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?

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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.

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #3

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God’s promises are more than words on a page. His promises sustain us throughout our life and throughout eternity. His promises are our assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Lisa Blair

God’s promises blanket all aspects of our lives. He is the author of Creation, and as such, addressed our lives in totality. I was in prayer one day and reading the Bible and came across the Promises Index in Charles Stanely’s Life Principles Bible. God often speaks to me and in His quiet voice instructed me to write about His promises. And, of course wiith all instructions He identified which promises He wanted me to write about.

This entry highlights three areas that fall within His promises for protection, which are promises as our defense, as our refuge, and as our security. His promises take precedence over our experiences. We can rest assured that we are protected by our Lord and Savior despite what we may be going through. Our faith in His Word as all truth ensures us that He is always present, leading us down the path to safety. He promises to always protect us.

As our Defense

God protects us by surrounding us with a shield, and a hedge of protection. He provides refuge and a place of rest. When we think of His provision for our defense and rest in this truth, we are protected regardless of what we are experiencing, we are able to rest in peace as He provides a way out of no way.

Psalm 5:12 NIV

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Proverbs 30:5,6 NKJV

Every word of God is [a]pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

As our Refuge

Psalm 9:9 NIV

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 43:2 NIV

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Our God is an awesome God. He knew what we would go through before we were born. He knew the hardships and pain we would suffer, yet He knew that if we trusted Him, He would provide shelter, refuge, food, clothing, our sanity, and meet our daily needs. All He asks is that we trust Him in the face of darkness. He will bring us out of despair and into the light of day, stronger and better than when we were struck with the unknown.

As our Security

Psalm 55:22 NIV

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 48:14 NKJV

For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.

I particularly like the 91st Psalm as my go-to scripture to surround me with His protection when I feel vulnerable, when I want to place a hedge of protection around my family and home (refuge), and when I need God’s assurance. It seems to sum up all of the verses above.

God is our hope, protection, banner and peace. Call upon Him in times of uncertainty and trouble. You may feel lost, you may in a position when you sense your world is crumbling, that is when you most need to run to your refuge knowing God will bring you through.

Acting premptively, I put on all the Armor of God (Ephesians6:10-18), and read the 91st Psalm to secure my family and home within God’s structure of safety. It’s also my way of opening my daily dialogue with Him. How do you begin your own? Do you begin your day on your own or in lockstep with our Savior?

Resources: Life Principles Bible. Charles Stanley; biblegateway.com

Images: Goggle Images; LAB Photos

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

God’s Promises Shape Our Lives, #2

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Only God is our Strength.

~ Lisa Blair

God wants us to experience His supernatural insight and wisdom. So often we awaken and find ourselves in the dark. Life has shifted and we are no longer in control. A question that will have to be answered another time, but one to be pondered, were we ever in control? I hope not, because if I am in control, then the Lord is not in control. I pray that I will always depend upon Him.

The most important thing in our life is the ability to pray. God is always with us, and prayer is a way to communicate with Him. As long and we are in communication, our lives are calm, even in the midst of the storm. Perhaps you will recall the story about the disciples in the storm, worried that they would drown. The sea was becoming more violent and the waves higher. Jesus was asleep in the boat. They woke Him and told them they were going to die. Jesus replied, ” ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matthew 8:26, NIV)

The disciples had the benefit of living with Jesus. We have the same benefit, but our relationship is supernatural. We cannot see Him in person, but when we pray, we can feel His presence. In the Book of Genesis, God referred several times to ‘we’ and ‘us.’ Jesus and the Holy Spirit were with God as they created the heavens, earth, plant and animal life, and us. They are always there, waiting for you to communicate with them.

This brings us to the God’s Promises for Strength.

Psalm 31:24

“Be of good courage, and He shall STRENGTHEN your heart, all you who HOPE in the Lord.

God exhorts us to be encouraged and feel assured that He will never leave us or forsake us. He wants us to have strength even in the greatest distress. C.H. Spurgeon penned – God strengths us in many ways,

“He may do so with a cheering promise. “He shall strengthen your heart.” God alone can do this.

1. Sometimes by gracious providences.

2. By the kindly fellowship of friends.

3. By a precious promise.

4. Beside all that, God the Holy Spirit has a secret way of strengthening the courage of God’s people, which none of us can explain. Have you never felt it? You may have gone to your bed, sick at heart, “weary, and worn, and sad,” and you wake in the morning ready for anything. Perhaps, in the middle of the night, you awake, and the visitations of God are manifested to you, and you feel as happy as if everything went the way you would like it to go. Nay, you shall be more happy that everything should cross you than that everything should please you, if it be God’s sweet will. You feel a sudden strengthening of your spirit, so that you are perfectly resigned, satisfied, prepared, and ready. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

So you see, God who is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient is the n control. He works through the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and give us wisdom and directions. He also works through people we know and may not know but were encouraged to help. For example, I was driving home one evening from work, and was driving through a rotator and saw a woman on the side of the road with a sign asking for help. I was not in the lane close to her, nor could I stop, so I kept driving. As I was leaving the area, God requested that I go back and give her $20. Twenty dollars was a lot at that point in my life, so I tried to ignore Him. He would not stop, ten minutes later, I turned around and went back to the rotator, got in the right lane, stopped traffic, and gave her my last twenty dollars. Obedience is everything, my friend. When I got home, I opened the mail and received an unexpected check that allowed us to pay the rent on time and more. Now, you could say This could have been a coincidence, but God does not work that way, He works through divine providence. Why did I share this story, you may ask? Believing God’s promises provides the strength to follow His nudging. Sometimes He just wants you to be obedient when He calls despite your circumstances. Nudging is when He puts something on your heart. It is the atmosphere of peace that empowers you with the strength to forge forward and trust in the path He is laying before you. It is the fortitude to turn left when you planned to turn right, to accept a job you would never have taken because He is lining up a job you thought you were not qualified for, to accept a lesser home when you lost your home, to look at each day as the day He made and rejoice in it despite your current circumstances.

Psalm 41:1,3

“Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” “The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; you will sustain him on his sickbed.”

The story I shared was an example of being obedient to help the poor. In times like this, I recite, ‘but for the grace of God, there go I.’ This scripture is rich in identifying God’s strength and focuses on strength during times of illness. Charles Stanley wrote in his Life Lessons that, “In this fallen world, we all get sick at some point. Some struggle with it often, some not much as all. But whenever we fall ill, God invites us to trust in His strength and to pray for recovery.”

Psalm 50:15

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Matthew Poolenconveyed in his commentary that, ” In the day of trouble” ; when the day of trouble comes, do not avoid it by ‘sinful shifts’ relying on a quick but questionable means to find relief, rather give glory to God and rely on His promises for resolve. God will deliver you out of trouble. We in turn should praise God for our deliverance. Some say, and I believe, that we should praise Him before He answers our cry for strength and resolve of the troubles we are experiencing. Faith requires that we believe in our heart that God’s promises are the only truth that ascribes the glory of deliverance to God. He gives us strength in times of trouble.

Nahum 1:7

“The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust Him.”

God is good to His children and will always provide a stronghold, refuge, and a way out of no way. You can put your trust in the Lord, acknowledging that His Promises never fail. His promises always provide the strength to see you through the worst of times. His strength protections us in times of uncertainty, feelings of hopelessness, and being defeated.

Mark 10:27

“But Jesus looked and them and said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Abbott, writes that although it transcends human power to change the fixed characteristics of avarice and selfishness to benevolence and piety, there is no limit to the control exercised over the heart by the Spirit of God. If God can convince a rich person to give up their riches, or in today’s terms, yield their wealth and denounce their dependence on their wealth to trust in Him, what more can He do for us? Image what He can do to and for those of us that are not part of the wealthy class. God seeks relationship, dependence, and allegiance to Him. He provides us with the strength to endure during difficulties and rest on His word as He works things out according to His plan.

Matthew 12:9

“My grace is sufficient to you, for My STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness.” “Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities that the poser of Christ may rest upon m.””

Charles Stanley. Life Lessons, explains this scripture this way, ” The gospel is full of seeming contradictions. If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to save your live, you must lose it. And, if you want to be strong, you must glory in your weakness.

You must glory in your weakness. You must never weaken and doubt, succumbing to your circumstances and lose hope. Your STRENGTH lies in your dependence on God’s promises.

Resources: Biblehub.com; dailyverse.knowing.jesus.com. Biblestudytools.com. Biblestudylight.org. Biblegateway.com. Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible. NKJV

Images: LAB PHOTOS