Love your enemies, part 3

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

Ok, if you haven’t read parts onetwo of this series, please go back and start there.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

So, the person (or people) who came to your mind when you first read this verse…do you still feel the same way about them?  I hope not.  However, let’s continue talking about what the Word says about how we, as Christians, are supposed to behave.

Eph. 4:31-32 tells us, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Bitterness=resentment, Wrath=extreme anger, Clamor=loud, insistent protesting, Malice=the intention or desire to do evil

Those things need to be put away from us.  Like away.  Not set to the side for us to pull out when we feel hurt again, but put away as in gone.  Imagine a box where we lock the scary things we don’t want to let out.

Instead, we bring out our kindness, our tenderheartedness (compassionate feelings), and our forgiveness.  Now it goes on to say that we should forgive as Christ forgave us.

How did Christ forgive us?  This way:  Dying on cross; flesh ripped and torn.  Naked and bruised, with blood dripping.  Thirsty and alone; forsaken by His own Father.  Spat upon and mocked.  Yet, He cried out in the midst of all that…in that exact moment of His torment, “Father, forgive them.”

And we hold a grudge when someone steals our parking spot.  We can’t get over the fact that someone raised their voice to us 3 months ago.  Well, you don’t know what they’ve done to me!  “Don’t you remember what he said to me?”  You’ve never been through anything like that!

“Father, forgive them.”

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Col. 3:12

It’s a choice.  Each day when we get up, we need to put these things on.  If they slide off during the day, we need pull them back up!  We are God’s chosen people…holy and dearly loved.  We need to act like it!         **I’m not talking to the other people around you.  I’m talking to you!  You can only control you!  I can only control me!**

Join me tomorrow for part 4!  Until then…

forgive them,

jamie

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Love your enemies, part 2

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

In yesterday’s blog, I asked this question: if someone who has hurt you needs prayer will you pray for them?

When you or someone you love has a serious prayer need in your life don’t you desire compassion and aren’t you seeking for people to pray for you?  Most of us are.

Now, say that the wrathful person you envisioned in this verse has a prayer need.  Are you going to take time to pray for them?  If someone who has previously injured you in some way now needs prayer, will you pray for them?

What was it that Jesus told us in Mt. 5:44-45?  Get ready for it…

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons [and daughters] of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”

Jesus said we should love our enemies.  Not only that, but we should bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us.  Also, we should pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us.  Why?  So we may be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.  He makes us all, loves us all, and according to John 3:16, died for us all.

I have a testimony not meant for a blog, but the Lord once asked me to pray for someone who had seriously injured me.  It seemed like an unreasonable request, considering the pain this person had caused me, and although I initially argued with God (in the pew at church), I eventually gave in.  Once I did, I was lifted of a burden in a way I never could have imagined.

The Lord freed ME of anger…freed ME of unforgiveness…freed ME of pain and bitterness.  I am much more equipped to forgive now than I was before, and I am so thankful for the freedom the Lord gave me when I trusted Him enough to do as He commanded. 

We cannot control what the people around us do.  All we can control is what we choose to do.  We can choose to trust the Lord enough to follow His Word and do as He commanded.

Just like He showed me…there are great rewards in store when we do!

Give it a shot!

jamie

Love your Enemies, part 3

Love your Enemies, part 4

 

 

Waging your own war

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Pr. 24:6

I like having a safety net.

Yesterday I found my mind in worry mode.  There was no real reason it needed to be, but it was an indicator to me that I was looking to the wrong things in which to put my trust, that’s for sure.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Since I wasn’t feeling that peace, I knew that I needed to set my mind on God, but I was struggling with that a bit.

Enter my wise counselors:  It was time for Bible study and prayer with my kids.  When we were talking about our prayer requests, I let them know that I was feeling worried.  They did not like that one bit.  I reminded them that I knew that I just needed to trust that God will take care of things, because He always does.  They wholeheartedly agreed.  And then they prayed for me, and the peace set in.

By building up wise counselors these few years, I have helped to wage my own war!  The Lord has given me all that I need and then some.  Not only has He given me His Word for me to depend upon and to use, but I now have wise counselors around me to add extra safety when I need it.

I am so thankful for a God who cares and provides!

Who are your wise counselors?  Where is your safety?  If you know, but you resist them, stop resisting.  God put them in your life for a reason.  If you’re not sure, then ask the Lord to show you.  He always provides for our needs.

Safe,

jamie

At the feet of The Teacher

Who is the man that fears the Lord?  Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.  He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.  The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.  My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” Ps. 25:12-15

The Lord will teach His way to those who fear Him.  I like that!  The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.  He will show them His covenant.  Do these words warm your soul like they do mine?

Our God is so generous and good.  He has longed for relationship with His children since creation.  He came down in the cool of the day to talk with Adam and Eve.  He opened the Holy of Holies for us when Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can speak directly with Him.  He pours out His Holy Spirit on His children and speaks to us through Him.  He wants to share with us.

Not only that, but He offers protection, inheritance, and prosperity to us, as well.  What a good and amazing God we have!

We have done nothing to deserve His generosity.  We have not earned His respect or His esteem.  He has simply chosen us.  He wants us.  He loves us.

Do you want to know His ways?  Do you want to see His covenant or hold His secret?  It starts with a relationship.  When we fear Him: respect, worship, submit to, and be in awe of Him, then these things are available to us.  His word tells us so.

I don’t know about you, but I want to tap into that so deeply!  I want to know as much as I can.  I want to be as close to Him as I can get.  I want more and more and more.

Let’s dig in and draw closer.  Let’s let Him teach us even more.

Breathless,

jamie

Traditional prayer journal

I gave you the why’s for praying journaling in my last blog Prayer Journaling 101.  Now, let’s get to the how.

Let’s start with what I think of as the “traditional” prayer journal.  I put it in quotes because there is no formula that must be followed for this, but in this type of journal, you just write your prayers. 

Although I pray all throughout the day, I find that it also helps me to set aside some time for focused prayer.  That’s where my prayer journal comes in handy.  I find that my written prayers tend to feel more sincere and focused, because my attention does not become as easily distracted.

I also like the language I use when I write a little more than the informal language I use when I speak, so when I really want to give God my personal best, I write.

This type of journal is also where you might want to write how you are feeling and then pray about it.  Perhaps you are feeling joyful and full of praise.  Write out your praises and leave that proof of His faithfulness for the next time you need to be reminded that He still answers prayers.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, He already knows it.  Talk to Him about it.  When He created Adam and Eve, He came down in the cool of the day to talk with them.  He wants fellowship with us.  He has also invited us to come boldly to His throne of grace in our time of need.  It’s ok to tell Him things.  Write it out in your prayer journal and watch Him come to your rescue!  He will.

Sometimes, even as I’m writing, I can feel God’s Holy Spirit…the Comforter…come upon me, bringing me peace, and speaking comfort to me.  If you have your prayer journal, you can write down the things you feel God speak to your heart as He speaks them.  What beautiful records to have for later reference, as well.  🙂

To the left, is a record of a night when I was feeling down, but had gone to the altar at church and the Lord spoke to me through a Pastor and lifted me up.  I remember that service and I’m so glad I have it recorded as a reminder that my God is faithful!  I wrote it down and praised the Lord through prayer in my journal.  He deserved honor for what He had done for me.  I wanted it to be known!  When my kids read through that one day, they will see His faithfulness at work and know that I was grateful!

Prayer journals are also an excellent place to record prayer requests.  How many people have you told that you will be praying for them?  Have you been?  You can write their names down and come back to them daily or weekly and pray for them.  You can also leave a record and remind others as you watch God answer those prayers.

I hope that you are feeling encouraged to begin a prayer journal.  They aren’t anything fancy.  Just a way to keep our ever-distracted minds focused as we pray, and a beautiful record of God’s faithfulness, love, and provision.

Next time, I will share a few of my less traditional journal pages.  They’re different, but have been helpful during different seasons of my soul.

Grab your journal and pen.  It’s time to start writing!

jamie

Next blog:  Scripture/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

God still loves you

“But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20  (The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32)

I’ve been teaching my class about God, the Father, and yesterday we talked about the prodigal son.  This son took the possessions his father gave him, went his own way, wasted them all to the point of starvation, and found himself wishing he could eat pig food.  He suddenly realized that even the servants who worked for his father had it better than he, so he decided to go back home and beg his father for mercy…and for a job.

The scripture says that when he was still a great way off his father saw him.  That makes me think his father had been watching for him.  His father was just hoping and waiting, day after day, that his son would return.  The father was so full of compassion that he ran and hugged and kissed his son.

Not only did he welcome him, but he gave him gifts.  He ordered that the best robe and a ring be put on his son.  He also gave him new sandals.  I don’t know if he had no sandals by this point, or his were just tattered all to pieces, but his father wanted nothing but the best for his son.

Next he ordered a feast–bbq time!!  He said, “It’s time to eat and be merry, for my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  There was music, dancing, and celebration for this son who came home.

It’s the same way when we come back to the Lord.  God isn’t just sitting on a throne of Judgment.  Hebrews 4:16 says it is a “Throne of Grace, where we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  God is waiting for us, just like that father.  God is our Father, waiting for us with grace and mercy.

Not only that, but when we do decide that being with Him is better than starving in sin, there is rejoicing in heaven when we come home!  (Luke 15:6-7)

Don’t ever think it’s too late to return to your Father, God.  He still loves you.  You are still His child.  He’s watching for you, waiting.  He has good things to bestow upon you.  His grace and mercy still available now.

Come home,

jamie