Do Not Lose Heart

We will age and fade away but as we do so, we are being spiritually renewed day-by-day.

~ Lisa Blair

Our faith becomes stronger with the renewing of our minds. We mature as Christians, God’s children, and grow in the Word. We receive salvation, are forgiven of our sins (overcome our sin nature), are healed from backsliding, and choose obedience to and dependence on God over my own free-will.

Resource – YouVersion, Bible.com; Google Images

Guest Post – Victory Over Temptations

Brenda Walsh Ministries, May 21, 2020. @brendawalsh.com

There are times when you struggle with being tempted to do things that you know are not right. You’ve fallen so many times that it seems you’re on a losing streak with the devil. It might even be a sin that is considered “no big deal” in the world, and you’re comforted by knowing that “no one else could possibly know.” But when you’re walking the Christian walk, your conscience will give you no rest. The Holy Spirit is pleading with you to surrender your secret sin, but when you keep ignoring God’s voice, the devil wins! As you spiral downward in your walk with Jesus, and continue down the wrong path, discouragement sets in, and you’re tempted to give up and quit trying to resist the temptation. You may have even prayed and asked God to take away those temptations–for if you no longer had the desire to sin–you wouldn’t have to worry about messing up. But if God just removed the temptation–you would not be leaning on Him for strength. God wants you to “choose” to serve Him and depend on His strength to resist whatever the devil throws your way. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:30-31,”There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord . . . but victory rests with the Lord.” And in Psalm 60:12 we’re told, “With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.” You can have the victory over temptation–when you fully surrender your heart and life to God!” Text: 1 Corinthians 15:57, John 16:33, 2 Chronicles 20:15

Bible Texts:

1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV – But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

John 16:33 NKJV – “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

2 Chronicles 20:15 NKJV – And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Stay Faithful–Stay Focused. Brenda Walsh Ministries

Today is the day the Lord has made; stay focused, stay present, stay faithful.

LAB Photos

God never promised that if you would follow Him, your life will be perfect. He never promised the sun would always shine or that you would never experience pain. The truth is, this journey here on earth is difficult and challenging. There are so many twists and turns to life and through it all it is critically important to stay focused on Jesus.

The devil would like nothing better than to separate you from the only One who can save you, and he will stop at nothing to get your attention. He loves to plant seeds of doubt–especially when you are going through a crisis and are the most vulnerable. Satan loves to whisper his lies, encouraging you to blame God for your troubles. But Satan is the creator of sin and he gets all the credit for pain and heartache–not God!

Stay focused on your heavenly Father who loves you more than anyone else ever could! When you are in trouble–call upon Him for help. The Bible says in Psalm 34:17-19, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

You don’t have to be afraid of life’s challenges, heartache, and pain because you are never alone! Stay faithful–stay focused on the only one who can save you from all your trials, misery, and suffering–Jesus Christ, your Lord, and Savior.

Text: Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 147:3, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 42:16

God’s Good Word, God’s Promises

God’s Word is eternal. It is for all times and extends beyond our lifetime.

~ Lisa Blair

This is a guest post from a YouVersion devotional study – Good News: Encouragement for a World In Crisis. Created by YouVersion. Bible.com

God Has Good Plans, Day 1 of 7.

We’re living in an unprecedented time as we navigate the life-threatening and economy-shaking struggles we’re facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, we’ve seen catastrophic diseases, disasters, and wars impact various countries, but this is different. At this time, the whole world has something in common: we’re trying to survive a deadly virus.

So, as followers of Jesus, how do we make sense of this? What do we do with our questions to God and our questions of God? How do we find good news in a continual stream of bad news? And how do we grasp how this fits into the all-familiar passage of Jeremiah 29:11? 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)

This verse gives hope and is our spiritual security blanket in hard times. It’s printed on t-shirts, etched on coffee mugs, and stamped on greeting cards. While God is a hope giver, we have to understand the context of this cherished verse. 

Jeremiah prophesied to the Israelites in the southern kingdom of Judah before they were taken captive in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon. In Jeremiah 27, he prophesied that they would serve this king, his son, and his grandson, and that everything would be under their control (Jeremiah 27:6-7 NLT). 

In the next chapter, a false prophet named Hananiah told the people that God would free them and restore everything to them in two years. Jeremiah challenged Hananiah because of his lies. He also said Hananiah would die and in two months, he was dead.

In chapter 29, Jeremiah encourages the people to live their lives while they’re in exile—to work, marry, plant, eat, and multiply! He tells them they’ll be in Babylon for 70 years and then, they’ll be brought home again. 

God’s plans of a hope and a future for His chosen people probably didn’t match what their idea was. They wanted to go home, yet God said it would be 70 years. They wanted their own king, yet God said they would serve the Babylonian king. They wanted to flourish in their homeland, but God said to do that under a government that was holding them captive. Possibly the hardest part was that the older generation would never go back home. They would die in a foreign land serving a foreign king. 

We can’t insist on our idea of a bright and hopeful future. We tend to be short-sighted and earthly-minded. But God’s ways are so much higher than what our minds can grasp. His plan is better! And it will include forever with Him in heaven, not just a short portion of our lives on earth. 

If our hope is laced with doubt, fear and anxiety, we can change that today. We need to eliminate our“hope-so” attitude and replace it with a “know-so” mindset. Our hope should never be tethered to the conveniences and pleasures the world offers or the ease of a situation. Instead, we fasten our minds to the promises and truths in the Word of God and fix our sights on the day when our bright, glorious, and eternal future is made a reality. Instead of wishing away our days in the predicament we’re in, let’s have confidence that God will deposit hope into us no matter what we’re facing. 

Scriptures: Jeremiah 27, Jeremiah 28, Jeremiah 29:1-14

Not In Control Of Our Lives

Circumstances outside of our control often undo expectations and plans. Life is outside of our control. The pandemic is changing our lives. Life, as we planned, no longer exists.

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Dreams have been dashed. Jobs and career positions have been lost, and the unknown remains bleak. That is the world nonbelievers live in; they created their own destiny and have nothing to rely on but themselves. However, believers rest on God’s Word. We did not create our own destiny; God gave us life and a path. Scripture declares, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3. If we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not in our own understanding and submit to Him, He will make our paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I am not saying that we will not experience hardship and loss; we will. The difference between nonbelievers and believers is that we find comfort in knowing that God provides. Loss is temporary. Paths can be forged, and we do not fear death because we possess eternal life.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand. Isaiah 41:10.

Our God sees us through the darkest moments, He directs our way, and carries us when we can no longer withstand the pressure. He told us He would never give us more than we can bear, though what we think we can carry and what He believes we can bear are two different things. It is during these moments He challenges us to be courageous, to have courage.

In times of great distress, we are challenged to grow. We are challenged to put His Word into practice. He tells us to depend on Him and not what we see. He tells us, all things work for the good for those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.

All believers are called according to His purpose. Knowing this assures us that the darkest days are numbered, and we will once again see the light of day. This assurance proves our faith is stronger than our circumstances. It is stronger than our losses. Faith determines our new path, and can sure up the old. We are victorious. We have victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about the things we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

We are overcomers. As long as we trust God, we can live in peace amid the storms of life. Internal peace is spiritual peace. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 We can face the loss and setbacks through the struggle. We can see God operating in our lives as minute details become visible of the signs He presents. When we put the pieces together, we can begin to see the bigger picture, much like viewing a crossword puzzle. Will all of the pieces arrive numbered like a do-it-yourself piece of furniture, no. Will we experience setbacks, yes. Will we give up and give in to the circumstances that many would say are crippling and can not be overcome, no. Philippians 4:13 affirms we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

The author of 1 John 5:4 wrote For everyone born of God overcomes the world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

Pandemics are outside of our control, but its outcomes are not outside of our Lord’s authority. This is the time we are called to stand, and as Ephesians 6:13 declares, having done all stand. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us, God’s grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness, and we should boast about our weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on us. Paul tells us when we are weak; we are strong.

Scriptures – Biblegateway.com; Images – Google Images