How’s your flock?

Pr. 27:28:  “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

What is the state of your flock?  Have you been looking, asking, or taking note?  In the class I’m in right now, it’s reminding us how Jesus always noticed the needs in people’s lives and filled those needs.  We are usually so great about filling the needs in the lives of people outside of our families, but I don’t think we are as good at ministering to the ones closest to us.

When it comes to the ones closest to us we suddenly begin looking inwardly, and shifting things to ask, “What are you going to do for me?”

Why does ministry have to stop at our front doors?  We are still supposed to attend to our herds.

We can’t always give our best to those outside our immediate flock (whoever that is for you) and then have nothing left for the ones we have been told to attend.  They also have needs.  They also have desires.  They also have hurts.

My class talks about how Jesus even broke tradition, in order to help people.  He actually touched the leper when He healed him, even though he could have just spoken the word, because the leper probably needed human contact. They didn’t do that back then.  He also forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery instead of stoning her, like he was supposed to by law, because she needed forgiveness.

I also remember when He healed someone on the Sabbath.  I think that shows that just because we have a plan set for our morning, our evening, our day, our weekend, our class, etc., if someone in our flock has a need, sometimes we need to set aside our personal plan and minister to their need, and then move forward; as some needs are more important than others.

This also tells me that sometimes, we will have to do things in ways that might break the traditions we’ve set up in our own minds, as well.  I had some Aha! moments about those for myself this week.  Ask God what those are for you.  In doing so, it may feel like you are giving something up, but didn’t Jesus also sacrifice for His sheep?  If we are following Him, we must be like Him and trust that God will provide for all that we need.

One of the best things we can remember, when we are with our flocks, is that in order to be more like Jesus, we need to care for people.  Jesus didn’t just say the words in the Bible.  He said them while He was caring for people.  We can’t just walk around saying words.  We have to act them out, and it starts with our own flock.

Trust me, I’m talking to myself, fellow shepherds,

jamie

handle with care

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Using the right tools?

Cleaning the mirror with furniture polish…not so much.

The other day, I was thinking about how we sometimes go about our lives without the proper tools, making things much harder for ourselves, or looking for the help in the wrong places.

Take peace, for instance.  When we need peace in our lives, we might try meditation, medication, alcohol, or a costly get-away.  All the while, peace is just an ask away.  Ph. 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The peace that comes from God transcends all understanding.  We can get that out of our tool box, if we just trust Him enough to ask.

How about discernment?  That’s the ability to judge well…to judge our actions, our reactions, our words, our Facebook posts, our attire…discernment.  We might try to base that off what others are saying or doing, or how we want them to react to us.  Ps. 119:66 is a great reminder that there is only one place we should be looking for advice on those things: Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.”  God is the One who will give us the good judgment (discernment) that we need as we walk through this life and navigate these choppy waters.

And what about financial troubles.  We get title loans, put things on credit cards, and go into more and more debt.  Are we tithing?  There are blessings that come with giving the Lord the tenth that belongs to Him.  We came into this world with nothing, and all that we have came from Him.  We are blessed.  When we give back to Him that tenth, He will honor His word in Malachi 3:9-11, when He says, Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.” 

The Lord uses the tithes we bring to bless others around us.  When we are all being obedient, there will be more than enough for everyone, but we will also be blessed when we give.  If you’re having financial troubles, my advice to you today is to tithe.  I know the math doesn’t make sense, but I promise you, God will faithfully honor it, and will meet your needs.  

Don’t struggle through life using the wrong tools.  Look to God and His Word for all that you need.  He has all this and more waiting for you now.

You’re not alone,

jamie

Authentic parenting

Pr. 10:25: When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

3 times in the last 3 weeks my son has been given advice that goes against our Christian beliefs.  It’s amazing.  He is being offered things other than what the Word of God says.  In fact, one person’s sentence literally started with the words, “Just because the Bible says it’s wrong…”

I’ve been so proud of and amazed by my son.  He has stood his ground and defended his beliefs to the best of his 9-year-old ability.  Actually, he has probably done better than some adults.  He is a natural evangelist, and I have got to step up my game in my prayers of protection for this boy.  The job my son has ahead of him is not going to be an easy one.

What I’m impressed to share today is that we cannot hope that 1 or 2 hours at church each week will equip our kids for evangelism or for attacks from the enemy.  It will never be enough.

We have got to walk the walk at home, and talk the talk as we trust God in the hard times.  We have got to show our kids how to love the people who are living in sin, while pointing them to Christ.  We must teach them how to pray, by praying.  We have to give them a hunger for the Word by being hungry for the Word ourselves.  If we want our kids to love to worship, we have to love to worship.

Now, I understand that our kids are going to make their own choices, but I also know what the Word says, and it tells us that if we train them in the way they should go, that when they are old they will not depart from it.  We must never cease to do our job as parents just because we may not see the results on the outside.  We must do our job and let the Holy Spirit do His.

Our children need to be prepared with every piece of armor that is available to them and it is our job to equip them.

Even if your kids are grown and out of the house, do not give up.   There is still hope!  They are still watching you, and they still know whether you are trusting in God or not.

Walk the walk.  Don’t just be a Christian at church.  1 or 2 hours a week will never be enough.  We must be authentic if we are to truly win the souls of our children and the lost around us.  We have to equip them!

My motherly advice for today,

jamie

What more could be said?

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Well said. Help us to do this, Lord.

Where’s my path?

Pr. 4:18: But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

If we want our paths to be made clearer, so that we know which direction to go, it is possible.  If we seek for our paths to be increasingly brighter, it can happen.

I recall the days of my youth, and even days not so many years ago, when I was increasingly restless, always uncertain about what I should do or what God’s will was for me.  It seemed that I was always searching for direction.

Those who are “just” are those on whom justice has been assigned, through the righteousness of Christ.  It was through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that we are made just.

Once we accept Him and begin consistently turning to Him as our source of direction, we will find our path.  As this scripture tells us, that path will then begin to shine ever brighter as we continue to look to Him for that direction.

We won’t get the answers we need anywhere else but in Him and His Word.

If your path has been growing dim lately, look to Him.  If it has become overgrown, reach out for Him.  If you’ve lost the path altogether, call out for Him!  He is there!

On my path,

jamie

A life without apology

I was sweeping up the pieces of a broken glass lampshade this morning and the Lord showed me how the pieces were like our choices.

I’ve seen pretty memes on social media about how we should live our lives without apology, but a life without apology doesn’t always look beautiful.  A life without apology is selfish.  It can even be evil.  It can look like rape, murder, genocide, incest, abuse, lies, manipulation, or many other things that people aren’t thinking about when they see they first see that statement.

The choices we make in our lives affect other people whether we want them to or not.  Cause and effect is a certainty.

Now, if our choices are to sin, things around us break.  Even things in the lives of others.  We may not like to believe it, but it’s true nonetheless.  If we choose to lie, others are hurt.  If we choose to murder, others are affected.  If we choose to [you fill in the blank] there is a ripple affect.

“Oh, but no one else even knows what I’m doing.” Maybe they don’t, and maybe they won’t, but I assure you that your choices are affecting the people around you.  Pieces around you are breaking.  Things are not whole and well like they used to be.

Even though I swept up the pieces of that broken lampshade, I am sure there are pieces that are scattered in places I cannot see.  Some pieces are so minute that I can’t see them.  Some will show themselves later on down the line.

It’s the same with our choices.  Whether good or bad, we don’t always see the outcome and affect of our choices until later, and some are so minute we may not notice, but we can know with certainty that our choices have affected those around us.

As Christians, we don’t have the luxury of living a life without apology.  Sorry.  We have people counting on us and a God to answer to, in the end.   We are called to be a living sacrifice…even in 2019.

Sorry, not sorry,

jamie

The winds of change

Have you ever noticed how, after a big rain or storm, the winds come?  I love those winds.  I love how God sends those winds to dry everything up and set things right.

Yesterday was such a day where I live.  Every time I walked outside I instantly closed my eyes and took a deep breath, enjoying the feeling of those winds as they blew over me.  It was a comfort for me, knowing that God was in control, caring for His creation, after all this time.

It made me think about the stormy times in our lives.  Sometimes when the big storms are over, the winds come.  The storm is over, but the winds can still cause a little bit of discomfort.  The winds mean change is coming.

See, yesterday, the soggy ground and the winds caused my flower hanger to fall the the ground.  The winds also sent a few things across my yard where they didn’t belong.  There was discomfort from the winds, but those winds were also setting things right.

The winds, after the storms in our lives, mean that change is coming, and that God is still in control.  Don’t give up!  You know that the storm is over…that much is clear.  Now He is setting things right.  If there is still some discomfort, it’s those winds.  They will die down soon, and all will be well.

Of course, in this world, storms can brew again, but we can always know that our Lord is still in control of it all, and will remain faithful until the end.

Been through it, too,

jamie