Month of Prayer, Day 20

Lord, I do love knowing Your Word.  I love that throughout the day, Your Word is in my mind and in my mouth.  I love how Your Word guides my steps and equips me.

Knowing that You are with me gives me strength.  Knowing Your law gives me wisdom.  Knowing that I am Yours gives me confidence.  Lord, where would I be without Your Word?  I know where I have ended up during times before when I chose to ignore Your Word and Your Holy Spirit.  Those were times of loneliness and sin that left me with much regret.

In contrast, Lord, when I look back over the times in my life when I allowed You to truly be Lord of my life, I have no regrets.  I never regret serving You.  I never regret choosing to following Your Word, or the leading of Your Holy Spirit.  I never regret trusting You, Lord.  Thank You for the peace that comes from serving You.

Lord, surrendering to You means that I truly have freedom!  There is freedom that comes from the peace of submitting to my Savior.  In light of that, Lord, Your words truly are sweet to my taste.  Your Word and Your Spirit are my treasures.  Your faithfulness is the solid foundation that keeps me upright.

Sin no longer looks good when I know that it’s fruit is loneliness, bitterness, sadness, and regret.  When I know that sin takes me away from You, Lord, I no longer want it.  I want to be safe in the arms of my Father.  I want to be in the shadow of Your wings; the apple of Your eye.

Lord, Pr. 20:7 says, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”  Lord, I want my children to be blessed because I chose to walk with You.  I want my children to find the same trust and security in You that I have found.

I do not want them to have to find out the hard way, as I did, so I try to tell them of Your greatness and Your faithfulness when I can.  Help me to keep Your Word on my lips, encouraging them and telling them of Your greatness.  Oh, that their ears will be open to hear.

Let me walk in integrity, Lord, and be a living example of Your love and Your might for my children.  Let their eyes be open to see.  As You guide my steps, guide theirs ever closer to You, as well.  I long that my children will know and trust and serve You.  I long for them to live in the freedom that comes from serving You.  I defy the bonds of sin that would threaten to ensnare them, in Jesus’ name.

As I meditate on Your Word today, Lord, let it drip from my tongue and taste sweeter than honey to my children, Father.  Let them long for more.

In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

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Looking for hope

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.”       Ps. 43:5

 

 

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

What was I trying to say?

Pr. 23:20:  “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.”

Last night I had a dream where I was with a small group of people who was encouraging a broken person and witnessing to them about Christ.  One of the people in our group was one of the Pastor’s from my church.  We wound up at a bar, which was the place where that person was most comfortable.  And then, my Pastor ordered shots for us all.

I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable being in the bar, but when my Pastor ordered us shots and then eagerly drank his, I was worried that he was crossing a dangerous line.   (Reminder…this was only a dream)

We were called to tell others about Christ.  Paul said that he made himself a servant to all, that he might win the more.  To the Jews he became as a Jew, to those who were weak he became as one weak, etc.  (1 Cor. 9:20-23)  He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

Paul did what it took to witness; however, this same man also reminds us in the chapter before to be cautious of our liberties in Christ.  He tells us that our decisions could cause a weaker brother could stumble.  He was ever-mindful of the reason he was witnessing in the first place, disciplining himself as to not become disqualified.  (1 Cor. 9:27)

We exist to win people to Jesus Christ and the best way to do that is to make Jesus so attractive that others cannot resist. While doing so; however, we must be careful that we don’t begin to mar our own credibility and risk becoming in bondage ourselves.

This is definitely not a blog about the right or wrong of drinking, but we have something so much better to offer others than a profitless shot of alcohol, and we have to demonstrate that by our actions.  What can be found in Jesus is far beyond any outside lift.  When becoming a servant to all, we must be ever mindful of the One whose servanthood we are first called to emulate.

We must keep in mind that being a witness for Christ means we must give evidence of the hope that is found in Him, and not allow ourselves to forget what we were trying to say in the first place.

Sticking close to the Savior,

jamie

Pouring out sweet freedom

Pr. 27:9:  “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” 
Having just spent the morning playing with essential oils, this verse about perfume delighting the heart certainly stands out for me.

And is it surprising that my reading in Acts this morning also speaks to this verse?  In Acts 15 we find that “certain men” came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren of Gentiles that unless they were circumcised, they could not be saved.

The teaching certainly caused many to become troubled and upset.  The apostles and elders then met to discuss the matter and were reminded that it was the Holy Spirit who acknowledged the Gentiles and not men themselves.  James recited the words God spoke through Amos that said that all mankind could seek the Lord, “Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”

The Holy Spirit did not call us to place burdens upon our fellow believers.  John 8:36 tells us that, “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Just as ointment and perfume delight the heart, sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.  Those believers who had been troubled received a letter declaring that no excess burdens would be placed upon them.  Vs. 31 says, “When they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Let’s make a pact that going forward we will allow the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit’s job; and that our hearty counsel will not trouble our friends or add excess burdens upon them, but that the freedom that was given through Jesus Christ will be poured upon them like a healing ointment and the sweetest of all perfumes.

Hoping to delight some hearts,

jamie

Freedom from sin’s diligence

Pr. 7:15:  “So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you.”

Do not be deceived.  Satan will diligently send sin our way.  That is why Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We have a personal adversary that comes at us with our specific problems and weaknesses so that we may be distracted and won’t be sober and vigilant.  He wants to preoccupy us with sin, and cause us to become engrossed in it.  If he can do that, he knows our hearts will become hardened and callous, no longer caring whether sin rules our hearts or not.  Once sin takes us captive, only an act of God can free us from the bondage.

In contrast, God wishes to perfect, support, strengthen, comfort, and establish us.  He sent His very own Son to bring freedom from sin and eternal death.  The Lord welcomes us to come to Him in time of need, and there find mercy and grace to help.  God does not try to bind or entrap us, but sent Jesus the Christ to set us free from all bondage with true liberty.

We must remain sober, seriously considering God’s word and will throughout our day.  We must remain vigilant, carefully watching for danger, and allowing the Holy Spirit’s alerts to avert us from oncoming temptations and traps.

When Satan sends sin out to find and meet you, and to diligently seek your face, remember that you have a Helper who will show you the way of escape.  The Lord promises us in 1 Cor. 10:13, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Therefore, my beloved, flee!!  There is always a way out.  If you must run, then run.  If you can pray, then pray.  If you are able to hear the Holy Spirit’s directions for escape, listen.  No matter what you think or feel, there IS a way out.  Just because the sin eagerly and intentionally came for you, does not mean you must acquiesce.

Jesus has already defeated satan.  Don’t let that liar tell you otherwise.  So, during those times when we allow the way out to pass us by and we sin, we must remember that mercy, grace, and forgiveness were already poured out for us on the cross.  Jesus sets us free with the forgiveness He made possible.  We never have to be devoured, entangled, or bound again!  The final answer in our lives is never sin; it is always Jesus!

Praise God!

jamie

 

Avoiding the extra pains

Pr. 1:32:  “For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”

For the last few weeks, I’ve been getting numerous chiropractic adjustments and massages on my foot, ankle, and leg to get rid of the “tendonitis” I’ve had.  My boot has been off 1 week now, so that’s a definite improvement.  As I was lying on the massage table this morning, trying to breathe through the searing pain, like that of melting, ripping flesh, I was reminded of all the months I’ve gone without getting a regular massage.

I’ve known for quite some time now that my body requires extra care, such as regular massages, consistent chiropractic care, stretching, Epsom salt soaks, etc.  Sometimes I get complacent; however, and let too much time go by before doing what I should.  In doing so, new problems arise in my muscles that wreak havoc.  The result is that I end up enduring a massage that is, like I said above, something that feels like my flesh being seared off the bone.

Thinking about this reminds me of what happens when we turn away from God’s truth or become complacent in our relationship with Him.  We know what we require, what we need to function at our best, what brings us closer to Him, but we grow complacent and let too much time slip by without doing those things we need.

The result of our complacency is that little problems, thoughts, situations, and choices begin to wreak havoc on our spiritual health and destroy us.  Sometimes we don’t even realize it until it’s out of control.  Not only do we bring unnecessary pain on ourselves while we’re here, but when we turn away from the truth, those things we know we need, it eventually leads to death.

Jesus died on the cross to bring us freedom.  In Him, we have freedom right now, and through His death we will have freedom for eternity.  While He was on this earth He told the Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31-32

The searing pain can be avoided.  If we are abiding in His word, the truth will be ever before us and shall set us free from pain and death.  We cannot afford to be complacent.  We must care for our souls on a daily basis.

Take care of you,

jamie