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.

Don’t quit now

Farkle.  Have you ever played?  It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.  My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.  He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”  I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.  You lose your points.”  Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”  Nope!  That was also not an option.  We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.  Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,  He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.  Just let me die.”  And then he fell asleep.  If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  We don’t run without a goal.  He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”  Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!  There is no 2nd place with God.  There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.  We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Can I have some breakfast?

My daughter walks into the kitchen almost every morning and asks, “Can I have some breakfast?”  This is her home.  It’s breakfast time.  She is old enough and capable enough to fix food on her own.  There is even food in the kitchen.  And yet, she asks this question almost daily.

After she asked it this morning, I thought about the words Jesus told us to pray to our Father in heaven, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Jesus told us to look to the Father as our faithful Provider.  He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  (Per Phil. 4:19)

We don’t have to worry or fret about our physical needs.  In fact, Jesus specifically told us not to.  We are God’s image-bearers.  He will care for our physical needs so that we can pursue needs higher than those.

We just have to ask Him to provide for those physical needs, be grateful for and content with what He gives us, and be willing to move on and pursue the higher calling ahead of us.  Our lives are about more than food and clothing.  There is a much higher calling placed upon each of us.

After breakfast, it’s time to get to work.

Eat up!

jamie

God always wins!

Some interesting reading this morning in Psalms.

First I read Ps. 76, which talks about how God always wins.  He is God.  Famous.  Honored in Israel.  On Mt. Zion He destroyed fiery arrows, shields, swords, and all the other weapons.

He is more glorious than the eternal mountains.  When He roars, enemy chariots & horses drop dead in their tracks.  He is fearsome and no one can oppose Him when He is angry.  He is also ready to rescue everyone in need.  Even the most angry people will praise Him when He is furious, and He destroys the courage of rulers & kings, making cowards of them.

Then I read Ps. 74, which talked about a nation in trouble.  People felt like God had rejected them.  It was asking for God to remember them.  It said, please don’t forget about Mt. Zion.  (the same Mt. Zion where He had destroyed those things above)

It talks about how God’s enemies roared like lions in the holy temple and placed their own banners there.  Ah, but I remember God’s roar and the damage it can do…

The enemies used axes & hatchets to smash the carvings in God’s temple, and they burned down the temple & badly disgraced it.  They burned every one of God’s meeting places all over the country.  There were no more meeting places & no more prophets.  The question was where was God?  How long would He wait?

But His Word says, that even the most angry people will praise Him, and He destroys the courage of rulers, making cowards of them.

God hasn’t left.  He does not change.  The Lord is truthful, and he can be trusted.

“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping His promises, as some people think He is.  In fact, God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.”  (2 Peter 3:9)  He is still being patient for those who would still turn to Him.

“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people.  He sent Him to save them!”  (John 3:17)

If we feel ourselves getting overwhelmed by what we see around us, we can be reminded to look to the One who is still in control and remind ourselves that there is a bigger reason for life here on Earth.  Things aren’t always as they seem.

God’s desire is that all would be saved and turn to Him.  Is that our desire, as well?  God loves the world so much that He sent His only Son to save them.  Do we love the world enough to tell them and show them and pray for them?  Or have we written the world off?  God said Jesus will return and we will be with Him in eternity.  Don’t lost heart, dear ones.

God hasn’t said it’s over yet.  Neither should we.  God always wins!

jamie

Trusting God…even with our enemies?

Why do we think that God’s Word won’t work?  We do that more often than we will probably admit.  I was reading Ro. 12 this morning, and there are several verses that remind us what the Lord says about 1 subject:

  • “Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you.  Ask Him to bless them and not to curse them.”   (vs. 14)
  • “Dear friends, don’t try to get even.  Let God take revenge.”   (vs. 19)
  • “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat.  And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”  (vs. 20)

From the youngest of ages, this is something we have to begin learning.  It goes against the flesh-nature of us all.  Kids learn immediately that they want their way.  They learn immediately who they feel safe around and who they don’t.  And find out who they can and cannot trust.

Same for us.  But, as Christians, we are told how to we are to handle the situation.  We are told to pray for them.  Ask God to bless them.  And then, if they need something, we are to supply that need, trusting that God’s Word is actually true.  If we say we believe in His Word, then we prove it by doing all of it, not just some, right?  Eeeeeek.

Jesus said, “I tell you love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.”  Does that mean we have to allow an enemy in our lives, submitting to them every minute?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  Wisdom from the Lord, and discernment from the Holy Spirit are certainly very helpful things to have in our lives, to guide us as we make decisions.

But we can pray for anyone, and forgive, finding the love of God for anyone…loving them as Christ loved us.  This will enable God to do the work that only He can do, and let Him prove that He and His Word are mighty and true.

We can’t just pick out all the parts of the Word that we want and leave the rest.  He will honor it all.  And He can be trusted.

Loving you,

jamie

Oh, those words.

  • Pr. 15:1:  “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stirs them up.”
  • Pr. 15:4: “Kind words are good medicine, but deceitful words can really hurt.”
  • Pr. 15:17: “A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred.”

Don’t we all long for kindness and love?  Not everyone is kind and loving, but these Proverbs aren’t wrong.  A kind word truly can soothe angry feelings, (I’ve tested it) whereas harsh words do stir them up. (sadly, I’ve pushed it on this one too many times to know)

Kind words are such good medicine.  And I’d rather sit and eat a raw potato in the presence of love than a 3-course meal with bickering, strife, sadness, and/or hatred.

I don’t think I’m the exception to this.

  • Pr. 15:30: “A friendly smile makes you happy, and good news makes you feel strong.”

Yep!  That’s for certain.  There’s nothing worse than seeing someone approaching with a big frown or a scowl on their face.  And nothing better than seeing a big smile.  🙂

And good news?  The effects can sometimes last for days!

Are we still in the business or habit of sharing good news or kind words?  Are we being intentional about encouragement and love?  Are we trying to make sure our words aren’t harsh or deceitful?

If not, this is a great reminder of the reasons why we should.  It matters to us and to the people around us.

Have a happy day!  🙂

jamie

Get off that rock! part 2

In the last blog, I told you how my son got distracted while eating his snack in his kayak and ran into the only rock in the vicinity.   We yelled and tried to warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.  He found himself stuck on the rock.  

He had some decisions to make about how to get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort on his part, so that he didn’t capsize, but he did it.  We were a bit further behind him, and we had to just watch as he did the work; hoping that he would be ok.

Technically, he could have even gotten out of his boat and tried to push or pull the boat loose, even though the river was a bit deep in that section.  The point is that it was completely up to him at that time.  He was the one making his own decisions.  And we just had to watch.

Sometimes we just have to sit back and watch people work out how to break free from their obstacles by themselves….even if we did warn them.  Isn’t that how our own endurance and character has grown in the past?

Who knows, they may ask for our help.  But if not it’s ok.  We know the One to call on to help them in their time of need, and He can be trusted.

Trusting God,

jamie

Get off that rock! part 1

While we were kayaking, my son started eating a snack.  While he was distracted with that, his kayak ran straight into the only huge rock sticking out in this section of the wide, clear river.  We’d even tried to yell and warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.

Sometimes we get distracted.  In life, we eat, clean the house, work, invest in relationships, drive places, pay bills, etc.  And while we’re distracted with those things, sometimes we run into the 1st big obstacle that sticks out.

People might even warn us.  But there we are.  Stuck on a rock.

We can stay there, stuck and unable to move forward.  We can let it be the place where we take up residence.  Or we can do like my son did and break free.

He knew how to safely get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort, but to him it was worth it.

If we’ve found ourselves stuck on some obstacle in life, it might be time to break free.

We may be able to just wiggle a tiny bit and quickly break away.  Small changes.  A new attitude.  A decision to simply move on.

Or we may find that it takes a bit more patience and effort to move on.  But, it will be worth it!

Distractions and obstacles are all it takes to keep us from remembering that God showed how much He loved us by having Christ die for us, that faith in Him causes God to accept us, and that Christ’s death has allows us to live in peace with God.

We are loved.  So we can get off the rock.  Those around us are loved, too.  They need to know it.

“Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper.  Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”  Ph. 4:8

Get off that rock! part 2

jamie

(not an actual picture of my son)  😉

Throw some shade

Pr. 10:12:  Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.

Overlooks the wrongs.  Doesn’t take notice.  Covers up.  Makes up for.  Forgives.

We went back to WV last weekend and kayaked about 3 miles down the river.  It was hot that day, and the river was low, which mean there wasn’t much current.  That can make some fun rapids, and it can be nice to be on the calm water for a bit; but after a while, it gets hotter, and the sun starts baking your skin.

As the temperature increased and my skin began to turn more red, I found myself seeking out the shady areas of the river.  I was looking for a reprieve.  I was looking for some relief.

I thought about how often, in life, others around us are looking for a reprieve.  They’re just looking for someone to let-up for a while because life has been baking them so much and things have been uncomfortable for some time.  They just need some relief.

Maybe that means we don’t remind them every time we see them of how disappointed we are with their choices, but instead we seek out some way to tell them how proud we are of something they’ve done.

Perhaps it means we don’t offer any advice this time, but just let them talk it out, and then we say we’re sorry for their pain and show them love.

Maybe it means we need to forgive them once and for all, and never bring it up again.

We could just need to completely change the way we speak.  God can help with that.

Sometimes, just remembering that there have been times in our own lives when we have needed a reprieve, and just a little relief, instead of the constant beating down from outside sources.

If there is something that isn’t right between someone and the Lord, you can ask the Holy Spirit to guide you about if you should speak or not, and then if so how and when.  I can assure you; however, that He won’t tell you to not let up and bring it up to them each time you see them, making them feel as though they are a failure or out of His reach.

In fact, praying for people is one of the most beautiful acts of love there is.  Not for our own will and way, but genuine prayers of love for those that we love, just as we would pray for ourselves.  God knows each one of our needs and will work out the plans He has for each one of our lives.  He can be trusted.  Hasn’t He show that in your own life?

Let’s give others some shade (in the best way), when we’re around them, and be the relief this world so badly needs.

“If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”  Jo. 13:35

loving you,

jamie

Good news!

Reading the book of Acts the last few days, I am reminded, once again, of the task at hand.  As Christians, our job is to share the good news about Christ.  If you’ve been looking for some good news to share, here it is:  Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, prophesied by David, Isaiah, Micah, and others.

He lived on earth, performing miracles and understanding all of our human trials and temptations.  He was crucified for our sins; and after 3 days, God raised Him to life!  He was then seen by more than 500 people before He was taken back up into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God.

When He ascended to heaven, we weren’t left powerless, but more power then came as the Holy Spirit was promised.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit would come upon His people and give them power, and then we would be able to tell everyone the good news.  Jesus said that His followers would be able to do even greater things than He did because He was going to His Father, God, and the Holy Spirit would then come.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn its people.  He sent Him to save them!  God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die.

Not only that, but Jesus understands our weaknesses, having been tempted in every way that we are, and He intercedes for us.  So when we are in need, we can go straight to God’s throne, in prayer, and receive the kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and grace that we need.  Jesus is there beside Him, acting as high priest, and speaking on our behalf.

So, if you needed some good news, I hope this helps!  If you know someone else who is looking for some good news, please share it with them.  This is the best news of all!  Jesus Christ died for all.  His death brought forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe.  And His Holy Spirit gives power and wisdom day after day to walk in the way that God would have us to go.  All we have to do is accept! 

enjoy!

jamie


An unseen enemy

I joined my son in tubing down the Greenbrier a few weeks ago.  Walk up, ride down, and repeat.  As we walked up once, I saw a water snake hiding in the grass.  It headed upstream as we got closer.

My son weren’t fighting the current that day, or the rocks just under the tubes…that wasn’t what we really needed to worry about…and that wasn’t I was watching out for.  I was looking out of the corner of my eye for what I knew was unseen.

Eph. 6:12 says that we are fighting evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but things we can’t see.

Therefore, we need to put on our armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle we will still be standing firm.  (The armor is described in Eph. 6:14-17)  And we are to PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion and stay alert!

My son didn’t even realize that I had been keeping an eye out the entire time.  Having grown up in the waters of WV, I knew that a snake was most definitely lurking in there somewhere.  They blend in so well, you can’t see them until you’re right up on them or they move.

I stopped my son, and we let it get well ahead of us before we continued.  The truth is that the snake had been there all along, hiding in the shallows, and we had gone by it at least 12 times.

I was definitely staying alert on that river.  I knew there was enemy somewhere.  So, when I saw it, I was able to protect us.

We also have an unseen enemy, who is skilled at keeping us worrying about all the wrong things, and we need to stay alert and keep praying, so God can give us that same pause and wisdom I had when I saw my enemy.  He can, and He will.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This song came on during my worship time this morning, and fits perfectly to this thought.  The waves and wind still know His name…He is still in control…and is still greater than he that is in this world.  If we keep our eyes on Him, it will be well with our souls.

I hope you can take a few moments sometime to today and worship the One who is still in control of all things, and gives you the shield of faith to stop all the fiery arrows of the devil!  Our enemy will never be stronger than our Lord.

Pray and stand firm,

jamie