God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #5

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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

The Voice of Adventure

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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.

In God’s Likeness

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We are created in God’s likeness, His image. His personhood exists in us, and it is not by accident. He is not a respecter of man. We all, regardless of gender, race, religion, or nationality, represent Him in human form. He spoke life into us.

~ Lisa Blair

God’s image gives every person dignity, worth, and purpose. You are uniquely designed to know the God who made you, in this life and for eternity. How will the truth that God knows you completely and loves you unconditionally impact your life, your week, your day?

Bible Study Fellowship, Lesson 2. God Creates Humanity in His Image.

Heart Surgery

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God conducts invisible heart surgery on all people who receive Him as their Lord and Savior. God promises to give us a new heart and insert His Spirit in us. ~ Lisa Blair

When God places a new spirit in us, He is renewing our hearts by replacing our own spirit with the Spirit of God. According to a commentary (Ezekiel 36:26-27, biblegateway.com), we are receiving a ‘new heart’ “renewed by the Spirit and grace of God. A new principle of life is put replaces the carnal principles. A new light is infused with a new will, filled with new purposes and resolutions, where new affections are placed, and new desires are formed, and where there are new delights and joys.”

If we compare God’s heart surgery with physical heart surgery, we will see similarities, the methodology differs, but the outcomes are generally the same. In one, surgeons disconnect the heart, cycle the blood and replace the old heart with a new one. Once they remove the old heart, they prep and insert the new heart and reconnect it, removing all surgical machinery, and then they wait to see if the transplant is a success.

When God goes into surgery, He examines our old stony heart and replaces it with a renewed heart in which he places His spirit. He does not wait to see if the transplant works, it is instantaneous. He knows that as soon as He breathes into our new heart, it begins to work and will work until we return to heaven at the close of our life on earth.

We enter life with a stony heart. The stony heart is immersed in sin. The stony heart was hardened by sin, it is impenitent, corrupt, and carnal, seeking after and lusting after the things of this earth. Read Galatians 5:16-22 to learn more about the acts of the flesh. When we accept Christ as our Lord, we immediately feel repulsed by our fleshly desires, they seem out of place. We are no longer inspired by wanton desires as we were before the transplant.

In Galatians 5:16, the scripture inspires us to walk by the Spirit, and not to be gratified by the desires of the flesh. We felt the inkling to ask God to come into our hearts and allow Him to prepare and give us heart surgery. So, why must we fear returning to our old ways that created the stony heart? Could it be because God also gave us free-will? Think about it, people have surgery for all types of ailments with clear instructions not to return to their old way of life the caused the abnormality, and what happens more often than not, they return to eating in excess, drinking in excess, and abusing their bodies.

We do the same after receiving a renewed, Holy Spirit-filled life. Hear me out. Receipt of the new heart does not make us immune to fleshly wants, in fact, Satan will continually try to taunt you. He knows your weaknesses and carnal desires. He did the same thing with Adam and Eve. He tried to offer Christ earthly riches and his strategy has not changed since the beginning of time. He also knows that God gave us free-will, the ability to make our own decisions, something he could work with. His game plan was and is to destroy your soul and separate you from God.

So, what will you do with your new heart? We are not perfect and will not know perfection until we reach heaven. We will fall because we are human. Our saving grace is that when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were no longer doomed by sin with no chance to repent. When Jesus was crucified, He took on our sin and gave us the ability to repent of them and walk with Him.

Satan lost when he fell from heaven. His only objective is to destroy us as he did himself. Where does your loyalty lie with God or Satan? I live on the side of the Lord. I make mistakes. I pray and repent and try to December myself as soon as I become aware that I am wandering off to the left or the right and failing to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Life will challenge us; we are not immune. We should cherish our renewed heart. Our love for Christ will give us the strength to overcome.

Now, more than ever, it is time to embrace your new heart and growing into becoming more Christlike by emulating His character and remembering to repent when you fall short. I thank God every day for being a God of many chances. Accept His loving-kindness and walk in the light.

Resource – Biblegateway.com; Biblestudytools.com

Images – Google Images

Grace and Mercy

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Without God’s Grace and Mercy, we would be lost.

~ Lisa Blair


Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. It is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In God’s Grace, He gives us the gift we do deserve – heaven. If we are the light, then we must follow Christ and extend grace to those we feel don’t deserve it. That’s right, we should stop judging, that is not our job. None of us are deserving of grace because we are all sinners. Christ was crucified to save us. Given our model, we too must extend our love for others in much the same way. This is not to say we should allow others to walk all over us, definitely not, but we should be more forgiving. We should see through the eyes of God’s mercy. We should treat others as we would like and expect to be treated, see the Fruit of the Spirit For a list of Christ’s virtues (previous posts or go directly to Galatians 5:22-25. Before delving into mercy, let’s further look at the definitions of grace and mercy. In the Greek, grace is defined as charis, favor. The Greek word used for mercy is eleos which means pity, compassion. In short, we seek God’s favor and compassion.

Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. He has compassion for us. God gives us mercy, which means He withholds the punishment we deserve. The punishment we sinner’s deserve is hell, which He holds back. But note, holding back does not negate disciplining us, which like parenting is an expression of love. God disciplines us to produce holiness which is kind and gracious regardless of how painful it may be in the moment. Luke 6:36 reads, “be merciful, just as our Father is merciful (to us).

We, like David call and cry out for God’s mercy often. How do we cry out? We demand that He answer us, praying He will respond in the way we cried out. Think about this, we live in the now, we do not know the future that God provided before we were born, we do not know the plans He has for us, we do not know the whole story, but yet and still, being human, we want what we want, and when we forge ahead without consulting God, it tends to backfire, takes us down an unforeseen path, often harms others, and can lead to less than desirable outcomes. At this point we cry out for God’s redemptive love. At it’s core, mercy is God’s forgiveness of our sins. Mercy is God’s steadfast loyalty. We should ask God for guidance and direction out of the goodness of His love.

Fortunately, God takes us to the path for forgiveness. David is the perfect example of God’s mercy. He lusted, killed, and fornicated. Abraham feared and lied. Sara was impatient and Jacob was a cheater and trickster. Rehab was a prostitute, and the Israelites rebelled against God, yet God forgave them, had compassion and used them to accomplish His purposes. Further, God converted Saul to become Paul, the author of much of the Bible, and Paul became the apostle of Christ. The Bible is filled with stories of God repeatedly forgiving sinful humans. He works in and through us for our own good and ultimately His glory. God’s unmerited mercy is new every morning, we are not consumed by our sin because His compassion never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV). Without His compassion, we are doomed to live in our sin and perish.

Matthew Schmalz, Associate Prof. Of Religion, College of the Holy Cross, wrote, “WHAT I learned is that mercy begins by opening oneself to those with whom one might strongly disagree,Mercy doesn’t end there, of course, but it begins with such small acts of understanding, which can lead to life-changing experiences of love.”

Mercy

Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV; Psalms 51:1-2; Matthew 6:14; Psalms 40:11; 1Peter 1:3; James 2:13 ESV; Titus 3:5 ESV; Psalm 23:6 ESV; psalm 103:8 ESV

Grace

2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 4:7; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:6; Isaiah 41:4 GNT

**Ways to Respond to God’s Grace and Mercy. Go to Christianity.com

Resources: Book – Strength For Today. What We Don’t Deserve, Aug. 3. Brenda Walsh; Christianity.com, What is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy? Philip Wijaya; The conversation.com, What is the True Meaning of Mercy? Matthew Schmalz; pure life ministries,org, A Biblical Definition of Mercy.

Images: LAB PHOTOS; Google images; Mercy Bible Verses; theconversation.com