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

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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