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

 

 

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Love your enemies, part 2

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

In yesterday’s blog, I asked this question: if someone who has hurt you needs prayer will you pray for them?

When you or someone you love has a serious prayer need in your life don’t you desire compassion and aren’t you seeking for people to pray for you?  Most of us are.

Now, say that the wrathful person you envisioned in this verse has a prayer need.  Are you going to take time to pray for them?  If someone who has previously injured you in some way now needs prayer, will you pray for them?

What was it that Jesus told us in Mt. 5:44-45?  Get ready for it…

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons [and daughters] of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”

Jesus said we should love our enemies.  Not only that, but we should bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us.  Also, we should pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us.  Why?  So we may be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.  He makes us all, loves us all, and according to John 3:16, died for us all.

I have a testimony not meant for a blog, but the Lord once asked me to pray for someone who had seriously injured me.  It seemed like an unreasonable request, considering the pain this person had caused me, and although I initially argued with God (in the pew at church), I eventually gave in.  Once I did, I was lifted of a burden in a way I never could have imagined.

The Lord freed ME of anger…freed ME of unforgiveness…freed ME of pain and bitterness.  I am much more equipped to forgive now than I was before, and I am so thankful for the freedom the Lord gave me when I trusted Him enough to do as He commanded. 

We cannot control what the people around us do.  All we can control is what we choose to do.  We can choose to trust the Lord enough to follow His Word and do as He commanded.

Just like He showed me…there are great rewards in store when we do!

Give it a shot!

jamie

Love your Enemies, part 3

Love your Enemies, part 4

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  John 15:13

Who in your life has ever loved you this much?

Jesus

Why did He lay down His life for us?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

He took our sins and sickness upon Himself so that He could spend eternity with us.  He wants to be with us forever.

Now THAT is true love.  😉

Falling more in love with Him each day,

jamie

Enjoy this song about His love.  “How He Loves,” sung by John Mark McMillan:

Instead of setting a snare, speak grace

Pr. 18:7:  “A fools mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.”

A fool, as defined in the Bible, is one who says there is no God.  Such a statement and belief is exactly what leads to destruction.  John 3:16 clearly tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  We must believe to be saved.

Words can also start fights, break hearts, and sever relationships, all of which are also very destructive.  Words matter.  There are also words that are socially acceptable, but not acceptable in God’s sight.

Yesterday I was unprepared when heard someone take the Lord’s name in vain in a curse that caused me to so shudder that I had to immediately remove myself.  While I understand that as Americans we have the right to speak as we want, I also understand that weight and consequences that words carry.

Likewise, I understand that we have been taught a different way to speak than just what is lawful or accepted in our country.  I am reminded of Ex. 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”  There are still consequences to taking the Lord’s name in vain…even if everyone else does it.

In Mt. 12:36-37, Jesus teaches us, saying, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  It is clear that our words not only matter, but have an affect not only here in this life and when Jesus returns.  In order to not set a snare for our soul, we must be careful how we are speaking.

Eph. 4:29 tells us, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to hearers.”  Here we see that edifying words impart grace upon those who hear.  That’s another effect of our words, but one that is much more positive.

Pr. 16:24 tells us how, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”  Isn’t that so true?  Oh, and Pr. 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  Words matter.  With all the adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs in our vocabulary, there are countless words that are more interesting than curses, and vast expressives that could be used in substitute for the Lord’s name.

In Ps. 19:14, David reveals his hearts desire to, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  Oh, that in speaking this would also be our goal.  Regardless of our rights as citizens on this earth, we know the power of our words goes far beyond this broken world.  Let us consider wisely what we speak.

Thoughtfully,

jamie