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Daily Devotional 5-14-19

The God of Impossibilities

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
 
Throughout the story of our faith, as seen in the scriptures, God has demonstrated on numerous occasions his power over all aspects of human life. He often worked his power in those who exercised faith in him beyond their unbelief. Sometimes, our human senses become the powerful forces that limit our ability to see God as the One who is all able. In such situations, our mountains become so huge they block our view of God. We become desperate, anxious and run to all places but God, for help.
 
Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in age before God called them. Yet, she conceived and bore a son to Abraham at age 90, according to the promise of God. Science and logic have no explanation for this. When the people of Israel got to the Red Sea, God commanded Moses to stretch out his staff onto the sea. As he obeyed, the sea parted into two, and the children of Israel walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea. The story is told of the boy David, who killed the Goliath, the Philistine giant. Consider the disciples of Jesus who were but common people, with less or no education, yet God used them to shake the world, starting a movement of faith in Christ in which we have become partakers. Time would be too short to list all the mighty deeds of God.
 
What has become a torn in your life? What issue have you battled with for a long time? I want to encourage you to trust God with that challenge of yours. He is more than able to meet you at the point of your needs. The unfortunate situation is that many Christians make God the spare tire.   He becomes our last resort when our sources fail. We put him on the back burner, and sometimes forget to involve him in our affairs.
 
“…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
 
Humans will always have limitations, but God is limitless. The impossibilities in our lives shall become possibilities when Jesus is invited into the situation. Therefore, trust in the Lord, and allow him to turn your ashes into beauty.
 
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I place at the foot of the cross all my anxieties and frustrations. I invite you into my battles. Help me to receive the victory you won for me on the cross.


Daily Devotional 5-13-19

You Are Mine

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
 
Life has a way of drawing you into a sea of negativity, sucking up your healthy perspective. You become your own worse critic, cutting yourself with the knife of self-pity until you bleed all your positive energy out. For others, they consider themselves an afterthought, who have a miniscule of self-worth. They do not think they deserve anything better. For most of these people, life has little meaning or purpose. They see their lives as happenstance.
 
In today’s text, God is about to commission the little boy, Jeremiah, into the prophetic ministry.  Simply put, God was going to empower and send Jeremiah to preach his word to the Israelites. From the onset, God discloses himself as the origin and the source of Jeremiah’s life. He also reveals Jeremiah’s purpose to him. This revelation was very crucial for the young prophet. He needed a firm footing and a healthy perspective of himself, for many would question the source of his authority and message, since he was but a young boy. Many, including the religious, might disdain and despise him for his youthfulness. Therefore, he needed a source of confidence to face the world to which he was about to be sent.
 
The omniscient God tells Jeremiah that he had knowledge of him before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb. God tells him again that before he was born he had already been set aside for a divine purpose—to be a prophet to the nations. In effect, God was telling this young prophet that he was not an afterthought. Jeremiah’s life was not determined by his parents. They were only used as instruments to bring him into the world.
 
You are not an accident. You are God’s masterpiece, and you were created in his image, for his glory. Just like Jeremiah, God knew you before you were formed and brought forth. God was intentional about you. You reflect the intelligence and creativity of God.
 
Every child of God was created with a purpose, and you can discover that purpose and meaning when you align yourself with Christ. The moment you get right in your relationship with Christ, you begin a journey of discovering your identity, meaning, and purpose in life. I encourage you to rise above every negativity, emotional injury and wound. God knows and loves you.
 
PRAYER: Father, I ask for healing from the emotional and psychological wounds I have endured. Free me to see my life as you see it, that I may appreciate your goodness, and live to glorify you.


Daily Devotional 5-10-19

Christ Above All    

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
 
One of the many reasons, I put my full weight on Jesus, and trust him with all my life is the fact that he knew his identity and made bold statements about it. Many scholars and religious leaders, in recent times, have sought to put Jesus on the same pedestal with the founders of other religions. I wonder if any of those founders ever made daring and bold statements claiming who their followers claim them to be. Jesus, on the other hand, made pointed statements, and he spoke plainly about his identity. For example, John records the seven I Am sayings of Jesus. He said, I am the Bread of Heaven; I am the Living Water; I am the Light of the world. In John 14:6, he declares, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
 
Our text today is a statement made by Jesus after he resurrected from the dead. He had met the disciples and was about to ascend to the heavens. He commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples based on who he was and what he had. The creator of all things in heaven and on earth had given all authority in heaven and on earth to him. Jesus stands tall among all that the Father had made. He is second to none and has no equal. The chorus of the song What a Beautiful Name captures my thought:
 
You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names
 
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
 
Christ Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He holds the keys of life and death in his hands. He will come again to judge the living and dead. Because of his obedience to death on the cross, He is given a name that is above all names. At the mention of his name, every knee shall bow to him. That is my Jesus! He is the one with the authority. That is how powerful your Jesus is; therefore, trust him with all your life. Allow him to lead you in all your endeavor, and I can bet he will always do a better job than you.
 
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to trust and depend fully on you, knowing that you are above all.


Daily Devotional 5-9-19

The Truth Will Endure

After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.  Matthew 28:12-15
 
The religious leaders had done everything to kill Jesus. They conspired to bury the truth in the grave. They refused to accept that Jesus was the Son of God. They could not comprehend that the man of Galilee, the son of a carpenter was the Son of God. Nevertheless, they were threatened by his bold claims and the demonstration of the power of God. His wisdom and authority baffled the religious leaders, and as such, they sought to terminate him permanently. These religious leaders fought the truth even after Jesus was raised from the dead.
 
The religious leaders attempted to claim that the resurrection of Jesus was staged. Therefore, they bribed the soldiers to cook a story that Jesus’ disciples stole his body while they slept at the tomb. This was a plot to deny the truth about Jesus. However, the truth will always prevail over falsehood. Jesus, who is the Truth, could not be kept in the grave, how much less the religious leaders. Death itself was not able to contain him, let alone the corrupt leaders.
 
We live in a time where truth has become so relative. It almost looks like objective truth is outdated. Humans have become the determinants of truth. This is a demonstration that there is nothing new under the sun. Just as the religious leaders tried to deny the truth of Jesus’ bodily resurrection, we also have people and institutions that are investing their time and resources in denying the objective truth. Nevertheless, the truth will always prevail. In Ghana, there is a saying that, “Truth is like pregnancy. No matter how long it takes, it will show up.” You can fight the truth, but it will prevail. The truth will always win in the battles of life. I encourage you to align yourself with the Truth, who is Jesus, and you will endure and flourish. People may succeed for a season in fighting the truth to which you align; however, the truth will break out in the end and speak for you.
 
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to receive your truth and walk by your truth in all times, at all places. 


Daily Devotional 5-8-19

Peace to You

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19
 
The hopes of the disciples have been dashed.  Uncertainty and fear have taken the better part of them.  Their miracle-working teacher has been tortured and crucified. What would they do?  Will his promise to resurrect from the dead become a reality?  How would the religious leaders handle them, knowing how they handled their master?   I believe these, and many other questions were running through their minds.  For fear of the Jews, the disciples have locked themselves up in “safety.”  They put themselves behind “bars” because of fear.  No one locked them in. They did!  Doubt and ambiguity have clouded the imagination of the disciples.   They needed encouragement, comfort and a sense of their future.
 
However, amid their fears, Jesus showed up among them.  Jesus’ first statement is so crucial.  He said, “Peace be with you”.   He knew what the disciples needed behind the closed doors.  For the second time, Jesus blessed them with his peace and showed them his scarred hand and feet.  Upon seeing the evidence, the disciples were overjoyed.  The atmosphere had shifted for them.  The condition and spirit in the room changed drastically.  They were in fear, but when Jesus stepped in peace took over.   Sadness had clothed them, but joy and praise broke in on them upon the arrival of Jesus.
 
Jesus is the game changer!
 
Shakespeare once said, “Cowards die many times before their death.”  Fear has the ability to steal our potential through discouragement, despair, and hopelessness.   Fear could turn on your negative lens and that negativity will color everything you see and experience in the world.  Fear will make you shut yourself down.  It will drain your energy and leave you depressed and anxious.  Fear is a spirit and a weapon of the enemy.
 
Jesus knew his disciples would be in the world full of hater and persecutors.  However, he did take them out of that context.  Instead, he blessed them with peace, because, peace is not the absence of trouble. Rather, it is the sense of calmness and serenity in the face of adversity.
 
Jesus will not wait for you to come out of a bad situation. No. Instead, he joins you in your trouble or challenge and empowers you to come out victoriously.  No matter what your situation may be, hear the words of Jesus, “Peace be with you.”
 
PRAYER: Lord, breathe your peace on me that I may see as you see, think as you would think, and interact as you would interact.


Daily Devotional 5-7-19

Abundant Life through Christ 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
 
When I was growing up in the faith, I heard many sermons from this text where the thief was identified as Satan.  In fact, on most occasions, I have referred to the thief in the text as Satan.  While Satan has an assignment of stealing, killing and destroying what God had created and blessed, the “thief” in the text refers to a different category of persons.
 
In John 10, Jesus gives a discourse on the Good Shepherd as he addressed the Pharisees because they were having an attitude towards the healing of a man born blind, Ch.9.  The Pharisees were the religious leaders who had the responsibility of shepherding God’s people.  However, they turned out to be bad religious leaders.  The religious institution had become corrupted, with the Sadducees and Pharisees, and other religious leaders taking advantage of God’s people. Instead of caring for the sheep, they were living at the expense of the sheep.  Thus, the thieves in the text refer to the religious leaders who did not have the interest of the sheep in mind.   The Shepherd would protect, feed and care for the sheep, but the thieves would feed on the sheep.  They would use the sheep to promote their personal ambitions.  They will manipulate the sheep to fulfill their own interests.
 
What does the thief look like for us in our contemporary society?  The thieves in this text would be those leaders set up by God to bring order and to create flourishing conditions for the human lives but have turned out to be self-serving leaders who lead God’s people astray.  These leaders can lie and cheat their way through at the expense of the people.  Jesus may be referring to religious leaders as thieves, but I also believe these thieves are everywhere in society. They could be found in the world of government, education, health, business, etc.  These thieves come with seeming good intention, but end up stealing, killing, and destroying lives.  They come like wolves in sheep clothing.  They know how to speak to win the hearts of people, but their main motives are worse off.
 
In contrast, Jesus, confidently claims he came that the sheep may have life and the abundance of it.  Jesus is the good Shepherd who could truly care for the sheep by feeding, protecting, and providing their needs.  Jesus is the only One we could trust to lead us to a place of rest and peace, satisfying the deep longings of our souls.  While we cannot really trust the political leadership and even some religious institutions, we can trust in Jesus, the Source of abundant life. We can find peace, blessings, hope, satisfaction, and purpose in Him.
 
PRAYER: Christ our good Shepherd, lead and direct my life to a place of peace and abundance.


Daily Devotional 5-6-19

Believer’s Authority Restored 

“…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.” Ephesians 1:19-21

“…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6
 
Paul prayed for the eyes of the Christians in Ephesians to be opened to realize the great authority God has restored to them. The restoration of authority has come about because of the new position of the Christian in Christ Jesus—we are seated in heavenly places with Christ.
 
Let us recap what really happened in the garden when Adam to sinned. Adam was the representative of God on the created order. He had so much authority and power over all the created order of God because God chose to entrust him with that authority. In fact, Adam named all the animals and had dominion over the created order. Adam was blessed and privileged with so much power and authority. However, when he sinned against God, not only was his relationship with God broken, but he also lost the authority and power given him.
 
Instead of dominating, Adam was dominated because of sin.
 
Therefore, among the many blessing of Jesus’ death and resurrection is the restoration of the authority we lost through Adam. The texts above enlighten us about our position in Christ. Now, we must also understand that position comes with authority. At gatherings and occasions, dignitaries and people entrusted with power and influence are seated to reflect the responsibility given to them. Similarly, our spiritual position in Christ depicts the authority and influence we have. Paul said we are seated with Christ in heavenly places far above principalities, powers (Ephesians 1:18-20; 2:6-7).
 
What this means for us is that we have authority over hatred, wickedness, all manifestations of darkness, personal and systemic evils. You have authority over Satan and his cronies. Most importantly, you have authority over yourself—thus, you cannot be a slave to the whims of your thoughts and feelings.
 
Arise, take your authority in Christ, and rule as Christ has intended.
 
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, open the eyes of my understanding to realize how much you have blessed me with divine authority.


Daily Devotional 5-3-19

Lifting Upward 
 
Scripture: Ephesians 4:29
 
Sparrows are tiny birds that possess remarkable strength and endurance. They have been clocked at great speeds and have been known to fly hundreds of miles during one daylight period. Their endurance and energy levels are enormous. Sparrows are incredibly strong and tough little birds. However, as powerful as sparrows are, if you were to use your hand to catch a sparrow and hold it a bit too tightly, you could break every bone in its body in seconds.
 
It’s the same with the way we use words. Words can crush too; they can snuff out a person’s dignity in a heartbeat. And, some people never recover from their traumatizing effects, carrying hurtful emotional pain that spills out onto others.
 
But WORDS ALSO HAVE GREAT POWER TO BLESS AND TO HEAL BY GOD’S STRENGTH.  The world applauds quick-witted retorts and put-downs, but God’s instructions are quite different.
 
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29)
 
Gentle words are a tree of life but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)
 
Kind words are like honey-sweet to the souls and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:24)
 
Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook. (Proverbs 18:4)
 
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:6)
 
The ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege granted only to humans, those God created in His image. We all need help in exercising this mighty power more responsibly. Whenever you begin to speak on the phone or communicate with people around you, ask God to guide your word choices. These are split-second prayers, but they put you in touch with God’s presence. In this way, your speaking comes under the control of the Holy Spirit.
 
As kind speech patterns replace negative ones, the increase in your joy for the Lord will amaze you. But even more important, your ability to bless others with words will ultimately lift them closer to the love of God.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I want to watch my words diligently. Help my word choices be honoring and uplifting in a way that draws others toward You.
 
RESPONSE:  How can you remember to honor God with your words; to use more words that bless and heal in your self-talk and toward others?


Daily Devotional 5-2-19

Peace Song 
 
Scripture: Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 31:3
 
Listen to the love song that God is continually singing to you!
 
I take great delight in you…I rejoice over you with joyful song.  (Zephaniah 3:17)
 
The voices of the world are a clatter of chaos, pulling you this way and that way. Don’t listen to those voices; challenge them with God’s Word. The world rams at your doorbell. Jesus gently knocks. Worldly voices scream for your allegiance. Jesus softly and tenderly asks for it. The world promises flashy, immediate pleasure. Jesus promises a quiet dinner…with God.
 
Learn to take mini-breaks from the world. Find a place to be still in God’s presence and listen for His song. There is a gold mine of peace waiting to be tapped through listening for God. This hymn from 1912 celebrates the joyous companionship its author experienced with Jesus.
 
The Garden by C. Austin Miles
He speaks, and the sound of his voice,
is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
and the melody that he gave to me
within my heart is ringing.
 
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.
 
Learn to live from your real Center where God has an eternal grip on you. He loves to reveal Himself to you and your seeking heart opens you up to receive more of His disclosure.
 
I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. (Jeremiah 31:3)
 
GOD is reaching out to you with kindness motivated by everlasting love, drawing you toward HIM!
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me recognize Your voice in my day. Teach me to listen in a way that allows Your voice, Your Word, and Your peace to penetrate my soul. Amen
 
RESPONSE:  How will you remind yourself to take mini-breaks from the world and be still in God’s presence this day and every day?  How can you encourage others to do the same?