Tag Archives: excuses

Permission to depart

“He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”  Mt. 14:13

Something in ministry that we all worry about it being available to the people.  We should be, but we must remember that need to be refreshed, as well.  If we are modeling our lives after Jesus, then let’s model this part of our lives after Him, as well.

Even Jesus would separate Himself for times of emotional recharging (as in the verse above), or times of prayer.  That ensured that when He would come back to the people He would have something to give them besides a frazzled, “I’m hanging on by a thread and just barely getting things done”, exhausted, Lord who is only giving them pieces of Himself; or a Lord who hasn’t prayed in 3 days because He hasn’t found the time.

Throughout the gospels you will find Scriptures that show Christ getting away by Himself, or getting away with those closest to Him…away from the multitudes…just to recharge and refocus.  See Mt. 17 when He took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain.  It was just the 4 of them and they went for 1 special reason.  Not everyone was invited to this.  Not all 12 disciples, not the whole crowd; and Jesus didn’t just go alone for this one.  These were the ones He needed to be with.

It is ok for us to put our phones away for an hour or 2 (get away from the multitude), go off with our certain one or few for something special (or nothing special), or spend time alone recharging so that when we come back we have more to give in our ministries.

Each time Jesus came back from one of those times, the multitudes were waiting and there was work to do.  He had compassion on them and got to work, but He was refueled and ready.  The work of ministry (and life) will never end, so we must take care to carve out those times of ‘departing’ on our own.  No one else can do that for us…no one will.

Let’s be like Jesus and depart from multitude before it gets out of hand.  Schedule it if you need to.  Refocus, recharge, and come back recharged and ready for ministry…just like Jesus did.

And when He went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with great compassion for them…

jamie

How a 4-year-old fights temptation

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

We’ve been learning this great verse about self-control in Sunday school this month.  Yesterday I heard the perfect example of what it means.

My friend’s 4-year-old son told her that the devil was trying to get him to break his bed.  He said, “I’m going to tell him to leave, and I’m going to read my Word of God!”

We all have different struggles and temptations.  For a teenager, it might be stealing.  For a married adult, it could be adultery.  For another, it could be hate and unforgiveness.  For a 4-year-old boy, it might be the temptation to break his bed.

We can learn a lot from this 4-year-old.  He had enough rule over his own spirit that he didn’t simply give in to his temptation.  As adults, our justifications and excuses sure make it seem complicated to resist our temptations; however, it couldn’t be more simple.

Note what he did:  He identified the desire as coming from the devil.  He told the devil to leave.  He read his Word of God!  Isn’t this what the Bible tells us to do?

Thank you for the lesson, Isaiah,

jamie

Integrity in action

Pr. 6:16 starts a list of 7 things the Lord hates.  One of them is a lying tongue.  It seems to just be the norm that people lie, or at the very least make endless excuses for their actions.  Last night; however, I was refreshed when speaking to a college freshman who was telling me about his first “all-nighter” of the semester.

He wasn’t bragging, mind you, but just telling me about how he only got 15 minutes of sleep that night and that he probably won’t do things that way next time….meaning, he won’t procrastinate.

His assignment was a book review.  It was due Monday morning, and Sunday night he sat down to work on it.  His plan was not to read the book, but just get some bits and pieces and type his review from there.  However, his plan was spoiled when he stumbled upon the integrity statement on the assignment.  The statement basically said that by turning this assignment in I am saying that I read the book in full, etc., etc.

After exclaiming in a bit of frustration, he knew what he must do.  So, he stayed awake until 4:30 a.m. reading the book in full, and finished his assignment by 6:30.  He simply said, “I couldn’t lie.”

Honestly, I was amazed by the story of the character this young teenager.  If he had written his review well enough, no one would have ever known if he had truly read the book or not; however, he knew that reading the book was his only choice.

It reminded me of Joseph.  His own brothers sold him into slavery, he was thrown in jail for something he didn’t do, and he was forgotten by one who promised to speak well of him.  Although the Lord had given him visions of a life of greatness, over and over he found himself being stepped upon and despised.  He had every opportunity to become like the world and turn his back on integrity and on God.

However, deep down in his heart, Joseph loved the Lord.  He would not sin against his God.  Joseph’s love of God made him a man of character.  Even if no one was looking, Joseph’s fear of the Lord helped him made decisions that proved his integrity.  As a result, God used him for greatness, indeed.

I was encouraged by the choice of this young teenager who would not sin against God.  Truly, integrity and character are still alive in this world.  We still have a choice.  And, since God is the same God, He will still bless those who choose to honor Him.

Let’s imitate this young man of integrity.  When it comes to sin, for us who love the Lord, there is really only 1 choice.

Humbled,

jamie

 

Time to sweep!

We went camping last night.  After we unpacked and put everything away this afternoon, our floor was covered in dirt, bark, leaves, etc.  I swept twice on Thursday and once yesterday, but as I was sweeping the mess from today, I commented to my husband that it looks like I never sweep.

That thought kept rolling around in my mind and reminded me of spiritual disciplines.  Yep…ya just never know what God will use to speak to your heart.

If I don’t sweep one day the house isn’t too messy.  No big deal.  If I miss two days, the specks on the floor would become pretty noticeable.  If I miss three days, dirt and crumbs would probably begin sticking to our feet and something just wouldn’t seem right in the house.

Give it a few weeks and the problem would be pretty evident to anyone who stepped inside.  After a year, cobwebs and dust bunnies would have taken over and no one would want to step foot in the house.  Bugs would probably be pretty comfortable in our home and mold would likely be growing on the piles of food crumbs.  Not only would the house look very nasty, but it would also create an unhealthy environment for our family.

Has your mind already created the parallel with spiritual disciplines?  Missing a day of Bible reading and prayer isn’t so bad, right?  We get busy sometimes, after all.  Missing two days?  Specks begin to show.  Maybe a blot of something undesirable gets stuck somewhere and we either ignore it or don’t notice.  After a few weeks of neglecting our relationship with God and others begin to notice.  We may make excuses and think all is fine.  We’ll get around to it soon.

A year without spending quality time with God and the nastiness of sin would show and continue to grow an undesirable, unhealthy new environment for us and for those around us.  Our hearts grow hard and callous towards sin and the garbage and foul grime that accompanies it.  Eventually we’re trapped inside a putrid life that no longer brings joy to anyone…including us.

God’s word and His presence bring freedom and keep us healthy, happy, and pure before a righteous God.  We cannot let business, distractions, laziness, or apathy keep us from our time with God.  A life that is too busy or consumed with things other than God is one that will create a layer of filth all around us.  Truly we reap what we sow.  If we do nothing to grow our relationship with God, then our relationship will wither and our lives will be the proof.

Being intentional about spiritual disciplines isn’t just a good idea.  Like sweeping keeps a home from being covered in filth, our spiritual disciplines keep our souls from the same.  Spending time with God is what makes us sparkle and shine.  🙂

Enjoy His Word today,

jamie