Category Archives: Witnessing

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

Ensnared by God’s love

I wound up watching some episodes of a show yesterday that seemed relatively harmless.  The characters drew me in, the plot was intriguing, and the setting was lovely.  

As I lay down to try to sleep last night; however, I realized the show had affected me more than I’d realized.  The scenes replaying in my mind revealed how quickly I had been drawn in and accepted things that go against my very beliefs and values.  

Here was my next thought:  If sin so easily ensnares and holds up captive, why aren’t we making the love of God so captivating that it ensnares everyone around us in the same way?  

Hear me out.  John 3:16 says that, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  

God’s love is captivating!  He says His yoke [the tie we have with Him] is easy, and His burden upon us is light.  They are not things to weigh us down or make us feel overwhelmed and unable to measure up.  

As I prayed about and contemplated this last night, I thought about the Pharisee’s & the Sadducees of Jesus’ day.  They made so many rules and burdens for the people that the people could hardly get to God.  As the church grew after Jesus was resurrected, there were times when rules and burdens placed on the people were beyond what Jesus instructed.  What about now?

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much we are loved, and that what we have been offered is a relationship. We can understand that once we fall in love with Him, He changes us when & if necessary.  We don’t change out of obligation to rules or burdens.  We change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much He loves others, and we understand that once we can point them to Him and His love, offering them a relationship with the One who loves them as much as He loves us.  How marvelous!  His love will change their lives and their futures for all eternity.  

And He is the One who asks them to make any earthly changes, if necessary.  They don’t change out of obligation to rules, burdens, or traditions; and they don’t change to suit us.  They change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Yes, there will be a judgment one day, and until that day, remember, God is love!  

John 3:17 reminds us, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!”

Let’s go forth today, and make God’s love so captivating that it ensnares those around us!  And maybe binge the Word.  😉

jamie

Get off that rock! part 1

While we were kayaking, my son started eating a snack.  While he was distracted with that, his kayak ran straight into the only huge rock sticking out in this section of the wide, clear river.  We’d even tried to yell and warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.

Sometimes we get distracted.  In life, we eat, clean the house, work, invest in relationships, drive places, pay bills, etc.  And while we’re distracted with those things, sometimes we run into the 1st big obstacle that sticks out.

People might even warn us.  But there we are.  Stuck on a rock.

We can stay there, stuck and unable to move forward.  We can let it be the place where we take up residence.  Or we can do like my son did and break free.

He knew how to safely get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort, but to him it was worth it.

If we’ve found ourselves stuck on some obstacle in life, it might be time to break free.

We may be able to just wiggle a tiny bit and quickly break away.  Small changes.  A new attitude.  A decision to simply move on.

Or we may find that it takes a bit more patience and effort to move on.  But, it will be worth it!

Distractions and obstacles are all it takes to keep us from remembering that God showed how much He loved us by having Christ die for us, that faith in Him causes God to accept us, and that Christ’s death has allows us to live in peace with God.

We are loved.  So we can get off the rock.  Those around us are loved, too.  They need to know it.

“Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper.  Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”  Ph. 4:8

Get off that rock! part 2

jamie

(not an actual picture of my son)  😉

Good news!

Reading the book of Acts the last few days, I am reminded, once again, of the task at hand.  As Christians, our job is to share the good news about Christ.  If you’ve been looking for some good news to share, here it is:  Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, prophesied by David, Isaiah, Micah, and others.

He lived on earth, performing miracles and understanding all of our human trials and temptations.  He was crucified for our sins; and after 3 days, God raised Him to life!  He was then seen by more than 500 people before He was taken back up into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God.

When He ascended to heaven, we weren’t left powerless, but more power then came as the Holy Spirit was promised.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit would come upon His people and give them power, and then we would be able to tell everyone the good news.  Jesus said that His followers would be able to do even greater things than He did because He was going to His Father, God, and the Holy Spirit would then come.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn its people.  He sent Him to save them!  God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die.

Not only that, but Jesus understands our weaknesses, having been tempted in every way that we are, and He intercedes for us.  So when we are in need, we can go straight to God’s throne, in prayer, and receive the kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and grace that we need.  Jesus is there beside Him, acting as high priest, and speaking on our behalf.

So, if you needed some good news, I hope this helps!  If you know someone else who is looking for some good news, please share it with them.  This is the best news of all!  Jesus Christ died for all.  His death brought forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe.  And His Holy Spirit gives power and wisdom day after day to walk in the way that God would have us to go.  All we have to do is accept! 

enjoy!

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

God changes the way we think

1 Cor. 2:12:  But God has given us His Spirit.  That’s why we don’t think the same way the people of this world think.  That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.

It can be so easy to look at people of this world and wonder why they do things the way the do.  I was reading 1 Corinthians this morning and I found the reminder.

We cannot forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, when we see people acting in ways that we wouldn’t, that perhaps it’s because they haven’t found the freedom in Christ that God has so graciously and mercifully gifted to us.  The commission that Jesus left is still the same:  we are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

When we see the people who need to hear the gospel, instead of being angry with them for not knowing Jesus and behaving as though they know Him; we need to pray for them, and either share the gospel with them, or pray that someone else can come along and share it with them if we aren’t able.

The 2nd part of this Scripture says that because of God’s Spirit, we are able to recognize the blessings that God has given us.  Recognizing the blessings, we can joyfully and lovingly go forth, sharing the good news of the gospel to this hurting and broken world around us.  So many people need to hear about blessings that can be found somewhere.

Have you been blessed?  Do people hear blessings coming from you?  Are you sharing the good news?  When you see people do you see what God sees, and is your heart breaking for them?  Do you feel burdened to share a message of hope with them?  Do you feel love?

Pray, brothers and sisters.  We have a message of hope and freedom to share with the world.  We have good news!  We cannot and should not keep it to ourselves.

Think like Jesus,

jamie

Permission to depart

“He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”  Mt. 14:13

Something in ministry that we all worry about it being available to the people.  We should be, but we must remember that need to be refreshed, as well.  If we are modeling our lives after Jesus, then let’s model this part of our lives after Him, as well.

Even Jesus would separate Himself for times of emotional recharging (as in the verse above), or times of prayer.  That ensured that when He would come back to the people He would have something to give them besides a frazzled, “I’m hanging on by a thread and just barely getting things done”, exhausted, Lord who is only giving them pieces of Himself; or a Lord who hasn’t prayed in 3 days because He hasn’t found the time.

Throughout the gospels you will find Scriptures that show Christ getting away by Himself, or getting away with those closest to Him…away from the multitudes…just to recharge and refocus.  See Mt. 17 when He took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain.  It was just the 4 of them and they went for 1 special reason.  Not everyone was invited to this.  Not all 12 disciples, not the whole crowd; and Jesus didn’t just go alone for this one.  These were the ones He needed to be with.

It is ok for us to put our phones away for an hour or 2 (get away from the multitude), go off with our certain one or few for something special (or nothing special), or spend time alone recharging so that when we come back we have more to give in our ministries.

Each time Jesus came back from one of those times, the multitudes were waiting and there was work to do.  He had compassion on them and got to work, but He was refueled and ready.  The work of ministry (and life) will never end, so we must take care to carve out those times of ‘departing’ on our own.  No one else can do that for us…no one will.

Let’s be like Jesus and depart from multitude before it gets out of hand.  Schedule it if you need to.  Refocus, recharge, and come back recharged and ready for ministry…just like Jesus did.

And when He went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with great compassion for them…

jamie

Lessons from ol’ Eb

In Jeremiah 38, we find Jeremiah cast into a dungeon, meaning he had to be lowered down with ropes; and the Bible says there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.  Jeremiah is in a bad situation.

Someone found out about this.  He was a eunuch in the king’s house, named Ebed-Melech.  We’ll just call him Eb, for short.

Jeremiah was a prophet, which means he normally had some respect, but right now he is sinking in mire, in a place where he had to literally be lowered down with ropes.  Yikes!  Not much respect here.  Eb goes to the king and says, “My lord the king, these men have done evil..to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is.  For there is no bread in the city.”

The king commands Eb to take 30 men with him to go lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he could die.  So, the men got some old rags and clothes and lowered them down into the dungeon on some ropes and told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits, under the ropes, and then they pulled him up, and hopefully fed the man and let him get cleaned up a little.  (I don’t know…it doesn’t say that part)

There are people in our lives right now that feel as though they are sinking the mire.  Are we taking the time out of our lives to send down the ropes and pull them out?  It’s ok if we need to get some others to go with us.  Eb took 30 men with him.  If you’re too insecure or uncertain to do it alone call for back up!  But never leave someone sinking if you know they’re there.  Pull them out before they can die…emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

I also love the care they took with Jeremiah.  They considered his weakened state and sent down some old rags and clothes for him to put under his armpits before having him put the ropes under his arms before they pulled him back up.  When we are helping people, it’s ok to take a little extra care and not always assume “tough love” is the immediate best plan.

There are also people around us who need to be literally fed or given some water.  Perhaps you can help with that.  If so, please do.  Maybe you don’t have all the resources, but like Eb, you know someone who does.  Talk to them.  See if they can help, and maybe you can even pitch in and help like ol’ Eb did.  Don’t just watch someone suffer and do nothing.  Pr. 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.”

Thanks for these great reminders today Eb!  You were a stand up guy!

Look for someone around you that may need some help today,

jamie

 

Don’t watch me…

“I don’t want anyone watching me.  I don’t think I’m an example for anyone.”  That’s what our Sunday school teacher said Sunday morning.  I’ve heard celebrities say that they aren’t trying to be anyone’s role model, an example for anyone, or that being such is too much pressure.

My Sunday school teacher followed his statement up with the fact that people are still looking.  The fact is, we are setting an example for people with everything we do.  We are either setting a good example or a bad one.  We don’t have to be a celebrity to do that.

Brothers and sisters, moms and dads, aunts and uncles, friends and colleagues, church members and club members…we are all setting an example by our behavior, day in and day out.

You may not want it to be so, but the fact is that it’s true.  People are watching.  It’s what we do.  We watch.  We evaluate.  We learn.

Is your behavior setting a good example?  Have you ceased to care?  Have you given up?  Or do you still get a twinge of guilt when you see someone watching?  It’s never too late to change!

What you do matters!

Why?  For the approval of others?  No.  To impress others or make an impression of perfection?  Certainly not.  We all know we aren’t perfect.

It matters because we are representing Jesus Christ!  We are the temple, walking around, housing the Holy Spirit.  He is within us, and people are watching what we do with that temple.

We are either pointing them to Him, or we are pushing them away.  We are either showing that we trust in Him or that there’s no hope.  We are either showing that He is our Lord and King, or that our flesh or this world and all its lustful desires rule our lives.

We are an example, either good are bad, and people are watching.  It’s time to decide which way we’re gonna walk.

I’m an example, too,

jamie

 

A life without apology

I was sweeping up the pieces of a broken glass lampshade this morning and the Lord showed me how the pieces were like our choices.

I’ve seen pretty memes on social media about how we should live our lives without apology, but a life without apology doesn’t always look beautiful.  A life without apology is selfish.  It can even be evil.  It can look like rape, murder, genocide, incest, abuse, lies, manipulation, or many other things that people aren’t thinking about when they see they first see that statement.

The choices we make in our lives affect other people whether we want them to or not.  Cause and effect is a certainty.

Now, if our choices are to sin, things around us break.  Even things in the lives of others.  We may not like to believe it, but it’s true nonetheless.  If we choose to lie, others are hurt.  If we choose to murder, others are affected.  If we choose to [you fill in the blank] there is a ripple affect.

“Oh, but no one else even knows what I’m doing.” Maybe they don’t, and maybe they won’t, but I assure you that your choices are affecting the people around you.  Pieces around you are breaking.  Things are not whole and well like they used to be.

Even though I swept up the pieces of that broken lampshade, I am sure there are pieces that are scattered in places I cannot see.  Some pieces are so minute that I can’t see them.  Some will show themselves later on down the line.

It’s the same with our choices.  Whether good or bad, we don’t always see the outcome and affect of our choices until later, and some are so minute we may not notice, but we can know with certainty that our choices have affected those around us.

As Christians, we don’t have the luxury of living a life without apology.  Sorry.  We have people counting on us and a God to answer to, in the end.   We are called to be a living sacrifice…even in 2019.

Sorry, not sorry,

jamie