ACT NOW OR REGRET LATER repost from The Winner’s Seed Devotional

This is a good reminder that we operate in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) but live under God’s time. When we operate in both, we find ourselves in fear, full of anxiety, and in a catatonic stronghold unable to receive God’s promises and blessings.

PRIMARY MENU

ACT NOW OR REGRET LATER

MORNING

Friday, October 30, 2020

AuthorBishop Julius Okarike

Verse Of The DayLook, he has placed the land in front of you! Go up, take possession of it, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, said to do. Do not be afraid or discouraged!Deuteronomy 1:21

Thought of The Day : Waiting for the right time to act is a waste of time when the time spent on waiting was the right time to act.

LISTENOpportunities will pass unnoticed where the heart is empty of sensitivity, wisdom and understanding. There is time for everything. Therefore, we must be sensitive to time to be able to accomplish our God-given purposes. Yes, insensitivity to time will result in abuse of golden opportunities. Time is an integral part of life. Hence, to take time lightly is to take life lightly. The abuse of time if left unchecked will eventually become abuse of life. So, wait no more when it’s time to act. When the Israelites left the land of Egypt and wandered in the wilderness for years, and finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea, a hill country belonging to the Amorites which is part of the land God was about to give to them. (Deuteronomy 1:20). Moses said to them, “Look, he has placed the land in front of you! Go up, take possession of it, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, said to do. Do not be afraid or discouraged!” (Deuteronomy 1:21). The Israelites like many of us today, seemed to have forgotten God’s promises to them. Moses had to remind them that it is their responsibility to arise and go for what God has already given to them. Beloved, you cannot obtain the promises of God by folding your hands and doing nothing. You must do your part to obtain it. You should go for your God-given possessions by faith. Firstly, you must overcome fear and discouragement. Moses urged them thus : “Do not be afraid or discouraged!” (v 21b). Fear will stop you when you take your eyes off God. Yes! Fear is a great force that is capable of crippling even the strongest person who chooses to walk in fear. So, to excel in life you must overcome your fears and discouragement. Tell yourself that God is with you, therefore, you will triumph over all obstacles to your success. My dear, rise! You have been in one place for too long. (Deuteronomy 1:6-8). It is time to conquer new grounds and territories. Just keep moving! God is with you. Henceforth, wait no more, act when it’s time to act or be prepared to live in regret. Be wise!

What Should We Do With This Message
1. Do not surrender to fear or discouragement no matter what.
2. Always remind yourself that you can overcome any obstacles through God.
3. Refuse to be stagnant in life, just keep moving until you overcome and breakthrough.
4. Never wait for God to do for you what He has given you the ability to do yourself.

Faith ConfessionIn Jesus’ name. I arise to go for my God-given possessions. Henceforth, I refuse to be stagnant, amen.

PrayerDear Lord, You created me to be fruitful and relevant. Therefore, help me to accomplish what You have created me for, amen!

A Word Of Blessing : It is well with you. Today I speak on your life. May God strengthen you to passionately pursue your God-given purposes and blessings, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Reflection : To accomplish a purpose, you must be sensitive to time; for insensitivity to time will result in abuse of golden opportunities.

Quote: “Time is an integral part of life. Hence, to take time lightly is to take life lightly. For the abuse of time if left unchecked will eventually become abuse of life.”

THE WINNER'S SEED DEVOTIONAL

MORNING

Friday, October 30, 2020

Author :Bishop Julius Okarike

Verse Of The Day :Look, he has placed the land in front of you! Go up, take possession of it, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, said to do. Do not be afraid or discouraged!Deuteronomy 1:21

Thought of The Day :Waiting for the right time to act is a waste of time when the time spent on waiting was the right time to act.

LISTENOpportunities will pass unnoticed where the heart is empty of sensitivity, wisdom and understanding. There is time for everything. Therefore, we must be sensitive to time to be able to accomplish our God-given purposes. Yes, insensitivity to time will result in abuse of golden opportunities. Time is an integral part of life. Hence, to take time lightly is to take life lightly. The abuse of time if left unchecked…

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God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #5

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God’s promises are eternal. They will never fail, fade away, or end. He is not a man and cannot lie. His truth is forever.

~ Lisa Blair

I am studying the Book of Genesis this year at BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, and have come to realize that Genesis is so much more than what we learned in Sunday School or Church. It is a deep and lengthy study. One of the most profound things is that God established a covenant with Adam and Eve after they were expelled from Eden. God made a similar covenant with Noah after the flood subsided. The covenant was God’s promise that He would continue Adam’s genealogy to give life to Christ through Mary and save us from eternal sin through the resurrection of Christ.

All of God’s promises stem from His love for us. Each promise has a purpose and is true today just as it was when He made them. God will never forsake us or leave us. He will lay His eyes upon us. His Word will always be good, and it will always just.

This is the fifth and final installment of the series, God’s Promises Shape Our Lives. The focus of this installment is the Promises of the Holy Spirit. This series highlights some, though not all, of God’s promises. The Holy Spirit intimately knows the worst of us and the best of us, yet He remains faithful even when we persist in rebellion against Him. He protects us and walks with us, even when we sin. There is nothing in this life that we cannot share with Him. The Holy Spirit resides in us, and the blood of Jesus reigns over us. We are completely encapsulated by the Spirit of God. The lyrics to one of Tasha Cobb’s songs says, ”He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own… No fire can burn me, no battle can turn me, no mountain can stop me, ’cause you hold my hand. Now, I’m walking in Your victory ’cause your power is within me, no giant can defeat me, ’cause you hold my hand. (Lyrics to You Know My Name. Tasha Cobb Leonard.) God’s promises protect us without failure or compromise because He walks with us as we navigate through this life.

Walking in the Spirit

Walking in the spirit means that when we were saved, we invited the Holy Spirit to reside in us. We no longer victims of this world driven by the lust of the flesh. We are no longer condemned to walk in our flesh, lusting for the things of this world, things associated with the external world such as riches, recognition, and possessions. The Holy Spirit indwells in us and through Him, we are free from sin. We have the power to turn away from temptation and the gift of repentance. We are renewed every day. Each day is a new day in the Lord. Each day His Spirit resides in us and strengthens us to walk in the Spirit.

Romans 8:1 NKJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 NKJV

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 6:8 NIV

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

Seeking Direction

God is (forever) our guide. We can choose to lean on our own understanding or trust in the Lord to light our path and direct our steps, especially in times of grave difficulties. During these times of uncertainty, the evil one conspires to entice us, to weaken us, to separate us from God. God’s Word, His promises, strengthen us and are our tools to overcome the circumstances that may have afflicted us through no fault of our own, such as, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, eviction, critical illness, and ultimately loss of hope. Our strength is in the Lord and when we rest in His arms, His strength, the world looks different than when we resign hope and only see failure.

Psalms 18:28 NIV

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 48:14 NIV

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Proverbs 3:5,6 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

John 8:12 NKJV

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

John 16:13 NKJV

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Praying in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, sometimes our hopelessness camouflages what we should pray for, leaving us unable to pray for the condition or circumstance. When we do not know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit intercedes and prays on our behalf. He prays for us in the Spirit. However, He can only do that when invited, we must seek Him to help us.

Romans 8:26 NKJV

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Praying for Wisdom, and Knowledge

As humans, we seek wisdom, though not always in the right places. We seek wisdom from peers, leaders, and fallen souls when we should wisdom from God through the Holy Spirit and His word. we should seek wisdom from God who gives it to us generously. It is His wisdom and knowledge that strengthens us to walk upright. It is His wisdom and knowledge that will refrain our conditions as we see them. It is His wisdom and knowledge that leads to our victory over our circumstances.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 NKJV

For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner, He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Amos 3:7 NIV

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.

Luke 21:15 NIV

For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 

James 1:5 NIV

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

So, What does this all mean?

The scriptures highlight God’s love for us. They prove that He is trustworthy and will carry all of His promises out. He activates and fulfills all promises He has made. His promises will manifest to either take us through our current circumstances or deliver us out of them.

When we feel defeated, we cannot waiver but rather stand fast. We cannot compromise what God promised, choosing a quick remedy over His plan. We may feel our ways are more expedient, but experience proves they generally cost more than had we waited on the Lord to fulfill His promises for us. Only God knows where our path leads, and only He knows what is required of us to walk down the path. It’s important to always remember His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Always go into prayer before making life decisions.

Seek God and ask that He reveal the things you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3) and do not make your own decisions on how to move forward without God’s input. As humans, we tend to believe that we should do as we please and then make amends. However, spiritually speaking, we are to go before the Lord, seek His Word and direction through faith, and move forward in His grace.

Developing an ATTITUDE of GOD FIRST in our lives places us on solid ground. The more familiar we become with His promises, the more quickly we can stop in our tracks when doubt and hopelessness try to invade and destroy us. His wisdom and knowledge lead us to acknowledge that God’s promises yield results. I personally find when I relinquished my will to His Will, His Word, and His Way, I find a place of peace that allows me to comfortably make decisions that align with His Word.

It is my sincerest hope that this series has helped you and me by reminding us that God is always with us, and we can turn to Him at any time in our lives. We can rest assured that decisions that align with God’s Word are the right decisions to make. To nonbelievers, our decisions may seem to be folly or misdirected, but to believers, we know that God is directing our steps, and God’s Promises are shaping our lives.

Update, God is so good. I completed this series last night, and felt something was missing. When I awoke this morning, God directed me to this devotional. It is the perfect closing for the study of God’s Promises.

Resources: Life Principles Bible by Charles Stanley, NKJV; Song-Apple Lyrics; Biblestudytools.com; biblegateway.com; He Whispers Your Name, 365 Day Devotionals, by Cherie Hill

Images: LAB PHOTOS; Google Images

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #2

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Only God is our Strength.

~ Lisa Blair

God wants us to experience His supernatural insight and wisdom. So often we awaken and find ourselves in the dark. Life has shifted and we are no longer in control. A question that will have to be answered another time, but one to be pondered, were we ever in control? I hope not, because if I am in control, then the Lord is not in control. I pray that I will always depend upon Him.

The most important thing in our life is the ability to pray. God is always with us, and prayer is a way to communicate with Him. As long and we are in communication, our lives are calm, even in the midst of the storm. Perhaps you will recall the story about the disciples in the storm, worried that they would drown. The sea was becoming more violent and the waves higher. Jesus was asleep in the boat. They woke Him and told them they were going to die. Jesus replied, ” ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matthew 8:26, NIV)

The disciples had the benefit of living with Jesus. We have the same benefit, but our relationship is supernatural. We cannot see Him in person, but when we pray, we can feel His presence. In the Book of Genesis, God referred several times to ‘we’ and ‘us.’ Jesus and the Holy Spirit were with God as they created the heavens, earth, plant and animal life, and us. They are always there, waiting for you to communicate with them.

This brings us to the God’s Promises for Strength.

Psalm 31:24

“Be of good courage, and He shall STRENGTHEN your heart, all you who HOPE in the Lord.

God exhorts us to be encouraged and feel assured that He will never leave us or forsake us. He wants us to have strength even in the greatest distress. C.H. Spurgeon penned – God strengths us in many ways,

“He may do so with a cheering promise. “He shall strengthen your heart.” God alone can do this.

1. Sometimes by gracious providences.

2. By the kindly fellowship of friends.

3. By a precious promise.

4. Beside all that, God the Holy Spirit has a secret way of strengthening the courage of God’s people, which none of us can explain. Have you never felt it? You may have gone to your bed, sick at heart, “weary, and worn, and sad,” and you wake in the morning ready for anything. Perhaps, in the middle of the night, you awake, and the visitations of God are manifested to you, and you feel as happy as if everything went the way you would like it to go. Nay, you shall be more happy that everything should cross you than that everything should please you, if it be God’s sweet will. You feel a sudden strengthening of your spirit, so that you are perfectly resigned, satisfied, prepared, and ready. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

So you see, God who is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient is the n control. He works through the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and give us wisdom and directions. He also works through people we know and may not know but were encouraged to help. For example, I was driving home one evening from work, and was driving through a rotator and saw a woman on the side of the road with a sign asking for help. I was not in the lane close to her, nor could I stop, so I kept driving. As I was leaving the area, God requested that I go back and give her $20. Twenty dollars was a lot at that point in my life, so I tried to ignore Him. He would not stop, ten minutes later, I turned around and went back to the rotator, got in the right lane, stopped traffic, and gave her my last twenty dollars. Obedience is everything, my friend. When I got home, I opened the mail and received an unexpected check that allowed us to pay the rent on time and more. Now, you could say This could have been a coincidence, but God does not work that way, He works through divine providence. Why did I share this story, you may ask? Believing God’s promises provides the strength to follow His nudging. Sometimes He just wants you to be obedient when He calls despite your circumstances. Nudging is when He puts something on your heart. It is the atmosphere of peace that empowers you with the strength to forge forward and trust in the path He is laying before you. It is the fortitude to turn left when you planned to turn right, to accept a job you would never have taken because He is lining up a job you thought you were not qualified for, to accept a lesser home when you lost your home, to look at each day as the day He made and rejoice in it despite your current circumstances.

Psalm 41:1,3

“Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” “The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; you will sustain him on his sickbed.”

The story I shared was an example of being obedient to help the poor. In times like this, I recite, ‘but for the grace of God, there go I.’ This scripture is rich in identifying God’s strength and focuses on strength during times of illness. Charles Stanley wrote in his Life Lessons that, “In this fallen world, we all get sick at some point. Some struggle with it often, some not much as all. But whenever we fall ill, God invites us to trust in His strength and to pray for recovery.”

Psalm 50:15

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Matthew Poolenconveyed in his commentary that, ” In the day of trouble” ; when the day of trouble comes, do not avoid it by ‘sinful shifts’ relying on a quick but questionable means to find relief, rather give glory to God and rely on His promises for resolve. God will deliver you out of trouble. We in turn should praise God for our deliverance. Some say, and I believe, that we should praise Him before He answers our cry for strength and resolve of the troubles we are experiencing. Faith requires that we believe in our heart that God’s promises are the only truth that ascribes the glory of deliverance to God. He gives us strength in times of trouble.

Nahum 1:7

“The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust Him.”

God is good to His children and will always provide a stronghold, refuge, and a way out of no way. You can put your trust in the Lord, acknowledging that His Promises never fail. His promises always provide the strength to see you through the worst of times. His strength protections us in times of uncertainty, feelings of hopelessness, and being defeated.

Mark 10:27

“But Jesus looked and them and said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Abbott, writes that although it transcends human power to change the fixed characteristics of avarice and selfishness to benevolence and piety, there is no limit to the control exercised over the heart by the Spirit of God. If God can convince a rich person to give up their riches, or in today’s terms, yield their wealth and denounce their dependence on their wealth to trust in Him, what more can He do for us? Image what He can do to and for those of us that are not part of the wealthy class. God seeks relationship, dependence, and allegiance to Him. He provides us with the strength to endure during difficulties and rest on His word as He works things out according to His plan.

Matthew 12:9

“My grace is sufficient to you, for My STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness.” “Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities that the poser of Christ may rest upon m.””

Charles Stanley. Life Lessons, explains this scripture this way, ” The gospel is full of seeming contradictions. If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to save your live, you must lose it. And, if you want to be strong, you must glory in your weakness.

You must glory in your weakness. You must never weaken and doubt, succumbing to your circumstances and lose hope. Your STRENGTH lies in your dependence on God’s promises.

Resources: Biblehub.com; dailyverse.knowing.jesus.com. Biblestudytools.com. Biblestudylight.org. Biblegateway.com. Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible. NKJV

Images: LAB PHOTOS

Comfort In Uncertainty

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When we are lost, we seek inward. When we are confused we seek God. Isn’t it amazing that we rely on Him and Him alone when things get tough.

~ Lisa Blair

Do you ever feel alone? Have you found yourself unable to figure things out? I have. We are in a time of uncertainty. We may have a job, roof our our head, and food on the table today, but uncertain about tomorrow, or you may have already been displaced as the result of the pandemic, loss of jobs, or storms, fires, or earthquakes. UNCERTAINTY IS THE TERM OF THE MOMENT. Absolutely nothing is as we understand it, but the WORD OF GOD. There is only one thing we can rely on and that’s His Word. It is our refuge, our safe haven, our tower against the storms of life.

The pandemic has ravaged the world as we know it. It has forced us to stop looking outward and begin looking inward at our relationship with God. I have met so many people who have been displaced from their pre-pandemic lives and have found freedom amongst the muck that has ravaged their lives.

Many are joining bible study Zooms, many are seeking introspection and their relationship with the Lord. Still others have decided to invest in themselves and not things, and are moving to less expensive cities and states. Many have regained connections with family members. And, many have found God and received Him as their Lord and Savior, hoping to come out of this in a strong relationship with our Father and a design for their futures that provide relationships outlined in the Bible as their basis for new life.

There is always a silver lining in every cloud. The timing for its appearance is governed by God. He knows the plans He has for us to prosper us and give us strength. He will provide for our basic needs as we travel through tough times, blessings will appear in many forms. Awareness of his blessings small and large were often overlooked and assumed to be something we made happen in the past. I think, for many, we are just beginning to recognize that our blessings come from God to meet all of our needs.

As we move forward, our lives may look different, we are shedding the past, those things that became idols and stole our time from the Lord. The new day will clearly focus on God and our relationship with Him. Our lives will experience His inner peace. We will find calm in the middle of storms, and we will be surrounded by His Grace and Mercies.

Images – Google Images

His Hope

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God is patiently waiting for all of us to become like Christ.

~ Lisa Blair

“God’s purpose for His people is that we become like the Lord Jesus Christ.” (BSF-Bible Study Fellowship)

For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.” Romans 8:29 AMP

God’s hope for our lives is to become more like Christ. This statement sounds easy, but is it really? The answer is YES and NO. Our mission as Christians is to read the Word, stay in prayer, and allow God to transform our daily walk. He expects us to treat people as Christ treated people, to spread the Good News as Christ spread the Good News, to become more than our sinful self-indulged selves. The more we read, study, and share, the more we become like Christ.

My Morning Routine

Reading is our responsibility, why because that is how we create gather the knowledge base we need to become more like Christ. We should read scripture every day. It may be a verse, a chapter, a book. Whatever works for you. I have several hardcopy Bibles – different versions, and parallel Bibles and commentaries. I also have several Bible apps and refer to scriptures and commentaries to dig deeper when studying. This has become the beginning of my daily practice. Daily devotionals also feed me each morning.

Praying is very important, I pray before I get out of bed, thanking God for another day’s journey and praising Him for who He is in my life. I also pray throughout the day and praise Him every time I see Him is something I see or am doing.

Thoughts on Transformation

I find that as I continue to mature in the Word, I notice my transformation and His activity that weaves through my life.

As we become more knowledgeable, most of us experience the need to share what is going on in our lives. The light of the Holy Spirit breaks through our continence. People recognize a difference in us. we begin to shine as we beccome more Christ-like.

One thing I have found, as well as those who shared the same experience, is that as you recognize God’s love, and your relationship with Him grows, He expects more of you. He will put you in positions and situations to pray for others; you will see Him orchestrating your life more and more. And, for some of us, He invites us to become spiritual leaders in some capacity. If this happens, it’s easier to say, Yes Lord,” early on. He will not stop asking. He knows what we need to grow and become more like Christ. And He will continue to move you in the direction we should go.

One of my many stories about my Walk.

God will always provide the game plan for your life if you ask, or when He charges you with new responsibilities. Most of us doubt our readiness; Moses doubted his ability when God charged Him to save His people. Moses was just one of many. We never really feel we are ready. But when God calls, He immediately tells us how to go about the task. He will train you. All you have to do is be obedient. For example, many years ago, one of my Boardmembers told me about BSF and invited me to attend. I said I did not have time. God is patient. He waited awhile and introduced another person who invited me to join BSF. I said, once more, I do not have time, thank you anyway. The third time he asked, he arranged for me to be free of excuses, and I agreed to go with the third friend that asked. That was three years ago. In my second year, the Lord put it on my heart to sign up as a leader. I did, hesitantly, not because I feared becoming a leader, I had been one throughout my career. Not because I felt inadequate, I had served as a teen Bible Study teacher. I was hesitant because this was a new level of serving Him.

This past year the pandemic hit, and the world began to shelter-in-place. Well, my 11-year-old Granddaughter lives with us, and this year she is attending Virtual 7th grade through our district; the schools have not reopened in California. With this in mind, I declined to serve as a BSF Group leader this year, using the excuse that I may have to become a home-teacher. This was in June. In late July, God shared He wanted me to lead a BSF group this year. I said I have other responsibilities with my granddaughters’ education this year in addition to other commitments. BSF takes a lot of time. After I finished making excuses, I said, ‘okay’ and contacted our head administrator. She shared that many leaders had withdrawn for one reason or another (all pandemic related, including many were not comfortable with the ZOOM format) and that she was happy the Lord encouraged my return. The bottom line, God knows what we can handle. I have sixteen people in my group and a lengthly lesson each week, as well as leadership training, and my other commitments. When I was done making excuses, He immediately told me I needed to be very disciplined this year and laid out my weekly schedule. He provided time for every aspect of my life. God is truly an amazing, attentive, and yes, a demanding Lord.
Walking with Christ is very rewarding.

As children of Christ, we are blessed to have a relationship with Him. We are blessed to have the opportunity to become more like Christ. We are saved and have the opportunity to: confess our sins, repent – asking forgiveness, being forgiven, and renewed. Our walk is not easy, we have a sin nature that works hard to derail us. Our salvation is a daily endeavor because once we give in to sin, the struggle becomes more of a battle to get back to who we are in Christ. He patiently observes our actions and is pleased when we say, enough, your will and not mine. Our journey on this earth is ongoing until the day we transition to heaven.

Surrendering is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in this life. His hope is that we will accept Him as our Lord and Savior and walk down the path God placed us on long before we were born.

Resources: BSF Handbook; biblegateway.com

Images: Google images