How are they so calm right now?

    Photo taken straight through my kitchen window. Notice the water drops…they’re on the outside.  I was safe and dry on the inside.

I was taking a few moments to just enjoy myself and gaze out at the rain through the kitchen window this morning.  Then I looked over and had to laugh when I noticed that our outside cat, who was now inside, was doing the same through the sliding door.

Tropical storm Michael is upon us right now, so we have a nice, steady rain here right now, some wind gusts; and it’s still a bit dark out.  Inside our home this morning; however, it has been so nice and peaceful.  It’s been very calm and quiet this morning, and I’ve felt an unusual type of peace.  It’s been quite lovely.

It reminded me of something that God can do in our lives.  Sometimes there are storms in our lives.  Winds can blow, rain can pelt down, floods can rise.  Things in our lives can be out of control all around us.  Oh, but God…He can keep everything calm and peaceful within us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Ph. 4:6-7 (NLT)   

God will give us peace that exceeds anything we can understand, and it will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.  That’s the peace I’m talking about.  The peace that keeps us calm on the inside while the storm rages around us on the outside.

It won’t make sense.  People will wonder how we can be so calm.  We may not even believe it ourselves at first, but then we will understand that God has just been faithful once again, like He has been before!  He cannot lie, so if He says He will give us this kind of peace, then we can take Him at His word.  We just have to trust Him enough to try it.

So, the first step is do not worry, but pray.  Tell Him what we need.  Thank Him for all He has done.  And then…then comes that peace…the peace within the storm!  I want that peace in the storms of my life, don’t you?  Let’s give it a shot!

Praying for your peace and mine,

jamie

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Keep walking

Pr. 6:28: “Can one walk one hot coals, and his feet not be seared?”

The answer to that is yes.  You actually can walk on hot coals and have your feet not be seared.  There is a very important thing to know about walking on coals, however.  You cannot linger.

The scientific explanation is that coal and ash are not good conductors of heat, so if you simply walk at a moderate pace across the coals, you will be fine.  If you linger you will give the coals and ash enough time to conduct the heat to your skin and you will be burned.

On this earth, we have many temptations.  We cannot escape them.  They are all around us.  Temptations are not sin.  However, when we are faced with them, we cannot linger.  Once we linger, that is when we will be seared.

Paul warned the Ephesians not to let their understanding be darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance in them and blindness of their heart; becoming past feeling, giving themselves over to lewdness [being sexual or lustful in an offensive way], to work all uncleanness with greediness.

All the words that are the result of being seared are the ones that I marked in bold.  Once we have given in to temptation and lingered there, our understanding is darkened.  We become ignorant, our hearts become blind and we become past feeling.  In Hebrews 3:12, the author says we should, “Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of us be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceitful.  It sears our hearts, our sensibilities, our morals, and our consciences, just as coals would sear our feet if we would linger.

We cannot linger near temptation.  It may seem harmless.  It may seem tolerant.  It may seem appetizing or cathartic.  We may even be convinced that we deserve it.  Those are lies from the enemy.  If we linger, we will be seared.  That is a fact.

“For in that He [Jesus Christ] Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”  Heb. 2:18

All we have to do is ask Him for that aid that He has readily available to us.  He understands temptation and He is able to aid us when we are faced with it ourselves.  He took the shame and the painful death on the cross so that we don’t have to suffer the searing pain of sin.  He wants to help.

Don’t linger.

jamie

Can your mind be read?

Pr. 23:7:  “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Sometimes we trick ourselves into believing that our thoughts can’t harm anyone.  No one knows about them, after all.  We can think what we want, no one will be the wiser, and we can put on whatever face for others that we need to.

The truth is, however, that our thoughts will eventually show.  Maybe it’s the way we react to someone or something.  Maybe it’s the way we greet someone. Perhaps it’s a choice we make that when our guard is down.

Most often, though, our thoughts break out in our words.  It can happen at any time.  In fact, in Luke 6:45, Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

We may be able to fake it for a while, but what is really in our hearts will eventually come out of our mouths.  This is why we must feed ourselves good things.  Paul told the Philippians to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, praiseworthy, and that have virtue.  Those things will definitely put good treasure within our hearts.  When that happens, then the abundance that comes out of our mouths won’t be anything we should have to worry about.

What has been coming out of your mouth or been typed by your fingers?  Those things are coming from the abundance of your heart.  They are indicators as to what your heart is full of.

So what do you think in your heart?  That is who you are.  Is that statement upsetting?  Perhaps this is the time to begin meditating on new things. The word of God is a good place to start.

It’s like when the indicator light is on in our car.  We know it’s time to get something fixed.  It happens.  We all have to examine the indicators in our lives from time to time.  We just need to be responsible enough to admit that something needs fixed.

We can then go boldly to the throne of grace in our time of need and find the mercy and grace we need to help to make the changes that need to be made.  The Lord can renew our minds and create within us clean hearts once again.

Renewed,

jamie

Integrity? Or just the appearance of it?

Pr. 10:9:  “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

It is important to have moral principles and live an upright life, but if it something that is only for appearance, then we’ve erred.

Jesus spoke to the ‘religious’ people, the scribes and Pharisees, about their own integrity.  Outwardly, they gave the impression that they were full of integrity and religion.

Jesus pointed out to them; however, that they were missing the fundamental things of Him:  justice, mercy, and faith.  Their ways had become perverted, and Jesus made it known.

Maybe others cannot, but the Lord can see past the surface into the truth of our hearts.  And a relationship is a choice that is made on the inside.

We can say we have a boyfriend or girlfriend.  We can wear a necklace that bears their name, change our status on Facebook, tell everyone we know all about them.  If we are still secretly dating other people; however, the truth is we have not made the choice to be in a true relationship.

When we have a relationship with God, it is what is truly in our hearts that matters.  No amount of cross necklaces, church attendance, or declarations will replace the decision to turn our lives over to Him alone.

God doesn’t want us to pretend we have a relationship with Him anymore than another person would want us to do that with them.  He is worth us making the choice to truly choose Him and devote ourselves to investing in our relationship with Him.

That’s the integrity that brings security:  security in knowing that God is for us, with us, and that eternal life is ours!

In a relationship,

jamie

 

Righteousness prevents the stings

Pr. 12:13:  “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.” 

I’ve been thinking about yellow jackets all day long.  When I read this Proverb this morning, I immediately remembered an incident that happened to me in high school.  One afternoon a group of kids in my youth group jumped on me in the yard of the church and began holding me down and tickling me.  I very much dislike being tickled, and it was torture.  I sincerely begged for them to stop, but they only seemed encouraged and would not relent.

Suddenly a swarm of yellow jackets came out of the ground and began stinging them all.  I was untouched.

This Proverb reminds me of that event.  One can’t help but wonder if perhaps those kids were punished for their actions towards me.  I’m not saying I was perfect and they were horrible human beings, but I was the one being tormented in that moment, and I certainly came through trouble without a single sting. Did they set a trap for themselves?

Our words are a choice that we make.  We can choose to allow transgression to flow forth from our lips, and become ensnared by the trap we’ve set; or we can allow righteousness to prevail, ensuring that we come through trouble.

It certainly isn’t always simple to speak right words, but as Luke 6:45 reminds us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Ensuring that we are filling our hearts with righteous things will definitely help our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.  And that will help us come through trouble.

Trying not to get stung,

jamie