Author Archives: jamie lopez

About jamie lopez

-Pastor to Pastors Let me encourage & affirm you, as we grow together and consider God's living, powerful, pure, proven Word.

Where are the answers?

We all have moments of crisis. We all have times when we are overwhelmed by what life has just brought to us. We all have real-life, human emotions. And it’s ok to say it.

In Jeremiah 37, the people of Judah were facing a real life battle. But here’s the rub; and here is where the enemy wins, our anxiety, anger, sadness, or other things overtake us, and we veer further off course than we meant or needed to:

Just like the people of Judah, we look for our conclusive help in the wrong place.

They looked to the army of Egypt to save them. But God was there all the time, and had been from the beginning, trying to get them to turn to Him. Yet they refused.

We do it, too. Proverbs 20:7 says, “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”

The Lord had saved them time and time again, but they kept forgetting, and way too often not even giving Him credit. Sound familiar? 😬

Proverbs 44:6-8, “I don’t depend on my arrows or my sword to save me. But You saved us from our hateful enemies, and You put them to shame. We boast about You, our God, and we are always grateful.”

My, oh my. Why do we continue to look to ourselves, to others, and to outside sources for the answer, the solution, or the salvation? It is God that fights, God that has the answers, and God that is Faithful.

He protects, shields, defends, provides, supplies, heals, comforts, creates, fights, gives wisdom, gives knowledge, gives understanding, unifies, loves, breathes life. There is literally nothing He can’t do!

The answers we seek? They lie in Him.

We saw the mountain, in the photo, when we were in TN. I mentioned that it reminded me of when Moses was on the mountain talking to God, and it was covered in cloud and smoke. My son said, “Maybe someone’s up there talking to God.” ❤️ Maybe they were. I sure hope so. That’s what we all need to do.

You are loved,

jamie

Walking humbly with God

“I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.  For He is the living God, and He will endure forever.  His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His rule will never end.  He rescues and saves His people; He performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.  He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”  Dan. 6:26-27

Daniel served and honored God quietly & faithfully, living an honorable, respectable life, with integrity.  The people around him noticed, and he found favor in their eyes because of it.  God was able to use Him because of it.

God used Daniel to prove His might and His faithfulness, and because of Daniel’s humility, God received all the glory.  People saw what happened in Daniel’s life, and it caused them to look to God and give Him praise and believe.  An unbelieving king even declared God’s reality and might in the kingdom-wide decree above.  That is huge!

Daniel didn’t walk through his life telling people how bad they were or pointing out their every flaw.  He honored God with his life and allowed God to use him; and because of that, others were able to clearly see how amazing and faithful God was.  

This isn’t hiding your light under a bushel.  This is shining your beautiful light brightly as you live a life that honors your Father in heaven, so that it illuminates the way for others to see Him, as well.  

Shine bright!

jamie

Ensnared by God’s love

I wound up watching some episodes of a show yesterday that seemed relatively harmless.  The characters drew me in, the plot was intriguing, and the setting was lovely.  

As I lay down to try to sleep last night; however, I realized the show had affected me more than I’d realized.  The scenes replaying in my mind revealed how quickly I had been drawn in and accepted things that go against my very beliefs and values.  

Here was my next thought:  If sin so easily ensnares and holds up captive, why aren’t we making the love of God so captivating that it ensnares everyone around us in the same way?  

Hear me out.  John 3:16 says that, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  

God’s love is captivating!  He says His yoke [the tie we have with Him] is easy, and His burden upon us is light.  They are not things to weigh us down or make us feel overwhelmed and unable to measure up.  

As I prayed about and contemplated this last night, I thought about the Pharisee’s & the Sadducees of Jesus’ day.  They made so many rules and burdens for the people that the people could hardly get to God.  As the church grew after Jesus was resurrected, there were times when rules and burdens placed on the people were beyond what Jesus instructed.  What about now?

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much we are loved, and that what we have been offered is a relationship. We can understand that once we fall in love with Him, He changes us when & if necessary.  We don’t change out of obligation to rules or burdens.  We change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much He loves others, and we understand that once we can point them to Him and His love, offering them a relationship with the One who loves them as much as He loves us.  How marvelous!  His love will change their lives and their futures for all eternity.  

And He is the One who asks them to make any earthly changes, if necessary.  They don’t change out of obligation to rules, burdens, or traditions; and they don’t change to suit us.  They change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Yes, there will be a judgment one day, and until that day, remember, God is love!  

John 3:17 reminds us, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!”

Let’s go forth today, and make God’s love so captivating that it ensnares those around us!  And maybe binge the Word.  😉

jamie

Approval that matters

“When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo.  He told his family and servants what to do.  Then he hanged himself.”  2 Sam. 17:23 

Let’s go back to chapter 16 vs. 23:  “Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.”

I know I started this off with a shocker of a verse this morning, but it’s reality.  Let’s face it, Ahithophel had fallen far.  

At one time his advice was revered by both King David, a man after God’s own heart, and his son, Absalom, who was now trying to be king.  They literally regarded his advice as though he was one who had been in a consultation with God.  And later, no one wanted to follow his advice.  

It didn’t just hurt his feelings a little or make him feel a bit disgraced.  It caused him to go commit suicide.  

It may sound shocking to you, but it shouldn’t.  When we get our sense of self-worth from people, this can easily happen.  If our identity is tied up in those around us, and they don’t approve of us, then, just like Ahithophel, we may feel like that is our only answer.  

When we are regarded by men as the best or regarded by men as not much, we need to keep our eyes on the Maker of heaven and earth.  He is the One who is our Strength.  He fights for us, gives us wisdom, lets us run to Him for refuge, and comforts us in times of need.  

Our identity comes from the One who created us, wonderfully, and willingly gave His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life.  God made us in His image, and calls us His own.  He created us with a purpose.  We are loved so much that Jesus chose to die for us–we were worth dying for.  

No matter what happens or what they say…stand on what God says, and run to Him when you need a word of encouragement.  He is always faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Choose to stay, with Him,

jamie

Leaning on God in our battles

“I’ve come to fight you in the name of the Lord Almighty.  Today the Lord will help me defeat you.”  (parts of 1 Sam. 17:45-46)

The Israelites were confronted by a giant that was larger and stronger than them.  They were so frightened they didn’t know what to do.  

Sometimes we are faced with enemies or battles that feel the same way.  And some battles take a while.  Perhaps, like the Israelites giant, the challenge in our lives is given every morning and every night for 40 days.  I once had a health issue that lasted 7 ½ years.  

We can run away and hide, like some of them did.  Or we can lean on God, as David did.  

David realized the enemy was making fun of the army of the living God, and he knew that was not ok.  They mattered to God.  

We are children of the living God, and we matter to God, as well.  

Others criticized David, belittled him, and talked down to him, as he started to rise up against the enemy.  They may do the same to us; but David was strong in his resolve.  He remembered all the previous occasions on which the Lord had helped him defeat an enemy or overcome an obstacle, and he said, “He will keep me safe now.”

The King tried to have David fight in his armor, but it didn’t fit David.  He couldn’t fight like someone else.  He had to fight like him.  When we are in our battle, or facing our enemy, we have to fight with what the Lord has given us, and trust that the Lord will keep us safe, just as He did David, and just as He has done for us in the past.

The enemy laughed in David’s face, but David said, I’ve come to you in the name of the Lord!  He didn’t try to fight in his own strength.  He didn’t have to.  He knew the Lord would help him defeat the enemy.  

He will do the same for us.  The battle may rage, we may have to endure, but the Lord will always be on our side, and He will fight for us!  When we lean into Him in our weakest moments, His strength will always carry us through; and He will prove that the enemy can be defeated with the smallest of actions.  

Just believe,

jamie

Who/what is driving our choices?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the moment he left Samuel, after he was anointed to become king.  The Bible says that God made him a different person.  The Lord had also helped Saul defeat the army of the Ammonites when they came against the town of Jabesh, rescuing the people, when His Spirit once again came upon Saul.  

The Lord had sent a thunderstorm in the middle of the dry season to show his power and might.  And Samuel reminded them of all the other amazing things that God had done for them before.  

Now, another army is coming against them, and King Saul’s soldiers are shaking in their boots.  Fear is a natural human emotion, but the Lord had continued to prove Himself to them over and over again, so they knew they had a Helper to watch their backs.  Other soldiers had run off and left, and suddenly Saul, the one who had been anointed, the one who had become a different person, the one upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had come again and again took on the fear and the worry of the others around him, and he began to worry, as well.  

Not only that, but Samuel, who was supposed to come and offer sacrifices to the Lord for them, had not yet come.  Where was he!?  (enter nail-biting)

Saul, let all of this fear and worry from these outside sources drive his choices, and he took matters into his own hands.  If that doesn’t sound like us, I don’t know what does.  

Things look scary, people say things that drive up our fear, worry, or anxiety, and it doesn’t seem like help is anywhere to be found.  All the while, the Holy Spirit…the Comforter…is living inside of us.  The One who gives peace, who guides us into all understanding, who leads us into the right paths, is living within us, and is ready to help us make choices that are not driven by outside circumstances, but by faith, by hope, by truth, trust, and peace.  

Not only does the spirit of fear not come from the Lord; but when we keep our eyes on Him, He allows His perfect peace to be ours.  With that peace guarding our minds and hearts, we are able to trust Him to fight our battles, just like He’s done in the past; and go forth, in victory!

Don’t bite those nails,

jamie 

You’ve been heard

My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles!  I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light.  Micah 7:8

Have you ever felt that way?  You might have had enemies or just troubles.  For a moment you might have fallen.  Perhaps your enemies were more like regular complaints that caused you to feel like your falling.

Maybe you were in the dark, but all of sudden there was the light.  The Lord was there to remind you that He was the light of the world, and  you would not be overtaken by any of it!  

Something like verse 7 might have sprung to your mind, that says, “But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for Him to answer my prayer.”

The waiting may feel longer sometimes than others, but rest assured, dear friend, that even if you’re going through that now, that He has heard you. 

Michael told Daniel, “Daniel, don’t be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the First days you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here.”

The light of the world hears your humble cries.  He will not let you stumble.  God Most High will still be your Refuge in times of need. And He is still the lifter of your head.

Call upon Him and keep trusting,

jamie

Don’t lose your balance

“So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.”  2 Peter 3:17

That’s what it says in the CEV.  In The Passion Translation, it says, “Be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip of the truth.”

Either way, when we have our eyes on others, we can be led in the wrong direction, lose our grip on the truth, lose our balance, and even fall. 

This is why Paul told us to plant our roots in Christ, and to let Him be the foundation for our lives.  He also told us to set our hearts on what is in heaven.  John tells us to keep thinking about the message we first heard so that we will always be one in our hearts with the Son, and the Father, just as the Holy Spirit has taught us to do. 

Where are your roots getting their nourishment right now?  Make sure that you are planted in Christ, first and foremost.  What was that message you first heard?  Do you need to go back to the B.I.B.L.E?  Do you need to remind yourself that, “Jesus Loves Me, this I know?” 

Let me affirm you right now, and remind you that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.  You have also been blessed with the Holy Spirit…the same powerful Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.  You belong to Christ, who is over every power & authority, and in His name, you are more than a conqueror! 

Brothers & sisters, I encourage you, with the words of Paul, “But you must stay deeply rooted & firm in your faith.  You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news.”  Col. 1:23

No matter what is going on around you, and what choices others are making, know that you are loved, you have power, and you can keep your balance as you stay on the path with the Lord.  Take time to nourish yourself.  It matters.  

Dig those roots in,

jamie

A sacrifice worth making

I love the Lord’s timely reminders.  Were your feelings hurt this week like mine?  Have you been in conflict with someone and you haven’t yet shaken it off?  Is there a moment of pain you continue to pray about? 

It’s time to forgive and move on. 

Here’s the deal.  The person who hurt you is a human, just like you.  They are affected by stressors, spiritual powers, and the same fluctuating & selfish traits of humanity as us.  Sometimes others go into protection mode, too.  And sometimes others don’t always act like “perfect Christians” either. 

With that in mind, we need to pray for that other person or people.  I said it.  And you can do it.  Also, I do not mean praying for their demise.  I mean pray for them as you would pray for yourself.  Pray for them as though they are one of God’s children, because they are. 

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, I will remind you that this is scriptural.  Jesus told us to pray for those who mistreat us and to love our enemies.  I don’t typically think of anyone as my enemy, but if there is something keeping us from wanting to pray for someone, then perhaps that qualifies. 

Praying for someone who has hurt us is a beautiful sacrifice of love.  It also allows us to see them the way God does, and to remember that they need a bit of grace, as well.  Suddenly, forgiveness becomes possible, and we are free from that burden we’ve been carrying around.  We will see, once again, how the truth in God’s Word will set us free! 

Note:  Forgiveness is about us being obedient to the Word.  Some relationships can then be reconciled, in a beautiful, and sometimes miraculous way.  Others, especially if it’s a dangerous situation, may not need to be, and that’s ok. 

Let God set you free today!  Forgive,

jamie

Why so afraid?

Heb. 13:6 “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I read & prayed over this verse 3 days ago, as well as another, which ends with, “Whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

And then yesterday I was in a setting where I have very little control, and where just 8 days prior come out physically altered and injured.

I’d love to say that I quoted those verses to myself and held strong, but the truth is that I crumbled and cried like a baby. I literally sobbed…in front of people. Ugh.

Then my pain was called into question. My past was brought up. Other conditions in my life were brought up, and even the world’s stress was mentioned. And I felt that my pain had been invalidated.

In a situation where I already had very little control, I suddenly felt smaller and discredited. I left feeling broken, victimized, and hurt. And my posture, for the rest of the day, showed it.

I made a choice. A natural human choice, but a poor one. 2 days prior I’d read that God is my Helper. 3 days prior I taught about it! I had just been reminded not to fear man, and to trust in the Lord; and here I was, focusing on feeling victimized.

Isn’t that so typical of us? I’m sure I’m not alone.

This morning, I woke up remembering that the Lord is my Helper, and I wanted to remind you, as well. Whatever it is you’re going through, look to Him.

Whatever pain you are in…and don’t let others tell you it isn’t real…look to Him for your comfort. For He says, “I am the Lord, the One who encourages you. Why are you afraid of mere humans? They dry up and die like grass.” Is. 51:12. He can be trusted.

Encouraged,

jamie