I love Colossians 3. It reiterates Galatians 5. God is emphasizing who we are in Christ and how we should govern our lives. That’s right, the does and don’ts of life. Paul was inspired by God to write both Books, one to the Galatians and one to the Colossians, same message. It’s the same message to us today, these millennial years beyond the days of the Bible. It doesn’t matter who we were before Christ entered our lives. When you received Him, you were given new life and freed from your past. You can become the ‘you’ God created you to be, that person who was laying dormant in the recesses of your mind. Shed the past, it does not own you, nor you it. Today is a new day!
Accept this fact, Christ died for you. You have morphed into a child of God. Now is the time to recognize the new you and work towards manifesting that person who was formally lost in darkness.
If you rid yourself of the old behaviors and exchange them for the new behaviors delineated in both Books, your new self will see the light of day. Psychologist’s say it takes six months to eliminate bad habits/behaviors. It is a process. So, this too, you will succeed, fail, retry, give up, BUT never give in to the difficulties the evil one uses to keep you from changing. You may loose friends and loved ones. In exchange you will gain new friends and loved ones who are children of God. The most important of these new loved one’s is our Lord and Savior. Our Lord walks with you. The Holy Spirit will nudge you and direct you. You are not alone.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
NOTE – I added orange text to add emphasis. Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17 NIV. Bible.com. Images: amazing facts.org;knowing-Jesus.com; woman’sday.com
When life feels intolerable, unbearable, and overwhelming, this is the time to get on your knees and pray to the Lord. Psalms 121 expresses that He is our hope to those who seek him. One of the commentaries I read said, …when life turns rugged, where do you turn for help? What is your source for the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life? (Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From? ZondervanAcademic .com)
Psalm 121 informs us that we must focus on God and not the circumstances. We must rest on His Word and His promises. If we keep our eyes on Him, we acquire the confidence to stand strong in the face of the circumstance with inner peace and certainty that regardless of the outcome God is with us and has a plan to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future. A future we could never imagine. (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we focus on God we do not focus on the circumstances, we do not look to man for resolve. Only God’s power, mercy and grace can bring us through. No matter what, we are under God’s providence and protection. Yes – difficulties are part of life, and there are times when our expectations for our lives are altered by unavoidable circumstances. We may fail, the blessing is that we do not have to face our trials on our own. When we call on The Lord, He stands beside us, whispering directions to our soul. The Holy Spirit leads us beside still waters as our way of escape is strategized.
2 Corinthians 13:7 expresses that the Lord will protect us from the evil of sin and trouble. His protection provides safety and in due time resolve. Lift up your eyes, your help comes from the Lord.
Is this easier said than done? Yes. The evil one will elevate his attack. He will cause you to doubt and loose hope. However, like Jesus, you must rebuke him and hold fast to God’s Word. From where does your help come? Your help comes from the Lord. It is through Him that your confidence grows. It is through Him that you are led to a way out of no foreseeable way.
Looking to the Lord is an exercise of our faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that we live by faith, and not by sight (NIV); for we walk by faith, not by sight (NKJV); we live by believing and not by seeing (NLT). With faith we can look to the hills knowing God is our help.
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)
Love surrounds me and fills my heart. (Author Unknown)
The new year is almost here, and as Christians, we should be grateful for all the Lord has done for us during this pandemic year. In the midst of extreme changes and loss, there are things to be grateful for in our lives; taking time with the Lord will help you examine your spiritual growth. I am certain you will find that during your trials and temptations you became closer to God. You most likely reached out to people you previously had no time to contact (a blessing for you and the people you reached). You reevaluated what is important and what have been found to be distractions. And, you probably spent time with yourself and determined what you like and what you want to shed as you grow in God’s will, way and life.
2021 can be your new beginning. The challenge is not making resolutions but a to-do list. It is a time to confirm that you will follow the Lord’s leading. It is time we all place God as the most important person in our lives, followed by family, siblings, and friends. It is a time to eliminate distractions that steal the time we should spend in communication with our Lord. It is time to stay in the present and make each day count.
Below are prayers welcoming a stronger llife with Christ in 2021 that I found on- line and speak to me. I hope they strengthen your as well. I wish you the best in the new year. ~Lisa Blair
For Peace in the New Year
At the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you’re at work through our lives. Give us the wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we’re up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord…we need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” – Debbie McDaniel (Christianity.com)
Prayer for a Victorious New Year
Lord Jesus, I come to you in this brand new year with a desire to move forward, not backward. Last year is gone and with it all the foolish mistakes I made. I’m eager to put the past behind and to press on toward the mark of knowing you, loving you, serving you, and making Your name known in this coming year.
I need You, Lord. Without You, I can’t meet the heavy demands of life or the unrelenting pressures that I’ll face this coming year. I am making a new commitment today—not a New Year’s resolution—but a new desire to place You where You always belong, first place in my life. Make the “I will’s” of Scripture become my affirmations: “I will trust You; I will praise You; I will follow You.” I will replace fear with faith, knowing You are always with me. And with You on my side, it will be a victorious New Year.
I lay down my broken armor, my rusty tools, my self-defenses, and every excuse I’ve used for not living victoriously. Purge my bad habits; free me from wrong expectations; and fill my heart, soul, and mind with praiseworthy thoughts and actions. I want to exchange my past disappointments for Your divine appointments this year. My life is Yours; my relationships belong to You; everything I have is Yours, Jesus. Set my feet on the right path this year, and grant wisdom so I can make the right choices that will honor You. Let me see others as You see them, as precious ones You created. Renew the gifts and abilities You’ve so generously given me so I can bless others as You’ve blessed me.
I realize my desire for perfection is misplaced. My relationship with You doesn’t depend on my performance but upon Your presence in my life. I will make mistakes. But I don’t have to be perfect! You’ve already made me acceptable in Your sight because of Your death and resurrection. You covered my past, present, and future. You have given me everything I could possibly need for the coming year. In You, I am complete, Lord. Help me to accept my faults and make Your mirror my own. I want to reflect You daily.
Because of Your love and the price, You paid for my sin, I can not only enjoy a victorious new year but a triumphant life. You put a new “want-to” in my life and in my heart. And as the calendar turns another page in this brand new year, I want more than ever, to live it for You. There is no battle in my life too great with You in my life. There is victory in You, Jesus! – Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Christianity.com)
A Prayer to Keep God First This New Year
Dear God, Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day.
We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all else. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.
We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you. We pray that you’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.
We pray for your protection over our families and friends. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways. We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.
Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence. We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for your refreshing over us.
Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.
We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”
Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own. May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives – your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing. To you be glory and honor, in this New Year, and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Debbie McDaniel. Crosswalk.com)
If you do not have a relationship with Christ, but found yourself on this page, it is time to take you leap of faith. Recite Romans 10:9,
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
God will receive you into the family of Christ. Seek a good church home to assist you on your journey. God bless, you are in good hands. I pray you will know God, see Jesus and be filled by the Holy Spirit as we enter this new year. Only He can save you.
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.