- ReadGod's Plans
October 21, 2021
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Many people are familiar with my husband Eric’s testimony. (Today is his birthday.) It always includes this scripture and how the realization that God had a plan for him changed his life. I’ve heard many people complain about people preaching and using this scripture out of context. So what is the context? Well, Jeremiah has been prophesying to the people of Judah that they would be taken captive and live in a foreign country for at least 70 years. God kept His word to them. He said if they didn’t live for Him then He would allow their nation to be destroyed. In the midst of that bad news, God drops this verse. Even though things were tough and about to get worse, God wanted them to know He still was in charge. He still had a plan, and He was going to keep His Word.
How does that transfer to us today? Well, anytime we are in a bad spot, especially one we created ourselves, we can come back and be encouraged by the promise in this verse. No matter how bad things are, no matter whose fault it is, God still has good plans for us. 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins and our faithful God will forgive us and cleanse us. If He’s willing to do that, I know He is willing to give us hope and a future. So trust God no matter how your situation looks or feels right now.
Lord, I believe Your Word, and I thank You that it’s not just for times when everything is great and I’m more than a conqueror. Thank You for Your Word when things are hard and when I’ve messed things up. I want Your plan in my life each and every day. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadIt's Time for Miracles
October 20, 2021
Luke 1:37 The Passion Translation
Not one promise from God is empty of power. Nothing is impossible with God!
Today is the 16th anniversary of one of my miracles. Four years before this miracle I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors and because of them I could not have children. I went through four months of very uncomfortable treatment and was able to have a baby. I decided right then that Kyla was going to be an only child if it meant I had to go through all of that again. But three years later without any treatment I experienced a miracle without medical intervention. Happy Birthday Kari! Her birthday is another opportunity for me to remember that my God is a God of miracles.
Today’s verse starts off with the promises of God, and it paints a beautiful picture. The promises of God are containers filled with His power.When we find His promise and speak it with faith, hold on to it with perseverance, and expect to see it manifest in our lives, we pour the power right out of the container. It is not enough to just know there are promises from God. We need to believe that those promises are powerful enough to do just what God has promised. It’s time to remember that nothing is impossible with God. It does not matter what you are going through or what you are up against. Nothing is impossible with God. It doesn’t matter if the odds are against you or if no one believes that you can. Nothing is impossible with God. Seek God in His Word. You will find His promises, and once you do, pour all of the power right out of them with your faith and expectation.
Thank You God for Your miracles. I believe that You can do anything and that nothing is too hard for You. Help me to remember Your promises today, and teach me how to pour all of the power out of them so that my life is full of your miracles. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadJesus is With You
October 19, 2021
Mark 1:12-13 New Living Translation
12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Mark’s gospel starts out differently than the other three. He doesn’t give a genealogy or a Christmas story or even a connection to the beginning. He simply states that “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” Then he jumps into the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, and here we have the temptation. He doesn’t give us a play by play of what the devil said and how Jesus responded. He simply said that Jesus was tempted, and that there were wild animals, and that the angels took care of Him.
Mark understood his audience. The Christians he was writing to were going through terrible persecutions and probably lived in Rome. A common punishment for being a Christian in Rome at this time was to be fed to the wild animals during the halftime show of the Roman games. Now with that knowledge go back and read that scripture again. The good news about Jesus is that He had rough days out in the wilderness with Satan and wild animals, yet angels took care of Him. It doesn’t matter what your day looks like, where you are led, or what you will encounter. Jesus understands. He knows what it’s like to be hungry. He knows what it’s like to be tempted by Satan. He knows what it’s like to be in a dangerous place. Psalm 91:11 says that, “he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”, and Hebrews 13:5 reminds us that He will never leave us or forsake us. You can trust God today to be with you and to send His angels to take care of you. Expect God’s intervention in your life today.
Lord, some days feel so overwhelming and they try to make me feel like my life is just a wilderness. Thank You for being with me in the wilderness, in the face of danger, and when the enemy shows up. Thank You for Your presence and Your power. Thank You for being with me today and leading me into victory. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
October 18, 2021
Genesis 8:22 New International Version
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
It is cool and crisp this morning! I don’t like cold, but I also don’t like sweating as soon as I step out the door, so I appreciate the cool air and the change of seasons this morning. It led me to think about this scripture. This is God’s promise to Noah after the flood. Genesis 8:1 says that God remembered Noah. Good things happen when God remembers. In Genesis 30:22 God remembered Rachel and she was finally able to have a baby. In Exodus 2:24 God remembered His covenant with Abraham and set off the deliverance of the Israelites. And in the New Testament, Acts 10:31 says that God remembered Cornelius’ gifts to the poor and sent salvation and the Holy Spirit right to his door!
The cool weather made me remember this verse, and if God keeps His Word about the seasons, what else is He telling the truth about? Do you need encouragement today? Have you been waiting to see God manifest His Word for you? Then it’s time for you to remember. If the sun came up today then God is still keeping His promises and He is still remembering. Don’t get weary. Don’t let go of your faith. Remember God is able. Remember God watches over His Word and performs it. Remember that God sees your faith. Rejoice in God’s goodness today. He hasn’t forgotten you!
Thank You Lord for all of your promises. Thank You for loving me. I choose to trust You today. I know that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadCircle of Love
October 15, 2021
Romans 8:28 New Living Translation
And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
So yesterday we talked about us loving God. It really is a beautiful cycle. John 3:16 starts it all off. God so loved us He gave Jesus. Romans 5:8 shows Jesus’ love for us because while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Our response is loving God back. Our love for Him is evident when we keep His commandments. (1 John 5:3). And as we do that, as we live in obedience, God loves us differently than the rest of the world. You’re probably wondering what I mean by loving us differently. Well, we’re His children now. Contrary to popular belief, everyone is Not a child of God.(John 1:12) No one has been a Christian all of their lives. No one at all is born a Christian. You have to be born again to be a Christian. And it is incorrect to say we have a “Christian Nation” because each individual has to individually make a decision to belong to God and choose to love God in order for the whole nation to be Christian.
Now where was I? Oh yes. God loves His children differently. If you have children you know what I mean. You are going to be nice and loving to people in Wal-Mart because that’s how a Christian should be. BUT, you are not buying groceries or gifts or even toilet paper for all those people in Walmart. But for your child or even your Godchild, you will head to Walmart, even if you hate it, and cause that child’s needs and wants to be met. Do you see the difference. When we love God, He causes things for us. Spend some time thinking about this. Go back and look at the scriptures I shared today. Look at the circle of love. Increase your faith in the love of God and increase your willingness to have love for God.
Lord, Your love is absolutely overwhelming. There are so many lies out here in this world about Your love. Teach me the truth. Open my eyes to see the truth. Help me to live in that truth and to continually live in Your love. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadLove For God
October 14, 2021
1 John 5:3 New International Version
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
Once again, I have gotten hung up on a preposition. Look what John said. He said love for God. What does that mean? How is that different? I’m so glad you asked. See in John 3:16, John told us that God so loved the world. Who is doing the action or the work there? God! He’s the one loving. Now who does He love? The whole wide world! There is not a person on this earth that God does not love. How is that possible? Well, John tells us in 1 John 4:8 that God is love. That’s like saying water is wet. No matter how you experience H2O, at some point it will get you wet. The ice will melt, the steam will condense. If it’s water, it will be wet. Same with God. He is love. No matter how you experience Him, you will be loved. His blessings are a result of His love. His judgement is a result of His love. His correction is a result of His love. His protection is a result of His love. Whatever comes from God is going to love you because that is who and what He is. And there are times as believers we are drenched in His love and mad as all get out because He didn’t let us do what we wanted to or He wouldn’t approve our sin. We may not like it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are loved by God.
Now for us. Love for God. This is about us loving God. This is how we know if we have love, possess love, for God. My Momma always told me that love was an action word, and this verse proves that she was right. You see our love for God must be seen. It’s not something in our hearts. I’ve heard people say that they accepted Jesus into their hearts. That’s not where Jesus wants to be. He wants to be in your life. When you accept Jesus into your life, He changes your heart. The Holy Spirit shows up with God’s very own love, so that you too can so love the world. And then we can live like we love God. Love for God is seen by everyone and everything when we simply do what He says. And John says that’s not hard either. Let’s just think about that for a while. Joshua said if you think about the Word you’ll be prosperous and successful. Not a bad return for a good day of thinking! Do you have love for God?
Thank You Lord for loving me. Stimulate my mind with Your Word today. Help me think about it. Change me as I think about Your Word. Help me to see things the way you see it. Also, keep working in my heart. I want to truly love You the way You love me. In Jesus’ Name...
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadMind Renewal
October 13, 2021
Ephesians 4:28 The Message
Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.
It is time for us as the Body of Christ to renew our minds to who we are and how we are supposed to live in this world. It’s time for us to do a deep dive into the Word of God, and Ephesians is a great place to start. A while back we studied Ephesians in Bible Study, and the teacher pointed out that out of all of Paul’s letters, this one was the most advanced. It’s like the Honor’s Class on Christian living. You’ll notice that Paul is not dealing with church mess, I mean problems, like in the letters to the church in Corinth, or the ladies fussing in Philippi. Instead, he’s telling the church who Jesus is and as a result who they are, and since that’s who you are, this is how you are to live.
Yesterday we looked at what happens when you give the devil a place, and this is the very next scripture. I had an interesting conversation about this verse. I’m going to share what I learned. Paul has already told us in chapter 1 verse 3 that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Everything we need is taken care of in Christ. So, interestingly enough, he tells saved people to stop stealing. 1. Let’s not assume that everyone that has accepted Jesus knows the best way to live this abundant life. We have to continue to speak the truth in love. Next, he tells the church people, not the world to get a job. 2. As Christians God is holding us responsible. Not the world. He didn’t tell them to get a job. He told us to do it. Now look at why we have to get a job. Do you see it. Look it up in every version you can. It will still say the same thing. 3. As believers who already have every need met in Christ Jesus, we are commanded by the Word of God to get an honest job to help other people. This is not political. This is not about governments. This is Kingdom of God living. It’s time for us to stop allowing the world to influence the Church. It’s time to do what God says.
Lord, honestly it’s not fair that I should have to work and help people that won’t do anything. But it also wasn’t fair that while I was yet a sinner You died for me. Help me to get out of my will and my wants and live for Your will alone. Give me the want to- to want to obey Your Word in all things. In Jesus’ Name...
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadNo Place
October 12, 2021
Ephesians 4:27 King James Version
Neither give place to the devil.
If you haven’t read Ephesians chapter 4 lately, I encourage you to read it and think about it. Halfway through the passage are Paul’s “Instructions for Christian Living”. Now you can read this as another list of “Thou shalt nots” because he deals with lying, stealing, cursing, bitterness, anger, and malice. But the purpose of this is not to restrict you or even tell you what to do. The purpose is to help you truly live the abundant life Jesus died to give you.
Just the other day Eric and I were talking about tragedies going on around us and I said, “that kill, steal, and destroy is bad out here in these streets!” That’s what we need to understand. We have an enemy, and he is doing his best to kill us anyway he can. He is trying to steal our peace and our families. He is out there doing his best to destroy destinys, breakthroughs and health. How do we avoid all of that? How do we obtain abundant life? Verse 27 tells us not to give place to the devil. Many versions say “don’t give the devil a foothold”, but I like thinking about this version. The devil only operates in our lives if we give him a place. We leave him a small space in our lives with a lie or a curse word. We hold him a place in our lives when we choose not to forgive. All that stuff Paul tells us not to do are things that give the devil place. So you can choose to live like that, but just be informed that every time you do, YOU give the devil place. He has no right in the life of the believer, but believers give him permission with their living to come and bring all of his “kill, steal, destroy” with him. So the next time your flesh is fed up, you feel like cussing something, or you feel like it might just be easier to lie, ask yourself is it worth dealing with all the evil the devil will be pouring into your life. It’s your choice.
Lord, thank you for all the tools you give me to protect and enjoy this abundant life. Help me to see every choice as either life or death. Give me wisdom to see life. Change my desires to want Your will and to do things Your way. In Jesus’ Name...
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
- ReadExamine Yourself
October 11, 2021
2 Corinthians 13:5 New Living Translation
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
Every Sunday at Transforming Culture Ministries we end service with the following benediction. “Oh let us teach the truth of life in the most effective way, and let us live the life we teach in the Presence of God each day.” Almost every Sunday growing up I heard this benediction and repeated after my Daddy as he said it. It’s one of those things I can say without thinking about it, and that’s when the problems come in. If we are not thinking about the benediction, the prayer, the scripture, if we can quote it or say it without engaging our minds, then we are not open to be challenged or changed by the Holy Spirit and we will not grow.
Paul said to examine yourself. Any time your doctor or dentist examines you, they don't just look at you. They ask questions.They go deeper than what is obvious. How do you examine yourself? How do you check to see if your faith is genuine? Well let me offer you an instrument to use in your examination. Feel free to use that benediction. Did you go to church yesterday? If you didn’t, examine why. Ask God what He thinks about that. If you did go to church, was the truth preached? If you got the message then it was probably effective. Next question, are you living what you learned? When your faith is genuine, you live what you know. Last question, are you seeking to be in God’s Presence today? You do not need anyone to tell you where you are in your Christian walk. You can examine yourself and see if you are growing just by thinking about a few questions. Keep your faith genuine. Examine yourself.
Thank You Lord for teaching me Your Word day after day in such an effective way. Help me to live the life I’ve learned. Remind me, Holy Spirit, to continue to examine myself. I want to continue to grow in You and move in my faith. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD
October 8, 2021
Isaiah 40:31 New Living Translation
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
I am so happy that it's Friday. It seems like I’ve done three weeks worth of work this week, and I’m looking forward to recharging. I know I will because the scripture says if I just trust in the Lord I’ll find new strength. I learned this verse in the King James Version, and wondered many times how I was supposed to wait on the Lord. Was I supposed to stand still and wait for Him or was I supposed to wait on Him like I was a waitress? This version clears it up for me. My job is to trust in Him. That means that I trust His program. I trust His way of doing things. I trust His Word. I trust that all this is going to work out for my good. I trust that I am the head and not the tail. I trust that as my soul prospers, my health and everything else in my life has to get in line.
It’s also interesting to me that it says that when I trust Him I will find new strength. I have to seek in order to find. If I would seek first the Kingdom, everything else will be added. If I seek His plan, I’ll find it. If I seek Him for life and strength, I’ll be renewed. As believers we have no need to look for something to pick us up or get us going. We don’t need anything but trust in the Lord to give us the extra boost we need for the day. Let’s trust in the Lord today.
Lord, I trust You. I trust Your plan for today. I’m looking to You to renew me and revive me. Empower me to accomplish Your will for my life today. Energize me so that I can bless everyone around me. In Jesus’ Name…
Deidra B. Johnson, PhD