His Hope

Quote

God is patiently waiting for all of us to become like Christ.

~ Lisa Blair

“God’s purpose for His people is that we become like the Lord Jesus Christ.” (BSF-Bible Study Fellowship)

For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.” Romans 8:29 AMP

God’s hope for our lives is to become more like Christ. This statement sounds easy, but is it really? The answer is YES and NO. Our mission as Christians is to read the Word, stay in prayer, and allow God to transform our daily walk. He expects us to treat people as Christ treated people, to spread the Good News as Christ spread the Good News, to become more than our sinful self-indulged selves. The more we read, study, and share, the more we become like Christ.

My Morning Routine

Reading is our responsibility, why because that is how we create gather the knowledge base we need to become more like Christ. We should read scripture every day. It may be a verse, a chapter, a book. Whatever works for you. I have several hardcopy Bibles – different versions, and parallel Bibles and commentaries. I also have several Bible apps and refer to scriptures and commentaries to dig deeper when studying. This has become the beginning of my daily practice. Daily devotionals also feed me each morning.

Praying is very important, I pray before I get out of bed, thanking God for another day’s journey and praising Him for who He is in my life. I also pray throughout the day and praise Him every time I see Him is something I see or am doing.

Thoughts on Transformation

I find that as I continue to mature in the Word, I notice my transformation and His activity that weaves through my life.

As we become more knowledgeable, most of us experience the need to share what is going on in our lives. The light of the Holy Spirit breaks through our continence. People recognize a difference in us. we begin to shine as we beccome more Christ-like.

One thing I have found, as well as those who shared the same experience, is that as you recognize God’s love, and your relationship with Him grows, He expects more of you. He will put you in positions and situations to pray for others; you will see Him orchestrating your life more and more. And, for some of us, He invites us to become spiritual leaders in some capacity. If this happens, it’s easier to say, Yes Lord,” early on. He will not stop asking. He knows what we need to grow and become more like Christ. And He will continue to move you in the direction we should go.

One of my many stories about my Walk.

God will always provide the game plan for your life if you ask, or when He charges you with new responsibilities. Most of us doubt our readiness; Moses doubted his ability when God charged Him to save His people. Moses was just one of many. We never really feel we are ready. But when God calls, He immediately tells us how to go about the task. He will train you. All you have to do is be obedient. For example, many years ago, one of my Boardmembers told me about BSF and invited me to attend. I said I did not have time. God is patient. He waited awhile and introduced another person who invited me to join BSF. I said, once more, I do not have time, thank you anyway. The third time he asked, he arranged for me to be free of excuses, and I agreed to go with the third friend that asked. That was three years ago. In my second year, the Lord put it on my heart to sign up as a leader. I did, hesitantly, not because I feared becoming a leader, I had been one throughout my career. Not because I felt inadequate, I had served as a teen Bible Study teacher. I was hesitant because this was a new level of serving Him.

This past year the pandemic hit, and the world began to shelter-in-place. Well, my 11-year-old Granddaughter lives with us, and this year she is attending Virtual 7th grade through our district; the schools have not reopened in California. With this in mind, I declined to serve as a BSF Group leader this year, using the excuse that I may have to become a home-teacher. This was in June. In late July, God shared He wanted me to lead a BSF group this year. I said I have other responsibilities with my granddaughters’ education this year in addition to other commitments. BSF takes a lot of time. After I finished making excuses, I said, ‘okay’ and contacted our head administrator. She shared that many leaders had withdrawn for one reason or another (all pandemic related, including many were not comfortable with the ZOOM format) and that she was happy the Lord encouraged my return. The bottom line, God knows what we can handle. I have sixteen people in my group and a lengthly lesson each week, as well as leadership training, and my other commitments. When I was done making excuses, He immediately told me I needed to be very disciplined this year and laid out my weekly schedule. He provided time for every aspect of my life. God is truly an amazing, attentive, and yes, a demanding Lord.
Walking with Christ is very rewarding.

As children of Christ, we are blessed to have a relationship with Him. We are blessed to have the opportunity to become more like Christ. We are saved and have the opportunity to: confess our sins, repent – asking forgiveness, being forgiven, and renewed. Our walk is not easy, we have a sin nature that works hard to derail us. Our salvation is a daily endeavor because once we give in to sin, the struggle becomes more of a battle to get back to who we are in Christ. He patiently observes our actions and is pleased when we say, enough, your will and not mine. Our journey on this earth is ongoing until the day we transition to heaven.

Surrendering is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in this life. His hope is that we will accept Him as our Lord and Savior and walk down the path God placed us on long before we were born.

Resources: BSF Handbook; biblegateway.com

Images: Google images

I Can Do All Things Through CHRIST Who Strengthens Me

Quote

Do not allow your mind to reduce the strength of the Word of God.

~ Lisa Blair

This scripture, Philippians 4:13, keeps surfacing in my mind. Life at the moment is going well, and then Holy Spirit told me, this is not an emergency verse. It is how I want you to live every day. 

I think we often view scripture as a way of life, but often do not apply the wisdom to our everyday lives. We classify scriptures by type and apply them to certain situations. Gods plan does not categorize the Word. His Word is living and applies to a multitude of situations and circumstances we encounter, including the best of days.

The truth is, He strengthens us every minute, hour, and day of our lives. It is through this strength that He connects with us and leads us down the path of holiness.

Life is our time to learn, discover, and recover from things known and not known. When we rest in His strength, we are resting in His peace, His will, His Word, and His Way. 

Grace and Mercy

Quote

Without God’s Grace and Mercy, we would be lost.

~ Lisa Blair


Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. It is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In God’s Grace, He gives us the gift we do deserve – heaven. If we are the light, then we must follow Christ and extend grace to those we feel don’t deserve it. That’s right, we should stop judging, that is not our job. None of us are deserving of grace because we are all sinners. Christ was crucified to save us. Given our model, we too must extend our love for others in much the same way. This is not to say we should allow others to walk all over us, definitely not, but we should be more forgiving. We should see through the eyes of God’s mercy. We should treat others as we would like and expect to be treated, see the Fruit of the Spirit For a list of Christ’s virtues (previous posts or go directly to Galatians 5:22-25. Before delving into mercy, let’s further look at the definitions of grace and mercy. In the Greek, grace is defined as charis, favor. The Greek word used for mercy is eleos which means pity, compassion. In short, we seek God’s favor and compassion.

Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. He has compassion for us. God gives us mercy, which means He withholds the punishment we deserve. The punishment we sinner’s deserve is hell, which He holds back. But note, holding back does not negate disciplining us, which like parenting is an expression of love. God disciplines us to produce holiness which is kind and gracious regardless of how painful it may be in the moment. Luke 6:36 reads, “be merciful, just as our Father is merciful (to us).

We, like David call and cry out for God’s mercy often. How do we cry out? We demand that He answer us, praying He will respond in the way we cried out. Think about this, we live in the now, we do not know the future that God provided before we were born, we do not know the plans He has for us, we do not know the whole story, but yet and still, being human, we want what we want, and when we forge ahead without consulting God, it tends to backfire, takes us down an unforeseen path, often harms others, and can lead to less than desirable outcomes. At this point we cry out for God’s redemptive love. At it’s core, mercy is God’s forgiveness of our sins. Mercy is God’s steadfast loyalty. We should ask God for guidance and direction out of the goodness of His love.

Fortunately, God takes us to the path for forgiveness. David is the perfect example of God’s mercy. He lusted, killed, and fornicated. Abraham feared and lied. Sara was impatient and Jacob was a cheater and trickster. Rehab was a prostitute, and the Israelites rebelled against God, yet God forgave them, had compassion and used them to accomplish His purposes. Further, God converted Saul to become Paul, the author of much of the Bible, and Paul became the apostle of Christ. The Bible is filled with stories of God repeatedly forgiving sinful humans. He works in and through us for our own good and ultimately His glory. God’s unmerited mercy is new every morning, we are not consumed by our sin because His compassion never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV). Without His compassion, we are doomed to live in our sin and perish.

Matthew Schmalz, Associate Prof. Of Religion, College of the Holy Cross, wrote, “WHAT I learned is that mercy begins by opening oneself to those with whom one might strongly disagree,Mercy doesn’t end there, of course, but it begins with such small acts of understanding, which can lead to life-changing experiences of love.”

Mercy

Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV; Psalms 51:1-2; Matthew 6:14; Psalms 40:11; 1Peter 1:3; James 2:13 ESV; Titus 3:5 ESV; Psalm 23:6 ESV; psalm 103:8 ESV

Grace

2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 4:7; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:6; Isaiah 41:4 GNT

**Ways to Respond to God’s Grace and Mercy. Go to Christianity.com

Resources: Book – Strength For Today. What We Don’t Deserve, Aug. 3. Brenda Walsh; Christianity.com, What is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy? Philip Wijaya; The conversation.com, What is the True Meaning of Mercy? Matthew Schmalz; pure life ministries,org, A Biblical Definition of Mercy.

Images: LAB PHOTOS; Google images; Mercy Bible Verses; theconversation.com

Do You Light the Way?

Quote

When you enter a room, are you the light Christ expects others to see?

~ Lisa Blair

Posted on  by Lisa Blair

When you enter a room, are you the light Christ expects others to see?

LAB PHOTOS

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.

Images: LAB PHOTOS

The Lost Year

Quote

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