The excellent things written for us all

Pr. 22:20:  “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?”

I have a lot of little unsure things weighing heavily on my mind this morning.  Nothing like waking up feeling like you’re already in a bad mood.  ha!  I don’t like starting my day with thoughts that I’m already defeated.  I knew that the only answer was to look to the Word.

Only God can give me hope where none seems visible.  Only God can move my mind from my problems to my blessings.  Only God can give me peace when I feel a storm.

I read some passages from Peter this morning.  In them, he was standing firm on the track record of God.  He was remembering God’s faithfulness and consistency.  He was writing a reminder not to forget that what God has already done proves He will do everything else He said He would do.

Those words give me peace that cannot be duplicated.  I’m so thankful today for the excellent things written in the Word of God.  I am so grateful for the counsel and the knowledge the Lord lends to us through His Word.  I am so uplifted to remember all the ways I have seen God work things out in the lives of His children throughout the Bible; and the ways He has done the same for me.  I am so relieved for the reminder that one day the works that are in the earth will be burned up, and the eternal things will be rewarded.

As long as I face my problems trusting God with their outcome, I know everything will work out the way it should.  I don’t have to have the answers or figure out the solutions on my own.  I can rely on the One who IS the answer.

What a relief!  If you’re facing a similar day, turn to the Word.  He gives us all that we need, and so much more.  What a privilege to know that He gave us access to His counsel and His knowledge.  Not only that, but His Holy Spirit living within us guides us throughout the day.  He has certainly set us up for the kind of success that will last.

Thank you, God, for giving us so much more than we deserve.  Your Word is a wonderful gift, worth more than words can say.  Help us today to pass your Word onto others so they may know the riches, the peace, the promises, and the hope that lie within.  You are a great God!

Renewed,

jamie

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How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie

The day after Valentine’s Day…

Pr. 15:25:  “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

It’s the day after Valentines Day and love is still important.  1 Peter 4:8-9 tells us, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

1 John 4:7 encourages us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

We are told to have sincere, heartfelt love for one another.  This is the kind of love that forgives, overlooks faults, and finds the good in others.  This is the kind of love God has for us.

So often we want this kind of love from others, but struggle or refuse to show this kind of love in return.  Although, we understand that we are not perfect and in need of forgiveness, and we often expect others to be perfect at all times.

We are told to be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  That is something that happens when our eyes are looking outward and not inward.  When we are truly able to love, forgive, understand, and pardon, hospitality comes much more easily.

Remembering that love is of God, we cannot afford to be too proud to show love.  This proverb says the Lord destroys the house of the proud.  Not only that, but He will establish those who are weak.  In God’s eyes, the weak are more desirable than the proud.

It is not weakness to show love.  It takes strong character to love someone the way we are told to love here.  It takes a lot of faith in God’s plan to truly forgive the sins and mistakes of those we love.  It takes humility to overlook faults and see what is good.  It takes humility and trust to believe that loving others God’s way is best.

So, on this day that is not ‘technically’ about love, we can determine in our hearts to show love the right way; to carry on loving those around us with God’s love, and to continue it day after day after day, until the Lord returns.

We don’t have to do this in our own strength.  We can call upon the God who is love for all the pointers we need.  Talk about a support system.

So, happy day after!  May the Lord who loves you, strengthen you this day as you trust Him enough to truly love His way.

My brothers and sisters, I love you all. 

jamie

How to prevent bone decay

Pr. 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

This rottenness in his bones means it preys upon him, and causes decay.  It consumes him.  That sounds horrible!!

I know a good way to prevent this from happening.  Read this question that author, Dannah Gresh, asks.  “Do you spend more time in front of the mirror making yourself externally beautiful, or do you spend more time developing your inner beauty through quiet communion with God?”

1 Peter 3:3-6 talks about women not letting their adornment be merely outward.  We don’t have to have the best make up or wardrobe.  We don’t have to have the perfect hairstyle or jewelry.  We don’t have to be the most ‘up with the times.’  Superior cooking skills aren’t required.

An excellent wife…or a wife of valor, as some translations say…is one who looks well to the ways of her household, and is pious and prudent.

Now, by all means, please fix your hair.  However, if for every minute spent in front of the mirror, we spent a minute or more with God, we will develop a true and deep relationship with God.  When we develop that relationship with God, we cultivate a spirit more like God’s.  This is the prescription to help prevent us from causing bone rot in those we love.

Striving to be truly beautiful,

jamie

God’s spring cleaning

Ps. 11:  “The Lord is in His holy temple, and His eyes behold, testing the sons of men.”

vs. 5:  The Lord tests the righteous.

Yesterday turned into an early spring cleaning day at my house.  I started out simply wanting to dust the furniture and ceiling fans, but of course that led to sweeping.  When I took one of the rugs outside to shake I realized there was more dust hiding in there than I could shake out.  Every rug in the house ended up in the washing machine.

The realization that there was so much hidden dirt in the rugs led to every base board in the house being scrubbed down, the floors being mopped, and by the time the day was done, even the broom ended up being washed.

This morning, as I read Psalm 11, I was reminded of those rugs and baseboards.

When I began cleaning, it was only because I noticed a thin layer of dust on the furniture.  I didn’t see the deep hidden dirt that had settled in cracks, fibers, and crevices.  However, as each layer of dust was removed, a new layer was revealed.

God doesn’t just see the thin layer of dust on our surface.  He sees the deeper layers of grime, debris, smut, and filth that lie underneath.  Ps. 11:4 says, “His eyes behold.”  Knowing that God created dust and then created man out of dust allows me to know that He can behold even the smallest specks.

When He tests us, He is not simply trying to shine us up.  He is trying to get inside, layer by layer, to remove all the fragments of sin and unholiness from our hearts.

He starts with the top, simply shining us up a bit, polishing and cleansing us.  He then moves deeper, getting larger amounts of debris from our hearts.  Once that debris is removed, the layer of grime underneath is revealed.  Without the grime, the smut that has adhered itself deep down inside can be scrubbed away.  The leftover filth is now clear as day, and the Lord can finally remove each speck from deep within.

What we’re left with is not just something that looks clean, but something that deep down inside has been sanitized…or more appropriately said, “sanctified.”

I’m not saying its easy.  I’m pretty sure that if my rugs had any nerve endings, their time spent spinning and agitating in the washing machine would have felt pretty horrible.  I’m sure they wouldn’t have enjoyed being beaten about by dryer balls in the heat of my dryer.

The baseboards probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the scrubbing or the smell of vinegar as the grime was removed from them.  Nevertheless, without those processes, they would never have been truly cleansed.

Sometimes the tests we face hurt.  They can be hot, agitating, smelly, and dizzying.  However, The Lord loves righteousness and the end result is something called holiness.  Without the deep cleaning, that is something that could never be achieved.

Scoured,

jamie

Ahhhhh!!! That’s gonna feel so good when it’s over!

I’m so glad my life is in HIS hands

Have you ever sang songs to God with lyrics like these:

“Bring me anything to bring You glory.  And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that’s what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.”

“No matter what comes my way, my life is in Your hands.”

“My life is not my own.  To You I belong.  I give myself, I give myself to You.”

Do you think you would or have you ever had a moment of hesitation when singing them?  I have.

I used to sing these songs freely.  “Oh, yes, Lord.  Bring the rain.”

And then one day the rain fell.  I was determined to bring God glory through my trial, and for the first bit, I did.  Then, I got a little tired.  I got sad.  That sadness led to feelings of being neglected.  That neglect made me angry.  My anger made me rebellious.  I was no longer allowing God to be glorified.  Those words I had sung so intently, were proven empty.

When I began to find my way back to Him, simply trusting that His plans for me were good, regardless of the trial, I found myself hesitating when it came to singing lyrics like those.  Those words have much more meaning when you realize God’s way of using you may not be quite what you had in mind.  Those words are much heavier when you realize that the rain could bring pain.  Those words are not empty.  They mean something.

The truth is; however, that no matter what comes our way, our lives truly are in His hands.  He is our Creator, our Sustainer, our Redeemer, and our Soon coming King.  I can’t think of more capable hands that I’d like my life to be in.

I recently heard someone debunk the familiar saying that God won’t give us more than we can handle.  She said, “Everything is more than we can handle!”  She was right.  That’s why we need the One who gives us strength.

Sometimes it takes a trial for us to truly understand what surrender really means.  We are not in control.  God is.  But the thing about God is that He does not leave or forsake us.  He goes before us, preparing the way, and behind us, directing our steps.  He gives us comfort and peace when there seems to be no reason for either.  He made the way for our salvation before we were ever born.  He is strongest when we are weakest.

With our lives in His hands, we can understand that no matter what comes our way, He is still our God and He is still the same.  Our pain is never in vain.  We have the unique opportunity to give Him glory through it all.  His worth isn’t based on the current circumstances.  He is worthy, no matter the situation.

Voluntarily surrendering our lives to Him brings joy and hope in the midst of the pain.

Surrendered,

jamie