THE GOD WHO NEVER CHANGES IS ALWAYS WORKING TO CHANGE US

God changes us by pruning away the dead sprouts and leaves.

~ LISA BLAIR



I heard a great sermon a few Sunday ago, it was food for thought. The sermon focused on “the God who never changes is always working to change us into His likeness.” What does that mean you may ask? Well, according to Pastor Steve Hage, when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we enter into a new relationship with our stuff, you know the secular things we cherish, our humanness prone to sin, and our ways of thinking and acting. Our salvation is the new beginning, but it is only the beginning. The things we brought with us must be removed. There was an innocence that was lost after the Fall. We regain that innocence when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Lord will continue to prune those parts of us that do not reflect His image. Generally, the pruning takes place in the valley of challenges where the devil can do his work under the veil of shadows and darkness. Most of us think and have been taught that darkness is the absence of light, not so in this context. Darkness is the absence of the knowledge of God and our inability to stand on His Word.

For many Christians the absence is not the void of not knowing, it is the process of not applying what we know, it is doubting instead of standing in faith. The truth is, mountain top experiences do not cause us to evaluate how we reached the mountain top. It is sunny, bright and warm. It is not until we find ourselves spiraling down, and in some cases landing in the muck and the mire of the cavern before we begin to question what is happening to us. Why do we spiral down, at times it is of no fault of our own, or we may have made mistakes (man-made errors), and still other times, Satan asks God for His permission to sift each of us. In Job 1:9-11, God gave Satan permission to sift Job. In Luke 22:31 Jesus was reported to having said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Satan asked God’s permission to sift Job and Peter, and he asks God to give him the authority to examine you and me as well.

God allows us to be sifted to prune away disobedience, sin, selfishness, pride, anger and self- righteousness to name a few of our human traits. He gave us free-will to make our own decisions but will use them to exert His will over our lives. The Providence of God means He wisely directs and permits all that happens in His creation. “God does not override our will, but He does direct circumstances to accomplish His will.” (BSF lesson 23, People of the Promised Land). 

“We can trust God’s good purposes even when we do not understand what He is doing. Living by faith gives God’s children joy and brings Him glory. We must trust Him to show us all we need to know. Only God knows His infinite purposes for everything that happens. God leads his children by His Word and His Spirit and other good gifts-our parents, natural abilities and good desires. “We do not need to look for signs to know what to do. Knowing our heavenly Father is in control is more than enough for us.”

Our Father never changes, but He works to change us into His likeness. This process is most evident when we topple from the mountain top into the valley, or on our way back up to the mountain top. Like Peter, God has a plan for our lives. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always part of His plan for our lives.

Images  – Google Images

Resources – The Sifting of Simon Peter, https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-sifting-of-simon-peter; International Bible Fellowship, Lesson 23, March 2019

Your Walkabout

A Walkabout is defined as being a journey on foot undertaken by an Australian Aborginal in order to live in the traditional manner. (Siri)

As Christians, we are commanded to walk with (follow) Christ. Our journey is undertaken through living the Word, thereby spreading the Good News as we march toward our destiny. Our tradition (our belief) requires we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, be obedient, dependent, and aligned with God through good times as bad. Sometimes the road is challenging, but strength is the result of the challenge of you don’t give-in or give-up. Being a Christian is not intended to be easy, it is intended to provide salvation and eternal life.

Walk in His ways. Take on a Christ-like personality today, do not waiver. Close the (work) week out in victory!

Little and Much

God is teaching us the meaning of life, and of all that we have.

~ MacLaren’s Expositions, Biblehub.com

God is our Heavenly Father. When we are young, our parents did not heap up riches and gold on us but rather increased our possessions and trust as we matured. It is a developmental process. God, our Father, often does the same, if we can be trusted with little and use it responsibly, then we can be trusted with much.

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. ~ Luke 16:10 NIV

The NKJV uses the terms faithful and unjust. Benson wrote- “If you make that use of your riches which I have been recommending, you shall be received into those everlasting habitations, where all the friends of goodness dwell, because, by your fidelity in managing the smallest trust of temporal advantages committed to your care, you show that you are capable of the much greater trust of spiritual and heavenly employments and enjoyments, things of a much higher nature. And he that is unjust in the least — He that useth these lowest gifts unfaithfully; is unjust also in much — Is likewise unfaithful in spiritual things.

In other words, if you do not use your riches, and power, and other temporal advantages, for the glory of God, and the good of your fellow- creatures, you shall be excluded from the abodes of the blessed, because, by behaving unfaithfully in the small trust committed to you now, you render yourselves both unworthy and incapable of a share in the everlasting inheritance.”

Whether we have more or less, we must be faithful with what we have, as wise stewards. Our witness is the love we bestow on others, how we illustrate the Fruit of The Spirit, care for those unable to care for themselves (especially the young, widows, and elderly), and how we forgive others.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. ~ Hebrews 6:10

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. ~ James 1:17,18

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:16

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. ~ 1 John 4:19-20

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ~ James 2:14-17

Matthew 25 d4fe32d4f053e9b8082524d100e5b9ff--scripture-quotes-bible-scriptures.jpg

Images – Bible.com @Church Motion Graphics Inc; Google Pinterest.com

Scriptures – Biblegateway.com/Luke 16:10, NKJV; Biblestudytools.com/NIV

Resource – Biblehub.com/ MacLean Expositions; Benson Commentary

Put On The Armor

I am reposting this message as a reminder that God has provided the armor to protect us against the wiles of the enemy as we march forward delivering His Word through our word, actions, and deeds. It is time to ‘armor up’!

~ Lisa Blair

The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, but we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’

In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:

“our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” 

There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.

‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.

Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.

The Armor

The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes.

The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.

Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.

The Belt of Truth holds us together. 

It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.

Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.

The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy.

God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.

Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.

We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.

Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis

Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.

Sources

Books:
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire

Websites:
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com

Images – Google Images
Scripture-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

RePost – Naked Without the Armor

The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, But we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’

In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:

Armor2

” our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.

‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.

Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.

The Armor

The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes. 

The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.

Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.

The Belt of Truth holds us together. 

It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.

Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.

The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy. 

God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  

Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.

We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.

Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis

Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.

Sources

Books:
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire

Websites:
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com

Images – Google Images
Scripture-Biblegateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

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