Today is the day the Lord has made; stay focused, stay present, stay faithful.
God never promised that if you would follow Him, your life will be perfect. He never promised the sun would always shine or that you would never experience pain. The truth is, this journey here on earth is difficult and challenging. There are so many twists and turns to life and through it all it is critically important to stay focused on Jesus.
The devil would like nothing better than to separate you from the only One who can save you, and he will stop at nothing to get your attention. He loves to plant seeds of doubt–especially when you are going through a crisis and are the most vulnerable. Satan loves to whisper his lies, encouraging you to blame God for your troubles. But Satan is the creator of sin and he gets all the credit for pain and heartache–not God!
Stay focused on your heavenly Father who loves you more than anyone else ever could! When you are in trouble–call upon Him for help. The Bible says in Psalm 34:17-19, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
You don’t have to be afraid of life’s challenges, heartache, and pain because you are never alone! Stay faithful–stay focused on the only one who can save you from all your trials, misery, and suffering–Jesus Christ, your Lord, and Savior.
We are Christs’ representatives. People see Him through our actions, and our actions verify the Word of God.
~ Lisa Blair
We are Christs’ representatives. People see Him through our actions, and our actions verify the Word of God. If we say we are Christians, there are expectations that surround how we treat others, e.g., are we kind, patient, giving, loving, supportive, attentive, joyful, and have self-constraint? Christ nailed our sins to the cross and we are now living by His Spirit. When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were released from sin, washed by the blood of the Lamb, and have been cleansed from our old sin nature.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NLT. Bible.com)
Living by the Spirit’s Power 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 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.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:16, 17, 22-25 NLT. Biblegateway.com)
If our old nature reigns, we are not living by the Spirit. If we do not exude a genuine Christ-like behavior, are we Christians? Our actions and deeds are reflective of who we are in Christ.
Peter’s walk on the water is a look at what pure faith delivers, the unfathomable.
~ Lisa Blair
Jesus instructed Peter to step out of the boat and walk to him. Yes, he told him to walk on water, can any of us do so without reservation? Is our faith that strong? Peter responded by climbing out of the boat and began walking on water. When he looked down, worldly logic informed him that he was doing the impossible, that he was defying gravity, and as quickly as his faith lifted him, faithlessness caused him to sink.
Satan is our weight, and he is our sinker, he is our albatross. As long as we allow him to dictate our lives, our faith waivers, and from time to time fails. The lack of faith causes doubt. Christ asked the disciples in Matthew 8:26, why are you afraid? O ye of little faith,’ then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was calm. Christ was saying, faith has no bounds but those we place on it. Faith requires total focus on Christ. The scripture says, do not look to the left or right, I’ll add – do not look down, keep your eyes on me (Christ), and follow me. Like Ruth told Naomi, where you go, I will go; what you believe in, I will believe in as well, meaning your God is my God. That is a statement of faith and dedication. Her affirmation yielded action; Ruth followed Naomi. This story, along with the story about Peter shows us that dependence and commitment are an act of faith, faith in what? Faith is the belief in God – the belief in the Almighty.
Peter’s faith placed him on the water. His faith supported him above the water. How well does our faith help us? Can we walk on water even for a second, or better yet, take multiple steps? The story generally refers to Peter’s lack of faith. Once he focused on what he was doing, he no longer kept his eyes on Christ. When he looked away, he began to sink. As Christians, our goal should be to keep our eyes on Christ. We should intentionally stop ourselves from looking to the left or right or down, and when we do, refocus on Christ, who is the Word.
Peter demonstrated his faith in Christ, and we often do the same. Then when life gets tough, we begin to doubt, which leads to sinking into the problem; it begins to encompass our every thought. That is when we must remember Christ’s query, why are you afraid, O ye of little faith, of wavering faith? It is time to lock your focus, your trust in me (Christ), and move forward in your walk.
When God commands we are to do more than listen. We are to act.
~ Lisa Blair
God speaks to us in many ways. He uses us as needed, and empowers His gifts as He sees fit. Earlier this week, I had a clear impartation from God. It was clear and precise. Last night He called me to prayer at 4am and my instruction was to share the dream He had given me. I am no prophet and was not inclined to share the dream with the world, but on command I am stepping out in faith. I am not comfortable, but trusting in the Lord is not a request to follow it is a command.
DREAM – Night of May 3, 2020/Morning of May 4, 2020
The dream opened with a clear, discernable voice telling me to go grocery shopping before May 11 and do not go out shopping after the 11th for three weeks.
The voice (God) said, the States were reopening too soon and that the majority were reopening in some degree May 11. The day after re-opening businesses, the death rates and critical care hospitalizations will quadruple within days to a few weeks. Then I was shown a map of the United States, and there were pins, red for death, and blue for increased areas of hospitalizations. The pins were so close together, they seemed to be on top of each other. There was no map space spared. The pins canvassed the entire map.
The voice (God) told me, those who stay indoors and honor the the shelter-in-place rules would survive, and those who return to their old lifestyle, before the pandemic, will be throwing the nation into greater risk, despair and loss.
In the last few days we see towns, cities and countries attempting to reopen to stop the drain and loss of businesses, and the rise of unemployment throughout the world. We have also heard from the scientists that the next wave will be much worse than the initial wave we are currently living through. We are in unprecedented times, the balance between life and liberty (economic security) are in the balance. Our survival depends on our new behavior, are we listening to the scientists, the specialists or are we ignoring what we are currently going through as if it is a common cold?
I believe my (prophetic) dream is a wake up call. Take one day at a time and treat each day as if it is the last. We are called to be alert, wise and discerning. We are not of this world and clearly should not be a part of the blind.
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.
We are weaponless and vulnerable without prayer. Being in prayer mode throughout the day strengthens our resolve and our relationship with Our Lord.
~ Lisa Blair
Prayer is needed at all times. It catalyzes, activates, everything that happens in life. It empowers us to persevere in difficulty, exude hope in all situations, and reside in a state of patience despite the prevailing circumstances.
It causes us to supplant blaming God, and reviling others for our current conditions with peace. It provides hope (in eternal life), enduring faith, and rest in knowing God is with us and will see us through this walk, called life.
It is crucial that we develop (our) practice of continual, persistent prayer. This means throughout the day, in good moments and uncomfortable times. Prayer can be as simple as calling on Christ, a single sentence or a long(er) dialogue. You can do it standing, sitting, on your knees, or prone on the floor. Your eyes can be open or closed. Your hands can be 🙏🏽 pressed together, or open.
Our God is good and receives us as we are in the moment, pleased that we invited Him into our heart.
We are called to rejoice in the Lord. And , have hope which is founded on faith, and faith on the Divinity of God.
Our action is our service and our service is our strength.
~ Lisa Blair
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
I’ve read this scripture time and time again and I found new meaning in the phrase about strength after having studied the Book of James.
We are to love the Lord with all our heart. There should be no doubt or division.
We should love the Lord with all our soul. There should be no wavering.
We should love the Lord with all our strength. There should be no weakness in how we serve the Lord, we should give every action our full effort, never be slack, or exhibit a waning of perseverance. We received our strength through God’s grace and should not treat it as if it is an albatross around our neck, an annoying burden.
The epiphany came when I read the word strength. I never really thought about strength in that way before. It’s amazing that as you read and study the Bible the Holy Spirit deepens your understanding of what God is saying and how He marries the Old Testament and New Testament; the OT being the prophetic base of the coming of Christ, and the NT being the fulfillment of the prophecy.
To further understand the scripture, let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:7, we are commanded to teach our children. Our children can include the extension of those within our realm of influence. Looking through the lens of the NT, we are instructed to share the Word with those around us in strength.
Biblestudytools.com offers 40+ encouragement and strength scriptures. I included several below.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Gaining strength is an ongoing process that becomes more intentional throughout our walk. When we feel weak or fatigued, or feel that it is easier to circumvent a situation that calls for our input using the Word to generate the action or service, we must activate the strength God has so graciously given us. Strength is defined in the Online dictionary as, a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing. We are blessed with God’s attributes.
Remember – we are commanded to remain strong. We remain strong to exude joy and strength that comes from the Lord. Strength is observed through our actions, the way we demonstrate Christ’s behaviors and through sharing the Word, they are visible and invisible attributes.
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.