Only believe

“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road!  A fierce lion is in the street!'”  Pr. 26:13

I don’t really think we’re all lazy, but certainly we can make situations look larger than life quite often.  We have fear.  We have unbelief in the face of uncertainty.  We forget that is truly God that takes care of us.

I had the privilege to spend time this past weekend with some full-time missionaries from 3 different countries.  You know what I noticed?  They’re just ordinary people.

One lady simply saw a need and God touched her so strongly that she obeyed.   She could have been too afraid, and done nothing, but she knew it was up to her to do something.

Do you think she had all the answers?  Definitely not.  Did she have a full understanding of the depths of time, money, and commitment that would be needed to do the work?  Absolutely not!

The task she undertook could rightly be called monumental.  She absolutely did not have the resources to do it, nor did she understand how drastically her life would change as a result of deciding to do something about this need.

Mark 5:36 stands out in my mind, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

She didn’t enter that situation as a seasoned, full-time missionary.  She did not have the answers.  She did not have the resources.  She likely did not even have the time.  Yet, she chose to obey the touch of the Lord on her heart; and to believe in the One who supplies our every need.

Can’t we all do the same?  It terrifies me to imagine myself running an orphanage, and being the sole guardian for 57 kids at a time.  I would doubt my ability to care for a community that was counting on me to be their source of food.  I would feel afraid to go into a tribal village, facing people who practice religions of rage and violence.

However, we aren’t the ones who have to have the resources, answers, and abilities.  God provides those things.  God simply needs us to obey, and to do His work, believing that He will provide what we need.

Most of us won’t be facing those situations that I just described.  However, speaking to our co-worker about the Lord can feel just as scary.  Sharing God’s love to the cashier who looks like she’s just about to give up, can leave us doubting our abilities.

Perhaps, the Lord asks us to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or build a house for someone in need.  Guess what?  He will equip us.

We are all called to simply obey God’s will in our lives.  We don’t have to be a full-time missionary to do His work.  We are all just ordinary people, children of God, who long to be His hands and feet in our world.

If we obey His call, He will equip us for every good work.

Believing,

jamie

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Tasty but destructive

Pr. 26:22:  The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”

I read an article that was written about one of my great-aunts who passed on a few weeks ago.  She would have been 100 years old this winter.  The author of the article had gone to visit her and asked my great-aunt what life advice she would give a middle-ager.

The 3 things my great-aunt said she would have done differently were to read her Bible more, pray more, and not believe things she heard about others without having first heard their side.

I didn’t see that last one coming.  Not something I would expect to hear a 99-year-old woman saying; however, perhaps a relationship in her life was lost or altered in her middle years that caused her to still think such a thing all those years later.  I’m not sure.

This verse tells us that it shouldn’t be surprising, though.  Words of gossip do not just bounce off of us, but are taken in, savored, digested, and soaked up into our very core.  It then becomes very difficult to erase what we’ve heard, lie or not, because our minds are so hungry to make us feel better about ourselves.

If a 99-year-old woman, knowing she’s passing on to eternity, is still thinking about the effects of a decision like this, it seems it is certainly something we shouldn’t take lightly.

I guess the best thing is probably to avoid gossip at all, whenever possible.  Then, if there is a situation where we do hear something, we can take her other advice and pray more.  We can pray that God would help us be responsible with what we’ve heard and either help us forget it, if it isn’t necessary for us to know or concern ourselves with; or to give us a proper setting to hear the other side.

Remembering that no one is perfect, and that we all fall short of the glory of God and of perfection, we must be careful with not only what we hear, but also what we choose to do with those words.  We can choose to savor, digest, and soak it in to raise ourselves up, or we can choose to protect, love, and build others up.  With God all things are possible.

Soaking in the advice,

jamie

Choose not to be the kindling

Pr. 26:21:  “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

My husband has been working on mastering the art of fire making.  He now only technically needs 1 stick to start a fire.  From there we only have to add more wood to turn it into an entire campfire.  If we didn’t douse the fire with water afterwards, it could spread and grow even larger.

Words can be the same.  Sometimes it only takes 1 or 2 words to kindle strife.  That strife then has the potential to grow larger and larger.

As the wood that ignites the fire, we can be contentious, provoking others by arousing and igniting anger and conflict.  Conversely, we can take preventative measures when speaking, possibly even quenching the fires already beginning to catch their lives ablaze, by allowing rivers of living water to flow out of our hearts.

When we believe in Jesus, He fills us with Living Water, and He said those waters will flow from our hearts.  (Luke 7:38)

We certainly have the option of holding that back from others, kindling strife through harshness, unforgiveness, meanness, disdain, indifference, apathy, impatience, intolerance, and blame.            (Sorry, I was on a roll)

Or we could, instead, recognize the thirst in others around us, and choose to pour forth the living water through forgiveness, compassion, empathy, grace, mercy, and understanding.

Remembering that first and foremost, God is love, we can realize that we are all broken and imperfect, and offer His love to those around us.  Those words we speak are either kindling a fire of conflict and strife, or refreshing and encouraging a thirsty soul.

Before speaking, we need to think ahead, and do our part to prevent strife.  Everyone could use a refreshing douse of living water to extinguish the fires and quench their thirsty soul.

Pretty thirsty myself,

jamie

You will feel it again!

Pr. 26:9:  “Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”

Having previously been a bit of a drunkard on occasion, I understand that a thorn in the hand would not go much noticed.  Being drunk dulls the senses and a thorn likely would not even be felt.

Certainly there are times in our lives when even the scriptures enter us and their weight goes much unnoticed.  There are seasons where one can read about the love of God and still feel quite unloved.  Moments come where forgiveness is promised, but the reader feels only guilt.

Likewise, in seasons of sin, we can read about the consequences of our sins and feel no remorse.  In fact, at times we disregard it as irrelevant or inapplicable to us.  Gossip is strongly discouraged in the Word, but we can look at those verses and point straight at someone besides ourselves.

It’s amazing that the same Word of God that captures our hearts and causes us to submit to the Lord and His will can later be just another noise that we can no longer distinguish from the others.

Sin and deceit can so harden us that we can read every verse in the Word about our sins and still choose to walk continuously into them.  The lies of satan can so oppress us and bring us to a place of despondency, that the love, care, and compassion of Jesus seems farther out of reach than Saturn itself.

We’re not alone.  Even the disciples, when in the presence of Jesus Himself, did not always understand.  Some lessons were lost on them or not felt at times, causing Him to ask them, “Do you still not perceive or understand?”  He encouraged them to remember the things which they had already seen Him do.

Thankfully, the Word of the Lord is living and powerful.  (Heb. 4:12)  Open your ears to this next verse this morning, which is very fitting today as it is raining outside my window and is snowing in other parts of the world right now:

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

No matter the season of our life, we must continue persevering in the Word.  In times where we’re so “drunk” that we cannot even feel it, it is still watering our soul to accomplish the purpose for which it was sent.  Do not give up when the scriptures seem unspeaking…God is still speaking, and soon your ears will be opened and you will remember!

Hallelujah!

jamie

God helps all the fools

Pr. 26:11:  “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

This is the verse I chose this morning, but couldn’t quite get my thoughts together to write anything must about it.  I have been praying about it and thinking over it all day, and have landed on something I didn’t quite expect.

I have a lot of regrets about the person I used to be.  When I look back on my past, I definitely do not have rose-colored glasses.  My glasses are more burnt sienna.  Everything seems tainted by pride, ignorance, selfishness…the list could go on and on.

The point today; however, is not my sordid past or a lack of self-appreciation.  The point today:  Jesus!  I thank my God for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins and to make me a new creation.  My future is definitely seen through rose-colored glasses, as I look towards heaven, towards my returning Savior, towards the hope in God on which I can depend every moment of my life.

My Savior came to wipe away my past and my follies so that I can have life more abundantly and have an eternal future.  It’s still up to me to try to improve myself and stay away from repeating folly, but the beauty is that I have a Helper who walks every step with me.  I don’t have to do it in my own strength.  I can abide in the Lord and walk in the Spirit and let them guide my way.

Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness, for making me a new creation, and for your redeeming, everlasting love!

Looking forward to a future filled with hope and rosy views,

jamie

Have a message that needs delivered?

Pr. 26:6:  “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.”

Have you ever sent a message with someone only to have it end in chaos or be completely undelivered?  I’ve experienced this.  I have allowed others to handle issues for me in the past and the result was complete chaos, sometimes even changing the course of my life.  Misunderstandings are often made even worse when allowed to be handled by 3rd parties.  True communication between 2 people is nearly impossible if they are not speaking directly.

I noticed in 1 Cor. 16:21 that Paul finished his letter to the Corinthians noting that it was in his own hand.  He wanted to ensure that they knew he was taking ownership for his words and that the words they were reading were the truth straight from him and not from the interpretation of another.  It’s important that we know the truth of a matter before we accept it as truth.

When you hear something from a 3rd party, please remember that it may not be true.  Take it with a grain of salt, and if the matter is important enough for you to truthfully know, then ask the other person who’s directly involved.   Also, if you have a matter to discuss with someone else, do it directly if at all possible.  Ensure that your words have the integrity of your character behind them.  Protect the other party, as well, by speaking to them directly.

Sometimes these things take more courage, preparation, and patience, but the pay off is that we won’t have to drink the violence of the chaos that would have otherwise transpired.  God supplies all our needs.  He equips us and He takes care of vengeance for us.  Let’s trust Him enough to allow Him to help us through all of our communications with others.  When you have prayed and confirmed that you really need to deliver that next message, allow the Holy Spirit to do the speaking.  He will help you through.

Hoping to keep my feet attached today,

jamie