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

Choose To Walk In The Light

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God tells us there will be dark times, but we do not have to allow the dark to absorb us; nor do we need to enter into a state of darkness and depression. Yes, these are dire times, how many thought we would live in a global pandemic, isolated due to sheltering-in-place, and uncertain of the future? Not many I would imagine, especially if we live in the United States, where we feel immune to all of the world’s woes.

Non-believers live in a state of darkness, but (the) believers who find themselves in a catatonic state caused by the pandemic, also find themselves in a state of darkness. Do you depend entirely upon God, or do you speak the words but rely on your wisdom? Those who live in the Light, live with God who is in the Light, and is Light. John writes in I John 1:7, ESV, “But if we are living in the Light, as God is in the Light, then we have fellowship with each other.”

The Light removes the sense of isolation that sheltering-in-place causes. Being in the Light means that God is with you in the Light. He is present in your life and in constant communication with you. He cleanses you from your sins. Sin is anything that is not of God, such as depression (not diagnosed), timidity, feelings of failure, uncertainty, and more. Satan likes nothing more than separating us from our Father and curtailing our fellowship with other believers.

If you watch the news, people are finding ways to communicate and find a sense of light, but are they really in the Light, or is it an imitation of Light manufactured by the carnality of needing to be with others. Pure Light comes from God, and despite our circumstances, we remain in the Light. His Light provides peace and a sense of calm amid the global pandemic we find ourselves in today. His Light is truth that He is always with us and will not forsake us in any situation that evolves.

When we allow ourselves to doubt God because we are overwhelmed by the darkness that pulls us in, we are in effect calling God a liar. The gospel truth is – God is truth and truth ensures our salvation. If we know we are saved and abide in the Word, we are abiding in His Light. We are not controlled by the desires of this world. “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness we lie and do not live according to the truth.” (John Piper) No pandemic can separate us from God.

Think of this pandemic as our testing ground. We proclaim to be Christians but does our behavior confirm our relationship with the Lord, or suggest that there is no relationship? We either have a relationship with Christ or we do not, it is black and white, no grey areas. Do we falter or do we stand? Do we allow the uncertainty of death and destruction to overpower us or do we rest in the truth that God is all power and all truth? Do we stand in the Light or do we watch the darkness slowly engulf us?

One certain way to remain in the Light is to maintain fellowship with other believers, who can support us when we doubt or fall from the truth joining those who live in fear and a state of desperation. Truth gives us hope not to despair, our faith ensures us that there is life after this one we are currently experiencing.

“If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior, we have done so by taking His Word into our hearts and accepting it as the agent of our salvation (James 1:21). We must be prepared on an ongoing basis to use it to make necessary ‘course corrections’ and keep us in His Light – or as the case may be, get us out of Satan’s darkness as quickly as possible.” (Hal Hammons)

The Light will give you peace in the darkness. Choose to walk in the Light.

Image – Google Images

Scripture – Biblegateway.com

Resources – Let Us Walk in the Light of God. John Piper. desiringgod.org. February 1985; God Is Light. Hal Hammons. Bible.com. February 2010

Closure Is Part Of The Journey

Life is a journey, and along the way, we are blessed to have good, loving experiences, and some we would rather forget, but all of them have purpose.

~ Lisa Blair

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I finally have closure after seven years. Closure from what, you ask? Closure from the dissolve of the school, I reopened, and separation from the people I came to call family. We were a community that cared for and educated over 300+ children (living in an underserved community) annually over fourteen years. When the school closed, everyone scattered, and wounds were deep. It felt that our very lives had been stripped away from us.

Something just came to mind as I was typing, seven is a divine number and represents closure, completion, and something finished. 

Facing closure is difficult. It requires introspection and forgiveness, not so much about forgiving others, though that is part of it, but forgiving myself because I felt I failed. The reality is I helped many people who have since shared that fact with me. Many of our students graduated from high school with honors and completed college with advanced degrees, students whose destinies were changed because of the school, staff, and caring adults.

Why am I sharing this, you may ask? Everything in life has purpose. Whether it is as grand as opening a school, or due to a perfect storm, closing it. 

Life is a journey, and along the way, we are blessed to have good, loving experiences, and some we would rather forget, but all of them have purpose. God designed our paths long before we were born. He knew our experiences and what it would take to become mature Christians. He knew when and where we would stray off the straight and narrow pathway and when we would return. He knew when we would avoid closure because it hurts, and when we would address it, ready to move on. He is like a loving parent patiently awaiting our return, like the prodigal son.

Does this sound confusing? Well, it is not. The take-aways are: There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 declares, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”

* ‭‭Everything has purpose. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Philippians 2:1 TNTV, “God Himself is at work in you inspiring you to want those thin which please Him and to work for them.” God leads us you placing His desires in our hearts.

* Some things in life are for a season, others for a reason, and yet others for a lifetime. Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord works out everything to its proper end.” “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

* We are here to be God’s servants, spread the Word, and impact others’ lives. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The road is not always straight and narrow, and like Paul, God may redirect us in the middle of our travels to assist others before we reach our destination. “Facing a ’closed-door’ can be extremely frustrating. The apostle Paul knew exactly how that felt. On his second missionary journey to share the gospel in Asia, he repeatedly found the way blocked by the Holy Spirit. Eventually, the apostle was stuck in Troas with the sea before him and closed doors behind. How strange it must have seemed to Paul that God would prevent him from spreading the gospel. But he knew this wisdom from the book of Proverbs: The Lord will make a straight path for anyone who chooses to trust God rather than himself (Proverbs 3:5-6). Instead of getting angry or trying to force his way into new territory, Paul got on his knees.” (Charles Stanely, Christianity.com)

So, in the end, closure is another phase of our lives. We begin and end episodes only to start anew, refreshed, and wiser from the experiences we acquired as we live and grow older. We become wiser through studying the Word. The wiser we become, the more mature we become, and when we look back at what we once referred to as a failure, in truth was a gift from God that came to an end. In hindsight, all life events serve a purpose. Our events have a beginning and an ending (closure) and lead us down our path to our destiny. 

“Psalm 37:27 declares that: the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Be encouraged that you can fulfill your destiny by trusting in Him and charting Your course based on how He leads, not your own understanding. As You let Him be the One who orders your steps, you will fulfill your destiny.” (Fulfilling your Destiny. WalkingbyFaith.com)

Faith Is An Action Verb

Some speak about faith, but God commands us to move in faith. Faith is an action verb.

~ Lisa Blair


Faith is part of the Lord’s equation. It demands action. Without acting in faith through deeds, there is no faith. Your deeds activate your faith, otherwise you are only speaking of faith, but not doing God’s Will to serve others in need, at home, work, or walking down the street.

Your faith is powered through love. So, yes, faith requires action, powered by love and activated through the action of your deeds.
Faith is an action verb. We do because the Almighty commands us to spread the Word and help wherever we can.

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:15-17, 22, 24, 26 NIV

COVERED IN THE BLOOD

We are covered in the Blood. God gives us the strength to withstand life’s circumstances.

~Lisa Blair

 

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When bad things happen, the devastation is short-lived.  It is a short time because as Christians we acknowledge that God’s time is not our time, and our thousand years is but a moment to God. So, as we walk through devastation we must keep our eye on the Lord, not the circumstances or the length of time we have been walking through it, but on the Lord. The Trinity is our Salvation.

God gives us the strength to withstand the circumstances. Jesus gives us the light and peace to walk through the valley. And, the Holy Spirit gives us direction leading us to the other side.

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Isaiah 43:1-3  Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you will not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Isreal, your Savior.

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.

Philippians 4:6-7  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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Psalm 9:9-10  The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 34:4  I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all fears.

Psalm 27:1-3  The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

Joshua 1:9  Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

1 Peter 5:10  And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, Will Himself restore you and make you strong, for, and steadfast.

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Jesus is our Lord and Savior. His blood covers us in all situations. Difficult times test our faith and strengthens our relationship with the Lord. Is your faith strong despite the burdens of life? Do you find rest in His peace that will carry you through? Rely on the Lord to see you through the worst of times and the best of times. He is our only Rock. He is our Savior.

Our Testimonials Are God’s Testimonials

We all have testimonials but do we share them in the context of Christian living, and giving all praise to the Lord? 

~ Lisa Blair

What is a testimonial? A Christian testimonial is a statement testifying to God’s character, to His truth. We all have testimonials but do we share them in the context of Christian living, and giving all praise to the Lord?  We should. However, like most, earlier in my Christian walk I shared things that happened in my life with friends that were unexpected or greater than expected, but I never attributed them to the Lord. Yes, I knew it was Him, but never said it out loud. The truth is, if you are a Christian, this phrase rings true, If not God, then who? There is no one superior to God. God is the Almighty, yet I never really pondered the magnitude of how He is so intimately involved in our lives. I never really considered what the following scriptures meant to me in my everyday life.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41: 10 ESV

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4 ESV

Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whoo the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him no knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17 ESV

God cares about us, all of us. He surprises us daily with little gifts and big miracles. We are His children and He cares for our wellbeing. He does not forsake us. He will never leave us and we, individually, are important to Him. Whatever transpires in our lives is reflected in the result, whether through gifting or chastisement. Everything in our life is a testimonial that should be attributed to God and shared with the world.

After all, the Lord said,

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…I will bring you back from captivity. – Jeremiah 29:11, 14 NIV

If our Lord has plans for us, it means He is in touch with us. If he will bring us back from captivity, it means He has given us testimonials to share about His love for us.

Let today be the day that we step out of our politically-correct comfort zone and tell the world about the wonderful things He has done for us.

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Our God is an awesome God.

Remember the song we sang in Sunday School and Bible School Camp, it rings true today,

‘HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS, HE’S GOT YOU AND ME BROTHER IN HIS HANDS, HE’S GOT YOU AND ME SISTER IN HIS HANDS, HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD IN HIS HANDS.’

Images – LAB Photos; Google Images

Scriptures – Openbible.info; Bible.com