Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 16

Lord, I love you this morning.  I woke up thinking about trusting You.  I’m so thankful that was my first thought of the day.  Pr. 16:20 says, “Whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he.”  How true that is!

Lord, the running theme in my verses this morning was that no matter our plans or ideas, You have the final Word.  But better than that is the fact that You are faithful and You are directing us into good things.  Even when we are afflicted, it is to produce something good in our lives.

Yesterday I read again that trials produce perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint.  What a wonderful thing to know.  Thank You for that reassurance and those promises.  No matter what the affliction, we can trust that You are producing endurance, character, and hope in our lives.  Thank You.  I see no reason not to trust in the One who does these things.

Help me to depart from evil today.  Help me to rule my spirit and not allow anger to drive me.  Help my words to be pleasant today, as Your Word says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I love you, Lord.  I am so proud and honored to be called Yours.  I know that as You direct my steps, Your love is with me.  Thank You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hoarding treasure

Pr. 16:21:  “The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.”

I was reading Matthew 13:52 this morning, which is one of those verses I never noticed before.  Here is the verse:

“Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

This is what Matthew Henry’s commentary said, “A skillful, faithful minister of the gospel is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them.  Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends.  Old experiences and new observations, all have their use.  Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.”

Our place is at Christ’s feet.  If we can get that right, the wisdom and learning will come.

When we are speaking to others about Christ, it will be the combination of old lessons we’ve experienced and new observations we are daily experiencing that will bring it all together.  Every day we learn more about Christ, and sometimes those things enlighten us to the older things we’ve already gone through or learned.  It all adds to what we know.

Even those old lessons we learned that we’d rather not share, can help bring credibility to what we say.  If we’ve been through something and learned more about Christ through it, perhaps that will be the thing that will most connect with the person with whom we are speaking.

Perhaps telling someone that God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light is best said when you share about a time when you found out the hard way just how heavy the burden of sin became for you.  Perhaps the childhood verse you learned about hiding God’s word in your heart means so much more when you read Mt. 13:52 that says a scribe is the one who brings out old treasures to combine with the new.

We bring out of the treasure of our knowledge of Christ something to share with others.  Spending time with Christ is what gives us something to share.

Happy hoarding,

jamie

Carefully feeding your teacher

Pr. 16:23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

Last time we talked about how filling our hearts with righteous things would help ensure our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.

Proverb 16:23 reminds us that our hearts actually teach our mouths and add learning to our lips.  The things with which we are filling our hearts are teaching us.  They may be teaching us good and righteous things, but they could also be teaching us harmful/sinful things.

There is a particular music group that I cannot listen to.  I love their music!  Their style is fun, the tunes are catchy, and their voices blend in a harmony that pleases me deep in my soul.  I’m not the only one, either.  They are very popular.  The lyrics; however, are not exactly conducive to my Christian walk.  They sing about things I shouldn’t be thinking about, but I get those catchy songs in my mind and can’t quit singing them throughout the day.

As I sing those lyrics, those thoughts begin to take root within me and I find myself become discontented with my current walk.  I begin to think about the scenarios they create with their music and my flesh reacts to those thoughts.  I also feel my flesh begin to justify the sinful thoughts.  They’re popular songs, afterall.  It’s just the norm, right?

Those singers aren’t awful people, and I’ve certainly heard worse lyrics before.  I know my limits; however, so I in order to keep my heart from teaching my lips to sing those harmful/sinful things, I have to intentionally avoid this music.  (Not always easy.  I actually find myself sometimes craving those tunes.)

If we want to speak righteous things, and we understand our hearts teach our mouths, then it’s logical that we make intentional decisions in our lives.  We must be careful to fill our hearts with righteous things and to avoid those things we know are filling our hearts with harmful/sinful thoughts.

Even if it’s hard and unpopular, we must guard our hearts.  If we do, then we can be sure that the Lord can speak through us.

Carefully choosing,

jamie

 

Which way?

Pr. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie

In times of doubt

Pr. 16:3:  “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”

King David knew betrayal and fear in his lifetime.  What had David done to Saul?  Nothing.  It was Saul’s own sin and distress that caused him to make poor decisions.  David had nothing to do with those things.  Yet, Saul tried to kill David on more than one occasion.

In Psalm 11, we get a glimpse of David wondering about his trust in the Lord.  He says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  With God as his foundation, David wondered what he could do if that trust was destroyed?

This is a temptation that comes upon us all.  There are times of pain, sadness, doubt, sickness, sorrow, or confusion when we wonder at God’s plans.  We know that His thoughts are not the same as ours.  We know His ways are not our own.  We understand that He holds the world in His hands and that He is sovereign.  Yet, there are times when we are tempted to lose our trust in Him.

David, continues; however, stating what He knows to be true about the Lord.  (vs. 4-7)  He reminds Himself why His trust has been placed in the Lord, and why that trust is not misplaced.

We can see this Proverb proven in this time of David’s temptation and reassurance.  He had committed his ways to the Lord since childhood.  He had trusted in the Lord’s might enough to face and kill Goliath.  He knew what God could do and was willing to do.  He knew the things that displease God.

Even though David was tempted with doubt and despair, his thoughts were established.  His commitment to the Lord, his knowledge of the Lord, and his trust in the Lord created a firm foundation on which he could placed his trust.

It is our commitment to the Lord and our knowledge of Him that allows us to have that same foundation.  When times of doubt sneak upon us, we need to know the One in whom we are trusting.  If we know Him, our thoughts will be established, and on our solid foundation, He will pull us up straight and strengthen us by our trust in Him.

Continue getting to really know Him.  He is our foundation!

Steadying myself in Him,

jamie

 

 

Before you fall…

Pr. 16:18:  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of my funniest “pride” moments was on stage during a play.  There was silence and I was thinking, “Who forgot their line?  Someone needs to be talking right now!”  The next thing I heard was someone speaking my line to me in the form of a question.  Because it turns out that I was the one who forgot their line, I was being rescued from embarrassment and the play was being rescued from silence.  Ha!

I can remember another moment of pride that is not quite so funny.  I received a letter once from a friend during a sinful time in my life.  Since she lived over 8 hours away, she wrote to let me know that she was concerned about the fact that my choices were going against God’s word.  She was concerned for my soul.  What an amazing friend!!  Truly she was living out Gal. 6:1, which says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any sin, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.”

She was right, of course, but my pride and sin’s grip caused me to become angry as I read that letter.  I remember saying aloud that she needed to mind her own business and I wadded up the letter and threw it in the trash.  Oh, how I wish I would have heeded her words!  Her letter was something only a true friend can write.  It did plant a seed; however, and that was actually when I began feeling and hearing the Lord calling me back to Him.    (Thank you, my beautiful Amie.  I love you, girl!)

King Uzziah is recorded as a good and successful king of Judah.  2 Ch. 26:4 says, “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”  From there, we see that as long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made Him prosper.  God helped him defeat his enemies, become prosperous, and become famous far and wide and gain much loyalty.

2 Ch. 26:16, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he sinned against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.”  The Lord helped King Uzziah to become strong and mighty, but after he became strong, Uzziah’s pride caused him to think he was worthy to enter the temple of the Lord and do the job of priests.

God was very specific with His instructions about the temple, the priests, the altar, etc.  Because of Uzziah’s prideful decision, he was struck with leprosy, isolated, and cut off from the house of the Lord until the day he died.

Pride is an indicator of sin’s grip on our hearts.  We must remember the true source of our strength and provision.  Humbling ourselves before the King of Kings gives Him the opportunity to bless us, keep us, be gracious to us, and to give us true peace.  May God bless you today?

Bending my knee to Him,

jamie