Tag Archives: diligence

Month of Prayer, Day 13

Lord, just like the writer of Ps. 119:59, I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.  I made haste and did not delay, for Your Word says that those who disdain correction will find poverty and shame.  Those who regard a rebuke; however, will be honored.  Lord, more than honor for me, I want my life to honor You.  Thank You for delivering me from destruction.

Pr. 13:4 says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”  Lord, if it takes me getting up at midnight to praise You; or reading Your Word in the early hours of the morning, that is what I will do.  I will be diligent in my pursuit of You in order that my soul might be rich.  You are better than any treasure.  The wisdom that I gain from Your Word is life-giving and more advantageous than any other knowledge I could gain.  When I listen to my Father’s instructions, I am wise.

Guide my feet to wise men and women who also fear You.  Give me companions that keep Your precepts and understand that the earth is full of Your mercy.  This way, Lord, You may turn us away from the snares of death.

Help me to act with knowledge and not folly.  Help me to fear Your commandments all the days of my life.  I long for that eternal reward…eternity with You.  I love You, Lord, and I thank You for giving me Your Word and for loving me enough to discipline me when necessary.  Thank You for wanting me that much.  You are an amazing Father!

I love you,

jamie

How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie

Don’t give up now

Pr. 27: 18:  “Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.”

A workout buddy of mine once gave me some advice that stuck.  She said, “At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.”  Her advice got me through some intense (former) workouts.

However, the last time I felt like giving up the fight and giving into depression, her words rang again in my mind.  I realized how true they are, not just for working out, but for life.

The NKJV Bible that I read uses the word perseverance.  Let’s look at Ro. 5:3-5:

we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Peter 1:5-11 talks about fruitful growth in the faith:

giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Talk about eating the fruit of the tree we keep.

Peter also reminds us in chapter 3, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, [the day of the Lord] be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (vs. 14-18)

At the point where we feel like giving up the fight against temptation, sin, indifference, and justification…if we will instead choose to persevere, that is when our endurance is built.

What happens when we build endurance?  We are stronger in the face of the next temptation.  We have the stamina to go longer between moments of intentional, willing sin.  Our brains begin to think more clearly, and our justifications become baseless.  Our confidence in who we are in Christ will grow, and our confidence in His strength will not easily be shaken.

Building our endurance takes diligence.  Diligently growing in our faith while we wait on our Master will allow us to be honored upon His arrival.

The day is at hand.  We cannot give up now.  We must diligently keep ourselves to see the fruit.

Let me say it again so maybe it will stick in your brain like it has mine:  At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.  And for that fight we put up, we will indeed be honored.  🙂

Waiting on Him,

jamie

Oh, and I heard this song this morning that reminded me of this.  He is worth it!

 

Isn’t that a bit hasty?

Pr. 21:5:  “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” 

If you are riding in a car with my kids for any length of time, you will hear them listing off the things they want.  “I wish we could go to the park.”  “I want to go to McDonald’s.”  “I wish God would move our house to that field with all that land so we could have animals.”  “I want a lightsaber.”  “I wish we could get ice cream.”  Seriously, it just goes on and on.  The longer the ride, the more wishes that are voiced.  They aren’t demanding these things, mind you; just thinking out loud.

They aren’t the only ones.  I’m not a big window shopper.  If I don’t go to stores, then I’m not aware of what I’m missing.  Once I step foot inside a store, I see all kinds of things I didn’t even know I “needed.”  HA!  I’m sure I could come up with a list of things I want to buy or do right now if I thought enough about it.

Solomon warns that being hasty leads to poverty.  How true.  If my kids, or I (the one with the check book), just started doing all the things they say they want, we wouldn’t have enough money for the things we need.  We can’t go to McDonald’s, Sweet Frog, the beach, etc. every single trip and still have money for electricity, food, or savings.  More than that, if we spent all our money on those impulsive ideas they have, we wouldn’t have the money to do the other things that they really like even more.  They simply don’t have the brain capacity just yet to understand that some things are worth Not doing so that you can do the things you really want to do.

We have to teach our kids how to be diligent planners.  How?  Well, we don’t give in to their every whim…or our own.  We don’t go out impulsively buying or doing things that catch our eye or our fancy.  Before I grocery shop with my kids, I even make a point to pray with them that we will make wise decisions and that God will direct us with wisdom.

It’s really a good reminder for all of us.  It’s good to let an idea or an impulse marinate over night once in a while to make sure you have peace about it, or to make sure you actually “need” it.  And there is nothing wrong with planning to save up for something or planning to do it another time as a reward.  Sometimes that can even be more exciting!  We are reminded that the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.  Sounds like we will have exactly what we need.

Guarding my wallet,

jamie

Are your walls secure?

Pr. 25:28:  “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”

This verse causes me to think about Jericho.  The reason destruction of Jericho was amazing was that it’s walls made it basically impenetrable.  The walls were made of thick stone.  They were high.  They were well-guarded, and Joshua 6:1 says the gate was securely shut because of the children of Israel.

When a city is securely protected in this manner, it takes either an act of God or a well-planned attack by a heavily-armed battalion to get over or through those walls.

This verse tells us that when we have no rule over our own spirit that we are like a city broken down, without walls.

What happens when a city has no walls, or walls that have been broken down?  Invaders can enter and take over.  The defenses of the city are weakened.  Those inside the city are vulnerable to any type of attack.  Anyone or anything can come in to the city and do what they please.  Unwanted guests can make themselves at home or even take charge.

How is this like us?  When we have no rule over our spirit, we are vulnerable to attack.  When we are allowing ourselves to be ruled by our desires, passions, emotions, or those of others around us, we make openings for the enemy to attack.  He can make himself at home or even take charge of our lives and our decision-making process.

Boundaries in our lives are walls of protection.  Examples of boundaries:  refusing to watch movies with nudity; not ‘playing around’ with black magic; guarding ourselves against worldly teachings that exclude Jesus or His grace; deciding never to be alone in a bedroom with a member of the opposite sex (who is not our spouse); making a pact with ourselves to tell the truth no matter what; making time each day to read God’s word; only listening to songs that remind us of Christ if we have found that songs about worldly passions cause us to veer away from God.  The list could continue, but you get the point.

If we don’t have walls/boundaries in place ahead of time, we leave ourselves vulnerable to any type of attack that may come our way.  We do not have to give in to attacks, invasions, or temptations.  We can guard ourselves, and secure our gates so that we are not allowing just anyone or anything to take over.

When we rule our own spirits, we take charge.  We decide what we believe, do, say.  We do not allow whims to blow us about like the wind.  We stand firm on the foundation, which is Christ Jesus, and we stay put.

I feel the need to remind us that prayer, praise, and time in the Word are the things that fortify and strengthen our walls the most.  Without these our walls will crumble.

Fortifying my walls,

jamie

Lips dripping with knowledge

Pr. 5:2:  “That you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.”

Canning is a beautiful art.  You can take fruit, vegetables, meat, and herbs in the height of their freshness and preserve the taste and beauty they hold.  You can eat delicious tomatoes in the middle of winter that are almost as lovely as those that were harvested fully ripe.  Grapes can be plucked right off the vine and turned into delicious jelly you can use any time the craving arises.  Fresh fish can be canned and stored to feed a family all winter when fishing is an impossibility.

Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is.

The catch is this:  you cannot just throw some tomatoes in a jar, put them on a shelf, and expect them to remain preserved.  Bacteria can quickly grow in a jar of unsealed food, leaving the food dangerous and deadly.  Canning is a labor-intensive process that requires preparation, diligence, knowledge, and commitment.

So, it is with discretion.  We cannot just expect to preserve that within ourselves when surrounded by indiscretions.  We must diligently and knowledgeably commit ourselves to guarding discretion in our lives.  We cannot neglect the seeds of indiscretion that try to multiply in our lives through temptations, tv and movies, media, books, music, etc.

That is not to say that we cannot enjoy our lives, but keeping knowledge on our lips requires alertness and carefulness.  Sometimes it can be laborious.  Sometimes we may feel like we’re missing out on something.  It is a labor; however, that is worth the trouble.

If we want juicy fruits of the Spirit to drip from our lips, if we want to be filled with the tastes of wisdom and knowledge, if we want to enjoy fruit during the “off-season,” we must plan and pay attention to preserving those things.  We must continue to check that our seals are not allowing bacteria to seep in and grow.

Enjoy the fruits,

jamie

Another day to persevere

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Do you know what this verse doesn’t say?  It does not say that she shall rejoice every moment of every day.  It says she shall rejoice in time to come.

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6, which says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

This reminds me that diligence, persistence, effort, and perseverance are important qualities of our nature.  We must continue to press forward.  Some activities in our lives seem mundane and routine at times.  Some responsibilities feel overwhelming or paralyzing.

It is the completion of the tasks before us or the persistent effort to do so that brings us honor.  It is the husband who continues to get up and go to work daily, when he would rather do anything else, who receives honor for his perseverance.  It is the student who trudges through their schoolwork, with consistent effort, who receives honor for not giving up or giving in to lesser things.  It is the mother who sweeps the floor for a 3rd time in one day who is doing what is honorable, through her diligence.

There is a lot to be said for not giving up.  If we do not sow any seed, no prosperity will come forth.  However, if we continue to daily sow seeds, something will eventually take root.  We may not see the results right away.  We may wonder if anything will ever come from them.  We may even notice that, other than our own personal satisfaction, not much comes from some of them.

The point is; however, that in order to see the growth of the fruit, we must sow the seeds.  Strength comes when we persevere.  Honor comes from the same.

As we say good-bye to 2014, let’s remember all the ways in which we have been consistently diligent and persistent and rejoice that we have increased in strength.

As we welcome 2015, let’s remember that honor comes from not giving up, and continue to sow our seeds.  Let’s continue to release those things in our hands and watch what comes forth from them.  It will be worth the effort.

God, we thank you for another day…another year to serve You.  Help us this day to rejoice in You and in the blessings that have come from You.  As we face the possibility of another year, give us the daily strength to persevere in Your will and in Your service.  If tomorrow does not come, help us to give ourselves over to You once again, receiving Your salvation and forgiveness, and living a life that honors You.  Our diligence in serving You will not go unrewarded, and for that we give You praise! 

Happy New Year!

jamie

Feeding the hungry

Pr. 10:21:  “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.”

This verse instantly makes me think about my Pastor.  Give or take a few services, he feeds thousands of God’s sheep in the pews 144 times each year.  Not only that, but he ensures that we are being fed during the other services, equips us with daily devotions, sends out blogs almost daily for extra nourishment; and for 40 extra days each year, at his urging, we gather as a church for very personal and intentional time with the Lord.

Certainly, our Pastor disburses to us the Bread of Life and the Living Water on a continual basis.  Anyone who is truly hungry or thirsty for eternal things, and encounters our Pastor, will find provisions awaiting them there.

How does our Pastor feed so many?  I think part of it can be summed up in a declaration he made several years ago.  He declared that Jesus is the true Pastor/Shepherd of our church and our earthly Pastor is merely the servant charged with carrying out God’s will in our midst.  He has submitted his life and his will to the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result, the Bread of Life literally moves throughout our midst without hindrance.

He also diligently studies the Word of God.  His study of the Word is intensive and intentional, and his eyes are continually opened in new ways to “old” verses and passages.  He is open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit in not only his life, but in his studies.

He is also unafraid to ask listen to and ask questions of others around him with regard to scriptures.  He truly wants to know what others have gleaned from the scriptures and is constantly seeking more from God.

I read Luke 2:46 today which says, “Now so it was after three days they found Him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”

This is a wonderful example that Jesus set for us.  Vs. 47 says, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”  When we get into the presence of God, when we diligently seek Him in the temple, when we ask questions of and listen to those who are laboriously in the Word, and when we seek answers in His Word, we find understanding and answers.

This Proverb says that fools die for lack of wisdom.  When it comes to learning more of God, we cannot afford to be headstrong, proud, hardened, or unteachable.  We must be willing to submit to Him in order for Him to reveal Himself more and more to us.  We must be willing to consider the teachings of those whose job it is to dig into the Word, find the answers, and guide us through that understanding.

Most importantly, though, we must know the Word and be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, so that we may, in turn, begin to feed those around us.  People around us are hungry for the Bread of Life, and thirsty for Living Water.  Sometimes it is up to us to release those things to them.  We must feed some people ourselves, but we must have something to offer.  We can’t leave it all up to 1 Pastor.

Dig in so you can dish it out!

jamie

Roast that game!

Pr. 12:27:  “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.” 

Have you ever made food and then left it out too long, only to found that it went bad?  I have, and that’s what this lazy man did.  He took the time to purchase hunting gear, to get the gear together, walk out to the perfect spot in the woods, and sit patiently and wait for his prey.  After getting what he needed, he carried it all the way home, and then he just left it.  All that work, just to neglect it and allow it to turn bad.

Instead of diligently caring for and protecting the provisions the Lord had given him, this man took it for granted.  All that we have is from the Lord.  He gives to us from His glorious riches and so often, we forget the blessing that they truly are.  We begin to expect provision without giving thanks or doing our own part to take on the responsibility of caring for those things.

We can do the same things spiritually.  We find a treasure in the Lord and then we do not protect it or cultivate in our lives.  We just expect spiritual provisions without taking on our own responsibility of being diligent to do our part.  Maybe we found the perfect scripture to get us out of our rut and get our eyes back on the Lord, but the slip of paper we wrote it on ends up in a stack of bills and becomes forgotten.  Perhaps we have felt the presence of the Lord and determine to continue in His presence, but we then get distracted by a semi-appropriate show on TV that we just really love, and He can no longer remain there with us.

We take the time to wake up early on Sunday morning, get everyone dressed and out the door on time, get everyone to the right spot, and be seated in the presence of the Lord.  We get all we need and more, we leave feeling blessed and uplifted, go home with smiles and peace, and then we forget all that just happened and go right back to where we were before.  All that work, just to neglect it, and know that sometimes it will even turn bad.

All that we have is from the Lord.  He lavishly provides for our spiritual and physical needs.  His word says that when we seek Him, He will draw near to us.  In order to properly care for our provisions, we must be diligent.  We must diligently go over that perfect scripture and find others like it.  We must pray over it and ask God to help it develop deep roots in our hearts and minds.  We must diligently make time to be in His presence and remain there, allowing Him to test and try our hearts and to cleanse and purify us in the way that only He can.  Diligence means we are persistent.  It’s a constant effort.

The beauty of this is knowing that we don’t even have to do it our own strength.  If we are truly seeking more of Him, He is the one who will provide the strength to continue.  Ha!  How amazing is that!?  We don’t have to worry about the details of our needs.  God’s got those under control.  He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (the details) shall be added unto you.”  Mt. 6:33.

All we have to do is seek Him.  Just continually seek Him.  If we will remain diligent in that, He will do the rest.  We will be eating the fruit of the Spirit and dining with the King of Kings!  Diligence is truly our prized possession.

Enjoy the feast,

jamie

Hungry?

Pr. 10:3:  “The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.” 

This same verse in the English Standard Version:  “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”

These 2 translations work well together to sum up this verse.  The Lord will not allow the soul of the righteous to starve to death or to suffer extreme hunger; likewise, the cravings and desires of the wicked will be frustrated and prevented from accomplishing a purpose.

We were created for a purpose.  Our purpose is higher than any earthly goal.  When we get distracted and begin trying to accomplish the purposes of our own sinful desires, our plans will be thwarted.

When we diligently work to accomplish our heavenly purpose, God works all things for our good.  He did that for Joseph.  He will do it for us.

The best part of this promise is that when our souls are hungry for God we will be filled.  When we hunger for more of Him, He is faithful to give us all we need and more.  The Bread of Life will satisfy our craving for Him.  When we long for eternal life and for doing the will of the One who sent us, then our desires will satiated.

I do know that when I have had seasons where I was intentionally living in sin that I usually felt very unfulfilled and ravenously greedy for something more.  In sin, in our own desires and cravings there is never enough.  We do not experience true fulfillment and satisfaction.  That is why it is hard for us to step out in faith, believing that there is truly something that can fill the empty holes.

When we become hungry for the Lord, He satisfies completely.  No longer do we have that longing desire for something more.  When we have given ourselves fully to God, He fills every need and leaves us feeling full and complete.  With Him we have no hunger pains for more.  He is the Bread of Life.  He has Living Waters.  Nothing can ever satisfy us more.

What do we do when the hunger pains hit?  Feed on the Lord.  His food endures to everlasting life.  We can step out, faithfully believing that the One who gave His life for us will also give us food for life.

Stuffing myself,

jamie