Category Archives: serving God

Walking humbly with God

“I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.  For He is the living God, and He will endure forever.  His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His rule will never end.  He rescues and saves His people; He performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.  He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”  Dan. 6:26-27

Daniel served and honored God quietly & faithfully, living an honorable, respectable life, with integrity.  The people around him noticed, and he found favor in their eyes because of it.  God was able to use Him because of it.

God used Daniel to prove His might and His faithfulness, and because of Daniel’s humility, God received all the glory.  People saw what happened in Daniel’s life, and it caused them to look to God and give Him praise and believe.  An unbelieving king even declared God’s reality and might in the kingdom-wide decree above.  That is huge!

Daniel didn’t walk through his life telling people how bad they were or pointing out their every flaw.  He honored God with his life and allowed God to use him; and because of that, others were able to clearly see how amazing and faithful God was.  

This isn’t hiding your light under a bushel.  This is shining your beautiful light brightly as you live a life that honors your Father in heaven, so that it illuminates the way for others to see Him, as well.  

Shine bright!

jamie

Don’t lose your balance

“So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.”  2 Peter 3:17

That’s what it says in the CEV.  In The Passion Translation, it says, “Be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip of the truth.”

Either way, when we have our eyes on others, we can be led in the wrong direction, lose our grip on the truth, lose our balance, and even fall. 

This is why Paul told us to plant our roots in Christ, and to let Him be the foundation for our lives.  He also told us to set our hearts on what is in heaven.  John tells us to keep thinking about the message we first heard so that we will always be one in our hearts with the Son, and the Father, just as the Holy Spirit has taught us to do. 

Where are your roots getting their nourishment right now?  Make sure that you are planted in Christ, first and foremost.  What was that message you first heard?  Do you need to go back to the B.I.B.L.E?  Do you need to remind yourself that, “Jesus Loves Me, this I know?” 

Let me affirm you right now, and remind you that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.  You have also been blessed with the Holy Spirit…the same powerful Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.  You belong to Christ, who is over every power & authority, and in His name, you are more than a conqueror! 

Brothers & sisters, I encourage you, with the words of Paul, “But you must stay deeply rooted & firm in your faith.  You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news.”  Col. 1:23

No matter what is going on around you, and what choices others are making, know that you are loved, you have power, and you can keep your balance as you stay on the path with the Lord.  Take time to nourish yourself.  It matters.  

Dig those roots in,

jamie

Don’t quit now

Farkle.  Have you ever played?  It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.  My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.  He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”  I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.  You lose your points.”  Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”  Nope!  That was also not an option.  We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.  Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,  He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.  Just let me die.”  And then he fell asleep.  If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  We don’t run without a goal.  He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”  Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!  There is no 2nd place with God.  There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.  We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Can I have some breakfast?

My daughter walks into the kitchen almost every morning and asks, “Can I have some breakfast?”  This is her home.  It’s breakfast time.  She is old enough and capable enough to fix food on her own.  There is even food in the kitchen.  And yet, she asks this question almost daily.

After she asked it this morning, I thought about the words Jesus told us to pray to our Father in heaven, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Jesus told us to look to the Father as our faithful Provider.  He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  (Per Phil. 4:19)

We don’t have to worry or fret about our physical needs.  In fact, Jesus specifically told us not to.  We are God’s image-bearers.  He will care for our physical needs so that we can pursue needs higher than those.

We just have to ask Him to provide for those physical needs, be grateful for and content with what He gives us, and be willing to move on and pursue the higher calling ahead of us.  Our lives are about more than food and clothing.  There is a much higher calling placed upon each of us.

After breakfast, it’s time to get to work.

Eat up!

jamie

God always wins!

Some interesting reading this morning in Psalms.

First I read Ps. 76, which talks about how God always wins.  He is God.  Famous.  Honored in Israel.  On Mt. Zion He destroyed fiery arrows, shields, swords, and all the other weapons.

He is more glorious than the eternal mountains.  When He roars, enemy chariots & horses drop dead in their tracks.  He is fearsome and no one can oppose Him when He is angry.  He is also ready to rescue everyone in need.  Even the most angry people will praise Him when He is furious, and He destroys the courage of rulers & kings, making cowards of them.

Then I read Ps. 74, which talked about a nation in trouble.  People felt like God had rejected them.  It was asking for God to remember them.  It said, please don’t forget about Mt. Zion.  (the same Mt. Zion where He had destroyed those things above)

It talks about how God’s enemies roared like lions in the holy temple and placed their own banners there.  Ah, but I remember God’s roar and the damage it can do…

The enemies used axes & hatchets to smash the carvings in God’s temple, and they burned down the temple & badly disgraced it.  They burned every one of God’s meeting places all over the country.  There were no more meeting places & no more prophets.  The question was where was God?  How long would He wait?

But His Word says, that even the most angry people will praise Him, and He destroys the courage of rulers, making cowards of them.

God hasn’t left.  He does not change.  The Lord is truthful, and he can be trusted.

“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping His promises, as some people think He is.  In fact, God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.”  (2 Peter 3:9)  He is still being patient for those who would still turn to Him.

“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people.  He sent Him to save them!”  (John 3:17)

If we feel ourselves getting overwhelmed by what we see around us, we can be reminded to look to the One who is still in control and remind ourselves that there is a bigger reason for life here on Earth.  Things aren’t always as they seem.

God’s desire is that all would be saved and turn to Him.  Is that our desire, as well?  God loves the world so much that He sent His only Son to save them.  Do we love the world enough to tell them and show them and pray for them?  Or have we written the world off?  God said Jesus will return and we will be with Him in eternity.  Don’t lost heart, dear ones.

God hasn’t said it’s over yet.  Neither should we.  God always wins!

jamie

Trusting God…even with our enemies?

Why do we think that God’s Word won’t work?  We do that more often than we will probably admit.  I was reading Ro. 12 this morning, and there are several verses that remind us what the Lord says about 1 subject:

  • “Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you.  Ask Him to bless them and not to curse them.”   (vs. 14)
  • “Dear friends, don’t try to get even.  Let God take revenge.”   (vs. 19)
  • “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat.  And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”  (vs. 20)

From the youngest of ages, this is something we have to begin learning.  It goes against the flesh-nature of us all.  Kids learn immediately that they want their way.  They learn immediately who they feel safe around and who they don’t.  And find out who they can and cannot trust.

Same for us.  But, as Christians, we are told how to we are to handle the situation.  We are told to pray for them.  Ask God to bless them.  And then, if they need something, we are to supply that need, trusting that God’s Word is actually true.  If we say we believe in His Word, then we prove it by doing all of it, not just some, right?  Eeeeeek.

Jesus said, “I tell you love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.”  Does that mean we have to allow an enemy in our lives, submitting to them every minute?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  Wisdom from the Lord, and discernment from the Holy Spirit are certainly very helpful things to have in our lives, to guide us as we make decisions.

But we can pray for anyone, and forgive, finding the love of God for anyone…loving them as Christ loved us.  This will enable God to do the work that only He can do, and let Him prove that He and His Word are mighty and true.

We can’t just pick out all the parts of the Word that we want and leave the rest.  He will honor it all.  And He can be trusted.

Loving you,

jamie

Walking His Way

When we were on the Greenbrier River, in WV, a few days ago, my son spent a lot of time tubing down a certain part of the river.  There were 2 paths.  Both were fast, but no matter which path he chose, he had to walk up against the current.  He would walk up the one that was slightly more shallow, and then he rode back down on the faster current.

I was reading 2 Cor. 10:3-5 this morning, in the CEV, which says, “We live in this world; but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world.  Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses.  We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.”

Is that what we’re doing right now?  Those kind of words are what we do when we’re walking against the current, not comfortably riding down on the faster current.

I’m reminded of Eph. 6:18, which says, “Never stop praying especially for others.  Always pray by the power of the Spirit.  Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.”  Our weapons are not of this world.  We are to destroy arguments, not start or continue them, and we are never to stop praying for others.

We are also to destroy every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that more important than being right?  Oh, God, help us!  Forgive us.  Be merciful, one more time, and help us, so that we can lead others to you while it is still today.

“Go in through the narrow gate.  The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow.  A lot of people go through that gate.  But the gate to life is very narrow.  The road that leads there is so hard to follow that few people find it.”  Mt. 7:13-14

Lord, help us not give up, and go through the wide gate now.  The current gets so strong sometimes, and we find ourselves struggling to fight to go Your way.  This verse is such a strong reminder of that truth, and how relevant it is in our world right now.  But Lord, we don’t want to take someone else through the wide gate with us.  Better to tarry, and struggle through the current to get through the narrow gate to You, and bring others with us, than to give up and drag others along, too.

Help us to act like Your people, fighting in the Spirit, and praying always.  Convict us when we are prideful, reminding us that Jesus died for all of the world, not just us, and that not even we are worthy outside of His blood and Your grace.  Thank You for the gifts of grace and forgiveness.  Help us to offer the same to those around us, and to tell them the good news of Your great love.  

Follow Him,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Jn. 21:7:  “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.”

When it came to Jesus, Peter was not afraid to jump!

Only once in the Scriptures do we find Simon afraid and turning his back on Jesus.  All other times, he went for it!

In Luke 5, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and was teaching the people on the shore.  After He taught, Jesus told Peter to let down his net, and it came up so full of fish that it began to rip.  Another boat came to help and the 2 boats were so full that they began to sink…it was madness.

Jesus then asked Peter to come with him to be a “fisher of men.”  Peter left everything to follow Jesus.

Another time, the disciples were alone on their boat.  There was a bit of rough wind on the sea, and Jesus comes walking by on the water.  Peter gets out of the boat, at the Lord’s command, and walks toward Him.

On the morning when Mary Magdalene came to Peter and the other disciple to tell them that the stone had been rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, he and Peter both ran to the tomb.  Peter may have been outrun, but the other disciple didn’t go in.  He just stood outside of the tomb and looked in.  But not Peter.  Peter went all the way inside.

And then later, before the scene I described in my last blog.  Peter had decided to go fishing.  He was on the boat and someone asked from the shore, “Friends, have you caught anything?”  When they said no, the man on the shore told them to let down their nets on the right side of the boat.  Well, wouldn’t you know it…  the net was so full they couldn’t even drag it in.

Jesus’ favorite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!”  And out jumped Peter!

Why wait for the boat?

Today’s lesson from Peter:  When it comes to God, don’t hesitate…Jump…Leap…Run…Go for it!

Final lesson here,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 1

Jn. 21:21:  ‘When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus, “Lord what about him?”‘

I found a beautiful, deep lesson in some interaction between Jesus and Peter this morning.  And then I found this, and I had to laugh!

Jesus had literally just commissioned Peter to take care of His church.  He had just set Peter apart.  They had just had this beautiful, special moment, where Jesus told Peter to “Feed His sheep.”  It was an individual calling.  A singular, specific commission just for Peter.  A memorable moment.  It couldn’t have been more personal.

Then, Peter turned and sees Jesus’ ‘favorite disciple’ following them, and Peter asked, “Lord what about him?”  Jesus’ answer is just wow:  “What is it to you?”

Peter’s concern is so like ours.  Here he is having this amazing moment with Jesus, literally being commissioned for ministry, by the physical Lord, and He’s looking at someone else, asking, “But what about them?”  “Why does their calling looking different than mine?”

It made me laugh out loud and yet made me feel so much relief.  It’s human nature.  He asked that directly to the face of the Lord.  But take note: what was Jesus answer?

Jesus replied, “What is it to you?”  Can we see that Jesus doesn’t want us concerning ourselves with this?  We know that Jesus had a specific calling on Peter’s life.  A job Peter was created to do.  It couldn’t have been done by another.  Not the way Peter did it.  Peter was made for his purpose.

We, likewise, were made for ours.  Yes, it’s human nature that look to others and ask, “but what about them?”  But what is it to us?  God is calling us to our purpose.  He is calling them to theirs.  It’s time to remember that it’s not a competition or a fight.  We all have our own job to do, as we work to the same end.

Our job:  focus on our relationship with Christ, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we do the job He has given us each to do.  Meanwhile, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, as we support them while they are doing their best to do the same.

Thanks for the laugh, Lord,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Lessons from Peter, part 3

For His sake

“Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water”  Nu. 20:8

Sometimes the things God asks us to do aren’t for our own sakes.  I know that we usually want everything to be about us, but sometimes our lives are suppose to be about Him.  Gulp.

Moses was suppose to speak to the rock.  God had already performed a miracle where Moses had hit a rock and water came out of it.  But, in true Israelite fashion, the Israelites were thirsty again and were now complaining that God wasn’t taking care of them, and that they would have been better off in slavery.

So, this time, God said that if Moses would just speak to the rock the water would come out of it.  He wanted to do something new.  He wanted the glory.  He wanted the Israelites to see something new and not think, “Oh, it’s just the same ol’ thing…water coming from a rock…seen it.”

God wanted the Israelites to see Moses simply be his obedient vessel, so He could be honored.

How can you be obedient today?  What is God asking you to do to honor Him?  He isn’t asking me to do what only you can, and he isn’t ask you to do what only I can.  Let’s simply be willing and obedient…together…during this time apart.

Honoring him now,

jamie