Not to fear

But now, this is what the Lord says–He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel:  ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west…’. Is. 43:1-3, 5

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Is. 43:18-19

Go forth, with Him!

jamie

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Choose not to be the kindling

Pr. 26:21:  “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

My husband has been working on mastering the art of fire making.  He now only technically needs 1 stick to start a fire.  From there we only have to add more wood to turn it into an entire campfire.  If we didn’t douse the fire with water afterwards, it could spread and grow even larger.

Words can be the same.  Sometimes it only takes 1 or 2 words to kindle strife.  That strife then has the potential to grow larger and larger.

As the wood that ignites the fire, we can be contentious, provoking others by arousing and igniting anger and conflict.  Conversely, we can take preventative measures when speaking, possibly even quenching the fires already beginning to catch their lives ablaze, by allowing rivers of living water to flow out of our hearts.

When we believe in Jesus, He fills us with Living Water, and He said those waters will flow from our hearts.  (Luke 7:38)

We certainly have the option of holding that back from others, kindling strife through harshness, unforgiveness, meanness, disdain, indifference, apathy, impatience, intolerance, and blame.            (Sorry, I was on a roll)

Or we could, instead, recognize the thirst in others around us, and choose to pour forth the living water through forgiveness, compassion, empathy, grace, mercy, and understanding.

Remembering that first and foremost, God is love, we can realize that we are all broken and imperfect, and offer His love to those around us.  Those words we speak are either kindling a fire of conflict and strife, or refreshing and encouraging a thirsty soul.

Before speaking, we need to think ahead, and do our part to prevent strife.  Everyone could use a refreshing douse of living water to extinguish the fires and quench their thirsty soul.

Pretty thirsty myself,

jamie

Campfires and salvation

A couple of years ago we invested in our family time commitment by buying some really good camping gear.  It’s a great time that we cherish, where there are no screens in our faces, no distractions from one another…just us, together, on an adventure.  We hope this investment, throughout our kid’s lives, will pay off in great dividends.  🙂  On our first camping trip this year I had the following thoughts and today seems like the day to share them:

When we woke up this morning Donnie made us a fire.  I was enjoying just sitting by the fire, but there wasn’t much wood left for us.  The fire was slowly going out, but I didn’t want that relaxing time to end.  I wouldn’t have it!  Determined, I got up and was scrounging around for any sticks I could find.  I was gathering up even the tiniest little sticks, twigs…anything that would burn.  I was willing to gather up anything just to keep the fire going for as long as I possibly could.  When Donnie laughed and asked why I was doing that I said, “I’ll get whatever I can to keep that fire going.”  The thought that went through my mind was, “I don’t wish that it should perish.”

Well, where did that thought take me?  2 Peter 3:9:  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  As I scrounged around looking for anything, just anything, to keep my fire from dying, from losing that fire time, I thought about The Lord.

Sometimes its hard for us to truly grasp how much The Lord doesn’t want His children to perish.  Satan loves to tell us we’re worthless.  He’s lying.  Just as I desperately searched for anything…anything to help keep my fire alive, The Lord has gathered up and given out everything He could to keep us alive.  Time after time He has given His children provision and opportunity for repentance.  He has been longsuffering from the beginning of creation.  He doesn’t want to lose a single one of us.  Think about my devotion to that one little campfire.  That was Nothing compared to the devotion one has for a child.  God was so determined not to lose us that, after offering every provision He could to try to keep us alive, He even sent His very own Son to die for us.

I will never be able to think on this verse in the same way.  Knowing the effort I put forth for a fire I knew I would eventually abandon, the magnitude of God’s effort for us is simply unfathomable!  How amazing His love for us truly is!  He searches for those who will allow Him to use them to reach all this lost children and bring them to knowledge of salvation and eternal life.  He is not willing that any should perish!  If I can be even a twig for Him to use to keep the fire of eternal life going for all His children, I am willing.

I hope I shared my thoughts clearly enough to make clear the point He revealed to me that morning.  Rewarding camping trip indeed.  🙂

He loves you,

jamie

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Pr. 17:3:  “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.”

In order to bring forth the precious metal to be brought forth, refiners of silver must separate silver from the dross.  It is a purification process that is necessary in order to melt away the impurities.  Likewise, goldsmiths must melt away the impurities to bring forth the beautiful and valuable gold.  Unpleasant as it is, these refining processes require fire to bring forth what is excellent.

There are times when we go through fire.  We are charred, scorched, and seared by trials in our lives.  When we go through these times when we are surrounded by flames, earthly dross is being separated from our own lives.  These are defining moments when impurities and sin melt away and what is left is a pure and precious soul that is useful for God.

 

1 Cor. 6:9-11a says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.”

The wonderful news:  “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Malachi reminds us that the Lord is like a refiner that will refine us that we may offer to Him an offering in righteousness.  If we allow God to test our hearts now, He can refine us and bring forth the valuable purity that is within us.  If we will truly surrender to His hand, He can devour the sin in our lives and use us for His good works.

The next time you’re in the hot spot and flames are all around, know that God can use that to bring forth the beauty within you and melt away all your impurities.  Also worth noting….if we go successfully make it through the fires on earth, not turning against God, we will be lifted up at judgment and will not have to suffer the 2nd death, which is an eternal fire.  Don’t try to cool off just yet.

A little singed,

jamie

 

Let the fire go out

Pr.  26:20:  “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer,  strife ceases.” 

I just threw my brother-in-law under the bus.  I randomly told on him and caused strife within the room.   I felt bad immediately, apologized,  and then read this verse.   Boy, what a lesson.

Outside we have a campfire the is smoldering  from our fire last night.   We had a huge fire due to the large amount of wood Donnie’s brother and dad picked up yesterday, so even though we abandoned he fire last night,  there is still heat inside the core.  We would only have to add some wood to that fire and we could get it roaring again.

I apologized to my brother-in-law, but the subject matter was something that is already sensitive within our family.  The words I cannot take back simply added heat to the fire already smoldering.

I typed before about James 3:6 where it says, “The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”

My comment wasn’t mean-spirited, but it certainly wasn’t helpful, and if only under the surface,  it added wood to a smoldering fire.  We have to speak slower and make sure we’re not adding wood.   People are counting on us.

Biting my tongue,

jamie