Plotting

Pr. 24:8: “He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer.”

As Christians, this is definitely not what we need to plotting.  That being said, there have been times when I have found myself doing exactly that.

Is it just me?  Not all of my choices in life have lined up exactly with God’s immutable Word, and I have intentionally chosen sin and evil on occasion.

When I think about being a schemer, however, I tend to think about intentionally plotting against another person.

I’ve been thinking all day that there is one thing for me to encourage us to do this week.

This week, let’s plot to pour love into 1 person.  Let’s choose 1 person we can encourage, support, uplift, guide, or saturate with love, kindness, mercy, grace, and goodness.

Do you have someone in mind?  Good.  If not, ask the Lord to show you who needs a special touch this week.  Someone we know needs us to plot to do something for them this week from a heart of love.  💓

Who can you plot against this week?  Who will you pour God’s love into?  Who will you encourage or uplift?

This week, let’s be schemers of love.  Let’s choose to intentionally make someone’s life better, just because we can.

Plotting with you,

jamie

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How can I save those I love?

Pr. 24:11:  “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”

I have not been able to shake this verse since I read it yesterday.  My heart breaks when I think of people I know and love who are stumbling towards the slaughter.  Some are walking there willingly, and others are being deceived.  I want nothing more than to grab them in an embrace and lead them to the Lord.  But what can I really do?  I can’t make up people’s minds for them.  I cannot convince them with smooth words, or even stop them with my insistence.  How can I deliver them?   How can I hold them back?

The fact is, I can’t.  This is where I have to pray and trust that God will be able to get hold of them, to deliver them and hold them back.  Maybe God can use me in some way, but the truth of the matter is, it is between them and God.

Genesis 3:4 is where the serpent convinced Eve to sin against God.  “…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan is still using this same tactic–telling us we will get something from the sin.

“You will know what it’s like to really feel loved.”  “You will finally have peace.”  “You will get what you’ve deserved for so long.”  “Your pain will finally go away.”  “No one will ever know.”

This is how he leads people to the slaughter.  His empty promises that are actually lies in disguise.  1 Timothy 4:2 tells us that our own consciences can become seared with a hot iron.  When that happens, we no longer view sin as sin.  It becomes a right to which we cling.  Our lives become about us, our wants, and our desires.  Our lives become about what we deserve…just as Eve ‘deserved’ to have her eyes open to know good and evil in just the same way that God did.

The truth is that it is God’s will for us on this earth is to tell people about His kingdom.  We can find this truth in His Word.  When the focus of our lives is only our own will, then we have departed from God.  God has and is all that we need, and more.  All the things satan promises, are things that only God provides.  Satan has wanted to be like God from the beginning, so he tries to promise what only God can give, but his path only leads to pain, destruction, and death.

Knowing this, my heart breaks that people I love are being led to the slaughter.  Oh, how I long to open their eyes!  God, please open their eyes.  Holy Spirit, please bring back to their remembrance the truth of Your Word.  Lead them away from death, and hold them back from the slaughter, dear Lord, I pray.  In Jesus’ saving name, Amen.  

Trusting,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 24

Your testimonies are wonderful, Lord; therefore my soul keeps them.  The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.

Look upon me and be merciful to me, as Your custom is toward those who love Your name.  Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.  Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts.  Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.

I do not desire to be with evil men, but desire that my heart and my home be built by Your wisdom.  I desire that they be filled with the pleasant and precious riches of our knowledge of You.  I desire to be strong, in You, Lord.  Counsel me according to Your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.

Which do you desire more?

Pr. 24:1:  “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them”

Ro. 13:11-14 encourages us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  It says, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Why?  Because the day is at hand.  Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Make no provision for the flesh:  making provision for something means that you gather necessary supplies, plan and prepare, set the stage.  We are not to do those things for the lusts of our flesh.  We are to cast off the works of darkness, getting rid of the provisions and plans for our lusts.

Some associations in our lives make it difficult to walk as in the day.  Choosing not to walk in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness usually involves ending some relationships.  Making no provisions will mean that certain actions will have to be changed.  Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ will mean that new choices will need to be made.

Change is never easy, but with the day of our salvation nearer than ever before, it is necessary.  Anticipating the day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, take away sorrow, death, crying, and pain, we must not give up or continue to willingly give in.  On that day, former things will pass away, and The Word tells us that, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by My son.” (Rev. 21:7)

Since the former things are going to pass away anyway, they are not worth hanging on to.   Rev. 12:11 tells us not to “love our lives to the death.”  Choosing the idols of our flesh over God reveals what we love most, and will only lead to our death.  We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  It is our relationship with Jesus that bring salvation.

Making provision to put on the Lord Jesus Christ every day will allow Him to bring to us His great reward.  Choosing Him gives us rights to the tree of life and access to the gates of the city of heaven.  Confessing, by our choices, that He alone is our God allows us to hear Him say, “Come!” on that great day.

Let’s allow God to help us get rid of the provisions we’ve placed in our lives that help us feed the lusts of our flesh, and to give us a new testimony that includes the healing blood of the Lamb.  Together, we will worship, knowing that He is coming quickly…for us.

Here is a song to help set the stage for those changes.  I pray God will speak to, strengthen, and cleanse us all today.

Desiring what will last,

jamie

Strength for the battle

Pr. 24:5:  “A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength.”

We spent some more time in WV last week–this time on the river.  I spent some time sitting by a small waterfall near the house.  Really, it’s just a rapid in the water, but its strong and powerful, nonetheless.  I went down that rapid without a kayak once and had the month-long bruise to show for it.

As my kids played near me, we found ourselves having to yell at one another in order to hear each other over the noise of the water.  It reminded me of Ps. 93:4 that says, “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.”

This rapid was only about 5 ft. across and maybe 5 ft. down…tiny in comparison to a waterfall you would hike out miles to see or certainly to something like Niagara Falls; nevertheless, the noise it produced was loud enough to deafen our voices.  The Word says that the Lord is mightier than the sound of many waters.

In the word, we find many examples of this might.  One of my favorite stories is that of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chr. 20.  After hearing that several armies were coming against him, he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  All the cities came to seek the Lord.  Jehoshaphat then stood in the assembly and proclaimed the might and power of God, declaring that they had no power against these enemies and that their eyes were now on God.

God then reminded them that indeed the battle was not theirs, but His.  After the multitudes praised and worshiped him, they went out in the morning, singing and praising the beauty of holiness.  Then, God turned the armies on themselves and they wiped each other out.  No one escaped.  The spoils of the armies were so much that it took 3 days to gather them all.

Now, if God can fight a war for Jehoshaphat without him ever picking up a sword or spear, how much more can He do for us?  Jehoshaphat’s job was to praise God, to worship, and to lift up the Lord’s name.  He reminded God that he himself had no power and God showed Jehoshaphat that in his weakness, truly God’s strength is made perfect!

When we realize the might and power of our God, surely we understand that humbling ourselves before Him makes His strength perfect in our lives.  Knowing Him, and knowing what He can do gives us all we need to face the battles in our lives.  We have no need to fear when this kind of God is on our side!

Strengthen yourself with His Word today and build up your faith in the One who has delivered others before you.  He can do the same for you.  When you feel the waters try to overtake you, you can remember than not only is God more powerful than the waters, but more powerful even than their noise.  Begin to praise Him now.  You will NOT be overtaken!

In awe of His might,

jamie

Needing some hope?

Pr. 24:14:  “So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; if you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.”

“And your hope will not be cut off.”  Don’t those words sound wonderful?  Isn’t that something we’d love to experience?  Surely we can.

As sweet as honey is to the taste, so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to our souls.  Where do we get that knowledge of wisdom?  You know what I’m going to say:  The Word of God.  If you are looking for some other answer, then you are going to be quickly disappointed.  We can be knowledgeable about many things, but those things will never bring true wisdom.  True wisdom comes from the Lord.

Fear of the Lord is the ultimate wisdom.  When we fear the Lord and stand in awe of Him and His greatness, then we are truly wise; we have allowed the truth of His word to penetrate our hearts and our souls.

Does the reality of creation truly capture your attention?  He simply spoke, and the heavens were made.  He said the word and the waters were gathered together and given boundaries.  He breathed a word of life and all creatures were created.  He commanded; and it all stands fast, unable to be shaken.  He is the One who holds the world in His mighty hands.  Do you have knowledge of that?  Does it create awe within you to think of the awesome power that it takes to do these things?

When you are able to trust that His Word is right, pure, and proven, and you are able to stand in awe of His greatness, you will have true fear of the Lord.  When His wisdom causes you to yearn for more, then you are truly growing in knowledge.  When His Word opens your eyes to the truth, and causes you to reflect on Him, then you are filling yourself with understanding.

…and your hope will not be cut off.  🙂

Making melody to Him in my heart,

jamie