Entering an Application Season Requires Commitment

Quote

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><br><strong>Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives.</strong> This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.
Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives. This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.

Applying Jesus’ attitude and character to how we approach life is a process. As we more frequently depend on His attitude and character, you will find that the process speeds up, you learn to immediately go into prayer and over time you will respond to life situations according to God’s will and way in a more involuntary manner, in short it becomes who you are, and rather than acting impetuously you act according to the Word of God, you act in a Christlike manner, exuding His demeanor, and if you fail, you immediately repent and attempt to do better the next time.

Scriptures About Commitment (ESV, openbible.info)

Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Galatians 6:9 –  “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

John 8:12 – “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””

Ephesians 4:29 –  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Main Point

Commitment is never easy. It requires that you do not take short cuts as you change/renew/convert your attitude and character. It is intentional. It is important to build a strong scriptural foundation. If you do not begin with the fundamentals, how do you know what Christ’s attitude, values, and character are? Just as children look to their parents, we must look to the Word of God for direction, wisdom, knowledge, and insight. But do not wait until you finished building a spiritual foundation. Begin today, remember, each day is a new day. Ask God for direction, and you will become more confident in praying and responding to His instructions. You will learn to feel comfortable in knowing that God intimately knows you and knows that you are growing in the Word. He will speak to you through ways you can understand. There have been times that while I was in prayer, God simply shared a Bible reference, such as – Psalm 63, often a scripture that I had not read, and had no idea what He was telling me until I read it. Once you have read the scripture, it all came together. God is amazing! He is the author and finisher, the alpha and omega, the Way maker, our counselor, and finisher of our faith. If you recall the first Application Season entry, I mentioned Isaiah who wrote, “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. “ 

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! 

Dear friend, guard wisdom and understanding with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because GOD will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”

Proverbs 3:5-12, 21-26 MSG

Bibleversestogo.com

Listen to God. Commit to this Application Season establishing the new you. Guard your thinking, use common sense and learn to become Christlike in nature, demonstrating God’s love in everything you do.

As we go through this APPLICATION SEASON together, ask God to personally relate each scripture that speaks to you and ask Him to explain how it applies to your life today. Interestingly, you will find that a scripture can speak to you in different ways during different seasons of your life. The Bible is an ever-evolving book unfolding new treasures as we become more like Christ. The Word meets us at the point  of our need is at the time. When praying, ask God what your next steps are in changing your attitude and character to align to His Word and Will, and believe me, He will provide the next steps. In many cases you will be asked to mobilize what you have learned within a short time of discussing it. Sometimes you will succeed and others times you will fall short, but each strengthens your walk and your character, each step places you closer to becoming like Christ.

References — openbible.info; biblegateway.com

Image — bibleversestogo.com; thepreachersword.com

Comfortable With Carte Blanche Prayer?

Quote

On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it…

~ Lisa Blair

1 John 5:14

On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it, much like asking a genie to meet our every desire. At least that is how so many apply this scripture in their prayers. 

But then, what is God really saying? 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

This scripture is an instructional guide about praying.
God is telling us:

  • Have confidence in approaching Him. 
  • Do not be hesitant to fellowship with Him.
  • We should ask in confidence for God to meet our needs.

God tells us He hears us when we fellowship with Him in prayer. Our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. Our prayers are not ignored or treated lightly. Our prayers are conversations with the Master, our Father in Heaven. 

Then, how should we ask Him to help us? We must always ask within the context of His Will and not our own. He knows what our needs are and why we have those needs. He knows the plans He has for us and is willing to grant our requests if they are built upon on faith. Prayer is the foundation for all communication and action.

I find that before praying for something, I ask – is it my will, something I want because I want it, or is it something that will strengthen my walk? It is not wrong to want things that create an inviting lifestyle if it is not corruptible or wanton. But within this sphere of thought, it should also be something that spiritually strengthens us. We should not gravitate towards hidden agendas to manifest our will.

Selfish praying has hidden consequences. As we grow more mature in the Word and our relationship with Christ, we should examine what the consequences of asking are, as well as acting independent of God, to achieve our desires and the cost of those actions. Throughout the Bible, God’s people prayed to Him. He answered their prayers and instead of waiting for Him to produce the promise, they acted on their own to manifest the promise in the time and way they wanted it to fit in their own agenda. We see this throughout the Book of Genesis. Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob all attempted to expedite God’s Will for their lives and humankind.

Think about this, they stood in God’s presence, held conversations with Him, knew His Glory, and still acted impetuously, what does that say about human nature? It is human nature to conspire, to thing first, to ignore others, to forge ahead in search of meeting our own needs.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “<em>Warning, warning, danger, danger.</em>” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “Warning, warning, danger, danger.” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.

“God is no respecter of persons and al believers have been given the same opportunity to walk in newness of life and allow Christ to be formed in us. The more we live for His praise and glory, align our thoughts to the mind of Christ, and keep our fleshly self-nailed to the Cross, them more we find that we pray according to the will of our heavenly Father, and the greater will be our confidence that He will hear and answer our prayers, “for this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (What Does 1 John 5:14 Mean?  Dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com. 02/11/21)

There are no carte blanche prayers. Our prayers have consequences when we act on them to bring them to pass. We must pray fervently and honestly. We must always seek to discern whose will is the focal point of our prayer. If it is ‘us’, then rethink your prayer, examine the intent more deeply and seek God’s direction for your life.

Praying for Our Loved Ones

Quote

We pray for our loved ones to be saved, but we do it through our own limited understanding and not through faith in our Lord. ~ Lisa Blair

In reading the Doctrine of Election, we are reminded that only God can provide salvation. The parts that stood out to me most are:

  1. “People are so ruined by sin that they are unable to respond by faith…unless God first gives the ability to respond.” 
  2. “God must draw people Himself and awaken faith in the dead hearts.” (John 6:37-40, 47)
  3. “By grace, God calls individuals to faith” (Eph. 2:8-9)
  4. “This favor of God is undeserved and unearned.” (Romans 9:20)
  5. “God must work in individual hearts to draw them to Himself.”
  6. “Because salvation is God’s work from start to finish, all the glory belongs to Him.”

As ambassadors of Christ, it is our mission to share the Word with them (nonbelievers). We are watering the seed that was placed in them before they were born. At some point, most if not all, of our loved ones will recognize the seed of faith growing within causing them to question their lifestyles and who they are in Christ. When that happens, God calls them to Him. Age is not the crucial factor, surely, we want our loved ones to be saved early in life, but we must not give up it may not occur until they are old. Our prayers are not in vain. A prime example is the life of Abraham. God’s promises may escape us in our youth where our free-will seems strongest, and blossom in the later years of life. Don’t give up on them. It is never too late, and our prayers continue to water the seed God placed in them before they were born.

My prayer is:
Lord cover my son/daughter/loved one in your Blood until they call out your name and receive salvation. Protect them on their walk in sin. Cause them to step back from temptation through faith they do not yet know they have. Thank you for planning our paths before you created life on earth. Help me to accept the things I don’t understand. Help us “embrace the struggle with this truth” and “settle our hearts on Your goodness and your unconditional love”. We thank you for standing by us in all times, circumstances, and situations. We will continue to share the Word with our loved ones knowing you are there to retrieve them from death. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

References: Bible Study Fellowship, Lesson 16, Genesis 25-26. https://www.bsfinternational.org

Other Resources:

What is the Doctrine of Election. http://www.gotquestions.com;

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">What is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-electionWhat is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-election

Photo – LAB Photos

God’s PEACE is Conditional

Quote

We must release anxiety and fear to receive God’s peace in our lives.

~ Lisa Blair

The conditions leading to peace are explained in Philippians 4:6. God’s peace is achieved through prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. The peace is associated with releasing anxiety and fear, handing them over to God, who will then replace the void caused by releasing anxiety and fear with His peace. You cannot receive His peace if you are consumed with anxiety and fear. His peace is conditional. You must release the cause for anxiety and fear to receive the Lord’s peace. He promises peace to those who believe (have faith) and overcome being fettered by anxiety and fear. Further, the release rests on one’s ability to shift from what we see with our eyes (those things around us)* to what we know in our hearts to be true. God ensures peace to those who welcome Him into our hearts.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬


Associated Scripture References:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Resource – Bible.com

Photo – Dave Hoefler, Unsplash

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #5

Quote

God’s promises are eternal. They will never fail, fade away, or end. He is not a man and cannot lie. His truth is forever.

~ Lisa Blair

I am studying the Book of Genesis this year at BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, and have come to realize that Genesis is so much more than what we learned in Sunday School or Church. It is a deep and lengthy study. One of the most profound things is that God established a covenant with Adam and Eve after they were expelled from Eden. God made a similar covenant with Noah after the flood subsided. The covenant was God’s promise that He would continue Adam’s genealogy to give life to Christ through Mary and save us from eternal sin through the resurrection of Christ.

All of God’s promises stem from His love for us. Each promise has a purpose and is true today just as it was when He made them. God will never forsake us or leave us. He will lay His eyes upon us. His Word will always be good, and it will always just.

This is the fifth and final installment of the series, God’s Promises Shape Our Lives. The focus of this installment is the Promises of the Holy Spirit. This series highlights some, though not all, of God’s promises. The Holy Spirit intimately knows the worst of us and the best of us, yet He remains faithful even when we persist in rebellion against Him. He protects us and walks with us, even when we sin. There is nothing in this life that we cannot share with Him. The Holy Spirit resides in us, and the blood of Jesus reigns over us. We are completely encapsulated by the Spirit of God. The lyrics to one of Tasha Cobb’s songs says, ”He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own… No fire can burn me, no battle can turn me, no mountain can stop me, ’cause you hold my hand. Now, I’m walking in Your victory ’cause your power is within me, no giant can defeat me, ’cause you hold my hand. (Lyrics to You Know My Name. Tasha Cobb Leonard.) God’s promises protect us without failure or compromise because He walks with us as we navigate through this life.

Walking in the Spirit

Walking in the spirit means that when we were saved, we invited the Holy Spirit to reside in us. We no longer victims of this world driven by the lust of the flesh. We are no longer condemned to walk in our flesh, lusting for the things of this world, things associated with the external world such as riches, recognition, and possessions. The Holy Spirit indwells in us and through Him, we are free from sin. We have the power to turn away from temptation and the gift of repentance. We are renewed every day. Each day is a new day in the Lord. Each day His Spirit resides in us and strengthens us to walk in the Spirit.

Romans 8:1 NKJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 NKJV

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 6:8 NIV

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

Seeking Direction

God is (forever) our guide. We can choose to lean on our own understanding or trust in the Lord to light our path and direct our steps, especially in times of grave difficulties. During these times of uncertainty, the evil one conspires to entice us, to weaken us, to separate us from God. God’s Word, His promises, strengthen us and are our tools to overcome the circumstances that may have afflicted us through no fault of our own, such as, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, eviction, critical illness, and ultimately loss of hope. Our strength is in the Lord and when we rest in His arms, His strength, the world looks different than when we resign hope and only see failure.

Psalms 18:28 NIV

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 48:14 NIV

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Proverbs 3:5,6 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

John 8:12 NKJV

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

John 16:13 NKJV

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Praying in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, sometimes our hopelessness camouflages what we should pray for, leaving us unable to pray for the condition or circumstance. When we do not know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit intercedes and prays on our behalf. He prays for us in the Spirit. However, He can only do that when invited, we must seek Him to help us.

Romans 8:26 NKJV

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Praying for Wisdom, and Knowledge

As humans, we seek wisdom, though not always in the right places. We seek wisdom from peers, leaders, and fallen souls when we should wisdom from God through the Holy Spirit and His word. we should seek wisdom from God who gives it to us generously. It is His wisdom and knowledge that strengthens us to walk upright. It is His wisdom and knowledge that will refrain our conditions as we see them. It is His wisdom and knowledge that leads to our victory over our circumstances.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 NKJV

For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner, He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Amos 3:7 NIV

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.

Luke 21:15 NIV

For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 

James 1:5 NIV

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

So, What does this all mean?

The scriptures highlight God’s love for us. They prove that He is trustworthy and will carry all of His promises out. He activates and fulfills all promises He has made. His promises will manifest to either take us through our current circumstances or deliver us out of them.

When we feel defeated, we cannot waiver but rather stand fast. We cannot compromise what God promised, choosing a quick remedy over His plan. We may feel our ways are more expedient, but experience proves they generally cost more than had we waited on the Lord to fulfill His promises for us. Only God knows where our path leads, and only He knows what is required of us to walk down the path. It’s important to always remember His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Always go into prayer before making life decisions.

Seek God and ask that He reveal the things you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3) and do not make your own decisions on how to move forward without God’s input. As humans, we tend to believe that we should do as we please and then make amends. However, spiritually speaking, we are to go before the Lord, seek His Word and direction through faith, and move forward in His grace.

Developing an ATTITUDE of GOD FIRST in our lives places us on solid ground. The more familiar we become with His promises, the more quickly we can stop in our tracks when doubt and hopelessness try to invade and destroy us. His wisdom and knowledge lead us to acknowledge that God’s promises yield results. I personally find when I relinquished my will to His Will, His Word, and His Way, I find a place of peace that allows me to comfortably make decisions that align with His Word.

It is my sincerest hope that this series has helped you and me by reminding us that God is always with us, and we can turn to Him at any time in our lives. We can rest assured that decisions that align with God’s Word are the right decisions to make. To nonbelievers, our decisions may seem to be folly or misdirected, but to believers, we know that God is directing our steps, and God’s Promises are shaping our lives.

Update, God is so good. I completed this series last night, and felt something was missing. When I awoke this morning, God directed me to this devotional. It is the perfect closing for the study of God’s Promises.

Resources: Life Principles Bible by Charles Stanley, NKJV; Song-Apple Lyrics; Biblestudytools.com; biblegateway.com; He Whispers Your Name, 365 Day Devotionals, by Cherie Hill

Images: LAB PHOTOS; Google Images