I’ve been consenting with sinners

Pr. 1:10:  “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

It’s confession time for me.  I’ve been enticed and I have consented.

We have had Netflix for a long time.  I usually watch fun, innocent things like The Great British Baking Show, Nailed It…things like that.  However, when I become very ill in December I got wrapped up in a very non-innocent drama that has every level of sin.

There are parts that are so inappropriate that they have to be fast-forwarded through.  I do that, at least.  That’s my concession.  That’s my justification.  You with me?  I’ve had to turn down the volume around my kids a few times.  (That tells you a lot about the show)

Something interesting about me is that during the month of January I did a 21-day fast where I read the Bible only…no other books.  (reading is my favorite thing and I was already on a very restricted diet)  But still I was watching this show.

Something else is that my husband and I decided in January of this year that in order to help us pay off some student loan debt we were going to cancel our Netflix subscription.  However, when February came around, I was still so wrapped up in this sinful mess of a show that I didn’t want to give it up and I didn’t cancel our subscription to Netflix.  Y’all!  For real.  I’m being completely honest here.

However, this week, I have finally realized I can no longer do this.  I can’t continue to feed my mind and spirit this filth and expect the Lord to be able to produce in my life the good things I truly want.  I’m not sure how I allowed this to happen.  I’m always so careful.  We listen to Christian music always, we never read anything that will fill our minds with sinful thoughts, we don’t hang out in places that will cause unnecessary temptation.  We are careful.  We have boundaries.  And yet I was enticed, and I consented.  And then I was resistant when it came to giving it up.  (That’s the part that bothers me most)

It can happen to any of us at any moment.  We still have to be so careful.  Daily.  On guard.  Just because it’s just a show on Netflix doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  Just because it’s just a fruity drink doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  Just because they’re just a friend doesn’t mean they’re harmless.  There are so many ways we can be enticed.

Learn from my mistake, and keep your guard up, or give up your enticement now.  We can’t afford to be distracted now.  The Day of the Lord is so close and we have work to do.  We have to stay focused and stay in the game.

Unsubscribing,

jamie

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Don’t understand?

Pr. 3:5:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Last week I lost a friend to suicide.  How do you line that up with your faith?

Just like anything else.  Keep trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will have trials.  Although God’s plans for us are good, we live in a sin-cursed world where disease and sin have tainted things.  Sin brought in death and disease.  Sin brought in meanness, evil intentions, cruelty, and poison.  The life we live in this temporary place will have trials and pain, but God can turn every pain and trial around for good.

Joseph’s brother’s plotted to kill him, but instead threw him in a well and sold him into slavery.  He was falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned, forgotten.  But of all of the things that were meant for evil in his life, Joseph said, “God meant it for good to save many people.”  And he was right.

This morning I was reading about all the apostles of Christ that were mocked, scourged, homeless, sawed in half, tormented, etc.  (Heb. 11:32-40)  It was said that they did it that they may receive a better resurrection.  Paul, as well, was shipwrecked, snake-bitten, imprisoned, and had a thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove.  The Bible says he accepted that gladly for the promise of the power of Christ upon him.

How in the world can we accept suffering, pain, or trials?  How can we make it through these dark times in our lives?  By trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.

It doesn’t make sense to us when the pain comes.  But the Word says that His ways are not our ways.  Perhaps, like Joseph, He is going to make something beautiful come from our pain.  Death and suffering don’t come naturally to us, but God has sent us the Comforter.  God supplies for our needs.  He comforts.  He gives joy and peace in the storms and trials of our lives.  When the storms come, He is the One in which we can take refuge.

The Lord is the One who provides the peace that surpasses all understanding which guards our hearts and minds when we pray to him in our times of anxiety.  The Lord is the One who shows Himself strong for us when we remain loyal to Him.  The Lord is the One whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is the Lord in which we need to continue to trust.  He will be as faithful tomorrow as He was in the beginning.  He does not change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness, in which we can place our trust and our hope!

jamie

In God we trust?

Pr. 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”

What I have found over the years is that obeying the Lord doesn’t always make logical sense.

One time the Lord told me to take a card and drop it off for a girl.  I got to the store to get the card, and the one He pointed out to me was very specific and personal.  I barely knew this girl, much less what was going on with her.  But I bought it anyway.

I obeyed, and it turned out that it was the Exact card she needed.  (She later told me)  I didn’t know her circumstances, but God did, and He was able to put a healing balm on her pain through my obedience.  It didn’t make 100% sense to me; in fact, I almost felt embarrassed, but I trusted God’s leading over my own understanding.

In my experience, when we trust God over our own understanding, He is able to do wonders in the lives of those around us.

Our own understanding is limited and ever-changing.  It’s easier for us to trust in what we can see or have experienced.  And just like we once believed in Santa Claus, but later changed our minds, what we understand isn’t static.

God, on the other hand, does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He does not change.  We can trust in Him as much today as Abraham could trust him when God asked him to sacrifice his own son.

We don’t always understand His ways, but His was are perfect, His Word is flawless, and He shields all who take refuge in Him.  (Ps. 18:30)

Trusting in God will never be the wrong decision.

Go for it!

jamie

Confession time

Pr. 14:30:  “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”

My confession:  Last week I was envious and it almost turned ugly.

I have a good friend who just had a knee replacement in June.  She’d been feeling as though her progress was moving slowly; however, last Sunday, she was rocking some hot red cowgirl boots at church.

I knew that the fact that she could wear those boots was a huge moral booster for her!  I also knew that if she could comfortably wear those boots, she was WAY better than she knew.  I was immediately happy for her!  What a victory!

My next thought; however, was envious.  Here I am, 6 months out from having broken my shin, and I still can’t wear any “cute” shoes without immediate pain.

The speed at which my thoughts shifted was impressive, but scary.  One second I was overwhelmed with joy for my friend, and the next, I was almost eaten up by overwhelming discouragement about my own state of being.  I felt depression loom over me and try to block out happiness.  I felt the tears threatening to come, the struggle of wanting to feel ‘normal’.

This is all true.  During a 15-20 second conversation, all these things really happened.

Then, I remembered that my hope is in the Lord.  No matter the situation of my life, God’s plans for my life are for good.  When I trust in Him, I will be safe.

I gave my friend a celebratory hug, and walked away rejoicing for her.  Those thoughts tried to sneak back up on me a couple of times during the week, but I refused to indulge them.  God has different plans for my friend than He does for me.

No matter if I can never wear what I consider “cute” shoes again, I am here to do the work that He has planned for me.  Perhaps that work requires a slower pace and a more comfortable shoe.

Our hearts can be sound by trusting in Him.  We don’t need to trust in situations, things we ‘see’ with our natural eyes, or in comparing ourselves with others.  God is the foundation on which we build something that’s sound, and won’t rot our bones.

Rocking my cutest comfy shoes,

jamie

 

A witness of the Light

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through Him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”  John 1:6-9

That Light is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  John was sent as a witness.  Yesterday we talked about letting our light shine.  John’s life bore witness of Jesus.  Likewise, Jesus called us to be the light of the world, saying,  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Mt. 5:16

We need to make sure our lights are shining in a way that glorifies God.  Those living in darkness need a light to guide their path toward salvation.

Shine on!!

jamie

 

All suggestions are not equal

Pr. 8:14:  “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength.”

There is a game I sometimes play on my iPad where I have to move pieces around.  If I hesitate, the game will suggest a move for me.  A few weeks ago I saw it lighting up a suggestion for me, but when I looked more carefully I saw a better move.  It reminded me that not all suggestions are in our best interests.  Even those from an expert.

Daily, suggestions are lighting up all around us.  We have to know our own end-game and make our decisions based on our own beliefs, convictions, and knowledge.  God’s word gives us what we need.  If we want our lives to lead to eternal life for us and for others, we must be careful with other suggestions…even from experts.

Wisdom, which was possessed by the Lord at the beginning of His way, cries out to us.  Like the suggestions on the game I play, wisdom lights up and suggests our next move.  Unlike the game; however, which was created by humans, wisdom has counsel from the Creator of the world.  Wisdom IS understanding and has strength.  Wisdom hates the evil way and will lead us on the paths of righteousness and in the midst of the paths of justice.

True wisdom, crying out to us daily, is from the Lord.  Whoever finds the Lord’s wisdom finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against her wrongs his own soul; all those who hate her love death.  Pr. 14:35-36

When it’s time to make a decision, and suggestions are lighting up all around us, we must take the time to look carefully and find the path that of righteousness that wisdom is suggesting.  Blessed is the man who listens to wisdom.

Considering carefully my path,

jamie

 

Find Jesus!

Pr. 21:31:  “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the deliverance is of the Lord!”

This morning I read Mt. 5, in which we find the story of the demon-possessed man who was healed in Gadarenes. Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, people had tried to tame and bind the man.  It says he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but had pulled them apart and broken them into pieces.  It also says that no one could tame him.

All Jesus had to do was step out of the boat.  The man ran and worshiped Him there.  Deliverance came when Jesus spoke.

In the same chapter we find a woman who had been afflicted with a flow of blood for 12 years.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we are told she had “suffered many things from many physicians.”  Also, her entire income and savings had been spent on the medical bills she incurred trying to find her answer to a cure.  (I’ve been there)

All Jesus had to do was walk by.  The woman found Him and touched His garment.  Deliverance came when Jesus was present.

We also find a synagogue ruler in chapter 5, whose daughter was deathly ill.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we know that many people were present with the girl, and we can assume they had done all they could to help her.  We find; however, that some from the ruler’s house came and told him that his daughter had already died.

All Jesus had to do was show up.  The ruler sought Him, fell at his feet, and begged Him earnestly.  Deliverance and restoration of life came when Jesus took the child by the hand and told her to arise.

Insert your situation into this next paragraph.  We find ourselves in the middle of something.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we have done all we can think or have been advised to do, but our situation remains or has even grown worse.

All Jesus has to do is hear our prayer.  We will seek Him, draw near to Him, boldly approach Him and believe.  Deliverance comes when Jesus moves on our behalf.

We know He doesn’t always answer in the exact ways He did in Matthew chapter 5, but He always hears our prayers, He always offers aid, and He always works things out for our good.  He is faithful and just.  He is no respecter of persons.  He is still love and is still moved with compassion on His people.

He still shows Himself strong on behalf those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  I’ve even seen Him show Himself strong on behalf of those who aren’t…they were just too blind to see it.

If deliverance is needed in your life, find Jesus!  He is the only One from whom deliverance comes.

Seeking the One,

jamie                                                                                   –i picked this you tube because it has the lyrics