Today is Good Friday, the day we recognize the death of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus was born blameless and suffered through our sin, and lack of humanity to save us from sin, provide us an avenue of redemption, and eternal life with the Father.
~ Lisa Blair
The Crucifixion completed Christs’ assignment on earth. He was sent to preach the Gospel, redeem us, and give us eternal life. He now sits at the right hand of God. The Trinity is in place – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
He left His Spirit to comfort and protect us. The Holy Spirit resides in us. Hallelujah! God is over us, around us, and in us.
”It is finished!” This is one of the 7 final words of Christ. They are referred to as words, but in fact, are statements He made while hanging on the Cross. The statements were made over a span of hours prior to His last breath, and can be found in the New Testament in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Visit this site to view the video explaining the Final Words.
Jesus humbled himself to the point of death to give us life. We should be able and willing to humble ourselves and, honestly, repent for our sins (stating what they are or were) and start anew (fresh). It is never too late, God forgives us when we repent, allowing us to move-on shackle free. Christ gave us the opportunity to rise above who we (presently) are. It is time to change our home location, we are in this world, but not of this world.
Go to a quiet place and speak to God, ask Him to forgive you. You choose the place. It could be in the midst of a train station, bar, standing on the corner in busy traffic. Just still yourself and pray. He will receive you wherever you are at the moment.
God so loved the world, He gave us His only son to save us and give us direction. The most important commandment is to love one another.
~ Lisa Blair
God does not discriminate. He wants everyone to believe and receive Salvation.
Some time ago I wrote a post stating that Christ traveled outside of the Holy Lands to spread the Good News which was incorrect. In fact, I took it down. Looking back, I did not mean to write Jesus traveled to other parts of the world, I meant His influence spread across the regions.
Jerusalem was considered the capital City and was a commerce hub during Christ’s life. It was one of the major economic, administrative, spiritual, and cultural centers of the land. Merchants throughout the Middle-east, Arabia, India, and Egypt traveled there on land and across the Persian Gulf. Foreign markets connected the trade routes from Israel through Northern Africa, India, Malaysia, and the Arabian peninsula. (Footsteps of Abraham, by Malachi Martin. NT Times.com, archives. March 13, 1983)
Jesus did not travel the world to reach nonbelievers and those following other religious faiths. Knowledge of the Messiah was spread by the disciples, others, and from people who lived in other countries and traveled the trade routes. I think it is safe to say that the Word was carried in part by merchants who learned of Christianity when visiting Jerusalem and other cities/towns Jesus ministered in. They were most likely unintentionally seeding hearts. The Word was spread in many ways.
After Jesus’ death, the disciples traveled throughout the regions as well, see above map, and therefore had many opportunities to preach to Gentiles from various religious backgrounds. Jesus commanded the disciples to spread the Good News bear and far. He assigned us, Christians, to do the same and to spread the Good News, God’s Truth, wherever we are. To this end, we should not be so insular as to communicate God’s message with only other Christians. We must suck it that the Gentiles are anyone that is not Jewish, they are people from all backgrounds and faiths who God claims through adoption. God does not discriminate nor should we.
Images/Maps – Romans 1:16, L.Durden; The Travels of Our Saviour. Pinterest.com; How the World looked when Jesus was born, according to Roman Geographers. by Sarah Laskow. atlasobscura.com; Map of Middle Eastern Old Testament. Taxomita.com
Resources – Footsteps of Abraham, by Malachi Martin. NT Times.com, archives. March 13, 1983; Commerce and the Temple in First Century Jerusalem by David Hendin. Bibleodyssey.org; Teachingthem.com;
God never writes us off. He is here for us if we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, and open our hearts to His Will, His Way, and His life that He has prepared for us. We must return to innocence and reinvest our lives in Christ. New beginnings, new life. ~ LISA BLAIR
Sometimes we have to rethink our lives, our purpose through Christ and embrace the child in us longing for relationship through obedience and reconciliation. Children carry few regrets, are open and full of expectations of a bright future. The Lord shares that whatever is in the past is behind us and we are supposed to look forward into the life He has planned for us. Our chronological age is irrelevant. Regrets are behind us, leave them there. All we have is today and the time God gives us to walk down His path. We should make the most of it.
Feeling defeated is a human trait that Christians must overcome to become ambassadors for Christ.
~ Lisa Blair
Have you ever felt defeated? Paul wrote this letter to the disciples who were preaching about Jesus to crowds of non-believers. Their lives were being threatened, and they were beaten and jailed. Paul wanted the disciples to know that their efforts were not unnoticed by God and their rewards were forthcoming. He told them they would be hard pressed, but not crushed; they would often be perplexed, but should not despair; they would be persecuted, but God would not abandon them and; they would be struck down, but not destroyed.
“But now, GOD ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 MSG
He encouraged them to continue to spread the Gospel, a ‘treasure’ because it contains rich truths, and are the blessing of the new covenant. The Gospel speaks to the riches of God and of Christ, of grace and of glory. He wanted to empower the disciples who were the vessels of the Word. Paul spoke to the disciples, we are not completely unlike them in that we are God’s ambassadors. We are today’s clay pots. They were the clay pots, many felt at a loss during these tribulations. Paul shared that even though they may have been at a loss as to what to say to the masses, they should not give up. Luke shared that God would give them the words to say when the time was right, Luke 12;12 – The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them. God also gives us the words to say in any situation in life, be it a speech at school, work, prayer group, or during family conversations.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV
We are all ambassadors. We each hold the rich truth of the Gospel and have been told to carry it with us and share the Word with all around us. God will never abandon us or forsake us. The Holy Spirit guides our words and actions, especially in times of doubt or fear.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them (be terrified of them). For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Life has twists and turns. We can be figuratively or physically be stoned and struck down, but as Paul said, Christ survived the hardships, troubles, and frustrations that he faced. The disciples faced disappointments, exhaustion, harassment, mocking, and jeering standing by the side of Christ. Christ was mercilessly beaten, prodded and killed. Paul shares that there was a wearing effect of the ministry on Christ (he was very man and very God). Like Christ, the disciples experienced mental, emotional, and physical tolls.
We experience some form of the above in our personal and spiritual lives. Christ taught the disciples, and through adoption – taught us that we must deny ourselves, not gravitate to self, and put Him first. We must decrease, so He can increase. We must see Christ’s strength in all we do and rely on His strength to stand in the midst of unbelievers. Like the disciples, we cannot be defeated whilst acknowledging our humanness. The humanness that becomes a clay jar, an earthen vessel, housing the treasures of the Gospel through the Holy Spirit (who dwells in us), who leads us and guides us through life.
Images – YouVersion.Bible.com; New Boston Church of Christ
Resources – bible study tools.com; biblehub.com; preceptaustin.org
When our lives become comfortable, we tend to gravitate to self if we do not stay alert. Alert – Do not gravitate to self. It is during these times that we begin to think about the success we are having is our own. We designed and orchestrated it by ourselves. All success is defined by God. He knew us before we were born. He designed our path leading to our destiny. We may be in control of how our success is playing out as any good manager does, however, our success is guided by our creator and not us. We reflect Christ through our behavior and actions. Our behavior and actions are our witness to the world.
We should become comfortable living wisely. If we do, we will know God’s Will for our lives and follow His path. Our motives should always be pure, which is not always easy in this time of focus on self, i.e., we live in a world of self-gratification. Satan is the author of self-gratification, and if we are not careful, we will be lulled into his camp. We begin to see our success as our success. We lose sight that we may have planned the course, but God controlled the steps that led to our success. John 3:30 puts it this way, He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease. (AMP) He must become greater; I must become less. (NIV)
We gravitate to self and elevate self when we are successful. The opposite of this scripture occurs when we are deceived and lulled into a place of lust. We increase self and decrease Gods’ prominence in our lives. Proverbs 1 challenges us to think and act differently than the world. The world is enticing and without warning, you can be seduced. The evil one is cunning and knows what you lust after eager to provide it if it draws you away from God. I am speaking from experience. There was a time when the CEO of the company met with to discuss my future with the company. He shared that my future was bright if I followed my Vice Presidents instructions without question. As I listened, I immediately became suspicious. I was the school administrator of one of their schools. Shortly after the initial meeting with the CEO, the Vice President visited and told me to sign over a check to corporate that was intended for the school. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He wanted me to commit an act of fraud with a smile on my face, thus giving me access to a corporate career. I informed him that was not possible knowing I would be fired if I did not comply. Ephesians 4:14 says, people are cunning and crafty and create deceitful schemes. This was definitely one of those moments. This experience forced the question, do I become greater and relegate God to become less; or do I become less, and allow God to become more in my life? I decided that I’d rather lose the job and follow the Word of God being a good steward of the school than become a slave of the evil one bound by fraud and deceit.
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches that we are to leave our former way of life, to put off the old self, which is corrupted by deceitful desires and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Through Bible Study and instruction, I knew that this was the evil one’s ploy to corrupt me and position me to become one of his slaves. I told the CEO I could not commit a crime to gain success. I was also emphatic that as a child of God, I knew it was not only illegal but one day I would find myself standing before God trying to explain why I allowed myself to fall into this trap of sin. I told the President of the Board what happened, and the Board fired the company and promoted me. Now do all stories end this way, no. Herein lies the challenge, should we learn the wisdom of God and apply it in our daily lives, regardless of the outcome of our actions, and live according to His word, or do we relinquish His power over our lives and live a worldly life? Do we rely on our (carnal) wisdom or Gods’ wisdom? 1 Corinthians 3:19, NLT is very clear, true wisdom comes from God.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness”.
Gods wisdom is the only true wisdom. Back to the subject matter – do not gravitate to self. Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs to give us an instruction manual about living life wisely and not falling prey or being lulled into a life that increases us and decreases our Father in Heaven. God is our sovereign, and there is no other like Him. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. He alone is the source of wisdom informing us how to live life wisely.
Part of this lesson was taken from the BSF lesson I recently committed– The Kingdom of Solomon, the remainder was God inspired. The take away is: Never gravitate to self, never think that your ability to plan makes you lord over your life. It is the Lord who directs our steps. Every plan we make should be held in humility before God and surrender it to His ultimate will for our life. Ask, and He will show you the things you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3. Live a Godly life, a wise life, give God all the Glory, and do not gravitate to self. Decrease so He can increase in your life.
DO NOT GRAVITATE TO SELF, DON’T BECOME A VICTIM OF THE EVIL ONE’S PRACTICES TO DECEPTION TO DISCONNECT YOU FROM YOUR LIFELINE. GOD IS YOUR LIFELINE. ~ Lisa Blair
Resources: BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, International Images: Google Images Scriptures: Biblegateway.com
I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.