Don’t stop witnessing!

Pr. 29:19:  “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; for though he understands, he will not respond.”

In Acts 17, we find Paul reasoning with the Jews for 3 Sabbaths, telling them that Jesus was the Christ.  And some of them were persuaded.

Vs. 5, however, introduces us to some Jews who were not persuaded.  They became envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathered a mob.  Wow!  Not only were they not persuaded, but they have actually formed a mob.

They set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, trying to find Paul and Silas.  The mob cried out to the rulers of the city, saying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too.”

In those words we find the reasoning behind their actions.  Their world had been turned upside down by the teachings of Paul.  Everything they had believed was being shaken, and some of their friends and possibly family were now following another, believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

Not everyone who hears the message of Jesus believes or responds.  For others it takes time.  Some may even become upset, like these men, or even envious when their own loved one’s turn to Jesus.  That does not mean we should stop sharing the truth of the Scriptures.

A lack of response to our words does not always mean a lack of understanding.  This proverb reminds us that mere words are not always enough.  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  Once we plant the seeds of the Word, the Holy Spirit can help the seeds germinate and grow.

So share when you’re lead and remember that it’s not up to us to speak perfectly.  It’s not our words that bring response, it is the Lord.

Your fellow sharer,

jamie

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Pouring out sweet freedom

Pr. 27:9:  “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” 
Having just spent the morning playing with essential oils, this verse about perfume delighting the heart certainly stands out for me.

And is it surprising that my reading in Acts this morning also speaks to this verse?  In Acts 15 we find that “certain men” came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren of Gentiles that unless they were circumcised, they could not be saved.

The teaching certainly caused many to become troubled and upset.  The apostles and elders then met to discuss the matter and were reminded that it was the Holy Spirit who acknowledged the Gentiles and not men themselves.  James recited the words God spoke through Amos that said that all mankind could seek the Lord, “Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”

The Holy Spirit did not call us to place burdens upon our fellow believers.  John 8:36 tells us that, “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Just as ointment and perfume delight the heart, sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.  Those believers who had been troubled received a letter declaring that no excess burdens would be placed upon them.  Vs. 31 says, “When they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Let’s make a pact that going forward we will allow the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit’s job; and that our hearty counsel will not trouble our friends or add excess burdens upon them, but that the freedom that was given through Jesus Christ will be poured upon them like a healing ointment and the sweetest of all perfumes.

Hoping to delight some hearts,

jamie

That leaves a pleasant taste…

Pr. 22:18:  “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips”

Keeping the words of wisdom and knowledge within us is not only wise, but indeed, it is pleasant.

When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with the scripture.  When Satan attacks us with doubt, fear, anxiety, and other lies, it helps if we have the truth from the Word of God fixed upon our lips.

Lie:  I am unworthy.  I am not good enough.  I am inferior.

Truth:  God formed me in my mother’s womb.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are the works of God.  (Ps. 139:13-14)

Lie:  I can’t do this.  This will turn out so badly.  I’m not strong enough.

Truth:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  The Lord will show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (Phil. 4:13, 1 Co. 12:9, 2 Ch. 16:9)

Lie:  I can’t trust anyone.  I can’t bear this.

Truth:  The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  If I humble myself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift me up.  Branches are pruned to bear more fruit.  (Pr. 29:25, Ja. 4:10, Jo. 15:2)

Lie:  God will never forgive me.  I will never be good enough for God to love me.

Truth:  Greater love has no on than this, than to lay down His life for his friends.  God loved me so much that He gave His only Son, that believing in Him I would not perish but have everlasting life.  God did not send His song into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Jesus prayed for me, asking God that I would know “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  (Jo. 15:13, Jo. 3:16-17, Jo. 17:23)

Isn’t God’s Word much more pleasant than the lies that Satan whispers?  The best part is that God’s Word is the truth.  It is pure.  It is proven.  And God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  (Pr. 30:5)

Know the Word and know the pleasant truth of a love that is unlike any other.  Fix it in your heart and upon your lips.

Trusting,

jamie

Establishing a plan

Pr. 20:18:  “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.”

In Acts 13:1-4, we find 5 prophets and teachers ministering to the Lord and fasting.  As they did so, the Holy Spirit instructed all 5 that Barnabas and Saul should be separated for a work to which the Lord had called them.  vs. 3, “Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

Paul and Barnabas had a hard road ahead of them, but being connected to the Lord gave all 5 men very clear instruction about the fact this was His plan.  After fasting and praying together, they obeyed in faith.

The best way to receive counsel from the Lord is to be connected to Him, just as these 5 men were.  Receiving counsel from the Lord is the best way to live in peace, believing that God will be with you through the journey.

Knowing clearly God’s plan, Paul and Barnabas were able to endure the persecution, abuse, malice, and misfortune they later faced on their journey.

When our plans come from the Lord, we can embark on our journey knowing that those plans are not only for good, but come with the guarantee that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Establishing plans from any other source is a risk we don’t need to take.

Seeking counsel,

jamie

 

 

Sharing the gladness

Acts 12:14-16:  “When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate…Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Some things are just too good not to share.

Peter had been arrested and was likely facing execution.  The church was in constant prayer for him; however, and an angel came and released Peter from his chains and the prison.  When he arrived at the home of John’s mother we find the scene described in the verse above.

The girl was so happy that she forgot to open the door and let Peter in.  Have you ever been that happy to see someone?  She knew that she was witnessing a miracle and couldn’t wait to spread the good news!  Poor Peter.  I can see him now, out there still knocking; perhaps a bit nervous to be seen, but maybe chuckling at her actions, as well.

I have a friend who consistently shares testimonies of praise and reports of miracles.  I never cease to be amazed by God’s work in the lives of those around him, or to look forward to his praise reports.  I love to hear what God is doing!

I must admit, though, that in my amazement, I sometimes find myself wondering why these things seem to happen more in his life than in anyone else’s.  Is God not working like that in other people’s lives?  In mine?  I don’t think that’s it.

As the Lord continues to work and reveal Himself in this man’s life, I simply see that he is just so overwhelmed with gladness that he can’t help but announce it.  The Lord continues to prove Himself in this man’s life.  I don’t think its a coincidence.  I have to think that God, knowing that this man will run off shouting praise and sharing of God’s majesty, reveals Himself in this man’s life on purpose.

Perhaps I just keep too many praises to myself.  Sometimes it might be best to drop what I’m doing and run off to announce a miracle or provision from God.  Maybe upon seeing the God’s work in my life and the lives around me, others will be as astonished by the Lord as these people were to see Peter standing at their door.

Lord, help me to be so overwhelmed with gladness that I forget myself and shout Your praise!

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie