Tag Archives: church

What more could be said?

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Well said. Help us to do this, Lord.

The serving legacy

Have you been called to serve?  Do you find yourself serving in your church over and over again?  There could be a good reason for that.  Maybe it runs in the family.

I’ve been reading the first few chapters of Numbers.  This is where the Lord placed the Levites over the service of the care of the most holy things in the tabernacle of meeting.  When the Israelites were ready to move locations, Aaron and his sons would disassemble everything…the curtains, the utensils, the lamps…and then cover them.  They were the only ones allowed to touch the things inside.  After that, the Levites were the ones entrusted with carrying everything to the next location.  They were called for this purpose.

I believe that there are families today that are called in this same way.  Do you notice how some people just love to serve?  Have you seen some families that seem to always have a member that serves or is involved?  The church needs workers.  Things that go on at a church don’t happen by accident or without help.

My great-grandmother, Pearl Tolbert

My great-grandmother started a church that is still going strong to this day.  To its original church building, she would walk from her home, and light a fire in the old wood stove in the winters.  Sometimes, when it was extremely cold, people wouldn’t even show up, but she was ever-faithfully there.

My mother was often a teacher for one of my classes at church; and we sang in the church choir together for most of my life.  My father served on the church board up until my young adulthood; and, on the weekends, could almost always be found mowing grass or making repairs around the church.

On the flip side, I know a pastor who was not raised with Christian parents, but made the decision to live for and serve the Lord.  His son and grandson became pastors, as well.  His great-grandchildren are also growing up with hearts that love the Lord and a passion for serving.  Just because you don’t have the heritage behind you, doesn’t mean you can’t start one for the generations that will follow you!

The best thing you can do for your family is to serve with them, and to leave a legacy of service behind you.  I am grateful that I was born into a family of people who serve the Lord, but I am more grateful that I can show my children the way to serve Him.  Even if you don’t have children of your own, it’s those nieces and nephews, those cousins and young people around you that you can still influence.  Don’t ever think it doesn’t matter.  Just one servant decision at a time…it matters.

Serving with you,

jamie

Oh, so glad!

Ps. 122:  “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Our family has been sick, and we have missed 2 Wednesday nights and a Sunday service of church.  While we have read our Bibles, sung our own worship songs, and prayed, there is nothing like gathering to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This morning I am very glad as we prepare to go into the house of the Lord!  If you are unable to go this morning, I am lifting you up in a special prayer and attaching a worship song to help you feel His presence.  If you are able to go, rejoice in His presence, all the merrier!  Let’s worship the Savior and Redeemer of this world.  He is worthy!

Rejoicing,

jamie

Showing up

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  Heb. 10:25

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time in to the pool and stirred up the water then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, an knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”  John 5:2-8

The man had no one to put him in the water.  And yet he was there.  He was present in the place where the miracles happened.

I recently heard about a woman who was avoiding her church because she is going through a hard time in her life right now and when she goes to church it makes her cry.  I’ve felt that way before.  Sometimes, when times are the toughest, we feel the most like avoiding the house of God.

Friends, it is during those tough times, that we need to be in the house of God the most.  We need to show up and be present in the place of miracles.  We cannot expect a breakthrough if we avoid the place where they happen.  We cannot get the peace that passes understanding if we do not seek out the Peace Giver.  The shadow of death will loom so much larger on the outside, but when we enter into God’s presence, we find Him with us.  His rod and His staff ever ready to comfort us.  His green pastures and restoration of the soul can only be found where He is.

We may cry when we get in church.  It’s ok.  Church is not a place for perfect people.  It is a place for the broken.  Like this infirmed man, when we show up at the place where there is healing, restoration, deliverance, comfort, then there are emotions we will naturally go through.  But when we hear the Lord tell us to, “Rise, take up our bed, and walk,” it will be so worth it!

Go to church.  Cry if you must, but Go!  Seek the Lord.  Seek your miracle.  Just show up and do not give up.  God will meet you there.

Thankful I showed up,

jamie

Happy birthday, dad!

Pr. 4:1:  “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding.”

Today is my dad’s birthday.  The most amazing thing about that is that about 14 years ago, doctor’s said he probably wouldn’t live 2 more years.  Yeah, dad!  That stubborn determination sure pays off sometimes, huh?  🙂

I am grateful today that, regardless of what medical science could prove, the Lord had different plans for my father.

I’m thinking of the instruction my father taught me over the years…of the things he wanted me to understand.

He let me dig up worms for our fishing trips when I was a kid.  He wanted me to understand how to be industrious and fearless.

He made me wear a shirt when we were working in our garden when I was six, even though all the guys had theirs off.  He wanted me to understand discretion.

He took time to play Weeble Wobbles with me when I was little.  He wanted me to understand that I was important to him.

He taught me how to drive when it was time, and although I wanted to drive like Dale Earnhardt, he wanted me to understand that safety was pretty important.

He took us to my cousin’s houses, to family events, and on family vacations.  He wanted me to understand how to enjoy life and family, and which investments would last longer than most.

He worked hard at church.  He wanted me to understand that the Lord’s house was worthy of our time and our respect.

In sickness, my dad’s perspective on life shifted a bit.  Little things that used to bother him or get him upset no longer seemed too big of a deal.  He began to appreciate family and the little blessings in life in a way he never had before.

Over and over since then, he has reminded me that there’s no need to get upset about little things in life.  He wants me to understand what’s really important and treat each day as a gift from God.

He texts me almost every morning, proclaiming that “this is the day the Lord has made,” or simply reminding me that it’s a blessing to have another day.  He reminds me every time we speak that he is blessed. He wants me to understand that it’s not possessions, perfect health, status, or any other worldly ideal that makes us blessed.  He wants me to understand that being a child of God is the true blessing.  He wants me to understand that each day we’re alive is one more opportunity to invest in what truly matters.

So, thanks, dad, for the instructions.  See?  I have been paying attention after all.  ha!  And I love you.  ❤

Blessed,

jamie

The beauty of church

I went to church yesterday feeling tired, heavy, and regretful.

I taught my 5th graders in Sunday school about 3 superheros named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  Even in the face of great pain and death, they stood up for what was right, and because of their conviction, others could literally see God, and came to believe that He was the Most High God.

What is the worst thing we can do about this story?  Forget.  Without reminding ourselves of what God can do and has done, we forget that we can be delivered from the fiery furnaces in our own lives.  We forget that if we stand up for and believe in God, even in our painful situation, others may be able to see God and come to believe that He is the Most High God, as well.

During the church service I was reminded that anything I can’t stop thinking about is an idol.  I could list several things that my mind couldn’t shake at that moment.  Do I want to be a servant of regrets, money, sickness, fashion, or cultural acceptance; or do I want to be a servant of the Most High God?  If it’s the later, then I need to be thinking about Him.  Trusting in Him means thinking about His goodness, His faithfulness, and His constant provision and abilities.

I then heard a testimony that reminded me that I am still alive because I still have work to do for Christ.  I don’t need to become so distracted that I forget why I’m here.

Last night I was heard that the Lord made dry bones live (Ez. 37), and that if He can bring dry bones back together into a perfect person, breathe life back into them, and join their ranks into an exceedingly great army; then He can breathe life back into the places that feel dry in my life, and that rivers of Living Water can still pour forth from me to reach those in need.

I was still tired when I left church last night; however, I was tired from being taught and ministered to all day long.  This morning, I feel the rivers stirring around in me.  My hope is not cut off.  I am not dry and desolate.  I am full of the Lord and His goodness, and because I am choosing to stand on His promises, I believe that others will be able to see Him in my life.

What’s the big deal about going to church?  Had I sat home with my heaviness and regrets yesterday, this morning would have looked a lot more dismal.  When you go to church and focus on God, allowing yourself to be open to His wisdom and encouragement brought in unexpected ways, He will minister to you, dust you off, and breathe life into you for the rest of the journey ahead.

I’m so thankful for a place to refuel, and for those who encourage and pray for me.

Gushing,

jamie

 

Do you have the heart for it?

Pr. 17:16:  “Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?”

After determining to go “chemical free” with all the products that touch my skin, I have recently been experimenting with herbs to replace my former chemical shampoo and conditioner.  This has taken a lot of research and a lot of fun chemistry experiments in my kitchen to discover the best way to prepare them.

To be perfectly honest, I am not convinced that my hair is clean at all.  I am not, however, quite ready to throw in the towel.  Perhaps I will end up with a different recipe, or with a bottle of store-bought, all natural shampoo, but for now my stubborn, choleric personality has kicked in, and I am determined to make this work.  I will not give up without a fight.

This verse reminds me of my current situation.  How so?  Well, I could buy as many herbs as I want.  I could line them up in beautiful bottles on the shelf and show them off to everyone who comes into my home.  I could tell everyone I can find about the wonderful herbs I bought for my hair.  Oooh…I could join some fancy ‘herb club’ or get a discount plan for the best herb shop I can find.  I could even show them off as I make my rounds through town.

If I never put them to use; however, there is no point in even spending the money or the time on them.  It would be foolish.

We can buy as many Bibles, study guides, and concordances as we want.  We can join the best church around.  We can wear our church gear, put our church stickers on our cars, show off our Bible apps to everyone we see, and even talk about all the great outreaches we know about.

If we never put any of those things to use; however, there is no point.

Why have a Bible and not use it?  Why join a church and not attend?  Why wear the gear or sport the logos if you’re not committed?

When we determine to become truly invested in the wisdom that comes from God, and set our minds to learn more of Him; that is when we are no longer counted a fool.  We must get into the Word.  We must turn our hearts into a “chemistry lab” where God can create something new within us.

We must continue and not give up.  That’s when we know we have a heart for it:  when we won’t allow anything to stop us from learning more and we will stubbornly continue, not allowing setbacks, failures, or greasy situations to get us off track.

The Lord has so much to offer.  If we not only get the purchase price in hand, but also set our hearts toward Him and continue with Him the rewards will be beyond measure!

Washing my hair in faith,

jamie

Happy Birthday to a light of God

Pr. 1:8:  “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”

When I was a young teenager I got nose bleeds pretty regularly.  I remember my nose bleeding during a hiking trip with my mom.  Because we were outdoors, with no tissues available, my mom took the sock right off her foot and gave it to me to use to help with the bleeding.  She walked the mile back in a tennis shoe with no sock.

While as imperfect as any of the rest of us, my mother taught me that 2 wrongs do not make a right, that if I’m too sick to do what is expected of me then I’m too sick to do what is fun, and that if you say you are going to do something then you need to do it.  More than teaching me, though, she showed me those things by the way she lived her own life.

Still more important than any of that; however, she pointed me to Jesus.  My mother has taught my Sunday school class several times.  (Thanks for the sardines during the story of the Feeding of the 5,000)  I have been her assistant in the nursery at church, during VBS, and been by her side doing mission work, as well.  I have sung side by side with her, in trios, and in the choir.

My dad tried to help me with Algebra in high school.  He took me fishing and even “let” me dig up the worms.  He taught me to drive a 5-speed, and made me get back in a car to drive the day after I totaled my first car so I wouldn’t live in fear.  He worked swing shifts for 2 decades to give me a roof over my head and food on the table.

More important that any of that; however, he pointed me to Jesus.  I have bowed my head countless times as my father prayed in church.  I’ve sat under his leadership as an elder in our church.  I’ve sat on the pews in church buildings he has helped build.  I remember him spending his days off work mowing the church lawn and making repairs.  He showed me, through his actions, that church was important hearing the Word of God was a priority for our family.

Both my mother and father showed me what work ethic means and that there is nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it.  More important than any of that; however, they pointed me to Jesus.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  I am thankful for a mother who has demonstrated for me, in countless ways, wisdom, a servant’s heart, and a sacrificial life.  I am thankful for a father who demonstrated respect for the Lord and His house, humility in leadership, and responsibility in caring for the things God has entrusted to you.

I wish I could go back to all the times when I did not heed my dad’s instructions, or I did forsake the law of my mom.  I am thankful; however, that their lives were examples of what they truly believed.  Truly their actions pointed me to the One who matters and my life, as a result, has led me straight to His arms.

Thank you mom and dad.

I love you dearly,

jamie

Why go to church?

Pr. 15:2:  “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”

Ps. 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  You can find much wisdom in the house of the Lord.  Pastors and teachers spend time throughout the week studying and praying over the Word of the Lord.  They are prepared to use their knowledge rightly to impart to you more wisdom from the Word.

I have heard enough people say that there are hypocrites at church, and that is true.  But guess what?  We are all sinners and have all fallen short of the glory of God.  Not one of us on this planet is perfect, nor ever will be.  The best we can do is to gather together and try to remind ourselves of God’s power, His goodness, His love, His truth, and His strength.  Church is the place where we go to find wisdom.

Find yourself a church where the Word of God is taught and the message of Jesus Christ, Him crucified, and His soon-coming return are preached.  Don’t worry about the imperfections of the workers, as long as Jesus Christ is worshiped and glorified.  He said where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there in the midst.  If you show up, so will He.

Foolish talk will not bring you eternal life.  Go to the house of the Lord, where the tongue of the wise will use knowledge rightly.  The Lord will use the imperfections of the workers to strengthen your soul.

Seeking His wisdom,

jamie

Do spiritual disciplines taste bitter to you?

Pr. 27:7:  “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

Honey has never been on of my favorite things to eat.  I have tolerated it at times but have never consumed much.  The last 2 years have been very strange with my eating and tolerating of food.  Some days I am not able to eat anything.  Some days I can eat only crackers or maybe bread.  Other days I can eat as I desire.  It’s a day by day, and sometimes moment by moment journey.  There is no diagnosis for me, so I simply research and experiment.  Some of my research told me that raw honey may be a beneficial thing for me to ingest.

Last month, I was feeling rather awful and was having a spell of not being able to eat very much, so I finally bought a jar of raw honey.  This was my first experience with raw honey.  To this hungry girl, it honestly tasted like candy.  I was so delighted.  Not only might it help me, but it was so sweet and uplifting.  Something sweet that won’t cause me pain, and could possibly even help prevent it…what an amazing thing!  🙂

I remember those days before this strange sickness hit my body.  Remember how I said I didn’t consume much honey?  I could eat anything I wanted.  Why would I choose something I only barely enjoyed?  I was full of tastier food and didn’t need it.  Now that I am hungry, I will eat almost anything that won’t cause pain.  I drink papaya juice, green algae, hibiscus flowers, ginger root, and apple cider vinegar, and now eat honey.  It’s not that I enjoy all these things immensely.  I do this because it is what’s best for me.

I do believe our souls are the same way.  When we are full of our delights, we have no need for spiritual disciplines.  Making time for prayer seems silly.  (unless we need something, of course)  Making time for the Word seems like a drag.  We have so many more enjoyable things to do.  Making time for church seems like nonsense when we could sleep in, clean the house, mow the lawn, go to the lake, go to a ball game, head off to the beach, or make a trip to the park.  Making time for missions isn’t even on the radar.

But get hungry for God, and every “bitter” thing seems sweet.  When we finally come to our senses, and realize that life is no life at all without The Lord, we realize how sweet it is to have time for prayer.  There is nothing like spending time talking to our Father and allowing Him to speak into our hearts.  When we realize that spending time in the Word will arm us for battle and show us God’s will, we won’t go a day without it.  Why wait until we need God to be in His word?  We could prevent so many issues by preparing in advance for the trials we will face.  When the trials come, if we’ve been in the Word, we will already be prepared, sword in hand, and we will be victorious.

When we’re hungry for more of God, church isn’t even an option, it is a given.  Church becomes the time we long for, when we can worship with others, experience the presence of the sweet Holy Spirit, be stretched, taught and encouraged by Pastors, teachers, and friends, and it becomes the time when we’re refreshed while our armor is sharpened and polished.  Missions becomes what we long to do, to help God’s children because that’s His will and it will please Him, and because we desire that others can experience what we have.

Yes, to a hungry soul, every thing that seems bitter to those not seeking more of The Bread of Life, seems sweet.  If we’re too full of our selves, our desires, and the lusts and lies of this world, it will show as we turn our nose up at the precious things that could draw us closer to Christ.  Spiritual disciplines are the sweet thing, like honey, that won’t cause pain, and could possibly even prevent it.  What an amazing gift!  We do them, maybe at first, just because that’s what’s best for us.  Then we’re surprised and delighted at how sweet they really are.

Enjoy your honey.  🙂

jamie