Are you listening to me!?

Pr. 10:26: “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him.”

Have you ever had smoke from a fire get into your eyes?  I recently did, and it is extremely uncomfortable.  Not only that, but it set off a chain of events that caused more discomfort.  My eyes were irritated and watering, my nose began to run and become stuffy, and my throat began to hurt.

Does your mind link that with a lazy person not doing what you sent them to do?

As a parent, I understand that my kids are not necessarily lazy, but their lack of ‘following orders’ mirrors that of someone lazy on occasion.  My son will just keep moving and pretend he didn’t hear me.  My daughter will instantly begin to play with one of our 2 cats.

It does cause me a bit of discomfort when I realize they have no intentions of doing what I just asked.  Then I have to stop what I’m doing to give them a reminder.  “Oh yeah!,” they say, and then they move to do it.

Occasionally I find that, even though they moved at the 2nd command, they still aren’t doing what I’ve asked.  Now there is a bit of irritation.  If what they are supposed to do is something to help us get out the door to go somewhere, it does set off a chain of events that could definitely cause us to be late, or cause tension as we go, instead of peace.

What about when God asks us to do something?  Ouch!  You felt that one, didn’t you?  I know I did.

When God asks us to do something, do we act like we didn’t hear him?  Do we try to move on and hope He’ll forget what He just asked.  Maybe someone else can do it.  Do we just ignore it and begin to do something we’d rather do instead hoping He didn’t really mean it.  Do we say, “Ok, I’ll do it,” but then move on to the next distraction?  🐱

When we don’t obey our Father, we are acting like the lazy man.  We are irritating His plans, possibly causing a chain of reaction that makes what He was trying to accomplish more difficult.

Not only that, but we miss out on the opportunity to please our Father and to have peace.  I don’t know about you, but when I ignore His requests, it eats at me and I know I’m wrong.  It causes tension in our relationship.

What He asks us to do may not be on our personal list of priorities or on that bucket list we’ve created.  It may require a sacrifice of us, but His thoughts and ways are still higher than ours.  What He has planned is for someone’s good… maybe ours, maybe someone else’s.

Whatever it is, like a parent asking a child to do something, He has his reasons.  Let’s just trust Him and do it.

Listening,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 10

Lord, how I do love Your Word.  Not only is it the weapon You have given us against the enemy, but it is life, and truth, and love.  Your Word is living and powerful.  It transforms and reforms.  It cleanses and guides.  It breathes life into our thirsty souls.

I love Pr. 10:3, that says You will not allow the righteous soul to famish.  Lord, Your Word is living water and food for our hungry souls.  Only You can fill the void within us.  That is why we can delight in Your Word and in Your commandments; because Your Word protects us, shapes us, and breathes truth into our inmost beings.

Lord, we can walk securely and at liberty when we follow Your precepts.  Your precepts and commands are what keep us safe.  In Proverbs 10, Solomon wrote of the peril, destruction, danger, and consequences of living a life outside of Your will.  But, oh my God, You made us Your righteousness through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and You, Lord, will keep us safe when we follow You.

Lord, keep my feet from stumbling onto any path that is not laid out by You.  When I face a fork in the road, let Your law I have kept be my compass.  Let Your statutes I have meditated upon make my decisions easy and my choices clear.  Lord, Your Word gives me very clear guidance.  Help me to heed it.

Thank You that Your way is strength for the upright.  Thank You that the righteous will never be removed, and that our labor leads to life.  Thank You for the security, the love, and the salvation that You have given us.

Oh God, let me be wise enough to make You glad.  Let my life please You and be a sweet-smelling offering for You, as I walk in love and in Your wisdom.  You are the amazing God!

I love you,

jamie

Integrity? Or just the appearance of it?

Pr. 10:9:  “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

It is important to have moral principles and live an upright life, but if it something that is only for appearance, then we’ve erred.

Jesus spoke to the ‘religious’ people, the scribes and Pharisees, about their own integrity.  Outwardly, they gave the impression that they were full of integrity and religion.

Jesus pointed out to them; however, that they were missing the fundamental things of Him:  justice, mercy, and faith.  Their ways had become perverted, and Jesus made it known.

Maybe others cannot, but the Lord can see past the surface into the truth of our hearts.  And a relationship is a choice that is made on the inside.

We can say we have a boyfriend or girlfriend.  We can wear a necklace that bears their name, change our status on Facebook, tell everyone we know all about them.  If we are still secretly dating other people; however, the truth is we have not made the choice to be in a true relationship.

When we have a relationship with God, it is what is truly in our hearts that matters.  No amount of cross necklaces, church attendance, or declarations will replace the decision to turn our lives over to Him alone.

God doesn’t want us to pretend we have a relationship with Him anymore than another person would want us to do that with them.  He is worth us making the choice to truly choose Him and devote ourselves to investing in our relationship with Him.

That’s the integrity that brings security:  security in knowing that God is for us, with us, and that eternal life is ours!

In a relationship,

jamie

 

Profits of sin

Pr. 10:2:  “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”

So, I tried to make these wreaths with my kids today.  They look so cute, right?

I left them in the oven too long and they all melted into big red and white blobs.  (This lovely picture came off the internet)

Later today I thought about those blobs.  Have you ever seen a sin that seemed like just the right thing to do?  You anticipate how it will be.  You romanticize the outcome.  You think of all the possible positive outcomes, and overlook all the negatives.  It seems like the perfect plan.

And then, in the aftermath, it turns into a big melted, messy blob.  It looks nothing like your original idea, and the whole place smells of smoke.

Steer clear,

jamie

 

 

 

Hope that won’t perish

Pr. 10:28:  “The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”

This proverb reminds me of the scripture I was reading this morning in John 10.  Verses 11-16 of John 10 are the words of Jesus:

I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.  The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, have heard the voice of our Shepherd and become righteous only through Him.  Our hope certainly is gladness when our hope is in our Lord and Savior, for we know of the goodness of the Lord.

It is the expectation of the wicked, those who hope in anything other than God, that will perish.  When we count on hirelings to care for us, give us hope, come through for us, guide us, protect us, lay down their lives for us, our expectation will surely perish.

Only God has laid down His life for us.  Others will inevitably let us down.  They are not our true Shepherd.  Sometimes the hirelings in our lives leave us, allow us to be caught, cause us to be scattered.  And though some hirelings do care, people can change, and we must not look to hirelings for our ultimate hope.

We must make sure we our listening for the voice of our good Shepherd and looking to Him for protection, hope, guidance, and care.  He has already laid His life down for us, and will care for His flock like no other ever could.

Jesus said He knows His sheep, and He has already laid down His life to protect His own from the wolf.  We must continue to make sure the voice we follow is His, and that we do not allow a hireling to cause us to be scattered from the flock.  When our hope is rooted solely on the Lord, our expectation will never perish, for the Lord, alone, proves Himself to be faithful.

Don’t place your entire hope on anyone or anything besides your true and good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  True gladness awaits.

Listening for My Shepherd,

jamie

Is your foundation stable?

Pr. 10:25:  “When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”

I remember years ago, as I rolled off a skating rink, my feet went forward out from under me and I fell straight down on my tailbone.  It looked much like this:

 

When I envision a whirlwind passing by, this image pops into my mind.  When we are living in sin, our foundation is as unstable as a pair of roller skates on an unexpected incline.  We are governed by our feelings, urges, and desires, which are ever-changing.  We are being led by a liar whose sole intent is to destroy us and steal from us.  He wants nothing more than to keep us from the inheritance that has already been provided for us.

Oh, but that everlasting foundation!!  There is nothing like it.  What are the lyrics to that song, “Just like a tree, planted by the water, I shall not be moved.”  When we are being led by the Almighty God, and Savior of this world, our roots go so deep that we cannot be moved.

Psalm 1 talks about those who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but delight in the law of the Lord, and His law, meditating on it day and night.  Vs. 3 says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Vs. 4-5:  “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

This is serious stuff.  We are either firmly rooted in the Lord, righteous and destined to stand in the judgment which will take us to everlasting life; or we are on unstable footing that will be knocked out from under us by the whirlwind that passes by and we will lose our rightful inheritance.

Jesus died so that we would have everlasting life.  He came as our Cornerstone.  He is the Rock on which we can build our lives.  If we build our lives on Him, neither the rains, the floods, nor the wind can make us fall.

The Lord does not desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and salvation.  Let’s ensure that our foundation is the stable, unshakable, immovable, unchangeable Lord.  No need to be swept away by the whirlwind that was meant for satan.

Standing firm,

jamie

 

Feeding the hungry

Pr. 10:21:  “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.”

This verse instantly makes me think about my Pastor.  Give or take a few services, he feeds thousands of God’s sheep in the pews 144 times each year.  Not only that, but he ensures that we are being fed during the other services, equips us with daily devotions, sends out blogs almost daily for extra nourishment; and for 40 extra days each year, at his urging, we gather as a church for very personal and intentional time with the Lord.

Certainly, our Pastor disburses to us the Bread of Life and the Living Water on a continual basis.  Anyone who is truly hungry or thirsty for eternal things, and encounters our Pastor, will find provisions awaiting them there.

How does our Pastor feed so many?  I think part of it can be summed up in a declaration he made several years ago.  He declared that Jesus is the true Pastor/Shepherd of our church and our earthly Pastor is merely the servant charged with carrying out God’s will in our midst.  He has submitted his life and his will to the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result, the Bread of Life literally moves throughout our midst without hindrance.

He also diligently studies the Word of God.  His study of the Word is intensive and intentional, and his eyes are continually opened in new ways to “old” verses and passages.  He is open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit in not only his life, but in his studies.

He is also unafraid to ask listen to and ask questions of others around him with regard to scriptures.  He truly wants to know what others have gleaned from the scriptures and is constantly seeking more from God.

I read Luke 2:46 today which says, “Now so it was after three days they found Him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”

This is a wonderful example that Jesus set for us.  Vs. 47 says, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”  When we get into the presence of God, when we diligently seek Him in the temple, when we ask questions of and listen to those who are laboriously in the Word, and when we seek answers in His Word, we find understanding and answers.

This Proverb says that fools die for lack of wisdom.  When it comes to learning more of God, we cannot afford to be headstrong, proud, hardened, or unteachable.  We must be willing to submit to Him in order for Him to reveal Himself more and more to us.  We must be willing to consider the teachings of those whose job it is to dig into the Word, find the answers, and guide us through that understanding.

Most importantly, though, we must know the Word and be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, so that we may, in turn, begin to feed those around us.  People around us are hungry for the Bread of Life, and thirsty for Living Water.  Sometimes it is up to us to release those things to them.  We must feed some people ourselves, but we must have something to offer.  We can’t leave it all up to 1 Pastor.

Dig in so you can dish it out!

jamie