Ephesians 6:14-17 reads "Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

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“Prayer”

Ephesians 3:16-18

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”

What is prayer? Prayer is an act of humbling ourselves before God, connecting with Him, and sending out power to the Heavens. Prayer is a time where we demonstrate our selflessness and exercise our dependence on God. Prayer is a time to waste time with God, and to connect with Him in a Spirit filled manner. Prayer is a time to be filled with the Holy Spirit, worship God, build relationship, receive healing, ask for guidance, and the list goes on.

Some would say you have to pray a certain way, but I think as long as your humbling yourself before The Lord. It doesn’t matter how it comes out. God just wants to hear your heart, and you profess your dependence upon Him. Scripture clearly states that God already knows what you are going to ask before you even ask. Then, why should we pray?

We should pray because it brings us in relationship with a living God, and the creator of the universe. God gives us the ability to exercise free will. Meaning we can depend on God, or we can’t. Throughout the gospel we see many people depend on God, and you see this dependence because they built relationship with Him.

When we pray, God doesn’t want our religious baggage. He wants our hearts, and us to build relationship with Him. Relationship with God is us being in constant communication with Him. Through our communication with Him we our able to thank Him, ask for forgiveness, receive His Holy Spirit, ask for His protection, and invite Him into our business. Prayer is a gateway to God, and God loves to hear His children’s voice’s.

Question: Are you spending time in prayer?


Walking In Truth

Psalms 119:101-105 states, “I have refused to walk on any path of evil, that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your laws, for you have taught me well. How sweet are your words to my taste; they are sweeter then honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.”

Sometimes we fall away from the path that God has created us to walk on. We try to do things on our own, or we let the world influence us in believing that we have to live in the now. Everyday we wake up, and go on with our lives is a new opportunity to fix what we have messed up. The Lords love is continues and it never gives up on us.

God wants us to walk in obedience with Him, so he can mature us into the person he created us to be. When we learn how to be obedient to the word of God, we realize that we never needed anything that ever pulled us away from Him in the first place. This life that we live is only for a short time, but eternity is forever. I know as for me I rather walk in the light, then follow the ways of this world. I have gotten a taste of and seen what God has to offer me, and it is more then the world will ever have to offer me.

Father, help me to walk in your path and to refuse the things of this world. It is so easy to get caught up, and help to remain still in the presence of your word. For when I fall off track from time to time that I would remember the greatness of your word and what you have taught me. Father refresh my heart with a simple taste of your heart. I desire to walk in your presence, but I need your help to do so all the time. Father, I thank you for never leaving my side. One thing always remains, and you are always faithful. Lord I love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Question: Are you walking in obedience to Gods word? Do you know that God is always faithful and forgiving?


The Cost of Following Jesus


Reliance

“Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭61:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Reliance is the dependence on or trust in someone or something. Reliance is tough for us as believers because trust is hard for us. Trust is hard because we have been wounded, abandoned, and hurt many times in this area. As leaders and believers of the King of Kings, we have to learn to rely on Jesus all the time.
What does it mean to rely on Jesus? Relying on Jesus means you need to lay down all your selfish desires. Relying on Jesus means you have to stop doing things yourself. Relying on Jesus means you need to trust in Him with all your heart.
This is tough for us because our human nature is to take over not be taken over. When we let the Father take over our lives completely, we see God move in ways we cannot even comprehend.
What does it mean to live in the shelter of His wings as leaders? It means we have to be willing to lay ourselves down at all times. We have to be willing to hand Him our desires, our time, our relationships, the things we do, and even the things we say. Yes, this is tough for us, but Jesus dying on the cross for us was way tougher.
Reliance is one of biggest parts of being an affective Christian leader. There are many times as leaders when your ego wants to take over situations. Those are the moments when you need to cry out to God the most, and ask Him the simple question “Father how do I do this, or Father what do I do?” In those moments, that is where you learn to live in the shelter of His wings.
Question: How can you rely on Jesus more? Are there areas in your life where you try and take over to much? As a leader, how can you allow God to lead you better?
Prayer: Father, teach me and show me how to follow your footsteps better. There are many times when my feet like to get out in front of yours. Please help me to follow your lead, and rely solely on what you want to do with me and my situations. Father, take over every aspect about me and let me follow your lead. You are my God, and I want to follow you. In Jesus Holy name. Amen

9/11

Isaiah 43:1-2

43 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.”

Fourtheen years ago I had just gotten to school, I was sitting in my classroom, and my teacher flipped on the television, so the class could see what was going on. The World Trade Center had been hit. I suddenly broke into tears, and I was in absolute shock. I was in absolute shock because a week before I was standing right underneath the towers looking up from the streets below in New York City. I thought to myself that could have been me and my family.

I remember this incident very vividly, and it still breaks my heart till this day. I still have the mental picture of people jumping out of the building, the planes crashing, the buildings collapsing, and the thousands of lives being taking away from this one incident. This day fourtheen  years ago was devastating, but I saw our country do something that I have never seen us do before.

Gods children reached out to God in away that I had never seen before. There was prayer going on everywhere, and people were reaching out to one another and caring for each other in a way that was breath taking. I know God never wants to see something like this take place. I guarantee it broke Gods heart more then anyone this day, but people were loving on another and reaching out to God how God wants us to reach out to Him.

God wants us to come to him in desperation, knowing that we need him, and asking for Him to get us through the fire of oppression. I think this is something that our world is missing big time, and that’s why we see so much devastation happening right in front of our eyes. It is time to open up our eyes, and run to God in a way that we haven’t ran to Him before. God waits constantly for His children to run to Him. He extends His hand to those who seek after His heart. We just have to be the one’s to seek Him to understand His heart.

The God of the universe will walk with you through the fire, will go with you through the river of difficulty, will be with you in deep waters, and will call you His own. Tell me that’s not an awesome God. If you are going through something today, or the 9/11 incident still hurts your heart. Do not be afraid to reach out to God and hand your concerns over to Him. You are a child of God the most high, and he wants to comfort every surface of your heart.

Question: Do you have trouble reaching out to God? How can you reach out to God? How can you reach out to someone else I need?


Searching

John 4:13-14

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Many of us spend are lives searching for what our purpose in life is. We search and we search, but we still don’t know. Some people know their purpose instantly, and some people live their whole lives searching.

In the verse above, the Samaritan woman had been searching her whole life. She had been searching for hope, freedom, grace, and even acceptance. While searching for all of this, she also finds purpose. Through the healing that takes place from her encounter with Jesus, we see her become an evangelist for the Kingdom. We see her become excited about what God did in her life, and she goes out and tells the other Samaritans. This woman was now living out her purpose after being broken, and searching numerous times.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to the searching that this woman did. For most of my life I searched for purpose through other things. I searched through sports, women, partying, and even money. My purpose in life didn’t come until I finally surrendered my life too Jesus, and I let Him be my water of life.

God wants to define your purpose for you, but that means we might have to hand over some of our desires. Our desires get in the way of what God wants to show us, and even do in us. If you are searching, let God be your water of life. He will show what he needs to show you. He is a God that provides. We just have to let Him provide for us. He has already done the searching.

Question: What desires get in the way of God showing you His purpose for your life? Are you ready to hand those desires over?


God’s Power

Isaiah 64:4 “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!”

I truly believe in this scripture above. No ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God more powerful then our God. There is none more powerful then the God who created the Heavens and the earth. God is all powerful and all knowing.

Many of us try to find hope and strength in other things everyday. Sometimes it is God who we look to for strength, but sometimes it is things that the world provides. We look to things like the internet, unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol, money, or even things that will hurt us physically, or emotionally. These things do not help us understand the power of the one true God, and how much He loves us.

The end of this scripture, say”who works for those who wait for him.” Some of you have even been turned off by God, because you have never seen him move. Usually when you don’t see Him moving that is when God is moving the most. The scripture above says we must wait for him. Patience is hard for us to do because we are a creation that wants to see the process happen instantly. God wants believers that are waiting on him constantly.

Waiting is tough, but Gods power is tougher. I have seen God move through the miraculous, and I truly believe that God is stronger then anyone of your problems that you have going on. I guarantee God doesn’t want to see you go through the trials you have been through, but if you wait on Him and allow Him to work; you will see God move. God is more powerful then you can comprehend, and He wants to pour His power down on you.

Question: What is blocking you from watching the power of God move in your life?


Perfection

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”(‭Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭12-14‬ NLT)

Have you ever met someone that was completely perfect in every way possible? I know I haven’t. If there was such a person they need to walk around with a sign over their head that says “I’m perfect.” We need to understand that we aren’t perfect, and we are going to stumble along the way. Thank God there is grace in His glorious standards.

The Lord doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but we should work hard to do so on and off the field. Even though we will never reach perfection, we need to keep striving to do so. The Lord knows we’re going to mess up along the way. He just wants to see us put in our best effort when the struggles come our way.

As an athlete growing up I was always determined to be the best, but even the best athletes will never reach perfection. There’s always more work to be done. As a Christian, It kind of goes the same way except their is an eternal prize at the end of the road. Where perfection is all around you. That perfection is called “Heaven”, and that place is perfect.

Question: Are you striving toward the Heavenly prize that awaits you?


Practice What You Preach

* Luke 2:41-52

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant. Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭41-52‬ NLT)

Practicing is very important. If we don’t practice how do you expect to grow as an individual. I know as an athlete you have to practice all the time in order to reach your full potential. You have to put in the work, listen, and even ask questions.

In the scripture above, even Jesus practiced what He preached at a young age. He sat with very intelligent religious leaders and asked questions and listened to their teachings. He also put in His input and practiced what the Heavenly Father was teaching Him. Jesus practiced before he got to the bigs.

As Christian men and women, we have to practice are faith. We have to ask questions, read, pray, listen to our teachers, and even put into action what we are learning. What good is it to learn valuable information, if we don’t share it and love on others? Practicing our faith is an essential part of us growing in our daily walks.

Question: Are you practicing your faith and what your being taught as a believer in Gods kingdom?


Strong God

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

“12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

When I was in high school I highlighted this verse inside my Bible, and it is a verse that has always stuck out to me since that day I highlighted it. I think it is a very important verse to read because a lot of the times we try to stand strong on our own, and take matters into our own hands. We try to overcome something that only God can overcome. When we try to take matters into our own hands, sin begins to repeat itself over and over again. God wants to take your temptation and turn it into victory in the heights of the heavens.

You are not the only person who is tempted in the way you are. There are many other people going through the same exact thing that you are going through at this very moment. Don’t beat yourself up because you are not a lone. This scripture says that God is faithful, and He stands strong for you when you allow him to. God is always ready to stand strong for you, even in your weakest moments.

Question: Is your freewill getting in the way of God growing in you? Do you know that God is ready to take the stand for you?

Prayer: Father, I pray for strength from above. I know I am weak at times, but Lord you are my strength. When I stumble Lord help me to focus my eyes and ears upon you, so I can conquer the mistake that I just made. Father I understand that I am weak at times, but pick me up when I fall Lord. When I try to take matters into my own hands let me hand my concerns and struggles overs to you Lord. Papa God I thank you for your love and mercy on me, and accepting me even when I don’t accept myself. Lord, I love you. Bless me and use me today father. In Jesus name, Amen.


Tuned In

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, the Lord, my rock, and my redeemer.”

L – Listen – Listen for him to speak to you. A lot of the times we have one sided conversations with the Lord and don’t give him a chance to speak right when he is about to.

Do you ever find yourself thinking thoughts to yourself, or thinking about issues you have going on in your life? I know I do all the time, especially during those long drives to work and long exhausting days. Have you ever noticed when your thinking these thoughts that you’re trying to make sense of them, and figure out yourself how to fix your own issues by thinking out different ways you could approach the situation? I find myself doing this all the time, instead of just clearing my thoughts and listening to what God has to say. Sometimes the Lord is trying to speak to us and guide us in the direction he wants us to go, but we tend to cloud our minds with thoughts and try to figure out obstacles on our own. It is not our job to figure out the obstacle, but to hand our obstacle over to the creator of the universe.

The Lord is constantly trying to speak to us and tell us his thoughts, but because we are so distracted with our little things in our lives, and we tune him out. Here is an important thing to remember, our lives are not our own, they are His. We think every little thing belongs to us, whether its our money, clothes, our issues, and even our time. In reality our circumstances, possessions, and situations belong to God. So why deal with everything on your own when God can handle all things? All He wants us to do is slow down and Listen. Wait for his words. Pray and spend one on one time with him where you simply clear your thoughts and come into a divine place with him.

Question: What does God have to say to you that you aren’t hearing? Are you spending time to listen to His voice? Or do you become distracted with trying to do everything on your own?

More: The Lord hears you crying out to him. You just need to tune in to listen.


Listening

Proverbs 8:6-11

“Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it.”

I don’t know about you, but I am horrible at listening. When it comes to listening I tend to tune it through one ear and out through the other ear. I have to literally tell myself to pay attention, or else I do not hear a single word that is said. My mind starts racing and I start thinking about other things going on in my life. Can you relate to this?

Listening is probably one of the main things that we can do to gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Although, listening is tough for us even if we are good at it. Listening is tough because most of the time we want things our way. We do not take the time out to listen to wisdom because we want to control the situation and circumstances of our lives. We even tune out God when he is trying to speak truth into our lives. Have you done this before?

When we allow God to speak truth into our lives, we gain understanding that we can only receive by listening to his heart. Listening to Gods heart takes us removing our heart and minds out of the way and replacing it with His. We need to understand that this universe is His, and our life is a gift from Him. Sometimes listening just takes quieting your heart before God and allowing God to speak life into your situation and circumstance. When we learn how to quiet our hearts before God, we learn how to listen to Him. Listening takes an act of obedience from our behalf.

Question: What do you need to do to quiet your heart before God? Do you know that God is ready to speak life into your situation?


God Listen’s

Psalms 23:4 “4 Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Have you ever felt like God why aren’t you listening to me? You say things like “I’m pouring my heart out to you God, and you aren’t answering my prayers. Why are you ignoring me? Do you even love me?” I guarantee the creator of the universe is hearing you, and he understands your heart. God loves you more then you will ever understand. It is an infinite love. The real question that we should be asking ourselves is do we give our hearts and lives to a God who bends down and listen’s to us?

We ask God to bend down and listen to us all the time, but we need to listen to him. God is there to walk us through the dark valley, but we also have to make some changes along the way to stay near to him. Sometimes we need to change the way we see, think, and act to hear what God has to say to us. God wants to protect you and comfort you, but you have to draw near to him and give him the time, so He can show you who He is.

Heavenly Father, You are here and You are near. No matter what I may be feeling right now, I just want to picture You gently cupping my face in Your hands and saying, “I’m listening, my child, what do you need to tell me?” Lord, I believe that you are ever with me and that You fully understand me even when others misunderstand me. I pray that You would heal my heart from any wounds that I have accumulated in hard relationships. Father, Thank-You that You are the source of my life and that with You I get to live it to the full. Thank-you for your goodness and Your sweet mercy. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen

Questions: Is there anything that you need to talk to the Lord about? Are you ignoring God in anyway? Do you need to believe that He truly cares for you and that He bends down to listen to your cries?


Finding Strength

Psalms 23:1-3

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quite waters, he refreshes my soul.”

Inadequacy is the feeling of not being able to fulfill a need or meet a requirement; it is the feeling of being inadequate, not capable, or competent. Inadequacy is something that is one of my struggles every single day. I would be a hypocrite to say I did not struggle with the feeling of being inadequate at times. Sometimes I let the fear of what others might think of me get in the way of what Jesus wants to do through me, and how he wants to use me.

Our thought process can either make us or break us. I started today’s devotional off like this because I needed to be honest about my own personal weakness that the enemy tries to blind me with, and I also know that there are other people out there like me at times. God wants to do great and mighty things through us, but we must let him. The enemy tries to hinder us with his thoughts, but Jesus gives us life with his grace and mercy.

When we allow the Fruit of the Spirit to control every aspect of our lives; there is know telling how much God can work through us. We just have to get that simple little thought into our heads that “I can do anything through God who gives me strength.” When we lie down beside him and we let God refresh our soul through His Spirit, we honestly really do lack nothing. God takes care of his children, and we are his children.

Question: Have you every felt the thought of being inadequate? Are you struggling with inadequacy right now? Do you need Gods strength to lead you on?


Weakness

Hebrews 4:14-16

“14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Have you ever reached that point in life where you have got smacked right in the face with the stick of weakness? I mean everything that was happening to you, or around you were things that the enemy knew you were weak with. Maybe your even being smacked with that stick of weakness right now. I know I have been smacked right in the face with that stick. See Satan wants you to feel the pain of being hit with a stick. He wants you to crumble and fall to defeat, but Jesus wants you to feel the presence of His light.

God uses our weakness to grow us and mature us into the human being that we were created to be. When we let the enemy affect our thought process that’s when the enemy gets the best of us. The scripture above says that even Jesus was tempted with the very same things that we are tested with everyday. Jesus conquered temptation by living a Holy Spirit filled live, and staying obedient to the Father. God even took it a step farther by coming to die for our sins.

If you need strength or direction come to God and meet him face to face. Jesus died for you so you could be strengthened by the Spirit and so you wouldn’t make the same mistake over and over again. Yes, God forgives, but He wants to see you grow as a human being and not fall into the same trap of the enemy every single day. Give God your weakness so you can hit the enemy right back with that wiping stick?

Question: Do you need help with your weakness? Do you know that God offers strength when we reach out for him?