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

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Satisfaction without devastation

Pr. 14:14:  “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”

I recently saw a sign that read, “Sin Captivates, Then Devastates.”  That is so true.  Sin isn’t always something that reviles us and causes us to turn away in disgust.  Sin can be so alluring.  It captivates us with special effects of glitter and lights.  Sometimes we see adventure.  Sometimes escape.  One thing is certain; however, in the end sin does devastate.

Being ‘filled with our own ways’ might seem to meet some momentary need, but it never truly satisfies.  It destroys and devours.  God not only offers satisfaction, He offers provision, refuge, strength, deliverance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and so much more.  He is truly all we could need.

Sin weighs us down with guilt, consequences, and defeat; and yet the Lord’s yoke is light.  His burden is easy.  He literally invites us to come to Him when we are heavy laden and He will give us rest for our souls.  True rest.  He is gentle.  He is humble.  He renews our strength when we wait on Him.  And He has eternal life waiting for us.

Sin does devastate.  It comes in and throws us completely off course, interrupting our relationship with the Lord, and stalling our ministry.  On the other hand, The Lord, who began a good work in us, will complete what was begun.  He enriches us, builds us up, and He is our helper.  He is the One who offers aid when we are tempted.

I’m so thankful for a God who will never devastate us.  He will leave us nor forsake us.   His promises in His Word are true, and He is faithful.

When we’re looking for true satisfaction, the only place we will find it is at the throne of our High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and offer mercy and grace to help us in time of need.

At His throne,

jamie

Looking for a healthy alternative?

Pr.4:22:  “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Nutrition and health are major topics in our world.  I wonder exactly how many books have been written just about Superfoods?  Scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and every day people are constantly discovering new information about health.  I enjoy a tasty, energy-packed green fruit and veggie drink myself.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of washing our hands prevents countless illnesses.  Now we understand that eating whole foods gives us more energy and less weight than their processed alternatives.  Technology allows us to see exactly what happens inside the body when we choose an unhealthy lifestyle.  It can be quite fun to discover the vitamin/nutrient facts of kale, the many benefits of fresh ginger, and the antioxidant powers of blueberries.

In Pr. 4, Solomon tells his son that there is life and health in his words and sayings.  This is true for the entire Word of God.  If we’re searching for health, there is no healthier place than arms of Jesus, our Healer.  When we give attention to the words of our Father, we find life; and not just more enjoyable life, but eternal life!  Choosing to incline our ears to the sayings of our Father, we allow health comes on our flesh.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings salvation.  It can be quite fun to discover all the way the Lord has been faithful to His children over the years.  Reading the word, we understand exactly how sin affects us and how submitting to God brings true freedom to us and to those around us.  Inclining our ears to the Word, we find a God full of grace and mercy, who lovingly guides and directs us.  Jesus gives us glimpses into what is going on within the body to bring forth filth from our mouths.  It’s all so exciting!

As I think back to the moments when I was living outside of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life, I remember the aches I always felt.  Sure, I may have had moments of exhilaration or pleasure in my sin, but once the moment passed, I was left with guilt, shame, pain, confusion, feelings of being out-of-control, hopelessness, and despair.  Sounds like unhealthiness to me!

Giving my attention to the words of my Father has brought health to my flesh and my mind with signs like joy, peace, hope, security in forgiveness and grace, self-control, reassurance, desire of better things, faith, and confidence in the strength of my Lord.  Truly, God has breathed life into me once again, and continues to give health to me as I grow closer to Him and make new discoveries in His Word.

Are you excited about health and nutrition now?  Me, too!

Getting healthy,

jamie

 

You will feel it again!

Pr. 26:9:  “Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”

Having previously been a bit of a drunkard on occasion, I understand that a thorn in the hand would not go much noticed.  Being drunk dulls the senses and a thorn likely would not even be felt.

Certainly there are times in our lives when even the scriptures enter us and their weight goes much unnoticed.  There are seasons where one can read about the love of God and still feel quite unloved.  Moments come where forgiveness is promised, but the reader feels only guilt.

Likewise, in seasons of sin, we can read about the consequences of our sins and feel no remorse.  In fact, at times we disregard it as irrelevant or inapplicable to us.  Gossip is strongly discouraged in the Word, but we can look at those verses and point straight at someone besides ourselves.

It’s amazing that the same Word of God that captures our hearts and causes us to submit to the Lord and His will can later be just another noise that we can no longer distinguish from the others.

Sin and deceit can so harden us that we can read every verse in the Word about our sins and still choose to walk continuously into them.  The lies of satan can so oppress us and bring us to a place of despondency, that the love, care, and compassion of Jesus seems farther out of reach than Saturn itself.

We’re not alone.  Even the disciples, when in the presence of Jesus Himself, did not always understand.  Some lessons were lost on them or not felt at times, causing Him to ask them, “Do you still not perceive or understand?”  He encouraged them to remember the things which they had already seen Him do.

Thankfully, the Word of the Lord is living and powerful.  (Heb. 4:12)  Open your ears to this next verse this morning, which is very fitting today as it is raining outside my window and is snowing in other parts of the world right now:

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

No matter the season of our life, we must continue persevering in the Word.  In times where we’re so “drunk” that we cannot even feel it, it is still watering our soul to accomplish the purpose for which it was sent.  Do not give up when the scriptures seem unspeaking…God is still speaking, and soon your ears will be opened and you will remember!

Hallelujah!

jamie

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

jamie

A clean heart

I’ve been thinking about David and his deceitful heart.  (from my previous blog)  I wasn’t thinking about it yesterday, but when David did repent and cry out to God for forgiveness, one of the things for which he prayed was for the Lord to create in him a clean heart.  David understood that he was led astray by the heart.  He then came to the Lord, broken and contrite, desperately sorry for sinning against Him.

We have the privilege of reading some of David’s most intimate and open thoughts in the book of Psalm.  David deeply loved the Lord and trusted in Him above all things.  David loved the Word of God and knew that hiding it in his heart would keep him from sinning against the Lord.

Obviously we know that David did sin.  It’s clear that no man is perfect–not even the man God chose to lead His people.  God said that David was a man after his own heart who would do all His will.  God knows that we live in a world in which sin will always be present.  He doesn’t expect our perfection.  He only expects our devotion.  He sent His Son to take care of the perfect salvation.

David did love the Lord and lived a life in a passionate pursuit of more of Him.  Because of his devotion, he wasn’t content in his sinful nature.  He wasn’t willing to continue in persistent sin.  In Psalm 51, we are able to get a glimpse in to this man’s brokenness before God.  He repented and asked for God’s mercy.  He wanted to renew his relationship with the God of his salvation.

He also knew that God would place wisdom in the hidden part, the most inward parts of him.  He knew that walking in God’s wisdom would deliver him from future temptations.  He may have learned the hard way, but the point is that he learned.  He did not stay in a place of purposeful sin.  He truly and openly repented and the Lord was able to create within him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him.  God was able to continue to use David as His vessel throughout David’s life, and from David’s seed rose our Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter the condition of our heart, God can create something new if we surrender to Him and allow His Spirit and His Word to guide us in wisdom.  God can give us a clean heart, deliver us from guilt, make us hear joy and gladness again, and blot our all our sins.  He is willing.

Although exalted by the Lord, David was just a man, and there is no partiality with God.  If He forgave and renewed David, He will do the same for you.

Forgiven,

jamie