Pure from sin

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

I’ve been reading all week about the grace that comes from God, through Christ Jesus.  Unfortunately, not one of us can be pure through our own works.

(Well, honestly I’m not convinced that is so unfortunate.  As imperfect and inconsistent as I am, I am thankful that my purity from sin is not up to me.  I have a Savior who loves me so much that He took that responsibility upon Himself.)

Sin was brought into the world in the Garden of Eden.  It has been here ever since; so, we were born unclean and sinful into an unclean and sinful world.

Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to make a way for us to be cleansed, forgiven, and justified.  It is through Jesus that we are given salvation. 1 Cor. 1:4-9 talks about the grace we were given, and goes on to say that we are enriched in everything by Him.

Through Jesus, our past has been forgiven, our present is covered by his grace, and our future is in His faithful and merciful hands.  What more could we possibly need?  What a gift we have all been given!

Let’s quit trying to earn more grace and forgiveness and praise the One who has already given it all!

Turning our eyes upon Jesus,

jamie

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Month of Prayer, Day 20

Lord, I do love knowing Your Word.  I love that throughout the day, Your Word is in my mind and in my mouth.  I love how Your Word guides my steps and equips me.

Knowing that You are with me gives me strength.  Knowing Your law gives me wisdom.  Knowing that I am Yours gives me confidence.  Lord, where would I be without Your Word?  I know where I have ended up during times before when I chose to ignore Your Word and Your Holy Spirit.  Those were times of loneliness and sin that left me with much regret.

In contrast, Lord, when I look back over the times in my life when I allowed You to truly be Lord of my life, I have no regrets.  I never regret serving You.  I never regret choosing to following Your Word, or the leading of Your Holy Spirit.  I never regret trusting You, Lord.  Thank You for the peace that comes from serving You.

Lord, surrendering to You means that I truly have freedom!  There is freedom that comes from the peace of submitting to my Savior.  In light of that, Lord, Your words truly are sweet to my taste.  Your Word and Your Spirit are my treasures.  Your faithfulness is the solid foundation that keeps me upright.

Sin no longer looks good when I know that it’s fruit is loneliness, bitterness, sadness, and regret.  When I know that sin takes me away from You, Lord, I no longer want it.  I want to be safe in the arms of my Father.  I want to be in the shadow of Your wings; the apple of Your eye.

Lord, Pr. 20:7 says, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”  Lord, I want my children to be blessed because I chose to walk with You.  I want my children to find the same trust and security in You that I have found.

I do not want them to have to find out the hard way, as I did, so I try to tell them of Your greatness and Your faithfulness when I can.  Help me to keep Your Word on my lips, encouraging them and telling them of Your greatness.  Oh, that their ears will be open to hear.

Let me walk in integrity, Lord, and be a living example of Your love and Your might for my children.  Let their eyes be open to see.  As You guide my steps, guide theirs ever closer to You, as well.  I long that my children will know and trust and serve You.  I long for them to live in the freedom that comes from serving You.  I defy the bonds of sin that would threaten to ensnare them, in Jesus’ name.

As I meditate on Your Word today, Lord, let it drip from my tongue and taste sweeter than honey to my children, Father.  Let them long for more.

In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Who me, a sinner?

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

Let me give you the answer:  no one.

Last night I dreamed that I was preaching about God’s faithfulness.  I was on fire.  People were responding.  The Holy Spirit was moving.  Less than an hour later, I was at sneaking into the home of a missionary, stealing a very valuable tropical plant.

Isn’t that just like reality?

We are all sinners.  It’s not just me.  It’s not just you.

It’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that washes those sins away.  Once that happens, the Lord no longer chooses to remember them.

So, while we strive to live a holy life that glorifies and honors the Lord, we must remember that we will never be perfect.  We don’t need to allow satan to beat us down, constantly reminding us that we are sinners.  God made provision for that already!

There is a reason we need a Savior.  It is only through Him that we are saved.  If we keep our eyes on Him, we will follow Him into eternity.

Happy trails,

jamie

It’s about the war…not the battle

Pr. 20:3:  “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

It’s interesting how many things can become the focus of a quarrel within the church.  Is it best if the communion flowers are red (like the color of blood) or white (the color of purity)?  Should the music be contemporary or traditional?  Is it appropriate for a Pastor to lock himself away with God for an entire day or should he be the one visiting all the sick?

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Pick your battles.”  This holds true even within the church.

Is it the most important thing that the color of the carpet is exactly right or that the name of Jesus is being spoken from the pulpit?  Is it more important that the order of service not be disrupted than that a hurting brother or sister is being ministered to?  Are the political, attire, or translation choices more of an issue than the fact that the saving Word of God is being shared with the lost?

It’s amazing how quickly we can become distracted.  Things that have no eternal value become the focus of our lives and can cause quarrels and divisions.

Solomon reminds us that anyone can start a quarrel, but being the one who drops out of or doesn’t join the fight is honorable.  Pride can sometimes cause us to not want to give up or give in, but honor seems a much better thing to earn than the “win” of a meaningless battle.

Let’s stop striving about things that won’t matter in the end, and start focusing on the job at hand.  There are people dying around us while we’re busy arguing about carpet and musical choices.  Why would anyone want to serve a God that cares more about the carpet than He does about them?

We were called to preach the gospel and to baptize.  Demonstrating the love, peace, and honor that comes from serving the Great I AM is the way to start.

Let’s fight for things that matter…the souls of those around us!  And leave the rest to the fools.

Loving you,

jamie

You have beautiful feet

Pr. 20:12:  “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.”

This Proverb reminds us that the Lord made every part of us, and each part is to be used for His service.  He made ears to hear the gospel.  He made eyes to see His glory in creation, and to see those around us who are hurting and need our help.

There are ears that still need to hear the Word of God.  There are ears that need to know they have a Savior who cares so much for them that He would willingly lay down His life for their own.  There are ears that need to know they are worthy of such a Savior.

Romans 10:14 asks, “How shall they hear without a preacher?”  We are the preachers.  We are the voices those ears need to hear.  The Lord made those ears to hear of Him.  It’s up to us to make sure the message reaches them.

We don’t need a pulpit in order to preach.  We preach when we pray for someone who has a need.  We preach when we give our time, in the name of Jesus, for someone who feels they’re unworthy of it.  We preach when we share a scripture to encourage the one who is being oppressed by the enemy.  We preach when we tell someone about Jesus.  We preach when we give praise to God for the blessings in our lives.  We preach when we sing songs about the Lord to our children.  We preach when we tell the truth, no matter the consequences.  We preach when we turn the other cheek, or when we avert our eyes from temptation.

Our lives preach to the seeing eyes and the hearing ears that the Lord made.  When everything about our lives point to Jesus, His gospel is being shared.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!  Ro. 10:15

Whether it’s a pair of sweat pants, a suit, or a uniform, let’s get our preaching clothes on today, get our beautiful feet moving, and speak up.  Those eyes and ears are waiting.

Warming up my voice,

jamie

Establishing a plan

Pr. 20:18:  “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.”

In Acts 13:1-4, we find 5 prophets and teachers ministering to the Lord and fasting.  As they did so, the Holy Spirit instructed all 5 that Barnabas and Saul should be separated for a work to which the Lord had called them.  vs. 3, “Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

Paul and Barnabas had a hard road ahead of them, but being connected to the Lord gave all 5 men very clear instruction about the fact this was His plan.  After fasting and praying together, they obeyed in faith.

The best way to receive counsel from the Lord is to be connected to Him, just as these 5 men were.  Receiving counsel from the Lord is the best way to live in peace, believing that God will be with you through the journey.

Knowing clearly God’s plan, Paul and Barnabas were able to endure the persecution, abuse, malice, and misfortune they later faced on their journey.

When our plans come from the Lord, we can embark on our journey knowing that those plans are not only for good, but come with the guarantee that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Establishing plans from any other source is a risk we don’t need to take.

Seeking counsel,

jamie

 

 

Oh those tests….

Pr. 20:30: “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.”

Trials and pains in this life can certainly hurt, but as this verse reminds us, that pain can cleanse away evil if we allow God to remain the One to which we turn. Instead of pulling further away from Him during our trial, we can turn TO Him and find the help we truly need. There is always room to grow in our lives and in our faith.

The following blog speaks to this and since it spoke to my heart this morning, I felt it appropriate to share.

Looking to Him,
Jamie

Pastor Kemp's Blog

Genesis 22:1-2 (NKJV) Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham… 

Don’t be thrown off by the use of the word “test”.

God is not like a school teacher who gives a test in order to discover what you know—God knows whether or not you know the answers. God doesn’t give test for his benefit; he gives them for other’s benefit.

First of all, the tests God gives you are for your good—they give you a look into the health of your own character.

Just like skating on a frozen pond, you first tentatively test the integrity of the ice by putting pressure on it before trusting the ice with your full weight.

In the same way, how we respond to the pressures of life gives us an ideal of the strength of our own integrity—not God’s.

Now let me take you on a quick side-journey by mentioning…

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