On the verge of eternity

Pr. 5:14:  “I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

It’s never too late to turn back!

Even if you’re on the verge of total ruin, God’s forgiveness and grace is still available.

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.  1 Jo. 2:12

Don’t take another step towards ruination.  God is willing to forgive and make you a new creation.  You just have to ask.

Father, I come to You right now, confessing my sins against you.  Lord, Your word says that forgiveness is available through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Right now I need that forgiveness.  Have mercy on me now, God, and cleanse me.  Turn my feet from the path of ruin to the path of eternal life.  Lord, I no longer desire to live for myself and for my own desires, but long to live a life that is pleasing and useful for You.  Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask that You guide me the rest of my days.  Thank You for salvation and forgiveness.  I love You, Lord.  In Jesus Christ’s saving name, Amen.

I am praying for you,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 5

In Ps. 119:20, the psalmist declares, “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.”  Oh, God, his desire to know more of You was so strong that it overcame him and ‘broke his soul’.  His desire for You exhausted and wore on him, zapping his strength in the best of ways.  God, that I would allow that type of desire to take hold in my own heart.  Oh, that my desire to know You would consume my thoughts as much as any unfulfilled desire ever could.

Lord, in Pr. 5, Solomon pleads again with his son to pay attention to his wisdom and his understanding.  He instructs his son not to be enraptured by an immoral woman.  He warns him of the dangers of being seduced by desire towards her.  Lord, Your Word tells us the same things.  We allow our desire for so many things to take our steps away from You, but all the while, we should be so consumed with a desire for You that nothing else will satisfy.  Forgive me, Lord, for placing my desire in other places.

Help me to hear Your Word as the instruction that will truly keep from reproach and contempt.  Help me not to depart from the Word of Your mouth that was given to keep me from being caught in the cords of sin, and quite literally from death.  Do not let me despise Your instruction, nor let me be consumed by anything other than my desire for more of You.  You alone are worthy of my life.  You alone are worthy of my desire, my longings, my devotion.

Oh, that Your Word would give me more delight than any other thing could even imagine to bring.  Awaken in me a new desire, Lord, for more of You.  Awaken a longing such as I have never had before.

Let my longing for You be passed to my children and my children’s children.  Let the generations to come long for You so strongly that it also breaks their souls.  Oh, that our longing would produce works that will glorify You and You alone.  You are worthy of all that and more, Lord, our Creator, our Savior, our Deliverer, and Strength.  Your power and might, Your faithfulness, Your peace…all these things and more make You more desirable than all else.  Keep that in our hearts and in our minds.  Help us to meditate on these things above all other things.  Move in us and use us for Your glory, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now is the time for mourning

Pr. 5:11:  “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed.”

Sometimes we continue on a path of sin even though we know better.  Sometimes, even though we’ve been warned and cautioned by others to refrain, we continue to imbibe.  It’s not just you.  We’ve all done it.

Let me encourage you today; however, to stop.  Whatever sinful activity you know you’re entertaining or currently undertaking, simply stop.  Put on the brakes and say, “Today is the that day it stops.”

Don’t wait until it has gone so far that your ‘flesh and your body are consumed.’  Don’t let the time of consequences be your mourning point.

I came by to remind you today that Jesus Christ died to free you from your sins.  He did not leave you helpless, to be bound by sin.  He died to provide you freedom.  He died to provide freedom for those around you.

Let’s not wait and mourn when the consequences of sin have gotten to the point of consuming us.  Let’s mourn now for any separation we have from God.  Let’s let that mourning draw us back to Him.  Let’s mourn now for the lost souls around us, and let’s do something about it.

We have a bigger purpose on this earth than fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  We have a gospel to preach.  What better way to preach than with the example of our lives?  When we tell others the sinful places and activities from which God has brought us, and the love He continues to have for us and for them, we are fulfilling our purpose.

Stopping today gives you a testimony that is real and that can be used for His purpose.  Mourning now will motivate you to mourn for others around you, and inspire you to share the reality of that same grace and forgiveness that was offered for you.

Now is the time to mourn.

Grieving,

jamie

Which wisdom do you seek?

Pr. 5:1:  “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding.”

I’m struck again today by what the Bible says about wisdom.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks about the wisdom of men vs. the wisdom of God.  There is a vast difference indeed.

Paul is reminding the Corinthians, and us, that it is not the wisdom of man that we should chase, obsess over, or count on.  He tells us in chapter 2:10-11 that the Spirit alone knows the deep things of God.  We should be chasing after God.

When Paul spoke to them it was not with persuasive words of human wisdom, with excellence of speech, or from his own power and ability.  The only thing he desired to know was Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and when he spoke, he demonstrated the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The ‘wisdom’ of this world is driving us further and further from God.  Of worldly wisdom, Is. 29:14 says that the wisdom of the wise will be destroyed and the understanding of the prudent will be brought to nothing.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to give us the answers we seek.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to protect us, solve our problems, or bring true freedom.  Their wisdom will be destroyed and brought to nothing.

Only wisdom from the Lord endures.  When seeking after wisdom, let’s make sure we’re going to the right source.  Wisdom was with God at the beginning of His way, and exists with true prudence, knowledge, and discretion.  (Pr. 8)  We have been invited to ask God for that same wisdom, and told that He who gives to all liberally and without reproach will give it.

We may sometimes feel foolish in the face of worldly wisdom, but we needn’t.  God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things to put to shame the things which are mighty.  In the end, God’s wisdom will be what makes all things new and will lead us to our heavenly home.

Let’s grow wiser by running after God.  He’s the one we can truly count on.

With eternity on my mind,

jamie

Lips dripping with knowledge

Pr. 5:2:  “That you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.”

Canning is a beautiful art.  You can take fruit, vegetables, meat, and herbs in the height of their freshness and preserve the taste and beauty they hold.  You can eat delicious tomatoes in the middle of winter that are almost as lovely as those that were harvested fully ripe.  Grapes can be plucked right off the vine and turned into delicious jelly you can use any time the craving arises.  Fresh fish can be canned and stored to feed a family all winter when fishing is an impossibility.

Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is.

The catch is this:  you cannot just throw some tomatoes in a jar, put them on a shelf, and expect them to remain preserved.  Bacteria can quickly grow in a jar of unsealed food, leaving the food dangerous and deadly.  Canning is a labor-intensive process that requires preparation, diligence, knowledge, and commitment.

So, it is with discretion.  We cannot just expect to preserve that within ourselves when surrounded by indiscretions.  We must diligently and knowledgeably commit ourselves to guarding discretion in our lives.  We cannot neglect the seeds of indiscretion that try to multiply in our lives through temptations, tv and movies, media, books, music, etc.

That is not to say that we cannot enjoy our lives, but keeping knowledge on our lips requires alertness and carefulness.  Sometimes it can be laborious.  Sometimes we may feel like we’re missing out on something.  It is a labor; however, that is worth the trouble.

If we want juicy fruits of the Spirit to drip from our lips, if we want to be filled with the tastes of wisdom and knowledge, if we want to enjoy fruit during the “off-season,” we must plan and pay attention to preserving those things.  We must continue to check that our seals are not allowing bacteria to seep in and grow.

Enjoy the fruits,

jamie

Don’t allow your labors and wealth to go to another

Pr. 5:10:  “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner.”

I recall a particular sleepover my daughter had with her friend when she was a young girl.  The next night, as I tucked her in to bed, she was cuddling a stuffed animal I had never seen.  When I asked her where she got it, she told me that her friend’s mom had taken them to Wal-mart and bought it for her.  How sweet.

I asked her if I could look at the toy, and when I got a better look, I could see scratches on the eyes of the animal and raggedy fur.  I realized instantly that this was a well-worn toy, not a brand new toy from the shelf of the store.  With her elaborate story, it was clear that she had taken the toy from her friend’s house with every intention of claiming it as her own.

Because she had not only stolen the toy, but had taken the time to think up such a cover-up story to hide her deeds, we knew we had to punish her in a way that she would remember.  For stealing, she had to give the toy back in person, and give away 3 of her very own toys to people who did not have as many as her; and because of the lie, she was grounded from playing with the toys she had left.

Reading this verse about the consequences of adultery reminded me of the consequences she faced.  A marriage is an investment.  We do labor in a marriage.  We give hours, months, and years of our time to our spouse.  We build our houses together, and spend our money on new counter tops or lighting fixtures.  As a couple, we have friendships with other couples.  Maybe we even have a ministry within the church.

We risk losing all that we’ve built when we commit adultery.  Like my daughter, who had to give away some of her own things when she stole from someone.  When we take something that is not ours, in adultery, we risk losing what we have built within our marriage.  All the time we’ve invested into our spouses is now hard to remember, or now seems like a lie.  The houses and “nests” we’ve built with our spouse may be lost to us, given to another, or just sold to settle accounts.

Stealing from her friend, my daughter also risked losing that friendship, due to lack of trust.  The same can happen with our friendships if we risk adultery.  We may even lose our ministries.

The warning in this verse is very clear and very real.  Why allow someone else to gain what you’ve invested in?  We don’t need to invest in or claim things that don’t belong to us.  We must treasure what we have, care for it, invest more into it, and allow the rewards to multiply.  The gain we experience will be exponential and eternal.  🙂

Investing,

jamie

Lovingly forewarned

Pr. 5:12:  “And say, “How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction.””

There are some lessons we need to grab hold of before it’s too late.  In this verse, Solomon is teaching his son the peril of adultery.   (Although this could be applied to any sin that lays hold)  He lists the consequences that come from giving into that sin.  The man’s honor was given to others, his years given to the cruel one, others got his wealth and workers, and realizing too late that he should have listened to instruction and correction, he finally mourned while being completely consumed.

If we don’t have solid long-term thinking in place, we are prone to making poor decisions in the heat of the moment.  This is why we must prepare ourselves beforehand.  Why do you believe what you believe?  Why is it important for you to not engage in certain activities?  Why do you choose to live as a child of God?  You need to know who you are in Christ, and why you are His.  This will help you not to be “caught up” in smooth words, alluring appearances, and bitter lies.

Don’t hate the instruction of the Lord.  Embrace it.  It is freely given.

Don’t despise His correction, or the correction of godly men and women around you.  Children are corrected because they are loved.  Embrace it as something that may, in fact, save your life.

Thank you, Lord, for Your words of wisdom that protect us and bring life to our lives.  Truly You are a Father who loves and cherishes His own.  I am grateful to be called Your child.  Help us, Lord, not to depart from Your perfect words. 

Gratefully,

jamie