Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Pr. 29:6:  “By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”

Well, all I can see in my mind this morning are the Three Little Pigs dancing around with fiddle and flute rejoicing in song after the Big Bad Wolf burned his bottom in the fire.

When we choose to live in a sinful state, we set a trap for ourselves.  The Big Bad Wolf didn’t come after the pigs just 1 time.  He kept coming.  The pigs weren’t too smart the first 2 times, but on the 3rd time, they set a trap.

Perhaps the snare we set for ourselves is a broken relationship.  Perhaps people lose their trust in us.  Maybe it’s a loss of hope or self-control.  Sometimes sin can actually lead to jail, hospitalization, or death.

When we choose not to sin, but to trust that God will meet our needs, then we are able to sing and rejoice in God’s glory and provision.

The pigs danced around singing, “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf?  Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Tra-la-la-la-laa.”  That’s a catchy little tune.

I have a catchy tune for the righteous to sing today (attached below):  “The Name of the Lord is Great!  The Name of the Lord is Great! The Name of the Lord is Great, and greatly to be praised!”

Sing and rejoice with me today!!

jamie

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Don’t stop witnessing!

Pr. 29:19:  “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; for though he understands, he will not respond.”

In Acts 17, we find Paul reasoning with the Jews for 3 Sabbaths, telling them that Jesus was the Christ.  And some of them were persuaded.

Vs. 5, however, introduces us to some Jews who were not persuaded.  They became envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathered a mob.  Wow!  Not only were they not persuaded, but they have actually formed a mob.

They set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, trying to find Paul and Silas.  The mob cried out to the rulers of the city, saying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too.”

In those words we find the reasoning behind their actions.  Their world had been turned upside down by the teachings of Paul.  Everything they had believed was being shaken, and some of their friends and possibly family were now following another, believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

Not everyone who hears the message of Jesus believes or responds.  For others it takes time.  Some may even become upset, like these men, or even envious when their own loved one’s turn to Jesus.  That does not mean we should stop sharing the truth of the Scriptures.

A lack of response to our words does not always mean a lack of understanding.  This proverb reminds us that mere words are not always enough.  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  Once we plant the seeds of the Word, the Holy Spirit can help the seeds germinate and grow.

So share when you’re lead and remember that it’s not up to us to speak perfectly.  It’s not our words that bring response, it is the Lord.

Your fellow sharer,

jamie

Keep watching

Pr. 29:1:  “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

There is a punishment and a destruction that will come that will indeed be without remedy.  This morning, I was reading Luke 12 where Jesus talks about the end coming.  There is a punishment for those who do not choose the Lord as their Master and their Lord.

As this year comes to an end, it is a good time for a reminder that there is an eternal reward, or punishment, that awaits.  Our lives are not about what we see and experience here on this earth, but about the Lord, His will, and eternity with Him.  We cannot harden our necks to this truth, but must stand corrected and ready, waiting on His return.

Jesus tells His disciples, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

This entire passage reminds me of Christmas evening.  We knew that some of our family was expected to arrive that evening.  When they called and let us know that they were 3 hours from arrival, we left my parents house and our other family and went home to prepare.  We wanted to be home when they arrived, to have our home nice and cozy, and to have food waiting on them upon their arrival.

As we waited excitedly, my kids were watching out the window and asking for updates on the time, hardly able to contain themselves with the anticipation.  Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.”  This reminds me of what we were doing Christmas evening.

The difference is that we knew what time to expect our company.  We do not have that knowledge about the return of Christ.  vs. 45 says, “But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink, and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”

When we lose the anticipation about the Lord’s return and become distracted and caught up by this life, He will come back to find us unready and we will be appointed our portion with the unbelievers.

That is not God’s will for our lives.  Hell was created for satan and his angels, not for us.  (Mt. 25:41)  Heaven is the kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world.  (Mt. 25:34)  We are meant to spend eternity in heaven with our Savior and King.

Let us not become so distracted, as we wait, that we lose our anticipation of His coming.  He will return!  He will come back for us.  Let’s keep watching, expecting Him at any moment.  Our blessing awaits.

Eagerly,

jamie

There is a better way

Pr. 29:22:  “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.”

My blog yesterday (Don’t let the commercials distract you) was written in a bit of anger.  Perhaps it may have even stirred up some strife.  If so, I hope the conflict or contention was directed at the same place as mine.  My anger is towards the real enemy:  satan.  Frankly, I am sick of him and his lies, deceit, temptations, distractions, and snares of sin.

I am angry that he is causing so many people to suffer, die, and become trapped in sin.  If I didn’t know there was a better way, I wouldn’t care.  However, I know that through Jesus there is redemption, healing, salvation, freedom, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, self-control, love, kindness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  I know that until Jesus returns, satan will not relent, but I don’t like to see people suffer or needlessly tempted.

Satan will do anything he can to get our focus off God and His truth.  2 Cor. 11:14 even tells us, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  We cannot simply allow ourselves to be continually deceived, or we will be devoured.  (1 Peter 5:8)

We must remain vigilant and aware of God’s will and truth, so that we will know when the enemy is trying to deceive or distract us.  2 Cor. 2:11 tells us, ” lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  We must remain fully aware of his devices.

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 4:4

He is intentionally blinding people’s minds so that the gospel will not shine on them.  Yes.  That makes me mad.  We are the salt and the light of this world and we must remain on alert.  We must make sure that we are prepared ourselves, and have put on the whole armor of God.  Then, we will be able to withstand the enemy’s darts and teach others to do the same.

There is also a lost, hurting, and dying world around us.  How can we show them the love and the truth of the gospel?  What is it you can do today?  What can I do?

We must stay in the Word.  We must make sure we know who the Lord really is and what is really the truth.  Then, we will be able to shed the light of God on the others who are deceived or lost, with whom we come into contact.  We will be ready and able to reach out with the love of Christ to bring help and hope to the hurting or dying.

Truly, there is a better way than satan would have us believe.  The truth is in the Word.  The hope for the hurting comes from the believers of the Word.  The mercy for the deceived came through the sacrifice of the Word.

Counting on Him,

jamie

 

Trust in the One who is faithful

Pr. 29:25:  “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

This is one of those verses I use to remind myself of the truth.  When we begin to fear man more than the Lord, we are on a slippery slope, at best.  A snare is something that entraps us, entangles us, catches and keeps us.

In Mt. 16:26, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This world offers so much.  We can be the most popular, the sexiest, the best dressed, the richest, the most successful.  We can be housewives with immaculate homes, and the cleanest, most well dressed, and sportiest children.  We can have the latest hairstyle or color, the best car, the coolest gadgets.  We can watch all the right shows, have the biggest and best network of contacts, drink the most revered drinks, party at the most sought after places, or hold the most prestigious jobs.

All of it; however, has the potential to bring a snare upon us to entangle us, and to distract us from our true purpose.  If the opinions of others becomes the driving force in our lives, we will become ensnared in the constant pursuit to keep up, to fit in, to be noticed for those titles we hold.  Man’s opinions are fickle, let me remind you, and what’s the best today can easily become the most out-dated tomorrow.  Also, we must keep Jesus’ words in mind:  what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls?  We simply cannot give in and exchange our souls for dust and ashes.

While man’s opinions continually change, the Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The Lord does not change.  Unlike those who may only be a ‘friend’ while you’re doing as they like or approve, the Lord loved us so much that even in our worst state, He sent His Son to take our sin and disease upon Himself to give us eternal life.  Surely we are safe with One such as this.

Also, the Lord, who promised to care for and provide for us, is faithful to keep His promises, never turning His back in our time of need or despair.  The same God whose glory passed before Moses, turning his hair white and causing him to shine so brightly that he had to cover his face with a veil, is the same God who goes before you and keeps you safely in His mighty arms.

His name is actually a refuge to which we can run.  We need not fear.  What can man do to those whose Helper is the great and mighty Lord of Lords?  Don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by the ever-changing opinions or expectations of imperfect people.  Trust in the Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.

In His arms,

jamie

 

Are you groaning?

Pr. 29:2:  “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

This verse reminds me of work.  Have you ever worked for a boss who just seemed unbearable?  Sadly, in our sin-fallen world, not everyone is perfect.  Occasionally, there are people who rule over us in a very unpleasant way.  This can be true for work, for government, just about anything.  Truly we groan within ourselves when this is the case.

On the other hand, when we are ‘ruled’ by someone who is righteous, our lives are made much easier, and seem much more pleasant.

This reminds me of Col. 3:23-24, which says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

It is the Lord we are serving, not men.  No matter how many raises, bonuses, incentives, or even punishments are given to us by men, our ultimate reward comes from the Lord.

I’m reminded, as well, of Eph. 6:5-8:  “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”

We are actually ruled by One who is righteous.  Our reward comes from Him, not from man.  We are instructed to serve our ‘masters’ in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.  Serving Christ, the One who laid down His very life for us, is a privilege and an honor.  If we can remind ourselves that it is He that we are serving, truly we can willingly lay down our pride and our lives to do His will in all we do.  We can also be assured that the good we do will be done unto us by the Lord.

Also, this morning I read Ps. 43, in which the writer is asking for God to deliver him from the deceitful and unjust man.  At the end of the Psalm, the writer reminds himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

Then there is Pr. 29:25 which points out that the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  We can trust in God because He is faithful.  Our hope lies in Him, the One who is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Do not grow weary.  Work as to the Lord today.  You are safe in His hands, and your reward is forthcoming.

Rejoicing,

jamie

A clean heart

I’ve been thinking about David and his deceitful heart.  (from my previous blog)  I wasn’t thinking about it yesterday, but when David did repent and cry out to God for forgiveness, one of the things for which he prayed was for the Lord to create in him a clean heart.  David understood that he was led astray by the heart.  He then came to the Lord, broken and contrite, desperately sorry for sinning against Him.

We have the privilege of reading some of David’s most intimate and open thoughts in the book of Psalm.  David deeply loved the Lord and trusted in Him above all things.  David loved the Word of God and knew that hiding it in his heart would keep him from sinning against the Lord.

Obviously we know that David did sin.  It’s clear that no man is perfect–not even the man God chose to lead His people.  God said that David was a man after his own heart who would do all His will.  God knows that we live in a world in which sin will always be present.  He doesn’t expect our perfection.  He only expects our devotion.  He sent His Son to take care of the perfect salvation.

David did love the Lord and lived a life in a passionate pursuit of more of Him.  Because of his devotion, he wasn’t content in his sinful nature.  He wasn’t willing to continue in persistent sin.  In Psalm 51, we are able to get a glimpse in to this man’s brokenness before God.  He repented and asked for God’s mercy.  He wanted to renew his relationship with the God of his salvation.

He also knew that God would place wisdom in the hidden part, the most inward parts of him.  He knew that walking in God’s wisdom would deliver him from future temptations.  He may have learned the hard way, but the point is that he learned.  He did not stay in a place of purposeful sin.  He truly and openly repented and the Lord was able to create within him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him.  God was able to continue to use David as His vessel throughout David’s life, and from David’s seed rose our Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter the condition of our heart, God can create something new if we surrender to Him and allow His Spirit and His Word to guide us in wisdom.  God can give us a clean heart, deliver us from guilt, make us hear joy and gladness again, and blot our all our sins.  He is willing.

Although exalted by the Lord, David was just a man, and there is no partiality with God.  If He forgave and renewed David, He will do the same for you.

Forgiven,

jamie