A story of integrity

Pr. 11:3:  “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

The word that piqued my interest in this verse this morning was ‘guide.’  I find it interesting that the thing that will guide us is integrity.  It’s not just recommended or a good idea, integrity will guide us.

Have you ever thought about that before?  Have you ever thought, “If I want some guidance today, I will start with integrity!”?  I sure haven’t.

When we’re making plans and decisions; however, if you really think about it, integrity does determine which path we choose to take.

Ok, here’s an example:  There are days when I’d love to nothing but sit on the couch and read all day.  Seriously, all day.  My integrity; however, will not allow me to do that because I have responsibilities in my home.  My integrity drives me to keep up my end of things and do my work.  So, I take an allotted amount of time to read, and then I move on to my other tasks.

Let’s look at the other side of this verse:  the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.  We can probably all give examples of this.  Lying sets us up to be found out and to lose others’ trust.  Cheating and stealing can get us punished in all kinds of ways.  Constant excuses render us unreliable.  Unforgiveness and lack of mercy clothe us in bitterness and anger that affects all of our relationships.  A consistent track record of these kind of things causes our character, and sometimes our quality of life, to be destroyed.

2 Cor. 3:3 talks about being an epistle of Christ, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God.  Our lives are a story.  If we allow integrity and the Holy Spirit to guide us, then our story points to Christ and His love.  We don’t have to declare ourselves as good people, as honest and faithful, or even as Christians.  Our actions tell that story for us.

If perversity guides us, we are telling a much different story, and no matter what we think, that truth and destruction cannot be hidden.  It is there for all to see.

So today, we need to look to integrity to help us determine what choices we will make.  If integrity is our guide, our actions will reflect it.

Seek out that guide today,

jamie

 

Reading the whole Word

This morning I was reading the book of Amos.  I was reminded that we cannot just pick and choose which parts of God’s Word we read.  It is all important.

It is normal and helpful to choose verses that help us through the day, such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” or “My God shall supply all your needs through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Mt. 6 reminds us not to worry.  John reveals to us the power of Jesus and the power that brings to our lives.

These verses are wonderful and help us survive and cope here on Earth.  While we are waiting on the Lord, we cling to the hope we find in His Word.  I am so grateful that we have access to the Word of God.

What a blessing that He gave us such access to Him!

Reading Amos; however, reminds us that this life is about more than just being comfortable.  Life is about more than surviving.

Amos reminds us that while we are comfortable, other around us are lost and dying.  People are literally without God and headed for destruction.  When we read outside of our “comfort verses,” we are reminded to grieve for the lost, which will spur us to action.  We are reminded that this life isn’t a game.  There is a mission for us in this life.

Yes, I believe God’s promises to prosper us and give us life more abundantly, but I don’t believe those things supersede His desire that all His children come to Him.  I don’t believe He sent His Son to die on the cross simply for our comfort.

He wants us to be saved, and to live eternally with Him.  But not just us…also those around us.

Amos, and other prophets remind us that this life will not always be.  The Word of God is a gift we have, that cannot be taken for granted.  Life is not only about eating, drinking, and being merry, but also about eternity.

Christ’s return will come.  Not everyone will be known by Him on that day.  Does that grieve your heart?  If it doesn’t, I encourage you to turn to Amos.  I encourage you to ask the Lord to remind you of His heart.

It is easy for the worries of the day to blind us and cause us to forget the larger picture.  God’s Word is there to remind us to grieve and to act.  We can spread the verses of hope with those who come to believe.

Encouraging you,

jamie

A lesson on haughtiness

Pr. 18:12:  “Before the destruction of the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”

I learned the physical application of this verse when I was about 10 or 11.  I had gone swimming at my best friend’s house.  As I was riding my bike home, I noticed some neighborhood kids playing baseball in the yard of my neighbor.  Now, keep in mind that the neighborhood kids were always jealous that I got to swim in her in-ground pool, but then again, they never really wanted to be her friend any other time.

So, here I come, riding my bike in my bathing suit.  It was obvious where I’d been.  I wanted to rub it in that I’d gone swimming and they didn’t, so I made a big show of waving at them.  While I was haughtily showing off, I neglected to see the baseball stuck in a hole in the road.  Yep.

Next thing I knew, I experienced an intense jarring and flew over the handlebars of my bike.  My knee was torn open and my neighbor’s dad literally had to carry me home.

That was my lesson about how being haughty leads to destruction.  I still remember it quite vividly.

Learn from my mistake.  🙂

Still have the scar to prove it,

jamie

Trying to stay upright

Pr. 4:13:  “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”

Reading this verse today made me laugh.  I instantly saw myself holding onto the wall, trying not to fall.

Yes, I’m clumsy.  4 weeks ago I fractured my shin and have not been able to put any weight on my leg.  It has been interesting, to say the least, to do normal activities while balanced on 1 leg.  I rely heavily on walls, handles, furniture, other people, and my precarious sense of balance to keep me upright.

There have been several times when I have almost fallen.  During those times, I reach out for the nearest thing to keep me from falling and getting hurt.  I have taken firm hold of more than one handle.  I have firmly grasped at the wall more times than I can say in an effort to keep from landing on my face.  (or on my already broken leg)

Literally, I take firm hold of those stable things to save myself from destruction.

We are told in this verse to take firm hold of instruction, for she is our life.  God doesn’t give us rules and instructions because He’s some mean tyrant who wants us to be miserable.  He gives us instructions to save our lives, and to help us lives our lives be a bit less painful.

He says don’t lie because if you lie to your boss, you will be fired.  Also, if you are caught lying some people will never believe you even if you’re speaking the truth.  He says don’t commit adultery because if you do you will rip your family apart.  Your spouse will be devastated and your children’s family will be broken.

He tells us to care for our bodies (His temple) because drugs, alcohol, and gluttonous eating will wreak havoc on our insides and cause terrible damage to our health and our ability to function at our fullest potential.

There are many things that are of eternal significance in His instructions, as well.  Sometimes, while we know them, we kinda brush them off as last resort types of things.  I’m telling you from experience though, when you are falling, you need something firm to grab onto…and Fast!

Good intentions are not enough to keep us from falling and getting hurt.  We need a reason to live.  We need something to make us fight to stay upright.  We need instruction to give us the stability to carry on with our lives…the way God meant us to live them.

We will still get hurt once in a while, but when we are fighting for our life, or the eternal life of someone else, the firm grip we have on those instructions will be the difference between irreparable damage and merciful salvation.

Take firm hold of instruction.  This balancing act of life offers little support, but God is always there stable and faithful to keep us upright.

Relying on His strength,

jamie

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

jamie