Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

Are you with him?

Do we really need to read our Bibles, pray, worship, spend time with God?  Does that stuff actually matter?  Does it make us saved?  Does it change anything?

Things I’ve heard lately:  “How do I know if I’m saved?”  “I don’t need to raise my hands in worship.  God knows how I feel.”  “I don’t need to read my Bible, I feel saved.”

Now, let me be clear right up front.  John 3:16 says whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life.  It says if we believe, then we are saved.  I will never say that anyone is not saved if they don’t perform.  The Lord indeed knows our hearts.

However, when Jesus told people to follow Him, He would ask them to give things up.  Some gave up families, jobs, and homes.  He asked the rich, young ruler to give up his wealth.  And he always told people to repent.  He never said that anyone could just go on sinning.  He very clearly told the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.”

We don’t believe in Jesus without knowing Him and if we truly know Him then we understand that He is not ok with us just living any kind of way we want.  No, He doesn’t expect us to come to Him in a perfect state.  What He does expect is that we spend time with Him and allow Him to change us, mold us, and grow us into the person He wants us to be.

How does this happen?

I can say that I’m married to my husband, but if I never spend time with him, how can I know him?  If I don’t have conversations with him, then I will never learn anything about him.  If we never spend time together, then we won’t grow closer together.  What if I live somewhere else and choose to maybe call him twice a year?  What kind of relationship would we have then?

And if we told you we were married, but we were never affectionate, we never saw each other outside of the church, never talked outside of the church, and didn’t even write letters or emails to one another or read each others writings, then would you really believe we belonged to one another?

Worship (being affectionate to God) is an outward way to show that we know Him, we are grateful for His blessings, and that we believe in Him.  No, it is not required, but if you’re in a relationship with someone, isn’t affection usually expected?

Reading your Bible is the way you get to know God more.  It isn’t required, but the Bible is our sword!  It gets us right into the heart of God.  It is how we grow and change.

Prayer is the way we get to talk to God.  We are blessed to be able to speak directly to Him.  Prayer is our lifeline to God.

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what grows us and helps others to see that we belong to Him.  Then we become a true disciple for Him.

Follow Him,

jamie

 

 

For all these blessings…

The Bible says we should comfort one another with these words.  I pray they not only bring comfort, but cause our grateful hearts to rejoice this Thanksgiving. 

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”  1 Th. 5:9-10

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life…”  Jo. 3:36

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  1 Th. 4:16-17

Happy Thanksgiving!

jamie

 

Everybody lies?

Proverbs 19 has 5 verses that directly relate to lying and it got me thinking.  On the TV show House, the lead character’s main line was, “Everybody lies.”  He said it so many times that it began to sound like fact.  It seemed like every one does, in fact, lie.  (Although we know that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and the old rules don’t have to apply)

I’m so glad that it is impossible for our God to lie.  It’s important to note that whatever God speaks actually happens.  When He said, “Let there be light,” there was light.  When He called it Day, it became Day.

When God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures,” the waters abounded with an abundance of living creatures.  Whatever things God says are true, and they are proven all around us.

That means that when God said He does not forsake His inheritance, it is fact.  (Isaiah 94:14)  And those who believe in Him ARE His inheritance.  (Gal. 3:26)  It means that He actually loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Jo. 3:16)

Did you skim over that last verse?  Jesus said those words.  Remember that they’re fact.  When Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus came forth.  (Jo. 11:43)

It also means that He will come again, just as He said He would.  (Rev. 21-22)  Until He returns, it means we can rely on this verse to guide us as we do His work here on earth:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  (Jo. 12:12-13)

While we’re waiting, we can trust in His Word.  If He said it, it is true.  If He called a mountain ‘fire’, it would be fire.  If He called green ‘blue’, it would be blue.  Do we truly understand that He cannot lie?  Whatever He says is truth.  We can place our entire hope upon His Word.

Satan is the one who lies.  He is the father of lies and that proof is also all around us.  Anytime we begin to believe something contrary to the Word of God, we can remember that if God said it, it is true.  It is impossible for God to lie!  Now, that is encouraging.  🙂

Believing,

jamie

That leaves a pleasant taste…

Pr. 22:18:  “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips”

Keeping the words of wisdom and knowledge within us is not only wise, but indeed, it is pleasant.

When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with the scripture.  When Satan attacks us with doubt, fear, anxiety, and other lies, it helps if we have the truth from the Word of God fixed upon our lips.

Lie:  I am unworthy.  I am not good enough.  I am inferior.

Truth:  God formed me in my mother’s womb.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are the works of God.  (Ps. 139:13-14)

Lie:  I can’t do this.  This will turn out so badly.  I’m not strong enough.

Truth:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  The Lord will show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (Phil. 4:13, 1 Co. 12:9, 2 Ch. 16:9)

Lie:  I can’t trust anyone.  I can’t bear this.

Truth:  The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  If I humble myself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift me up.  Branches are pruned to bear more fruit.  (Pr. 29:25, Ja. 4:10, Jo. 15:2)

Lie:  God will never forgive me.  I will never be good enough for God to love me.

Truth:  Greater love has no on than this, than to lay down His life for his friends.  God loved me so much that He gave His only Son, that believing in Him I would not perish but have everlasting life.  God did not send His song into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Jesus prayed for me, asking God that I would know “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  (Jo. 15:13, Jo. 3:16-17, Jo. 17:23)

Isn’t God’s Word much more pleasant than the lies that Satan whispers?  The best part is that God’s Word is the truth.  It is pure.  It is proven.  And God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  (Pr. 30:5)

Know the Word and know the pleasant truth of a love that is unlike any other.  Fix it in your heart and upon your lips.

Trusting,

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie

That necklace is Perfect for you!

Pr. 1:8-9:  “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for the will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.”

Several years ago, when my sister-in-law began her journey with breast cancer, she sent out 7 necklaces.  Each necklace had a letter from the word JOURNEY.  I remember receiving mine in the mail and feeling the weight and privilege of it.  It felt very heavy because of the diagnosis and turmoil that I understood would accompany it; but it was a privilege because she entrusted me to pray with her, reach out to her, and be on her side along the way.

I wore my necklace every day and would sometimes touch it during the day, reminding myself of all she was going through, or facing in the future.  It was a great reminder for me of what was going on in her life.

Solomon compares hearing the instruction of your father and not forsaking the law of your mother to graceful ornaments on our head and chains about our neck.  I certainly don’t believe he meant heavy construction chains.  I believe he meant something more like that necklace my sister-in-law sent to me.  I believe he is saying to his son that the instructions and law would be good reminders for him throughout his life.  Those reminders would guide and protect him.

The entire law of God is the same way.  God does not place heavy chains upon us or bind us with His law.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  His precepts are like these graceful ornaments and chains of remembrance.  Heeding His instruction protects us, keeps us safe, and keeps us mindful of what is truly important.

We all need reminders.  Just as that necklace reminded me to pray for my sister-in-law, God’s instructions and laws remind me to be mindful of things above.  They remind me why I am really here, and what my purpose truly is.  They remind me whose I am.  They remind me that I am not alone on this earth.  I have a Father who has reached out to me and given me His Word to keep me safe and give me everlasting life.

God’s law reminds me that there is One who cares for me so much that He would set things in place to provide protection for me.  The instruction in His Word reminds me that He is aware of me and my needs.  He is my Provider, my Shepherd, my Deliverer, Healer, Help in time of need.  He is my everything.

It is good for us to heed the instruction and law of our Lord and Savior, and to “wear” them as reminders.  They will allow God to guide and protect us all the days of our lives.

Being reminded,

jamie