Month of Prayer, Day 5

In Ps. 119:20, the psalmist declares, “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.”  Oh, God, his desire to know more of You was so strong that it overcame him and ‘broke his soul’.  His desire for You exhausted and wore on him, zapping his strength in the best of ways.  God, that I would allow that type of desire to take hold in my own heart.  Oh, that my desire to know You would consume my thoughts as much as any unfulfilled desire ever could.

Lord, in Pr. 5, Solomon pleads again with his son to pay attention to his wisdom and his understanding.  He instructs his son not to be enraptured by an immoral woman.  He warns him of the dangers of being seduced by desire towards her.  Lord, Your Word tells us the same things.  We allow our desire for so many things to take our steps away from You, but all the while, we should be so consumed with a desire for You that nothing else will satisfy.  Forgive me, Lord, for placing my desire in other places.

Help me to hear Your Word as the instruction that will truly keep from reproach and contempt.  Help me not to depart from the Word of Your mouth that was given to keep me from being caught in the cords of sin, and quite literally from death.  Do not let me despise Your instruction, nor let me be consumed by anything other than my desire for more of You.  You alone are worthy of my life.  You alone are worthy of my desire, my longings, my devotion.

Oh, that Your Word would give me more delight than any other thing could even imagine to bring.  Awaken in me a new desire, Lord, for more of You.  Awaken a longing such as I have never had before.

Let my longing for You be passed to my children and my children’s children.  Let the generations to come long for You so strongly that it also breaks their souls.  Oh, that our longing would produce works that will glorify You and You alone.  You are worthy of all that and more, Lord, our Creator, our Savior, our Deliverer, and Strength.  Your power and might, Your faithfulness, Your peace…all these things and more make You more desirable than all else.  Keep that in our hearts and in our minds.  Help us to meditate on these things above all other things.  Move in us and use us for Your glory, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.

You have beautiful feet

Pr. 20:12:  “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.”

This Proverb reminds us that the Lord made every part of us, and each part is to be used for His service.  He made ears to hear the gospel.  He made eyes to see His glory in creation, and to see those around us who are hurting and need our help.

There are ears that still need to hear the Word of God.  There are ears that need to know they have a Savior who cares so much for them that He would willingly lay down His life for their own.  There are ears that need to know they are worthy of such a Savior.

Romans 10:14 asks, “How shall they hear without a preacher?”  We are the preachers.  We are the voices those ears need to hear.  The Lord made those ears to hear of Him.  It’s up to us to make sure the message reaches them.

We don’t need a pulpit in order to preach.  We preach when we pray for someone who has a need.  We preach when we give our time, in the name of Jesus, for someone who feels they’re unworthy of it.  We preach when we share a scripture to encourage the one who is being oppressed by the enemy.  We preach when we tell someone about Jesus.  We preach when we give praise to God for the blessings in our lives.  We preach when we sing songs about the Lord to our children.  We preach when we tell the truth, no matter the consequences.  We preach when we turn the other cheek, or when we avert our eyes from temptation.

Our lives preach to the seeing eyes and the hearing ears that the Lord made.  When everything about our lives point to Jesus, His gospel is being shared.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!  Ro. 10:15

Whether it’s a pair of sweat pants, a suit, or a uniform, let’s get our preaching clothes on today, get our beautiful feet moving, and speak up.  Those eyes and ears are waiting.

Warming up my voice,

jamie

Sharing the gladness

Acts 12:14-16:  “When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate…Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Some things are just too good not to share.

Peter had been arrested and was likely facing execution.  The church was in constant prayer for him; however, and an angel came and released Peter from his chains and the prison.  When he arrived at the home of John’s mother we find the scene described in the verse above.

The girl was so happy that she forgot to open the door and let Peter in.  Have you ever been that happy to see someone?  She knew that she was witnessing a miracle and couldn’t wait to spread the good news!  Poor Peter.  I can see him now, out there still knocking; perhaps a bit nervous to be seen, but maybe chuckling at her actions, as well.

I have a friend who consistently shares testimonies of praise and reports of miracles.  I never cease to be amazed by God’s work in the lives of those around him, or to look forward to his praise reports.  I love to hear what God is doing!

I must admit, though, that in my amazement, I sometimes find myself wondering why these things seem to happen more in his life than in anyone else’s.  Is God not working like that in other people’s lives?  In mine?  I don’t think that’s it.

As the Lord continues to work and reveal Himself in this man’s life, I simply see that he is just so overwhelmed with gladness that he can’t help but announce it.  The Lord continues to prove Himself in this man’s life.  I don’t think its a coincidence.  I have to think that God, knowing that this man will run off shouting praise and sharing of God’s majesty, reveals Himself in this man’s life on purpose.

Perhaps I just keep too many praises to myself.  Sometimes it might be best to drop what I’m doing and run off to announce a miracle or provision from God.  Maybe upon seeing the God’s work in my life and the lives around me, others will be as astonished by the Lord as these people were to see Peter standing at their door.

Lord, help me to be so overwhelmed with gladness that I forget myself and shout Your praise!

jamie

Something worth talking about

Let’s talk about something interesting today:  Jesus.

Did you know that when you talk about The Lord, He listens?

Our Sunday school lesson last week was from Mt. 16:13-20, when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?”  The principle of our lesson was ‘practice talking about God.’  We encouraged our children to get to know Jesus in a more personal way, so they have something to share about Him.

One thing I forgot to mention to them is that when we do talk about The Lord He listens.

Malachi 3:16-17 says, “Then those who feared The Lord spoke to one another, and The Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear The Lord and who meditate on His name.  “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

The Lord is writing a book of remembrance.  When we talk about Him:  meditate on His name, praise Him, talk of what He’s done in our lives, talk about His greatness, talk of His strength, talk about Him around our tables and campfires, share about Him with others or with one another, He hears.

He listens and it is so important to Him that he is having a book written to remember the words and one day we will be made His jewels.  :).

Talking about Him is never done in vain.  He says He will spare us…just for talking about something that is probably our favorite subject anyway.  I love to hear people talk about The Lord and His greatness.

Who do you say that Jesus is?  If you’re not sure, read more about Him.  If you know, then share it.  Talk about Him, and as you honor Him, He will record it to be remembered always, and one day you will be His jewel for all eternity.

Happy to share,

jamie

Trust in the One who is faithful

Pr. 29:25:  “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

This is one of those verses I use to remind myself of the truth.  When we begin to fear man more than the Lord, we are on a slippery slope, at best.  A snare is something that entraps us, entangles us, catches and keeps us.

In Mt. 16:26, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This world offers so much.  We can be the most popular, the sexiest, the best dressed, the richest, the most successful.  We can be housewives with immaculate homes, and the cleanest, most well dressed, and sportiest children.  We can have the latest hairstyle or color, the best car, the coolest gadgets.  We can watch all the right shows, have the biggest and best network of contacts, drink the most revered drinks, party at the most sought after places, or hold the most prestigious jobs.

All of it; however, has the potential to bring a snare upon us to entangle us, and to distract us from our true purpose.  If the opinions of others becomes the driving force in our lives, we will become ensnared in the constant pursuit to keep up, to fit in, to be noticed for those titles we hold.  Man’s opinions are fickle, let me remind you, and what’s the best today can easily become the most out-dated tomorrow.  Also, we must keep Jesus’ words in mind:  what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls?  We simply cannot give in and exchange our souls for dust and ashes.

While man’s opinions continually change, the Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The Lord does not change.  Unlike those who may only be a ‘friend’ while you’re doing as they like or approve, the Lord loved us so much that even in our worst state, He sent His Son to take our sin and disease upon Himself to give us eternal life.  Surely we are safe with One such as this.

Also, the Lord, who promised to care for and provide for us, is faithful to keep His promises, never turning His back in our time of need or despair.  The same God whose glory passed before Moses, turning his hair white and causing him to shine so brightly that he had to cover his face with a veil, is the same God who goes before you and keeps you safely in His mighty arms.

His name is actually a refuge to which we can run.  We need not fear.  What can man do to those whose Helper is the great and mighty Lord of Lords?  Don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by the ever-changing opinions or expectations of imperfect people.  Trust in the Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.

In His arms,

jamie

 

The suffering is a good thing

Pr. 1:22:  “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.”

This morning I read 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

Seems to me that living a life where you attempt to cease from sin is far from simple.  Peter says that those who have ceased from sin suffer in the flesh.  Ceasing from sin requires an intentional decision, perseverance, and endurance.  It requires faith in God, a strong desire to submit to His will, and a decision to separate oneself from the will of the world around us.

At every turn, we are met with lusts and enticements of sin.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted.  Deciding not to give in to our temptations is a decision that requires consistent effort.  When the temptation comes, sometimes our flesh causes us to suffer, or to experience a very uncomfortable battle within us as our flesh and the Spirit within us battle for the win.

Having knowledge of the Holy One, His Word, His will, and His strength within us is what will see us through.  Instead of hating knowledge, we must embrace it and allow His wisdom, His precepts, and His guidance to see us through the times of suffering.  Rather than giving in to the feelings of simplicity we think will come from giving in to sin, from compromising, or from giving up the fight, we must cherish and hold dear to the knowledge we get from reading God’s word and from the Holy Spirit ever reminding us of the truth.

Delighting in knowledge won’t be the easy route.  We will have battles.  Those battles are worth the fight; however, as suffering as a Christian brings glory to God above.  Don’t love simplicity, but take heart in the fact that you are quite blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Suffering alongside you,

jamie