The proof is in the pudding

Pr. 21:3:  “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

I know what God means.  Last week my daughter got in trouble.  She said she was sorry.  🙂 Very nice.  The next day, it happened again.  The next day, again.  Those words, “I’m sorry,” sure lost their meaning.

I explained to my daughter that she could tell me she was sorry 1,000 times and it wouldn’t mean anything unless I saw her making different choices.  Her actions were contrary to her words, and the actions were the ones that ultimately counted most.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Certainly, we are not saved by our works.  It is Jesus’ death and our belief in Him that saves us.  However, our actions sure speak loudly of who we really are.

We can say we trust God’s word to be true, but just like in the case of my daughter, our actions speak much louder than our words.  Do we show we believe God’s word to be true by the way we behave and the choices that we make?

When we see needs around us, do we respond, or just walk by thinking God will use someone else to provide?

Does our trust in God show up when we need something we cannot provide for ourselves?

When we commit sin, do we tell God how sorry we are and then go right back to that sin, or do we show Him that He is more important, by making the choice to stop sinning and run to Him?

Do we obey the Lord’s voice we He tells us to do something?

When we fail to be obedient to the Lord, does our regret cause us to be obedient next time, regardless of our doubts or concerns, or do we do the same thing over and over again?

Like it or not, our actions show who we really are.  Just like my daughter, I sometimes forget this truth.  It’s great to be a believer in Christ, it’s even better to prove it.

This one stung a bit,

jamie

 

 

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God’s clear guidance

Pr. 8:5:  “O you simple ones, understand prudence, and you fools, be of an understanding heart.”

You know what our Bible gives us?  It gives a clear road map we can follow throughout our lives.

No, the Bible doesn’t tell us if we should move to a different town, take that new job, or say no to that new offer.  It does, however, give us very clear examples of the consequences of other people’s choices.  The Bible has an example of every type of sin, with the cause and effect clearly laid out.  The Bible has examples of faith, clearly showing the rewards that accompany it.

Learning from the choices of others is very resourceful.  We can save ourselves a lot of time by simply noting how the decisions of others affect their lives, their families, and their walk with God.

Instead of being simple…walking straight into the wall we just watched someone else walk in to, we can can watch and learn how to be prudent (careful) by taking note and choosing differently.

An understanding heart can clearly see that not only was David’s decision to commit adultery a sin, but it led to even more sins, a blemished relationship with God, and the death of his child.

An understanding heart can see clearly that running from God, as Jonah did, only causes unnecessary troubles in our lives and delays the inevitable.

Heb. 4:11 reminds us, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”  The Bible is full of examples from which we can learn.  We just have to read it and trust God enough to fight the urges to make those same mistakes.

We are also given examples of faith that can encourage us that trusting God will not end badly.

An understanding heart can see clearly that Noah’s faith in God caused him to be not only favored by God, but caused his family to be saved from destruction.

An understanding heart can clearly see that Rahab’s faith also caused her family to be saved.

An understanding heart can note the provision that came when Moses’s faith allowed him to stretch out his hand over the Red Sea, believing that God would do what He said He would do.  Provision also came to the widow who made a cake for Elijah with her last flour and oil, believing the Lord’s word that her flour and oil would last for her son and her until the rain came.

Over and over, we can see how faith has produced results and sin has caused harm.  There is so much we can learn in God’s Word.  There is so much guidance for us all.  All we have to do is read, and with our understanding hearts, learn prudence.  Praise God for His Word that gives provision!

Taking note,

jamie

Not all traditions are bad

2 Thessalonians speaks of one who will come in deceit, proclaiming to be God.  Paul reminds the church that they were called by the gospel, for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He urges the church to stand fast and hold the traditions which we were taught, so as not to be deceived.

Religious traditions get a bad rap, and sometimes rightfully so.  God did not call us to ‘religion’, but to Him.  We can clearly read that Jesus didn’t care for men’s religious rules, but for true worship and belief.

On the other hand, some traditions are pivotal in keeping us as a true follower of Christ.  How can we follow someone we don’t know?  Reading our Bible opens our hearts and minds to truly know the Lord.  How can we have a relationship with someone with whom we don’t speak?  Praying keeps us humble before the mighty God, and open to asking for His own will in our lives.  Prayer reminds us who it is upon which we depend.

Pr. 1:3 reminds us that the traditions of prudence, knowledge, and discretion are located in God’s Word, and are also very beneficial to us.  “To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”

There are deceitful teachings around us that call discretion ‘out-dated’, prudence ‘old fashioned’, and knowledge of God’s Word ‘unnecessary and narrow-minded.’  The Lord reminds us through Paul; however, that some ‘traditional’ things will keep us from being deceived by one who is not the Living God.  We were called to believe in the truth, and traditions that enhance our belief are beneficial.

I’m not telling anyone to get busy keep man’s rules.  I’m encouraging us to hold tightly to the things remind us of the truth of God’s Word, and keep us close to Him.  Those are the things that just might save our lives.

Stand fast,

jamie

Don’t reach for that compromise

Tuesday night we headed outside for a family activity.  Within minutes, we realized that the mosquito families had joined us.  My husband was quick to declare it time for bug spray.

Not speaking in time to ask for my own chemical free bug spray, and not wanting to walk the 200 ft. inside to get it myself, I decided to tough it out.  It wasn’t long before I was so uncomfortable that I actually reached for the chemical laden bug spray and sprayed it on my skin.

Although I was uneasy with my decision and trying to spray it a bit lighter than usual, I covered all exposed areas.  As I wondered why I wouldn’t just walk back in and grab the spray I’m more comfortable with, I began an internal dialog:  “Just once won’t hurt.  I need this.  It will be alright.  If you go inside you might miss out on some fun.  Quit stressing about this one decision.”

I compromised my standards about intentionally using chemicals on my skin and still ended up with 10 mosquito bites.  Not only that, but the effects of the chemicals absorbing into my skin are not yet known.  Who knows the damage that my “just this once” decision has left?

Sinful temptations are just like this.  We are faced with a real issue.  Maybe we’re too lazy to walk away or too proud to ask for help.  Sometimes, because of those things, we justify the reasons why it’s ok just this once.

Most of the time, we end up with visible wounds right away.  Sometimes, the damage done under the surface doesn’t show up until later.  The fact of the matter is; however, no matter what we feel at the moment, the universal laws of cause and effect ensure that there is damage being done.

Sadly, we do these things intentionally.  What can be done to stop us?

Well, we can grab the warnings from my bug spray episode and remember to ask for help, walk away, or to refuse to give in.  We can remember that justifying harmful actions will only invite and accelerate afflictions in our life.  Not compromising on our standards, we can choose to stand firm and say no.

I’m reminded of Heb. 2:18 and 4:16, which say, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have a Helper upon which we can call.  We don’t have to intentionally inflict harm and destruction upon ourselves.  I’m so grateful we’ve not been left stranded and helpless.  Thank you, Jesus, and right now, Lord, please help us all.

Still itchy, but much more alert,

jamie

Don’t stop witnessing!

Pr. 29:19:  “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; for though he understands, he will not respond.”

In Acts 17, we find Paul reasoning with the Jews for 3 Sabbaths, telling them that Jesus was the Christ.  And some of them were persuaded.

Vs. 5, however, introduces us to some Jews who were not persuaded.  They became envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathered a mob.  Wow!  Not only were they not persuaded, but they have actually formed a mob.

They set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, trying to find Paul and Silas.  The mob cried out to the rulers of the city, saying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too.”

In those words we find the reasoning behind their actions.  Their world had been turned upside down by the teachings of Paul.  Everything they had believed was being shaken, and some of their friends and possibly family were now following another, believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

Not everyone who hears the message of Jesus believes or responds.  For others it takes time.  Some may even become upset, like these men, or even envious when their own loved one’s turn to Jesus.  That does not mean we should stop sharing the truth of the Scriptures.

A lack of response to our words does not always mean a lack of understanding.  This proverb reminds us that mere words are not always enough.  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  Once we plant the seeds of the Word, the Holy Spirit can help the seeds germinate and grow.

So share when you’re lead and remember that it’s not up to us to speak perfectly.  It’s not our words that bring response, it is the Lord.

Your fellow sharer,

jamie

Need a time of refreshing?

Acts 3:19:  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

You may be way ahead of me on this one, but I never noticed the second part of this verse, “So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  That sure sounds like the Lord I know…Refreshing.

I knew we were to repent and be converted so that our sins would be blotted out; however, I never noticed that another promised reward of doing so would be so that times of refreshing would come upon us from God’s presence.  I love when I find something new in a verse I’ve read over and over before.

When we repent and call the Lord ours He not only blots out our sins, but refreshes us with His presence.  I can think of nothing more refreshing than the presence of the Lord.  When I am in His presence I can feel pure joy, peace, love, hope, safety, purity, and salvation.

Are you in need of refreshing?  Not only can God give you what you need, but He will.  Being saved by grace offers a refreshing that you cannot find anywhere else.  Having the Comforter as your King offers a peace that cannot be duplicated.

If you have repented and been converted and you are in need of a time of refreshing, call upon your Savior.  He will rain down all that you need.  Spend time in His presence and feel His power and His love envelope you now.

Enjoying the perks,

jamie