Loving your enemies, part 1

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

I know someone just came to your mind when you read that.  We find it all too easy to identify those around us who are wrathful and stir up strife.  Maybe you are that person.

Ok, let’s get real personal for a minute.  How are you about allaying contention?  Allaying contention means that you diminish, put to rest, relieve, or alleviate disagreements and conflicts.  So, do you try to put conflicts to rest or are you actually contributing to the stirring up of the strife?  Really think about it.

And perhaps you aren’t actively contributing to the point that others realize it, but are you stirring up the strife within yourself?  Are you dwelling on it?  Do you continue to think about it every time that person comes around or their name is mentioned?

One more question:  if someone who has hurt you needs prayer will you pray for them?

I’m going to continue this tomorrow, but for today, just ask yourself those questions and think on it.  Perhaps you’re not allaying contention the way you thought you were.  Perhaps you’re stirring up strife, after all.  I’m not sure.  That’s for you to figure out.

Until tomorrow…

jamie

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How are they so calm right now?

    Photo taken straight through my kitchen window. Notice the water drops…they’re on the outside.  I was safe and dry on the inside.

I was taking a few moments to just enjoy myself and gaze out at the rain through the kitchen window this morning.  Then I looked over and had to laugh when I noticed that our outside cat, who was now inside, was doing the same through the sliding door.

Tropical storm Michael is upon us right now, so we have a nice, steady rain here right now, some wind gusts; and it’s still a bit dark out.  Inside our home this morning; however, it has been so nice and peaceful.  It’s been very calm and quiet this morning, and I’ve felt an unusual type of peace.  It’s been quite lovely.

It reminded me of something that God can do in our lives.  Sometimes there are storms in our lives.  Winds can blow, rain can pelt down, floods can rise.  Things in our lives can be out of control all around us.  Oh, but God…He can keep everything calm and peaceful within us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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 Jesus.”  Ph. 4:6-7 (NLT)   

God will give us peace that exceeds anything we can understand, and it will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.  That’s the peace I’m talking about.  The peace that keeps us calm on the inside while the storm rages around us on the outside.

It won’t make sense.  People will wonder how we can be so calm.  We may not even believe it ourselves at first, but then we will understand that God has just been faithful once again, like He has been before!  He cannot lie, so if He says He will give us this kind of peace, then we can take Him at His word.  We just have to trust Him enough to try it.

So, the first step is do not worry, but pray.  Tell Him what we need.  Thank Him for all He has done.  And then…then comes that peace…the peace within the storm!  I want that peace in the storms of my life, don’t you?  Let’s give it a shot!

Praying for your peace and mine,

jamie

Wisdom’s location disclosed

Pr. 8:20:  “I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice,”

Have you been looking for wisdom?  Just last night I prayed for the Lord to give my family and me wisdom.  Perhaps you’ve done the same a time or two.

This morning I found out where wisdom likes to hang out.  Not only was wisdom with God at the beginning of His way (Pr. 8:22), but she travels through righteousness, down the paths of justice.

If we’re hoping that we’ll make the choices that will lead us to righteousness or justice, then wisdom is definitely the one we want to follow!  She is going the way we need to go!  She’s got the inside track on the hippest places to be.

So, how do we find her in the first place?  James 1:5 tells us that if any one of us lacks wisdom, we just have to ask God, who gives to us all generously and without finding fault, and He will give it to us.

It’s easy.  We ask for her.  He gives her to us generously, and then we follow her.

She calls aloud outside…raises her voice in the open squares.  (Pr. 1:20)  She cries out, and understanding lifts up her voice.  (Pr. 8:1)  I could go on and on, but God’s Word is full of wisdom.

We ask God for wisdom.  He gives it.  We continue to follow it by continuing to stay in His Word and following what the wisdom of His Word tells us.  The Holy Spirit continues to guide us in all wisdom and truth as we walk daily, and we just continue to follow…through righteousness…down the paths of justice.

Oh man, as I’m reminded of all the scriptures about how wisdom pursues us, rewards us, and cries out for us, it makes me not just want to follow her…but to pursue her!  You with me?

Pursuing wisdom,

jamie

   This is where we get our daily dose of wisdom

Lessons learned on today’s hike

Life can put any manner of obstacles in our path.  Sometimes we are strong and energetic, jumping right over them.  Other times we are a little more cautious, stepping carefully over them.  There are other times; however, when we are so tired and wearied that we just feel like sitting down and weeping before them, giving up.  If that happens we sometimes even backtrack and wind up back where we began, making no progress in our journey at all.  It can happen to any of us.

 

 

Life can also offer us bridges.  Sometimes bridges can be scary things.  They can be very high, very rickety, made of rope, built over raging waters, or just something that someone fears.  In order to cross a bridge, we have to have faith that what awaits us on the other side of a bridge is worth us crossing it in the first place.

Those obstacle and bridge moments are definitely moments in our lives when we are prone to call out to God.  We cry out for help from the One we know or have heard can calm our fears or give us peace.  We reach out for the one that calms the storm when the bridge starts swaying.  We ask for help with the obstacles when we know they are Goliath’s that we cannot defeat.

 

It’s those other moments, when the path is clear and the going seems easy that we can get so confident that we forget we are still need of that same Savior.  We see the empty path and assume we can handle the steps ourselves.  We don’t feel the urgency to read our Bible like we did when we were facing the bridges, so we read less and less until maybe we aren’t reading at all.  Meanwhile, there are roots under the leaves that begin trip us up as we go.  Suddenly, the small roots begin to look like the large obstacles once again.

We think our prayer time can wait until we get around the curve, but then we get busy with our day and forget.  Next thing we know, we look up and see a bear lumbering towards us.  Because we haven’t been plugging into the power of the Holy Spirit, we aren’t prepared when the enemy meets us on the path.  Now we’re weak, meeting him in our own strength, and full of fear again.

I’m reminded of how David yelled out to Goliath, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” 1 Sam. 17:45-46

We don’t just need the Lord on our side when the obstacle is in our face.  We need to have had the Lord by our side all along, so that once we meet the obstacles we are sure to face we can face them with a David-like faith, strong and sure.

Walk with Him daily,

jamie

Wounds from a friend

Pr. 27:6:  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Have you ever been wounded by a friend or kissed by an enemy?  Did you know the difference?

Yesterday I was talking with one of my dearest friends.  We have both been affected by suicide lately and the subject of my attempted suicide in high school came up.  After a failed 1st attempt, I wrote a letter with my intentions to my friends before my 2nd attempt, and she took it upon herself to take that letter to the school guidance counselor who called my parents.  I was promptly enrolled in counselling.  Yesterday she admitted to me that she was so scared, back then, that I was going to be mad at her.

I told her that I was mad at her for a while.  Wounds from a friend hurt.  But aren’t they ever faithful?  Because of her loyal and caring action, I got the help that I needed and am here writing this blog today.  She could have allowed her fear of losing our friendship to cause her to not take action, but would that have been the best thing for me?  Absolutely not!  I would have died!  She had to choose between my life or our friendship.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her, but at the same time, how easy it was…a no brainer, really.

Now, that one is pretty shut and dry as far as what to do, right?  But…Has your friend started drinking more and more recently and been justifying to you?  What about when your friend is flirting with men who aren’t her husband?  How about when your buddy’s jokes are only dirty ones anymore?  Have your friends started letting the youth hang out at their house and do things that are inappropriate?  Lines can get a little grayed at some point and subjects can get a little touchier.

It’s not always up to us to speak.  Sometimes, the Lord just calls us to pray.  If, after you have prayed; however, you still feel you need to speak then keep this in mind:  There is a popular mantra about thinking before we speak, and as friends, we definitely need to keep this in mind, because it’s so important HOW we say things.

When we are truly someone’s friend, and we say things from a place of love then they know it.  Even if they do get upset, if we have done it with the right heart, and we have prayed and thought before we have spoken, then we have done all we can to be faithful to them.  We never want to attack our friends from a place of anger or judgment.  So, as faithful friends, we may end up wounding our friends at times, but if we would pray first and think, then we would definitely have less to repair in our relationships.  My friend of 30 years would agree.  😉

Think first,

jamie

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