Do others find favor from you?

Pr. 21:10:  “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.”

Several years ago our house was robbed.  If you’ve ever experienced that, you know how violating it is.  Our daughter was still young enough to be in a crib and my husband worked 2nd shift.  The first night after it happened, I was so afraid to leave my daughter alone in her room that I fell asleep on the floor in front of her crib until my husband came home from work.  I knew it wasn’t entirely rational, but it made me feel better at the moment.

The fingerprints and an eyewitness linked the robbery to one of our neighbors.  Our very own neighbor broke into our house and robbed us.  We were never very comfortable in that house again.  In fact, it wasn’t long before we sold it and moved.

There are times that the desire of sin and evil becomes so strong that no relationship is exempt.  Perhaps you’ve experienced a different scenario where a neighbor, friend, or even a family member desired evil so strongly that they wouldn’t even spare you.  Perhaps you’re the one who hurt those close to you.

Why does this happen?  Sin.  It causes our focus to become so narrow that we see only what we want and blinds us to others around us.  We go so strongly after our sinful desire that anyone in our path is at risk of being hurt.

We can’t control others, but we can make wise decisions about our own actions.  We can become so focused on God and His desires that sinful desires become less and less desirable.  We can become so focused on the work to which He has called us that we see others and their needs with very clear eyes.

God’s plans for us and for those around us are for good.  If we’re focused on Him and His ways, we won’t want to hurt others anymore.  Of course, we will still have temptations, battles, and trials, but He is willing and able to aid us through.

When we desire God, others will find favor in our eyes, and perhaps that will be all the encouragement they need follow suit.

His,

jamie

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Worrying about those riches

Pr. 23:5:  “Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”

Solomon was telling his son not to overwork to become rich.  With our citizenship being in heaven, and the fact that riches will fade away, there is a time to cease.  There are many types of “riches” on which we can set our minds.

Until 4:00 a.m., I was lying in bed for an hour or so trying to “be anxious for nothing.”  I had recited Ph. 4:6-7 several times, offering thanksgiving to God and praying, in order that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, would guard my heart and mind.  Sometimes I guess I expect that the peace will fall heavily upon me and I will no longer think about my anxieties, but it didn’t necessarily do that this time.  I do believe; however, that it is guarding my heart and mind, and the moment a forceful attack comes, the protection will already be in place.

I am anxious because at 8:45 this morning I will be having the x-ray that will let me know how the fracture in my shin has healed.  This could go 1 of 3 ways, and after 7 weeks of putting no weight on my leg, I feel ready to get back to “normal life.”

Will I set my eyes on that which is not?  That’s what anxiety is.  In Ph. 4:11, Paul writes, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  Anxiety is me not being content in my current state.  Anxiety is me worrying about the future, when I’m still in the present.

Now, I recall Jesus in the garden the night before His betrayal.  He said that His soul was deeply sorrowful, even to death.  It does give me peace in knowing that even Jesus became sorrowful and asked that the cup be passed from Him.  Understanding what He faced, I am not comparing my level of sorrow to His.  I do, however, take comfort in the fact that He truly does understand what it means to want an impending event not to take place.

I do not want to hear the doctor say that I am not healed.  Even before I go; however, I must decide, if I will set my eyes on those uncertain things?  If I am not healed, will God still supply my needs?  Of course.  The “riches” I desire do not ensure a perfect life.  Jesus gave Himself to God’s will in order to glorify His Father.  That’s the point of our lives, and if I cannot glorify my Father with on crutches, then perhaps I never can.

I am a child of God, and no matter what state I am in, He will still provide.  Setting my eyes now on things above, reminds me that peace comes from knowing and trusting in God.  With Him, I am complete, and can now cease over-worrying about my riches.  It’s God’s riches I’m counting on!  🙂

Resting in Him,

jamie

Don’t let the commercials distract you

Pr. 28:6:  “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Not having cable, I rarely see commercials.  Yesterday I watched, in amazement, a commercial about fingernail polish.  It started with flirting and ended with 2 people in bed together.  For some fingernail polish.  Really!?

I am not trying to write a bitter diatribe about our society, but it saddens me when I see things like this.  Sin has a mighty grip on our world.  Sin would have us believe that life is all about ourselves, popularity, status, fame, success, sex, and sexiness.

Millions of dollars are spent daily on indulgences, advertisements, and commercials telling us how our lives should be.  Meanwhile, there are people dying every second from hunger.  Christians are dying and being persecuted for the Word of God.  Young girls are enslaved in human trafficking.  Babies are being killed.  People are dying from the lack of the simplest of the medical care.  There are still some who do not know the Lord as their Savior.

There is a work for us to do here on this earth, and I can assure you that it has nothing to do with wearing the sexiest fingernail polish or clothes, having the sexiest body, having the most impressive position at a company, having the most partners or experiences in bed, or having the most socially acceptable friends.

Integrity, a servant’s heart, modesty, humility, contentedness, purity, generosity, and honesty are still better.  God created us for a purpose.  I don’t care what this sin-cursed, sexy-fingernail-polish-wearing world says, God’s will and plans are still what are most important.

We still have work to do.  We don’t have time to allow the commercials and distractions of sin, temptation, or possessions to keep us from that work.  We must choose God, choose integrity, and choose to stay focused on the work for which we were created.  We may not be able to save the entire world in 1 day, but we can start with 1 person in 1 moment, and change a life.

We have to regain our focus on what is truly important.  That starving child does NOT care what kind of lipstick, suit, or shoes we are wearing.  The young girl enslaved in sexual trafficking is not worried about your fingernail polish.  The lady dying from a curable parasite is not interested in which Christmas dishes or tablet you’re picking out.  Those things are distractions and they do not matter.

There are people trapped in sin and others who have never even heard of the Lord.  We must reach out and show the love of Jesus and share about His sacrifice and forgiveness now.  It doesn’t matter what our position or status in society, God can use us to save people’s souls.

We must come to our senses.  We have a job to do, and people are counting on us!

Thank you for indulging me,

jamie

 

Consider who is instructing you

Pr. 22:19:  “So that your trust your trust may be in the Lord, I have instructed you today, even you.”

Years ago I was hooked on a show about clothes and makeovers.  It was pretty inspiring, and funny, to boot.  I eventually noticed that I was overly worried about the clothes, or lack of clothes, in my closet and I quit watching the show.  I am now content again with the blessings God has given me.

Any subject in which you invest your time instructs you, and draws your focus.  When I watch cooking shows a lot, I think about food and cooking a lot of the time.  When I research health and wellness, my thoughts tend to revolve around those things.  When I listen to music, my thoughts begin to be influenced by the words and ideas that I hear.  I must be careful what I allow to instruct me.

Have you considered the purpose of those things you are allowing to instruct you?  Whatever I immerse myself in becomes something on which I focus and I notice my thoughts returning to them over and over.  I find the same to be true of the Word.  When I immerse myself in the Word of God, my thoughts remain focused on the Lord, on His promises, on His commands, on His wisdom, and on His faithfulness.  The Word runs through my mind throughout the day and I see applications of the Word in my daily life.

In whom or in what do you want to place your trust?  This verse tells us that the instructions are given so that our trust may be in the Lord.  If you want your trust to be fully in the Lord, then you must continually be instructed by Him.

When I was watching the show about clothes so often, I began to lose confidence.  Why is that?  I dare say I was being instructed to trust in clothing, money, and outward appearances.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing nicely or buying nice things, but I noticed within myself the feelings of discontent that indicated to me that I was beginning to trust in something that can just be thrown away.

God’s faithfulness endures forever.  He is the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  If we are going to receive instruction, I think it wise that it be the instruction of the pure, proven, and living Word of God.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with learning new things, but when our lives become about things other than God, we are trusting in dust and ash.  God’s faithfulness proves that trusting in Him is not only beneficial, it is eternal.

If you truly want your trust to be in the Lord, the God Most High, the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, then you must be instructed by Him.  He is wisdom.  He is peace.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Lord of all.  Open up your heart and mind to His instruction, and reject any instruction that causes you to trust in lesser things.

Taking notes,

jamie

Are you a sharp friend?

Pr. 27:17:  “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

As friends, we are able to sharpen our friends in order to strengthen them, build them up, and guide them to keep them focused.  They are able to do the same for us.  Friends are able to speak into each other’s lives in ways that others cannot.

I was reading 2 Timothy chapter 2 this morning, which relates well to this scripture about friends.  We are told in vs. 24 that, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

While this verse is speaking about correcting those who are distorting the truth of the gospel message, it is also applies to those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior, but are living a life opposed to their beliefs.  As friends, we have a more intimate knowledge of one another’s lives and true thoughts.  We are able to see discrepancies in each others lives and know if repentance is needed.

Paul tells us not to quarrel, but be able to gently, patiently, and humbly teach each other, in order to let the truth be known and repentance be granted.  The truth is in this verse.  If your friend is not walking in their faith, they have lost their senses and have been taken captive and ensnared by the devil, to do the devil’s will.  As friends, we have the unique opportunity and duty to gently guide our friends to the Lord, so that He can bring repentance and sensibility to them.

We will need to know the Word in order to guide them.  We need to be able to tell them that they must be diligent to present themselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.  (vs. 15)  We need to able to encourage them to flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (vs. 22)  We need to be able to remind them that if they cleanse themselves, they will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  (vs. 21)

Likewise, if you have a friend rubbing you with the truth of the Word, examine your heart to make sure you haven’t lost your own senses.  Perhaps your friend is trying to faithfully sharpen you.  Be grateful for a true friend that doesn’t desire that you remain a captive of the devil, to do his will, but instead desires repentance and eternal life for you.  Now that’s a friend!  🙂

Gently,

jamie