Only Believe reblog

This morning I read my blog from Sept. 26, 2016 and felt it was a very fitting time to share it again:

“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road!  A fierce lion is in the street!'”  Pr. 26:13

I don’t really think we’re all lazy, but certainly we can make situations look larger than life quite often.  We have fear.  We have unbelief in the face of uncertainty.  We forget that is truly God that takes care of us.

I had the privilege to spend time this past weekend with some full-time missionaries from 3 different countries.  You know what I noticed?  They’re just ordinary people.

One lady simply saw a need and God touched her so strongly that she obeyed.   She could have been too afraid, and done nothing, but she knew it was up to her to do something.

Do you think she had all the answers?  Definitely not.  Did she have a full understanding of the depths of time, money, and commitment that would be needed to do the work?  Absolutely not!

The task she undertook could rightly be called monumental.  She absolutely did not have the resources to do it, nor did she understand how drastically her life would change as a result of deciding to do something about this need.

Mark 5:36 stands out in my mind, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

She didn’t enter that situation as a seasoned, full-time missionary.  She did not have the answers.  She did not have the resources.  She likely did not even have the time.  Yet, she chose to obey the touch of the Lord on her heart; and to believe in the One who supplies our every need.

Can’t we all do the same?  It terrifies me to imagine myself running an orphanage, and being the sole guardian for 57 kids at a time.  I would doubt my ability to care for a community that was counting on me to be their source of food.  I would feel afraid to go into a tribal village, facing people who practice religions of rage and violence.

However, we aren’t the ones who have to have the resources, answers, and abilities.  God provides those things.  God simply needs us to obey, and to do His work, believing that He will provide what we need.

Most of us won’t be facing those situations that I just described today.  However, speaking to our co-worker about the Lord can feel just as scary.  Sharing God’s love to the cashier who looks like she’s just about to give up, can leave us doubting our abilities.

Perhaps, the Lord asks us to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or repair or build a house for someone in need.  Guess what?  He will equip us.

We are all called to simply obey God’s will in our lives.  We don’t have to be a full-time missionary to do His work.  We are all just ordinary people, children of God, who long to be His hands and feet in our world.

If we obey His call, He will equip us for every good work.

Believing,

jamie

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On courage

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'” John 4:34

I was reading about courage this morning: Courage being the act of doing what you are afraid to do.

It occurred to me that I most often hear people (including myself) express fear about doing God’s work.  People aren’t as hesitant to go back to school, move to a new state for work, go skydiving, or start a new business as they are to begin a new ministry, teach Sunday school, sing on the praise team, or speak from the pulpit.  Forget moving to another country to minister in missions…that is almost incomprehensible.

Why in the world are we more afraid to do the work of the One who is our Provider than to do ordinary things?  Why are we more willing to commit to the PTA than to helping in the nursery at church just once a quarter?

Is it possible that we are feeding on the wrong things?  Jesus’ food was to do the will of the One who sent Him, and we have been sent by that same God.

When the Lord lays some new work on our heart, here are some helpful things we will need to have been feeding on:

  • God has commissioned all of his followers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  (Mt. 28:19)  This is our job.
  • God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Ph. 4:19)
  • God has already sent pastors and teachers to equip us for the work of the ministry  (Eph. 4:11-12)  We are ready.
  • We’re invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb. 4:16)  We are not alone.
  • And finally, if we our obedient and choose to give in to God’s leading, trusting that He will take care of our needs, we can be certain He will meet them as He said because Heb. 5:18 reminds us that, “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Karl Bath said, “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.”  I can’t think of a better way for us to take on our fears.

If the Lord lays a work on our hearts, it’s ok to be afraid.  Moses was afraid.  Joshua was afraid.  Gideon was afraid, too.  However, we need to take our fears to God’s throne of grace and receive the help He has waiting there for us.

Don’t we know that the One who created the heavens and the earth, owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and holds this world in His hand…that same One can certainly help us teach a class, preach a sermon, sing a song, minister to the sick, or any other thing He has asked us to do?

He has given us His Word so that we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim. 3:17)  If we are feeding on the right things, then we have all we need.

Let’s get to work!

jamie

Dreaming into the New Year…

This is the week after Christmas.  Most of the gifts have been given.  Gatherings have almost all been attended.  Snacks and candies have been savored and devoured.  I hope you all had moments of happiness during this Christmas season.

At my house this week, everyone is home.  Work, school, and outside responsibilities are on hold.  Time for recharging, intentional play, togetherness, and snuggling reigns supreme.

It is easy during this week of winding down and relaxing with the ones I love most to feel as though anything can be accomplished.  (A couple of naps will do that for you!)  So many ideas, goals, and dreams flood my mind, and I feel an eagerness to bring everyone along.

I understand; however, that once school, work, and church begin again, we will once again be on a schedule that will dictate a lot of our time.  How I long to hold tightly to this time of unadulterated togetherness!

My goal for 2017 is to make more time than ever before for dreams.  Things I wish I could do more often need to be scheduled into my days.  Ideas need to be spoken out loud, so that everyone can have a say and come up with ways to flesh them out.  Goals need written out and planned, so they can be accomplished.

I don’t often do the whole “New Years Resolution” thing, but it is a good idea to reevaluate things once in a while.

If you’ve got some dreams or ideas you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to speak them out loud and begin the process of fleshing them out.  And if some of your dreams, like mine, include more time to sit on the couch (or a blanket in the yard) beside a family member for some quality time, that’s ok.

If the Lord has been urging You to do something new, take some time to talk it out with Him and commit.  Anytime He gives us an assignment, He always equips us to carry it out.  That’s a fact.  So, maybe it’s time to simply trust, say, “Yes, Lord,” and step out in faith.

I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!  I pray that in 2017 we all grow closer to God and feel His peace and His presence in our lives more than ever before.  I pray that we share His love with those around us, and pass out forgiveness and mercy generously.

God bless you,

jamie

Keeping secrets with God

Pr. 3:32:  “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”

The perverse person in this verse is one “who transgresses the law.”  It is one who deliberately disregards the law and will of God, choosing to live a sinful life outside of God.  With such, God cannot commune, as He cannot tolerate sin, and finds it abominable.

With the upright, on the other hand, He has secret counsel.  He speaks to them, teaches them, and guides them moment by moment; readying them for their path ahead.  I noticed an example of this in my reading this morning.

In Acts 2:14, Peter stands up, raises his voice, and begins speaking to a large crowd about Jesus.  Peter had just been filled with the Holy Spirit and due to that, he who had previously denied Jesus boldly stepped forward, raised his voice, and proclaimed Jesus for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit gave him utterance, but God had most certainly been working within Peter’s heart to ready Him for this.

In my experience, God does not send us forward to do something that He has not prepared us to do.  He works within us, readying us, preparing us, equipping, training, and guiding us toward that moment.  It is a secret counsel that we have with the Lord Himself of which no one else is likely aware.

When we choose to deliberately live a life outside of Him, this cannot take place.  However, when our hearts are open before Him in fear and in loving submission, He can work within us, readying us and guiding us secretly for His greater plans.  He can teach us and train us in the private depths of our hearts.

Just as the Lord readied Peter’s heart for the boldness the Holy Spirit would bring, He readies the upright for their own journey ahead.

Do not doubt the preparations of the Lord.  He is mighty and able.  If you are open to Him, He will teach, guide, and ready you for the journey He has in store for you.  If He has been speaking secretly to you, continue with Him.  When the time comes, you will be fully prepared and equipped.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will be with you, helping every step of the way.

Keeping secrets,

jamie

Training them

Pr. 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

When I went to church this morning, I tried to type a post about this verse, but my wi-fi on my phone wasn’t working very well.  I am glad it wasn’t.  The Lord changed what I needed to say during my time at church.

My Sunday school class was on my mind when I woke up this morning and this verse made me think of them even more; and of my job as their teacher.  Occasionally I wonder if it matters.  This verse reminds me that it does.  As I minister to these 4th graders each week I am training them in the way they should go.  Like training a vine to grow in the direction you desire, we are all training children to go a certain way.  I have been charged with caring for these certain children and I must take my job very seriously, as it has eternal consequences.

I want the children in my Sunday school class to head towards the Lord, therefore I must train them and guide them towards Him.  To encourage growth I have to prune them to get the unwanted or dead growth from their lives.  (the things of this world that don’t truly matter)  To point them in the right direction I must attach the Word of God upon them to hold them in place.  To encourage that they continue on the right path I must pray with them and for them.  I am also encouraging them to pray for one another as they journey together towards the Lord.

Each Sunday I am giving them all the care and attention I can to ensure healthy growth that ends at the only place that matters—with their Savior, the true Vine.  Today we learned a lesson on patience, played games, shared personal concerns, and then I taught them how to look up scriptures in their Bibles.  These things may not seems glamorous while in the classroom with distracted students; however, they couldn’t be more important.  I am helping to equip people to grow in their spiritual maturity throughout the rest of their lives.  I am trusting that God will do the rest once they leave me, and that truly when they are old they will not depart from the truths they are learning even now.

It’s never to late to train, but your example is the loudest teacher.  Stay strong in the Lord and continue your journey.  God will bring the harvest.  What you are doing matters!

Lord, bless my students today and throughout this week.  Let them hear your voice and feel your touch each week as they grow under my care.  Let them remember the truth of Your Word that we learn each week and help them to continue to apply it to their lives.  Lord, please help me not to grow weary in well-doing but to remember that one day You will reap the harvest of their souls.

Happy Gardening!

jamie

Let’s get to work!

Pr. 18: 9:  “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” 

1 Cor. 8:17 says, “But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk.”  Are you walking in your God-ordained work?

We were each called by the Lord for a purpose.  As He forms us, He equips us with certain features, talents, gifts, and tools to help us complete our purpose.  We have all been given exactly what we need in order to do the work He created us to do.

I was not equipped to do your job, and vice versa.  While I could maybe muddle through yours, it certainly would not be completed the best way.  My singing voice is much better blending with a group than the solo voice God gave you.  My math skills are sub-par to your math-based mind.  My gift of encouragement is much stronger than the people skills I might need to do your work.

Throughout our lives on this earth we can become distracted, covetous, doubtful, and insecure.  Satan will stop at nothing to get our eyes off our call, and more importantly, off the Lord.  We cannot be slothful in our work.  God created us and equipped us, and He is counting on us.  Other people are counting on us to fulfill our purpose, as well.

Instead of being the brother, or sister, to those who purposefully destroy their call by completely turning their backs on the Lord, let’s do our work.  Those who choose to go their own way and forget why they were created are making their own way.  Let us continue on the narrow way, knowing that our work in the Lord is not in vain.  Who knows, maybe your work ethic will inspire others to do the same.

God not only equipped us as He formed us, but He continues to equip us each day.  We will always have what we need to do His work.  Let’s trust Him enough to provide and get to work!

Hard hat on,

jamie