Guard yourself from those thorns and snares

Pr. 22:5:  “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”

When I was 19 I drove my car off a small mountainside.  I was over 250 miles from home and 86 miles from my intended destination, where my mom was awaiting my arrival.  I had wrecked and totaled my car, which was now securely held by the trunk of a tree, out of view from the road.  I was hurt.  I was scared my dad was going to kill me.  I was concerned about my mom being worried since I had neither reached her nor had any way to contact her.  It started sprinkling as I climbed up the hill towards the road, and now there were thorns biting and tearing at my hands and legs.  Great!

As I’m recalling this experience, and thinking about it in light of this verse, it seems so true.  When we veer off course, we are always met with snares that trap and hurt us.  We get so far away from where we were that sometimes others can’t even find us anymore…the real us.  They worry about us and become scared for our well-being.  We get bruised, broken, and crushed.  The enemy continues to sprinkle pain on us, and thorns of hell and sin tear at our flesh and our souls.

It all starts out as a simple shift the direction we should be going.  Before we know it, we’ve gone so far out of the way that we’re trapped.  If we would stay on the road we said we’d travel, keep our eyes on the road, and dismiss the distractions, we would guard ourselves from those snares and thorns.  If we guard our souls with prayer, the Word, the truth, and His presence, He will guard us with His peace, His provision, His protection, and eternal life.

The way of sin may be wider, but it ends in destruction and death.

Keep your eyes on the narrow road,

jamie

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Training them

Pr. 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

When I went to church this morning, I tried to type a post about this verse, but my wi-fi on my phone wasn’t working very well.  I am glad it wasn’t.  The Lord changed what I needed to say during my time at church.

My Sunday school class was on my mind when I woke up this morning and this verse made me think of them even more; and of my job as their teacher.  Occasionally I wonder if it matters.  This verse reminds me that it does.  As I minister to these 4th graders each week I am training them in the way they should go.  Like training a vine to grow in the direction you desire, we are all training children to go a certain way.  I have been charged with caring for these certain children and I must take my job very seriously, as it has eternal consequences.

I want the children in my Sunday school class to head towards the Lord, therefore I must train them and guide them towards Him.  To encourage growth I have to prune them to get the unwanted or dead growth from their lives.  (the things of this world that don’t truly matter)  To point them in the right direction I must attach the Word of God upon them to hold them in place.  To encourage that they continue on the right path I must pray with them and for them.  I am also encouraging them to pray for one another as they journey together towards the Lord.

Each Sunday I am giving them all the care and attention I can to ensure healthy growth that ends at the only place that matters—with their Savior, the true Vine.  Today we learned a lesson on patience, played games, shared personal concerns, and then I taught them how to look up scriptures in their Bibles.  These things may not seems glamorous while in the classroom with distracted students; however, they couldn’t be more important.  I am helping to equip people to grow in their spiritual maturity throughout the rest of their lives.  I am trusting that God will do the rest once they leave me, and that truly when they are old they will not depart from the truths they are learning even now.

It’s never to late to train, but your example is the loudest teacher.  Stay strong in the Lord and continue your journey.  God will bring the harvest.  What you are doing matters!

Lord, bless my students today and throughout this week.  Let them hear your voice and feel your touch each week as they grow under my care.  Let them remember the truth of Your Word that we learn each week and help them to continue to apply it to their lives.  Lord, please help me not to grow weary in well-doing but to remember that one day You will reap the harvest of their souls.

Happy Gardening!

jamie

Speaking of sin…

Yesterday I wrote about sin and the fact that we must have a faithful witness in order to show others the Way.  We must allow the Lord to examine and weigh our hearts to get rid of the impurities.  However, please remember this:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.  Then each one’s praise will come from God.”  1 Cor. 4:5

This verse tells us something wonderful…the Lord knows what satan does to each of us.  We each have individual battles and temptations that we daily must fight and the Lord will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness.”  He knows what satan is doing to us every day!!!  Is that not reassuring to know?

We no longer have to live in condemnation.  Judgment has not yet taken place.  The Lord understands that satan comes in and offers “counsels of the hearts.”  Do you not think the enemy whispers in your ear anything he can to distract and dismay you?  Of course he does.  He will stop at nothing to get your eyes off God.  He will fill you with negative thoughts, regret, overwhelming guilt, and condemning thoughts about yourself.

Of course the Holy Spirit will examine our hearts and give us wisdom on how to live holy lives, but God knows our frames and ultimately He knows what battles we fight every day.  Maybe you’re not a murderer, but maybe you overcome the temptation of lust every hour on the hour.  Maybe you haven’t stolen millions from the fatherless, but maybe you have to make the choice each day not to harbor anger in your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Maybe you haven’t created a room in your home and filled it with idols, but perhaps you constantly fight the temptation to idolize something or someone and instead decide…one more time…to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength.

The Lord knows our battles and He knows what satan throws at us each day.  Let’s let Him be the judge of us.  Only He truly knows how we battle temptation each day in order to choose Him.  Then on that day of true judgment our praise will come from God!  🙂

Thankful to truly be free,

jamie