Green Pastures, Still Waters, Restoration

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  (Note: This study is focused on the green pastures, still waters and our restoration.)

Green Pastures

The 23rd Psalm says that God will make you lie down in green pastures, and lead you to still waters. He does this because He wants to restore our souls and guides us in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Why does our Father look out for us day and night, week after week, year after year until we leave this earth? He is our parent. He sees our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We watches us run to and fro all day long, every day. When we are still, our minds are still racing. When we sleep, we seldom experience REM sleep (deep sleep). Our thoughts are in constant flux. God sees us and knows that it is different to nurture a relationship with us if we cannot be still and focused for more than a moment. He seeks us in the quiet space, a place of peace.

Jesus is our Shepard, He keeps us from want. He protects us and restores us when we feel empty and lost. The beauty is that Jesus is here for us when we experience success, and love life, as well as when we are in the valley.

When you read then phrase green pastures, what do you envision? My green pasture has green trees surrounding it, and flowers all around. The grass is green and tall enough to blow in the breeze. There is quiet, yet the sound of nature, the breeze, birds chirping, and bees buzzing permeates the pasture. It is a peaceful place. The sun shines down on it, and when you lay in the grass, you feel it’s warm rays and the coolness of the soft grass.

The Lord’s pasture is not myopically designed, it can exist in rural communities and in urban environments. The pastures blanket all parts of the world. In other instances, people may define a pasture to fit their setting. Parks equate to green space and are rightfully fields, reminiscent of pastures; you see these people laying in the grass in parks. Green space exists as part of oases in some parts of the world as well as mountainous plateaus. We can define our own pasture, as the place the Lord instructs us to experience calm. But why must we lay down or envision ourselves laying down you may ask because it is part of Gods prescription for us to unwind, slow down, and experience Him. This is a place where He restores our soul and gives us fresh air to breathe in and exhale to slow our heartbeat and gentle anxieties. It is a place of peace, where time is not the governor of your next move.

Still Waters

Jesus also leads us beside still waters. Still, waters can be interpreted as a pond, a lake, or a tributary, and when I was young, a flooded part of the park after rainfall or melting snow, part of the seasonal change. We are led to still waters that are, like pastures, defined by the terrain around us. When I experience still waters, my mind clears and the activity of the day cease to exist, it refreshes me. It is a place to escape our normal daily activities. It’s the place you hear birds chirping, small animals drinking at the water’s edge, and is the most comfortable environment we can lavish in and recognize that God created it for our benefit.

As adults, we are (generally) not afforded the time during the day to visit a pasture or still waters, we are, however, provided with the image of both. During breaks at work, or home in the midst of chores, we are able to escape in prayer and meditation, imagine laying in our pasture/field/green space, near still waters, exhaling and spending time with our Lord as he restores our soul.

Soul Restoration

The scripture continues with, He restores my soul. It is during these restoration moments that we can discard the chaotic energy and listen for our Lord’s voice. It is the time when we can hold a conversation that would translate into more than 140 characters. As our soul is restored, we become stronger and intentionally more dependent upon our Lord. It is through these experiences that we begin to understand that we cannot go it alone and be present with the Lord. Relationship success is determined in part by proximity. Our soul is restored when we are in close relationship with the Lord, only He can heal our soul. It is our responsibility to maintain and cherish the relationship. God is always waiting for us to call upon and spend time with Him. Through His righteousness, we are saved.  through His righteousness, we receive the benefit of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.

Images –  Psalm 23, Dust Off the Bible; B. Blair; LAB Photos
Scripture – BibleStudyTools.com
Resources – Psalm 23, Hayford’s Bible Handbook; The Twenty-third Psalm, Charles L. Allen; Nelson’s Quick Reference, Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe

Another Act of Kindness

Some call this ’doing good’, but as Christians, we know this is an act of kindness.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV

Just imagine if you were a child, in the hospital ill, looked out the window and saw a superhero looking back at you. What a great moment you would experience, one that would help you through your struggles.

ACT OF KINDNESS – Meet the Chicago woman who rented hotel rooms for the homeless during deep freeze | wusa9.com

For several weeks many of us have been writing about following Christ and acts of kindness. 80 people were spared being left in freezing temperatures for three days.

Candice Payne used her personal American Express card to get homeless people off the streets during record-setting freeze in Chicago.

— Read on www.wusa9.com/mobile/article/news/nation-world/meet-the-chicago-woman-who-rented-hotel-rooms-for-the-homeless-during-deep-freeze/285-06f8f21a-e4b0-463a-904b-f3b74f440234

Light Flows Through Us

God works through people. We are the light others see. How bright are you glowing? How many amps do you generate? Do you cast a dim light, or do you share the Word through your actions, deeds, and discussion allowing the Holy Spirit to emanate an overpowering light through you? ~Lisa Blair

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This scripture reinforces one of my earlier posts. You are the light others see. Christ glows within you and like the filament in a light bulb emanates light outward.

The full scriptural verses read:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Only light contrasts the darkness. It is a symbol of the war that is raging between heaven and earth, God and Satan. Satan resides in the dark. He lost his light when he fell to the earth leaving his past as God’s most beautiful, intelligent angel behind to become Satan.

You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.‭‭                                              Ezekiel‬ ‭28:18-19‬ ‭NLT

Ezekiel‬ ‭28:18-19‬ ‭NLT

         “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!”‭‭            Luke‬ ‭10:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.” ~‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Our challenge, as human beings, is to overcome the darkness by acknowledging that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and then take up His cross and live a Christ-like life. Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior invites Him to reside in us as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the light that emanates through us and glows outward targeting observers. It is through this process that non-believers are drawn to you, inquisitive as to why you glow. What is different about you? They see the difference and then hear your story and the Word of God. The glow is planted in them, growing until there is a time when they too will hear the call to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Be clear, we are a vessel, we cannot ‘save’ anyone, not even ourselves. Our glow is the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to offer eternal life.

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:34-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Images – YouVersion-Bible.com; Google Images-cdn.pixabay.com
Scriptures – Biblestudytools.com, Bible.com
Other Posts, same topic: Light, Jan 6, 2019, Never In Darkness, Jan 7, 2019

If your thoughts differ, please begin a dialogue online. Thank you for reading my Post. God Bless.

Christian Values Extend Beyond Christianity, Revised

Christ shared the Good News throughout the regions of Israel. He shared it with all the people in those regions. His purpose on earth was to share God’s Word and lead them to salvation. He accomplished this through speech and action.

Christ knew conversion was a personal choice. He used a variety of ways to engage non-believers, preaching was one way in which He shared the Good News. The other and perhaps the most obvious was through His actions and deeds. He displayed the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5. 

As Christians, we need to remember that our actions often speak louder than words. Our actions should reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In complying with these traits, we share the goodness of God.  People emulate others traits that they are drawn to and want to express in their actions. We see these virtues play out in all religions and, I will go as far as saying, are nurtured by parents, relatives, and role models, some of which may be strangers.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We see, hear, and read about people who have a heart to do good.   Most of these stories are never discussed or shared. The person or people inherited the need to help others, be kind and provide change. Christians often feel that we are the only good people, but the truth is there is good and bad in all nationalities and religions.  My point is that demonizing people is not Christ-like, being insular and only attending to the needs of our faith is not Christ-like, wishing harm on other is not Christ-like. Being Christ-like is using His virtues to help others and make our society and the world a better place.

I include this story from the New York Times because Sharon Cohen founded an organization in 1997 to teach young Black and Brown girls who live in Harlem,  we York to learn to ice skate, and amazing things grew out of it. Sharon may or may not be a Christian but exudes Christ’s virtues every day of her life. She stepped up where she saw a need and has made a difference in lives of these girls. I believe their entire families benefited and thus changed the trajectory of the family units.

If we, Christians, step up to the challenges of helping others we too can effect change. Recently several tragic events have occurred in the US from hurricanes, floods, fires and most recently government shutdown. These events nurtured a glimpse of humanity at its best. They caused people to act out of their comfort zone and help others, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or income. The Good Samaritans were people like you and me. Humanitarian needs are a close as our backyards and extend throughout the world.

Story – https://nyti.ms/2REzNtX?smid=nytcore-ios-share
Images – Google Images; collage LAB Photos
Scripture – Bible.com

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my Post. Search this site and you will find other posts expounding on this topic.

God Bless.

Seeing Through God’s Eyes, Feeling Through His Heart

When we look out of Christ’s eyes and feel through His Heart, worlds change, kindness abodes, and His richness lives in us forever. ~Lisa Blair

God offers grace and mercy to all who ask. He doesn’t focus on our pasts any more than he focused on what some would consider His den of thieves. He transformed  Paul and all of His disciples in His likeness. He is still in the transformation game. He transforms all of us, everyone who is reading this post, and those who are still seeking and reading this post,  have been or can be transformed into His likeness and become a part of His family. Read Acts 9: 1-17.

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man (Paul) and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:13-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I read two transformation stories today. One about a former drug dealer and felon who had his felony expunged, ran for public office and was elected to the Leavenworth City Commissioner and is now the Mayor of Leavenworth, Kansas, USA, and a story that represents many transformations aired on Goalcast.

We should never condemn ourselves or others to a life of failure or our sins. God is our Savior and has opened His arms awaiting our return; we are the Prodigal Son. Why, because our birth took place in heaven. God gave us life and a plan for our lives. When we were born into our human family, this gift came with us. We were given free-will, and we chose our path, which often is exclusively God’s Plan for our lives. We wander like the  (Parable of the )Prodigal  Son. God will always take us back if we ask for His forgiveness.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.

“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:17-22, 24-25, 31-32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life presents many obstacles but as long as we put God first, see out of His eyes, feel through His heart our failings and that of others no longer seem important, we begin to live in kindness, love, and peace. It is time to stop demonizing ourselves with self-talk, and others.

Scriptures – Bible.org
Images – Google Images
Resources – Biblegateway.org

VISIT https://www.facebook.com/1339965909481783/posts/1606818256129879/GOALCAST VIDEO.

Thank you for reading my Posts. God Bless!

The Case of Burdens

The previous scripture we studied, ‘if you love your neighbor as you love yourself, states you are fulfilling God’s law’ (Galatians 5:14). It is further exemplified in Galatians 6:2, which states we are to bear one another’s burdens. Burdens are sins, challenges, and temptations. Bearing on another’s burdens does not mean that we much carry their burdens.

This scripture means that, as Christians, we should have sympathy for one another and support one another when they fall. This does not mean we should suffer for their trespasses. It is our duty to pray for their redemption in kindness and Godly love. Our support begins through prayer and then in other ways, if appropriate.

The previous scripture we studied, ‘if you love your neighbor as you love yourself, states you are fulfilling God’s law’ (Galatians 5:14). It is further exemplified in Galatians 6:2, which states we are to bear one another’s burdens. Burdens are sins, challenges, and temptations. Bearing on another’s burdens does not mean that we much carry their burdens.

This scripture means that, as Christians, we should have sympathy for one another and support one another when they fall. This does not mean we should suffer for their trespasses. It is our duty to pray for their redemption in kindness and Godly love. Our support begins through prayer and then in other ways, if appropriate.

Praying for those who are willfully harming others is not an easy task, nor is it easy to forgive those who have personally injured you in any way. It is not our nature to carry their burdens. Paul shares that, as Christians, we must support one another through prayer and not fall prey to Satan’s wiles through actions such as speaking and purposely condemning them, hating them, hoping the worst for them, and in any way attempting to tear them down through these means. We are to be sensitive to their plights, stand in love, and pray for their redemption and healing.

None of us is above sinning. All of us fall short of the glory of God. We are warned that we should not rejoice in others fall. Christ does not rejoice in our failings, and we should not enjoy another’s faults. In bearing another’s burdens, we are acknowledging that we to have burdens to bare and want Christ to carry ours as well as our neighbors.

Resources – Galatians 6:2, Studylight.org, Biblestudytools.com,enduringword.com
Images – Google Images

I am holding to the task of Resolving and Acting on the resolve to become a stronger Christian in the face of everyday life in 2019. Join me. Each step we take should bring us closer to Christ.

Thank you for reading my Posts. God Bless.