Scheduling love

Pr. 31:14:  “She is like the merchant ships, she brings food from afar.”

Recently, while I was preparing a meal plan for the week and the accompanying grocery list, my brother-in-law sarcastically asked, “I wonder where Kaili gets her planning skills?”  ha!

My daughter is the queen of planning.  Ever ready for adventure, she can instantly gather pen and paper and prepare a list of fun activities, things needed, or people to invite within moments of you mentioning any activity or the desire to have one.  It always amazes us and/or makes us giggle.

This morning, as I was reading through Proverbs 31, I was reminded what a great trait that actually is.  If she can plan like that in elementary school, by the time she has her own household, she will likely have her schedules running like clockwork.  I have every confidence that she will care for her household well.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect planners to care for those around us.  We just have to pay attention to their needs and desires.  Simply planning to include others in our own personal schedules makes a huge difference in their lives.

More than ensuring every needed supply on hand and every thing is perfect, if we plan to include our family in our routine, they will know without a doubt that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for.  Sadly, those who are closest to us are often the ones who are pushed off the list first.

Today, let’s put our loved ones on our list in ink, planning to include one of their needs or desires in our day.  Talk about a good investment of our time!

Anticipating my day,

jamie

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It’s not in vain in the Lord

1 Cor. 15:58:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

As I logged in on my computer to begin my blog this morning, the headlines caught my eye.  I realized that there is no better time for this verse to be recalled.

Death and it’s sting, sin, will be destroyed.  That is a fact.  We have victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  Therefore…knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord, we can continue until He returns.

When you start to find yourself wearing down and you feel like yielding or wavering, remember this verse and stand fast in the promise that your work in the Lord is never done in vain.

Keep going!  When that trumpet sounds the fruits of your labor will reveal how worthwhile it all was.

Standing firm beside you,

jamie

It’s about the war…not the battle

Pr. 20:3:  “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

It’s interesting how many things can become the focus of a quarrel within the church.  Is it best if the communion flowers are red (like the color of blood) or white (the color of purity)?  Should the music be contemporary or traditional?  Is it appropriate for a Pastor to lock himself away with God for an entire day or should he be the one visiting all the sick?

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Pick your battles.”  This holds true even within the church.

Is it the most important thing that the color of the carpet is exactly right or that the name of Jesus is being spoken from the pulpit?  Is it more important that the order of service not be disrupted than that a hurting brother or sister is being ministered to?  Are the political, attire, or translation choices more of an issue than the fact that the saving Word of God is being shared with the lost?

It’s amazing how quickly we can become distracted.  Things that have no eternal value become the focus of our lives and can cause quarrels and divisions.

Solomon reminds us that anyone can start a quarrel, but being the one who drops out of or doesn’t join the fight is honorable.  Pride can sometimes cause us to not want to give up or give in, but honor seems a much better thing to earn than the “win” of a meaningless battle.

Let’s stop striving about things that won’t matter in the end, and start focusing on the job at hand.  There are people dying around us while we’re busy arguing about carpet and musical choices.  Why would anyone want to serve a God that cares more about the carpet than He does about them?

We were called to preach the gospel and to baptize.  Demonstrating the love, peace, and honor that comes from serving the Great I AM is the way to start.

Let’s fight for things that matter…the souls of those around us!  And leave the rest to the fools.

Loving you,

jamie

A fine line

Pr. 19:23:  “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

Attempting to guide my children in the truths of the Bible isn’t always easy.  Lately I’ve been unsure if I’m handling things right.

While trying to teach them about sin, I am very nervous that I might leave out the beauty of grace.  Then, while I’m busy teaching grace, I have an ever-present fear that I’m leaving no room for accountability and repentance.

This morning I bumped into this Proverb about ‘the fear of the Lord,’ and I realize that the only answer for me as a parent is to walk this fine line with a foundation of prayer and trust in the Lord.

In my own strength, I will never be able to teach them exactly right.  The beauty of God’s word is that it does not return to Him void.  It accomplishes what God pleases, and will prosper in the purpose for which it was sent.  (Is. 55:11)  Therefore, I must conclude that speaking the Word into my children’s lives is my job.  Accomplishing what God pleases is His.

Also, I must keep in mind that I was not created as The Holy Spirit.  While it is my job to guide and teach my children, it is the Holy Spirit who will bring to their remembrance the things they’ve learned about God as they walk through their lives.  (Jn. 14:26)

Fear of the Lord is something I can demonstrate in my own life and in the way I teach and train my children.  The more we learn about God, the more our own values and character will be fashioned after His.

I must also demonstrate what it means to grow in Christ.  While speaking to my daughter about self-control a few weeks ago, I realized that I’m not bearing that same fruit in certain areas in my own life.  So, I had to make some adjustments.  Allowing her to see those weaknesses in me and to see how I choose to confront them will testify my beliefs to her more than any words I could ever speak.

So, do I know exactly how to walk this thin line of teaching sin and grace at the same time.  Definitely not.  But I know the One who does and I am reminded that not only is His strength is made perfect in my weakness, but that He loves and cares for my children even more than I ever could.  He will guide and water them as His own. I just need to plant the seeds.

I’m thinking the best way to teach them is for me to continue to stay grounded in Him.  Thank you, Lord, for this reminder.  I trust in You.

Learning,

jamie

What if you’re called a fool?

This morning I read 1 Cor. 4, where Paul is talking about the apostles being fools for Christ’s sake.  Vs. 12 says, “And we labor, working with our hands.  Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat.”

I’ve been reading a lot about martyr’s lately, both past and present.  Because of this, it was so striking for me this morning to think about Paul’s words.  These aren’t just words on a page.  These are the true thoughts and facts about a human being’s life.

The apostles were truly reviled.  They were left homeless and poorly clothed, spat upon, and condemned, and yet they continued to bless.  For God’s sake, they continued to bless and offer the saving truths of the gospel of Christ.

The apostles were actually persecuted.  They were beaten, threatened, jailed, and killed, and yet they endured.  Looking forward to the reward of serving Jesus Christ, they were able to continue to pour out to as many as possible until the very end.

The apostles were defamed.  They were falsely accused and imprisoned time and time again, and yet they continued to entreat those around them to accept Jesus as their Savior.  They continued to speak the gospel, even in the presence of their accusers, so that anyone whose heart may be open to hear would receive salvation full and free.

I think of the bad days I have, when I can’t get my eyes off of myself.  I think of the times I’ve been hurt, when I’ve allowed my pain to shut me down.  Then, I look at what so many have gone and are going through for the cause of Christ and I know that I still need to mature.

The apostles were the ultimate example of doing all things to the glory of God.

While our individual talents, gifts, and callings may be a little different in description, we are all part of the body working towards the same goal:  to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In Christ, we have so much to offer those around us.  Even if the time comes when, like the apostles, we are looked upon as fools, it will have been worth it.  There is a great reward awaiting us and those who believe because of our own endurance.

We cannot keep God’s grace and His gifts all for ourselves.  They were meant to be shared.  His sacrifice makes our own sacrifices worth the price.

The song I’ve attached today reminds me that instead of wasting my time on things that don’t matter, I can give everything in my life for Him.  He’s worth it!

Stirred,

jamie

 

Growing up for a reason

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1

Pr. 11:30 reminds us that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  It is hard to win souls when we’re still babes in Christ.

Babies need almost constant attention.  When they’re not sleeping they need to be fed, held, cleaned, and kept safe.

There comes a time in our spiritual journey that we must make the decision to grow up.  We must begin feeding and caring for ourselves, not depending on others to provide us with everything.  We must learn to trust God to hold us and clean us up, not expecting others around us to be the ones who do so.

Of course, we all have moments when we need the love and care of those around us; however, when we find that we need that almost constantly it is an indication that perhaps we are still behaving as babes.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world preaching and baptizing.  Solomon reminded us that winning souls is the wise thing to do.  In order to do these things, we must have something to offer.

Babies are born helpless and have almost nothing to offer others.  They have to learn and grow so that they can begin contributing to the world around them.  Likewise, we must continue to grow in our trust in God and in our knowledge of Him so that we have something to offer those around us who are truly in need.

The best place to start is…drum roll, please…the Word.  When we begin feeding ourselves the Bread of Life each day, we are beginning to grow up and care for ourselves.

Once we get used to feeding ourselves, we can begin cleaning ourselves up through prayer.  Asking God for forgiveness and direction cleans us up and gives us wisdom for our next steps.  Thanking God for His blessings causes us to become grateful, which is a very grown up attribute.

With these skills, we will then find ourselves running to God to be held.  We will have grown in our understanding of who our Provider, Comforter, Helper, Deliverer, and Savior truly is.  We will know that when we need help the most, the safest, most dependable place to run is to the arms of our Father in heaven.

Armed with all this knowledge, we can then teach others that these same things are true.  We can point them to the same Father, who gives us the safety to be His baby, and the wisdom to grow into spiritual adults.

Growing up alongside you,

jamie

Which wisdom do you seek?

Pr. 5:1:  “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding.”

I’m struck again today by what the Bible says about wisdom.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks about the wisdom of men vs. the wisdom of God.  There is a vast difference indeed.

Paul is reminding the Corinthians, and us, that it is not the wisdom of man that we should chase, obsess over, or count on.  He tells us in chapter 2:10-11 that the Spirit alone knows the deep things of God.  We should be chasing after God.

When Paul spoke to them it was not with persuasive words of human wisdom, with excellence of speech, or from his own power and ability.  The only thing he desired to know was Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and when he spoke, he demonstrated the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The ‘wisdom’ of this world is driving us further and further from God.  Of worldly wisdom, Is. 29:14 says that the wisdom of the wise will be destroyed and the understanding of the prudent will be brought to nothing.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to give us the answers we seek.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to protect us, solve our problems, or bring true freedom.  Their wisdom will be destroyed and brought to nothing.

Only wisdom from the Lord endures.  When seeking after wisdom, let’s make sure we’re going to the right source.  Wisdom was with God at the beginning of His way, and exists with true prudence, knowledge, and discretion.  (Pr. 8)  We have been invited to ask God for that same wisdom, and told that He who gives to all liberally and without reproach will give it.

We may sometimes feel foolish in the face of worldly wisdom, but we needn’t.  God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things to put to shame the things which are mighty.  In the end, God’s wisdom will be what makes all things new and will lead us to our heavenly home.

Let’s grow wiser by running after God.  He’s the one we can truly count on.

With eternity on my mind,

jamie