Tag Archives: character

Get off that rock! part 2

In the last blog, I told you how my son got distracted while eating his snack in his kayak and ran into the only rock in the vicinity.   We yelled and tried to warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.  He found himself stuck on the rock.  

He had some decisions to make about how to get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort on his part, so that he didn’t capsize, but he did it.  We were a bit further behind him, and we had to just watch as he did the work; hoping that he would be ok.

Technically, he could have even gotten out of his boat and tried to push or pull the boat loose, even though the river was a bit deep in that section.  The point is that it was completely up to him at that time.  He was the one making his own decisions.  And we just had to watch.

Sometimes we just have to sit back and watch people work out how to break free from their obstacles by themselves….even if we did warn them.  Isn’t that how our own endurance and character has grown in the past?

Who knows, they may ask for our help.  But if not it’s ok.  We know the One to call on to help them in their time of need, and He can be trusted.

Trusting God,

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

Month of Prayer, Day 16

Lord, I love you this morning.  I woke up thinking about trusting You.  I’m so thankful that was my first thought of the day.  Pr. 16:20 says, “Whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he.”  How true that is!

Lord, the running theme in my verses this morning was that no matter our plans or ideas, You have the final Word.  But better than that is the fact that You are faithful and You are directing us into good things.  Even when we are afflicted, it is to produce something good in our lives.

Yesterday I read again that trials produce perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint.  What a wonderful thing to know.  Thank You for that reassurance and those promises.  No matter what the affliction, we can trust that You are producing endurance, character, and hope in our lives.  Thank You.  I see no reason not to trust in the One who does these things.

Help me to depart from evil today.  Help me to rule my spirit and not allow anger to drive me.  Help my words to be pleasant today, as Your Word says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I love you, Lord.  I am so proud and honored to be called Yours.  I know that as You direct my steps, Your love is with me.  Thank You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The day after Valentine’s Day…

Pr. 15:25:  “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

It’s the day after Valentines Day and love is still important.  1 Peter 4:8-9 tells us, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

1 John 4:7 encourages us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

We are told to have sincere, heartfelt love for one another.  This is the kind of love that forgives, overlooks faults, and finds the good in others.  This is the kind of love God has for us.

So often we want this kind of love from others, but struggle or refuse to show this kind of love in return.  Although, we understand that we are not perfect and in need of forgiveness, and we often expect others to be perfect at all times.

We are told to be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  That is something that happens when our eyes are looking outward and not inward.  When we are truly able to love, forgive, understand, and pardon, hospitality comes much more easily.

Remembering that love is of God, we cannot afford to be too proud to show love.  This proverb says the Lord destroys the house of the proud.  Not only that, but He will establish those who are weak.  In God’s eyes, the weak are more desirable than the proud.

It is not weakness to show love.  It takes strong character to love someone the way we are told to love here.  It takes a lot of faith in God’s plan to truly forgive the sins and mistakes of those we love.  It takes humility to overlook faults and see what is good.  It takes humility and trust to believe that loving others God’s way is best.

So, on this day that is not ‘technically’ about love, we can determine in our hearts to show love the right way; to carry on loving those around us with God’s love, and to continue it day after day after day, until the Lord returns.

We don’t have to do this in our own strength.  We can call upon the God who is love for all the pointers we need.  Talk about a support system.

So, happy day after!  May the Lord who loves you, strengthen you this day as you trust Him enough to truly love His way.

My brothers and sisters, I love you all. 

jamie

A fine line

Pr. 19:23:  “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

Attempting to guide my children in the truths of the Bible isn’t always easy.  Lately I’ve been unsure if I’m handling things right.

While trying to teach them about sin, I am very nervous that I might leave out the beauty of grace.  Then, while I’m busy teaching grace, I have an ever-present fear that I’m leaving no room for accountability and repentance.

This morning I bumped into this Proverb about ‘the fear of the Lord,’ and I realize that the only answer for me as a parent is to walk this fine line with a foundation of prayer and trust in the Lord.

In my own strength, I will never be able to teach them exactly right.  The beauty of God’s word is that it does not return to Him void.  It accomplishes what God pleases, and will prosper in the purpose for which it was sent.  (Is. 55:11)  Therefore, I must conclude that speaking the Word into my children’s lives is my job.  Accomplishing what God pleases is His.

Also, I must keep in mind that I was not created as The Holy Spirit.  While it is my job to guide and teach my children, it is the Holy Spirit who will bring to their remembrance the things they’ve learned about God as they walk through their lives.  (Jn. 14:26)

Fear of the Lord is something I can demonstrate in my own life and in the way I teach and train my children.  The more we learn about God, the more our own values and character will be fashioned after His.

I must also demonstrate what it means to grow in Christ.  While speaking to my daughter about self-control a few weeks ago, I realized that I’m not bearing that same fruit in certain areas in my own life.  So, I had to make some adjustments.  Allowing her to see those weaknesses in me and to see how I choose to confront them will testify my beliefs to her more than any words I could ever speak.

So, do I know exactly how to walk this thin line of teaching sin and grace at the same time.  Definitely not.  But I know the One who does and I am reminded that not only is His strength is made perfect in my weakness, but that He loves and cares for my children even more than I ever could.  He will guide and water them as His own. I just need to plant the seeds.

I’m thinking the best way to teach them is for me to continue to stay grounded in Him.  Thank you, Lord, for this reminder.  I trust in You.

Learning,

jamie

Honoring the one who regarded rebuke

Pr. 19:18:  “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

Last I left you, with regard to my son, he was stripped of all toys and most privileges due to being stuck in a pattern of disrespect.  I am happy to report that things are looking up.  He had the choice of disregarding our correction or regarding our rebuke and receiving honor.  I would like to give honor to him now:

2 nights ago he had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Their house is so much fun!  They have Bible story time, game time, arts and craft time, story time, and…they not only have virtually unlimited channels on their tv, plus lots extra movies and shows.  Honestly, I forgot all about reminding him or them that he was not allowed to watch any television or movies.

The next morning my mom called to give me this report:  “I told him he could go watch a show while I got ready for the day.  He started walking towards the living room, but stopped and said, “Oh, Grandma, I forgot.  I’m not allowed to watch any shows.  I got in trouble.”

Now, my parents didn’t know he couldn’t watch shows, and neither his father, sister, nor I were there to monitor his choices.  Character is shown in what you do when no one is looking.  By not watching shows, even when he had Grandma’s permission, my son certainly proved that his character is being set in the right direction.

Today’s verse reminds me that in my last blog about him I said that we want to correct his behavior while he is still young.  Today’s verse says, “while there is still hope.”  We are not willing to resign ourselves to the fact that he will just be a disrespectful man.  We have hope that the Lord will continue to build his character throughout his life.  We do not think that since sinful actions are being demonstrated in his life that he is doomed for destruction.

We know that eternal life awaits our son.  We understand that Jesus came to save and redeem the world…including Levi.  We know that the Lord is not willing that any should perish, and therefore His Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men, reminding them of God.  Levi heeded the reminder of the Holy Spirit when he chose not to watch tv.

No amount of outward behavior means more to me than the act of integrity and obedience to the Holy Spirit that my son demonstrated at Grandma’s house.  His heart is pointed in the right direction and that is what truly matters.

Ro. 5:5:  “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Praise God!

The same holds true for you and yours.  With God, there is always hope!  There is no age limit to salvation, redemption, or a move of the Holy Spirit.

Honoring Levi,

jamie

Integrity in action

Pr. 6:16 starts a list of 7 things the Lord hates.  One of them is a lying tongue.  It seems to just be the norm that people lie, or at the very least make endless excuses for their actions.  Last night; however, I was refreshed when speaking to a college freshman who was telling me about his first “all-nighter” of the semester.

He wasn’t bragging, mind you, but just telling me about how he only got 15 minutes of sleep that night and that he probably won’t do things that way next time….meaning, he won’t procrastinate.

His assignment was a book review.  It was due Monday morning, and Sunday night he sat down to work on it.  His plan was not to read the book, but just get some bits and pieces and type his review from there.  However, his plan was spoiled when he stumbled upon the integrity statement on the assignment.  The statement basically said that by turning this assignment in I am saying that I read the book in full, etc., etc.

After exclaiming in a bit of frustration, he knew what he must do.  So, he stayed awake until 4:30 a.m. reading the book in full, and finished his assignment by 6:30.  He simply said, “I couldn’t lie.”

Honestly, I was amazed by the story of the character this young teenager.  If he had written his review well enough, no one would have ever known if he had truly read the book or not; however, he knew that reading the book was his only choice.

It reminded me of Joseph.  His own brothers sold him into slavery, he was thrown in jail for something he didn’t do, and he was forgotten by one who promised to speak well of him.  Although the Lord had given him visions of a life of greatness, over and over he found himself being stepped upon and despised.  He had every opportunity to become like the world and turn his back on integrity and on God.

However, deep down in his heart, Joseph loved the Lord.  He would not sin against his God.  Joseph’s love of God made him a man of character.  Even if no one was looking, Joseph’s fear of the Lord helped him made decisions that proved his integrity.  As a result, God used him for greatness, indeed.

I was encouraged by the choice of this young teenager who would not sin against God.  Truly, integrity and character are still alive in this world.  We still have a choice.  And, since God is the same God, He will still bless those who choose to honor Him.

Let’s imitate this young man of integrity.  When it comes to sin, for us who love the Lord, there is really only 1 choice.

Humbled,

jamie