Waging your own war

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Pr. 24:6

I like having a safety net.

Yesterday I found my mind in worry mode.  There was no real reason it needed to be, but it was an indicator to me that I was looking to the wrong things in which to put my trust, that’s for sure.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Since I wasn’t feeling that peace, I knew that I needed to set my mind on God, but I was struggling with that a bit.

Enter my wise counselors:  It was time for Bible study and prayer with my kids.  When we were talking about our prayer requests, I let them know that I was feeling worried.  They did not like that one bit.  I reminded them that I knew that I just needed to trust that God will take care of things, because He always does.  They wholeheartedly agreed.  And then they prayed for me, and the peace set in.

By building up wise counselors these few years, I have helped to wage my own war!  The Lord has given me all that I need and then some.  Not only has He given me His Word for me to depend upon and to use, but I now have wise counselors around me to add extra safety when I need it.

I am so thankful for a God who cares and provides!

Who are your wise counselors?  Where is your safety?  If you know, but you resist them, stop resisting.  God put them in your life for a reason.  If you’re not sure, then ask the Lord to show you.  He always provides for our needs.

Safe,

jamie

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The excellent things written for us all

Pr. 22:20:  “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge?”

I have a lot of little unsure things weighing heavily on my mind this morning.  Nothing like waking up feeling like you’re already in a bad mood.  ha!  I don’t like starting my day with thoughts that I’m already defeated.  I knew that the only answer was to look to the Word.

Only God can give me hope where none seems visible.  Only God can move my mind from my problems to my blessings.  Only God can give me peace when I feel a storm.

I read some passages from Peter this morning.  In them, he was standing firm on the track record of God.  He was remembering God’s faithfulness and consistency.  He was writing a reminder not to forget that what God has already done proves He will do everything else He said He would do.

Those words give me peace that cannot be duplicated.  I’m so thankful today for the excellent things written in the Word of God.  I am so grateful for the counsel and the knowledge the Lord lends to us through His Word.  I am so uplifted to remember all the ways I have seen God work things out in the lives of His children throughout the Bible; and the ways He has done the same for me.  I am so relieved for the reminder that one day the works that are in the earth will be burned up, and the eternal things will be rewarded.

As long as I face my problems trusting God with their outcome, I know everything will work out the way it should.  I don’t have to have the answers or figure out the solutions on my own.  I can rely on the One who IS the answer.

What a relief!  If you’re facing a similar day, turn to the Word.  He gives us all that we need, and so much more.  What a privilege to know that He gave us access to His counsel and His knowledge.  Not only that, but His Holy Spirit living within us guides us throughout the day.  He has certainly set us up for the kind of success that will last.

Thank you, God, for giving us so much more than we deserve.  Your Word is a wonderful gift, worth more than words can say.  Help us today to pass your Word onto others so they may know the riches, the peace, the promises, and the hope that lie within.  You are a great God!

Renewed,

jamie

The safety net of hope

Pr. 11:14:  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

I’ve been reading some of Paul’s letters to different churches.  Being a travelling missionary, he couldn’t always be present at the churches, so he would write them letters of counsel.  I flipped through and realized how many of those churches I’ve been like over my lifetime.

I’ve been like the church in Thessalonica, young in the Lord, and excited to live for Him!

Oh, but then I’ve turned into the church of Galatia.  Deceived by false teaching, I would believe that in order to be accepted by God, I had to follow the law again.  I allowed guilt, pressure, comparison, or the example of some to lead my away from the salvation of Jesus Christ, and into the thinking that I am saved by my works…not by God’s grace.

Then, I would find my way back to God’s grace, understanding that salvation comes from Him alone, and I would find myself becoming more like the Ephesian church.  Maturing in my spirituality, truly trusting in God’s grace and His strength, walking in unity with my fellow believers, and growing in wisdom, I would be more whole.

After that season of beautiful growth, I would become like the church in Colosse.  I would get distracted from my spiritual growth, and instead, grow in immorality.

Then, after true repentance, I’d be back to baby steps, starting out like a new baby trying to get back to my Savior.  Feeling young and vulnerable again, I would once again be like the church in Thessalonica, excited to give my life to Christ again, and ready to begin taking care of my spiritual growth again.

Just the way Paul counseled the churches through his letters and through the fellow believers he sent their way, I have been counseled along the way by mentors, teachers, Pastors, friends, and the Word of God throughout my inconsistent journey.

I am so thankful that the Lord never let me fall so far that I couldn’t find my way back to Him.  There was a safety that came from the many ‘counselors’ that navigated me through.  Be encouraged today, He can do the same for you.

Certainly I’m not done with my journey.  By God’s grace, I find myself currently in an Ephesian-like season, growing daily closer to Him.  Although it is my hope to remain in that place going forward, I understand that until I’m home in heaven, I will never have it all together.  That’s the beauty of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and renewal.

I encourage us today to be ‘counselors’ for others on their journey.  I pray we will be the instruments God can use to provide the safety they need to block their fall.  Let’s use Paul as our example and encourage those around us in the Lord.  He’s not finished with us yet!

Redeemed,

jamie

 

Pouring out sweet freedom

Pr. 27:9:  “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” 
Having just spent the morning playing with essential oils, this verse about perfume delighting the heart certainly stands out for me.

And is it surprising that my reading in Acts this morning also speaks to this verse?  In Acts 15 we find that “certain men” came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren of Gentiles that unless they were circumcised, they could not be saved.

The teaching certainly caused many to become troubled and upset.  The apostles and elders then met to discuss the matter and were reminded that it was the Holy Spirit who acknowledged the Gentiles and not men themselves.  James recited the words God spoke through Amos that said that all mankind could seek the Lord, “Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”

The Holy Spirit did not call us to place burdens upon our fellow believers.  John 8:36 tells us that, “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Just as ointment and perfume delight the heart, sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.  Those believers who had been troubled received a letter declaring that no excess burdens would be placed upon them.  Vs. 31 says, “When they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Let’s make a pact that going forward we will allow the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit’s job; and that our hearty counsel will not trouble our friends or add excess burdens upon them, but that the freedom that was given through Jesus Christ will be poured upon them like a healing ointment and the sweetest of all perfumes.

Hoping to delight some hearts,

jamie

Establishing a plan

Pr. 20:18:  “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.”

In Acts 13:1-4, we find 5 prophets and teachers ministering to the Lord and fasting.  As they did so, the Holy Spirit instructed all 5 that Barnabas and Saul should be separated for a work to which the Lord had called them.  vs. 3, “Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

Paul and Barnabas had a hard road ahead of them, but being connected to the Lord gave all 5 men very clear instruction about the fact this was His plan.  After fasting and praying together, they obeyed in faith.

The best way to receive counsel from the Lord is to be connected to Him, just as these 5 men were.  Receiving counsel from the Lord is the best way to live in peace, believing that God will be with you through the journey.

Knowing clearly God’s plan, Paul and Barnabas were able to endure the persecution, abuse, malice, and misfortune they later faced on their journey.

When our plans come from the Lord, we can embark on our journey knowing that those plans are not only for good, but come with the guarantee that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Establishing plans from any other source is a risk we don’t need to take.

Seeking counsel,

jamie

 

 

An enigma explained

Pr. 1:5-6:  “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.”

Continuing in Acts 8 today I again found Philip, doing something for which he is probably more famous than the verses I referred to yesterday.

In vs. 26 an angel of the Lord told him to get up and go south.  Philip did so and found a very powerful Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah.  Philip asked the man, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  And the man said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”  He then asked Philip to come sit with him, read him a passage that was confusing him, and asked Philip to explain.

Philip then explained, preaching Jesus to him and the man was baptized immediately.  Hallelujah!

Sometimes the Word can be an enigma.  The proverb above says that wise people increase learning and attain wise counsel.

If there is something in the Word that we don’t understand, we don’t need to be afraid to ask for help.  That is wisdom, and the Word was given to us in order that we may know our Lord.

If, like Philip, the Holy Spirit sends us to someone who does not understand, we must trust that God will give us the words.  But we must know the Lord and His Word in order to share.  We must continue to feed on the Word of God (the Bread of Life) and spend time with the Lord in prayer.

Philip was ready to explain.  The Holy Spirit called upon him, knowing full well that Philip was the one for the job.  Certainly God was with Philip the entire time, and Philip was not only willing, but also able.  He was full of the Lord and able to offer the Ethiopian the same gift.

Sometimes people are just waiting for someone to show up and guide them.  Perhaps we’re the ones for the job.

Keep feeding on that Bread!

jamie

 

Keeping secrets with God

Pr. 3:32:  “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”

The perverse person in this verse is one “who transgresses the law.”  It is one who deliberately disregards the law and will of God, choosing to live a sinful life outside of God.  With such, God cannot commune, as He cannot tolerate sin, and finds it abominable.

With the upright, on the other hand, He has secret counsel.  He speaks to them, teaches them, and guides them moment by moment; readying them for their path ahead.  I noticed an example of this in my reading this morning.

In Acts 2:14, Peter stands up, raises his voice, and begins speaking to a large crowd about Jesus.  Peter had just been filled with the Holy Spirit and due to that, he who had previously denied Jesus boldly stepped forward, raised his voice, and proclaimed Jesus for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit gave him utterance, but God had most certainly been working within Peter’s heart to ready Him for this.

In my experience, God does not send us forward to do something that He has not prepared us to do.  He works within us, readying us, preparing us, equipping, training, and guiding us toward that moment.  It is a secret counsel that we have with the Lord Himself of which no one else is likely aware.

When we choose to deliberately live a life outside of Him, this cannot take place.  However, when our hearts are open before Him in fear and in loving submission, He can work within us, readying us and guiding us secretly for His greater plans.  He can teach us and train us in the private depths of our hearts.

Just as the Lord readied Peter’s heart for the boldness the Holy Spirit would bring, He readies the upright for their own journey ahead.

Do not doubt the preparations of the Lord.  He is mighty and able.  If you are open to Him, He will teach, guide, and ready you for the journey He has in store for you.  If He has been speaking secretly to you, continue with Him.  When the time comes, you will be fully prepared and equipped.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will be with you, helping every step of the way.

Keeping secrets,

jamie