Sowing harmony

Twice in Proverbs 6 there is mention of sowing discord.  How can we avoid sowing discord?

Becoming humble, understanding that we are imperfect ourselves, helps us not to sow discord.

Walking in the Spirit fills us with the fruit of the Spirit, which promote harmony:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves brings harmony.  If we truly love someone as ourselves, we will want things to be harmonious and not full of discord.

Serving others helps us to love them and to desire harmony with them and others.

Praying for those with whom discord seems to be inevitable.  When you are praying for someone…sincerely praying…it becomes very difficult to talk badly about them or to them.  Sincerely praying for another helps us to love them with the love of Christ.

Imitating Christ is another way to sow harmony instead of discord.  What better example than the One who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the world.

Forgiving helps us to sow harmony, as well.  We are asked to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave us.

It is God’s will that we not sow discord.  Just check Proverbs 6, if you need confirmation.  I pray today that we will not allow discord to be what we sow, but that we will intentionally seek to sow harmony.  If we notice the seeds of discord in our seeder, we can ask God to help us replace them with those of harmony and love.  He will faithfully offer His aid.

Loving you,

jamie

Proving we are faithful stewards

Pr. 3:9:  “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase”

This morning I was also reading Luke 16, about the unjust steward.  A steward is a person in charge of the property of affairs of another.  I believe the Lord has placed us all in charge of His estate here on earth, as we are His hands and feet.  That is why this proverb is so important.

When we honor the Lord with our possessions, with our firstfruits (our tithes) we are honoring and giving back to Him what is really His.  The parable of the unjust steward talks about a steward accused of wasting his master’s goods.  Verses 11 and 12 teach us, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

Instead of wasting the money He entrusts to us, we give back a portion to Him in a demonstration of our understanding that He is the One who provides for all of our needs.  We give evidence that our trust is not in money, but in the One who holds the world in His hands.

We are told that if we are not faithful with money, we will not be trusted with true riches.  I am now reminded of Mt. 6:19-21.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If our heart and our trust belong to the Lord, we understand that being faithful stewards of the things He has entrusted to us on this earth will store up for us treasures for eternity.

God will provide for our needs here on earth, if we are faithful with what He gives us.  If we show honor to Him by demonstrating our trust in Him through tithing, then we are demonstrating that we can be trusted with true riches.  What is more complimentary than that?

Let’s be faithful stewards, doing God’s work with the provisions He gives to us.  He will bless and care for us here, and reward us further in heaven.

Thanks, God!

jamie

Where honor is due

Pr. 30:11:  “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.”

This reminds me of the world in which we currently live, although, I know that disrespect goes back to the beginning of time.  I remember the story of Noah and his sons.  Noah became uncovered in his tent and when his son, Ham, saw his father’s nakedness, he went out and told his brothers all about it.  His brothers, on the other hand, went in and covered their father, keeping their faces turned.  They showed their father the respect he deserved because he was their father.  Ham was cursed and his brothers were blessed.

Disrespect seems to be more rampant in our society these days.  All you really have to do is visit a play ground or the mall and listen to the way that children speak to their parents to find out the truth.  More and more we are modeling the behavior of Ham.  Sadly we even hear of worse, as I just heard a story about a man who stabbed his mother to death.  How far we’ve strayed.

I won’t get in to all the discipline issues, but speak to God’s instructions about our parents.  As far back as the Exodus of the Israelites, the Lord gave the command:  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”  This was the first commandment with a promise.  Not only will our parents be honored and respected, but we live long on the earth and things will be well with us.

Some parents teach false or wicked things to their children.  What then?  We are not responsible for the actions of others, but for our own.  We aren’t to give respect only to those who have earned it, but to those who are in a position of authority over us because the Lord has appointed them.  We honor their position, not their worthiness.  We give honor and respect because we were commanded to do so, and because we see what Jesus has done for us when we have not earned it.  We honor and show respect as unto Christ.

Pr. 11:29 says, “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.”  Surely, not giving honor to our parents causes trouble; and instead of gaining a promise, we will get nothing.  Trusting in God as our heavenly Father allows us to follow His commands without fear.  Surely He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He shows Himself strong to those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  Trust Him enough to keep His commands.  You will receive help and a promise to boot!

Respectfully,

jamie

 

 

Are you groaning?

Pr. 29:2:  “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

This verse reminds me of work.  Have you ever worked for a boss who just seemed unbearable?  Sadly, in our sin-fallen world, not everyone is perfect.  Occasionally, there are people who rule over us in a very unpleasant way.  This can be true for work, for government, just about anything.  Truly we groan within ourselves when this is the case.

On the other hand, when we are ‘ruled’ by someone who is righteous, our lives are made much easier, and seem much more pleasant.

This reminds me of Col. 3:23-24, which says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

It is the Lord we are serving, not men.  No matter how many raises, bonuses, incentives, or even punishments are given to us by men, our ultimate reward comes from the Lord.

I’m reminded, as well, of Eph. 6:5-8:  “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”

We are actually ruled by One who is righteous.  Our reward comes from Him, not from man.  We are instructed to serve our ‘masters’ in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.  Serving Christ, the One who laid down His very life for us, is a privilege and an honor.  If we can remind ourselves that it is He that we are serving, truly we can willingly lay down our pride and our lives to do His will in all we do.  We can also be assured that the good we do will be done unto us by the Lord.

Also, this morning I read Ps. 43, in which the writer is asking for God to deliver him from the deceitful and unjust man.  At the end of the Psalm, the writer reminds himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

Then there is Pr. 29:25 which points out that the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  We can trust in God because He is faithful.  Our hope lies in Him, the One who is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Do not grow weary.  Work as to the Lord today.  You are safe in His hands, and your reward is forthcoming.

Rejoicing,

jamie

Sowing while we wait

Ps. 126:5-6:  “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him.”

While we are waiting for Christ’s return, we are living in a fallen, sin-cursed world where there is indeed pain and suffering.  Here we still experience sorrow, death, and tears.  So, in the midst of our trials, how does our trust in God come forth?

We know God’s universal law of reaping and sowing:  whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  Gal. 6:7.  This Psalm tells us something even more.  When we sow in tears we will reap in joy.

If, in the midst of our sorrow and weeping, we continue to sow the seeds of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of joy.  Gal. 6:9 promises that, “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Trials are common to us all.  Suffering is a sad result of sin that affects each of us.  Christians, in particular, suffer further persecution at times that can cause even more heart-ache.  The promise we have; however, is that even in the midst of the trials, the tears, and the weeping, our faithful sowing will reap joy and we will have a harvest to show for it.

In faith, we can continue to sow seeds around us, even through our tears.  Actually, doesn’t it seem sometimes that the best seeds are planted when tears are present?  Our experiences give our testimony of faith more weight.

Our trials and painful experiences are like fertilizer that gives the seed the extra nutrients it needs to grow strong.  If we can still plant seed and walk in faith even during trials, it gives others the proof they need that God is faithful and mighty; and this can help them to grow strong in the Lord and in their own faith.

I encourage you today, while you are waiting, to continue trusting in God’s faithfulness and to continue sowing seeds.  Water the seeds with your tears, if need be, but continue to sow.  You will reap joy and come back rejoicing, harvest in hand!

Keep trusting.  He is coming again!

jamie

 

 

Better than treasure

Pr. 16:9:  “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

In Hebrews, the faith of Moses is mentioned.  It says how rather than enjoying the privileged life that comes with being the son of Pharaoh, he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God.  “Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”  Heb. 11:26

God heard the cries of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  He sought Moses to lead His children out of their slavery in Egypt.  Moses was certain God was making a mistake in choosing him; however, God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  The Lord assured Moses that He would certainly be with him.  And so He was.

Moses chose to be obedient to the God of his fathers.  He spent the last 40 years of his life in the wilderness leading the people of God who were being punished for their disobedience.  At any point, he could have chosen a different life; however, he had seen the faithfulness of I AM.  In the song he sang before he died, he was still declaring the glory of God:

“For I proclaim the name of the Lord:  Ascribe greatness to our God.  He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

His last words to the children of Israel were spoken to encourage them to continue to trust in God.  He blessed the tribes of Israel and reminded them of His excellence.  This encouragement was coming from a man who had so humbled himself before the Lord, that the Lord counted him worthy to see His glory.  His face shone as a result.  He saw miracle after miracle, provision after provision, and the unending faithfulness of God.

Moses’s life is a true testimony to this proverb.  Truly his life proves how much better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Lord, help us surrender our pride, and our lives to You.  Help us to take you at Your word, humbling ourselves before a faithful and mighty God.

Learning from Moses,

jamie

Food for the heavy heart

Pr. 9:5:  “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed,”  says wisdom.

I am tired this morning.  There has been a sad disconnect in one part of my extended family for the last 3 or 4 years, and the last few nights I have had wonderful dreams where that no longer existed.  In the mornings; however, I awake to the weight of reality upon realizing that things are not actually so wonderful.

Over the years, this issue is one that I have allowed to cause me to cry, agonize, and even have panic attacks.  I have been able to grow in the understanding that the only thing that can truly help is prayer.  I have known that I had to turn my family over to God and ask that He be the One to comfort and protect them, and if possible, change their minds.  I have also had to turn my own emotions over to Him and learn to truly draw my strength from Him.

Decisions that are out of our control can sometimes be overwhelming and we can feel a range of emotions, from disappointment to anger to devastation.  The beauty of having the Lord in our lives; however, is that we have the understanding that the Lord is the One who truly supplies our joy, peace, and strength.  After awaking this morning, I was so thankful that God’s Word was waiting for me, to give me what I needed in my moment of heaviness.  I am so thankful that I am able to come eat and drink of the goodness of God, His precepts, His love, His guidance, and His wisdom.

What would I do if I didn’t have a Savior upon which I can call?  How would I get through this without a High Priest who understands all that I am going through, and is willing and able to give aid when I call upon Him?  This situation is beyond me, and without a loving Comforter to come along and walk with me, I would not have any hope of peace within myself, or reconciliation with those that I love so much.

Eating of God’s Word fuels me with the reminder that with God all things are possible.  Drinking in His hope, I am refreshed in the fact that He does not lie.  I am devouring the promise that the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.  The fact that The Lord is my sun and shield satisfies me like nothing else ever will.

I am thankful for a forgiving God, who made me fearfully and wonderfully.  In Him alone am I complete.  My Creator made me exactly the way He need me to be and He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die in my place.  What an amazing gift!  What an awesome God we serve!  His faithfulness proves that He will not leave me nor forsake me.  In that, I can rest and find true peace.

Feeling much more awake,

jamie