You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

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The pursuit of happiness

Pr. 16:20: “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

There has always seemed to be the ultimate search for happiness all around us.  “Do what makes you happy.” “Hey! As long as your happy.” “But I’m not happy.”  Happiness is one of those goals that is chased with great fervor.

Well, folks, the answer to truly being happy has finally arrived: trusting in the Lord.  “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

Now, how do we do that?  The answer comes before that.  We heed His Word wisely.  His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, so do we need to walk around feeling like we are all alone in this world?  No.  That feeling will make us sad, for sure.  Knowing the truth will make us happy.

Do we need to walk around weighed down with worry about our needs never being met?  No.  We can give to the Lord, trusting that He will honor His Word and give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)  We will be happy, knowing that our needs are in the hands of our Provider.

If we are heeding the Word wisely we also won’t need to walk around burdened by fear.  We will find happiness in the fact that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Ti. 1:7) In fact, we will also be able to trust that He can deliver us from all our fears, because Ps. 34:4 tells us, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” If that doesn’t make us happy, I don’t know what can!

The joy of the Lord is still our strength.  He has not and does not changed.  That is great cause for happiness.  In fact, I think it’s fitting to say it’s even a reason to rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! …Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:4,6

So, the point is that if you know what God has said, you trust in it, and you make your requests known to Him, He will guard your heart and mind with peace and that will lead to what?  Happiness!

Don’t worry, y’all.  Be happy, in the Lord!

jamie

Can you afford to tithe?

Have you read Malachi 3:10?  It says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

If it seems like a stretch for you to trust God enough to give 10% of your paycheck as a tithe try, to think about those blessings He has mentioned here.  Is that selfish?  I don’t think so.  God is the One who offered them.  In fact, He says, “Try Me now in this.”  He tells us to try Him, to test Him, to see what He can do.

My husband and I have a lot of testimonies of times when the Lord has poured out blessings from the windows of heaven because we have trusted Him at His word.  We have chosen to tithe faithfully through the years and we have found Him to be ever faithful.  I tell you this to encourage you and to praise Him.

Just this week the Lord unexpectedly provided us with the exact amount of a large medical bill that we had been wondering how we would pay.

God’s math doesn’t make sense.  It doesn’t add up and cannot be explained.  It’s just true to His word and proves His faithfulness.

I encourage you to start trying Him now.  Test Him in this as He has said.  See if He will not continue to provide all your needs according to His glorious needs in Christ Jesus.  I believe you will find He is truly the faithful Provider He has promised to be.

Give!

jamie

You are qualified to minister!

Why is it that our imperfections make us feel as though we are unqualified to minister?

Logically, we know that no one is perfect.  When it comes to ourselves; however, we have this harsh standard of judgment that we hold ourselves up against.  We think our imperfections are too imperfect.  If people only knew…  Why would anyone want to listen to us…  What makes us so special or all-knowing…

Let me tell you this.  Your imperfections are Exactly what make you qualified to minister.  It is because you are imperfect that you know how to relate to the imperfections of others.  It is because of your past trials that you understand what others are going through.  It is precisely because of the pain you’ve experienced that you can speak to another’s pain.

No hurting person wants to be ministered to by someone who acts like their own life is perfect and that nothing has ever gone wrong for them.  We always relate much more to people who are real and have scars, just like us .

Having gone through your trials, your pain, and your battles has made you the minister that you were meant to be.  I know for a fact that God doesn’t allow things to happen in our lives without having something good come from them.  If that good thing is that our faith is built, then we are better for it.  If that good thing is that our character is stronger, than praise be to Him!  If that good thing is that we now rely on the One who gives the strength, then we have come out as winners.

You get it?  There is a verse in 2 Timothy that really speaks to me on this.  Chapter 3, verse 7 says, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Is that what we are doing?  Always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth?  It is time for that to stop!  It is time to come to the knowledge of the truth, once and for all.

My pain and my trials have equipped me for ministry.  What I have learned through them and through God’s Word have equipped me for ministry.  What you have learned has done the same for you.  It is time to stop doubting, to trust in God, to come to the full knowledge of the truth, and to minister as though the end is drawing near.  Because brothers and sisters, I assure you the end is indeed drawing nigh.

The very fact that you have come out on this side of your battle, still looking to God as your Source, says that you have endured!  Now, there are others out there in need of the same Savior, Healer, Deliverer, and Provider that you’ve been leaning upon.  It is time for you to go forth and minister!

Fulfill your ministry,

jamie

Is it your voice He’s hearing?

Ps. 5:1-3:  “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.  Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord.  In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

Does God hear your voice in the morning?  Do you direct your words to Him?  Do you look up and seek His face?  Do you cry out to Him, pray to Him, meditate upon His Word?

Imagine what your day would be like if you started it in the presence of the King of Kings?  Think of the confidence you’d have, walking out the door when you’ve just been in the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

When we have allowed the Lord to hear our voice first thing in the morning, and chosen to look first to Him, we will have chosen what is most important to start our day.  The problems, obstacles, and duties of the day will look much less intimidating when the joy of the Lord has become our strength.

Ps. 1:2 says that the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on it day and night is blessed.  “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”  vs. 3

When we turn to God first thing in the morning, we will be strengthening ourselves, showing honor and respect to the Lord, and bringing blessings upon lives.  What more could we possibly want?

Give Him the praise!

jamie

Scripture/prayer journal

One of my favorite types of prayer journals is one where I write down scriptures that speak to me as I’m reading.  Then I often write out a prayer after the ones I feel led to pray about.

This type of journal has some good benefits.

  • It can help you focus on what the scriptures are really saying, instead of just skimming over them.
  • It can help you memorize scriptures
  • You can use your journal as a reference when trying to find certain scriptures in the future (This can help you become more and more familiar with the scriptures)
  • When you choose a scripture to pray about, it helps you become closer to the One who wrote the scripture

Here is an example of a scripture/prayer from one of my journals:

3-12-14:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9  Lord, perfect Your strength in my weakness which I give to You to use for Your glory, and as Paul said, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In 2014, I also chose John 15:4 to be my verse for the year:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  I began to pray that God would show me how to abide in Him.  Then I began to research vines, and the pruning and training of vines.  I began to look up every verse I could find that talked about God being the vine, about us bearing fruit, or about abiding in Him.  I wrote all of it in my journal.  It was a journey that I desperately needed and my journal was my lifeline to the Lord.  I can now go back and see the progress I made and the ways that God met my needs during that time and brought me ever-closer to Him.

I encourage you to keep your journal open beside you as your read your Bible.  If a scripture speaks to you, simply write it down.  Give the Lord a chance to draw you closer to Him through this practice.  I think it will surprise you.  His Word is powerful enough to speak something new to us on a daily basis.  It’s even better when we can record those new discoveries!

Praying for you,

jamie

Also see previous blogs about prayer journals:  Prayer Journaling 101  and Traditional Prayer Journal and Art Prayer Journals

 

Prayer journaling 101

I had someone ask me about prayer journals a while back and thought I would write about how they can be effective.  I am also going to be sharing some of my own personal styles and pages with you along the way.

Why do it?

Have you ever wondered if God hears your prayers?  Look up the scriptures that tell you that God hears your prayers.  Write them in your prayer journal and then write down your praise to Him for the fact that He hears you.

Have you ever thought God doesn’t answer any of your prayers?  When you write down a prayer, you can go back later and record when that prayer was answered.  A lot of times, when we speak our prayers, we forget what we have even prayed, and can’t see all the wonderful things God has done in our lives.  We fail to give Him praise for things He has done!  Writing down our prayers gives us something to go back to so we can see the things that can be crossed off the list.  God is working in our lives every day.  He is faithful.

Do you get distracted when you pray or study?  Writing out your prayers can keep your mind focused on what you are saying.  You can add the scriptures that have spoken to you, as well.  (I will share more about this in a coming blog)

Do you want to leave footprints so you can look back and see how far God has brought you?  When times get hard, you will be able to look back at God’s love and faithfulness.  You will see what He has done in your life and know that if He’s done it before, He can do it again.  These footprints can also be left there for your family to see, as well.  What a testimony to leave!

Are you seeking more from your relationship with God?  Writing out your prayers, and spending uninterrupted, undistracted, intimate time with God is a great place to start.  You may find yourself saying things you wouldn’t normally say.  Personally, I’m much more eloquent with writing than speaking.  I don’t even enunciate words properly when I speak.  (ha!)  You might find yourself writing Him a psalm, before you know it, or an intimate letter where the only appropriate closing is, “I love you.”

Bottom line:  a prayer journal may be just what you’re needing.  I will share some personal examples in my next blog to help get you started.  In the meantime, just know that the material you use isn’t important.  It can be a beautiful journal, a $.25 spiral notebook, an art canvas, or even a blog.  Over the years, I have used many different things.

Get your journal ready,

jamie

Next blogs:  Traditional Prayer Journal, Scripture/Prayer Journal, Art Prayer Journals