The Lost Year

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We may consider 2020 a lost year, but our Lord considers it a time of growth and reclamation. We don’t seek discomfort, pain, or loss, but when it arrives it becomes a learning moment in time.

~ Lisa Blair

Posted on  by Lisa Blair


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.

God, where is this leading?

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.

Scriptures – biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images; LAB Photos

The Lowly Will Rise

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God’s plan materializes in the form of critical tipping points throughout history.

~ Lisa Blair


PERSPECTIVE
Isn’t it amazing? The lowly are and have been powerful all along. God gave power to the weak. The deception was and is the wealthy are all-powerful. The pandemic has and is empowering those who truly run the economy (the weak=essential workers), who was deceived by Satan.

They have the power to demand and receive higher wages, good health care, revitalized neighborhoods, and excellent schools. The pandemic was and is being used to establish a new national order. The voiceless have voices and are calling for justice. The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is a nationwide strike that has the potential to cripple society until these things are met. The rich are rich because the workers (the essential class) work. If the workers stop working, if demands are not met, the Nation crumbles. The 21st century will see the lowly lifted up. I am not advocating an uprising, but it is evident, things are changing, and justice for all will prevail.

”He has brought rulers from their thrones. But he has lifted up people who are not considered important.” Luke 1:52 NIRV

Our Democracy will evolve into a form of government that responds to the needs of the ‘less important’, as well as those deemed important. Balance brings justice. God is lifting up those who are not considered important.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 NIV

God’s Miracles Never Cease To Amaze

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Posted on 

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.

Malachi’s Story

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.

Do Not Lose Heart

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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

Times Are Changing And We Must Too

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You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. ~ Galatians 5:13 NIV
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV

As I awoke and began thinking and praying this morning, this thought came to mind, God is a timely God. Our world is going through turmoil, especially the turmoil of the racial injustices that have operated in the dark and are coming into the exposure of the light of day leaving us, Black and White, determined to act and feeling anxious. Anxious in the way a women feels just before the birth of her child.

So many have observed the civil unrest over past several weeks and judged the unrest as the sole act of the latter part of peaceful protests, eager to condemn, choosing not to focus on the reason for the peaceful protests. To deny the right of a peaceful life to anyone is to deny peace for everyone. To deny justice for some comes home to roost on all. I believe the Lord is removing the veil that blinds us, which is difficult for many to see the injustices that prevail and destroy. When eyes are opened, change is underway.

As this process unveils, we must remember to rely on the Lord’s peace. The same peace he gave Moses as he lead his people out of Egypt. And, the same peace he gave Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

In this peace, we must re-evaluate who we are in the Lord. Charles Stanley shares Finding Peace, a 10 day devotional on YouVersion. Bible.com. Day Five reads:

How Your Thought Life Affects Your Peace

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us aren’t who or what we think we are. Our thinking is marred at best, off-track, and in most cases, needs to be changed.

How do I know this to be true? Aside from my experience pastoring so many through the years, God’s Word calls us to a “renewal” of our minds. That means trading in our old perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and self-centered attitudes for a new set of perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that God develops in us. These godly responses are nurtured by regular reading of Scripture and meditating on what’s been read in the Bible. Christ’s followers are urged to avoid being “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

Out of a renewal of our thinking comes a change in our speech patterns and our behaviors. As our speech and behavior become renewed, our relationships with others become renewed. And as our relationships become renewed, our immediate world is renewed as well. It all begins in the mind with what we choose to think and what we choose to dwell upon.

You have the ability to determine what you’ll think. At any time, you can refocus your mind to a new topic, task, or problem to solve instead of negative thinking that will steal your peace and/or cause you to venture into rebellion or sin. You have the ability to say, “I choose to trust God,” in any situation you face or thought you have.

Furthermore, any child of God who takes a willful stand against thought patterns that clearly are harmful is going to be provided a way of escape from that circumstance. God will help you focus your mind on something other than your problem or bad thought pattern if you will make the initial step in His direction. 

When you guard your mind, you guard your peace. When you offer prayers to God with faith and thanksgiving—no matter what trials you face—He assures you inner peace (Phil. 4:6-7). And when you focus your thinking on what’s true, noble, virtuous, lovely, pure, and praiseworthy, you rely upon God with increasing faith and trust. 

You can never fully exhaust your ability to think about the goodness and greatness of God. Choose to respond to life the way Jesus responded. Guard your prayer life. Guard your thought life. Seek the Father and all that’s godly. His Word promises that when you fill your mind with what is virtuous and praiseworthy, “the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

Romans 12:2 says,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Philippians 4:9 NKJV reads,

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

God is love. Love is not allocated to some and not others it is unconditional and uncompromising. Unconditional love yields justice and unity.

Resources: biblegateway.com; YouVersion.Bible.com; Google.com