Thursday, April 11, 2024

Never Alone


Little children, I (Jesus) am with you only a little while longer. You will look for Me, and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you: Where I am going, you cannot come. (John 13:33, BSB)

If we read only this verse from the passage in John, how would we feel? I would experience exclusion or grief. I would have no purpose in life. My reason for living would be gone. The power in life would cease. The world would devolve into chaos. Anarchy would occur. People would search for God aimlessly, with no purpose.

Jesus said this to fishermen, a tax collector, a thief, a doubter, and his closest of friends—Peter, John, and James. How would it impact you if your friend, teacher, mentor, and brother expressed he would not see or spend time with you anymore?

These men would not see Jesus in the immediate future. Jesus had planned to put their relationship on the ultimate level. He was not ending his relationship with them, but changing it. Jesus was changing it to be an everlasting relationship.

“To all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

Are you seeking God? He said you will find Him if you seek for Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus said if you seek me, you will find me (Matthew 7:7).

Yes, Jesus went away, but then he returned after his resurrection from death. He never leaves us. Even when Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not utterly and permanently leave. He put his Holy Spirit within each believer and gave us the promise of his return.

At that time, Jesus was going to endure torture, crucifixion, and death. It surpassed even that. Death did not end his story. He arose from death in the tomb and returned to life. Nobody could go there and do that. Jesus made promises to always be with us, never leaving or forsaking humanity.

Where do you stand? Do you sense God has forsaken you to struggle through life? Are you burdened by sins and sense a significant weight on your heart and spirit? Do you sense anything except for loneliness? The glorious victory and truth are we are never alone. Jesus is as close as our next breath, our next heartbeat, or our next thought. Breathe out saying YAH—breathe in saying WEH. His name means I AM.

God is always. He has always been present, before and during time. And there never will be a time when you are alone. You are not alone. Breathe again and call him again. He is waiting for you. Seek him. All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved and never be alone (Romans 10:13).

Monday, April 8, 2024

Waiting Empowered


In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. (Ephesians 6:16, NLT)

In the verses before Ephesians 6:16, Paul wrote about other pieces of the armor of God. He taught the Ephesians to don the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the shoes of peace. These are all pieces of defensive armor. To protect the soldier of God from attack. In verse sixteen, Paul taught these believers to hold up the shield of faith so they can block the arrows of the devil. He continued with other verses that included the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and prayer.

Before these five verses, Paul began by saying where the armor came from, whose might empower the armor, and who would cause Christians to need armor. God knew in advance armor was a necessity. He knew human-made armor would be powerless to engage with spiritual forces. Because of that, God gives to every Christian the armor that carries the strength He gives. For this reason, Paul wrote in verses ten and eleven, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (NLT).

God knew people's limitations in fighting the spiritual realm of evil. Everyone falls to Satan's temptations at least once in life. Because Christians are to be messengers of the gospel, Satan wants to stop them more than he wants to stop non-Christians. This means that Satan attacks Christians more than he attacks non-Christians. God knows the schemes of Satan. He knows the methods of attack Satan will hurl at His children, and because of that, God gives the armor His children need to combat Satan and his demons. He gives armor that will make His children victorious over Satan’s plans. Paul, convinced of this truth of God, testified of it in Romans 8:38-39. He knew firsthand of God’s love and declared nothing can separate us from God’s love, then gave a list of the things, events, and beings over which God is almighty—death, life, angels, demons, fears, worries, powers of hell, false gods, and anything in all creation.

Since God’s love is so great and powerful, nothing can stand against and defeat us. God made that possible by giving us armor by which to combat Satan’s evil forces. This armor is God’s; He made it, and He gives it. All that comes from God is powerful and good. Yet, we must actively receive it—actively take it and wear it.

A question arises, though, when we consider Christians’ lives. Why do we keep hearing of their sins and downfall? The answer is that no Christian is perfect. They cannot be because they are not God. Only God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is perfect. But Christians are being perfected daily by Christ as they stay in daily communion (relationship) with God. Still, they fall to temptation. For this reason, God gives believers armor. Remember, the armor comes from Him, and, with it, believers can defeat the schemes of Satan. Since God gives Christians this undefeatable armor, why do they still sin? The answer is straightforward: Since God is invincible, the Christians who sinned did not take the armor God offers to each believer, put it on, and use it. These Christians fought Satan with their own strength. For example, people can receive a car but not get in and drive it. God gives believers armor, but until they put it on intentionally by praying over it and onto themselves each day, they stand as prey to Satan’s schemes. King Saul’s life is an example of this.

When Samuel the prophet and priest of God grew old, the Israelites feared they would have no leader upon his death. They asked Samuel to give them a king to judge them so they can be like the other nations (1 Samuel 8:1-5). In 1 Samuel 10:1, Samuel, by God’s instruction, anointed Saul as king of Israel, then gave him instructions on what would happen and what he was to do. He told Saul that he would meet two men as he passed Rachel’s tomb, meet three men at the oak of Tabor who would give him two loaves of bread, then go to Gibeah of God, meet prophets, and receive the Spirit of the LORD, by whom he would prophesy. From the time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Saul, Samuel said he would be a different person (1 Samuel 10:2-6, 10-13). After receiving the Spirit and prophesying, Samuel told Saul he would know God is with him (vs. 7). From Gibeah, Saul would go to Gilgal and wait for seven days for Samuel to arrive (vs. 8). God chose Saul, anointed him with oil by Samuel, His prophet, and anointed him by the Holy Spirit to lead the people of Israel. The signs proved God's choice of Saul as leader to himself and the Israelites.

Knowing that, why did Saul sin and fall away from God? It happened fast. Saul had the Spirit of God within him. That means he had the armor of God extended to him because God’s Spirit was within him. Yet Saul chose to fight his first temptation, that of receiving the glory and goodwill of his people, by disobeying God’s will as He stated through Samuel. He stole the glory that was due to God by not waiting for Samuel to sacrifice animals on the altar. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul, with his warriors, marched to fight the Philistines. His men feared the Philistines because they had a “mighty army of 3000 chariots and 6000 charioteers and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore” (1 Samuel 13:5). The Israelite soldiers tried to hide anywhere they could find, including large cisterns. Some soldiers crossed the Jordan River to get away from the Philistines. Overwhelmed by fear, the Israelite warriors were unwilling to let Saul wait for the full seven days as instructed by Samuel, so they could burn sacrifices to God and seek His guidance and blessings for the impending battle. Saul decided he would offer the sacrifices to God since Samuel did not arrive before the end of the seventh day, the amount of time Samuel instructed Saul to wait in chapter ten. Samuel arrived in Gilgal just as Saul was finishing offering the sacrifices (1 Samuel 13:10). His reaction to seeing that Saul had acted beyond his authority from God—by acting as a priest—was to say with righteous indignation, “What is this you have done?” (vs. 11) Samuel continued in verses thirteen and fourteen, “How foolish! You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end.”

What happened? Why did Saul disobey God’s instructions through Samuel, God’s prophet? Saul succumbed to his soldiers’ pressure, wanting to be like other kings. He trembled at the idea of losing their trust and loyalty. Saul's focus was on people, not God. He took his eyes off God and focused on his situation. God punished Saul by removing the kingdom from him. He also removed His Spirit from Saul and left a distressing spirit in him (1 Samuel 16:14-15). The first sin of Saul’s, that of disobeying God and taking His glory, led quickly to other sins. He decided not to kill all the Amalekites and their livestock (1 Samuel 15:1-19). Saul walked to Carmel after defeating the Amalekites to set up a monument to himself (1 Samuel 15:12). The Lord outright rejected Saul and had Samuel declare it in 1 Samuel 15:23. When the Lord rejected Saul, He sent Samuel to anoint a man after His own heart, David, in 1 Samuel 16. In this same chapter, the writer of 1 Samuel tells us when the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, a tormenting spirit filled him with depression and fear. A void of God’s Spirit in a person leaves a vacancy for an evil spirit to enter that person. In summary, Saul disobeyed God by taking on the role of priest. God anoints and prepares men to be His priests. He anointed Saul as king, not as a priest. Saul stole God’s glory. He set up a monument to himself because of his pride and allowed the Israelites to give him praise instead of directing the praise to God. For this, God rejected Saul and took His Spirit from Saul. The latter led to a tormenting spirit living in Saul.

Saul was impatient. He received the Spirit of God because of God’s choosing him. He did not use the power and guidance God offered through the Spirit by waiting for guidance and obeying God. Consider Ephesians 6 and the armor of God. For Christians, God’s power and guidance are available to each person. God offers it to each of His children. Christians can choose to receive and use it or not. When believers accept each piece of armor with prayer and then walk with the knowledge, power, and wisdom of God imparted by His truth, righteousness, and salvation, then they can battle Satan and evil spirits. God does not just save people and abandon them to fight alone in life. He wants to journey with each believer and to guide, teach, protect, encourage, and empower them to live life victoriously. Jesus died to give people who believe in Him victory over more than death. Christians can have victory over sin, too.

Consider now, what is your sin today? What was your sin yesterday, this week, this month, this year? Did you live with the power God gives and with His armor received and on you?

To be transparent, one of my recent sins was about to be impatience. Despite not hearing from God, I wanted to make a decision after praying for three days. I desired to accept an opportunity without God’s confirmation. Fortunately, I pray and read my Bible daily. One day, God aimed at my heart with this reminder from Saul’s life. God asked me, “Are you going to be patient or be like Saul?” Ouch! Now, I wait and keep praying. I still ask God want He wants me to do about this opportunity. He reminds me that He does not have to make a quick decision, even though I experience internal pressure to make it. Saul sensed a similar pressure from his soldiers about the choice between fighting the Philistines or running away. God knows what is best for me and for His ultimate plan. He knows what is best for you, too.

Praying for days and not getting an immediate answer is hard. God’s non-answer could mean He is saying, “No,” or “Not yet.” The hard part for me is the "Not yet". I am impatient at times. Will I be like Saul or wait? I am choosing to wait.

Will you wait on God or be like Saul? God is asking you.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The In-Between


The In-Between

Living in the in-between

Hard times between life and loss

The time between these

Joy of former, tears are the cost.

The wish for life once again

Feels labored and long

Yet is no greater than a breath

Yet harder than a song.


Beating of a heart

Whisper of a voice

The rattle and silence

What more can be lost?


Life’s glimmer passed into night

Life’s hope faded fast

The reason and purpose

Seemed empty, useless.


Day after day

Darkness, a heavy load

No joy only sorrow

No reason, no hope.


Plodding through darkness

Whisper of breath, no sound

Blankness and pain

Without hope, silence resounds.


Eyes open as slits

Wait, breath makes sound

Shimmer like mirage

Where is it found?


Deeper and wider

Breath, eyes open

Sounds come, recall hope

Heart’s pump sound begins.


Days without number

Soundless, no light

Makes heart yearn, grasp

For hope and sight.


Slit opened wider

Ears perk, attune

Life enters slowly

Heart yearns, makes room.


Darkness will not linger

As Hope enters with love

Hope does not leave

Resurrected from above.


Darkness without victim

Loss has no gain

Hope has no strangle

Life comes with pain.


Joy ,Life from Hope

Life born anew

Death cannot conquer

HOPE LOVE gives you.


Hope in the morning

Peace for the day

Guide for the footfalls

Life eternally.


Faith brings renewal

LOVE conquers all

CHRIST resurrected

KING overall.


Death has no power

That Christ cannot end

For people who choose HIS

Life HE offers them.


Death of a loved one

Painfully dark

Comes with joy for believers

Whose family, friends know HIM.


Dark though it seems

Presses down does death’s day

LIFE’S gift of salvation

Redeems, saves from life’s pay.


Salvation free

Sin’s judgment paid

Jesus’ death paid ransom

Believers are saved.


Battle HE fought

Behind solid stone

JESUS emerged

Now sits on His throne.


Victor o’er death

Sin, pain, and grief

Conquering HERO

Our LORD is HE.


Dying, HE saved me

Risen from the grave


My redeemer HE saves.


HOPE everlasting

JOY without end

Now and always



Dying, HE saves.

JESUS, HE reigns.

Death now defeated.

Victorious KING without end!


Gail Suratt Davis

March 30, 2024

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Choices of Life

“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14

God told Joshua to call the Israelites to himself. He told Joshua his death would be soon. The Israelites needed to be reminded of who God is, has been, and will be, as well as what He has done for them as His people. In Joshua 24:14, God, through Joshua, challenges them to recommit themselves to Him.

As we consider this verse, we must notice all the imperatives—fear, serve, cast aside, serve (again). For one verse to have so many commands, this should cause us to ask some questions. The questions that come to my mind are the following four.

·       Who gave these commands? God gave them.

·       Whom did God command? He commanded His people, Israel, and, by forward-pushing, His children by faith.

·       How were God’s people to keep His commands since humanity is sinful and unfaithful? God would give them the will and ability to do what He commanded. God gives absolutes. His ways are bigger than people’s. People must have the desire (will) to follow God through their daily growing relationship with Him, which makes His desires theirs. People also receive God’s empowering to do what He commands, asks, and lays out.

·       What did God command the Israelites to do? He gave four commands by using three words and used one of them twice. God emphasized one command because it was a very important imperative.

God’s first command to the Israelites was to “fear the Lord.” Fearing God comes from the Hebrew word yare’. It means to revere and honor. God commanded the Israelites to revere and honor Him above all else. He would give them the ability to do this. The Israelites would be in awe of God and could only worship and revere Him solely if they grasped onto His power to forsake the self-concerned murmurings of their fickle hearts and minds. God does not require what He does not give the ability to do. People must want to be close to God so that they receive His enabling because of their hearts and minds being attuned to His. God said, “Fear the Lord,” to the Israelites. Draw near and worship God.

God commanded the Israelites to “serve Him.” Again, what God commands people He enables them to do. It requires selflessness, which will lead to godliness. God commanded the Israelites to serve Him, Yahweh (the always existing One), not other gods. Those other gods, which Yahweh said not to serve, include manmade things, self, or other God-created things. He told the Israelites how to serve Him—"in sincerity and truth.” People have a faithlessness that allows them to perform worship acts without involving their heart, mind, and soul. God told His people to serve Him with their whole being (sincerely) and faithfully (in truth). These descriptors of the worship God requires may have caused the Israelites recall what Moses told them. He said in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Jesus reiterated this in Matthew 22:37. So, God commanded the Israelites to grasp His enabling of them faithfully to serve Him sincerely with their whole being.

God gave a third command in verse 14. He demanded they “cast aside the gods your fathers served.” Cast aside means to put away, remove, turn aside from. God commanded the Israelites to grasp the power He gives them to turn away from the false gods the Egyptian, Abraham, along with his ancestors, venerated. Do not worship them; intentionally turn away from worshipping created things. Instead, be in awe of Yahweh and worship Him, the One who was before time, is now, and will be even beyond time. Choose to revere and serve Yahweh faithfully (singularly) and completely, with your heart, mind, body, and soul.

That third command in this verse leads to God’s final command. The final command is a reiteration of the second imperative. He commanded the Israelites to cast away the gods of their forefathers and the Egyptians and “serve Him.” Serving God requires exclusivity, serving only Him. It requires oneness of being and faithfulness. Serving God requires awe and reverence of Him singularly daily. God enables His people to serve Him completely and exclusively. People are fickle and unfaithful. Yet God does not command of people what He does not enable. God gives His people the ability to have a close and personal relationship with Him. From that relationship comes the will and desire to be closer to God and to honor Him with their lives by word, action, attitude, and exclusive worship.

Even today, God enables people to serve Him completely and selflessly. He does this by bringing a sinful person into a close and personal relationship with Him through Jesus. Because of God’s great love for people, He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born in human form, live sinlessly, die unjustly, and arise from death victoriously. Jesus died for our sin punishment, which we deserve, so that whoever believes in Him will be saved from their sin and given eternal life with God in His kingdom (John 3:16). For anyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the grave will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Anyone who is God’s child can obey His commands in Joshua 25:14 with His enabling. Trying to live as God’s child without His strength, power, and enabling, leads to sinning--missing the mark. God expects His children to live by His enabling them with ability, power, and strength. Anything less than exclusive and sincere worship of God is unacceptable. They become tepid water He spits from His mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).

Today, I encourage you to consider your relationship with God. Do you have a relationship with God by believing in Jesus? Is your worship of God true worship—done with your whole being? Do you worship God faithfully daily and weekly? Do you grasp God’s gift of enabling you to worship Him in these ways? Have you turned away from other things in your life that had more importance to you than God and returned to worship Him wholeheartedly and singularly?

“Choose you this day who you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15a)


Monday, March 18, 2024

Laugh Aloud


“During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” (Hebrews 5:7)

Jesus cried and prayed for people lost in a sinful world.

He cried and prayed because He understood the pain His human form would endure because of dying to save these lost people.

The Father heard Jesus’ prayers and provided the way to save people from the chaos of lostness. The death of Jesus’ human form.

He heard Jesus’ prayers and provided a quick end to Jesus’ suffering while hanging on the cross. The death of Jesus’ human form.

People could have been left in the world’s chaos and Satan’s endless torment. They would understand they would never have the chance to get God’s help once they died. But God, in His love and mercy, made the way for people to receive His forgiveness and cleansing from their sins—-because of His love. By the death of Jesus’ human form.

Jesus could have hung on the cross alive for a day and suffered the agony of suffocation, pain, and thirst. But because of the Father’s love and mercy, He caused Jesus’ suffering in human form to end quickly. Jesus’ human form died.

God’s hearing and intervening in both situations occurred because of His love and mercy, since He is Sovereign and omnipotent.

Look back at the intended bleakness and torment that Satan intended, and LAUGH. Laugh at Satan’s impotence when faced with God’s omnipotence. Laugh at Satan’s small claims of importance when faced with God’s sovereignty.

Laugh because God loves you and has saved you if you have believed in Jesus as your Savior. Satan does not win; God wins in your life because you have believed in Jesus. Because Jesus’ human form died as the necessary sacrifice for the sins of each person and Jesus’ human form arose from death because He is God incarnate. Victor over sin and death. For YOU. For ALL who will believe in Jesus, the Son of God.

Know GOD HEARS you when you pray.

GOD ANSWERS your prayers.

And GOD WINS in the end.