• published a newsletter

    ReadLive in Love

    January 21, 2022

    1 John 4:16 New Living Translation

    We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.


    Today is my Mother’s birthday.  Without her you wouldn’t have daily devotions, because I wouldn’t even exist.  Not only did she give me life, she taught me that God loves me and that I should put my trust in Him and His love.  My mother is not one to teach only with words.  She is such a good teacher that she models all the lessons she teaches.  If you want to learn to love like God you simply need to watch her actions.  You may not realize it, but cooking is NOT my mother’s favorite thing, yet when I was in college she cooked dinner for every college student I brought to church.  Years later she was still doing that for my nephew’s friends that he had invited to church.  She has loved so many of us with a delicious meal.  She has shared her home with so many, and she has shared her gifts and abilities.  My mother loved combing hair and she would comb the hair of other people’s children just to be a blessing.  You won’t find her in a history book, but she integrated a public school in St. Landry Parish as the only Black teacher at the all white school.  She lived in the love of God and changed people’s opinions about a whole race of people.


    That’s what God has called us to do.  Not just to proclaim His love, but to live in Him so that He can live in us.  When that happens, we see the Holy Spirit going to work in us, touching and changing lives around us.  Miracles happen because we choose to live in the love of God.  We literally begin changing the world.  We cannot do that if all we do is say the right things.  We have to consistently live in God and display His love.  In our society people no longer care about churches or denominations.  They want an authentic experience, and we have the opportunity to facilitate their encounter with the God of the universe.  So today, I invite you to allow the Word of God to dwell in you richly and live in the love of God.  We can all celebrate this day in honor of my Mother by expanding the Kingdom of God with our love.


    Thank You Lord for allowing me to experience Your love.  I want to live in Your love and touch the world around me.  Help me to love through the gifts and abilities You have given me.  Show me how to change the world around me with Your love.  In Jesus’ Name…




    Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

    Pastor

    1. published a newsletter

      ReadAll Things Working

      January 20, 2022

      Romans 8:28 King James Version

       And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


       In Matthew 22:36-38 Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment and He said love God with all that you are.  That’s our number one job.  We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.  I often teach that my soul consists of my mind, my will and my emotions, but here Jesus is including more things.  Loving God with all my heart is about devotion.  It is a commitment, like when you go after something with all your heart or you put your whole heart into it.  We are commanded to be committed to God.  Loving God with all of my soul is saying that I can’t just be committed to God as a duty, there needs to be deep emotion also.  All of my feelings need to be wrapped up into loving God, and loving God with my mind has to do with my intellect.  I need to think about loving God, focus on loving God and put my mind to loving God.  That’s the greatest commandment.  That must be our first focus.


      And while we are working on that, everything else is working for us.  All of creation belongs to God.  Psalm 24:1 says, “... the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” We might declare satan as the god of this world or the ruler of this world, but the earth belongs to the Lord.  It always has and it always will, and the things in the earth are waiting to be set free from the decay it has been subjected to as a result of sin (Romans 8:18-21).  As soon as the things in the earth see that you love God, they go to work for your good.  The things work.  God works the things.  It all works together for your good, if you love God.  Loving God sets supernatural things in motion, so don’t get distracted by the works you do in the church and the good you do for God.  Go love God with all that’s inside of you, and things have to work for your good.


      God I love You because You first loved me.  I need Your help so that I can love You more.  I want to be committed to loving You.  Thank You for causing things to work for my good.  In Jesus’ Name…


      Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

      Pastor


      1. published a newsletter

        ReadContinue the Work

        January 19, 2022

        1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

        If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.


        Before Paul talked about the Fruit of the Spirit, or as I said yesterday having the production of the Holy Spirit in our  lives, he gave us a lot of truth in Galatians 5:6. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (ESV)  It’s not only patience that needs to work, it’s everything spiritual that we have been given.  We have all been given a measure of faith, and we can’t please God without faith, but that faith needs love in order to work.  


        Every manifestation of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 that gives us power to work supernaturally needs the production of the Spirit to work.  Without love our giftedness does not accomplish anything.  We don’t have the power to change the world, we just have the ability to “flow” in a gift because we learned how to operate in it.  Flowing in the gifts of the Spirit is not what we are trying to achieve.  Having gifts does not mean we have arrived spiritually.  We have arrived spiritually when we humble ourselves everyday to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work in us.  That is when the eyes of our understanding continue to be enlightened.  That is when we see who we are and where we are in Christ and what we need to do to continue this walk of faith.  It is not good enough to have read the whole Bible and be able to operate in several gifts.  That’s not a living sacrifice.  A living sacrifice is laying down our knowledge and our gifts at the feet of Jesus every day acknowledging that we need more of Him to work in us this day.  May the Holy Spirit continue to draw us, convict us and work in us for the glory of God.


        Holy God, I need You to work in me today.  Apart from You I can do nothing.  Thank You for all that you have trusted me with.  Thank You for the gifts and manifestations.  Thank You for knowledge and understanding of Your Word.  I acknowledge You today.  Show me how You want me to use what You have given me.  Use me to bring You glory and change the world.  In Jesus’ Name…



        Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

        Pastor


        1. published a newsletter

          ReadIs It Working?

          January 18, 2022

          Galatians 5:22-23  NLT

          ​​22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!


          We know that the Spirit of God is working in us when we have his production or fruit in our lives.  When a car company’s assembly line is working there is production and cars are made, they are produced.  It’s the same thing with God.  I’m realizing it is not enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit or be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  I have to allow the Holy Spirit to work in me.  How do I know He’s working?  There’s production!  


          James 1:4 says, “ But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  Not only do I have to allow the Spirit to work, I have to allow each of these fruit or attributes to work, because each thing works something different in my life just like GM has different plants to produce different parts that are then put together to produce the vehicle.  I read a quote from Joyce Meyer.  She said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait- it’s how we behave while we are waiting.”  So today we need to let the Holy Spirit work and see the fruit in our lives.  We need to let the fruit work, and today we’re looking at patience.  We know that patience is working when we behave like Jesus while we are waiting.  These are benefits that come with our life in Jesus, and they make life better.  Let’s take advantage of them today.


          Thank You Lord for abundant life and the opportunity to live it.  I ask You to fill me with Your Spirit.  Holy Spirit, work in me today.  Produce what is necessary for me to enjoy life and be a blessing.  Empower me so that I allow patience to work and my behavior to change.  In Jesus’ Name…



          Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

          Pastor


          1. published a newsletter

            ReadAll That Matters

            January 17, 2022

            Galatians 5:6  The Passion Translation

            When you’re joined to the Anointed One, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that works and expresses itself through love.


            Today as we celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., praise God for the freedoms that we know have, and open our hearts and ears to what God wants us to do now for His Kingdom and His glory we look into the Word. Being a Christian is declaring that we have chosen to be joined to Jesus the Anointed One.  He is our life and apart from Him we can do nothing.  There are so many things that people want to do in the world.  There are so many causes that people want to stand and fight for, yet I see things dividing them. Things like church affiliation or theology.  Things like what type of worship you have in your church.  Things like women pastors and political associations.  That is not what being united to Christ is about.  In the words of Paul, “All that matters now is living in the faith that works and expresses itself through love.”


            In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul also said, “...if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  There is nothing more important than love, but you cannot know love and you cannot operate in love unless you know God.  John said in 1 John 1:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”.  Love is not love.  Love is God.  Love is a being, an entity, a person.  Love is not human.  Love is not a man that He could lie (Numbers 23:19).  Love does not see and operate as we do.  No, Love is patient and love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

            (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).  This is not human nature.  This is supernatural, and to continue the work of Dr. King, we need supernatural power.  To continue the work of Jesus on this earth, to destroy the work of the devil, we need supernatural power.  To be able to be used so that we can say and live, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” we need supernatural power.  We can no longer try to make God and His love fit into our ways and understanding.  He’s far beyond us.  It is time to allow the Spirit of God to expand us, fill us, and empower us so that this faith we have can work through love.  


            God forgive me for not allowing Your love to overtake my life.  Forgive me for thinking so many other things were important.  Open the eyes of my understanding.  Show me how to be like You so that I can love like You.  I want Your love to empower my faith so that signs, wonders, and miracles happen wherever I am.  In Jesus’ Name…



            Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

            Pastor

            1. published a newsletter

              ReadRespect the Lord

              January 14, 2022

              Proverbs 3:7-8 The Voice

              7 And don’t think you can decide on your own what is right and what is wrong. Respect the Eternal; turn and run from evil.8 If you depend on Him, your body and mind will be free from the strain of a sinful life, will experience healing and health, and will be strengthened at their core.



              Here’s the NIV of today’s verse:

              Do not be wise in your own eyes;

                  fear the Lord and shun evil.

              This will bring health to your body

                  and nourishment to your bones.

              Many of you have read this verse countless times.  How many times have you stopped and thought about what it means to be wise in your own eyes?  The way Proverbs is written, it’s very easy to read a lot of verses and not take in many at all.  When you are wise in your own eyes you decide on your own what is right and what is wrong.  As believers, that is not our job, and we do all the time with so many decisions.  We use our natural logic and tools and make decisions.  You hear it in politics and in anything that is divisive, and when the Body of Christ does not respect the King of Kings enough to get His directions on the matter, we are headed in the wrong direction.  


              When you respect someone, you display certain common courtesies such as discussing a decision before doing something.  How many times would we have avoided pain and strain if we had simply respected the Lord enough to run out decisions by Him?  I have had discussions with people that didn’t want to ask the Lord because they didn’t want Him to go against their plans.  Here’s the truth.  If you do whatever the Lord says, you will be free from the strain of a sinful life.  Not only will you have health for your mind and your body, you actually can live above everything that operates in the world as a result of sin.  That’s why Jesus came.  To put us in that position, but we have to respect Him enough to trust that what He tells us will be for our good.  Trust the Lord.  He wants you to enjoy life here on earth.


              Lord, I ask you to forgive me for each time I have been wise in my own eyes.  Forgive me for each decision I made on my own without discussing it with You.  I ask You for grace to trust You more.  In Jesus’ Name…



              Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

              Pastor

              1. published a newsletter

                ReadAcknowledge

                January 13, 2022

                Proverbs 3:5-6 The Passion Translation

                Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.6 Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.



                Trusting the Lord with your whole heart is what we learn from verse 5.  Verse 6 builds on that trust.  The NIV says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him.”  Other translations include “Remember the Lord”, “Submit to the Lord” or even “Think about the Lord” in all you do.  The Passion instructs us to “become intimate with Him” in whatever you do.  You will not be at a place of acknowledging or submitting if you don’t trust Him.  Our instructions to have a long and satisfying life on this earth direct us to grow and build on our relationship with God.  Once you’ve learned to trust Him, move to the next level and invite Him into everything you do.


                I remember one time one of my children told me that we know that God is everywhere, and that wherever we are He is present, but He’s not going to come join in what you are doing until you acknowledge Him.  It is necessary for us to invite the God of the universe into whatever it is we are doing if we want to live that long and satisfying life.  The acknowledging or submitting is not empowering God to do anything.  It is an exercise in faith for us.  It is us acknowledging that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).  It is our opportunity to request the super to attach itself to our natural.  It is how we access every spiritual blessing that has already been given to us.  (Ephesians 1:3) So don’t take God’s presence for granted.  Yes, He is here, so let’s acknowledge Him.


                Lord, forgive me for all the times I have assumed that you have blessed my coming and my going.  Thank You for the blessings that You have for me and help me to be more aware of You so that I can acknowledge You in all that I do.  In Jesus’ Name…




                Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

                Pastor

                1. published a newsletter

                  ReadWith All Your Heart

                  January 12, 2022

                  Proverbs 3:5-6 The Passion Translation

                  Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.6 Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.


                  It’s interesting that these verses fell on this day.  These are the first verses I taught my daughter Kyla.  At two years old, she could quote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”, and today she will be having a procedure on her shoulder.  It’s almost as if “Kyla’s scripture” showed up today.  But that’s just like God.  His Word is always timely.  He speaks to us with what we need for what we are facing that day, and the purpose of the Word is not just to help us make it through the day, but to lead us to victory that day. To live in victory you have to trust the Lord completely, or with all your heart.  This is a great opportunity to stop and see if all of your heart is available to trust God.


                  Sometimes our hearts are preoccupied and we don’t have all of it to trust God with. Have you ever said something like, “That’s weighing on my heart” or “something’s heavy on my heart” or “my heart’s just not into it” or even “that broke my heart”.  When we are brokenhearted or down about something it’s hard to go to God with all your heart.  I suggest you bring Him your heart in whatever stage it is in and allow Him to heal it.  1 Peter 5:7 says to  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  Start with trusting God with your anxieties, worries, disappointments and hurts.  Trust Him with your heart and watch Him work in your life.


                  Lord, Thank You for Loving me with all that’s going on in my heart.  I bring You all the brokenness and weight I’ve been carrying.  I bring you the fear and anxiety that has been stored up in my heart.  Help me to trust You with my whole heart.  In Jesus’ Name…



                  • I want to wish my niece Zaria a Happy 17th Birthday!  May the favor of God surround you.



                  Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

                  Pastor

                  1. published a newsletter

                    ReadFinding Favor

                    January 11, 2022

                    Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT

                    Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.


                    Proverbs chapter 3 continues to give us instructions on how to get the best out of the life we have here on earth.  The next two verses highlight two qualities.  The NLT lists them as loyalty and kindness.  The NIV translates them as love and faithfulness.  The Voice and the King James Version both  list mercy and truth.  So what is it?  What do I need to never let leave me?  What qualities are the key to finding favor with God and people.  What will lead me to a good reputation?


                    Well, let’s go back to the Hebrew.  The two words here are hesed and emeth. Hesed is defined as goodness or kindness.  Many times it is the word used when the scripture describes the Lord’s mercy or loving kindness.  Emeth is defined as faithfulness or truth.  So you can use any translation.  The words are correct, but if we look deeper the instructions we find to win favor with God and people are not complicated.  King Solomon instructs us to act like God.  His characteristics need to be in our hearts and lived in our daily lives.  If we can live like God, we will have a good reputation.  He is faithful, loyal, and kind.  God is love and truth.  In order to reap all the blessings God has for us in this life, our job is not to check off qualities we have, but to actively imitate God day in and day out.  Be loyal and kind.  Be like God, and enjoy the abundant life He has for us.  


                    Lord, You are loyal, faithful, kind and loving.  Fill me with Your Spirit so that I can be more like you today.  Help me to imitate your character all day today.  Thank you for Your favor in my life.  In Jesus’ Name…



                    Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

                    Pastor

                    1. published a newsletter

                      ReadHow to Have Life

                      January 10, 2022

                      Proverbs 3:1-2 The Passion Translation

                      1–2 My child, if you truly want a long and satisfying life, never forget the things that I’ve taught you. Follow closely every truth that I’ve given you. Then you will have a full, rewarding life.


                      The beginning of the year is the perfect time to reflect, make goals, and think about how we want to live.  Many of you have looked back over 2021 and celebrated your victories while planning how to make some things better.  My goal for 2022 is the same one I had in 2020.  I want to see life.  I believe that each year I’m doing a better job, but I truly want to experience the life Jesus died to give me.  The only way to do that is to follow the directions that I have.  Proverbs chapter 3 is full of directions for living God’s kind of life.  Even though this wisdom came before people could access eternal life through Jesus, it is still relevant.


                      Let’s look at verse one.  These are instructions for living a long and satisfying life.  That’s it.  That’s what I want.  I want Psalm 91.  I want to be satisfied with long life.  I don’t want to die young, and I don’t want to long for death and Heaven because life here is so awful.  I want a long and satisfying life on this earth, because Jesus died so that I could have that.  It is the first part of my inheritance, and before I go and claim my second part in Heaven, I want to redeem all that is mine here on earth.  In order to do that, I need to live out what I have been taught.  The scripture says never forget these things, so I need to take time and review so that I can remember.  I encourage you to make a list of things you need to remember, and make sure to include the fact that all things are possible if you believe( Mark 9:23), there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), you were healed by the stripes of Jesus(Isaiah 53:5), and we have been given everything we need to live a godly life( 2 Peter 1:3).  Verse 2 says to follow closely every truth the Lord has given us.  Make sure you know the difference between what the world says is truth and what the Word says is truth.  We can only have and enjoy a long and satisfying abundant life if we are established in the Truth which is Jesus.  


                      Thank You Lord for the life you have made available to me and the instructions to access it.  Continue to teach me Your ways.  In the midst of everything that is going on, help me to live this life and bring You glory.  In Jesus’ Name…




                      Deidra B. Johnson, PhD

                      Pastor