On the verge of eternity

Pr. 5:14:  “I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

It’s never too late to turn back!

Even if you’re on the verge of total ruin, God’s forgiveness and grace is still available.

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.  1 Jo. 2:12

Don’t take another step towards ruination.  God is willing to forgive and make you a new creation.  You just have to ask.

Father, I come to You right now, confessing my sins against you.  Lord, Your word says that forgiveness is available through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Right now I need that forgiveness.  Have mercy on me now, God, and cleanse me.  Turn my feet from the path of ruin to the path of eternal life.  Lord, I no longer desire to live for myself and for my own desires, but long to live a life that is pleasing and useful for You.  Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask that You guide me the rest of my days.  Thank You for salvation and forgiveness.  I love You, Lord.  In Jesus Christ’s saving name, Amen.

I am praying for you,

jamie

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Pure from sin

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

I’ve been reading all week about the grace that comes from God, through Christ Jesus.  Unfortunately, not one of us can be pure through our own works.

(Well, honestly I’m not convinced that is so unfortunate.  As imperfect and inconsistent as I am, I am thankful that my purity from sin is not up to me.  I have a Savior who loves me so much that He took that responsibility upon Himself.)

Sin was brought into the world in the Garden of Eden.  It has been here ever since; so, we were born unclean and sinful into an unclean and sinful world.

Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to make a way for us to be cleansed, forgiven, and justified.  It is through Jesus that we are given salvation. 1 Cor. 1:4-9 talks about the grace we were given, and goes on to say that we are enriched in everything by Him.

Through Jesus, our past has been forgiven, our present is covered by his grace, and our future is in His faithful and merciful hands.  What more could we possibly need?  What a gift we have all been given!

Let’s quit trying to earn more grace and forgiveness and praise the One who has already given it all!

Turning our eyes upon Jesus,

jamie

Who me, a sinner?

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

Let me give you the answer:  no one.

Last night I dreamed that I was preaching about God’s faithfulness.  I was on fire.  People were responding.  The Holy Spirit was moving.  Less than an hour later, I was at sneaking into the home of a missionary, stealing a very valuable tropical plant.

Isn’t that just like reality?

We are all sinners.  It’s not just me.  It’s not just you.

It’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that washes those sins away.  Once that happens, the Lord no longer chooses to remember them.

So, while we strive to live a holy life that glorifies and honors the Lord, we must remember that we will never be perfect.  We don’t need to allow satan to beat us down, constantly reminding us that we are sinners.  God made provision for that already!

There is a reason we need a Savior.  It is only through Him that we are saved.  If we keep our eyes on Him, we will follow Him into eternity.

Happy trails,

jamie

Foolishness can depart

Pr. 27:22:  “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”

This week I ran into a girl I knew in high school.  She mentioned a mutual friend we had and noted that while that friend had been pretending to act foolishly like us, she was really going home at night and doing her homework.  She was the only one who got a full scholarship to college and went on to have a prestigious career.

I left there with memories of the past replaying in my mind and, as is my custom, I began to feel down.  I began to recount the many, many bad and sinful decisions I have made and how they greatly altered the course of my life.

Each time I thought of a low point, I’d remember an even lower point, and then I wondered if I’m the foolish person in this proverb.  Am I the one who will never learn?  I began to worry about how it would be all too easy for me to allow one more foolish decision to cause the life I live now to crumble around me.  But isn’t that basically true for us all?

Then, I thought of God’s grace.  I remember when God stepped into my life and said, “That’s enough.”  I’m grateful to  remember the decision He used to turn my course back to Him.  I can look back and see my life changing and my decisions slowly changing to line up with His will and His word.  I can recall times when He helped me make the decision to turn my back on foolishness in an effort to be wise.

I will never be perfect; however, I am not as foolish as I once was.  I have allowed God to undertake the ongoing process of replacing my foolishness with His wisdom.  Trusting God is the wisest thing I’ve ever done.  Foolishness can depart, through Him.

Carefully,

jamie

Finding the root I needed

Pr. 12:3:  “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.”

I remember my young adult years being filled with what I referred to as restlessness.  I never felt a strong sense of peace in my life and I blamed it on anything but myself.  I listened to my music way too loud, I wore clothes that let me feel ‘free’, I travelled a lot, I drank too much, and camped out alone in the woods.  I was trying to intentionally either out run my restlessness or ease it with over the top activities.

I was trying to find my peace in things of this world, sin, and unconstraint.  Unfortunately, all I really found was more loneliness, more restlessness, and choices to regret later on.  Thankfully I didn’t lose my life in the process.

I remember the day I realized I no longer felt that restlessness.  It kind of snuck up on me, actually.

During my peace-seeking I found a man who loved Jesus.  Yes, I had been raised in church, but I really only loved myself.  Jesus was only ever in my mind when I felt momentary guilt or shame.

Eventually we were married, and this man who loved Jesus took me to a church that loved Jesus.  I began to understand what it meant that Jesus was truly my Savior.  I began to understand how much He loved me.  (You don’t die in someone else’s place if they don’t mean something to you)

I began to read the Word of God out of curiosity and delight rather than out of duty.  I found out more about God’s love than I had ever known before.

I began to worship the Lord just for who He is, not out of guilt or shame.  I finally perceived the truth about grace, realizing salvation was not based on my actions, good or bad, but on God’s grace and compassion.

One day, without warning, I realized I was full of peace.  All the restlessness that I thought I’d been cursed with was simply gone.  In its place was the peace that passes all understanding, and the One who had placed it there was God.

Finally, I had a root to hold me in place.  My foundation was solidly established, and I no longer had to out run the sinking sand beneath my feet.

Once I allowed Jesus Christ to be my personal Cornerstone, I gained the security I’d sought for so long.

I know from experience, that anything outside of God will leave your foundation unsound and unstable.  If you need a foundation for your life that is fixed and unshakable, Jesus Christ is the answer.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  Matthew 14:27

Rooted in Him alone,

jamie

The safety net of hope

Pr. 11:14:  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

I’ve been reading some of Paul’s letters to different churches.  Being a travelling missionary, he couldn’t always be present at the churches, so he would write them letters of counsel.  I flipped through and realized how many of those churches I’ve been like over my lifetime.

I’ve been like the church in Thessalonica, young in the Lord, and excited to live for Him!

Oh, but then I’ve turned into the church of Galatia.  Deceived by false teaching, I would believe that in order to be accepted by God, I had to follow the law again.  I allowed guilt, pressure, comparison, or the example of some to lead my away from the salvation of Jesus Christ, and into the thinking that I am saved by my works…not by God’s grace.

Then, I would find my way back to God’s grace, understanding that salvation comes from Him alone, and I would find myself becoming more like the Ephesian church.  Maturing in my spirituality, truly trusting in God’s grace and His strength, walking in unity with my fellow believers, and growing in wisdom, I would be more whole.

After that season of beautiful growth, I would become like the church in Colosse.  I would get distracted from my spiritual growth, and instead, grow in immorality.

Then, after true repentance, I’d be back to baby steps, starting out like a new baby trying to get back to my Savior.  Feeling young and vulnerable again, I would once again be like the church in Thessalonica, excited to give my life to Christ again, and ready to begin taking care of my spiritual growth again.

Just the way Paul counseled the churches through his letters and through the fellow believers he sent their way, I have been counseled along the way by mentors, teachers, Pastors, friends, and the Word of God throughout my inconsistent journey.

I am so thankful that the Lord never let me fall so far that I couldn’t find my way back to Him.  There was a safety that came from the many ‘counselors’ that navigated me through.  Be encouraged today, He can do the same for you.

Certainly I’m not done with my journey.  By God’s grace, I find myself currently in an Ephesian-like season, growing daily closer to Him.  Although it is my hope to remain in that place going forward, I understand that until I’m home in heaven, I will never have it all together.  That’s the beauty of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and renewal.

I encourage us today to be ‘counselors’ for others on their journey.  I pray we will be the instruments God can use to provide the safety they need to block their fall.  Let’s use Paul as our example and encourage those around us in the Lord.  He’s not finished with us yet!

Redeemed,

jamie

 

Is confession really good for the soul?

Pr. 28:13:  “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

I witnessed a beautiful example of this a few months ago.  Someone that I know was caught in an act of sin.  Ashamed and determined to regain trust, this person then decided that immediate confession was imperative.  I was present as they confessed their sin to their spouse.

I watched the range of emotions that came with that confession.  Satan tries to convince us that sin only affects us, and that everything is fine, but sin hurts, and no one is immune.

Had this person covered their sin, it would have eaten away at their soul, and caused their sin to grow and lead to other sinful habits.  Not only that, but their loved one may have found out so late and after so many lies, that trust could not have been rebuilt.

Fortunately, God’s Word is true.  Even with the pain that this confession brought, the fact that the truth was told gave their spouse a chance to choose to offer forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  I heard this person’s spouse say, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Ro. 3:23.

We all sin.  None of us want to admit it, but the fact remains.  I was very much in awe of this person who chose to confess and be held accountable.  What an admirable example for us all.

And what an amazing example I saw in their spouse as well.  If a broken, sinful spouse can forgive and offer mercy, how much more does our Father in Heaven offer to us.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life one’s friends.  God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Eph. 2:4-5 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

We may not all receive mercy from others while on this earth, but Christ died to offer us mercy ahead of time.  He has already paid the price for our sins, and His mercy and forgiveness are available to us all.  That is worth a confession.

Inspired,

jamie

Scripture references John 15:13, Ro. 3:23, Ro. 5:8