Don’t start nothing

I was driving behind a van today sporting a bumper sticker that said, “Don’t start nothing, there won’t be nothing.”

This line is from the Men in Black movie, apparently, but struck such a chord with this motorist that they felt the need to add it to their vehicle’s decor.  I realized right away that the driver of this van did not want to be provoked, and if they felt they were, things could get ugly very quickly.

I couldn’t help but think that this is actually the way the world seems to be all around me now days.  People seem ready to strike out at the first hint of provocation.  And then this saying…it seems like a large population lives by this rule.  If others won’t mess with me we’ll be fine, but if they start something, then it’s on.

But can’t we do better?  What happened to turning the other cheek?  What happened to loving our enemies?  What happened to forgiving and looking over trespasses?  Jesus was literally hanging on a cross, being mocked, bleeding from his hands, feet, back, and head, and said, “Father, forgive them.”  But we say, “don’t start nothing, there won’t be nothing.”  Hmmm.  That just doesn’t sound right to me.

I don’t think we have to let people walk all over us or abuse us, but we also don’t have to always be ready to attack.  There are ways to say things that are kinder.  There are ways to say things that are calmer.  Sometimes it’s even ok to say nothing.  How about praying before we speak or react?  That’s still acceptable.  It’s not an old-fashioned concept.  It is Biblical.  God is still there on His throne offering grace and mercy in our times of need.  God is still handing out wisdom.

I really do think we can do better.  As Christians, I believe we should do better.  Not everyone is even trying to start something…we could start by realizing that.  After that, we could take an approach more like, “You start something, I end it.”  I tell my kids all the time that I don’t care who started it; they can be the one that ends it.  It’s all about choices.  I remind them that they, alone, are responsible for the choices they make.  I also remind them that 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

Let us be the ones that stand out from the crowd and don’t react with attacks and harsh answers.  Let us be the ones that end it before it even begins.  We can do better.

I’m ok with you,

jamie

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Are you with him?

Do we really need to read our Bibles, pray, worship, spend time with God?  Does that stuff actually matter?  Does it make us saved?  Does it change anything?

Things I’ve heard lately:  “How do I know if I’m saved?”  “I don’t need to raise my hands in worship.  God knows how I feel.”  “I don’t need to read my Bible, I feel saved.”

Now, let me be clear right up front.  John 3:16 says whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life.  It says if we believe, then we are saved.  I will never say that anyone is not saved if they don’t perform.  The Lord indeed knows our hearts.

However, when Jesus told people to follow Him, He would ask them to give things up.  Some gave up families, jobs, and homes.  He asked the rich, young ruler to give up his wealth.  And he always told people to repent.  He never said that anyone could just go on sinning.  He very clearly told the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.”

We don’t believe in Jesus without knowing Him and if we truly know Him then we understand that He is not ok with us just living any kind of way we want.  No, He doesn’t expect us to come to Him in a perfect state.  What He does expect is that we spend time with Him and allow Him to change us, mold us, and grow us into the person He wants us to be.

How does this happen?

I can say that I’m married to my husband, but if I never spend time with him, how can I know him?  If I don’t have conversations with him, then I will never learn anything about him.  If we never spend time together, then we won’t grow closer together.  What if I live somewhere else and choose to maybe call him twice a year?  What kind of relationship would we have then?

And if we told you we were married, but we were never affectionate, we never saw each other outside of the church, never talked outside of the church, and didn’t even write letters or emails to one another or read each others writings, then would you really believe we belonged to one another?

Worship (being affectionate to God) is an outward way to show that we know Him, we are grateful for His blessings, and that we believe in Him.  No, it is not required, but if you’re in a relationship with someone, isn’t affection usually expected?

Reading your Bible is the way you get to know God more.  It isn’t required, but the Bible is our sword!  It gets us right into the heart of God.  It is how we grow and change.

Prayer is the way we get to talk to God.  We are blessed to be able to speak directly to Him.  Prayer is our lifeline to God.

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what grows us and helps others to see that we belong to Him.  Then we become a true disciple for Him.

Follow Him,

jamie

 

 

Keep showing up

Acts 1:21-22: “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

When Jesus’ disciples were set to choose someone to take the place of Judas, these are the words they spoke.  They wanted someone who had been with them from the beginning and could attest to all that Jesus had done and said.  It needed to be someone who had been faithfully by their side along the journey, paying attention, and someone who could reveal Jesus’ true nature to others.  They then chose 2 men and left it up to God to make the final decision.

I’m compelled to say to someone this morning, keep serving.  Keep showing up.  Keep being faithful.

Matthias was not one of the original 12 disciples, but he was 1 of the leaders who spread the gospel of Jesus after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.  His role was pivotal.

Had he not spent his early years showing up, he would not have been qualified by the Lord.  Keep showing up.  The Lord sees you and knows you by name.  He is preparing a place for you.

Stay faithful,

jamie

Walk on the water!

Mt. 14:28:  “Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and his reaction is to ask Jesus to tell him to come to him.  He wanted to walk on the water with Jesus.  Jesus says, “Yes, come.”

Peter went over the side of the boat and actually walked on water!  He walked on the water to toward Jesus!

 

When was the last time you saw Jesus doing something amazing right in front of you?  Was it at a revival service?  Down at the altar when the Holy Ghost was moving?  Was it in a hospital room?  Did you ask Him to let you join in?  Peter was the only disciple that asked Jesus to let Him walk on the water…and He got to!!  I’m assuming all the others were just watching from the boat.

The next time we see Jesus walking by doing something miraculous, we don’t need to sit in our pew watching as others join Him.  We need to ask Him to tell us to come to Him.  I believe He will say come!

Let’s jump in,

jamie

Abraham’s incentives

Heb. 11:8-10:  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise like a foreigner living in tents; and so did Issac and Jacob, who inherited the same promised.  For Abraham waited for a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”  

Abraham leaving his country, family, and his father’s house to go dwell in tents in a land he didn’t know…as a foreigner…does take great faith.  There is even more to his faith story, but for today…

When I went back to Genesis this morning to read the beginning, I saw the mention of the fact that Abraham’s wife Sarai was barren; she had no child.  (Gen. 11:30)  Then, in Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord tells Abraham to leave his country and go to a land He would show Him.  But God gave him an incentive.  Well, several incentives, actually.

Remember, his wife is barren.  The Lord said, “I will make you a great nation.”  Wow!  That’s a pretty great incentive to leave.  Ok.  “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”  Goodness!  Really?  I mean, me?  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Boom!

So, not only was the Lord promising to bless Abraham, but He was going to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham.  I mean, come on!!!!  How can anyone resist that!?  And so, Abraham obeyed.  And so God did as He promised.  God blessed Abraham and his wife.  And God has blessed us all because through Abraham and his descendants came our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!!

Drop the mic.

If we trust in anything in this life, let it be the Lord.  He does what He says He will do.

Last night we had a soup dinner at church.  I had this amazing new recipe for cornbread casserole that I had eaten the day before.  I also have a great crock pot.  I put all the ingredients in my crock pot and mixed it all up.  When it was time to leave for the dinner, I simply unplugged the crock pot and we headed out the door.  When my pastor’s wife took the lid off the crock pot and stuck a serving spoon inside the casserole was more like soup.

I’d trusted in my recipe and my crock pot, and didn’t even check the results before we left home.  Fail.

Abraham trusted in the Lord who promised to bless him and all the families of the earth through him, living in tents and waiting for a city with eternal foundations.  Win!

In God we can always trust.  He will never let us down.

Served,

jamie

You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

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