Is it your voice He’s hearing?

Ps. 5:1-3:  “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.  Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord.  In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

Does God hear your voice in the morning?  Do you direct your words to Him?  Do you look up and seek His face?  Do you cry out to Him, pray to Him, meditate upon His Word?

Imagine what your day would be like if you started it in the presence of the King of Kings?  Think of the confidence you’d have, walking out the door when you’ve just been in the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

When we have allowed the Lord to hear our voice first thing in the morning, and chosen to look first to Him, we will have chosen what is most important to start our day.  The problems, obstacles, and duties of the day will look much less intimidating when the joy of the Lord has become our strength.

Ps. 1:2 says that the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on it day and night is blessed.  “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”  vs. 3

When we turn to God first thing in the morning, we will be strengthening ourselves, showing honor and respect to the Lord, and bringing blessings upon lives.  What more could we possibly want?

Give Him the praise!

jamie

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Month of Prayer, Day 5

In Ps. 119:20, the psalmist declares, “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.”  Oh, God, his desire to know more of You was so strong that it overcame him and ‘broke his soul’.  His desire for You exhausted and wore on him, zapping his strength in the best of ways.  God, that I would allow that type of desire to take hold in my own heart.  Oh, that my desire to know You would consume my thoughts as much as any unfulfilled desire ever could.

Lord, in Pr. 5, Solomon pleads again with his son to pay attention to his wisdom and his understanding.  He instructs his son not to be enraptured by an immoral woman.  He warns him of the dangers of being seduced by desire towards her.  Lord, Your Word tells us the same things.  We allow our desire for so many things to take our steps away from You, but all the while, we should be so consumed with a desire for You that nothing else will satisfy.  Forgive me, Lord, for placing my desire in other places.

Help me to hear Your Word as the instruction that will truly keep from reproach and contempt.  Help me not to depart from the Word of Your mouth that was given to keep me from being caught in the cords of sin, and quite literally from death.  Do not let me despise Your instruction, nor let me be consumed by anything other than my desire for more of You.  You alone are worthy of my life.  You alone are worthy of my desire, my longings, my devotion.

Oh, that Your Word would give me more delight than any other thing could even imagine to bring.  Awaken in me a new desire, Lord, for more of You.  Awaken a longing such as I have never had before.

Let my longing for You be passed to my children and my children’s children.  Let the generations to come long for You so strongly that it also breaks their souls.  Oh, that our longing would produce works that will glorify You and You alone.  You are worthy of all that and more, Lord, our Creator, our Savior, our Deliverer, and Strength.  Your power and might, Your faithfulness, Your peace…all these things and more make You more desirable than all else.  Keep that in our hearts and in our minds.  Help us to meditate on these things above all other things.  Move in us and use us for Your glory, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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

Grieving the one who is lost

Pr. 15:8:  “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

My friend’s mother passed away yesterday morning.  She was a Christian who had lived a full life.  She was ready to go home to be with the Lord, and what more fitting day than Valentines Day to go home to her true love.  

Even though her family has some peace in her passing, she is now very absent from their lives, and there is still grief in loss.  When someone we love dies, we are keenly aware of the fact that they can never be replaced.  We experience a void that can never be filled.  There is no one who can step into the place of anyone who has passed and fill their spot.  The person we have lost will always be lost, and that brings us very real pain.

There are also families who have a loved one who is missing.  The family has no clue if their loved one is alive or dead; they just know they are gone.  The void that’s left if palpable…unrelenting.  The grief they experience is never-ending.

This made me think about God and how He must feel when we are lost to Him.  Sin separates us from the Lord.  He is Holy, which means He cannot tolerate sin.  Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross, the Lord could not look upon Him.  The sin upon Jesus separated them.  When we live our lives in sin, and are separate from God, do you think He grieves the way we do when we lose the one we love?

In the parable of the lost son, Jesus illustrates what happens when a sinner, who was lost and dead, comes back.  When the father saw his son, he ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him.  He was overjoyed and called for a celebration.  He said, “for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”  Isn’t that how we would feel if we could possibly be reunited with the one we love who was lost or dead?  Imagine the joy we would feel!

The Word tells us that when someone who was lost comes to the Lord there is rejoicing in heaven.  I truly believe that being created in God’s image means that our emotions are not unique to us, but are part of His own make up.  This brings new meaning to the fact that the prayers of the upright are His delight.  If our loved one, who was lost or dead, comes back to us, wouldn’t we delight in their words, as well?

This makes me look at living a life separate from God very differently.  If, in understanding grief, we can put ourselves in His place…imagine His grief for one who is lost…could we more understand His love for us?  We are His children.  He desperately loves us!  He wants us to be with Him—forever.

His,

jamie

Is the Bible your roap map?

Pr. 5:23:  “He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”

When we were in high school, my friend and I went on a hike in the middle of the Monongahela National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains.  (in other words…the middle of nowhere)  We took no food or water, and no other supplies.  We followed a trail to the top of a mountain and were enjoying the view of the land on the other side.  We were having such a nice time, just walking and enjoying God’s creation.  After a while; however, we knew it was time to head back home.

The problem?  I had not told my parents exactly where we were going, and without their wise input, even if we turned around, I wasn’t sure where to find the same trail to get us back down that mountain.  We spent the next few hours, with no food or water, on pretty perilous paths, making our way back to my now-panicking parents.

My friend and I were young and naive.  Without the instruction we needed, we certainly went astray.  That is why it is so important for Christians to read the word of God.  We all go astray without instruction.  Try getting in your car and heading to a destination with no GPS, no map, but just an idea about which direction to head.  You will inevitably go astray.

Same with the Christian walk.  There are so many paths we are able to take in this life.  Without the word of the Lord guiding us, we will inevitably take a perilous path.  Psalm 37 talks about how the wicked prosper and live lives that can cause us to envy them.  We can easily follow the paths of this world.  When things look good, fun, prosperous, entertaining, fulfilling, etc., it is easy for us to turn in that direction.

Without instruction how would you know that evildoers shall be cut off?  If you don’t read the word, how will you know that those who wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace?

I know a song that says, “I’m using my Bible for a road map.”  How fitting.  We need the Bible to guide us in our walk.  Thinking about taking that road towards transgression?  Your ‘road map’ will remind you that transgressors shall be destroyed together and the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Hoping to head towards that place of prosperity  Well, check the map.  The Bible will remind you that when you delight yourself in the Lord, He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Your desires will be in line with His will and not the selfish ambitions of those who do not follow His paths.

Check out Psalm 37 today.  See how the steps of a good man are ordered.  Find out what happens if you fall.  Do you know what happens when you commit your way to the Lord or have a time of trouble?  Get out your map and find out for yourself.  If you read it today, you’ll be ready to take the right path even before you get there.

Have fun planning your journey,

jamie