many amazing blessings and promises that He desires to release to His people. But like Abraham, He desires to see where your heart is first. Before He releases the promise, He has to know that you love Him, the promise giver, more than you love the promise.
Often times, as Christians, we can make idols out of God’s promises. The promise of a new home, a successful business or career, a family, starting a new ministry; all of those things are nice, but when we place them above God, we pervert them, and begin to worship things that were never designed to be worshipped.
Has God been calling you to a posture of surrender? Have you created idols out of some of His promises? Has He shown you a promise and now requesting you to surrender it back to Him?
Prayer: Father, thank you for speaking directly to my heart. I love you and I never want to place anything above You, even the promises that You show me. Give me the courage to surrender everything to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
A new devotional will be posted daily, Monday- Friday, starting Monday, April 18, 2016. Stop back for a daily bite of God’s word!
Lots of Love,