Month of Prayer, Day 13

Lord, just like the writer of Ps. 119:59, I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.  I made haste and did not delay, for Your Word says that those who disdain correction will find poverty and shame.  Those who regard a rebuke; however, will be honored.  Lord, more than honor for me, I want my life to honor You.  Thank You for delivering me from destruction.

Pr. 13:4 says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”  Lord, if it takes me getting up at midnight to praise You; or reading Your Word in the early hours of the morning, that is what I will do.  I will be diligent in my pursuit of You in order that my soul might be rich.  You are better than any treasure.  The wisdom that I gain from Your Word is life-giving and more advantageous than any other knowledge I could gain.  When I listen to my Father’s instructions, I am wise.

Guide my feet to wise men and women who also fear You.  Give me companions that keep Your precepts and understand that the earth is full of Your mercy.  This way, Lord, You may turn us away from the snares of death.

Help me to act with knowledge and not folly.  Help me to fear Your commandments all the days of my life.  I long for that eternal reward…eternity with You.  I love You, Lord, and I thank You for giving me Your Word and for loving me enough to discipline me when necessary.  Thank You for wanting me that much.  You are an amazing Father!

I love you,

jamie

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Guard that mouth

Pr. 13:3:  “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”

Not every thought that passes through our minds needs to be spoken. 

A few years ago, I learned this affirmation from Bishop David L. Kemp.  It’s worth sharing.

I shall T-H-I-N-K before I speak by asking the following:

T-Is it true?

H-Is it helpful?

I-Is it inspiring?

N-Is it needed?

K-Is it kind? 

If you cannot answer yes to all of those questions, then don’t say it.

Lord, help us to THINK before we open wide our lips.

Daily reminded,

jamie

Desiring those Great riches

Pr. 13:7:  “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

This Proverb is actually the one that spoke to me on Saturday, but I was unable to get to a computer that day.  However, this morning I cannot pass it up to move on to another.

I read Luke 5 on Saturday, as well, and was touched by verse 11, which describes the decision/actions of James, John, and Simon.  “…they forsook all and followed Him.”

These men gave up their plans, their businesses, and their comforts of home to follow Jesus.  What a lovely example of sacrifice they set for us.

Truly they made themselves poor, but as we know, they were far richer in following Jesus than they had ever been before they knew and served Him.

Making ourselves rich is not always the most profitable.  Having possessions does not always mean we have the most.

If our efforts to fit in, to possess, to take the common path, or to attain more for security, we often become poorer and poorer in spirit.  We run out of time for prayer.  (I’ll pray on the way to work)  In talking about our plans, we run out of time to talk about the Lord when we sit in our house, walk by the way, lie down, or rise up.  (Deut. 6)

We’re so busy trying to catch up on our sleep and get things done that the Word of God sits neglected on the shelf.  (I’m sure a devotional email will come through during the day.  I will slow down then to read it.)  Slowly, but surely, our spirit is undervalued and decay begins.

We cannot see the neglect caused to our spirits with physical eyes, the way we can see the deterioration of a house or a pet; however, the decline is still very real.

Following Jesus may me we have less earthly wealth or possessions.  Serving Jesus may mean we have to abandon relationships that stand between us and Him.  Serving Him may mean we have to change our own plans in order to do His will.

Following Jesus; however, will make us far richer in the things that truly matter.  We cannot undervalue our spiritual health and expect to become richer in Him.  We must invest in ourselves and our relationship with the One who matters most of all.  Riches will follow.

Following Him,

jamie

Oh, the love in correction

Pr. 13:18:  “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”

I’m sure it’s just the unconscious “I’m 5 now and it’s time to push all the boundaries” type of situation, but we have noticed a pattern of behavior in our little Levi lately.

It may seem unfair or shocking to you, but yesterday we felt it was necessary to have him pack away his toys and put them away until he can correct this issue within himself.  Because of our great love for Levi, we feel it’s very important to correct his disrespectful behavior while he is still young.  We understand, even if he doesn’t, that hitting, lying, and purposefully disobeying will not bring good to him throughout his life.

Truly poverty has come upon this little guy as his room is void of any toys and actually has an echo to it when you walk in.  He has been shamed in front of his sister who is making wiser choices and has a room full of toys.  He has the choice now to either disregard our newest correction, or to regard this rebuke and receive honor.

If he doesn’t receive our correction, things could stay that way for a while.  Certainly, however, as we see that his heart is receiving the message, he will begin to receive his toys back.

He is a little young for the in-depth conversations of cause and effect, consequences, and the laws of reaping what you sow, although I do counsel them both on these truths in ways they can understand.  He can, however, see the truth of cause and effect before his eyes when his intentional behavior causes him to lose privilege after privilege.

Poor guy.  I don’t like it, but we are told in the word that we must correct him now to save his soul, and that if he will honor his parents his life will go well.  There is more at stake than just behavior and compliance.

Naturally we want to train him in a way to prevent him from going to prison or being fired from a job in his later years. More importantly, though, is that in order to receive eternal life, he must humble himself before the Lord.  If he is to humble himself before a God he cannot see, he must be able to be humble.  Disrespect, selfishness, and lying are not attributes of a humble heart.  He must be taught and trained, and we love him too much not to try.

Just like him, sometimes we need correction to reveal to us that our heart is becoming hardened in sin or we are slipping into patterns of behavior that will drive us away from the Lord.  When correction comes our way, we can be thankful that God loves us enough to take the time to correct us.  He is slow to anger and rich in love.  Correction is not meant to be tyranny or manipulation, but point us back toward His loving arms.

Reminded,

jamie

What lights your path?

Pr. 13:9:  “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”

On my own, I’m pretty dysfunctional, at best.  I’m easily distracted and love to have fun.  That is why I need the guidance, wisdom, and leading of the Lord.  Its imperative that I have a plan.  Without a goal in mind, I am wandering aimlessly through this life with a path dimly lit.

If my goals center around worldly things such as monetary success, an HGTV-worthy house, the sexiest clothes, the most well-behaved children, or the most checks on my list, then my path is dimly lit, to be sure.  I am counting on things that lead to nothing and have no eternal value.  That is why I must draw my goals from the Word that promises to lead me to heaven.

I can sometimes become distracted by the dim things, but God’s ultimate goal for my life begins to speak louder and pull my focus back on His plan.  So my kids didn’t go to the trendiest camp this summer.  They do spend time intentional time with me daily in the Word and in prayer.  Maybe they are louder than necessary a little more often than they should be, but hearing my son pretending to preach or sing worship songs at the top of his voice warms my heart.

Maybe my laundry was only 1/2 done, but that’s because I took extra time to cuddle a little boy who just needed the undivided attention of his mommy, or to take my daughter to the park.  And yes, even though the towels are still in the dryer waiting to be folded, I sometimes still just plop down on the couch at the end of the day and do nothing but spend time with my husband.

My mornings belong to God, and even if the dryer still holds that laundry, it can wait.  After kissing my husband, the first priority of my day is to get into the Word.  While I like having a clean house and even well-behaved, well-rounded kids, those things are not my ultimate goal.  The Word of God is a lamp that guides my feet.  It lights my path.  It is where I find my plan.  In the Word, I find what is of most importance.  It is in those things that I find reason to rejoice.

Nothing would bring me more joy than ministering with husband years from now, while watching my children walk in the truth and teaching their own kids to do the same.  While it’s ultimately up to my children what they will do with God’s truth, my goal is to lead them on the path brightly lit by God’s presence and His wisdom.  With God’s help I will stay on task.

Blog to honor God.  √

jamie

 

 

The fountain has been found!

Pr. 13:14:  “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

I love this word picture.  A fountain of life.  Isn’t that something for which people have been searching for ages?  Oh, wait.  That’s the fountain of youth.  🙂

A fountain of life sounds so much better.  Life springing forth; arching and splashing; shining, shimmering, and refreshing.  Wow!

The Word of God is just such a fountain.  His laws, His wisdom, His words of salvation are full of life…eternal life that will keep us from the snares of death.  His laws aren’t binding, restrictive constraints to keep us enslaved.  His laws give us freedom.  His Spirit gives us liberty.  His salvation gives us eternal life.

Sin, on the other hand, binds us and keeps us captive to its ways.  It brings pain, heartache, destruction, and death.  Satan came to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus came to bring to salvation to all who believe and call upon His name.

Who has been bound in a negative way by forgiving?  I can see that forgiveness splashing over onto others.  Who has been enslaved by loving others as himself?  Love springs forth, creating even more love.  God’s Word offers life that is beautiful.  When you love God with all your heart and soul, you become a light that shines in the dark places of the souls of others.  You refresh the dry soul and lead them towards eternal life and joy.

If you want to turn away from the snares of death, the Word is what you need.  If you want to enjoy a fountain of life, the Word is what you need.  Don’t believe the lies that the Word will bind you.  It is satan and his sins that bind.  Jesus came specifically to set you free!  Splash through the pages of the fountain of life today.

Enjoy the freedom,

jamie

What desires are you accomplishing?

Pr. 13:19:  “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.”

What do you desire?  Whatever it is you are desiring is what will seem sweet to you.  If you rejoice in the Lord and feel that nothing else you could desire can ever compare to Him, He and His word will seem sweet to you.  If you are rejoicing in sinful desires, those pleasures will seem so sweet to you that departing from them will feel abominable.

You can tell which you are desiring the most by your habits.  Which habits are the ones you can’t give up?  Which habits would you choose to maintain if you were given an ultimatum?

When I hit “publish” this morning, this will be my 100th blog.  That accomplishment feels very sweet to me.  I can tell you that waking up in the morning, spending time with God, and writing this blog have brought me closer than ever to the Lord God Almighty.

I would not trade this for anything in the world.  Reading the Word is crucial to my existence, but digging in, giving it further thought, and trying to make my thoughts make some rational sense has brought me to a new level in my Christian walk.  The Word literally replays in my mind throughout each day, and I see illustrations that relate to it in my daily life.

Contrast that with sinful habits.  How could telling the truth actually be in your best interest?  Do you think that lying will help you get out of sticky situations and will make you look better?  Not so.  Being a man or woman of integrity not only makes you trustworthy, but allows you to place yourself in God’s hand, knowing that He blesses those who follow His commands.  Desire to be honest and full of integrity and look back in 100 days at the difference it has made in your life and the lives around you.

Do you feel like those lustful thoughts or actions cannot be avoided?  Look at Job.  He actually made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a woman.  His covenant made him virtuous, but also allowed Him to trust in the Lord with all His heart.  He understood that God is the only desire that truly satisfies, and he truly believed that God was enough.  He knew that honoring the Lord by his actions would allow the Lord to be his strength.  Ask God to help you make it through the day, honoring Him by not looking lustfully at a man or woman.  He will help you, and at the end of the day You will see that God is faithful and that your desire accomplished is sweet to your soul.

We could go on and on listing sinful and damaging habits.  The fact is Jesus came and took our sins on the cross.  The blood of Jesus can cover any sinful habit we have.  1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is born of God, and that His death on the cross has taken away our sins, we can also have faith that we have overcome the world, just as 1 John 5 tells us we have.

We can also know that our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.  He will deliver you, answer you, and be with you in trouble.

In faith, let’s get rid of all our shameful habits and replace them with habits that bring pleasures in the Lord.  Start today.  Imagine your life after you have accomplished your new habit 100 times.  It will be worth any sacrifice you may have to make.  James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Your crown of life awaits,

jamie