Strengthen yourself

Pr. 31:17:  “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.”

This morning I also read Ephesians 6.  Vs. 10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”  Since we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but  against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, we are encouraged to take on the whole armor of God.  With the armor of God we will be able to withstand in the evil day.

So, how do we strengthen ourselves against things we cannot even see?  The armor keeps us covered for it all:

Gird your waist with the truth of God’s word.  Satan will try to use the word against you, just like he did with Eve and Jesus, but his words are always twisted.  You must read the Word and know the truth for yourself.

Put on the breastplate of righteousness.  When Jesus died and took our sins on the cross, we were made His righteousness.  Wear that righteousness confidently!  Do not let Satan take from you what is rightfully yours.  Jesus died for YOU!

Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel peace.  The shoes of the armor come with spikes to help you stand firm on the foundation of the gospel.  Believing in the Lord’s promises give us the peace to walk confidently, not worrying about what lies in our path.  No pain or fear can overtake us as the peace that passes all understanding keeps us going forward.

Take the shield of faith.  With this shield you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Satan will not relent in his attack on us until we are called home.  Your faith in God and in His Word is what will quench every attack as you fully trust in and rely on the Lord of Lords, who is greater than he who is in this world!

Put on the helmet of salvation.  Salvation is not something we can earn.  Salvation is a gift from God, through the sacrifice of Jesus.  We must use the Word to renew our minds and remind ourselves of that gift.  Satan will try to attack our minds, and bring us low, but the truth about the gift of our salvation will protect our minds.

Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The sword is the only part of the armor used for attack.  You must know the Word to use it.  When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus used the Word to attack.  When Satan tempts you or talks nasty to you, you can use your sword to cut through his deceit.  Remember that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It can pierce through division, deception, and lies, getting to the joints and marrow of the truth.  It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Know the Word!  Use your sword!

When you think of strengthening yourself today, think about the One who gives us strength.  In Him, we can do all things.  Without Him, we can do nothing.  Strengthen yourself in the Word and in the confidence we gain from the truth.

Getting stronger,

jamie

 

Meet God’s Son

Pr. 30:4:  “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?  Who has gathered the wind in His fists?  Who has bound the waters in a garment?  Who has established all the ends of the earth?  What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?

Have you come to the knowledge of the One of which this verse speaks?  The Lord was not only the Master Craftsman on this universe, but He is also the One who sustains it.

Do you know His Son’s name?  Jesus Christ is God’s Son and He came here to bring salvation through His death on a cross.  If you’re not sure, I invite you to read the evidence listed below:

His birthplace:  Micah 5:2:  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, who’s goings forth are of old, from everlasting.”

His heritage:  Jeremiah 23:5:  “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”

Zechariah 13:1:  “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”

His purpose:  Isaiah 42:1-4:  “Behold!  My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.  He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.  A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.  He will not fail nor be discouraged, til He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

His personality:  Isaiah 53:2-10:  “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.  He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.  And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.  10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.  When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

Eyewitness Reports:  Matthew 3:13-17:  “13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”  15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.  16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 27:45-54:  “45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

John 3:16-17:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

He died for you.  He came to save you.  If you believe in Him, let Him know, and receive everlasting life.  If you had forgotten, give thanks today, and allow Him to become Lord of your life again today.

Gratefully,

jamie

 

Be happy

Pr. 29:18:  “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

Have you ever been in a class room when the teacher leaves?  The teacher asks the kids to sit quietly while he or she slips out, but the moment the teacher leaves the door, the kids go crazy.  Without someone governing them, they talk, get out of their seats, write on the board, play with things they’re not usually allowed to touch, fight, throw things, and more.  It can be pure chaos.  When the teacher walks back in, everyone sits back down and tries to act subdued.  The teacher brings the “vision” of the classroom back through the door.

That’s a funny example that makes me chuckle a bit.  What’s not as funny is the reality of this same scenario when it comes to life not guided by God’s vision.  Without God’s vision guiding our thoughts and decisions, we cast of restraint and do whatever feels right at the moment, or even what others say is right.  God’s vision is cast clearly in His Word and He has given us guidelines by which we can live that are set in place to protect us and keep us from suffering the consequences of bad decisions.

The Lord created us out of the love in His heart and He desires fellowship with us.  He did not create “rules” to hold us under His thumb and make us miserable.  He placed His vision before us to bring us into salvation and to guide us to bring others with us.  He clearly displayed His love for us on the cross, so that we understand what is most important in this life.  If it was important enough for God to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, then it is important enough for us to base our life on that sacrifice.

As I was reminded last night at VBS, Jesus performed miracles on this earth that weren’t always about healing or exorcism.  The Lord wants us to have life more abundantly, as evidenced in the feeding of the 5,000, the turning of water to wine, and the complete deliverance of the woman at the well.  The Lord loves us.  Our obedience to His Word isn’t about domination.  It is about us being obedient because of our love and respect for Him.  The result of us being obedient to the very things that protect us, is that we will then be happy.

Satan tries to distract us and get our eyes off God’s vision, promising freedom in the flesh, but Satan is a liar!  The flesh is never satisfied.  We can feed it for 60 years, and it will always want more.  God; on the other hand, God satisfies completely.  He fills us and then fills us again.  He continues to give more and more, as we hunger and thirst for Him.

When we get in line with the revelation of the Lord, and live a life that proves it, we will be truly free.  What sin actually brings is the bondage of guilt, shame, fear, brokenness, destroyed relationships, and consequences.  The Spirit of the Lord brings true freedom.  He gives us freedom and releases all bonds through mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, and joy.  God already sent Jesus to set us free.  The proof of His love and His liberty was on the cross.  He cares for us and gave us access to His vision.  Let’s restrain ourselves within its bounds and experience true happiness.

Remember the cross,

jamie

 

Want your inheritance to be good?

Pr. 28:10:  “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless will inherit good.”

As Christians, we have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to go into all the world making disciples.  That requires some effort, some commitment, some loyalty to the Lord.  Making disciples requires that we ourselves must be disciples.  If our life doesn’t point to Christ, it is pointing somewhere.

Too often, we think that our actions are isolated to ourselves.  It’s just not true.  We are being watched at all times.  There is someone in each of our lives over which our example holds some sway.  When we choose to walk away from the Lord, others are affected by our choices.  Sometimes we unintentionally steer someone down a path of sin and evil just by our example.  Other times; however, we fall so far from the Lord that we intentionally bring others with us.

The Bible says that if we cause the upright to go astray in an evil way, we ourselves will fall into our own pit.  Not only are others counting on us, but the Lord is counting on us to be the one that brings others to Him.

The Lord rewards those who do His will.  We will inherit good.  Eternal life is waiting on us if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Let’s focus on the part where we ourselves are disciples.

How will our life point to Christ, so that we can inherit this good?  Reading, studying, and praying over the Word of God keeps His will and His heart at the forefront of our minds.  Praying and spending time in stillness with the Lord, allows us to get in submission to His will and allows Him to speak to our hearts and minds.  Worshiping and praising the Lord will cause our hearts to fill with awe of Him and cause our mouths to pour forth truth and goodness.

When our relationship with God is vibrant and active, our lives will naturally point others to Him.  Simply abiding in God, and allowing Him bear the fruit in our lives, could be the exact thing that brings salvation to another.

Abiding in Him,

jamie

God helps all the fools

Pr. 26:11:  “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

This is the verse I chose this morning, but couldn’t quite get my thoughts together to write anything must about it.  I have been praying about it and thinking over it all day, and have landed on something I didn’t quite expect.

I have a lot of regrets about the person I used to be.  When I look back on my past, I definitely do not have rose-colored glasses.  My glasses are more burnt sienna.  Everything seems tainted by pride, ignorance, selfishness…the list could go on and on.

The point today; however, is not my sordid past or a lack of self-appreciation.  The point today:  Jesus!  I thank my God for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins and to make me a new creation.  My future is definitely seen through rose-colored glasses, as I look towards heaven, towards my returning Savior, towards the hope in God on which I can depend every moment of my life.

My Savior came to wipe away my past and my follies so that I can have life more abundantly and have an eternal future.  It’s still up to me to try to improve myself and stay away from repeating folly, but the beauty is that I have a Helper who walks every step with me.  I don’t have to do it in my own strength.  I can abide in the Lord and walk in the Spirit and let them guide my way.

Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness, for making me a new creation, and for your redeeming, everlasting love!

Looking forward to a future filled with hope and rosy views,

jamie

Are you counting on idols?

Pr. 25: 19:  “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.”

Recently, I was part of a conversation about a statue of Buddha.  It was proclaimed that the statue would bring tranquility, peace, and serenity to a room.  My thoughts immediately went to Jesus.  In Micah 5:5, it was said of Jesus that, “this One shall be peace.”  He doesn’t just bring peace.  He IS peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus reassured that when He went to heaven He would leave peace:  “Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”   He left peace we can neither fathom nor replicate.

Paul encouraged the people of Philippi to be anxious for nothing, knowing that if they presented their requests to God, with thanksgiving, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, would guard their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  This promise is true for us, as well.

We can trust in the Lord because He is faithful and His Word proves it.  If we put our trust in the unfaithful statue of a man long gone, we are out of joint.

The Lord clearly said that we should not make for ourselves carved images to which we would bow.  Are we truly trusting in and submitting to the statue of Buddha, or any other earthly trinket to bring us peace?  If so, we must re-examine our hearts.  Are we doing exactly what the Lord told us not to do?

In our society almost anything goes.  I’ve seen Buddha statues in the trendiest of stores.  I’ve seen other gods and symbols of “life” dressed up in the most “harmless” of ways.  The bottom line; however, is that they are still idols.  1 John 5:21 quite simply says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

If we find more peace in a trinket than we do in the Word of God, then something is gravely out of joint in our hearts.  Satan loves to distract us and to get our eyes off of God, but what’s worse is that this can curse our families for generations.  (see ex. 20:4-6)

Josiah was once the king of Jerusalem.  When he turned 16 he began to seek the God of his father David.  Four years later he began breaking down altars and purging Judah and Jerusalem of the wooden, carved, and molded images.  After seeking the One true God, Josiah understood that there is but One God, who is the Lord, and that we are to have no other gods before Him.  God rewarded Josiah and blessed the land around him because of his humility and faithfulness.

God will do the same for us.  Ex. 20:6 tells us that He will show mercy to thousands to those who love Him and keep His commandments.  We can bless our family for generations by being faithful to the only One who is faithful.  If we place our confidence in an unfaithful man, we will reap trouble, and true peace will always be out of reach.  If we trust in the God of David, peace will be a natural fruit of our life.

Trusting in the great I AM,

jamie

 

Needing some hope?

Pr. 24:14:  “So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; if you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.”

“And your hope will not be cut off.”  Don’t those words sound wonderful?  Isn’t that something we’d love to experience?  Surely we can.

As sweet as honey is to the taste, so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to our souls.  Where do we get that knowledge of wisdom?  You know what I’m going to say:  The Word of God.  If you are looking for some other answer, then you are going to be quickly disappointed.  We can be knowledgeable about many things, but those things will never bring true wisdom.  True wisdom comes from the Lord.

Fear of the Lord is the ultimate wisdom.  When we fear the Lord and stand in awe of Him and His greatness, then we are truly wise; we have allowed the truth of His word to penetrate our hearts and our souls.

Does the reality of creation truly capture your attention?  He simply spoke, and the heavens were made.  He said the word and the waters were gathered together and given boundaries.  He breathed a word of life and all creatures were created.  He commanded; and it all stands fast, unable to be shaken.  He is the One who holds the world in His mighty hands.  Do you have knowledge of that?  Does it create awe within you to think of the awesome power that it takes to do these things?

When you are able to trust that His Word is right, pure, and proven, and you are able to stand in awe of His greatness, you will have true fear of the Lord.  When His wisdom causes you to yearn for more, then you are truly growing in knowledge.  When His Word opens your eyes to the truth, and causes you to reflect on Him, then you are filling yourself with understanding.

…and your hope will not be cut off.  🙂

Making melody to Him in my heart,

jamie