When we are lost, we seek inward. When we are confused we seek God. Isn’t it amazing that we rely on Him and Him alone when things get tough.
~ Lisa Blair
Do you ever feel alone? Have you found yourself unable to figure things out? I have. We are in a time of uncertainty. We may have a job, roof our our head, and food on the table today, but uncertain about tomorrow, or you may have already been displaced as the result of the pandemic, loss of jobs, or storms, fires, or earthquakes. UNCERTAINTY IS THE TERM OF THE MOMENT. Absolutely nothing is as we understand it, but the WORD OF GOD. There is only one thing we can rely on and that’s His Word. It is our refuge, our safe haven, our tower against the storms of life.
The pandemic has ravaged the world as we know it. It has forced us to stop looking outward and begin looking inward at our relationship with God. I have met so many people who have been displaced from their pre-pandemic lives and have found freedom amongst the muck that has ravaged their lives.
Many are joining bible study Zooms, many are seeking introspection and their relationship with the Lord. Still others have decided to invest in themselves and not things, and are moving to less expensive cities and states. Many have regained connections with family members. And, many have found God and received Him as their Lord and Savior, hoping to come out of this in a strong relationship with our Father and a design for their futures that provide relationships outlined in the Bible as their basis for new life.
There is always a silver lining in every cloud. The timing for its appearance is governed by God. He knows the plans He has for us to prosper us and give us strength. He will provide for our basic needs as we travel through tough times, blessings will appear in many forms. Awareness of his blessings small and large were often overlooked and assumed to be something we made happen in the past. I think, for many, we are just beginning to recognize that our blessings come from God to meet all of our needs.
As we move forward, our lives may look different, we are shedding the past, those things that became idols and stole our time from the Lord. The new day will clearly focus on God and our relationship with Him. Our lives will experience His inner peace. We will find calm in the middle of storms, and we will be surrounded by His Grace and Mercies.
The Holy Spirit lives in us and will not leave us or forsake us. His job is to fill us daily, direct our paths, guide us, and tell us what to say when sharing the Good News.
~ Lisa Blair
FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO LIVES IN BELIEVER’S
In Acts 2:7 Jesus told his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. “
Jesus also instructed his disciples to wait, not to begin witnessing until they received the Holy Spirit, why? Because we cannot interpret the Word without the Holy Spirit, only the Holy Spirit can provide the Words that will reach the hearts of the people, only the Holy Spirit knows the heart of man. Only the Holy Spirit has the authority and power to interpret God’s Word. We cannot become witnesses independent of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers believers to speak the truth. He commands and guides our thinking.
Paul wrote, in Romans, that we are given life through His Spirit, God’s Spirit, who dwells in us. He takes controls when He takes residence in us. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our conversion, until the day of Redemption, Ephesians 4:30 NKJV:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The seal equips us to live a Godly life. We become convicted after we repent and receive the Spirit. We are convicted to live a holy, Godly life. He ushers in our desire to live a Christ-like life, to share the Word with others, and to demonstrate our faith through our actions and deeds. Our priorities change and are no longer focused exclusively on ourselves, we are transformed and renewed. We become dependent upon the Lord to lead us and direct us. We yield to His promptings. We want to live moment-by-moment in the will of God. We are willing to give up our liberty in exchange for dependence upon our Father, our Lord. We learn to become sensitive to His initial prompting as He guides, leads us, empowers us as we walk in victory spreading His Word.
BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE TIME EVENT
We are baptized once with the Holy Spirit, who will never leave us or forsake us. When we repent of our sins and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you are saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7) [unitedbiblesocieties.org. 10 Bible verses about accepting Christ. Oct 9, 2017]
ONE BAPTISM, MANY FILLINGS—TIME TO GO TO WORK
When we are baptized, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Our human fears are replaced by to the power of the Lord. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we relinquish control of our thoughts and emotions. We don’t lose control, we surrender all to God. We relinquish our independence and become dependent upon the Him; we go where the spirit leads. Our mind is set on the things of God, no longer consumed with doubt or fear, but rather a spirit of power and a controlled mind.
The scripture says, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but we are being filled by the Holy Spirit daily. Christ resides in us through the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit directs our daily living. We are being continually being filled, we are saturated, and under His influence, much like wine.
Ephesians 5:18 NLT instructs us, not to be drunk with wine, because that will ruin our lives. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.
After we receive the Holy Spirit, it is time to go to work, the waiting is over. The baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers us to do God’s work. God does the filling when we ask Him. Yes, we must ask to be filled. It is an action. “He is in us, and we are completely permeated with the Spirit, we are inviting something to happen to us” (James McDonald).
WHAT HINDERS US FROM BEING FILLED?
Acts 7:51 NLT, explains that resisting the Holy Spirit is the most obvious way of hindering being filled. In this chapter, Stephen addressed the high priests and recognized they we not receptive and he was speaking to deaf ears.and told them,
“You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth.”
The sad truth is that not all believers are responsive to God’s commands. We (Christians) often openly resist obeying what God instructs us to do. Our flesh is rebellious and disobedient. Being filled is ascribing to God’s way and not our own. It is acquiring and taking on the characteristics of Christ identified in the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5. We hinder/forfeit being filled when we place ourselves first, focusing on our carnal needs and not on our spiritual relationship with our Lord. We hinder being filled when we do not listen to the Holy Spirit or do as we are commanded. How often do we hear his quiet voice instruct us to do one thing and we do another; far to often. Being filled requires action on our part, the Word is acted out through us. We are His ambassadors spreading the Good News through our actions and deeds.
WE ARE SAVED ONCE. WE ARE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT ONCE. BUT, WE ARE BEING FILLED UNTIL REDEMPTION.
How to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Pastor James McDonald. Https://youtu.be/xllbEPKHV1o
Walking with the Holy Spirit. Dr. Charles Stanley. In Touch Ministries, Life Principle 2.
How can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit? GotQuestions.org
There are times in our lives when we surrender ourselves as a form of selfish need, and times when we surrender because we want a covenant relationship with the Lord. Where are you on the spectrum? It may be time to decide. You are on the precipice of surrender.
~ Lisa Blair
Many of us tend to use this phrase nonchalantly. This is not a thoughtlessstatement or a decision to take lightly. When we express this thought, we are entering a covenant, a pack, with God. From this point forward, there is no looking back. This is the point of surrender.
I have heard this scripture spoken in many contexts during my lifetime. I imagine you have, as well. You may have glibly spoken it during a conversation. As a student of the Word, I now pose the question, how many times have I broken covenant with God? How many times have I uttered this statement and then chosen my own path, made my own decision, or followed others, overriding God’s purpose and plan for my life?
gives rise to three questions we all struggle with:
1) What does
‘your will be done’ mean?
2) What does
3) Are you
ready to commit to the covenant with God?
WHAT DOES YOUR WILL BE DONE MEAN?
was preparing to take his place up the cross, after he could no longer take the
pain, and wanted to be released from his duty, he cried out,
father! If it is possible, let this Cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet
I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26: 39 NLT)
This is the
turning point in Christ’s prayer. “Here, Jesus demonstrated the turning point
in prayer for all of us. Prayer is not about bending God’s will to get what we
want. The purpose of prayer is to seek God’s will and then align our desires with
his. Jesus willingly placed his desires in full submission to the father’s
will.” (Not my will but yours be done. Learn Religions.com)
When we make
the statement, we are in effect, praying. We are committing ourselves to God’s
Will for our lives. His plan for our lives was established long ago, long
before we were born, perhaps before He created this universe. If we allow God to
lead us, He will show us the path to take. Your will be done means you will abide
by His will and not your own. 99% of the time, your purpose will be different than
His. You are not first in His Will, but you surrender regardless and are bound
by the covenant you created when you cried out the phrase.
For I know the plans I have
for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to
me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with
all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11 NJKV)
In effect, when you call on God, pray to Him
and listen to Him, you are abiding in His Will for your life. Your (totally) surrender
yourself, holding nothing back, to His Will and His Way.
IT MEAN TO SURRENDER?
means yielding ownership, to relinquish control over what we consider to be
ours, to relinquish our life, all of it. We surrender what God has given us and
how we wanted to use it to become His steward of this life. When we surrender
to God, we are acknowledging His ultimate control of everything, including our
circumstances, past, present, and future.
wrote: If you want a change in your life, if you want forgiveness and peace and
joy that you’ve never known before, God demands total surrender, in so doing, our
Lord becomes the ruler of your life.
surrender and give up all we are, we no longer seek personal gain, we are delivered
from sin, and become useful to God to conduct His work on earth.
When we reach
this point in our lives, making moral choices, we must choose to follow our own
sinful nature (our carnal life) or seek God and surrender ourselves to Him.
ARE YOU READY
TO COMMIT TO THE COVENANT WITH GOD?
speaks this statement, utters this prayer, recites this scripture, conversion has
been set in place, you are on the precipice of changing your life to become God’s
tool, His steward, and His servant.
Take heed, think
this through before you find yourself amid the war for your soul. It is a
choice, do you follow your carnal desires, or surrender them to our Lord and
Savior, the head of our lives?
Are you ready to enter into covenant with God and all that it entails? Are you ready to allow God to take you wherever He needs you? Are you prepared to commit?
We are anxious and fret needlessly. God is with us. Who or what can stand against us?
What a great way to begin the week, recognizing God is over all things. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The truth is, we are anxious and fret needlessly. When we surrender and reside in His Will, His Word, and His Way, the craziness of the world cannot crash down on us. We are protected by His promise to keep us safe.
Our life on earth is a dispersion cast by Satan’s deception. God gave us life to live fully and with power. We have the power to rest in His peace as the world spins off kilter around us. We can experience the calm He provides if we walk in His peace.
Let us walk in victory this week, standing fast in the face of all challenges. We are victorious!
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