Tag Archives: choices

Held in trust

Ps. 11:3:  “What can an honest person do when everything crumbles?”

We were definitely overcharged, but the lady at the front desk insisted that we weren’t.  We’d calmly and kindly conceded, paying the full amount she’d requested, but we drove away with the feeling that we’d just been robbed.

For 2 months in a row, we couldn’t get the office to change the amount due, even though our circumstances had changed.  Emails were sent back and forth, phone calls were made, and we finally made an in-person visit.  They were all very kind and helpful, but the amount never made its way back to our checking account.

And then, my husband needed surgery.  We are a 1-income family.  Medical tests were being done and the bills were already coming in.  We planned as far in advance for living on short-term disability pay as we could, and all we could do was trust God with the rest.  His Word has promised that He will supply all of our needs.  His Word also gives a promise when it comes to tithing.  And so we hunkered down, in faith, and decided not to worry about the math, but to continue to put our faith in Him.

Here is where God showed out!  Right when we needed the money the most, we got the refund from months before from when we knew we’d been overcharged.  Suddenly, the other money made its way into our bank account.  And out of the blue, a couple of other refunds that we weren’t even aware of or anticipating found their way into our bank account, as well.

God knew when we would need that money the most, and He had been holding that money in trust for us that whole time!  Its just beautiful and amazing to me how He works!

I am so grateful that we did not “show out” or act rude and ugly to the other people involved when we knew we’d been overcharged those 2 times.  It was God working in both of those situations, making plans for our future.

Here are a couple of takeaways:

  1. God is faithful to His Word:  He still supplies the needs of His people.
  2. Behaving well, even when things seem unfair or uncertain, is never the wrong thing to do.

Cared for,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 3

John 21:7-8: “Then he jumped into the water.  …So the other disciples stayed in the boat and dragged in the net full of fish.”

I found another interesting example from Peter.  One that many of us are not often willing to do.  (and it might hurt for a moment, but bear with me)  He jumped in…went after Jesus…and left the others there with work to do.

Jesus had told them to let down the net on the right side, and it was so full they couldn’t drag it up into the boat.  Peter finds out Jesus is over on the shore and he literally leaves them there with this problem.  How would you feel about that if you were the other disciples?

We’ve seen another story like that before.  In Luke 10: 39, Martha was upset because she worried about all that had to be done while her sister was sitting down in front of Jesus, listening to what He was saying.   Martha went to Jesus and asked if it didn’t bother Him that Mary had left her to do all the work by herself.  She even told Jesus to tell Mary to come help her!  ha!  Jesus replied that she was worried and upset about many things, but that only one thing was necessary.  He said that Mary had chosen what was best, and told her that it would not be taken away from her.

Peter also understood what was best.  Jesus!

Let me point out something interesting.  When the disciples finally made it to shore with Jesus and Peter, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it.  (vs. 9)  Jesus already had what they needed right there on the shore.

Jesus told them to get their fish, too, and Simon went back and helped them get them, but it was after he spent time with Jesus.  And the fish they brought were just extra.  Jesus had already provided.

Wow!  Peter and Mary sure had it right.

Our lesson:  All the busy-work truly isn’t always necessary, and certainly isn’t best.  (Jesus said so Himself).  Being with Jesus is best.  Spending time with Him and listening to Him is what we need.  He will provide.  Once we’ve spent time with Him, we will be more equipped to handle whatever work He has for us, and we’ll have the wisdom to let go of whatever work we no longer need to be part of.

Jumping,

jamie

For the previous 2 blogs, see below:

Lessons from Peter, part 1

Lessons from Peter, part 2

 

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

Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

Knowledge vs. Love

Pr. 9:1: “Wisdom has built her house, she has been out her seven pillars;”

A couple of days ago, after my son woke up, I asked him what he’d read in his Bible when he woke up.  He said, in a confused voice, “I read about She. It was in Proverbs.”  I knew he must have been speaking of wisdom, so we went and looked at it and talked it out so he could understand it a little more.

Wisdom is the one you want to know.  She, as the Bible describes her, was with God at the beginning, when He was creating the foundations of the earth.  She also helps us forsake foolishness and go in the way of understanding.  She speaks excellent, right, and true things.  She is better than rubies and more desirable than any other thing.

This morning I was reading a contrasting scripture, 1 Cor. 8:1, which says, “We know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”

Paul was talking to the Corinthians about a hot topic of that day: food offered to idols.  Of course, people had a lot of knowledge, but apparently not everyone was sharing that knowledge with love.

I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve been present for many heated conversations, and I’ve witnessed the aftermath of people’s “knowledgeable” comments towards one another..we still have the same issue today.

There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom. We all have knowledge, as Paul said, but it is when we let wisdom take charge that we all win.  Wisdom is the one that helps us bite our tongues.  That’s still a rarely used tactic.  Holding back comments is not a bad thing.  Praying before speaking is never a poor decision.  Choosing to not have the last word is never a sign of weakness…that always takes more strength.

Loving people is a choice that sometimes takes extra strength, as well.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and with wisdom, we are much more equipped to show love than to show frustration, anger, disappointment, bitterness, superiority, and the like.

I pray that today, we will lay down our knowledge and choose, in love, to listen to wisdom.  Love edifies.  Let’s seek first the kingdom of God, and second to edify, in love.  When we do that, we can then point people to His kingdom because we won’t be driving them away.

Seek “she” out today,

jamie

Where’s my path?

Pr. 4:18: But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

If we want our paths to be made clearer, so that we know which direction to go, it is possible.  If we seek for our paths to be increasingly brighter, it can happen.

I recall the days of my youth, and even days not so many years ago, when I was increasingly restless, always uncertain about what I should do or what God’s will was for me.  It seemed that I was always searching for direction.

Those who are “just” are those on whom justice has been assigned, through the righteousness of Christ.  It was through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that we are made just.

Once we accept Him and begin consistently turning to Him as our source of direction, we will find our path.  As this scripture tells us, that path will then begin to shine ever brighter as we continue to look to Him for that direction.

We won’t get the answers we need anywhere else but in Him and His Word.

If your path has been growing dim lately, look to Him.  If it has become overgrown, reach out for Him.  If you’ve lost the path altogether, call out for Him!  He is there!

On my path,

jamie