Under whose authority?

“Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray away from the words of knowledge.”  Pr. 19:27

In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him.  He also called to James and John, sons of Zebedee, who left their father and went after Jesus.  How convincing must Jesus have sounded to these men?  Seriously.  They were at work, doing their jobs, making money, and this stranger speaks to them and they just leave it all and follow him.  That’s out of the ordinary.

After they went into Capernaum, Jesus taught in the temple and spoke “as one having authority.”  A man with an unclean spirit then approached Him, and Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”  The spirit came out of the man.

They left the synagogue and went to Simon’s house.  His mother was sick, so Jesus took her by the hand, lifted her up and her fever immediately left her.  That night, the whole city was gathered together at the door of Simon’s house, where Jesus healed their diseases and cast out demons.  He wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.

A leper later came to Jesus to see if He was willing to heal him.  As soon as Jesus spoke the words, “I am willing; be cleansed,” the leprosy left the man.

Have you seen the same pattern I’m seeing?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable.  He spoke to strangers, and they gave up everything for Him.  He spoke to demons and they obeyed.  He spoke to sickness and it left.

What is He speaking to You right now?  Another pattern I’ve noticed is that we tend to try to resist the Lord’s instructions to us.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something we hesitate, we debate, we put it off.  We’re afraid to obey for various reasons.  Why?

Have we given something or someone else more authority in our lives?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable in Mark.  He still has the same authority today.  He does not change.  The only thing that changes is us.  We stray.

How sad that even the demons obeyed Jesus, and yet we try to ignore or debate with Him.

When the Lord speaks to You, listen.  He has the power to make things happen.  All He needs us to do is be willing to be part of His plan.  When we obey the Lord, the outcome is up to Him.  Don’t put Him off any longer.

In fact, may I be so bold to say, let’s be better than the demons, and ask Him in advance to speak to us.  And when He does, let’s simply obey.

Listening for instruction,

jamie

Advertisements

Month of Prayer, Day 19

Lord, truly, I would have perished in my affliction if it hadn’t been for You.  Your Word is what has given me life.  I praise You for this, Lord! You have saved me.  You have saved me in this life, and You have given me eternal salvation, as well.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Lord, help me to walk in integrity.  Keep foolishness and perversity far from me.  Let Your Word be what guides my steps.  Continue to grow in me the discretion that makes me slow to anger, overlooking transgressions and weaknesses.  Help me to see those around me through the lenses of  love and understanding.

Keep contentions and arguments far from me, so that I may be a prudent wife.  Help me not to allow laziness and idleness be my companions.  Let me give to those in need, chasten my children while they’re young, be careful of my ways, and continue in Your Word.

Let my ears be open to instruction and counsel, that I may be wise in my latter years.

Although the enemy waits to destroy, I trust You to keep evil far from me.  I know that You will not allow evil to overtake me.  I am Yours.  You love me like no other and You are the God who is in control.  Satan may have a loud roar, but Yours, O Lord, is louder!  You are the Alpha and Omega.  You are the King of Kings!  You are the Lord of Lords!  You are the Great I AM.  You are Lord of all.  And I praise You!

Thank You for choosing me, Lord.  I am happy to be called Yours.  Thank You for hearing my prayer.  You are a good, good God!

I love you,

jamie

On helping God

Pr. 19:2:  “Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.”

For the about a month, we have been looking for a new home to purchase.  We put in an offer on 1 lovely place and someone else beat us out with no chance for us to counter.  We have come across a few other places that, before we could gather our thoughts, have gone under contract.  All the while, we have been saying that those properties were clearly not the ones God wanted for us and that we want His will.

Meanwhile, our own home has gone under contract and we still have no new home to which we can move.

Yesterday, we drove by a home that has most of the checklist items we desire.  We told our agent that we want to go see it, knowing that barring some hidden issue, we will be putting in an offer.

Getting to see the house today did not work out at all…and not for a lack of trying.  It was a very frustrating experience, and we got nervous that someone else would get it before us.  We then seriously entertained the thought of putting in an offer without seeing the inside.  Terrible idea, of course, but we need a place to live!

As we were entertaining this idea, I remembered Abraham and Sarah.  God promised Abraham an heir from his own body.  When it didn’t happen right away Sarah and Abraham got nervous.  Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, so that he could have children by her.  God didn’t stop them, but this was certainly not God’s perfect plan for them.

We can read their story and, from the comfort of our reading spot, surmise that if they would have just waited on God there would have been a lot less trouble.  When it comes to our own life; however, we can easily make the same mistake.

Today, instead of waiting on God and trusting in His perfect plan, we thought we’d just speed things up and help Him accomplish the goal.  What a mess we would have made.  Thank God for the knowledge in His Word that the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance.

If this property is the one God wants for us, then He will take care of the details and work it out for us.  If it’s not, then He will give us the right property and things will work out much more beautifully in the end.

It’s the waiting that’s hard.  When we begin to hasten with our feet we can make a big mess out of things.  When we wait on the Lord; however, He renews our strength and has the true promise waiting for us just around the corner.

When we find ourselves growing weary while waiting on the promise, we don’t need to step in and take over, we need to wait a little longer.  What God has in store will be better than anything we could ever create on our own.

Looking forward to the promise,

jamie

Everybody lies?

Proverbs 19 has 5 verses that directly relate to lying and it got me thinking.  On the TV show House, the lead character’s main line was, “Everybody lies.”  He said it so many times that it began to sound like fact.  It seemed like every one does, in fact, lie.  (Although we know that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and the old rules don’t have to apply)

I’m so glad that it is impossible for our God to lie.  It’s important to note that whatever God speaks actually happens.  When He said, “Let there be light,” there was light.  When He called it Day, it became Day.

When God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures,” the waters abounded with an abundance of living creatures.  Whatever things God says are true, and they are proven all around us.

That means that when God said He does not forsake His inheritance, it is fact.  (Isaiah 94:14)  And those who believe in Him ARE His inheritance.  (Gal. 3:26)  It means that He actually loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Jo. 3:16)

Did you skim over that last verse?  Jesus said those words.  Remember that they’re fact.  When Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus came forth.  (Jo. 11:43)

It also means that He will come again, just as He said He would.  (Rev. 21-22)  Until He returns, it means we can rely on this verse to guide us as we do His work here on earth:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  (Jo. 12:12-13)

While we’re waiting, we can trust in His Word.  If He said it, it is true.  If He called a mountain ‘fire’, it would be fire.  If He called green ‘blue’, it would be blue.  Do we truly understand that He cannot lie?  Whatever He says is truth.  We can place our entire hope upon His Word.

Satan is the one who lies.  He is the father of lies and that proof is also all around us.  Anytime we begin to believe something contrary to the Word of God, we can remember that if God said it, it is true.  It is impossible for God to lie!  Now, that is encouraging.  🙂

Believing,

jamie

A fine line

Pr. 19:23:  “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

Attempting to guide my children in the truths of the Bible isn’t always easy.  Lately I’ve been unsure if I’m handling things right.

While trying to teach them about sin, I am very nervous that I might leave out the beauty of grace.  Then, while I’m busy teaching grace, I have an ever-present fear that I’m leaving no room for accountability and repentance.

This morning I bumped into this Proverb about ‘the fear of the Lord,’ and I realize that the only answer for me as a parent is to walk this fine line with a foundation of prayer and trust in the Lord.

In my own strength, I will never be able to teach them exactly right.  The beauty of God’s word is that it does not return to Him void.  It accomplishes what God pleases, and will prosper in the purpose for which it was sent.  (Is. 55:11)  Therefore, I must conclude that speaking the Word into my children’s lives is my job.  Accomplishing what God pleases is His.

Also, I must keep in mind that I was not created as The Holy Spirit.  While it is my job to guide and teach my children, it is the Holy Spirit who will bring to their remembrance the things they’ve learned about God as they walk through their lives.  (Jn. 14:26)

Fear of the Lord is something I can demonstrate in my own life and in the way I teach and train my children.  The more we learn about God, the more our own values and character will be fashioned after His.

I must also demonstrate what it means to grow in Christ.  While speaking to my daughter about self-control a few weeks ago, I realized that I’m not bearing that same fruit in certain areas in my own life.  So, I had to make some adjustments.  Allowing her to see those weaknesses in me and to see how I choose to confront them will testify my beliefs to her more than any words I could ever speak.

So, do I know exactly how to walk this thin line of teaching sin and grace at the same time.  Definitely not.  But I know the One who does and I am reminded that not only is His strength is made perfect in my weakness, but that He loves and cares for my children even more than I ever could.  He will guide and water them as His own. I just need to plant the seeds.

I’m thinking the best way to teach them is for me to continue to stay grounded in Him.  Thank you, Lord, for this reminder.  I trust in You.

Learning,

jamie

The protection of a loving Father

Pr. 19:16:  “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”

Usually, we are the laid-back kind of parents who not only allow their kids to play in rain puddles, but enjoy watching them do so.  We let our kids climb on rocks and walk across things as though those things are balance beams.  We don’t mind when our kids jump off of things, etc.

When we got to Niagara Falls earlier this month; however, all that changed.  As parents, we noticed the strong presence of slippery surfaces all around that park.  Since it was our goal to have an injury-free vacation, our easygoing attitudes turned a bit more tense.

Our kids weren’t being overly careless when they tried to climb and walk on the rocks at Niagara.  They weren’t trying to get hurt when they wanted to run on the water-soaked steps at the bottom of falls.  They’re just kids and they can’t yet see around all the corners.

It’s our job, as their guardians, to set them up for success.  A desire to not see them injured meant that we had to be a bit more strict with our rules.

This verse reminds me of how God protects us.  He has given us commandments to keep us safe and set us up for success.  He wants not just abundant life for us, but also eternal life.  Even when we’re not intentionally being careless, His loving protection is already in place to keep us safe.

His commandments will also help us in those moments when we feel like being intentionally careless.  He doesn’t tell us not to steal just to keep us bound.  There are consequences to stealing, and following His commandments will keep us from those consequences.

Isn’t He good?  Just as we didn’t want our kids to be injured, break bones, or die on the slippery rocks of our vacation world, God doesn’t want us to be injured, become broken, or die here in this world.  He is a loving Provider, caring for His own.

Thank you, Lord, for preparing my way, directing my steps, and giving me wise guidance along the way.  As much as I’ve already been hurt, I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been without You.  I am glad You are a Father who cares. 

Thankful for His commandments,

jamie

Nourishment to complete the tasks

Pr. 19:27:  “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

It is easy for us to give in to busyness in this life, especially during this season of year.  There are so many things pulling at us each day.  We have countless responsibilities.  We are asked to help with many things from those around us.  We have personal things we want to do.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with being busy.  Currently, our “Christmas break” schedule is jam-packed with things to do.

The danger; however, is neglecting the only thing that really matters:  our relationship with God.  With all the busyness, it can be easy to put aside our time with God in an effort to get done all the things that are pulling at us.

Without God, though, we can do nothing.  He is our Strength.  He is our Provider.  He is the One who guides and directs us.  He is the One who instructs us.  If we put Him first, He will help us get done all the things we need to do, or He will direct us when we need to say no to certain things.

Because it is true that when we cease listening to instruction we are more likely to stray from the words of knowledge, we must be diligent and intentional in setting aside our time for the Word of God.

If we are going to choose to say no to something, we must make sure that something is not our time with God.  Above all else, we need to continue abiding in the Vine.  We must remain attached to Him, allowing Him to nourish and enrich us.  It is only abiding in Him that brings the fruit in our lives.

John 15:6 reminds us, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

We cannot risk not abiding in Him.  Once we become unattached, we stray, and eventually fall away, being then cast out and withered.  After that, we see what happens.

It may seem like I’m being overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen it before.  Sometimes it only takes a few days for the enemy to cause us to become so distracted that we get out of the routine of making time with God our priority.  Once that takes place, we are vulnerable to his sway.  His sway will always lead us away from God.

During this season, during all the busyness, giving, and frivolity, we must protect our time with God and in His Word.  We must ensure that abiding in Him is at the top of our to-do list.  If we put Him first, all the rest will fall beautifully into place.  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Let’s remain in Him,

jamie