What’s on your tongue?

Pr. 31:26:  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Being around children all day, I am acutely aware that kindness on the tongue is not something that happens by accident.  We are born pretty selfish, self-serving, and self-absorbed.  Tenderness, affection, and courtesy are attributes that take time and training to develop.

That training should not end when we are grown.  As adults, we must make sure that we are still training ourselves to be kind.  It is something that can still be lost if not nurtured.  Where can we find kindness in this world?  I’m glad you asked.  The Word of God teaches us in Eph. 4:32, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Eph. 5:2 tells us to, “walk in love.”  Ph. 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Col. 3:12-13 urges us, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering:  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…”

I could go on and on.  There are numerous verses about kindness, affection, forgiveness, and bearing with one another.  Why so many?  We were born selfish.  Just as when we were kids, we need constant reminders.  If we are to have the law of kindness on our tongues, men and women alike, we must be sensitive to the rebukes and reminders we find from the Lord.

Also, when we are walking in the Spirit, it is evident by the fruit He produces within us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  With God at the helm of our lives, this fruit will naturally be brought forth in our lives.

Wisdom and kindness come from the Lord.  If we are tarrying in His presence, studying and absorbing His Word, asking for His guidance throughout our days, and listening for His still-small voice to speak His wisdom, then we will be full of Him and walking in the Spirit.  This is when we will be one who opens their mouth with wisdom, and has the law of kindness on their tongue.

If you want to be someone like that, stick with God.  If He can bring forth water from a rock to refresh thousands, He can certainly help us speak kind words to refresh those around us.  🙂

Blessings,

jamie

 

 

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Break out of the norm!

Pr. 30:13:  “There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!  And their eyelids are lifted up.”

Knowing that our strength and provision come from the Lord, it’s not really our place to be puffed up with pride.  Treating others as though they are somehow beneath us just isn’t what we were commanded to do.

As I recall, Jesus broke bread with the reviled tax collectors and with sinners.  He knew the reason for which He came to this earth, and He did not stray from that purpose.  When questioned about it He spoke, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  He came for people just as those.  Just like me.

Jesus also reminded us that the same measure of judgment we use will be measured back to us.  This a serious statement that we simply must remember.

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  And he added, ‘And the second is like this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘  He then gave an example of who qualifies as a neighbor.  Apparently we are all neighbors.  We are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves.

Loving as we love ourselves brings to mind Romans 12, which reminds us that each of us have a function and serve a specific purpose.  We must  not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, as we were all created as an essential part of the body of Christ.   None are more important than any other.

Jesus, when faced with the question of who would be the greatest, spoke these important words, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  Humbling ourselves, preferring others over ourselves, serving others, and operating in our specific purpose is what is seen as greatest to Him.

Although the generation in which we live certainly promotes being lofty, puffed up, and vain, we must hold tightly to the teaching of our Savior.  No matter what attitude is the ‘norm’ in our world, the attitude that makes us the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is that of a servant.

God created each of us with different gifts and functions in this world.  Instead of walking around thinking how much better we are than others, we are commanded to love everyone, and called to use our gifts to help one another and glorify the Father.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”  Ro. 12:10-12

Let’s reach out today and truly love.

Warmly,

jamie

 

Trust in the One who is faithful

Pr. 29:25:  “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

This is one of those verses I use to remind myself of the truth.  When we begin to fear man more than the Lord, we are on a slippery slope, at best.  A snare is something that entraps us, entangles us, catches and keeps us.

In Mt. 16:26, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This world offers so much.  We can be the most popular, the sexiest, the best dressed, the richest, the most successful.  We can be housewives with immaculate homes, and the cleanest, most well dressed, and sportiest children.  We can have the latest hairstyle or color, the best car, the coolest gadgets.  We can watch all the right shows, have the biggest and best network of contacts, drink the most revered drinks, party at the most sought after places, or hold the most prestigious jobs.

All of it; however, has the potential to bring a snare upon us to entangle us, and to distract us from our true purpose.  If the opinions of others becomes the driving force in our lives, we will become ensnared in the constant pursuit to keep up, to fit in, to be noticed for those titles we hold.  Man’s opinions are fickle, let me remind you, and what’s the best today can easily become the most out-dated tomorrow.  Also, we must keep Jesus’ words in mind:  what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls?  We simply cannot give in and exchange our souls for dust and ashes.

While man’s opinions continually change, the Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The Lord does not change.  Unlike those who may only be a ‘friend’ while you’re doing as they like or approve, the Lord loved us so much that even in our worst state, He sent His Son to take our sin and disease upon Himself to give us eternal life.  Surely we are safe with One such as this.

Also, the Lord, who promised to care for and provide for us, is faithful to keep His promises, never turning His back in our time of need or despair.  The same God whose glory passed before Moses, turning his hair white and causing him to shine so brightly that he had to cover his face with a veil, is the same God who goes before you and keeps you safely in His mighty arms.

His name is actually a refuge to which we can run.  We need not fear.  What can man do to those whose Helper is the great and mighty Lord of Lords?  Don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by the ever-changing opinions or expectations of imperfect people.  Trust in the Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.

In His arms,

jamie

 

He speaks

Pr. 28:14:  “Happy is the man who is fears the Lord always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

This morning I read Mt. 13:1, “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.  And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”

Multitudes traveled countless miles and gathered to hear Jesus speak.  They stood in the crowd to glean wisdom from Him, possibly to receive healing from Him, or maybe just out of curiosity.  The point is that they so wanted to see or hear Jesus that they came to find Him.

Ps. 117:2 tells us, “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.”

Like the multitudes, we need to seek Jesus.  We need to find Him so that we may hear the enduring truth that He and the Father speak.

In order to fear the Lord, keeping ourselves to His will and His precepts, we must know what He has said to us.

Had the multitudes not gathered that day, they would not have head the parables of Jesus.  They would not have heard about the kingdom of heaven.  The judgment would not have been revealed to them.

In order to keep our hearts from hardening in sin and against the Lord, we must find Him and hear Him.  Lest we fall into calamity, we must remain close to His teachings.  Having heard Him, we can then turn our lives fully over to Him and His will.

When we know the true God, we do not desire to turn our backs on Him, but to walk with Him and keep ourselves holy unto Him.  This fear of the Lord makes us happy.

Find Jesus today.  Seek Him out.  Do whatever you must to hear His words of truth which endures forever.  I pray that in your hearing, you also understand.  True happiness and joy await.

Smiling for you,

jamie

 

Hide yourself

Pr. 27:12:  “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.”

Prudent:  careful, cautious, discreet, sober.  the ability to govern & discipline oneself by the use of reason.  acting with or showing care & thought for the future.

Understanding that Jesus came to save us from eternal death and torment, (Thank you, Pastor) it is wise for us to hide ourselves from evil.  You may think of evil as some hidden force around us, over which we have no control.  However, there are many evils that we can foresee and from which we can hide ourselves.

We understand that drugs are an evil that can eventually rule us, therefore it is prudent to keep ourselves away from those who would persuade us that doing drugs is no big deal, from those who would like to make money by selling us drugs, and from situations where drugs are readily available and given a place of prominence.

Likewise, we understand that committing adultery or having sex before we are married are things that can be prevented.  Foreseeing the evil, we can take measures to prevent ourselves from creating the opportunity for such things.  Instead of thinking “simply” and allowing ourselves to be alone with someone we’re attracted to, allowing ourselves to have private conversations with someone other than our spouse, or allowing ourselves to push the bounds with someone physically, we can prudently place boundaries around us to prevent those situations.

Not only do we have authority over evil, through Jesus, but God gives us much wisdom.  We are not at the mercy of satan or the evil that is around us.  We are able to perceive evil situations and prevent ourselves from being overtaken by them.  By placing wise boundaries in our lives, carefully and cautiously governing ourselves, or acting with thought for the future, we can hide ourselves from the evil that would seek to lead us to ultimate punishment.

Perhaps you need to end a relationship, find a new job, take a different route to the gym, join a new gym, shop at another store, find a whole new set of friends, or find accountability partners.  Whatever you have to do to hide yourself from evil…do it!  Don’t be simple and continue “flirting” with the evil situations that loom around you.  Don’t think that you just need to be stronger.  With your future in mind, hide yourself, remove yourself, protect yourself.

We cannot allow satan to distract us or lead us down paths that will lead to the punishment from which Jesus saves.  Our God died so that we can live.  Be prudent.  Be cautious.  Be careful.  With our minds on our future…meaning eternal life…we must keep ourselves from evil.  Our salvation was bought at a high price, let’s not treat it as something worthless.

Soberly,

jamie

Come and rest

Mt. 11:28-30:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I love reading these verses about the true rest that Jesus gives.  We do not have to work for grace, He gives it freely.  We do not have to work harder to earn our salvation.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then His salvation is ours.

Submitting to Him doesn’t shackle and burden us, or add more weight.  It takes the weight away.  Allowing Him to pour His love and peace upon us will give us true rest.  We are invited to come to him, learn from Him, and find rest for our souls.  He is gentle and lowly in heart, as He proved when He walked on this earth.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Running faster or working harder will not increase our strength or our salvation.  Our strength comes from the Lord.  The harder we work in our own flesh, the more likely we will fall.  God says to “wait” on Him.  We must slow down, be still, and wait.  When we do, He will renew our strength, in His power, and we will no longer be weary.

Jesus also taught us in John 15:4 to abide in Him.  Abide means to wait, to stay, be still, endure, and bear patiently.  He said that, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  He calls Himself the vine and us the branches.  With only the minimal knowledge of vines, we can certainly understand that if the branch is not attached to a vine, it cannot grow fruit.  In fact, it will wither and die.

What better news could we receive today?  Our job is to come to Jesus, be still, endure with Him, wait on Him, and learn from Him.  This will allow Him to give us rest, renew our strength, and cause us to not grow faint.  Abiding in Him will also allow Him to cause fruit to bear forth in our lives.  We don’t have to work harder for the fruit to come, but we must remain attached to the Vine.  He is the source of life.  Remain attached to Him and enjoy your rest.

Sigh…

jamie

Because of your own understanding, cease!

Pr. 23:4:  “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!”

A month after Donnie and I were married, I accepted a higher-paying promotion at work.  I soon learned; however, that promotions are not always worth accepting.  Although my manager promised to fill the position I previously held, there was a significant amount of stalling and I worked both positions for over a year.

I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make the long commute to be at work at 6:00.  Most days I would arrive back home between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.  Add to that the numerous times I had to fill in for another shift, arriving home at 2:00 a.m., only to get back up and start over.

I averaged 65 hours a week during that time, eventually beginning to break down physically, and also missing out on critical time with my new husband.  When did we have time to enjoy one another?  What should have been our “honeymoon period” was entirely too difficult for us.  That experience is definitely one of those I would go back and do differently, if given the chance.  No amount of money or supervising experience was worth all that I sacrificed during that time.

If we really take God at His word, believing that, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” then we can see that no promotion, position, company, or paycheck will ever be what gets us through.  Our provision comes from the Lord, and no matter where we work, or what our title, that will always be true.  What’s more is that if we tithe a portion back to Him, He will faithfully rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and not allow him to destroy the fruit of our labor.

Worrying about what we will eat, what we will wear, what car we will drive, what we will buy our kids for Christmas…those worries are just a waste of our time.  Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (our basic needs) shall be added to you.”  Mt. 6:33.  He said, “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”  Mt. 7:9-11

If you are faced with the decision to over-work to become rich, remember the Lord’s promises and His enduring faithfulness, and choose to cease.  It is not worth the sacrifices of family relationships, health, your relationship with God, or your time to be able to do God’s work.  Understanding God’s faithfulness, and the effects of your sacrificing choices, work as unto the Lord, and then cease!  Allow God to show His hand of provision in your life.

Content,

jamie