You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

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Don’t understand?

Pr. 3:5:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Last week I lost a friend to suicide.  How do you line that up with your faith?

Just like anything else.  Keep trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will have trials.  Although God’s plans for us are good, we live in a sin-cursed world where disease and sin have tainted things.  Sin brought in death and disease.  Sin brought in meanness, evil intentions, cruelty, and poison.  The life we live in this temporary place will have trials and pain, but God can turn every pain and trial around for good.

Joseph’s brother’s plotted to kill him, but instead threw him in a well and sold him into slavery.  He was falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned, forgotten.  But of all of the things that were meant for evil in his life, Joseph said, “God meant it for good to save many people.”  And he was right.

This morning I was reading about all the apostles of Christ that were mocked, scourged, homeless, sawed in half, tormented, etc.  (Heb. 11:32-40)  It was said that they did it that they may receive a better resurrection.  Paul, as well, was shipwrecked, snake-bitten, imprisoned, and had a thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove.  The Bible says he accepted that gladly for the promise of the power of Christ upon him.

How in the world can we accept suffering, pain, or trials?  How can we make it through these dark times in our lives?  By trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.

It doesn’t make sense to us when the pain comes.  But the Word says that His ways are not our ways.  Perhaps, like Joseph, He is going to make something beautiful come from our pain.  Death and suffering don’t come naturally to us, but God has sent us the Comforter.  God supplies for our needs.  He comforts.  He gives joy and peace in the storms and trials of our lives.  When the storms come, He is the One in which we can take refuge.

The Lord is the One who provides the peace that surpasses all understanding which guards our hearts and minds when we pray to him in our times of anxiety.  The Lord is the One who shows Himself strong for us when we remain loyal to Him.  The Lord is the One whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is the Lord in which we need to continue to trust.  He will be as faithful tomorrow as He was in the beginning.  He does not change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness, in which we can place our trust and our hope!

jamie

The pursuit of happiness

Pr. 16:20: “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

There has always seemed to be the ultimate search for happiness all around us.  “Do what makes you happy.” “Hey! As long as your happy.” “But I’m not happy.”  Happiness is one of those goals that is chased with great fervor.

Well, folks, the answer to truly being happy has finally arrived: trusting in the Lord.  “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

Now, how do we do that?  The answer comes before that.  We heed His Word wisely.  His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, so do we need to walk around feeling like we are all alone in this world?  No.  That feeling will make us sad, for sure.  Knowing the truth will make us happy.

Do we need to walk around weighed down with worry about our needs never being met?  No.  We can give to the Lord, trusting that He will honor His Word and give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)  We will be happy, knowing that our needs are in the hands of our Provider.

If we are heeding the Word wisely we also won’t need to walk around burdened by fear.  We will find happiness in the fact that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Ti. 1:7) In fact, we will also be able to trust that He can deliver us from all our fears, because Ps. 34:4 tells us, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” If that doesn’t make us happy, I don’t know what can!

The joy of the Lord is still our strength.  He has not and does not changed.  That is great cause for happiness.  In fact, I think it’s fitting to say it’s even a reason to rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! …Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:4,6

So, the point is that if you know what God has said, you trust in it, and you make your requests known to Him, He will guard your heart and mind with peace and that will lead to what?  Happiness!

Don’t worry, y’all.  Be happy, in the Lord!

jamie

Wisdom at the door

Pr. 8:3: “She [wisdom] cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors”

Historically, the gates of the city were not just a wall with a big, guarded door.  The gates were where business was conducted.  There were rooms and levels, benches and seats.  The elders of the city would gather there to discuss legal matters.  Kings would have their thrones at the gate.  Purchases would be made.

It was at the city gate that Abraham purchased Sarah’s cave in which he would bury her.  (Gen 23, see vs. 18)  The city gate is also where Boaz spoke before 10 of the elders of the city and Ruth’s closest relative, in order to redeem her.  Ruth 4:11, “And all the people who were at the gate, and all the elders, said, “We are witnesses.”  It was also in the city gate that King David sat after Absalom died, to reassure his people that all was well.  (2 Sam. 19:8)

In Abraham’s blessing from the Lord, He said, “And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.”  (Gen. 22:17)  We can now see that this was a very important part of the blessing because we see the importance of the city gate.  The city gate was the heart of the city.  It was the gate of the city that enemies aimed to overtake when conquering other cities.

What is our city gate?  We could say it is where our government gathers.  So then, does wisdom still cry out there?  We must pray that she will be heard there.  Our job is to stop complaining, get on our knees and pray that she will be heard in the city gate of our government.

Is the city gate our home?  Is wisdom being heard in our homes?  What are we allowing in the doors of our homes?  What do we track in?  What are others bringing in?  Who are we allowing entrance that we shouldn’t?  Is anyone or anything else sneaking in?  We must be on watch.  Wisdom is still crying out.  We must pray that she can be heard.

Perhaps the city gate is our bodies.  After all, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Temples have doors.  We must listen as wisdom cries out to protect what we are allowing in our temple.  What are we watching on our iPads, phones, televisions and computers?  What are we drinking?  What are we consuming?  What exactly are we doing with our bodies/His temple?  Wisdom is still crying out.  Can you hear her?

We cannot allow wisdom’s voice to be drowned out at the city gate, at the entrance of the doors.  In fact, we need to stop, and ask for wisdom’s advice before opening the doors.  Are we brave enough?

Let’s keep guard,

jamie

Keep walking

Pr. 6:28: “Can one walk one hot coals, and his feet not be seared?”

The answer to that is yes.  You actually can walk on hot coals and have your feet not be seared.  There is a very important thing to know about walking on coals, however.  You cannot linger.

The scientific explanation is that coal and ash are not good conductors of heat, so if you simply walk at a moderate pace across the coals, you will be fine.  If you linger you will give the coals and ash enough time to conduct the heat to your skin and you will be burned.

On this earth, we have many temptations.  We cannot escape them.  They are all around us.  Temptations are not sin.  However, when we are faced with them, we cannot linger.  Once we linger, that is when we will be seared.

Paul warned the Ephesians not to let their understanding be darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance in them and blindness of their heart; becoming past feeling, giving themselves over to lewdness [being sexual or lustful in an offensive way], to work all uncleanness with greediness.

All the words that are the result of being seared are the ones that I marked in bold.  Once we have given in to temptation and lingered there, our understanding is darkened.  We become ignorant, our hearts become blind and we become past feeling.  In Hebrews 3:12, the author says we should, “Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of us be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceitful.  It sears our hearts, our sensibilities, our morals, and our consciences, just as coals would sear our feet if we would linger.

We cannot linger near temptation.  It may seem harmless.  It may seem tolerant.  It may seem appetizing or cathartic.  We may even be convinced that we deserve it.  Those are lies from the enemy.  If we linger, we will be seared.  That is a fact.

“For in that He [Jesus Christ] Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”  Heb. 2:18

All we have to do is ask Him for that aid that He has readily available to us.  He understands temptation and He is able to aid us when we are faced with it ourselves.  He took the shame and the painful death on the cross so that we don’t have to suffer the searing pain of sin.  He wants to help.

Don’t linger.

jamie

Can your mind be read?

Pr. 23:7:  “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Sometimes we trick ourselves into believing that our thoughts can’t harm anyone.  No one knows about them, after all.  We can think what we want, no one will be the wiser, and we can put on whatever face for others that we need to.

The truth is, however, that our thoughts will eventually show.  Maybe it’s the way we react to someone or something.  Maybe it’s the way we greet someone. Perhaps it’s a choice we make that when our guard is down.

Most often, though, our thoughts break out in our words.  It can happen at any time.  In fact, in Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

We may be able to fake it for a while, but what is really in our hearts will eventually come out of our mouths.  This is why we must feed ourselves good things.  Paul told the Philippians to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, praiseworthy, and that have virtue.  Those things will definitely put good treasure within our hearts.  When that happens, then the abundance that comes out of our mouths won’t be anything we should have to worry about.

What has been coming out of your mouth or been typed by your fingers?  Those things are coming from the abundance of your heart.  They are indicators as to what your heart is full of.

So what do you think in your heart?  That is who you are.  Is that statement upsetting?  Perhaps this is the time to begin meditating on new things. The word of God is a good place to start.

It’s like when the indicator light is on in our car.  We know it’s time to get something fixed.  It happens.  We all have to examine the indicators in our lives from time to time.  We just need to be responsible enough to admit that something needs fixed.

We can then go boldly to the throne of grace in our time of need and find the mercy and grace we need to help to make the changes that need to be made.  The Lord can renew our minds and create within us clean hearts once again.

Renewed,

jamie