Trials and Patience

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.

Need vs Want

Desire and want may not lead to spiritual growth, what we need will lead to spiritual growth.

~ Lisa Blair

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Most people misconstrue this scripture to mean, ’all that we want and desire’. God knows what we want and knows what we desire. He also knows what we need to advance our walk and maturity as a Christian. Want/desire, and need are very different.

Praying for desire or want should include, ’ your will be done’, or ’if it is in your will, or some compilation of the phrases. Only God knows our spiritual road map.

Image – YouVersion

Bugle Call – Awake and Put On Your Armor

Awake every morning to the bugle call. Time to get up and put on the Armor of God in prayer.

~Lisa Blair

The full armor of God does not work if it is hanging up in the closet or strewn across the floor, likewise our invisible armor does not work if we do not put it on in prayer. Ephesians clearly explains God’s gift and purpose for what He has empowered each piece of armor to accomplish. He also explains that we cloth ourselves in prayer, not as a ritual, but as protection against the wiles of the evil one.

Ask, Seek, Knock

God promises to answer if we, seek, find, and knock.

~Lisa Blair

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Barnes notes best sums up this scripture.

Ask, and it shall be given you … – There are here three different forms presented of seeking the things which we need from God – asking, ‘seeking, and knocking. The latter is taken from the act of knocking at a door for admittance. See Luke 13:25; Revelation 3:20. The phrases signify to seek with earnestness, diligence, and perseverance. The promise is, that what we seek shall be given us. It is of course implied that we seek with a proper spirit, with humility, sincerity, and perseverance. It is implied, also, that we ask the things which it may be consistent for God to give – that is, things which he has promised to give, and which would be best for us, and most for his own honor, 1 John 5:14. Of that God is to be the judge.

And here there is the utmost latitude which a creature can ask. God is willing to provide for us, to forgive our sins, to save our souls, to befriend us in trial, to comfort us in death, to extend the gospel through the world. Man “can” ask no higher things of God; and these he may ask, assured that he is willing to grant them.

Reference—BibleHub.com, Barnes Notes—Matthew 7:7, paraphrased Image—Bible.com, YouVersion

Carrying Guilt is a Sin Against God

Sin is often subtle. Satan cloaks it in many ways, often through feelings of shame and guilt, leading us back into sin and hence, sinning against God.

~Lisa Blair

How can this be so? All sin is sin against God. Yes, He freed us of sin that strangled us when Jesus suffered on the Cross and gave His life for us. We are no longer bound by our sins. We received salvation because Jesus died for our sins. Our Father promised us that He would give us redemptive life.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Hebrews 4:14 NIV

As humans, we will sin until Jesus returns and conquers Satan, but through redemption, we do not have to wear it like an albatross. It does not have to hang around our necks, carrying it with us into eternity. We have been given the gift of repentance. When we acknowledge our sin, we have the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness. When we do so, He forgives us and removes the sin from our lives as far as the east is from the west.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.  10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:8-12 NLT

It is our faith that is affected when we ask for forgiveness only through guilt to relive the sin again and again in our minds. If God forgave us, removed the sin from us, we must do the same. If we don’t, we are sinning against God. We are doubting His Word and resigning ourselves to the prison (faithlessness) Satan creates to incarcerate us within the walls of our past.

Most of us have done things we are ashamed of doing. Things that, if given an opportunity, we might have done differently, but we cannot change the fact that it occurred. We can accept God’s forgiveness and attempt to refrain from committing the same sin again. We may also find that there are consequences for what we have done, but the most important thing is that we learn from what we have done, repent and thank God that we are not bound by it any longer; until we forgive and place it in the sea of forgetfulness, we are sinning against God.

God warned those (of the Jewish faith) who became the first Christians about returning to their old ways in the Book of Hebrews. This warning is the same today as it was in the past. Returning to our old ways is an intentional act of denial. We deny God’s love for us and promise to keep us and never leave us, we reject His promise of redemption. We speak repentance but continue to carry the chain, we sin against our Father simply by denying His forgiveness.

If you are like me, and most humans, we have to work on forgiving ourselves once God has forgiven us earnestly. We have to learn to stop returning to the mental scene of the crime so to speak, thank God and move forward.

Moving forward is an act of maturity. As we learn about God’s promises, we must use them to reinforce who we are in Christ. This is an ongoing exercise. Living a Godly life is a process. Paul equates life as a race and crossing the finish line occurs when we perish from this earth and take up residence in heaven with Christ.

Warnings are opportunities to change. We are warned before we continue to repeat our past. God promised we are freed from sin when we repent. Repent and do not return to the past; do not bind yourself in regret and guilt. You have been freed. Accept it and move forward. Our Lord placed our sin into the sea of forgetfulness, and we must do the same. Let God set you on level ground. God’s Will is to free us from sin.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me to level ground. Psalms 143:10 NIV

Lord place me on solid ground, the land of uprightness (NKJV), lead me forward on a firm footing (NLT), lead me to level ground (NIV).

Failing to follow our Lord in our innermost being is living an outward life of a Christian. An outward life is one of self-righteousness and only a substitution for true faith. Releasing guilt must be an inner act of spiritual life in Christ that leads to Christian maturity. Holding on to guilt and shame is an act of spiritual immaturity, reflecting that we do not actually rely on Jesus Christ for salvation. Our sins are not unpardonable as was the case in the Old Testament. Christ provides the way for each of us who obey the gospel commands (by faith) to do so.

True repentance is complete surrender and submission to Christ and involves a change of mind and will to recognize and refuse our sin natures control over us and follow Christ. We must refuse to mentally return to the sin we committed, scolding ourselves over and over again. The Lord freed us from sin, accepted our repentance, and encourages us to move forward into Christian maturity. We should not sin against God.  People who know what the gospel is about and refuse to repent and believe, in effect, crucify Christ all over again.

Believing the gospel through faith is an act. We have to intentionally hold fast to our faith, release the thoughts (guilt) that bind us, stop crucifying Christ over-and-over again, and move forward as maturing Christians.

Scriptures—biblegateway.com; Bible.com

Resources—BibleHub.com; GotQuestions.org; BFS. Lesson-Hebrews

Images—Google Images; PicMonkey