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

God’s fight

Last night in our class, the teacher talked about David.  She talked about his obedience to his assignment, which was actually just to take bread and grain to his brothers and cheese to the captain, at the camp at the valley of Elah, and to find out how his brothers were doing, so he could report back to his father.

While he was there, he heard about the giant “defying the armies of the living God,” as he put it, and he didn’t like it.  He had confidence that the Lord who had rescued him from the claws of the lion and the bear in the past (when he was guarding his sheep) would rescue him from the Philistine.

When he walked up to Goliath, Goliath mocked him.  Even though Goliath came at him with javelin and spear and was over 9 ft. tall, and may have looked very scary, David said he was coming to him in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, that the Lord would conquer Goliath, that everyone there would know that the Lord rescues his people, and that this was the Lord’s battle.  

David understood that he wasn’t alone.  He understood that this wasn’t his fight.  He understood that this thing he felt like he “had to do” was because God placed him there to be his vessel, through which He [God] would actually work.  All David had to do was be obedient.  

David just went to the camp that day to deliver some food and find out how his brothers were, but God had another plan.  He just needed someone that would be willing to let Him work through them.  Our assignments aren’t always some “giant-slaying” type of thing.  Just deliver the bread.  Just be willing.  God will do the rest.  

Watching God work,

jamie

Good & perfect gifts

James 1:17: “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

I’m not going to get into theology today.  I’ll simply ask about the good things that have happened in your life.  Do you remember them anymore?  Do they seem like a faded memory, where the bad things seem to overshadow all the good?

When we take time to remember Who it is that gives us the good things, and take time to thank Him, our perspective changes a bit.  Then the good things tend to come to the front a bit more.  Suddenly we realize that if it wasn’t for God, His Deliverance, and perhaps His provision, grace, and mercy, we wouldn’t have made it to where we are today.

Now we can see that it was God there all along, in what was definitely a bad situation, giving gifts, walking alongside us, being exactly who He always said He’d be.  What a refreshing relief.

As this New Year approaches, let’s rest in the fact that He never changes, and that He is still right there with us, guiding us, with His steadfast love; and let’s give Him praise when He does!

Grateful,

jamie

Feeling dismayed?

These all look to You to give them their food in due season.  When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.  When You hide Your face, they are dismayed…”  Ps. 104:27-29

Since Creation began there have been moments where the creation has felt like God has hidden His face from them.  All throughout the Pslams you can see the questions, posed, “Why do you hide Your face from me? Why are You so far from helping me?”

Before that, Job asked, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” We even heard Jesus, from the cross, ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Because we look to God for all things, it is in our moments of sorrow, pain, anxiousness, or uncertainty; it’s in the moments of silence that we sometimes feel as though He has hidden His face, and we are dismayed.

As we can see from the reaction of Jesus, and all throughout the Bible, it is a normal, human reaction.  We were created in God’s image, with emotions; and loneliness, uncertainty, grief, and pain are some of those emotions.

What can we do?  Keep looking for Him, seeking Him, and reminding ourselves of all He has done.  Job was looking for him in his darkest moments, when all he wanted to do was die, and he couldn’t find God to the right or the left–he kept seeking.

He spoke of all the works and wonders God had done in the past, and even as he wondered at first where God was, speaking of who God is built him up, and helped him keep close the One he needed all along.  Eventually he found his way back, not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual health, too.  This is how it works for us all.

I know there was a lot involved behind the scenes in Job’s story, but seeking God in the tough times the way Job did, praising, and reminding ourselves of God’s works and the things He has done in the past is the best way to find our way out.

We tend to pull away when we go through pain and crisis, and we feel like we can’t find God, but the truth is that the answer lies with Him alone.  He is the One.  He is the Salvation.  He is the Deliverance.  He is the Healing.  He is the Provision.  He is the Wisdom.  He is the Unity.  He is the Peace.  He is All in All, the Great I Am.

Every answer we need to fill the great gaping hole we feel inside is found in Him.  We just have to hold on and seek Him.   God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  This is still true today.

Grateful for a God who cares,

jamie

Failing?

I put the location into my GPS and hit start.  “Take the 3rd exit,” she said.  Huh?  I don’t think that’s right.  I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew the general direction.  Now I was headed the wrong way and I was stuck in traffic.

As soon as I was able I turned around, and I re-keyed the location.  It was coming up wrong.  No wonder.  As I tried again I realized that it was no use…the location I needed wouldn’t come up.  34 minutes from my arrival time now, and I was at a standstill.  Ugh!  I had to make a phonecall and get some help.

I finally made it to my son’s longest, most intimidating karate test of his entire life.  (thus far) We made it right on time, and I was then horrified to realize that I had forgotten to bring him a drink.  Seriously!?  He was going to be in there sweating and working for over 2 hours, and I didn’t even bring him a drink!?

Within the next minute, I realized that I had additionally left his sparring gear at home when he also should have brought that.  NO!!

Epic mom fail!

Yes, I made sure he had his GI on, and that it was ironed, and I fed him and got him there…not to mention the fact that we stretched together earlier and I took care of him most of the day, but was I thinking about those things?  Nope.  Just the fails.

It’s so easy for us to see the fails, defeats, and disasters in our lives.  Often those look so much larger than the wins, the rights, and the achievements… especially when they are in the everyday things.  It’s in the wins and the rights; however, that our heart of gratitude and our spirit of thankfulness comes.

It’s in those things that we find God’s hand on our lives, working faithfully, amidst the fails that look so large.  He never left us, He never stopped looking out for us, He never quit working His plan.  He has been there, blessing all along.  He has been there, giving us wins, helping us achieve all the way…did we notice?

I had many mom achievements today.  My list of mom achievements today would way outnumber those couple of things I didn’t get done this evening.

The things that we fail at in our lives, in light of all the things where we win, are nothing in comparison to all those wins.  We are abundantly blessed.  We just need to take notice, and perhaps even begin to literally take note, if that’s what it takes.

God still goes before us, behind us, beside us, and He dwells within us.  He will not forsake us.  How do I know?  Not only did He promise it, but He has proven it to me over and over again.

Winning,

jamie

Messes and all…

When I got to the couch this morning to do my devotions, I moved the couch pillow and discovered crumbs from my son’s snack of chips last night.  “Ugh!” was my immediate reaction.  Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me.  So I left them there, took a picture, and opened up my Bible to Psalm 103.

The Lord redeems our lives from destruction.  He crowns us with lovingkindness & tender mercies.  He is merciful & gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to them, but sent His Son as the Way of salvation.

The Lord’s mercy is a great as the heavens are high, and He removes our sins and mistakes from us.  He pities us as a father pities his children.  (hmmmmm)  He knows our frame, remembering that we are dust….

I thought about how many messes I have tried to hide or cover up.  I thought about how many crumbs I’ve left behind in my life and how many mistakes I’ve made.  Yet, my heavenly Father continually has mercy upon me, and He pities me, remembering my frame.

How will I react towards my son’s little chip mess here beside me?  Will I guide him?  Absolutely.  Will I be a tyrant, lording over him the rules in frustration?  After reading this, I cannot.  Will I show mercy?  That’s exactly what I will do.  I’ve made my own mistakes, and I’ve been forgiven!  I have to model the same forgiveness my Father shows me.

It may not be chips on your couch, but whatever situation you find yourself facing today, I pray you’ll remember to be slow to anger, to show mercy, and to deal in lovingkindness.

dusting myself off,

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