God Searches Us To Find What?

We cannot hide our wicked ways from God. He searches our heart and mind to determine if we are applying the virtues of Christ in our walk. ~LISA BLAIR

Are you comfortable with God searching your heart and mind? He searches our heart and mind. There is no hiding our wicked ways. As we grow up, part of our development is acquiring and demonstrating character traits of our family and those in our sphere of influence. As Christians, we grow and demonstrate Christ-like values and virtues. Our parents search our heart and examine our mind to the best of their limited ability as humans. They work to assure we can function in society. God is looking at our fruit. The purpose of being Christ-like is to acquire and use His fruit to love our neighbors, do good, and spread the Good News. 

God examines our real character formed by our acts and habits. He searches our secret thoughts and judges our motives, as well as the wickedness behind them. Our earthly parents cannot examine us in that depth of enquiry. We can deceive our parents and those in our sphere, but God examines the depth of our heart. We judge others according to outward appearances, only He sees and knows our heart. Only God knows our true being.

Images – YouVersion, Bible.com;

Resources – Biblehub.com/Commentary/Jeremiah/ 17:10. Ellicott’s Commentary, Barnes Notes, and Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Committed To Night Fishing?

“As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

How tentative are we to follow Christs’ instructions to do something different than our normal routine prescribes? Most of us find comfort in routine. Routines are safe, they may not produce the best results, but we find comfort in the process.

Simon was a fisherman, and knew the patterns of fishing, so when Christ told him to take his boat out into the water in the night skies and drop his nets, he was skeptical. Fishing at night was not his norm. His prior experiences caused him to pause when Christ instructed him against fishing as he normally did. Most of us feel discomfort when instructed to row out into the reverse known ebb and flow practices. There are times when we feel we are fishing in the darkness of night, not certain which direction to take. Are we any different than Simon, skeptical of altering how we function? The answer is yes and no.Yes, if it a planned, or a recommended detour, no if we are told to walk with Christ into the dark of night and drop our nets. Simon probably took a moment before he decided to trust Christ. We are no different and have to trust in the Lord, (kind of blind faith), knowing that He is teaching us to walk the same path as Him.

entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize).”
‭‭PSALM‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I used the term blind faith, as a metaphor. When we are in the darkness of night, our sight is limited. We can no longer see into the distance, all that we see is what lies directly before us. We become myopic and can not see the big picture. It is during the night that our gait is reduced and we look down more than up to make certain we do not trip or fall. We are skeptical of what is around us, and our current pattern is disrupted. The disruption causes us to pause and question new instructions, asking ourselves why, how is this going to affect me, what will I get out of this change?

Change is inevitable once you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Part of having faith is being dependent upon our Father, accepting that His ways are not our ways. We should at minimal have the same faith in Christ that He like our parents will protect us, guide us, and lead us in the right direction. Our faith in Christ allows us to row out into the darkness of life and throw out our net.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We must learn to follow Simon’s leads and listen to God’s voice and obey when He instructs us to walk in the way He commands.

Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.”
Proverbs 4:25

If we listen to Jesus’ instructions, instead of questioning them, it will not matter if it is night or day. It will not matter if the directions seem convoluted and misdirected according to our understanding. God is our Master and Teacher and His path and trajectory is not the same as ours. He is looking at (our) eternity, we look at what is before us and no further.

And He said, “ Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We are all ministers and thus fishers of men. Wherever we go, whatever we do or say, there are onlookers observing how we act and how we respond in all situations. We cast our net into the water every day, we are just not aware of it. The prerequisites are: giving our life to Christ, not fearing His instructions and standing fast on the Word of God. Do you want to become a night fisherman like Simon?

Truth In Love

“Speak Truth To Power Through Love.” ~ Lisa Blair

We use the word truth in a very cavalier way. It slips off our tongues with no commitment to its meaning. It is and then it the next breath, it is no more. According to Vines Expository Dictionary, the word ‘truth’ has an absolute force. It is not only ethical truth, but ‘truth’ in all its fullness and scope, as embodied in Christ, who is the perfect expression of truth. It also represents sincerity and integrity. It is the essence of the matter. There is no perversion. LOVE IS LOVE AND IS AN ACTION WORD.

Strong’s Dictionary #571 defines truth: certainty, stability, righteousness, and trustworthiness. Hayford wrote, Emet (eh-met), derives from the verb aman, meaning to be firm, permanent, and established, reliable. Truth is something upon which a person may confidently stake his life.

Let’s look at three versions of this scripture and it will become clear that we should change the way we use this term.

 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. KJV

 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. NIV

 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. NLT

KJV, key phrases – not in word or tongue, but in deed
NIV, key phrases – not in words or speech, but with actions
NLT, key phrases – not merely say, but show 

Using truth in a cavalier way does not empower us to minister to others. When we use truth without action we are not demonstrating truth through genuine love, we are not depicting the same truth Christ demonstrated during His time on earth. He loved all people and blanketed them with love. He did not say He loved people and then callously shun them. He did not say He loved and then gossip behind their backs. He did not see a person in need and then turn His back on them or look through them as if they did not exist. He did not stand up for a cause only if the right people were there to observe His action. Christ was and is genuine. When He spoke about truth, He spoke about the action behind the term truth which is love, the love of God.

As Christians, we need to adjust our lenses to see people as Christ sees them and respect who they are and where they are in their walk, in love. There’s a phrase people banter about, ‘don’t hate the person, hate the behavior.’ We all fall short of the glory of God. We are all on the path, whether or not we know it, or expect it. We are fallible and we are all sinners. 

In the framework of truth to power, there must be action behind the words truth and love if we expect to carry the Good News and minister to others in our actions and deeds. Truth through the action love is something we can stake our life on as can those who observe our actions. Our tendency to use the words truth and love can no longer be cavalier or lithe.

Images – YouVersion, Bible.com
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com
Resources – Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Jack Hayford; Nelson’s Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe; Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine

In Christ-Likeness

We are created through Jesus Christ to do good works, that includes Jury Duty, which I have today. Psalm 118:24 says, this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it. Okay, I’m preaching to myself. 

Often as Christians, we complain about responsibilities and tasks. God blesses us to do his work, and in a democracy, one of our tasks is to serve on jury duty. So many people wish they lived in a democracy and those of us who do are blessed. If we look at life as a servant, like Christ, we will no longer experience the angst of dreading to do His work. This is my lesson learned.

Through Christ we have access to God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, who resides in us. We are empowered people and with power comes responsibility, approach it with joy.

Have a great day.

Green Pastures, Still Waters, Restoration

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  (Note: This study is focused on the green pastures, still waters and our restoration.)

Green Pastures

The 23rd Psalm says that God will make you lie down in green pastures, and lead you to still waters. He does this because He wants to restore our souls and guides us in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Why does our Father look out for us day and night, week after week, year after year until we leave this earth? He is our parent. He sees our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We watches us run to and fro all day long, every day. When we are still, our minds are still racing. When we sleep, we seldom experience REM sleep (deep sleep). Our thoughts are in constant flux. God sees us and knows that it is different to nurture a relationship with us if we cannot be still and focused for more than a moment. He seeks us in the quiet space, a place of peace.

Jesus is our Shepard, He keeps us from want. He protects us and restores us when we feel empty and lost. The beauty is that Jesus is here for us when we experience success, and love life, as well as when we are in the valley.

When you read then phrase green pastures, what do you envision? My green pasture has green trees surrounding it, and flowers all around. The grass is green and tall enough to blow in the breeze. There is quiet, yet the sound of nature, the breeze, birds chirping, and bees buzzing permeates the pasture. It is a peaceful place. The sun shines down on it, and when you lay in the grass, you feel it’s warm rays and the coolness of the soft grass.

The Lord’s pasture is not myopically designed, it can exist in rural communities and in urban environments. The pastures blanket all parts of the world. In other instances, people may define a pasture to fit their setting. Parks equate to green space and are rightfully fields, reminiscent of pastures; you see these people laying in the grass in parks. Green space exists as part of oases in some parts of the world as well as mountainous plateaus. We can define our own pasture, as the place the Lord instructs us to experience calm. But why must we lay down or envision ourselves laying down you may ask because it is part of Gods prescription for us to unwind, slow down, and experience Him. This is a place where He restores our soul and gives us fresh air to breathe in and exhale to slow our heartbeat and gentle anxieties. It is a place of peace, where time is not the governor of your next move.

Still Waters

Jesus also leads us beside still waters. Still, waters can be interpreted as a pond, a lake, or a tributary, and when I was young, a flooded part of the park after rainfall or melting snow, part of the seasonal change. We are led to still waters that are, like pastures, defined by the terrain around us. When I experience still waters, my mind clears and the activity of the day cease to exist, it refreshes me. It is a place to escape our normal daily activities. It’s the place you hear birds chirping, small animals drinking at the water’s edge, and is the most comfortable environment we can lavish in and recognize that God created it for our benefit.

As adults, we are (generally) not afforded the time during the day to visit a pasture or still waters, we are, however, provided with the image of both. During breaks at work, or home in the midst of chores, we are able to escape in prayer and meditation, imagine laying in our pasture/field/green space, near still waters, exhaling and spending time with our Lord as he restores our soul.

Soul Restoration

The scripture continues with, He restores my soul. It is during these restoration moments that we can discard the chaotic energy and listen for our Lord’s voice. It is the time when we can hold a conversation that would translate into more than 140 characters. As our soul is restored, we become stronger and intentionally more dependent upon our Lord. It is through these experiences that we begin to understand that we cannot go it alone and be present with the Lord. Relationship success is determined in part by proximity. Our soul is restored when we are in close relationship with the Lord, only He can heal our soul. It is our responsibility to maintain and cherish the relationship. God is always waiting for us to call upon and spend time with Him. Through His righteousness, we are saved.  through His righteousness, we receive the benefit of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.

Images –  Psalm 23, Dust Off the Bible; B. Blair; LAB Photos
Scripture – BibleStudyTools.com
Resources – Psalm 23, Hayford’s Bible Handbook; The Twenty-third Psalm, Charles L. Allen; Nelson’s Quick Reference, Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe