Satisfaction without devastation

Pr. 14:14:  “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”

I recently saw a sign that read, “Sin Captivates, Then Devastates.”  That is so true.  Sin isn’t always something that reviles us and causes us to turn away in disgust.  Sin can be so alluring.  It captivates us with special effects of glitter and lights.  Sometimes we see adventure.  Sometimes escape.  One thing is certain; however, in the end sin does devastate.

Being ‘filled with our own ways’ might seem to meet some momentary need, but it never truly satisfies.  It destroys and devours.  God not only offers satisfaction, He offers provision, refuge, strength, deliverance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and so much more.  He is truly all we could need.

Sin weighs us down with guilt, consequences, and defeat; and yet the Lord’s yoke is light.  His burden is easy.  He literally invites us to come to Him when we are heavy laden and He will give us rest for our souls.  True rest.  He is gentle.  He is humble.  He renews our strength when we wait on Him.  And He has eternal life waiting for us.

Sin does devastate.  It comes in and throws us completely off course, interrupting our relationship with the Lord, and stalling our ministry.  On the other hand, The Lord, who began a good work in us, will complete what was begun.  He enriches us, builds us up, and He is our helper.  He is the One who offers aid when we are tempted.

I’m so thankful for a God who will never devastate us.  He will leave us nor forsake us.   His promises in His Word are true, and He is faithful.

When we’re looking for true satisfaction, the only place we will find it is at the throne of our High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and offer mercy and grace to help us in time of need.

At His throne,

jamie

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The day after Valentine’s Day…

Pr. 15:25:  “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

It’s the day after Valentines Day and love is still important.  1 Peter 4:8-9 tells us, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

1 John 4:7 encourages us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

We are told to have sincere, heartfelt love for one another.  This is the kind of love that forgives, overlooks faults, and finds the good in others.  This is the kind of love God has for us.

So often we want this kind of love from others, but struggle or refuse to show this kind of love in return.  Although, we understand that we are not perfect and in need of forgiveness, and we often expect others to be perfect at all times.

We are told to be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  That is something that happens when our eyes are looking outward and not inward.  When we are truly able to love, forgive, understand, and pardon, hospitality comes much more easily.

Remembering that love is of God, we cannot afford to be too proud to show love.  This proverb says the Lord destroys the house of the proud.  Not only that, but He will establish those who are weak.  In God’s eyes, the weak are more desirable than the proud.

It is not weakness to show love.  It takes strong character to love someone the way we are told to love here.  It takes a lot of faith in God’s plan to truly forgive the sins and mistakes of those we love.  It takes humility to overlook faults and see what is good.  It takes humility and trust to believe that loving others God’s way is best.

So, on this day that is not ‘technically’ about love, we can determine in our hearts to show love the right way; to carry on loving those around us with God’s love, and to continue it day after day after day, until the Lord returns.

We don’t have to do this in our own strength.  We can call upon the God who is love for all the pointers we need.  Talk about a support system.

So, happy day after!  May the Lord who loves you, strengthen you this day as you trust Him enough to truly love His way.

My brothers and sisters, I love you all. 

jamie

My prayer for you today

This morning, with the apostle Paul’s help, I am praying for you.

Lord, I ask that You will fill every person reading this with knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  I ask that each one will walk worthy of You, fully pleasing You, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of the One true God. Lord, strengthen every one of these with all might, according to Your glorious power, to endure and be patient in this life, with joy.

I give You thanks, our Father, for qualifying us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  Thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness, and transferring us into the kingdom of the Son of Your love, by whose blood we have forgiveness of sins.  I love You, my Lord and my God.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

jamie

 

*Adapted from Colossians 1:9-14

The safety net of hope

Pr. 11:14:  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

I’ve been reading some of Paul’s letters to different churches.  Being a travelling missionary, he couldn’t always be present at the churches, so he would write them letters of counsel.  I flipped through and realized how many of those churches I’ve been like over my lifetime.

I’ve been like the church in Thessalonica, young in the Lord, and excited to live for Him!

Oh, but then I’ve turned into the church of Galatia.  Deceived by false teaching, I would believe that in order to be accepted by God, I had to follow the law again.  I allowed guilt, pressure, comparison, or the example of some to lead my away from the salvation of Jesus Christ, and into the thinking that I am saved by my works…not by God’s grace.

Then, I would find my way back to God’s grace, understanding that salvation comes from Him alone, and I would find myself becoming more like the Ephesian church.  Maturing in my spirituality, truly trusting in God’s grace and His strength, walking in unity with my fellow believers, and growing in wisdom, I would be more whole.

After that season of beautiful growth, I would become like the church in Colosse.  I would get distracted from my spiritual growth, and instead, grow in immorality.

Then, after true repentance, I’d be back to baby steps, starting out like a new baby trying to get back to my Savior.  Feeling young and vulnerable again, I would once again be like the church in Thessalonica, excited to give my life to Christ again, and ready to begin taking care of my spiritual growth again.

Just the way Paul counseled the churches through his letters and through the fellow believers he sent their way, I have been counseled along the way by mentors, teachers, Pastors, friends, and the Word of God throughout my inconsistent journey.

I am so thankful that the Lord never let me fall so far that I couldn’t find my way back to Him.  There was a safety that came from the many ‘counselors’ that navigated me through.  Be encouraged today, He can do the same for you.

Certainly I’m not done with my journey.  By God’s grace, I find myself currently in an Ephesian-like season, growing daily closer to Him.  Although it is my hope to remain in that place going forward, I understand that until I’m home in heaven, I will never have it all together.  That’s the beauty of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and renewal.

I encourage us today to be ‘counselors’ for others on their journey.  I pray we will be the instruments God can use to provide the safety they need to block their fall.  Let’s use Paul as our example and encourage those around us in the Lord.  He’s not finished with us yet!

Redeemed,

jamie

 

Is confession really good for the soul?

Pr. 28:13:  “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

I witnessed a beautiful example of this a few months ago.  Someone that I know was caught in an act of sin.  Ashamed and determined to regain trust, this person then decided that immediate confession was imperative.  I was present as they confessed their sin to their spouse.

I watched the range of emotions that came with that confession.  Satan tries to convince us that sin only affects us, and that everything is fine, but sin hurts, and no one is immune.

Had this person covered their sin, it would have eaten away at their soul, and caused their sin to grow and lead to other sinful habits.  Not only that, but their loved one may have found out so late and after so many lies, that trust could not have been rebuilt.

Fortunately, God’s Word is true.  Even with the pain that this confession brought, the fact that the truth was told gave their spouse a chance to choose to offer forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  I heard this person’s spouse say, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Ro. 3:23.

We all sin.  None of us want to admit it, but the fact remains.  I was very much in awe of this person who chose to confess and be held accountable.  What an admirable example for us all.

And what an amazing example I saw in their spouse as well.  If a broken, sinful spouse can forgive and offer mercy, how much more does our Father in Heaven offer to us.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life one’s friends.  God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Eph. 2:4-5 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

We may not all receive mercy from others while on this earth, but Christ died to offer us mercy ahead of time.  He has already paid the price for our sins, and His mercy and forgiveness are available to us all.  That is worth a confession.

Inspired,

jamie

Scripture references John 15:13, Ro. 3:23, Ro. 5:8

Reality

I’ve been sick for a while.  While I was simply trying to function, blogging was beyond the scope of possibility.  This morning is the first day I have been mentally/physically able to read the Word in quit some time, and as always, God was there.  Waiting.

Sickness has a way of making it feel as though weakness is the reality in which you live.  Then I read the words in 2 Cor. 5 that speak of the way our tents groan; being burdened, because we long to be clothed in immortality, which God has already prepared.  It reminds me that all of us groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.  This weakness is just part of my groaning.

Reality is that while we are at ‘home’ here on this earth, we are absent from the Lord, and nothing will ever be perfect until we are present with Him.  Reality is that there is something wonderful awaiting us.

Verse 16 says, “we regard no one according to the flesh.”  Vs. 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”  I cannot regard myself or my reality according to the flesh.  My flesh may be weak, but that does not cancel out the fact that I am a temple of the living God.

I think it’s significant that 2 years to the day that I was re-baptized, I wound up in the ER.  Sept. 18, 2013, I was re-baptized to publicly make known that no matter what struggles I may have been presented within my body, the Lord was and will continue to be my God.

2 years later I was lying in the ER, barely able to hold myself up.  Weak as I may have been, I am still a new creation.  I may have dark, sunken skin around my eyes right now, but through Christ Jesus, all things in my life have become new.  I may have physical issues that I continue to carry around, but my sins are no longer imputed to me because my Savior bore them upon Himself at Calvary.

Reality isn’t what we see or feel on this earth.  Reality is God.  Reality is that our Savior took the sins from all of us, offering forgiveness and salvation to all who will believe in Him and call Him Lord.  Reality is that one day soon God will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, sorrow, or crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have completely passed away.

No matter your struggles or weaknesses here on this earth, remember that there is so much more to your reality.  Christ WILL appear a second time, and your groaning will end.

Thank you for this guarantee, Holy Spirit,

jamie

It is finished

Pr. 3:20:  “By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew.” 

Ya know there are some things that just are…

The clouds drop down dew because that is the way the Lord designed it.  We “men” don’t have to force that to happen.  The Lord, in His knowledge, deliberately set it up so that dew would water the earth.

Breathing.  Most of us don’t have to think about making ourselves breathe, although anyone who has ever had breathing difficulties will appreciate breath all the more.  God created our brain to cause our lungs to work on their own.  It just happens.

We also don’t have to tell our hearts to beat.  With wise forethought, our Creator, caused this to happen whether we’re consciously thinking about it or not.

These are not the only things God purposely designed to be already in place for us.  For example, we don’t have to offer sacrifices for our forgiveness.  Likewise, we don’t have to earn our salvation.

Our forgiveness and salvation are already in place.  With the same forethought, our Deliverer offered His Son on the cross and offered salvation and forgiveness to us all.

Besides accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is nothing we have to do to make those things happen.  Jesus already did it.

Sometimes we don’t “feel” like we’re forgiven.  Sometimes we may worry that we’re not doing enough to be saved.  When our feelings don’t line up with the Word of God, however, those feelings are wrong.  Forgiveness and salvation already exist, whether we ‘feel’ them or not.

In the same way that we don’t have to cause the clouds to drop down dew, tell our lungs to breathe, or remind our hearts to beat, we don’t have to do anything to earn those things.  By His knowledge, the Lord has done it!  When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it.

Go out and touch the dew.  Let it remind you of the grace of God, which was offered freely, and has saved you.  Just like that dew you didn’t create, you don’t have to make it happen.  It is finished.

Breathing fresh air,

jamie