Growing up for a reason

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1

Pr. 11:30 reminds us that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  It is hard to win souls when we’re still babes in Christ.

Babies need almost constant attention.  When they’re not sleeping they need to be fed, held, cleaned, and kept safe.

There comes a time in our spiritual journey that we must make the decision to grow up.  We must begin feeding and caring for ourselves, not depending on others to provide us with everything.  We must learn to trust God to hold us and clean us up, not expecting others around us to be the ones who do so.

Of course, we all have moments when we need the love and care of those around us; however, when we find that we need that almost constantly it is an indication that perhaps we are still behaving as babes.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world preaching and baptizing.  Solomon reminded us that winning souls is the wise thing to do.  In order to do these things, we must have something to offer.

Babies are born helpless and have almost nothing to offer others.  They have to learn and grow so that they can begin contributing to the world around them.  Likewise, we must continue to grow in our trust in God and in our knowledge of Him so that we have something to offer those around us who are truly in need.

The best place to start is…drum roll, please…the Word.  When we begin feeding ourselves the Bread of Life each day, we are beginning to grow up and care for ourselves.

Once we get used to feeding ourselves, we can begin cleaning ourselves up through prayer.  Asking God for forgiveness and direction cleans us up and gives us wisdom for our next steps.  Thanking God for His blessings causes us to become grateful, which is a very grown up attribute.

With these skills, we will then find ourselves running to God to be held.  We will have grown in our understanding of who our Provider, Comforter, Helper, Deliverer, and Savior truly is.  We will know that when we need help the most, the safest, most dependable place to run is to the arms of our Father in heaven.

Armed with all this knowledge, we can then teach others that these same things are true.  We can point them to the same Father, who gives us the safety to be His baby, and the wisdom to grow into spiritual adults.

Growing up alongside you,

jamie

Advertisements

Lessons from Captain Hook

This morning I saw a cartoon where Captain Hook was sitting in some water.  He asked, “What is underneath me?”  Surprise, surprise, it was Tick-Tock Croc.  Isn’t that crocodile always right there, waiting to take a bite out of Captain Hook?

It reminded me of temptation.  It seems that we all have that one vicious temptation that seems to always be there, just waiting to attack.

But what does Captain Hook do?  Well, first he flees.  I’m reminded of 2 Tim. 2:22 that tells us to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Next, after the Captain gets away, he just keeps on going about his swashbuckling business.  We can’t live in such fear of our temptations that we hide away and stop living our lives.  We have to keep moving.  Just as Captain Hook has a job to do, so do we.  We have been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world preaching, teaching, and baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One more observation:  that crocodile was underneath him.  Romans 16:19-20 implores and reassures us, saying, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”  Sin and temptation have no authority over us.

So, our lessons from Captain Hook today:  flee, don’t give up, continue to learn God’s wisdom, and remember that God has already won the victory!

Not just blathering,

jamie

The beauty of church

I went to church yesterday feeling tired, heavy, and regretful.

I taught my 5th graders in Sunday school about 3 superheros named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  Even in the face of great pain and death, they stood up for what was right, and because of their conviction, others could literally see God, and came to believe that He was the Most High God.

What is the worst thing we can do about this story?  Forget.  Without reminding ourselves of what God can do and has done, we forget that we can be delivered from the fiery furnaces in our own lives.  We forget that if we stand up for and believe in God, even in our painful situation, others may be able to see God and come to believe that He is the Most High God, as well.

During the church service I was reminded that anything I can’t stop thinking about is an idol.  I could list several things that my mind couldn’t shake at that moment.  Do I want to be a servant of regrets, money, sickness, fashion, or cultural acceptance; or do I want to be a servant of the Most High God?  If it’s the later, then I need to be thinking about Him.  Trusting in Him means thinking about His goodness, His faithfulness, and His constant provision and abilities.

I then heard a testimony that reminded me that I am still alive because I still have work to do for Christ.  I don’t need to become so distracted that I forget why I’m here.

Last night I was heard that the Lord made dry bones live (Ez. 37), and that if He can bring dry bones back together into a perfect person, breathe life back into them, and join their ranks into an exceedingly great army; then He can breathe life back into the places that feel dry in my life, and that rivers of Living Water can still pour forth from me to reach those in need.

I was still tired when I left church last night; however, I was tired from being taught and ministered to all day long.  This morning, I feel the rivers stirring around in me.  My hope is not cut off.  I am not dry and desolate.  I am full of the Lord and His goodness, and because I am choosing to stand on His promises, I believe that others will be able to see Him in my life.

What’s the big deal about going to church?  Had I sat home with my heaviness and regrets yesterday, this morning would have looked a lot more dismal.  When you go to church and focus on God, allowing yourself to be open to His wisdom and encouragement brought in unexpected ways, He will minister to you, dust you off, and breathe life into you for the rest of the journey ahead.

I’m so thankful for a place to refuel, and for those who encourage and pray for me.

Gushing,

jamie

 

The Word of God

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”  Ps. 1:1-3

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is pure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb, moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”  Ps. 19:7-11

We don’t read the Word of God because we want to impress the preacher.  God doesn’t urge us to read so that we are burdened with 1 more thing to do each day.  Having the most elegant Bible study isn’t the point.  The Word of God makes us wise, coverts our souls, rejoices our heart, enlightens our eyes, gives us strength, increases our hope, and fertilizes our hearts for the Lord to bring forth fruit in its season.

Certainly we are warned in the Word, and encouraged to keep from things like standing in the path of sinners and sin; but more than that we are rewarded daily by the Word of God.*  His Word is life, and it is strength to our bones.  He will satisfy in drought, shield us from fear, and light our paths each day.

How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.                                                                                   Ps. 119:103

*For your reward and strength, see the Word of God.

jamie

Something worth talking about

Let’s talk about something interesting today:  Jesus.

Did you know that when you talk about The Lord, He listens?

Our Sunday school lesson last week was from Mt. 16:13-20, when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?”  The principle of our lesson was ‘practice talking about God.’  We encouraged our children to get to know Jesus in a more personal way, so they have something to share about Him.

One thing I forgot to mention to them is that when we do talk about The Lord He listens.

Malachi 3:16-17 says, “Then those who feared The Lord spoke to one another, and The Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear The Lord and who meditate on His name.  “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

The Lord is writing a book of remembrance.  When we talk about Him:  meditate on His name, praise Him, talk of what He’s done in our lives, talk about His greatness, talk of His strength, talk about Him around our tables and campfires, share about Him with others or with one another, He hears.

He listens and it is so important to Him that he is having a book written to remember the words and one day we will be made His jewels.  :).

Talking about Him is never done in vain.  He says He will spare us…just for talking about something that is probably our favorite subject anyway.  I love to hear people talk about The Lord and His greatness.

Who do you say that Jesus is?  If you’re not sure, read more about Him.  If you know, then share it.  Talk about Him, and as you honor Him, He will record it to be remembered always, and one day you will be His jewel for all eternity.

Happy to share,

jamie

Learning at His feet

I am sick and didn’t feel like I had the strength to type today, but my Bible reading this morning included the story of Martha and Mary.  Just a few moments ago, I picked up a devotional book and found the exact same scripture, so I thought I would share.  During this busy time of year, what better story to remind us of what is important than that of Martha and Mary.

This devotion comes from Wisdom for Women, by Carol L. Fitzpatrick:

A woman named Martha welcomed Him [Jesus] into her home.  And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet.  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving along?  Then tell her to help me.  Luke 10:38-40

Martha, ever the perfect hostess, was left to do all the work.  It didn’t seem fair.  However, what Martha really desired was a release from her compulsive neatness.  And that’s when the Lord presented her with a process for “chilling out.”

“‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'”  Luke 10:41-42.

In other words, all the busyness which now preoccupied Martha didn’t really matter.  Jesus was here and she was passing up a tremendous opportunity to learn from Him.

After all, who knew better than Christ how to put the pressure of life into perspective?  He had only 3 years in which to establish His ministry, train up His disciples, and present the Gospel.  Yet we see no record of Him hurrying others or running at a frantic pace.

Have you taken time to get to know your Lord?  Perhaps your life, like Martha’s is missing the best part.

Prayer:  Lord, I pray for peace today from my busy schedule so I may learn at Your knee.

Well, said, Ms. Fitzpatrick.

I am praying for each of us during this busy time of year, that we will not allow the busyness to preoccupy us from learning at the feet of Our Savior.

jamie

 

Wisdom for Women by Carol L. Fitzpatrick, 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.