Stop the flow while there’s time

Pr. 17:14:  “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.”

Can anyone attest to the truth of this!?

22 years ago today, my best friend died in a car wreck.  It was one of the most devastating days of my life.  It wasn’t just because she was gone.  Adding to that grief was the fact that at the time that she died, we had been fighting for several weeks.  Now she was gone and I’d never get a chance to change that fact.

The moment I found out she was gone, none of the issues we’d been fighting about mattered.  All I wanted was her.  I wanted to go back and tell her I was sorry, that it wasn’t really important, and hug her tight.  The fact that I couldn’t, the fact that I had been so stubborn and unforgiving, was something I would have to work through for a long time.

My sage advice today is to let it go.  If, in the next moment, the person you’re striving with was gone, would it really matter?  Before it gets worse, choose to put a stop to it.  You never know if you’ll get another moment to show love.

Experienced,

jamie

 

Month of Prayer, Day 17

Lord, in Ps. 119:81-88, I see the author is being persecuted and crying out for You to execute judgment upon his enemies.  In Pr. 17, Solomon warns over and over about lying, gossip, spitefulness, quarreling, deceitfulness, and evil intentions.  He even says, in vs. 12, that it would be better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs, than to come upon a man in his folly.

It is clear that other people’s decisions, intentions, and actions can greatly affect our lives here on earth.  But You, O Lord, test the hearts. Judgment comes from You alone.  Solomon tells us that, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Knowledge and understanding of You, O Lord, can keep our spirits calm here as we endure the circumstances that present themselves in our lives.  Our hope, Lord, is in You.  Indeed, we do hope in Your Word and long for eternity with You.

No matter what happens around us, Lord, we can continue to pursue our relationship with You.  We can continue to trust and hope in You.  We can keep Your testimony in our mouth as You revive us according to Your lovingkindness.

Thank You for being the One upon which we can call.  Thank You for being faithful to hear and to provide.  Thank You for being the Wise King who is just and honorable.  We can certainly trust in You.

I love you, My King.

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 17:24:  “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

The Lord revealed something to me yesterday as I was driving.  There are signs, arrows, and directional markers all around us.  Some signs to tell us exactly which driving lane we need to be in.  Arrows point us in the right direction on one-way streets.  There are signs to let us know what’s ahead, when to merge, if there is a detour, and on and on.  

We are surrounded by instructions, and yet some people are still ‘directionally challenged.’  Why is that? They have good intentions.  They know where they want to end up; however, the get flustered in the details and lose their way.

This proverb says that even though the fool is looking for wisdom, he cannot see her, though she is right in front of him.

Not everyone can clearly see the signs and markers.  Not everyone can figure out which lane is correct when there is so much going on around them.  Driving (like life) is so busy sometimes, and we cannot always see the little arrows in the midst of the noisy crowds.  Sometimes the little details can be hard to pick out among all the hundreds of signs, directions, and choices all around us.

This could be a lesson about how we shouldn’t overlook the wisdom that is right in front of us.  This morning; however, my heart is aching for those are can’t find their way.

The word fool has a condescending meaning in our times; however, God uses the word fool to mean someone who is disregarding His Word.  It is someone who has become lost on their journey.  Sure, there are signs, markers, arrows, and indicators all around them, but they cannot see them in their search for answers.

Instead of us having ‘road rage’ against those around us who are lost or disregarding God’s Word, we must allow compassion for their souls to cause us to be someone who lovingly points them in the right direction.  Do we want those around us to drive off the cliff into tribulation, fiery death, or torment?  I don’t want anyone to end up in a location of pain and anguish that was designed for their enemy just because they missed the U-turn sign.

When we’re driving as a group and someone doesn’t make it through the light or misses the turn, do we continue on, leaving them behind?  No.  We stop and wait for them.  Perhaps we go back to get them and guide them on.

The journey to eternity is of far greater importance than a trip to the store or to that vacation spot.  We can’t let ‘road rage’ cause us to laugh at, judge, or scoff at those who are losing our way.  We MUST stop and help!  Someone else showed us the way.  We have to share the secret with someone else.

Help us see the wisdom, Lord,

jamie

How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie

Keeping calm because you understand

Pr. 17:27:  “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Sometimes it’s what we don’t say that makes all the difference.

Although we aren’t “rebel-rousers,” getting into all kinds of mischief, Donnie and I upset someone on our vacation last week.  We apparently broke a rule, and boy did the person in charge get upset.

At first we thought he was just letting us know, since it was clear that we were unaware.  By the time he got done talking at us, he was so upset that he called the police.  Donnie’s version of this story is different than mine…apparently there were lots of words that Donnie spared when we were confronted by this man.  I was kind of in shock at the level of anger he was displaying.

We both remained calm and simply told the man that he should do what he thought was best.  30 minutes later, the police pulled up and spoke to us.  We admitted to breaking the rule and apologized that it was because of our actions that he had to drive out to where we were.  The police officer was very nice and understanding of the circumstance, simply insisting that we no longer break the rules.

I know how many other ways that situation could have gone.  There could have been yelling, fighting, etc. between us and the man or even us and the police officer.  Someone certainly could have been arrested.  We could have been rude and gotten a ticket.  We could have even pushed our side and maybe ‘put the man in his place’, but certainly not offered mercy.

I am thankful for role knowledge and understanding took in our lives in that moment.  After the man spoke to us, our kids, who were with us, were upset.  They were worried that we would be arrested, or that even they would.  We were able to use that as a teaching moment.

Had we gotten upset, said every word that crossed our minds, or argued and fought, we would not have been able to calmly and unquestionably show and tell our kids that God takes care of us.  No matter what happens, we told them, God takes care of us; and we showed that by behaving as though we really believed it.  And God, indeed took care of us.

Our kids were able to see an example of how choosing to be calm and spare your words can truly work best.  That’s especially good at their age, when they think that almost anything is worth arguing about.  ha!  No matter how things turn out, choosing to trust God is never the wrong decision.

It’s clear that all this wisdom and understanding we’re gaining from God’s Word is truly worth more than gold or silver.  Keeping a situation from blazing out of control is priceless.

Calmly preparing to enter my day,

jamie

 

Do you have the heart for it?

Pr. 17:16:  “Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?”

After determining to go “chemical free” with all the products that touch my skin, I have recently been experimenting with herbs to replace my former chemical shampoo and conditioner.  This has taken a lot of research and a lot of fun chemistry experiments in my kitchen to discover the best way to prepare them.

To be perfectly honest, I am not convinced that my hair is clean at all.  I am not, however, quite ready to throw in the towel.  Perhaps I will end up with a different recipe, or with a bottle of store-bought, all natural shampoo, but for now my stubborn, choleric personality has kicked in, and I am determined to make this work.  I will not give up without a fight.

This verse reminds me of my current situation.  How so?  Well, I could buy as many herbs as I want.  I could line them up in beautiful bottles on the shelf and show them off to everyone who comes into my home.  I could tell everyone I can find about the wonderful herbs I bought for my hair.  Oooh…I could join some fancy ‘herb club’ or get a discount plan for the best herb shop I can find.  I could even show them off as I make my rounds through town.

If I never put them to use; however, there is no point in even spending the money or the time on them.  It would be foolish.

We can buy as many Bibles, study guides, and concordances as we want.  We can join the best church around.  We can wear our church gear, put our church stickers on our cars, show off our Bible apps to everyone we see, and even talk about all the great outreaches we know about.

If we never put any of those things to use; however, there is no point.

Why have a Bible and not use it?  Why join a church and not attend?  Why wear the gear or sport the logos if you’re not committed?

When we determine to become truly invested in the wisdom that comes from God, and set our minds to learn more of Him; that is when we are no longer counted a fool.  We must get into the Word.  We must turn our hearts into a “chemistry lab” where God can create something new within us.

We must continue and not give up.  That’s when we know we have a heart for it:  when we won’t allow anything to stop us from learning more and we will stubbornly continue, not allowing setbacks, failures, or greasy situations to get us off track.

The Lord has so much to offer.  If we not only get the purchase price in hand, but also set our hearts toward Him and continue with Him the rewards will be beyond measure!

Washing my hair in faith,

jamie

Give a precious stone

 

Pr. 17:8:  “A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.”

Last night I met with some missionaries who give out stockings every Christmas to lonely, elderly people in our area.  They were recalling a stocking they’d delivered about 3 years ago to a precious elderly woman from our church.  They presented the 95-year-old with a Christmas stocking and tears came to her eyes.

As she gazed at her stocking, she told them that she had never had a stocking before.  In 95 years, she had never had 1 Christmas stocking.  Imagine all the emotions she must have experienced with this simple gift that had her name across the front in glitter.

Certainly her spirits and emotions were strengthened (prospered) that day as she held her precious gift.  Who can we help prosper?  Find someone who needs a precious stone, and then bless them.

Appreciatively,

jamie