How are they so calm right now?

    Photo taken straight through my kitchen window. Notice the water drops…they’re on the outside.  I was safe and dry on the inside.

I was taking a few moments to just enjoy myself and gaze out at the rain through the kitchen window this morning.  Then I looked over and had to laugh when I noticed that our outside cat, who was now inside, was doing the same through the sliding door.

Tropical storm Michael is upon us right now, so we have a nice, steady rain here right now, some wind gusts; and it’s still a bit dark out.  Inside our home this morning; however, it has been so nice and peaceful.  It’s been very calm and quiet this morning, and I’ve felt an unusual type of peace.  It’s been quite lovely.

It reminded me of something that God can do in our lives.  Sometimes there are storms in our lives.  Winds can blow, rain can pelt down, floods can rise.  Things in our lives can be out of control all around us.  Oh, but God…He can keep everything calm and peaceful within us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:6-7 (NLT)   

God will give us peace that exceeds anything we can understand, and it will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.  That’s the peace I’m talking about.  The peace that keeps us calm on the inside while the storm rages around us on the outside.

It won’t make sense.  People will wonder how we can be so calm.  We may not even believe it ourselves at first, but then we will understand that God has just been faithful once again, like He has been before!  He cannot lie, so if He says He will give us this kind of peace, then we can take Him at His word.  We just have to trust Him enough to try it.

So, the first step is do not worry, but pray.  Tell Him what we need.  Thank Him for all He has done.  And then…then comes that peace…the peace within the storm!  I want that peace in the storms of my life, don’t you?  Let’s give it a shot!

Praying for your peace and mine,

jamie

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Lessons learned on today’s hike

Life can put any manner of obstacles in our path.  Sometimes we are strong and energetic, jumping right over them.  Other times we are a little more cautious, stepping carefully over them.  There are other times; however, when we are so tired and wearied that we just feel like sitting down and weeping before them, giving up.  If that happens we sometimes even backtrack and wind up back where we began, making no progress in our journey at all.  It can happen to any of us.

 

 

Life can also offer us bridges.  Sometimes bridges can be scary things.  They can be very high, very rickety, made of rope, built over raging waters, or just something that someone fears.  In order to cross a bridge, we have to have faith that what awaits us on the other side of a bridge is worth us crossing it in the first place.

Those obstacle and bridge moments are definitely moments in our lives when we are prone to call out to God.  We cry out for help from the One we know or have heard can calm our fears or give us peace.  We reach out for the one that calms the storm when the bridge starts swaying.  We ask for help with the obstacles when we know they are Goliath’s that we cannot defeat.

 

It’s those other moments, when the path is clear and the going seems easy that we can get so confident that we forget we are still need of that same Savior.  We see the empty path and assume we can handle the steps ourselves.  We don’t feel the urgency to read our Bible like we did when we were facing the bridges, so we read less and less until maybe we aren’t reading at all.  Meanwhile, there are roots under the leaves that begin trip us up as we go.  Suddenly, the small roots begin to look like the large obstacles once again.

We think our prayer time can wait until we get around the curve, but then we get busy with our day and forget.  Next thing we know, we look up and see a bear lumbering towards us.  Because we haven’t been plugging into the power of the Holy Spirit, we aren’t prepared when the enemy meets us on the path.  Now we’re weak, meeting him in our own strength, and full of fear again.

I’m reminded of how David yelled out to Goliath, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” 1 Sam. 17:45-46

We don’t just need the Lord on our side when the obstacle is in our face.  We need to have had the Lord by our side all along, so that once we meet the obstacles we are sure to face we can face them with a David-like faith, strong and sure.

Walk with Him daily,

jamie

You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

You are qualified to minister!

Why is it that our imperfections make us feel as though we are unqualified to minister?

Logically, we know that no one is perfect.  When it comes to ourselves; however, we have this harsh standard of judgment that we hold ourselves up against.  We think our imperfections are too imperfect.  If people only knew…  Why would anyone want to listen to us…  What makes us so special or all-knowing…

Let me tell you this.  Your imperfections are Exactly what make you qualified to minister.  It is because you are imperfect that you know how to relate to the imperfections of others.  It is because of your past trials that you understand what others are going through.  It is precisely because of the pain you’ve experienced that you can speak to another’s pain.

No hurting person wants to be ministered to by someone who acts like their own life is perfect and that nothing has ever gone wrong for them.  We always relate much more to people who are real and have scars, just like us .

Having gone through your trials, your pain, and your battles has made you the minister that you were meant to be.  I know for a fact that God doesn’t allow things to happen in our lives without having something good come from them.  If that good thing is that our faith is built, then we are better for it.  If that good thing is that our character is stronger, than praise be to Him!  If that good thing is that we now rely on the One who gives the strength, then we have come out as winners.

You get it?  There is a verse in 2 Timothy that really speaks to me on this.  Chapter 3, verse 7 says, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Is that what we are doing?  Always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth?  It is time for that to stop!  It is time to come to the knowledge of the truth, once and for all.

My pain and my trials have equipped me for ministry.  What I have learned through them and through God’s Word have equipped me for ministry.  What you have learned has done the same for you.  It is time to stop doubting, to trust in God, to come to the full knowledge of the truth, and to minister as though the end is drawing near.  Because brothers and sisters, I assure you the end is indeed drawing nigh.

The very fact that you have come out on this side of your battle, still looking to God as your Source, says that you have endured!  Now, there are others out there in need of the same Savior, Healer, Deliverer, and Provider that you’ve been leaning upon.  It is time for you to go forth and minister!

Fulfill your ministry,

jamie

When bad news comes

What do we do when bad news comes our way?  Depending on how bad it is, my first reaction is to cry.  And that’s ok.  It is ok for us to react with emotion.  God made us in His image and we are emotional beings.  But after that…

We have to take our eyes off the circumstances as much as we can and get our eyes on the Lord.  He has the ultimate say in this life.  Sickness doesn’t get to have the final say.  Doctor predictions don’t have the final say.  Lawyers and politicians don’t get the last word.  God is in control and whether He does what we hope or what He knows is best, He is Sovereign and He still holds His creation in His hands.

Keep your eyes on the Lord above.  Keep trusting in Him and calling out to Him in your time of need.  Run boldly to His throne of grace where you will find help.  Find the safety in the refuge of His holy name.  Count on His word that is settled in heaven.  Believe in the One for whom it is impossible to lie.  He is faithful and true.  He has defeated death and the grave, and one day He will send His Son, Jesus, to be with Him again for all eternity.  Praise God, we are His…now and forevermore!  In fact, our eternity has begun now…we are just waiting for Jesus to come get us so we can finish the rest of our eternity in heaven.  We are already His.

When the bad news comes, we have some wonderful, amazing, praise-worthy news to focus on!  God has not left us nor forsaken us.  He is with us.  We just have keep our eyes on Him and lean in.  Not only will He guide and strengthen us, but His Comforter is with us to offer peace every step of the way.

Focusing on Him,

jamie

 

How do we take our thoughts captive?

Pr. 23:12: “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

I was told that my blog from yesterday was really sad.  It is sad that I chose not to take my thoughts captive, mostly because that was the start of a downward spiral in my life that lasted about a year.  I struggled more than I ever needed to and even had thoughts of suicide.

So, how do we take our thoughts captive?  It starts with the Word.  We have to know it.  We have to know Him.  Instruction and knowledge are available to us all, and we need to apply ourselves to them.

Let’s look back at Eve in the garden.  The Lord told Adam that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  When satan came to tempt Eve to eat it, she told him that the Lord said they could not eat it nor touch it.  (That’s not what He said)  Then satan subtly convinced her that the tree was good for food.  We must know the truth of God’s Word, and we must trust it.

Satan even used God’s word when tempting Jesus after His 40-day wilderness experience.

He does the same with us…subtle shifts in God’s word.  Nothing that seems too alarming, except that instead of growing us closer to the Lord, it pulls us away from Him.  Nothing grossly misrepresented, just enough word play to cause us to begin focusing more on ourselves than we do on the Lord.  After all, just as satan wanted to be like God, he tempted Eve with being like God, he tempted Jesus with power and pride; he tries to distract us away from the One true God.

We have access to the Word of God today like no other time in history.  Before we accept anything as truth, we need to consult the Word and find out what it says…word for word.

Jesus took His thoughts captive when tempted by satan, when He accurately quoted God’s Word to satan.  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.  Mt. 4:11

I believe that when we follow Jesus’ example, and do the same, that God show will Himself strong for us, and help us through those tough moments, as well.  We don’t have to struggle and head for the downward spirals, but can be lifted up in His Spirit to draw ever closer to Him.

Taking our thoughts captive, we can regain control in our lives, declaring who the Lord of our lives truly is, and trusting that He will do what He said He will do.

He spoke the light, sun, stars, plants, and animals into existence.  Whatever He speaks comes to pass.  The promises in His Word cannot be lies.  What He says has to be.  Do you believe it?  Claim it!

Believing on His Word,

jamie