Today is the day the Lord has made; stay focused, stay present, stay faithful.
God never promised that if you would follow Him, your life will be perfect. He never promised the sun would always shine or that you would never experience pain. The truth is, this journey here on earth is difficult and challenging. There are so many twists and turns to life and through it all it is critically important to stay focused on Jesus.
The devil would like nothing better than to separate you from the only One who can save you, and he will stop at nothing to get your attention. He loves to plant seeds of doubt–especially when you are going through a crisis and are the most vulnerable. Satan loves to whisper his lies, encouraging you to blame God for your troubles. But Satan is the creator of sin and he gets all the credit for pain and heartache–not God!
Stay focused on your heavenly Father who loves you more than anyone else ever could! When you are in trouble–call upon Him for help. The Bible says in Psalm 34:17-19, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
You don’t have to be afraid of life’s challenges, heartache, and pain because you are never alone! Stay faithful–stay focused on the only one who can save you from all your trials, misery, and suffering–Jesus Christ, your Lord, and Savior.
We are Christs’ representatives. People see Him through our actions, and our actions verify the Word of God.
~ Lisa Blair
We are Christs’ representatives. People see Him through our actions, and our actions verify the Word of God. If we say we are Christians, there are expectations that surround how we treat others, e.g., are we kind, patient, giving, loving, supportive, attentive, joyful, and have self-constraint? Christ nailed our sins to the cross and we are now living by His Spirit. When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were released from sin, washed by the blood of the Lamb, and have been cleansed from our old sin nature.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NLT. Bible.com)
Living by the Spirit’s Power 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:16, 17, 22-25 NLT. Biblegateway.com)
If our old nature reigns, we are not living by the Spirit. If we do not exude a genuine Christ-like behavior, are we Christians? Our actions and deeds are reflective of who we are in Christ.
Circumstances outside of our control often undo expectations and plans. Life is outside of our control. The pandemic is changing our lives. Life, as we planned, no longer exists.
Dreams have been dashed. Jobs and career positions have been lost, and the unknown remains bleak. That is the world nonbelievers live in; they created their own destiny and have nothing to rely on but themselves. However, believers rest on God’s Word. We did not create our own destiny; God gave us life and a path. Scripture declares, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3. If we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not in our own understanding and submit to Him, He will make our paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
I am not saying that we will not experience hardship and loss; we will. The difference between nonbelievers and believers is that we find comfort in knowing that God provides. Loss is temporary. Paths can be forged, and we do not fear death because we possess eternal life.
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 hand. Isaiah 41:10.
Our God sees us through the darkest moments, He directs our way, and carries us when we can no longer withstand the pressure. He told us He would never give us more than we can bear, though what we think we can carry and what He believes we can bear are two different things. It is during these moments He challenges us to be courageous, to have courage.
In times of great distress, we are challenged to grow. We are challenged to put His Word into practice. He tells us to depend on Him and not what we see. He tells us, all things work for the good for those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.
All believers are called according to His purpose. Knowing this assures us that the darkest days are numbered, and we will once again see the light of day. This assurance proves our faith is stronger than our circumstances. It is stronger than our losses. Faith determines our new path, and can sure up the old. We are victorious. We have victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about the things we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We are overcomers. As long as we trust God, we can live in peace amid the storms of life. Internal peace is spiritual peace. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 We can face the loss and setbacks through the struggle. We can see God operating in our lives as minute details become visible of the signs He presents. When we put the pieces together, we can begin to see the bigger picture, much like viewing a crossword puzzle. Will all of the pieces arrive numbered like a do-it-yourself piece of furniture, no. Will we experience setbacks, yes. Will we give up and give in to the circumstances that many would say are crippling and can not be overcome, no. Philippians 4:13 affirms we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
The author of 1 John 5:4 wrote For everyone born of God overcomes the world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Pandemics are outside of our control, but its outcomes are not outside of our Lord’s authority. This is the time we are called to stand, and as Ephesians 6:13 declares, having done all stand. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us, God’s grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness, and we should boast about our weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on us. Paul tells us when we are weak; we are strong.
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com; Images – Google Images
God gave us the tools to survive through life’s challenges. Strong faith will allow you to experience peace in the midst of the struggle.
~ Lisa Blair
Trials produce patience and patience is reinforced through faith. If you are faithful, you will experience the joy of the Lord and not become bitter and discouraged through the trial. You will rest in God’s peace and weather the storm.
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. God supplied the Isrealites with daily manna, and He invites us to experience peace every day of our lives. We are blessed with daily renewal and all that it entails: peace, love, and joy.
~ Lisa Blair
Once Upon a Time, I was a complainer and envious. My parents provided and more than met my needs but that was not enough. I wanted what others had. I was never happy or content with what I had. I was not grateful for what my parents provided or God. I HAD NO PEACE.
It was not until I became much older and really focused on God”s Word that I began to I understand what He was conveying to all of His people, including me. The more I read about God’s peace, the more I wanted to experience it. Initially, I thought I deserved His peace just because. Later I wanted to experience it because I was tired of being envious and angry. As my prayer life grew stronger, I wanted to feel the gift of God’s presence in my life. His presence exudes peace. I wanted to bask in relationship His love, His peace, and His grace.
Finally, while praying in desperation one day, I began to feel a quiet that was not defined by the absence of sound, it was more a feeling in the middle of a melody. This quiet evolved into peace. It was peace greater than my understanding. God gave me an inkling of what I could experience every day if I chose. It was my responsibility to want it and to do so meant that I had to live the Word and become more like Christ. I had to learn to be grateful for everything He provides, including chastisement.
I’m not exactly certain when, but one day I noticed that I was praising and thanking God for everything that encompassed my day as it was happening. Praising and thanking God became a norm before I realized it was happening. It became an involuntary act. This brings me to the present, we had a few emergencies that interfered with our vacation savings. We are going on vacation next week. I was concerned about our disposal income, and rather than fretting and complaining, I found myself thanking God for the morning sounds, for His love and His mercy. I thanked Him for our vacation that was paid for, for our cousins who are vacationing with us this year, for my family, a roof over our heads, family members stepping out of the dark and into His light, for people overcoming addictions and carnal habits, for our leaders, my country (USA), and the world. During this time with God, I was suddenly filled with His peace. Things were not important. I was ensconced in His love and His peace. It was this day that I discovered that His peace can carry you throughout the day unmoved by worldly circumstances.
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. Just like the manna God provided Moses’ people, the Israelites, and brought them out of Egypt, He offers His peace to us every day of our lives.
Moses said, This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. ~Exodus 16:32 ESV
God gave us His Word to align our thinking with Christ’s example of living. In Matthew 4:4 it is written that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Now, this may seem like a departure from peace, but follow my line of thinking.
The Manna represents physical food and spiritual sustenance. The manna is a food source for both needs. Manna was a type of bread that could only remain fresh for one day. It could not be saved. The Word is spiritual manna. The Word teaches us how to receive God”s peace. GotQuestions.org describes peace as a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances. It is not a continuous state, but also must be renewed daily.
Living in peace can be compared to the petals of a flower unfolding in the morning sunlight. The petals of peace in our lives unfold as we learn more about God. We discover that His character is always faithful. We experience His continual goodness. We read more of His promises (Psalm 100:5; 115:11; Isaiah 26:4). We learn to bask in His overwhelming love for us (Romans 8:38–39). We refuse to allow ever-changing circumstances to determine our level of contentment, relying instead upon the character of God that never changes (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6). (GotQuestions, Ibid)
We attempt to define PEACE, but our language does not have words to define it. We can only explain it in some fashion after we personally experience it, and the explanation is left wanting. The only legitimate explanation is penned in the Bible – God’s Peace transcends our understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. Philippians 4:7 NLT