Tag Archives: faith

Who/what is driving our choices?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the moment he left Samuel, after he was anointed to become king.  The Bible says that God made him a different person.  The Lord had also helped Saul defeat the army of the Ammonites when they came against the town of Jabesh, rescuing the people, when His Spirit once again came upon Saul.  

The Lord had sent a thunderstorm in the middle of the dry season to show his power and might.  And Samuel reminded them of all the other amazing things that God had done for them before.  

Now, another army is coming against them, and King Saul’s soldiers are shaking in their boots.  Fear is a natural human emotion, but the Lord had continued to prove Himself to them over and over again, so they knew they had a Helper to watch their backs.  Other soldiers had run off and left, and suddenly Saul, the one who had been anointed, the one who had become a different person, the one upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had come again and again took on the fear and the worry of the others around him, and he began to worry, as well.  

Not only that, but Samuel, who was supposed to come and offer sacrifices to the Lord for them, had not yet come.  Where was he!?  (enter nail-biting)

Saul, let all of this fear and worry from these outside sources drive his choices, and he took matters into his own hands.  If that doesn’t sound like us, I don’t know what does.  

Things look scary, people say things that drive up our fear, worry, or anxiety, and it doesn’t seem like help is anywhere to be found.  All the while, the Holy Spirit…the Comforter…is living inside of us.  The One who gives peace, who guides us into all understanding, who leads us into the right paths, is living within us, and is ready to help us make choices that are not driven by outside circumstances, but by faith, by hope, by truth, trust, and peace.  

Not only does the spirit of fear not come from the Lord; but when we keep our eyes on Him, He allows His perfect peace to be ours.  With that peace guarding our minds and hearts, we are able to trust Him to fight our battles, just like He’s done in the past; and go forth, in victory!

Don’t bite those nails,

jamie 

Don’t lose your balance

“So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.”  2 Peter 3:17

That’s what it says in the CEV.  In The Passion Translation, it says, “Be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip of the truth.”

Either way, when we have our eyes on others, we can be led in the wrong direction, lose our grip on the truth, lose our balance, and even fall. 

This is why Paul told us to plant our roots in Christ, and to let Him be the foundation for our lives.  He also told us to set our hearts on what is in heaven.  John tells us to keep thinking about the message we first heard so that we will always be one in our hearts with the Son, and the Father, just as the Holy Spirit has taught us to do. 

Where are your roots getting their nourishment right now?  Make sure that you are planted in Christ, first and foremost.  What was that message you first heard?  Do you need to go back to the B.I.B.L.E?  Do you need to remind yourself that, “Jesus Loves Me, this I know?” 

Let me affirm you right now, and remind you that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.  You have also been blessed with the Holy Spirit…the same powerful Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.  You belong to Christ, who is over every power & authority, and in His name, you are more than a conqueror! 

Brothers & sisters, I encourage you, with the words of Paul, “But you must stay deeply rooted & firm in your faith.  You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news.”  Col. 1:23

No matter what is going on around you, and what choices others are making, know that you are loved, you have power, and you can keep your balance as you stay on the path with the Lord.  Take time to nourish yourself.  It matters.  

Dig those roots in,

jamie

Don’t quit now

Farkle.  Have you ever played?  It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.  My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.  He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”  I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.  You lose your points.”  Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”  Nope!  That was also not an option.  We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.  Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,  He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.  Just let me die.”  And then he fell asleep.  If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  We don’t run without a goal.  He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”  Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!  There is no 2nd place with God.  There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.  We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Can I have some breakfast?

My daughter walks into the kitchen almost every morning and asks, “Can I have some breakfast?”  This is her home.  It’s breakfast time.  She is old enough and capable enough to fix food on her own.  There is even food in the kitchen.  And yet, she asks this question almost daily.

After she asked it this morning, I thought about the words Jesus told us to pray to our Father in heaven, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Jesus told us to look to the Father as our faithful Provider.  He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  (Per Phil. 4:19)

We don’t have to worry or fret about our physical needs.  In fact, Jesus specifically told us not to.  We are God’s image-bearers.  He will care for our physical needs so that we can pursue needs higher than those.

We just have to ask Him to provide for those physical needs, be grateful for and content with what He gives us, and be willing to move on and pursue the higher calling ahead of us.  Our lives are about more than food and clothing.  There is a much higher calling placed upon each of us.

After breakfast, it’s time to get to work.

Eat up!

jamie

Good news!

Reading the book of Acts the last few days, I am reminded, once again, of the task at hand.  As Christians, our job is to share the good news about Christ.  If you’ve been looking for some good news to share, here it is:  Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, prophesied by David, Isaiah, Micah, and others.

He lived on earth, performing miracles and understanding all of our human trials and temptations.  He was crucified for our sins; and after 3 days, God raised Him to life!  He was then seen by more than 500 people before He was taken back up into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God.

When He ascended to heaven, we weren’t left powerless, but more power then came as the Holy Spirit was promised.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit would come upon His people and give them power, and then we would be able to tell everyone the good news.  Jesus said that His followers would be able to do even greater things than He did because He was going to His Father, God, and the Holy Spirit would then come.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn its people.  He sent Him to save them!  God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die.

Not only that, but Jesus understands our weaknesses, having been tempted in every way that we are, and He intercedes for us.  So when we are in need, we can go straight to God’s throne, in prayer, and receive the kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and grace that we need.  Jesus is there beside Him, acting as high priest, and speaking on our behalf.

So, if you needed some good news, I hope this helps!  If you know someone else who is looking for some good news, please share it with them.  This is the best news of all!  Jesus Christ died for all.  His death brought forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe.  And His Holy Spirit gives power and wisdom day after day to walk in the way that God would have us to go.  All we have to do is accept! 

enjoy!

jamie


An unseen enemy

I joined my son in tubing down the Greenbrier a few weeks ago.  Walk up, ride down, and repeat.  As we walked up once, I saw a water snake hiding in the grass.  It headed upstream as we got closer.

My son weren’t fighting the current that day, or the rocks just under the tubes…that wasn’t what we really needed to worry about…and that wasn’t I was watching out for.  I was looking out of the corner of my eye for what I knew was unseen.

Eph. 6:12 says that we are fighting evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but things we can’t see.

Therefore, we need to put on our armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle we will still be standing firm.  (The armor is described in Eph. 6:14-17)  And we are to PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion and stay alert!

My son didn’t even realize that I had been keeping an eye out the entire time.  Having grown up in the waters of WV, I knew that a snake was most definitely lurking in there somewhere.  They blend in so well, you can’t see them until you’re right up on them or they move.

I stopped my son, and we let it get well ahead of us before we continued.  The truth is that the snake had been there all along, hiding in the shallows, and we had gone by it at least 12 times.

I was definitely staying alert on that river.  I knew there was enemy somewhere.  So, when I saw it, I was able to protect us.

We also have an unseen enemy, who is skilled at keeping us worrying about all the wrong things, and we need to stay alert and keep praying, so God can give us that same pause and wisdom I had when I saw my enemy.  He can, and He will.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This song came on during my worship time this morning, and fits perfectly to this thought.  The waves and wind still know His name…He is still in control…and is still greater than he that is in this world.  If we keep our eyes on Him, it will be well with our souls.

I hope you can take a few moments sometime to today and worship the One who is still in control of all things, and gives you the shield of faith to stop all the fiery arrows of the devil!  Our enemy will never be stronger than our Lord.

Pray and stand firm,

jamie

He was there all the time

Ja. 1:17:  “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens.  He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.”

When I came in the living room to read my Bible, I immediately noticed a tree outside the window, blowing in the wind.  It made me think about God.  God is there.  He is the One who has brought that wind.  He even created that tree and the color of those beautiful leaves.  He sustains the life it has with dew, with rain, and with nutrients from the earth.

We might ask, “Where is God?” or we wait for the big miracles to come.  The big moments are the ones we mark in our lives.  But the fact is, He is ever faithful, steadfast, and true.  He has never left.  Even in the small moments, He’s been here all the time.

He was there on days when your car started and you pulled away and got to work on time, like a breeze.  When routine bloodwork comes back positive time and time again, He’s been there.  He was there when you and your spouse had a nice laugh instead of a cold shoulder.

He was there when you didn’t have to wait in line to get what you needed when your family was waiting for you at home.  And when your friend acted more friendly, He was there.  He’s also there when your kids are happy and obedient, and not mad at you; and even when they are mad.  ha!

He is there right now, in the smiles, in the laughs, in the tears.  He doesn’t leave.  He doesn’t change His mind.  He is still sustaining us.  We just have to look around and take notice.  I saw those leaves rustling and took notice.  I see my husband’s loving eyes, and I take notice.  I see and appreciate my healthy body, and I take notice.  He is here.

What do you see?

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Jn. 21:7:  “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.”

When it came to Jesus, Peter was not afraid to jump!

Only once in the Scriptures do we find Simon afraid and turning his back on Jesus.  All other times, he went for it!

In Luke 5, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and was teaching the people on the shore.  After He taught, Jesus told Peter to let down his net, and it came up so full of fish that it began to rip.  Another boat came to help and the 2 boats were so full that they began to sink…it was madness.

Jesus then asked Peter to come with him to be a “fisher of men.”  Peter left everything to follow Jesus.

Another time, the disciples were alone on their boat.  There was a bit of rough wind on the sea, and Jesus comes walking by on the water.  Peter gets out of the boat, at the Lord’s command, and walks toward Him.

On the morning when Mary Magdalene came to Peter and the other disciple to tell them that the stone had been rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, he and Peter both ran to the tomb.  Peter may have been outrun, but the other disciple didn’t go in.  He just stood outside of the tomb and looked in.  But not Peter.  Peter went all the way inside.

And then later, before the scene I described in my last blog.  Peter had decided to go fishing.  He was on the boat and someone asked from the shore, “Friends, have you caught anything?”  When they said no, the man on the shore told them to let down their nets on the right side of the boat.  Well, wouldn’t you know it…  the net was so full they couldn’t even drag it in.

Jesus’ favorite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!”  And out jumped Peter!

Why wait for the boat?

Today’s lesson from Peter:  When it comes to God, don’t hesitate…Jump…Leap…Run…Go for it!

Final lesson here,

jamie

Who am I?

Yesterday I turned down a job opportunity.  To be exact, my husband and I turned down the opportunity to minister in a new state, hundreds of miles away from where we are living now.  It’s something we have been praying about since February, and yesterday we officially said no.  I knew it was the right decision.  He knew it was the right decision.  And although I suppose I should have expected it, I wasn’t prepared for the attack that came at me after the phone call ended.

Backstory time…

As 2019 rolled around, my husband and I knew that God was preparing us for something new.  We knew that He was preparing us for the next thing.  When we got the invitation for this ministry opportunity, we couldn’t help but wonder if this was the new thing.  There was a nagging feeling; however, that it was not.  If it wasn’t, though, what was?  So, we kept hanging on, undecided.

Meanwhile, I was sick, sick, and sicker.  Currently, I am bed-ridden…well, couch-bound, I’d say, since I am spending my days on the couch instead of the bed.  haha.  I will be having surgery in 7 days (yes, I’m counting down), but until then, I am trapped, unproductive, not participating in life the way I would like, and in pain.

So, here I am, not attending church, not being “productive”, and not contributing to the world in the ways I would like to, and now I’m turning down an amazing opportunity in ministry.  I live to minister.  I love to minister.  I desire to minister.  And now I’m trapped on a couch and saying, “No, thank you,” to this opportunity before me.  What is happening?  Who am I?

Who am I?  That’s the exact question the enemy wanted to attack me with when the phone call ended.  If you aren’t going to go minister to these people; if you aren’t going to take this chance, then who are you?  If you are just going to be lying around on the couch doing nothing, then how can God even use you?  What difference can you even make?

This, my dear friends, is why we need to know what God has said about us.  10 days ago, I got a confirmation that the Lord was calling me to a higher level.  Just because I’ve said no to that specific chance does not mean it’s the end of my story.  It means God has a different plan for me.  There is a different assignment under my name and once I am healed and my training is complete, He will make sure that I am placed there.

I cannot allow the enemy to take captive my thoughts and pull me down now…not after all this time.  The Word tells me that I am to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ, and to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  It’s up to me to take captive my own thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.  Anything that tries to set itself against my knowledge of Christ has got to go!

So, today, if you feel yourself having any thoughts like me:  Who am I?  What difference can I make anyway?  How can God even use me?  Then I hope you will demolish those arguments, as well, and take captive your thoughts, too!  Satan wants to steal our hopes, destroy our ministries, and kill the people we love by having us neglect to do the ministry we were meant to do because we feel too crippled to do it.

Even from this couch, I can minister.  Even from where you are, so can you.  Take those thoughts captive and let’s get busy!  There are too many souls at stake and there are assignments out there with OUR names on them!

Called,

jamie

On their behalf

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about how we should show love to those in pain and trials and not offer judgment and accusations, in the way that Job’s friends did.  I also mentioned how we can pray for those we know who are in pain.  I wanted to talk more on that today, because that is probably the one of the most important things we can do, and yet sometimes we neglect it.

In Matthew 8:5-13, we find the record of Jesus and a centurion.  The centurion’s servant was lying at home paralyzed, and in terribly agony and pain.  (Some versions of the Bible say he was dreadfully tormented.  yikes!)

The centurion came to Jesus, asking Him to heal his servant.  This story is powerful in so many ways.  If you haven’t read it in a while, or ever, I encourage you to read it.

The centurion knew, and acknowledged that Jesus was powerful enough that He need only speak the word and His servant could be healed.  He didn’t even require that Jesus come to his home to do it.  He knew Jesus could do it from right where He stood.

And this is the part I want to stress:  The centurion’s faith alone was great enough that Jesus marveled at it.  (vs. 10)  The servant’s faith was never called into question.  Perhaps his was just as great.  Maybe it wasn’t.  All we know is that the centurion interceded on the servant’s behalf, and that the servant was healed that same hour.

We are called not only to love our neighbors as ourselves, but also to pray for one another that we may be healed. (Ja. 5:16)

Unless they’ve told us it’s the case, we never need to tell someone that they aren’t being healed or delivered from their trial because their faith isn’t strong enough.  We need to intercede on their behalf.  We never need to accuse someone of being sick or in trials due to sin, but we need to pray for them.

What the centurion did on his servant’s behalf is an excellent example of how we should live.  Job, as well, before his children died, offered up offerings to the Lord just in case his children had sinned.  These are excellent examples of people who are going to the Lord on behalf of others.

Not everyone will be healed.  Is that hard to hear?  God has plans for people that sometimes do not include healing, because He uses people in so many different ways.  But that should never stop us from asking.  We do not know His plans.  We need to ask.  We need to seek.

Above all, though, what we need to seek, for ourselves and for each other, is a relationship with Him, which will keep us calm in every storm, every trial, and every sickness.

Let’s be interceders and never accusers,

jamie