The Lord wins the battle

Ps. 33:16:  “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.”

This morning I read the story of the army of the Midianites being defeated in the sight of Gideon and 300 Israelites.

It was not their large #’s that defeated the Midianites.  It was not their education, their strength, or their skill.  It was the Lord.  While the Israelites watched, the Lord set every Midianites’ sword against his own companion throughout their whole camp and they fled.  The Lord saved them and delivered them.

We all face battles.  In the face of the battle, we can become afraid.  We can worry that we don’t have the resources we need, that we’re not strong enough, or that we’re not skilled or special enough to win.

This morning; however, let me remind us all.  It is the Lord who saves us.  It is the Lord who delivers us.  We don’t have to have the multitude of an army.  The Lord is our help and our shield.

As you face this day, remember that the Lord who delivered the Israelites, and who spoke our world into existence, is walking before you.  His angels encamp all around you, and His ears are open to your cries.

Walk confidently in Him today,

jamie

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Looking for hope

Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”       Ps. 43:5

 

 

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

Growing up for a reason

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1

Pr. 11:30 reminds us that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  It is hard to win souls when we’re still babes in Christ.

Babies need almost constant attention.  When they’re not sleeping they need to be fed, held, cleaned, and kept safe.

There comes a time in our spiritual journey that we must make the decision to grow up.  We must begin feeding and caring for ourselves, not depending on others to provide us with everything.  We must learn to trust God to hold us and clean us up, not expecting others around us to be the ones who do so.

Of course, we all have moments when we need the love and care of those around us; however, when we find that we need that almost constantly it is an indication that perhaps we are still behaving as babes.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world preaching and baptizing.  Solomon reminded us that winning souls is the wise thing to do.  In order to do these things, we must have something to offer.

Babies are born helpless and have almost nothing to offer others.  They have to learn and grow so that they can begin contributing to the world around them.  Likewise, we must continue to grow in our trust in God and in our knowledge of Him so that we have something to offer those around us who are truly in need.

The best place to start is…drum roll, please…the Word.  When we begin feeding ourselves the Bread of Life each day, we are beginning to grow up and care for ourselves.

Once we get used to feeding ourselves, we can begin cleaning ourselves up through prayer.  Asking God for forgiveness and direction cleans us up and gives us wisdom for our next steps.  Thanking God for His blessings causes us to become grateful, which is a very grown up attribute.

With these skills, we will then find ourselves running to God to be held.  We will have grown in our understanding of who our Provider, Comforter, Helper, Deliverer, and Savior truly is.  We will know that when we need help the most, the safest, most dependable place to run is to the arms of our Father in heaven.

Armed with all this knowledge, we can then teach others that these same things are true.  We can point them to the same Father, who gives us the safety to be His baby, and the wisdom to grow into spiritual adults.

Growing up alongside you,

jamie

Don’t reach for that compromise

Tuesday night we headed outside for a family activity.  Within minutes, we realized that the mosquito families had joined us.  My husband was quick to declare it time for bug spray.

Not speaking in time to ask for my own chemical free bug spray, and not wanting to walk the 200 ft. inside to get it myself, I decided to tough it out.  It wasn’t long before I was so uncomfortable that I actually reached for the chemical laden bug spray and sprayed it on my skin.

Although I was uneasy with my decision and trying to spray it a bit lighter than usual, I covered all exposed areas.  As I wondered why I wouldn’t just walk back in and grab the spray I’m more comfortable with, I began an internal dialog:  “Just once won’t hurt.  I need this.  It will be alright.  If you go inside you might miss out on some fun.  Quit stressing about this one decision.”

I compromised my standards about intentionally using chemicals on my skin and still ended up with 10 mosquito bites.  Not only that, but the effects of the chemicals absorbing into my skin are not yet known.  Who knows the damage that my “just this once” decision has left?

Sinful temptations are just like this.  We are faced with a real issue.  Maybe we’re too lazy to walk away or too proud to ask for help.  Sometimes, because of those things, we justify the reasons why it’s ok just this once.

Most of the time, we end up with visible wounds right away.  Sometimes, the damage done under the surface doesn’t show up until later.  The fact of the matter is; however, no matter what we feel at the moment, the universal laws of cause and effect ensure that there is damage being done.

Sadly, we do these things intentionally.  What can be done to stop us?

Well, we can grab the warnings from my bug spray episode and remember to ask for help, walk away, or to refuse to give in.  We can remember that justifying harmful actions will only invite and accelerate afflictions in our life.  Not compromising on our standards, we can choose to stand firm and say no.

I’m reminded of Heb. 2:18 and 4:16, which say, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have a Helper upon which we can call.  We don’t have to intentionally inflict harm and destruction upon ourselves.  I’m so grateful we’ve not been left stranded and helpless.  Thank you, Jesus, and right now, Lord, please help us all.

Still itchy, but much more alert,

jamie

Dreaming the very possible dream

Pr. 21:25-26:  “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”

The first example that comes to my mind pertains to losing weight.  How many times have we heard people wish out loud (or perhaps done it ourselves) that they would eat better and lose weight.

“Oh, it’s frustrating being overweight.”  “I need to start eating better.”  “I wish I could wear clothes like that, run a 5k, or have that much energy.”  The list goes on and on.

Stating the desire out loud can cause deep sorrow or depression when the one speaking it knows they will do nothing to achieve that goal.  It may seem like dreaming the impossible dream.

The reality; however, is that by making the decision to put forth the labor, the weight could in fact come off.  Deciding that the desire is worth the effort, one could finally begin to say no to unhealthy foods and yes to healthy choices.

There are lots of examples of this:  saving money, getting out of debt, reading the Bible more, taking time for ourselves each day, spending more time with family, learning that hobby we’ve been dreaming about, beginning a foundation, joining a ministry…the list could go on and on.

What is it that you’ve been desiring, but feeling as if it were an impossible dream?

Ask The Lord to help you.  Nothing is impossible for God, and with Him all things are possible.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

As Christians, we must remember that God did not give us a spirit of fear.  There is nothing we can’t do with God on our side.  God gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A sound mind.  When we decide our desire is worth the labor, and we ask The Lord to help us, we can grasp that desire with hands full of power.  We do not have live under the heaviness of unfulfilled desires.  We can reach out, through God, and see our desires come to life.

Today is the day when we can begin the labor that will see our desire fulfilled!  Ask God to help, and let’s get to work.

Laboring,

jamie

The King of mercy

Pr. 20:8:  “A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters all evil with his eyes.”  

Obviously not all kings are or have been the same.  The character of the king would certainly determine his judgments.

This verse brings to mind my current situation.  From my seat on the couch, where I have positioned myself while my leg heals, I can see a lot of different things.

This morning, as the sun has been streaming so beautifully through the door, I can see every speck of dust on my floor.  I can see things outside that need to be taken care of.  I can see dvd’s out of place, things in the floor that don’t belong, and decorations positioned in ways I don’t prefer.

I certainly have the option to use my seat as a place of corrupt judgment, tyrannically demanding that every little thing be exactly to my specifications and liking.  However, I also have the option of using wise judgment and understanding, ruling out what is truly imperative and what is not.

When we make judgments based on self-interests alone, we are doing an injustice to those around us.  When we count everything as “evil,” then nothing truly is.  We must wisely discriminate which infringements require us to rule in a negative way and which do not.

It’s amazing that The Lord, our God, sits on a throne of grace where we are offered mercy time after time.  God sees into our hearts.  He may see things out of place, He may notice specks of dirt or brokenness, but He rightly judges.

God does not look on us through eyes of anger, but through eyes of love.  He does not rule in His own self-interest, but in ours.  He  sent His own Son to take our punishment, offering us reward through accepting that sacrifice.  He even offers help anytime we ask.

What a mighty a God we truly serve!  God cannot tolerate sin, but He can see into our hearts, and when we are truly broken before Him, grace through the blood of Jesus covers and frees us.

God isn’t sitting around looking for the debris or disorganization in our lives so that He can judge us harshly.  Our King, is gazing lovingly at those who choose to call Him Father, with arms outstretched, grace and mercy pouring from His throne.

Yes, those who do not turn from Him will be judged, as well, but it is not His desire.  His character is proven by His love.  His judgments are pure and we can trust in Him.

Considerately,

jamie