Tag Archives: God

An unseen enemy

I joined my son in tubing down the Greenbrier a few weeks ago.  Walk up, ride down, and repeat.  As we walked up once, I saw a water snake hiding in the grass.  It headed upstream as we got closer.

My son weren’t fighting the current that day, or the rocks just under the tubes…that wasn’t what we really needed to worry about…and that wasn’t I was watching out for.  I was looking out of the corner of my eye for what I knew was unseen.

Eph. 6:12 says that we are fighting evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but things we can’t see.

Therefore, we need to put on our armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle we will still be standing firm.  (The armor is described in Eph. 6:14-17)  And we are to PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion and stay alert!

My son didn’t even realize that I had been keeping an eye out the entire time.  Having grown up in the waters of WV, I knew that a snake was most definitely lurking in there somewhere.  They blend in so well, you can’t see them until you’re right up on them or they move.

I stopped my son, and we let it get well ahead of us before we continued.  The truth is that the snake had been there all along, hiding in the shallows, and we had gone by it at least 12 times.

I was definitely staying alert on that river.  I knew there was enemy somewhere.  So, when I saw it, I was able to protect us.

We also have an unseen enemy, who is skilled at keeping us worrying about all the wrong things, and we need to stay alert and keep praying, so God can give us that same pause and wisdom I had when I saw my enemy.  He can, and He will.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This song came on during my worship time this morning, and fits perfectly to this thought.  The waves and wind still know His name…He is still in control…and is still greater than he that is in this world.  If we keep our eyes on Him, it will be well with our souls.

I hope you can take a few moments sometime to today and worship the One who is still in control of all things, and gives you the shield of faith to stop all the fiery arrows of the devil!  Our enemy will never be stronger than our Lord.

Pray and stand firm,

jamie

God changes the way we think

1 Cor. 2:12:  But God has given us His Spirit.  That’s why we don’t think the same way the people of this world think.  That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.

It can be so easy to look at people of this world and wonder why they do things the way the do.  I was reading 1 Corinthians this morning and I found the reminder.

We cannot forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, when we see people acting in ways that we wouldn’t, that perhaps it’s because they haven’t found the freedom in Christ that God has so graciously and mercifully gifted to us.  The commission that Jesus left is still the same:  we are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

When we see the people who need to hear the gospel, instead of being angry with them for not knowing Jesus and behaving as though they know Him; we need to pray for them, and either share the gospel with them, or pray that someone else can come along and share it with them if we aren’t able.

The 2nd part of this Scripture says that because of God’s Spirit, we are able to recognize the blessings that God has given us.  Recognizing the blessings, we can joyfully and lovingly go forth, sharing the good news of the gospel to this hurting and broken world around us.  So many people need to hear about blessings that can be found somewhere.

Have you been blessed?  Do people hear blessings coming from you?  Are you sharing the good news?  When you see people do you see what God sees, and is your heart breaking for them?  Do you feel burdened to share a message of hope with them?  Do you feel love?

Pray, brothers and sisters.  We have a message of hope and freedom to share with the world.  We have good news!  We cannot and should not keep it to ourselves.

Think like Jesus,

jamie

Held in trust

Ps. 11:3:  “What can an honest person do when everything crumbles?”

We were definitely overcharged, but the lady at the front desk insisted that we weren’t.  We’d calmly and kindly conceded, paying the full amount she’d requested, but we drove away with the feeling that we’d just been robbed.

For 2 months in a row, we couldn’t get the office to change the amount due, even though our circumstances had changed.  Emails were sent back and forth, phone calls were made, and we finally made an in-person visit.  They were all very kind and helpful, but the amount never made its way back to our checking account.

And then, my husband needed surgery.  We are a 1-income family.  Medical tests were being done and the bills were already coming in.  We planned as far in advance for living on short-term disability pay as we could, and all we could do was trust God with the rest.  His Word has promised that He will supply all of our needs.  His Word also gives a promise when it comes to tithing.  And so we hunkered down, in faith, and decided not to worry about the math, but to continue to put our faith in Him.

Here is where God showed out!  Right when we needed the money the most, we got the refund from months before from when we knew we’d been overcharged.  Suddenly, the other money made its way into our bank account.  And out of the blue, a couple of other refunds that we weren’t even aware of or anticipating found their way into our bank account, as well.

God knew when we would need that money the most, and He had been holding that money in trust for us that whole time!  Its just beautiful and amazing to me how He works!

I am so grateful that we did not “show out” or act rude and ugly to the other people involved when we knew we’d been overcharged those 2 times.  It was God working in both of those situations, making plans for our future.

Here are a couple of takeaways:

  1. God is faithful to His Word:  He still supplies the needs of His people.
  2. Behaving well, even when things seem unfair or uncertain, is never the wrong thing to do.

Cared for,

jamie

He was there all the time

Ja. 1:17:  “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens.  He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.”

When I came in the living room to read my Bible, I immediately noticed a tree outside the window, blowing in the wind.  It made me think about God.  God is there.  He is the One who has brought that wind.  He even created that tree and the color of those beautiful leaves.  He sustains the life it has with dew, with rain, and with nutrients from the earth.

We might ask, “Where is God?” or we wait for the big miracles to come.  The big moments are the ones we mark in our lives.  But the fact is, He is ever faithful, steadfast, and true.  He has never left.  Even in the small moments, He’s been here all the time.

He was there on days when your car started and you pulled away and got to work on time, like a breeze.  When routine bloodwork comes back positive time and time again, He’s been there.  He was there when you and your spouse had a nice laugh instead of a cold shoulder.

He was there when you didn’t have to wait in line to get what you needed when your family was waiting for you at home.  And when your friend acted more friendly, He was there.  He’s also there when your kids are happy and obedient, and not mad at you; and even when they are mad.  ha!

He is there right now, in the smiles, in the laughs, in the tears.  He doesn’t leave.  He doesn’t change His mind.  He is still sustaining us.  We just have to look around and take notice.  I saw those leaves rustling and took notice.  I see my husband’s loving eyes, and I take notice.  I see and appreciate my healthy body, and I take notice.  He is here.

What do you see?

jamie

Feeling dismayed?

These all look to You to give them their food in due season.  When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.  When You hide Your face, they are dismayed…”  Ps. 104:27-29

Since Creation began there have been moments where the creation has felt like God has hidden His face from them.  All throughout the Pslams you can see the questions, posed, “Why do you hide Your face from me? Why are You so far from helping me?”

Before that, Job asked, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” We even heard Jesus, from the cross, ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Because we look to God for all things, it is in our moments of sorrow, pain, anxiousness, or uncertainty; it’s in the moments of silence that we sometimes feel as though He has hidden His face, and we are dismayed.

As we can see from the reaction of Jesus, and all throughout the Bible, it is a normal, human reaction.  We were created in God’s image, with emotions; and loneliness, uncertainty, grief, and pain are some of those emotions.

What can we do?  Keep looking for Him, seeking Him, and reminding ourselves of all He has done.  Job was looking for him in his darkest moments, when all he wanted to do was die, and he couldn’t find God to the right or the left–he kept seeking.

He spoke of all the works and wonders God had done in the past, and even as he wondered at first where God was, speaking of who God is built him up, and helped him keep close the One he needed all along.  Eventually he found his way back, not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual health, too.  This is how it works for us all.

I know there was a lot involved behind the scenes in Job’s story, but seeking God in the tough times the way Job did, praising, and reminding ourselves of God’s works and the things He has done in the past is the best way to find our way out.

We tend to pull away when we go through pain and crisis, and we feel like we can’t find God, but the truth is that the answer lies with Him alone.  He is the One.  He is the Salvation.  He is the Deliverance.  He is the Healing.  He is the Provision.  He is the Wisdom.  He is the Unity.  He is the Peace.  He is All in All, the Great I Am.

Every answer we need to fill the great gaping hole we feel inside is found in Him.  We just have to hold on and seek Him.   God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  This is still true today.

Grateful for a God who cares,

jamie

Failing?

I put the location into my GPS and hit start.  “Take the 3rd exit,” she said.  Huh?  I don’t think that’s right.  I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew the general direction.  Now I was headed the wrong way and I was stuck in traffic.

As soon as I was able I turned around, and I re-keyed the location.  It was coming up wrong.  No wonder.  As I tried again I realized that it was no use…the location I needed wouldn’t come up.  34 minutes from my arrival time now, and I was at a standstill.  Ugh!  I had to make a phonecall and get some help.

I finally made it to my son’s longest, most intimidating karate test of his entire life.  (thus far) We made it right on time, and I was then horrified to realize that I had forgotten to bring him a drink.  Seriously!?  He was going to be in there sweating and working for over 2 hours, and I didn’t even bring him a drink!?

Within the next minute, I realized that I had additionally left his sparring gear at home when he also should have brought that.  NO!!

Epic mom fail!

Yes, I made sure he had his GI on, and that it was ironed, and I fed him and got him there…not to mention the fact that we stretched together earlier and I took care of him most of the day, but was I thinking about those things?  Nope.  Just the fails.

It’s so easy for us to see the fails, defeats, and disasters in our lives.  Often those look so much larger than the wins, the rights, and the achievements… especially when they are in the everyday things.  It’s in the wins and the rights; however, that our heart of gratitude and our spirit of thankfulness comes.

It’s in those things that we find God’s hand on our lives, working faithfully, amidst the fails that look so large.  He never left us, He never stopped looking out for us, He never quit working His plan.  He has been there, blessing all along.  He has been there, giving us wins, helping us achieve all the way…did we notice?

I had many mom achievements today.  My list of mom achievements today would way outnumber those couple of things I didn’t get done this evening.

The things that we fail at in our lives, in light of all the things where we win, are nothing in comparison to all those wins.  We are abundantly blessed.  We just need to take notice, and perhaps even begin to literally take note, if that’s what it takes.

God still goes before us, behind us, beside us, and He dwells within us.  He will not forsake us.  How do I know?  Not only did He promise it, but He has proven it to me over and over again.

Winning,

jamie

Messes and all…

When I got to the couch this morning to do my devotions, I moved the couch pillow and discovered crumbs from my son’s snack of chips last night.  “Ugh!” was my immediate reaction.  Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me.  So I left them there, took a picture, and opened up my Bible to Psalm 103.

The Lord redeems our lives from destruction.  He crowns us with lovingkindness & tender mercies.  He is merciful & gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to them, but sent His Son as the Way of salvation.

The Lord’s mercy is a great as the heavens are high, and He removes our sins and mistakes from us.  He pities us as a father pities his children.  (hmmmmm)  He knows our frame, remembering that we are dust….

I thought about how many messes I have tried to hide or cover up.  I thought about how many crumbs I’ve left behind in my life and how many mistakes I’ve made.  Yet, my heavenly Father continually has mercy upon me, and He pities me, remembering my frame.

How will I react towards my son’s little chip mess here beside me?  Will I guide him?  Absolutely.  Will I be a tyrant, lording over him the rules in frustration?  After reading this, I cannot.  Will I show mercy?  That’s exactly what I will do.  I’ve made my own mistakes, and I’ve been forgiven!  I have to model the same forgiveness my Father shows me.

It may not be chips on your couch, but whatever situation you find yourself facing today, I pray you’ll remember to be slow to anger, to show mercy, and to deal in lovingkindness.

dusting myself off,

jamie

 

He chose you

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…”

Yes.  There is more to that Scripture in Eph. 1:4, but this morning, I wanted to point out to you and to me that God chose us before the foundation of the world.  If you’ve been wondering if you were chosen, if there has been any doubt in your mind if the gospel message is for you, if you weren’t sure if you were lovable enough for Him, then let this verse reassure you this morning…He chose YOU before the foundation of the world.  And then He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to ensure that Your salvation would be in place if you chose to believe.

Thursday night I went to visit an elderly man that I have befriended over the last few years.  He is a precious man that has spoken encouragement and life into me over the last couple of years, and when I went into his house he said that his heart was racing with me being there because he was so excited to see me.  When I left there that night I was in tears.

This man chose me.  He chose to be my friend, to speak encouragement into my life, to want to be my friend; and when he saw me, his heart was literally racing with excitement.  That says so much to me.  I went there to see him because I love him, but I left there feeling so overwhelmed with love.

God chose us before the foundations of the world!  He speaks life and encouragement into us through His Word more than any person could ever do.  He sent His only Son to die so that we could be with Him for eternity.  That’s how much He wants to be with us.  Y’all!  He wants us!  We are chosen!  If you have ever doubted it…let those doubts be erased now.  He loves You!

His,

jamie

Loving like God

Reading through the first few chapters of Galatians this morning I was struck by the beauty of the gift of God’s grace–in the fact that He truly doesn’t judge us by our works.

This past week I’ve had several times where I’ve been able to let my guard down with people and just be me and it’s been so amazingly refreshing in a world where our performance is “king.”

It’s exhausting to have to perform constantly, because then you have to out-perform the next time, and the next time, and the next… but if we can just admit that “this is me” and I’m imperfect and although I’m doing the best I can, what I’m most grateful for is that God isn’t judging me on my performance.  He loves me for who I am.  If I have faith that He says who He say He is, then that’s enough for Him.

If, in our relationships with others, we can not expect people to perform to perfection, but love them for who they are…who they were created to be, we will be releasing them to be free from a burden that even God Himself didn’t place upon them.

Yes, we need to be responsible humans, and we should keep our word.  But some days we’ll be brilliant and get it all done, and other days we’ll fall flat on our face.  The performance of the day is not the sum total of who we are.

Gal. 4:7 says, “We are an heir of God through Christ.”

We are more than our mistakes.  They happen.  Get up.  And keep moving.  Apologize if necessary.  Always forgive.  Laugh about it if at all possible!

Tripping up,

jamie

 

this is the performance pic, the other one was a “mistake”…it made us laugh harder, though. 😉

 

Broken, but not forsaken

I heard a sermon on Sunday night that reminded us that a lot of times before we go into a season of being given out to be used by the Lord we go through a season of being broken, like bread.

I keep thinking about that, and what I love about God is that during that time when we are broken, He doesn’t allow us to be broken into crumbs and spread out in such a way that we cannot be whole again.  If we are like bread, He continues to hold the 2 pieces in His 2 capable hands the entire time, ensuring that we are well and cared-for, never alone, or truly crumbled; and we are never crushed!  Sometimes we feel that way, but all the while, He is holding us.  We are in his hands.  We are safe, and when it passes, He will use that time of brokenness as a way for us to minster to the people in our lives.

He never lets go!

“He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.”  Ps. 23:3

You are held,

jamie