Category Archives: Proverbs 20

Where’s the faithful man?

Pr. 20:6:  “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

I read a chapter in a book to my kids yesterday and, after I finished, I asked them what happened.  My daughter gave a quick answer, but my son was distracted and didn’t appear to be prepared to speak.  I asked him a question about it and, after pretending to think about the answer, he said he didn’t remember.  I asked him some specific questions about the story about things that would have stood out, and found out that he had not been listening at all…for the entire chapter!!  Grrrrr.  I was pretty frustrated.

Now what?  Was I to read the entire chapter over just for him?  Skip it and just recap it for him?  Make him read it on his own?  (It’s way above his “grade level” but that could be a good reminder for him)  Or perhaps I should just give up on that book entirely since it obviously didn’t grab his attention?  Anyway…

I was so frustrated at that moment that I decided it would be best if we moved on to another school subject.  I would decide what to do about the book later, but I was stewing on the inside.

Boy did he throw off my vibe for the day and my plans for our book reading time.  Why couldn’t he just listen?  Why didn’t I just make him sit beside me like I usually did?  So many questions.  So much stewing.  Why couldn’t he just be perfect, right?  haha!

How many times have my kids tried to talk to me and I’ve been doing something else and giving them half of my attention?  How many times have they told me all about something they’ve been working hard on in Minecraft and, while I “listened” to them enough to appease them, I couldn’t repeat it to you now if I had to because it didn’t really matter to me?

I know I’m not the only one.  We are all guilty of things like this.  When we see the faults in others, we compare their faults to our strengths.  That’s not really fair, is it?  Like this verse says, we all proclaim our own goodness, but not one of us are faithful.  Not 100%.  We are all just doing the best we can.

It’s good that we know who we are in Christ and that we have confidence in ourselves.  It’s when we start thinking ourselves better than those around us that we begin to err.  We have no business comparing ourselves with others…especially not fault to strength.  We each have our faults and we each have our strengths.  That’s why we work so well together as ‘the body’ of Christ; each having our own part to play.

Today is a new day.  My son will be sitting beside me today as we read, but my understanding cap is on and we will get through this together.

Team building,

jamie

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

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

The ONE THING

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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The King of mercy

Pr. 20:8:  “A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters all evil with his eyes.”  

Obviously not all kings are or have been the same.  The character of the king would certainly determine his judgments.

This verse brings to mind my current situation.  From my seat on the couch, where I have positioned myself while my leg heals, I can see a lot of different things.

This morning, as the sun has been streaming so beautifully through the door, I can see every speck of dust on my floor.  I can see things outside that need to be taken care of.  I can see dvd’s out of place, things in the floor that don’t belong, and decorations positioned in ways I don’t prefer.

I certainly have the option to use my seat as a place of corrupt judgment, tyrannically demanding that every little thing be exactly to my specifications and liking.  However, I also have the option of using wise judgment and understanding, ruling out what is truly imperative and what is not.

When we make judgments based on self-interests alone, we are doing an injustice to those around us.  When we count everything as “evil,” then nothing truly is.  We must wisely discriminate which infringements require us to rule in a negative way and which do not.

It’s amazing that The Lord, our God, sits on a throne of grace where we are offered mercy time after time.  God sees into our hearts.  He may see things out of place, He may notice specks of dirt or brokenness, but He rightly judges.

God does not look on us through eyes of anger, but through eyes of love.  He does not rule in His own self-interest, but in ours.  He  sent His own Son to take our punishment, offering us reward through accepting that sacrifice.  He even offers help anytime we ask.

What a mighty a God we truly serve!  God cannot tolerate sin, but He can see into our hearts, and when we are truly broken before Him, grace through the blood of Jesus covers and frees us.

God isn’t sitting around looking for the debris or disorganization in our lives so that He can judge us harshly.  Our King, is gazing lovingly at those who choose to call Him Father, with arms outstretched, grace and mercy pouring from His throne.

Yes, those who do not turn from Him will be judged, as well, but it is not His desire.  His character is proven by His love.  His judgments are pure and we can trust in Him.

Considerately,

jamie

 

 

He will save you

Pr. 20: 22:  “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.”

This is a tough one for most of us.  Some versions put it this way, “Do not say, ‘I will pay you back!”  It is in our nature to react in a defensive way and think of pay back.  How can we leave it in God’s hands?  We must know and remind ourselves who He truly is.

This morning I was reading Psalm 111, which in my Bible is labeled “Praise to God for His faithfulness and justice.”  Here is what it says about the One on which we are told to wait:

“Praise the Lord!  I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.  The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.  His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. 

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.  He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.  He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.  The works of His hands are verity and justice; all His precepts are sure.  They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 

He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever:  Holy and awesome is His name!  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and good understanding have all those who do His commandments.  His praise endures forever.”

When we remember who God is, we can find peace in the fact that He surely will protect, defend, avenge, and save us.  He has proven Himself over and over again.

Getting to know Him more and more,

jamie