The weight of the world, at home and abroad, has created a heart condition that is weighing us down.
This past weekend the level of violence, and mass shootings have devastated me. I had a heavy heart and felt that I was sinking in the muck and mire of destruction. I think, many of us are experiencing a heavy heart in the United States. Mass shootings are becoming a norm, the pandemic has shifted our Nation, changing it’s economic, social and regional axes. Injustice, inequity, and inequality are raging to stay alive, embedded in the hearts of so many Americans. This is the exploit by the carnal world.
On the spiritual plane, the battle is raging, Satan is doing everything possible to thwart God’s promise of salvation. He manipulates man’s covetousness for power over all things, especially when it comes to race and economic wealth. And here we are, experiencing a heavy heart and a feeling of hopelessness.
Hopelessness is where Satan wants Christians to reside – in a state of hopelessness. He does not want us to have faith. He wants us to be overwhelmed by what we see and are experiencing. But as Christians we also have an arsenal of scriptures and Bible stories. For example, Hebrews 11:1 gives us assurance. What assurance? The assurance of hope. The NJKV version reads – “Now hope is the substance of things hoped-for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The New American Standard Version translates it using our contemporary lexicon to highlight and strengthen it’s meaning. “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”
Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day. He sits at the right hand of God. The crucifixion gave us salvation. His promise of eternal life is alive, and we are alive because He died. Our faith is certainty. Our faith is strong. As we experience the hate, viciousness and injustice, our faith allows us to shift the lens to view the world through God’s eyes. The fact is, we are overcomers. It may not seem this way, but God makes a way out of no way. He uses worldly situations to challenge our faith. He also uses the situations to strengthen us to continue the race. Most importantly, He gripes our hands more tightly as we surrender to His Will and become more dependent upon Him to walk us through the fire.
The race is – standing our ground. Holding fast to our faith and finding ways to do God’s work in our daily lives. When we take the focus off of our feelings and emotions, we begin to focus our attention on God. I found a good article on-line (The 11 Ways to Implement Your Faith Into Your Daily Routine by Kathryn Elizabeth Wethen, Sept 1, 2016, Odysseyonline.com), that serves as a good reminder of how to strengthen our faith and hence not become a victim of Satan’s deception of heavy-heartedness.
Pray throughout your day.
Read your Bible.
Read a devotional.
Wear your faith on your sleeve.
Listen to positive and encouraging music.
Continue to be involved in your church.
Make friends with people who share your values.
Give yourself 15 minutes of alone time to separate yourself from everything around you.
Not down your thoughts in a journal and refer back to when life is overridden by heavy-heartedness.
Find a small group like BSF, Bible Study International.
Choose Joy! A great way to implement your faith is to rejoice.
To paraphrase Kathryn Wathen, rejoice that you are alive. Rejoice that you have friends and family, and if you are alone rejoice in the fact that you are a child of God.
I awake each morning thanking God for another day’s journey, I recite Psalm 118:24, This is the day the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. I may recite this scripture throughout the day as I experience my weighted heart lighten. As I recite the scripture, Jesus takes the things that are weighting me down and places them squarely on himself. In Matthew 11 verses 28-30 Jesus instructs us to – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Related Posts on this site:
Silence the Chaotic Internal Noise
Pray Through The Dark Times
Stay Faithful-Stay Focused. By Brenda Walsh Ministries
We Have Divine Power to Demolish Strongholds
Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life
Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice
Post from My Other Site – Youngchristianwarriors.com
Lord, we follow and we stray, help us to continue down your path looking forward as we travel through 2021.
~ Lisa Blair
Dear Lord, So much is going on in our Nation; the COVID 19 virus is continuing to take lives and fill hospitals with little to no available beds. Our democracy is being stressed beyond our wildest thoughts. Our economy is suffering as the virus brings us to our knees. It is my prayer that while we are on our knees, we pray to you for forgiveness. I pray we, hi as a Nation, recognize you as our Lord and Savior, the only one that can save our Nation. Please save us of our sins, heal us (spiritually, emotionally, and physically), Lord, and help us put you first in our lives, forever seeking you in all conditions.
Lord, by your grace we entered the New Year, 2021. We are survivors. We are here! Let us proclaim you King above all kings and leaders. Let us surrender to your will, your way, and your life. Let us become more dependent upon you. Teach us to obey your Word. Please help us to heal historical wrongs against one another in the USA and abroad. Please help us save the earth and quit polluting and wasting valuable resources. Let us become a world of people seeking to help one another as you expect us to do, loving one another, helping those in need, and treating our neighbors as we want to be treated. Help us to be strong and courageous. Not to fear or be afraid of any outside forces. (Deut. 31:6 NIV)
Lord, do not allow us to return to the old norms that caused us to suffer from fractured relationships with you. Let us create new norms that are ensconced in your Word.
We are your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which you have prepared us to accomplish. (Eph 2:10 NIV) Since we are in Christ, we are new creations in Christ. the old man is gone; we stand here new. (2 Corinth. 5:17 NIV)
Love surrounds me and fills my heart. (Author Unknown)
The new year is almost here, and as Christians, we should be grateful for all the Lord has done for us during this pandemic year. In the midst of extreme changes and loss, there are things to be grateful for in our lives; taking time with the Lord will help you examine your spiritual growth. I am certain you will find that during your trials and temptations you became closer to God. You most likely reached out to people you previously had no time to contact (a blessing for you and the people you reached). You reevaluated what is important and what have been found to be distractions. And, you probably spent time with yourself and determined what you like and what you want to shed as you grow in God’s will, way and life.
2021 can be your new beginning. The challenge is not making resolutions but a to-do list. It is a time to confirm that you will follow the Lord’s leading. It is time we all place God as the most important person in our lives, followed by family, siblings, and friends. It is a time to eliminate distractions that steal the time we should spend in communication with our Lord. It is time to stay in the present and make each day count.
Below are prayers welcoming a stronger llife with Christ in 2021 that I found on- line and speak to me. I hope they strengthen your as well. I wish you the best in the new year. ~Lisa Blair
For Peace in the New Year
At the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you’re at work through our lives. Give us the wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we’re up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord…we need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” – Debbie McDaniel (Christianity.com)
Prayer for a Victorious New Year
Lord Jesus, I come to you in this brand new year with a desire to move forward, not backward. Last year is gone and with it all the foolish mistakes I made. I’m eager to put the past behind and to press on toward the mark of knowing you, loving you, serving you, and making Your name known in this coming year.
I need You, Lord. Without You, I can’t meet the heavy demands of life or the unrelenting pressures that I’ll face this coming year. I am making a new commitment today—not a New Year’s resolution—but a new desire to place You where You always belong, first place in my life. Make the “I will’s” of Scripture become my affirmations: “I will trust You; I will praise You; I will follow You.” I will replace fear with faith, knowing You are always with me. And with You on my side, it will be a victorious New Year.
I lay down my broken armor, my rusty tools, my self-defenses, and every excuse I’ve used for not living victoriously. Purge my bad habits; free me from wrong expectations; and fill my heart, soul, and mind with praiseworthy thoughts and actions. I want to exchange my past disappointments for Your divine appointments this year. My life is Yours; my relationships belong to You; everything I have is Yours, Jesus. Set my feet on the right path this year, and grant wisdom so I can make the right choices that will honor You. Let me see others as You see them, as precious ones You created. Renew the gifts and abilities You’ve so generously given me so I can bless others as You’ve blessed me.
I realize my desire for perfection is misplaced. My relationship with You doesn’t depend on my performance but upon Your presence in my life. I will make mistakes. But I don’t have to be perfect! You’ve already made me acceptable in Your sight because of Your death and resurrection. You covered my past, present, and future. You have given me everything I could possibly need for the coming year. In You, I am complete, Lord. Help me to accept my faults and make Your mirror my own. I want to reflect You daily.
Because of Your love and the price, You paid for my sin, I can not only enjoy a victorious new year but a triumphant life. You put a new “want-to” in my life and in my heart. And as the calendar turns another page in this brand new year, I want more than ever, to live it for You. There is no battle in my life too great with You in my life. There is victory in You, Jesus! – Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Christianity.com)
A Prayer to Keep God First This New Year
Dear God, Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day.
We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all else. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.
We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you. We pray that you’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.
We pray for your protection over our families and friends. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways. We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.
Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence. We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for your refreshing over us.
Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.
We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”
Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own. May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives – your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing. To you be glory and honor, in this New Year, and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Debbie McDaniel. Crosswalk.com)
If you do not have a relationship with Christ, but found yourself on this page, it is time to take you leap of faith. Recite Romans 10:9,
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
God will receive you into the family of Christ. Seek a good church home to assist you on your journey. God bless, you are in good hands. I pray you will know God, see Jesus and be filled by the Holy Spirit as we enter this new year. Only He can save you.
This is the first of a series of posts about God’s promises. His promises give us the STRENGTH to stand in the face of any and all attacks. He provides us with the ability to STAND in the face of all evil. Our FAITH in God always brings us through. There are times when we can see Him working in our lives and times when He is working to protect us against situations unbeknownst to us. Take time to examine your past, and you will see God at work in your life.
One of my friends added this to her daily prayers, “Teach me, Lord, to trust you.” It sounds easy and should be easy, especially for those who read and study the Bible and know God’s promises. But the fact is, most of us know something of His promises but think we can activate them on our own as needed. The truth is, God never promised us anything He will not deliver, but it is deliverable in His terms and time, not ours. Once we acquaint ourselves with His promises, we can rely on them in time of need, replacing our greed for faith in God to bring us through.
Friends, allow God to lead you and guide you in how to face your challenges. His promises will help you to see your challenges more clearly, as well as the opportunities that are presented. Reside in His peace. Go to God in prayer boldly standing upon His promises. Rest assured knowing that He hears you and will fulfill them in due time.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because, he trusts in you.”
We receive peace with God in Christ, through the blood He shed on Calvary. Peace is the fruit of our faith. Peace is profound. It is expressed as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace in the hereafter, and denotes the abundant peace available to all believers. (Biblestudytools.com)
If you trust in the Lord, you will be steady, able to stand when under attack, knowing God is with you and provides perfect peace as you go through trials and temptations. You are not alone. God is your eternal rock. God’s peace anchors you so you will not thoughtlessly seek resolve in moments of anxiety, fear, and confusion. His peace allows you to spend time with Him in prayer, centered on Him and not the things happening around you. Once you are ina peaceful state, He can lead you in the direction He mapped out for you.
“For I know the plans I think toward you, declares the Lord, plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The prophet Jeremiah instructed the Israelites to stop believing in false visionaries. There are so many contending that they know what is happening in the world today, exhorting we are entering the End Times, and who is not a man of God. We look to these leaders to determine our direction, purpose, allegiance, and livelihood. The truth is – only God knows the plans He has for us. When we seek others, we create idols that slowly replace God. When this happens, we slowly fall into the hands of the evil one.
We can take comfort in Jeremiah 29:11, God’s promise of having a plan for us gives us peace in knowing that we are not floating aimlessly in the sea, but can see the light ahead confirming His presence in our lives. Believing God’s promises give us the courage to work through difficult times with hope.
Our hope is planted in God’s promises. As long as we can rest in his peace, the outside world becomes less daunting. When we reside in inner peace, we can view things more objectively and recognize God’s hints and directions for our lives. If we follow them, no matter what it looks like to the world, He will provide rest, restoration, replacement, and re-energize us giving, us the fortitude to move beyond the loss, devastation, and hopelessness we may feel.
Images: LAB PHOTOS, free google images
References: Biblegateway.org, Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible, NKJV, Biblestudytools.com, biblehub.com, Bibleletterbible.com
God is patiently waiting for all of us to become like Christ.
~ Lisa Blair
“God’s purpose for His people is that we become like the Lord Jesus Christ.” (BSF-Bible Study Fellowship)
“For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.” Romans 8:29 AMP
God’s hope for our lives is to become more like Christ. This statement sounds easy, but is it really? The answer is YES and NO. Our mission as Christians is to read the Word, stay in prayer, and allow God to transform our daily walk. He expects us to treat people as Christ treated people, to spread the Good News as Christ spread the Good News, to become more than our sinful self-indulged selves. The more we read, study, and share, the more we become like Christ.
My Morning Routine
Reading is our responsibility, why because that is how we create gather the knowledge base we need to become more like Christ. We should read scripture every day. It may be a verse, a chapter, a book. Whatever works for you. I have several hardcopy Bibles – different versions, and parallel Bibles and commentaries. I also have several Bible apps and refer to scriptures and commentaries to dig deeper when studying. This has become the beginning of my daily practice. Daily devotionals also feed me each morning.
Praying is very important, I pray before I get out of bed, thanking God for another day’s journey and praising Him for who He is in my life. I also pray throughout the day and praise Him every time I see Him is something I see or am doing.
Thoughts on Transformation
I find that as I continue to mature in the Word, I notice my transformation and His activity that weaves through my life.
As we become more knowledgeable, most of us experience the need to share what is going on in our lives. The light of the Holy Spirit breaks through our continence. People recognize a difference in us. we begin to shine as we beccome more Christ-like.
One thing I have found, as well as those who shared the same experience, is that as you recognize God’s love, and your relationship with Him grows, He expects more of you. He will put you in positions and situations to pray for others; you will see Him orchestrating your life more and more. And, for some of us, He invites us to become spiritual leaders in some capacity. If this happens, it’s easier to say, Yes Lord,” early on. He will not stop asking. He knows what we need to grow and become more like Christ. And He will continue to move you in the direction we should go.
One of my many stories about my Walk.
God will always provide the game plan for your life if you ask, or when He charges you with new responsibilities. Most of us doubt our readiness; Moses doubted his ability when God charged Him to save His people. Moses was just one of many. We never really feel we are ready. But when God calls, He immediately tells us how to go about the task. He will train you. All you have to do is be obedient. For example, many years ago, one of my Boardmembers told me about BSF and invited me to attend. I said I did not have time. God is patient. He waited awhile and introduced another person who invited me to join BSF. I said, once more, I do not have time, thank you anyway. The third time he asked, he arranged for me to be free of excuses, and I agreed to go with the third friend that asked. That was three years ago. In my second year, the Lord put it on my heart to sign up as a leader. I did, hesitantly, not because I feared becoming a leader, I had been one throughout my career. Not because I felt inadequate, I had served as a teen Bible Study teacher. I was hesitant because this was a new level of serving Him.
This past year the pandemic hit, and the world began to shelter-in-place. Well, my 11-year-old Granddaughter lives with us, and this year she is attending Virtual 7th grade through our district; the schools have not reopened in California. With this in mind, I declined to serve as a BSF Group leader this year, using the excuse that I may have to become a home-teacher. This was in June. In late July, God shared He wanted me to lead a BSF group this year. I said I have other responsibilities with my granddaughters’ education this year in addition to other commitments. BSF takes a lot of time. After I finished making excuses, I said, ‘okay’ and contacted our head administrator. She shared that many leaders had withdrawn for one reason or another (all pandemic related, including many were not comfortable with the ZOOM format) and that she was happy the Lord encouraged my return. The bottom line, God knows what we can handle. I have sixteen people in my group and a lengthly lesson each week, as well as leadership training, and my other commitments. When I was done making excuses, He immediately told me I needed to be very disciplined this year and laid out my weekly schedule. He provided time for every aspect of my life. God is truly an amazing, attentive, and yes, a demanding Lord.
Walking with Christ is very rewarding.
As children of Christ, we are blessed to have a relationship with Him. We are blessed to have the opportunity to become more like Christ. We are saved and have the opportunity to: confess our sins, repent – asking forgiveness, being forgiven, and renewed. Our walk is not easy, we have a sin nature that works hard to derail us. Our salvation is a daily endeavor because once we give in to sin, the struggle becomes more of a battle to get back to who we are in Christ. He patiently observes our actions and is pleased when we say, enough, your will and not mine. Our journey on this earth is ongoing until the day we transition to heaven.
Surrendering is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in this life. His hope is that we will accept Him as our Lord and Savior and walk down the path God placed us on long before we were born.