Reading the whole Word

This morning I was reading the book of Amos.  I was reminded that we cannot just pick and choose which parts of God’s Word we read.  It is all important.

It is normal and helpful to choose verses that help us through the day, such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” or “My God shall supply all your needs through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Mt. 6 reminds us not to worry.  John reveals to us the power of Jesus and the power that brings to our lives.

These verses are wonderful and help us survive and cope here on Earth.  While we are waiting on the Lord, we cling to the hope we find in His Word.  I am so grateful that we have access to the Word of God.

What a blessing that He gave us such access to Him!

Reading Amos; however, reminds us that this life is about more than just being comfortable.  Life is about more than surviving.

Amos reminds us that while we are comfortable, other around us are lost and dying.  People are literally without God and headed for destruction.  When we read outside of our “comfort verses,” we are reminded to grieve for the lost, which will spur us to action.  We are reminded that this life isn’t a game.  There is a mission for us in this life.

Yes, I believe God’s promises to prosper us and give us life more abundantly, but I don’t believe those things supersede His desire that all His children come to Him.  I don’t believe He sent His Son to die on the cross simply for our comfort.

He wants us to be saved, and to live eternally with Him.  But not just us…also those around us.

Amos, and other prophets remind us that this life will not always be.  The Word of God is a gift we have, that cannot be taken for granted.  Life is not only about eating, drinking, and being merry, but also about eternity.

Christ’s return will come.  Not everyone will be known by Him on that day.  Does that grieve your heart?  If it doesn’t, I encourage you to turn to Amos.  I encourage you to ask the Lord to remind you of His heart.

It is easy for the worries of the day to blind us and cause us to forget the larger picture.  God’s Word is there to remind us to grieve and to act.  We can spread the verses of hope with those who come to believe.

Encouraging you,

jamie

Today’s scriptural affirmation

Pr. 15:24:  “The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.”

Scripture goes forth to accomplish and prosper in the purpose for which it was sent.  Speak it into your life and your loved ones lives today.

Repeat after me:

The way of life winds upward for me, that I may turn away from hell below.

And again:

The way of life winds upward for [insert your children’s or loved ones names], that (he, she, they) may turn away from hell below.

Enjoy the upward journey,

jamieio

Those enticing deceptions

Pr. 7:27:  “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.”

This chapter in Proverbs is speaking about the immoral woman and the young youth who yielded to her enticements.

Certainly he was not the first one to whom this has happened.  We have all been seduced by sin.  We must learn by our mistakes; however, and the mistakes of those around us.  We can see clearly that the end result of sin is death and hell.

We don’t want to believe that.  We really want to justify and rationalize.  We are so good at trying to figure out the loopholes.  Sin is attractive.  Just like this harlot, sin is alluring.  It fascinates us with its sensations.  The rationalizations that accompany it tempt us to believe that it can all work out.

However, just as this simple youth was led to the slaughter by this enchantment, we are also led to death when we succumb.

Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to “exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceitful.  The rationalizations and justifications that accompany sin are deceitful.  The bewitching package of sin is deceitful.  It is all a ploy.  Satan wants us to give in to sin.  He wants us to allow our flesh to win the war against the Spirit.

When faced with this seducing bait, we must remember that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit are contrary to one another.  We cannot live in intentional sin and still be walking in the Spirit.  That is a lie.  If we find ourselves believing this, we have been hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

We must be vigilant to guard ourselves from giving into temptation.  We must continue to feed on the Word of God and allow His Spirit to be our guide.  Temptations will still be presented, but when we are walking in the Spirit, His wisdom will keep us from stepping where we should not.

Jesus is still on the throne where He is able to aid those who are tempted.  (Heb. 2:18)  We have the ultimate ally, who will literally supply us with every single provision we need to stay true to His desires.  Let’s take advantage of all we’ve been given through Him.

With Jesus, there is life, and the victory of death has already been won!  Instead of allowing sin to lead us to the slaughter, we can allow Jesus to lead us to eternal life.  Praise God for this amazing blessing!!

It’s still Today!

jamie

Is your foundation stable?

Pr. 10:25:  “When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”

I remember years ago, as I rolled off a skating rink, my feet went forward out from under me and I fell straight down on my tailbone.  It looked much like this:

 

When I envision a whirlwind passing by, this image pops into my mind.  When we are living in sin, our foundation is as unstable as a pair of roller skates on an unexpected incline.  We are governed by our feelings, urges, and desires, which are ever-changing.  We are being led by a liar whose sole intent is to destroy us and steal from us.  He wants nothing more than to keep us from the inheritance that has already been provided for us.

Oh, but that everlasting foundation!!  There is nothing like it.  What are the lyrics to that song, “Just like a tree, planted by the water, I shall not be moved.”  When we are being led by the Almighty God, and Savior of this world, our roots go so deep that we cannot be moved.

Psalm 1 talks about those who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but delight in the law of the Lord, and His law, meditating on it day and night.  Vs. 3 says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Vs. 4-5:  “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

This is serious stuff.  We are either firmly rooted in the Lord, righteous and destined to stand in the judgment which will take us to everlasting life; or we are on unstable footing that will be knocked out from under us by the whirlwind that passes by and we will lose our rightful inheritance.

Jesus died so that we would have everlasting life.  He came as our Cornerstone.  He is the Rock on which we can build our lives.  If we build our lives on Him, neither the rains, the floods, nor the wind can make us fall.

The Lord does not desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and salvation.  Let’s ensure that our foundation is the stable, unshakable, immovable, unchangeable Lord.  No need to be swept away by the whirlwind that was meant for satan.

Standing firm,

jamie

 

Keep watching

Pr. 29:1:  “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

There is a punishment and a destruction that will come that will indeed be without remedy.  This morning, I was reading Luke 12 where Jesus talks about the end coming.  There is a punishment for those who do not choose the Lord as their Master and their Lord.

As this year comes to an end, it is a good time for a reminder that there is an eternal reward, or punishment, that awaits.  Our lives are not about what we see and experience here on this earth, but about the Lord, His will, and eternity with Him.  We cannot harden our necks to this truth, but must stand corrected and ready, waiting on His return.

Jesus tells His disciples, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

This entire passage reminds me of Christmas evening.  We knew that some of our family was expected to arrive that evening.  When they called and let us know that they were 3 hours from arrival, we left my parents house and our other family and went home to prepare.  We wanted to be home when they arrived, to have our home nice and cozy, and to have food waiting on them upon their arrival.

As we waited excitedly, my kids were watching out the window and asking for updates on the time, hardly able to contain themselves with the anticipation.  Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.”  This reminds me of what we were doing Christmas evening.

The difference is that we knew what time to expect our company.  We do not have that knowledge about the return of Christ.  vs. 45 says, “But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink, and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”

When we lose the anticipation about the Lord’s return and become distracted and caught up by this life, He will come back to find us unready and we will be appointed our portion with the unbelievers.

That is not God’s will for our lives.  Hell was created for satan and his angels, not for us.  (Mt. 25:41)  Heaven is the kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world.  (Mt. 25:34)  We are meant to spend eternity in heaven with our Savior and King.

Let us not become so distracted, as we wait, that we lose our anticipation of His coming.  He will return!  He will come back for us.  Let’s keep watching, expecting Him at any moment.  Our blessing awaits.

Eagerly,

jamie

Don’t give in!

Pr. 12:5:  “The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”

Last night, my daughter was instructed to clean her guinea pig’s cage.  When it was time for her to put new bedding in the cage bottom, her little brother went to “help.”  The bedding is in a closet on our back patio and through the screen door I could hear them both yelling, laughing, and just generally making a ruckus.  After the 1 minute warning period had passed, I went outside to check on the progress.

To my horror, I walked in to find bedding strewn about all over the floor of the closet and most of its contents.  Interestingly there was only about a handful of bedding actually in the cage bottom.  Either the bag of bedding had exploded or the cause of ruckus I had heard was now being revealed.  My daughter quickly let me know that it had been her little brother’s idea to toss the bedding about like confetti.

Leave it to God to use something like that to illustrate His word to me.  🙂  Can you infer from this situation, as I did, that the counsels of the wicked are indeed deceitful?  They may sound fun, exciting, intriguing, interesting, possibly ok, or even invigorating, but that is a deception.  While tossing pine shavings about may have seemed stimulating in a moment of madness, the consequences of such a choice are bigger than those kids could have imagined.

Because of the choice they made, they not only have to pick up each and every piece of pine; they also lost several privileges.  Perhaps it was my son’s idea, and he was truly the mastermind behind it all (I don’t doubt it), but my daughter is responsible for the choices she makes as well.  Had she simply done her job and left him to his own mess, she would not have to face the same consequences.  However, she chose not only to condone his actions, but to be deceived by and entrapped in his unwise counsel.  Sadly, she now has to face the same consequences as he.

This is what happens so often.  We get some bad advice.  We may know better, but we lose ourselves in a moment and become deceived by the allure of sin.  Consequently, we will then have to face the same end as the one who lured us in.  Be careful whose advice you’re taking.  If you are righteous, bought with the blood of Jesus, then you must take responsibility for your own actions and choose what you already know to be right.  Through the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, we know what is right.  We must not let a moment of deception lead us astray.

There ARE grave consequences to sin and we must remember that our souls are far too important to put into the hands of those deceptions.  Keep doing what you know to be right.  Heaven awaits and we will rejoice for eternity!

Persevere,

jamie

Our great reward awaits!

Pr. 11:23: “The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

This morning I was reading in Matthew 25 about the nations being judged.  There will be a day when we will be gathered before the throne of Jesus and judged.

To those sheep who have loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

To those goats who have not loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Jesus says, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”  Then the righteous asked when they did these things, and this was His answer:  “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”  The goats were reminded that they did not do those things.

When you are caring for people in the name of Jesus, you can look forward to a great reward.  When you ignore or disregard the needs of others, you can expect wrath.

Jesus says that whoever believes on His name shall be saved.  He tells us in Matthew that He also expects us to keep His command of loving our neighbors as ourselves.  When we show love to those around us, we are showing love to Him.

Let’s let the devil and his angels face the everlasting fire on their own.  Looking forward to your great reward, take time to reach out and care for someone today.  Whatever you do to those around you, you are doing to your Savior and King.  You will be rewarded fully with eternal life in the kingdom prepared just for you.

Anticipating,

jamie