Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

jamie

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Under whose authority?

“Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray away from the words of knowledge.”  Pr. 19:27

In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him.  He also called to James and John, sons of Zebedee, who left their father and went after Jesus.  How convincing must Jesus have sounded to these men?  Seriously.  They were at work, doing their jobs, making money, and this stranger speaks to them and they just leave it all and follow him.  That’s out of the ordinary.

After they went into Capernaum, Jesus taught in the temple and spoke “as one having authority.”  A man with an unclean spirit then approached Him, and Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”  The spirit came out of the man.

They left the synagogue and went to Simon’s house.  His mother was sick, so Jesus took her by the hand, lifted her up and her fever immediately left her.  That night, the whole city was gathered together at the door of Simon’s house, where Jesus healed their diseases and cast out demons.  He wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.

A leper later came to Jesus to see if He was willing to heal him.  As soon as Jesus spoke the words, “I am willing; be cleansed,” the leprosy left the man.

Have you seen the same pattern I’m seeing?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable.  He spoke to strangers, and they gave up everything for Him.  He spoke to demons and they obeyed.  He spoke to sickness and it left.

What is He speaking to You right now?  Another pattern I’ve noticed is that we tend to try to resist the Lord’s instructions to us.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something we hesitate, we debate, we put it off.  We’re afraid to obey for various reasons.  Why?

Have we given something or someone else more authority in our lives?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable in Mark.  He still has the same authority today.  He does not change.  The only thing that changes is us.  We stray.

How sad that even the demons obeyed Jesus, and yet we try to ignore or debate with Him.

When the Lord speaks to You, listen.  He has the power to make things happen.  All He needs us to do is be willing to be part of His plan.  When we obey the Lord, the outcome is up to Him.  Don’t put Him off any longer.

In fact, may I be so bold to say, let’s be better than the demons, and ask Him in advance to speak to us.  And when He does, let’s simply obey.

Listening for instruction,

jamie

Who me, a sinner?

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

Let me give you the answer:  no one.

Last night I dreamed that I was preaching about God’s faithfulness.  I was on fire.  People were responding.  The Holy Spirit was moving.  Less than an hour later, I was at sneaking into the home of a missionary, stealing a very valuable tropical plant.

Isn’t that just like reality?

We are all sinners.  It’s not just me.  It’s not just you.

It’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that washes those sins away.  Once that happens, the Lord no longer chooses to remember them.

So, while we strive to live a holy life that glorifies and honors the Lord, we must remember that we will never be perfect.  We don’t need to allow satan to beat us down, constantly reminding us that we are sinners.  God made provision for that already!

There is a reason we need a Savior.  It is only through Him that we are saved.  If we keep our eyes on Him, we will follow Him into eternity.

Happy trails,

jamie

What are you preaching?

Pr. 21:29:  “A wicked man hardens his face, but as for the upright, he establishes his way.”

Yesterday we talked about our beautiful feet, and how our lives, that point to Jesus, preach.  (You have beautiful feet)  Notice the catch there?  When our lives point to Jesus, we preach His gospel.  When our lives do not, well…

Sometimes I preach fear.  Didn’t God say He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind?  Sometimes I’m so tired that it would almost seem like my strength doesn’t come from the Lord.  Sometimes I worry so much that I appear to have no Provider that faithfully supplies all my needs.

When we our willingly living in sin, we point others to satan.  When we allow bondage and temptation to drive our actions, we are preaching something other than the freedoms that come from Christ.  When we talk only about things gone wrong in our lives or our world, we preach that praise is not our weapon.  When we don’t open our Bibles to seek or our mouths to pray, we preach that we have no need of a Savior.

If our actions preach, then we need to be very aware of which actions we are choosing.  We must not harden our hearts or faces.  Ro. 12:1 begs that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; reminding us that this is our reasonable service.

When we establish our way, our actions will reflect that choice.  We must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove (preach) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

God will renew our minds daily when we spend time with Him.  His mercies are new each morning.  He is the portion we need every day, and when we have established our way in Him we can have the strong assurance in the hope we have in Him.  With that, our lives will preach the gospel of peace…the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Established,

jamie

Don’t stop witnessing!

Pr. 29:19:  “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; for though he understands, he will not respond.”

In Acts 17, we find Paul reasoning with the Jews for 3 Sabbaths, telling them that Jesus was the Christ.  And some of them were persuaded.

Vs. 5, however, introduces us to some Jews who were not persuaded.  They became envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathered a mob.  Wow!  Not only were they not persuaded, but they have actually formed a mob.

They set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, trying to find Paul and Silas.  The mob cried out to the rulers of the city, saying, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too.”

In those words we find the reasoning behind their actions.  Their world had been turned upside down by the teachings of Paul.  Everything they had believed was being shaken, and some of their friends and possibly family were now following another, believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

Not everyone who hears the message of Jesus believes or responds.  For others it takes time.  Some may even become upset, like these men, or even envious when their own loved one’s turn to Jesus.  That does not mean we should stop sharing the truth of the Scriptures.

A lack of response to our words does not always mean a lack of understanding.  This proverb reminds us that mere words are not always enough.  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  Once we plant the seeds of the Word, the Holy Spirit can help the seeds germinate and grow.

So share when you’re lead and remember that it’s not up to us to speak perfectly.  It’s not our words that bring response, it is the Lord.

Your fellow sharer,

jamie

The best report

Pr. 15:30:  “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.”

This verse makes me :).

I was reading Luke 24 this morning, when Jesus had risen and was walking on the road to Emmaus with 2 of His followers.  They didn’t realize it was Jesus, but later, acknowledging that they should have known, they said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us.”

They could feel in their hearts that there was something about this Man that was different.  Their hearts “burned” within them.

The Holy Spirit had not yet come, so I’m not sure if they had a way to recognize that “burning” sensation at that point or not.  We know that feeling ourselves, as the Holy Spirit lives within those who believe, and convicts many more.

What a wonderful moment it must have been for them when their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.  Talk about a good report!  Their Messiah truly had risen.

I would classify that as a moment where there was pure light in their eyes that rejoiced the heart.  We read that they rose up, returned to Jerusalem, found the others, and told them all the wonderful news of Jesus.

What better news is there than that of Jesus Christ, risen and living within us?

There are countless individuals right now who can feel that same burning of the Holy Spirit within them, but there eyes are still restrained.  Perhaps we are the ones sent to shed the Light they need.  The Light living within us will bring rejoicing to their hearts as we share the good report with them.

There is no healthier balm than the truth and saving knowledge of The Healer.

We do not have to save people.  That burning they feel is the presence of God already working and moving within them.  We just have to bring the Light for them to see and give to them the best report they’ll ever hear. God will do the rest.

Let your light shine today, and share the good report of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

Rejoicing,

jamie

Desiring those Great riches

Pr. 13:7:  “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

This Proverb is actually the one that spoke to me on Saturday, but I was unable to get to a computer that day.  However, this morning I cannot pass it up to move on to another.

I read Luke 5 on Saturday, as well, and was touched by verse 11, which describes the decision/actions of James, John, and Simon.  “…they forsook all and followed Him.”

These men gave up their plans, their businesses, and their comforts of home to follow Jesus.  What a lovely example of sacrifice they set for us.

Truly they made themselves poor, but as we know, they were far richer in following Jesus than they had ever been before they knew and served Him.

Making ourselves rich is not always the most profitable.  Having possessions does not always mean we have the most.

If our efforts to fit in, to possess, to take the common path, or to attain more for security, we often become poorer and poorer in spirit.  We run out of time for prayer.  (I’ll pray on the way to work)  In talking about our plans, we run out of time to talk about the Lord when we sit in our house, walk by the way, lie down, or rise up.  (Deut. 6)

We’re so busy trying to catch up on our sleep and get things done that the Word of God sits neglected on the shelf.  (I’m sure a devotional email will come through during the day.  I will slow down then to read it.)  Slowly, but surely, our spirit is undervalued and decay begins.

We cannot see the neglect caused to our spirits with physical eyes, the way we can see the deterioration of a house or a pet; however, the decline is still very real.

Following Jesus may me we have less earthly wealth or possessions.  Serving Jesus may mean we have to abandon relationships that stand between us and Him.  Serving Him may mean we have to change our own plans in order to do His will.

Following Jesus; however, will make us far richer in the things that truly matter.  We cannot undervalue our spiritual health and expect to become richer in Him.  We must invest in ourselves and our relationship with the One who matters most of all.  Riches will follow.

Following Him,

jamie