Be usable during the trials

Laying block with oxygen.  What’s stopping you??

My father was bed-ridden for several years, and then weak for several more.  Why not healed?  One night the Lord spoke to him and told him to build a house for someone he’d never met.  He wasn’t able to in his own strength.  The Lord also spoke to the pastor at his church and told him to give away a substantial amount of money.  He spoke to another man and told him to donate land.  Person after person stepped forward, obeying God’s leading, and a home was built for a family from start to finish in 40 days.

My dad’s weakness enabled God’s strength to be perfected and manifested.  Might I suggest that before that time my dad may have been too busy to hear the voice of God in that way?  Or too busy to take the time to help organize and attend a project of that magnitude?

God uses us all in different ways and for different reasons.  We just have to be available for His purposes and plans.

“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

These are the words the Lord spoke to the disciple that was sent to put his hands on Saul (who would later become the apostle Paul–missionary to thousands), when he would regain his sight.  And yet, Paul always had what he called a “thorn in his flesh” that God never removed.  He said he prayed for the Lord to remove it and the Lord told him no.  The Lord told Paul that His grace was sufficient and that His strength would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness.

It’s interesting that when Paul was called into ministry he was shown how many things he would suffer God’s name’s sake, and how the Lord told Paul no, and how now, in 2019 we think our Christian walk should be about our comfort, our happiness, our delight….about us.  When did things get so twisted?

Christianity just simply isn’t about us.  It is about the Lord.  It says about Saul, “Immediately he preached the Christ in synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”  He began immediately doing what he was called to do, and people immediately began wanting to kill him.  (You can find all of this in Acts 9)

Job, in his agony and suffering repented and humbled himself before the Lord…before he was ever healed or restored.  Then, in Job 42:8, the Lord put Job in charge of praying for his friends.  In his state, he was best suited to pray for his friends.  He was the one God called to pray, to work, to do His will.  And then, praise God for him, He was restored.

Sickness and trials are not a problem that keeps us from fulfilling God’s call in our lives.  It may hinder us from doing all the things we want.  I know I still have times when I can’t sing, can’t raise my hands in worship, can’t teach or even attend church; however, if we are still alive then God can still use us.

Ask God how He can use your vessel.  When He gives you an opportunity, don’t let it pass you by.  Don’t fear that you’re too weak.  In your weakness, His strength is made perfect.  It has been proven over and over:  see David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, 3 Hebrew’s in the furnace, on and on.  God will give you all that you need to complete the task He sets before you.

Be available just as you are,

jamie

 

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The pursuit of happiness

Pr. 16:20: “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

There has always seemed to be the ultimate search for happiness all around us.  “Do what makes you happy.” “Hey! As long as your happy.” “But I’m not happy.”  Happiness is one of those goals that is chased with great fervor.

Well, folks, the answer to truly being happy has finally arrived: trusting in the Lord.  “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

Now, how do we do that?  The answer comes before that.  We heed His Word wisely.  His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, so do we need to walk around feeling like we are all alone in this world?  No.  That feeling will make us sad, for sure.  Knowing the truth will make us happy.

Do we need to walk around weighed down with worry about our needs never being met?  No.  We can give to the Lord, trusting that He will honor His Word and give back to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)  We will be happy, knowing that our needs are in the hands of our Provider.

If we are heeding the Word wisely we also won’t need to walk around burdened by fear.  We will find happiness in the fact that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Ti. 1:7) In fact, we will also be able to trust that He can deliver us from all our fears, because Ps. 34:4 tells us, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” If that doesn’t make us happy, I don’t know what can!

The joy of the Lord is still our strength.  He has not and does not changed.  That is great cause for happiness.  In fact, I think it’s fitting to say it’s even a reason to rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! …Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:4,6

So, the point is that if you know what God has said, you trust in it, and you make your requests known to Him, He will guard your heart and mind with peace and that will lead to what?  Happiness!

Don’t worry, y’all.  Be happy, in the Lord!

jamie

How to hear wisdom

I just can’t stop thinking about that verse.  “So then faith comes from hearing…”  Ro. 10:17

Do you know what else we hear?  We hear our own thoughts in our heads.  We talk to ourselves all the time.  What are we saying?  Not only that, but sometimes we allow the enemy to run thoughts through our minds that bring us down.  What are we hearing?

“I’ll never be as smart as her.”

“Man, he really has it all together.  Look how successful he is.”

“It’s hopeless.”

“Her kids are so perfect.  I feel like such a mess.”

“I never do anything right.”

“I can’t do this.  It’s too hard.”

“God doesn’t hear my prayers.  What’s the point?”

Pr. 22:17 tells us to incline our ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply our hearts to knowledge.  We will find wisdom and knowledge in the Word of God.  The truth, which are the words that counteract all of the thoughts above, is within God’s Word.

If faith comes from hearing, we need to be careful what we are saying to ourselves.  We need to be hearing words of truth, of life, of wisdom.  We need to put on our helmets of salvation, get out our swords (the Bible), and begin reading words that are living and powerful, that pierce even to the division of soul and spirit, and discern our thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb. 5:12)

In fact, we can trust that God’s Word will help us in our time of need because Is. 55: 11 says, “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.”

Where we fail in cheering ourselves us, or convincing ourselves that things are ok, God prevails!  Where we fail in pushing down thoughts of hopelessness, God’s hope achieves exactly that!  God’s Word is truly a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  He sheds light on our darkest moments, situations, and thoughts.

Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness, and the hope we find within the refuge of Your name.  Thank You for shielding and protecting us when we turn to You. 

So, each day, when we notice any thoughts that threaten to drag us down or pull us away from God, we need to turn to the truth of God’s word, allow it to take them captive, and allow Him to give us discernment and breathe life and truth back into us.

We’ve got this!  Because, with God, all things are possible.  😉

jamie

Scattering gladness

Pr. 12:25:  “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Newsflash:  not everyone who is depressed lies in bed with the covers over their head.  Most go to work, shop at the store, attend church and social events, and live their lives the best they can.

Just because we’re unaware of someone’s anxiety or depression, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  So, it seems that a good rule of thumb is to make sure we have a good word for each person with whom we come into contact.

We don’t have to be intimidated, thinking we have to always offer up some prophetic word from the Lord, or the best advice ever given.  We just need to give a good word.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but if good words can give gladness to a depressed heart, then it would be good for us to aim to distribute those words more generously.

We don’t have to pretend that we ourselves our happy when we’re not; however, I’m reminded of the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Still, I think we can do better than that most of the time.

Out of the abundance that God has placed within us, let’s make someone’s heart glad today.  🙂

Cordially,

jamie

He speaks

Pr. 28:14:  “Happy is the man who is fears the Lord always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

This morning I read Mt. 13:1, “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.  And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”

Multitudes traveled countless miles and gathered to hear Jesus speak.  They stood in the crowd to glean wisdom from Him, possibly to receive healing from Him, or maybe just out of curiosity.  The point is that they so wanted to see or hear Jesus that they came to find Him.

Ps. 117:2 tells us, “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.”

Like the multitudes, we need to seek Jesus.  We need to find Him so that we may hear the enduring truth that He and the Father speak.

In order to fear the Lord, keeping ourselves to His will and His precepts, we must know what He has said to us.

Had the multitudes not gathered that day, they would not have head the parables of Jesus.  They would not have heard about the kingdom of heaven.  The judgment would not have been revealed to them.

In order to keep our hearts from hardening in sin and against the Lord, we must find Him and hear Him.  Lest we fall into calamity, we must remain close to His teachings.  Having heard Him, we can then turn our lives fully over to Him and His will.

When we know the true God, we do not desire to turn our backs on Him, but to walk with Him and keep ourselves holy unto Him.  This fear of the Lord makes us happy.

Find Jesus today.  Seek Him out.  Do whatever you must to hear His words of truth which endures forever.  I pray that in your hearing, you also understand.  True happiness and joy await.

Smiling for you,

jamie

 

Be happy

Pr. 29:18:  “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

Have you ever been in a class room when the teacher leaves?  The teacher asks the kids to sit quietly while he or she slips out, but the moment the teacher leaves the door, the kids go crazy.  Without someone governing them, they talk, get out of their seats, write on the board, play with things they’re not usually allowed to touch, fight, throw things, and more.  It can be pure chaos.  When the teacher walks back in, everyone sits back down and tries to act subdued.  The teacher brings the “vision” of the classroom back through the door.

That’s a funny example that makes me chuckle a bit.  What’s not as funny is the reality of this same scenario when it comes to life not guided by God’s vision.  Without God’s vision guiding our thoughts and decisions, we cast of restraint and do whatever feels right at the moment, or even what others say is right.  God’s vision is cast clearly in His Word and He has given us guidelines by which we can live that are set in place to protect us and keep us from suffering the consequences of bad decisions.

The Lord created us out of the love in His heart and He desires fellowship with us.  He did not create “rules” to hold us under His thumb and make us miserable.  He placed His vision before us to bring us into salvation and to guide us to bring others with us.  He clearly displayed His love for us on the cross, so that we understand what is most important in this life.  If it was important enough for God to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, then it is important enough for us to base our life on that sacrifice.

As I was reminded last night at VBS, Jesus performed miracles on this earth that weren’t always about healing or exorcism.  The Lord wants us to have life more abundantly, as evidenced in the feeding of the 5,000, the turning of water to wine, and the complete deliverance of the woman at the well.  The Lord loves us.  Our obedience to His Word isn’t about domination.  It is about us being obedient because of our love and respect for Him.  The result of us being obedient to the very things that protect us, is that we will then be happy.

Satan tries to distract us and get our eyes off God’s vision, promising freedom in the flesh, but Satan is a liar!  The flesh is never satisfied.  We can feed it for 60 years, and it will always want more.  God; on the other hand, God satisfies completely.  He fills us and then fills us again.  He continues to give more and more, as we hunger and thirst for Him.

When we get in line with the revelation of the Lord, and live a life that proves it, we will be truly free.  What sin actually brings is the bondage of guilt, shame, fear, brokenness, destroyed relationships, and consequences.  The Spirit of the Lord brings true freedom.  He gives us freedom and releases all bonds through mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, and joy.  God already sent Jesus to set us free.  The proof of His love and His liberty was on the cross.  He cares for us and gave us access to His vision.  Let’s restrain ourselves within its bounds and experience true happiness.

Remember the cross,

jamie