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

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The Lord wins the battle

Ps. 33:16:  “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.”

This morning I read the story of the army of the Midianites being defeated in the sight of Gideon and 300 Israelites.

It was not their large #’s that defeated the Midianites.  It was not their education, their strength, or their skill.  It was the Lord.  While the Israelites watched, the Lord set every Midianites’ sword against his own companion throughout their whole camp and they fled.  The Lord saved them and delivered them.

We all face battles.  In the face of the battle, we can become afraid.  We can worry that we don’t have the resources we need, that we’re not strong enough, or that we’re not skilled or special enough to win.

This morning; however, let me remind us all.  It is the Lord who saves us.  It is the Lord who delivers us.  We don’t have to have the multitude of an army.  The Lord is our help and our shield.

As you face this day, remember that the Lord who delivered the Israelites, and who spoke our world into existence, is walking before you.  His angels encamp all around you, and His ears are open to your cries.

Walk confidently in Him today,

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

True trust in God

I know it’s Christmas, which is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, but the next chapter in my regular reading this morning was about Jesus’ crucifixion.  He was brought before Pilate, accused, betrayed, scourged, ridiculed, struck, spat upon, mockingly worshiped, forced to carry His cross, pierced, blasphemed, and killed.  Only as He died did one of the centurions proclaim, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

During our Christmas performance at church last night, Mary, the mother of Jesus sang a song that said, “Only God knows what my eyes cannot see.  When I don’t understand, I still believe there’s a plan…that only God knows.”  Mary had trusted the Lord even when it made no sense to her.  Joseph had done the same.

As I read about Jesus’ death this morning, I couldn’t help but note the striking difference in feelings that emerge from the story of His birth and the story of His death.  How proud I felt last night of Mary and Joseph for truly trusting God, in His sovereignty, and being vessels to carry out His plans.  We find Joseph trusting in and obeying God more than once as we read the scriptures.  We find Mary, not only being willing, but also magnifying and rejoicing in the Lord.

The story of Jesus’ death includes His mother, as well.  Yet, as I read about her looking on as her Son had been humiliated, abused, and was now suffering and dying on a cross, I felt such sadness for her.  How much harder must it have been to continue to trust in God’s plan during that pain.

And yet, we find her afterwards, in Acts 1:14, gathered with the other believers, continuing in one accord in prayer and supplication.  She continued to submit herself to the Lord and His will even though she had witnessed His will including the horrific death of her Son.  She understood what Jesus’ death meant.  She understood that there is so much more to this life that what our eyes can see.

Oh, how I pray that we will be able to trust in the Lord as Mary did.  As the end approaches, and things increasingly point us away from the Lord, we must still trust in Him and His will.  He still has a plan, and if we’re willing, that plans still includes us.  There is so much more for those who believe in Him.  There is so much more than what our eyes can see or what we can even understand.

The birth of Mary’s Son brought the gospel, healing, and deliverance to those who heard and were touched by Him.  The death of Mary’s Son brought salvation upon the whole world.  Whatever God does through our willingness is also a part of His plan.  We can trust in the One who continues to be faithful.

Counting on Him,

jamie

Find Jesus!

Pr. 21:31:  “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the deliverance is of the Lord!”

This morning I read Mt. 5, in which we find the story of the demon-possessed man who was healed in Gadarenes. Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, people had tried to tame and bind the man.  It says he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but had pulled them apart and broken them into pieces.  It also says that no one could tame him.

All Jesus had to do was step out of the boat.  The man ran and worshiped Him there.  Deliverance came when Jesus spoke.

In the same chapter we find a woman who had been afflicted with a flow of blood for 12 years.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we are told she had “suffered many things from many physicians.”  Also, her entire income and savings had been spent on the medical bills she incurred trying to find her answer to a cure.  (I’ve been there)

All Jesus had to do was walk by.  The woman found Him and touched His garment.  Deliverance came when Jesus was present.

We also find a synagogue ruler in chapter 5, whose daughter was deathly ill.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we know that many people were present with the girl, and we can assume they had done all they could to help her.  We find; however, that some from the ruler’s house came and told him that his daughter had already died.

All Jesus had to do was show up.  The ruler sought Him, fell at his feet, and begged Him earnestly.  Deliverance and restoration of life came when Jesus took the child by the hand and told her to arise.

Insert your situation into this next paragraph.  We find ourselves in the middle of something.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we have done all we can think or have been advised to do, but our situation remains or has even grown worse.

All Jesus has to do is hear our prayer.  We will seek Him, draw near to Him, boldly approach Him and believe.  Deliverance comes when Jesus moves on our behalf.

We know He doesn’t always answer in the exact ways He did in Matthew chapter 5, but He always hears our prayers, He always offers aid, and He always works things out for our good.  He is faithful and just.  He is no respecter of persons.  He is still love and is still moved with compassion on His people.

He still shows Himself strong on behalf those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  I’ve even seen Him show Himself strong on behalf of those who aren’t…they were just too blind to see it.

If deliverance is needed in your life, find Jesus!  He is the only One from whom deliverance comes.

Seeking the One,

jamie                                                                                   –i picked this you tube because it has the lyrics

Don’t forget who He is

When going through trials and tribulations, if we have no refuge to which we can run, how can we stand?  If there is no shield in which we can trust to guard us, how do we keep moving?  Without a Comforter to overwhelm us and bring the peace that passes understanding, how do we not lose all hope?  With no solid foundation on which to make a stand, what keeps our feet from slipping into calamity, misery, or death?

God was the Restorer for Joseph.  He was then the Deliverer of the Israelites from the hands of Pharoah.  He was the Promise-Keeper for Abraham and Sarah.  The power of God was a cloak for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace, heated 7x hotter than usual, so that their clothes did not even smell of smoke.  God was mighty enough to shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel, delivering him from certain death.  David counted on the Refuge, that was God.

God was the Salvation of the people in Ninevah.  Jesus is Savior of the world, and the Forgiver of the woman at the well.  He was the Comforter of Peter.  He was the Healer of the centurion’s servant.  God was the Redeemer of Saul, who then become the apostle Paul.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  He is the one who is coming quickly, bringing His reward with Him.

God is zealous for His people, saying that, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Without the hope that comes from knowing and trusting in God, how can we have any endurance for this life.

He has been my Healer, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Shield, my Refuge, my mighty Defender, my Strength, my Comforter, my Hope, my Provider, my Forgiver, and so much more.  Who has He been for you?

Allow Him to be more,

jamie

 

Believe…in God

I heard this song at church this morning and was reminded me of a devotion I wrote a while back:

David was anointed as a young man, God saying, “For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

2 Chr. 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

The Lord showed Himself strong for David over and over again.  When David spoke to Saul about facing Goliath, he said:

“Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.  Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”  Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  1 Samuel 17:34-37

David drew upon what God had done in the past.  God had shown Himself strong on David’s behalf, and David understood that whatever God has done in the past, He can and will do again.

David had seen God’s strength and deliverance, and he continued to see God’s might throughout his life.  The Psalms are full of prayers and songs about God’s faithfulness, might, and victory.

Before David died, he was still praising God for His faithfulness.  He was still trusting in the One who faithfully guided Him throughout His life:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge.  My Savior, You save me from violence.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”    2 Samuel 22:2-4

He then says, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”  2 Sam.22:30.

The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore.  He does not change.  What He did for David, He can do for us.  He is the same God.  We can look at our lives, and the lives of others and see the faithfulness of God, and know He can do it again.

So, like David, take a look at all the places that he’s brought you from.  It’s the impossible.  Believe it’s possible.  We can know the Lord is faithful and declare, as David did, “The Lord is the strength of my life!”

You’re gonna make it!

jamie