Lord, we follow and we stray, help us to continue down your path looking forward as we travel through 2021.
~ Lisa Blair
Dear Lord, So much is going on in our Nation; the COVID 19 virus is continuing to take lives and fill hospitals with little to no available beds. Our democracy is being stressed beyond our wildest thoughts. Our economy is suffering as the virus brings us to our knees. It is my prayer that while we are on our knees, we pray to you for forgiveness. I pray we, hi as a Nation, recognize you as our Lord and Savior, the only one that can save our Nation. Please save us of our sins, heal us (spiritually, emotionally, and physically), Lord, and help us put you first in our lives, forever seeking you in all conditions.
Lord, by your grace we entered the New Year, 2021. We are survivors. We are here! Let us proclaim you King above all kings and leaders. Let us surrender to your will, your way, and your life. Let us become more dependent upon you. Teach us to obey your Word. Please help us to heal historical wrongs against one another in the USA and abroad. Please help us save the earth and quit polluting and wasting valuable resources. Let us become a world of people seeking to help one another as you expect us to do, loving one another, helping those in need, and treating our neighbors as we want to be treated. Help us to be strong and courageous. Not to fear or be afraid of any outside forces. (Deut. 31:6 NIV)
Lord, do not allow us to return to the old norms that caused us to suffer from fractured relationships with you. Let us create new norms that are ensconced in your Word.
We are your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which you have prepared us to accomplish. (Eph 2:10 NIV) Since we are in Christ, we are new creations in Christ. the old man is gone; we stand here new. (2 Corinth. 5:17 NIV)
When you enter a room, are you the light Christ expects others to see?
We are summoned to be the Lord’s ambassadors, to share the Word, educate non-believers, and love everyone as Christ loves us. This is not an easy task if you fall subject to gossip, anger, spite, and jealousy.
“The good works that we do in spirit and truth are not our own good works, for of ourselves we can do nothing that is worthy of God’s praise. The good work that we do is the new-life of Christ within us, that is working through us. It is the new, born-again life of Christ that we received when we were born from above, that carries out any good works that we do, so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in heaven.” (Let your light shine. Matt 5:16 @ daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com)
Good works are the attributes we display moment-by-moment, day-by-day. They are the essence of who we are in Christ. These traits harken back to the Fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 NLT
Do you reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control throughout the day with everyone you come into contact with? Do you segregate who you will apply the Fruit with? For example, do you apply the Fruit with only family and friends, do you extend it to co-workers and others? Do you exclude people walking past you on the street, or people who are different than you culturally, racially or ethnically? Is it okay to display the traits to some and stereotypical hatred to the poor, beggars, nonbelievers, the elderly?
When Christ was nailed to the Cross, He took on our sin nature. Our passions and desires were nailed and crucified with Him. As Christians, we are now living by, for, and of the Spirit who dwells in us. Logically speaking, we should follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
I ask you, “does your light show through you, or are you veiled/cloaked/bound in your sinful nature”?
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:17 NLT
Are you willing to live the sort of life that will deny you the Kingdom of God? This brings me back to yesterday’s post, The Lost Year. The world is changing and God is calling us to step out of our comfort zone, analyze who we are, and identify our sins towards others that allow us to set others apart as less equal, less desirable, and less worthy? Do you judge who is worthy to be counted as a brother or sister? Does your sin nature govern your life?
These questions are food for thought. I believe we all struggle to overcome our sin nature. It is the constant battleground we live on until Christ returns. Are you willing to deny your sin nature and be the light, or when Christ does return will He plainly say,
“I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!” Matthew 7:23, NIV
If you plan to become a prayer warrior or want to strengthen how you pray, following is a prayer I am attaching from Prayers That Avail Much, by Germaine Copeland to assist you in establishing prayer time. They just published the 40th Anniversary Copy. This and He Whispers My Name by Cherie Hill are great books to add to your Christian Book library.
One Suggestion – do not allow this opportunity to slip away. God knew we would enter this time, and I am certain His hope is that you will take advantage of it and spend more time with Him strengthening your relationship with Him. Only God knows our beginning and ending and everything in between. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT declares, ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do no know about things to come.
Sources: daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com; biblegateway.com; Prayers That Avail Much. Germaine Copeland; He Whispers My Name. Trusting God’s Love. Cherie Hill.
While skimming through the news the other day, a thought became perfectly clear. God is reversing life as we know it. He is placing first things first. The conglomerates are losing power as the pandemic continues to cleanse life as we know it by fire. There are no stones that will be left unturned. Life as we knew it are gone.
This is a lost year, and quite often transitions occur in the darkest of moments. Yes, we are losing and lost, personal freedoms, family, homes, jobs, in short, our normal way of life. Nations were insular and citizens and economies differed. Then the pandemic hit everyone and everything in the world. We have become victims of the same sweeping pandemic. We have all been placed in the same or similar circumstances, life is foreign to all people. We are in the midst of a global tectonic shift, physically, economically, and most importantly, spiritually, it is uneasy terrain to navigate, but life goes on.
In the year of lost time, that is – time requiring the least out of us physically and mentally, where should we invest our time? Do we dwell on the problems, or spend time strengthening our relationship with the Lord, and investigating who we really are in Christ? Was our past life (life before COVID) devoid of Christ? Did we spend time with Him or give lip service? Did we share our Christian story with others or keep it the best kept secret? Have we shared Christ with our children and other family members? Did we delve into the Bible and study the Word?
Trisha Bernal wrote, “I have not chosen this path, but for some reason God allowed us to be here.” The point is, we are here. Why, only God knows, but what do with this time? Do we see it through spiritual eyes as a gift, a time for growth, or do we see it through the eyes of disaster? There are stories in the Bible where life changed forever. People were Led or fled from their homes, their farms, the cattle and sheep ranches. They were separated from family and friends; they lost loved ones; and didn’t know where to sleep or acquire food. They were broke and devastated. Many of us find ourselves in the same or similar circumstances brought on COVID19.
This is a time to look at the stories in the Bible, learn how people persevered despite the gravest of circumstances. Did they fall into depression, many did. Did they see the way to milk and honey, no. Did their faith strengthen and ground them, perhaps, at some point most were affected as we are today. Did we choose this path, no. Most of us went to bed one night and awoke in a different, frightening world. A world with an invisible, deadly enemy. The world all but stopped upon its arrival.
The reality is that the world is not and can not go back to the ‘old’ normal. It is forever gone. Lingering in thoughts of yesterday only weakens our prospects for today and tomorrow. An important scripture to post around the house is, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 NKJV
Holding on to our faith despite what we see with our human eyes is the pivotal change that will impact our future. We can waste this (valuable) time and spend time worrying, or we can trust that God will do what is best for us and praise Him in this time of waiting. Brenda Walsh wrote, “Living in limbo is stressful if you’re not walking with Jesus. Sometimes God allows us to have cloudy vision, where we can’t see where our next step is, in order to bring us to a place where we are totally leaning on Him.”
It is during these times that we must persevere in patience through faith. We have been called to a time such as this. I know we are tempted to grow weary, angry, and desperate. When we reach the point of total loss, cry out to God and tell Him You don’t know which way to turn, and the Lord will respond, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) our Lord will never leave us or forsake us, “the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it (the land) from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:12 AMP)
Once we reach this place in our walk, we will have tried all the things we know to do to salvage what has been lost, to no, or little avail. We will fall to our knees and surrender to our Lord wholeheartedly. We will become dependent upon Him and He will respond in love, He will restore what we lost, perhaps in a different form and prepare us to walk in His brave new world.
We are told to pray and not be a coward, faint, lose heart, or give up. We must run the race that God has marked out for us. In prayer He will guide us, direct our path, meet our needs, love us and comfort us.
So, back to what do you plan to do during this lost year? It is a year where introspection will not get placed on hold, nor will it get side-streamed. Whether you are sheltered-in-place by yourself, with your spouse or significant other, a pet, or children. God has given you the gift of time. He carved it out of the disaster the pandemic has caused. We can either give up and give in as the evil one strategically manipulated to separate us from everything we have acquired, or we can stand strong in our faith, establish or re-establish our relationship in the one and only God who lived on this earth, took our sin an our burdens, was beat on the Cross, loves us and has countless times before, made a way out of no way, leading us to still waters, and green pastures.
Closing thought – Brenda Walsh wrote, following God’s will usually leads us out of our comfort zone—which teaches us to be totally dependent on Him. Despite how we arrived where we are, we are definitely out of our comfort zone. We may consider 2020 a lost year, but our Lord considers it a time of growth and reclamation. During this time of sequestered life, don’t sit and fret, spend time with the Lord and grow your faith. He will walk all who follow Him into the new tomorrow.
Resources – Trisha Bernal, FaceBook. Miracles for Malachi; Germaine Copeland, Prayers that Avail Much; Brenda Walsh, Strength for Today.
I mentioned a young boy who drowned in his pool and whose family, friends, and extended family are praying for a miracle in my previous post, Praying Through The Darkest Times. I am one of the extended family members. His grandmother and I serve as group leaders at a local Bible Study Fellowship group. It is an International Bible study organization, established on the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
I believe God is using Malachi in a mighty way. I will post some of the family’s daily experiences of how God’s miracles are often procedural, a process over time. Not all miracles are immediate, but they are all miraculous. His ways are not our ways and He uses various experiences to mature our Christian walk, some are very difficult to digest, others easier to understand at face value, they are obvious. Join us in praying for full recovery. Malachi has already defied the odds. The posts are from Facebook, Miracle for Malachi.
This post was written by Brenda Johnson on FaceBook
I don’t know your family, but your faith is absolutely inspiring. I’m sure every second has been trying, but your trust in Gods plan shows what beautiful people you are. I’m not a well versed Christian, but I believe God is doing something bigger than we can see on the surface. He sees your pain and sees your faithfulness in the most difficult time. 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight. Continued prayers that God has something planned for Malachi that the doctors have never seen and didn’t learn about in med school. I’ve heard Pastor Steven Furtick say a setback is a setup for a miracle.
This post was written. By Trisha Bernal, Malachi’s mother.
It is with heavy and grieving hearts that we write this. When God hears our prayers sometimes he answers them in ways that we would never imagine, or wish for, and yet it is somehow intertwined in the overall story of life and even in the beauty of redemption. As I texted a friend this morning, I mentioned that I was grateful that Malachi- my little messenger of God, has thus far been used to bring thousands of people to their knees in prayer. I have been encouraged and blessed by so many people, many of whom, I have never met before.
We were hoping for an immediate miracle of healing by our human definition. Unfortunately the quick fix is not always the victory that God calls us to. Instead, sometimes the victory is in proclaiming God’s grace and goodness in the struggle no matter how long it lasts. Sometimes the victory is in finding joy and unity in standing for one who will never stand on their own again. Sometimes the ultimate victory looks so very different than we had hoped and we have no idea how we’ll get past the pain to see the blessing.
According to doctors, our little Malachi will never be able to walk or talk or even eat on his own again, and this is the best case scenario. But… he is alive and his story is still being told. He may not use his mouth to speak but he is truly a messenger of God. His life is not lifeless. He will lead the way in wheelchair races driven on of course by his big brother. He will have the coolest hats ever. He will still bring joy to his family and those around him. His life and injury will not be in vain. Pray for us. We need it. Pray that we better understand God’s perfect plan in all this. Pray that the church is unified and built up by my son.
As I was crying over his bedside a minute ago, in agony I prayed “God how could You have given Your only Son to die on the cross?” My pain in this moment is intense. He CHOSE that pain so that we could experience blessing in the form of ultimate salvation. May Malachi’s life continue to proclaim this truth as we unite as a family, as a community and as a church. God has called my boy to big things.
Earlier post from Trisha B, mother
Tip for a child friendly way to tell kids: Trisha and Goose told their kids that Malachi’s brain isn’t waking up. Since his brain controls his body, he won’t be able to move or talk, but he’s still very much alive. We’ll all be able to still hug him and cuddle him and care for him – and have wheel chair races! Malachi is alive and still with us. Praise God!
I pray that each one of you processes this with a kingdom mindset knowing that God’s perspective is not our perspective. God is good. There is no plan B with God. He is not surprised by this and he is still in control. He WILL work all things together for our good, and His glory, for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.
Please remember that we are STILL praying for healing for Malachi and peace, comfort and strength for family and friends. There is a tough road ahead but it is not without hope. Our God is mighty! We WILL see his glory. Although we don’t yet know what that looks like, we approach His throne of mercy and grace, with thanksgiving and make our requests known to Him.
Photos and Content from Facebook, Miracle for Malachi.