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

Better Than Normal by YouVersion

Quote

We struggle trying to be normal when being normal means reinforcing the things of this world and not striving to be more like Christ. We should strive to be better than normal. Our mission is to become more like Christ and not of this world.

~ Lisa Blair

Better Than Normal is a YouVersion@Bible.com 7-Day Devotional. I am sharing Day 5. It is a great thought to begin our week.

What is normal?

Normal means conforming to a standard, type, or regular pattern. The term normal usually refers to something that’s typical or natural and something that most people do, and abnormal appears to be the opposite. With that in mind, we’ll define normal in the following way: behavior that is typical, expected, and adjusts to a standard that society has put in place.

But with the amount of people who live on planet earth, is it even possible to say something is normal? What may be normal in one culture may not make any sense in another.

At times, our idea of normal gets hijacked, which causes us to panic and not know how to respond. “When will things go back to normal?” is a question we ask when things stop feeling normal or when we’re in a challenging season where the end date seems unattainable. But eventually, we get our feet steady and we say something like, “Well, I guess this is our new normal.” 

What’s so appealing about normal after all? Well, we usually know what to expect, and we find comfort in it even if it’s not good or healthy. But, comfort doesn’t always equate to health. So, what if we chose to look for a life that is beyond that concept of normality? What if we pursued a life that is better than normal?

As followers of Jesus, we’re called to live differently. The world tells us to follow our hearts, but we know that our hearts can be deceitful. The world says to have the perfect body, but we know that godliness should be our goal. The world tells us to put ourselves first, but we know that living a life where we give to others is more rewarding and kind.

In this Plan, we’ll look at some of the ways that normal just doesn’t cut it. Instead, we’ll learn how to change the way we live and leave the status quo behind for a better than normal life.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/rom.12.2.niv

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/1co.10.13.niv

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:16-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/gal.5.16-22.niv

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/php.4.6-8.niv

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/jas.4.7.niv

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/1jn.1.9.niv

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #4

Quote

God’s promises are more than words on a page. His promises sustain us throughout our lives and throughout eternity. His promises are our assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Lisa Blair

This is the fourth installment of the five-part series. Promises of God’s Word focuses on the authenticity of His Word. God’s word is all truth. You can rely on everything He promises us. He is not a man, who can lie. This means that if his promise does not manifest when you would like it to, it will in time. For example – You may have lost your job and pray that you can pay your rent or mortgage payment working diligently to do it yourself. Still operating carnally, you become desperate to no avail. Then something unlikely occurs, your landlord or banker offers a reprieve in some form, or God may work through people in another way to resolve the situation or circumstance. Sometimes we reach the bell tolling indicating we are out of time, there is no answer. You end up being forced to move. At that very moment, you feel lost. You begin to question God and His promises. However, after the ordeal, you find that you were offered a higher paying position, one you thought you would never achieve. You have a higher salary, career mobility, and the revenue to rent or purchase a nicer apartment or home. This may not have happened without God’s intervention. His ways are not our ways. We cannot begin to understand how God operates in our lives; we only see the result. God knows sees the steps needed to achieve the end result. Our entire lives are a series of lessons. Sometimes the lesson is not only for you, there may be a lesson He wants someone else to experience before He can activate the promise and respond to His request.

The moment of crisis offers a moment of trust, obedience, and dependence upon God. The crisis propels you to cry out to God, knowing He is the only answer to the predicament. It is also the most challenging time because, as humans, we want to take things into our own hands, make decisions without His input, and forge ahead blindly only to make things worse. I believe these scriptures will help you strengthen your relationship with our Lord. They will become part of your treasure trunk of scriptures that you can rely on and hold close to your heart.

He Will Do It

Numbers 23:19 GNB

God is not like men, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever He promises, He does; He speaks, and it is done.

Matthew 24:35 GNB

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are YES in Christ. And so through Him the AMEN is spoken by us to the glory of God.

God cannot lie. He offers eternity, the earth can pass away, but His Word will stand. His promises are made good through His Son Jesus Christ. God will always protect us even in the worst of times; even in our greatest sin. He will provide for us. Our Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

He Blesses

2 Samuel 7:28 NKJV

And now, O Lord God, you are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your Servant.

1 King 8:56 NLT

Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.

When Christ was crucified, we became the new Israel. His promises always remain the same – yesterday, today, and forever. There is no reason to doubt, God is ever-present and aware of every breath you take. Stand fast in the Lord, and in faith, you will begin to experience the calm and peace ever imagined.

Resources: Life Principles Bible, by Charles Stanley; Biblestudytools.org; Biblegateway.com;

Images: Google Images, LAB Photos

The Voice of Adventure

Quote

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? ~ Psalm 27:1

This devotion is from, Grace for the Moment: Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, by Max Lucado. 2000

Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry for what you don’t try, right? You can’t fall if you don’t take a stand, right? You can’t lose your balance if you never climb, right? So don’t try it. Take the safe route.

Or, you can hear the voice of adventure-God’s adventure. Instead of building a fire in the hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference. Sure it isn’t safe, but what is?

____

Don’t let life pass you by, each day is a blessing, each day is a day you can accomplish something new. If not an adventure around the world, take a different route to you destination. Read something different. Enjoy viewing the majesty of the world through God’s eyes, it is always brighter and peaceful even in the midst of the storm. Take a breath and step out of your norm.

Life is full, enjoy it. Remember, you never walk alone-with Christ in you.

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #3

Quote

God’s promises are more than words on a page. His promises sustain us throughout our life and throughout eternity. His promises are our assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Lisa Blair

God’s promises blanket all aspects of our lives. He is the author of Creation, and as such, addressed our lives in totality. I was in prayer one day and reading the Bible and came across the Promises Index in Charles Stanely’s Life Principles Bible. God often speaks to me and in His quiet voice instructed me to write about His promises. And, of course wiith all instructions He identified which promises He wanted me to write about.

This entry highlights three areas that fall within His promises for protection, which are promises as our defense, as our refuge, and as our security. His promises take precedence over our experiences. We can rest assured that we are protected by our Lord and Savior despite what we may be going through. Our faith in His Word as all truth ensures us that He is always present, leading us down the path to safety. He promises to always protect us.

As our Defense

God protects us by surrounding us with a shield, and a hedge of protection. He provides refuge and a place of rest. When we think of His provision for our defense and rest in this truth, we are protected regardless of what we are experiencing, we are able to rest in peace as He provides a way out of no way.

Psalm 5:12 NIV

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Proverbs 30:5,6 NKJV

Every word of God is [a]pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

As our Refuge

Psalm 9:9 NIV

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

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 right hand.

Isaiah 43:2 NIV

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Our God is an awesome God. He knew what we would go through before we were born. He knew the hardships and pain we would suffer, yet He knew that if we trusted Him, He would provide shelter, refuge, food, clothing, our sanity, and meet our daily needs. All He asks is that we trust Him in the face of darkness. He will bring us out of despair and into the light of day, stronger and better than when we were struck with the unknown.

As our Security

Psalm 55:22 NIV

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 48:14 NKJV

For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.

I particularly like the 91st Psalm as my go-to scripture to surround me with His protection when I feel vulnerable, when I want to place a hedge of protection around my family and home (refuge), and when I need God’s assurance. It seems to sum up all of the verses above.

God is our hope, protection, banner and peace. Call upon Him in times of uncertainty and trouble. You may feel lost, you may in a position when you sense your world is crumbling, that is when you most need to run to your refuge knowing God will bring you through.

Acting premptively, I put on all the Armor of God (Ephesians6:10-18), and read the 91st Psalm to secure my family and home within God’s structure of safety. It’s also my way of opening my daily dialogue with Him. How do you begin your own? Do you begin your day on your own or in lockstep with our Savior?

Resources: Life Principles Bible. Charles Stanley; biblegateway.com

Images: Goggle Images; LAB Photos