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

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Scripture/prayer journal

One of my favorite types of prayer journals is one where I write down scriptures that speak to me as I’m reading.  Then I often write out a prayer after the ones I feel led to pray about.

This type of journal has some good benefits.

  • It can help you focus on what the scriptures are really saying, instead of just skimming over them.
  • It can help you memorize scriptures
  • You can use your journal as a reference when trying to find certain scriptures in the future (This can help you become more and more familiar with the scriptures)
  • When you choose a scripture to pray about, it helps you become closer to the One who wrote the scripture

Here is an example of a scripture/prayer from one of my journals:

3-12-14:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9  Lord, perfect Your strength in my weakness which I give to You to use for Your glory, and as Paul said, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In 2014, I also chose John 15:4 to be my verse for the year:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  I began to pray that God would show me how to abide in Him.  Then I began to research vines, and the pruning and training of vines.  I began to look up every verse I could find that talked about God being the vine, about us bearing fruit, or about abiding in Him.  I wrote all of it in my journal.  It was a journey that I desperately needed and my journal was my lifeline to the Lord.  I can now go back and see the progress I made and the ways that God met my needs during that time and brought me ever-closer to Him.

I encourage you to keep your journal open beside you as your read your Bible.  If a scripture speaks to you, simply write it down.  Give the Lord a chance to draw you closer to Him through this practice.  I think it will surprise you.  His Word is powerful enough to speak something new to us on a daily basis.  It’s even better when we can record those new discoveries!

Praying for you,

jamie

Also see previous blogs about prayer journals:  Prayer Journaling 101  and Traditional Prayer Journal and Art Prayer Journals

 

Which way?

Pr. 17:24:  “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

The Lord revealed something to me yesterday as I was driving.  There are signs, arrows, and directional markers all around us.  Some signs to tell us exactly which driving lane we need to be in.  Arrows point us in the right direction on one-way streets.  There are signs to let us know what’s ahead, when to merge, if there is a detour, and on and on.  

We are surrounded by instructions, and yet some people are still ‘directionally challenged.’  Why is that? They have good intentions.  They know where they want to end up; however, the get flustered in the details and lose their way.

This proverb says that even though the fool is looking for wisdom, he cannot see her, though she is right in front of him.

Not everyone can clearly see the signs and markers.  Not everyone can figure out which lane is correct when there is so much going on around them.  Driving (like life) is so busy sometimes, and we cannot always see the little arrows in the midst of the noisy crowds.  Sometimes the little details can be hard to pick out among all the hundreds of signs, directions, and choices all around us.

This could be a lesson about how we shouldn’t overlook the wisdom that is right in front of us.  This morning; however, my heart is aching for those are can’t find their way.

The word fool has a condescending meaning in our times; however, God uses the word fool to mean someone who is disregarding His Word.  It is someone who has become lost on their journey.  Sure, there are signs, markers, arrows, and indicators all around them, but they cannot see them in their search for answers.

Instead of us having ‘road rage’ against those around us who are lost or disregarding God’s Word, we must allow compassion for their souls to cause us to be someone who lovingly points them in the right direction.  Do we want those around us to drive off the cliff into tribulation, fiery death, or torment?  I don’t want anyone to end up in a location of pain and anguish that was designed for their enemy just because they missed the U-turn sign.

When we’re driving as a group and someone doesn’t make it through the light or misses the turn, do we continue on, leaving them behind?  No.  We stop and wait for them.  Perhaps we go back to get them and guide them on.

The journey to eternity is of far greater importance than a trip to the store or to that vacation spot.  We can’t let ‘road rage’ cause us to laugh at, judge, or scoff at those who are losing our way.  We MUST stop and help!  Someone else showed us the way.  We have to share the secret with someone else.

Help us see the wisdom, Lord,

jamie

The safety net of hope

Pr. 11:14:  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

I’ve been reading some of Paul’s letters to different churches.  Being a travelling missionary, he couldn’t always be present at the churches, so he would write them letters of counsel.  I flipped through and realized how many of those churches I’ve been like over my lifetime.

I’ve been like the church in Thessalonica, young in the Lord, and excited to live for Him!

Oh, but then I’ve turned into the church of Galatia.  Deceived by false teaching, I would believe that in order to be accepted by God, I had to follow the law again.  I allowed guilt, pressure, comparison, or the example of some to lead my away from the salvation of Jesus Christ, and into the thinking that I am saved by my works…not by God’s grace.

Then, I would find my way back to God’s grace, understanding that salvation comes from Him alone, and I would find myself becoming more like the Ephesian church.  Maturing in my spirituality, truly trusting in God’s grace and His strength, walking in unity with my fellow believers, and growing in wisdom, I would be more whole.

After that season of beautiful growth, I would become like the church in Colosse.  I would get distracted from my spiritual growth, and instead, grow in immorality.

Then, after true repentance, I’d be back to baby steps, starting out like a new baby trying to get back to my Savior.  Feeling young and vulnerable again, I would once again be like the church in Thessalonica, excited to give my life to Christ again, and ready to begin taking care of my spiritual growth again.

Just the way Paul counseled the churches through his letters and through the fellow believers he sent their way, I have been counseled along the way by mentors, teachers, Pastors, friends, and the Word of God throughout my inconsistent journey.

I am so thankful that the Lord never let me fall so far that I couldn’t find my way back to Him.  There was a safety that came from the many ‘counselors’ that navigated me through.  Be encouraged today, He can do the same for you.

Certainly I’m not done with my journey.  By God’s grace, I find myself currently in an Ephesian-like season, growing daily closer to Him.  Although it is my hope to remain in that place going forward, I understand that until I’m home in heaven, I will never have it all together.  That’s the beauty of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and renewal.

I encourage us today to be ‘counselors’ for others on their journey.  I pray we will be the instruments God can use to provide the safety they need to block their fall.  Let’s use Paul as our example and encourage those around us in the Lord.  He’s not finished with us yet!

Redeemed,

jamie

 

Is this really the right way?

Pr. 14:8:  “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”

We just got back from a wonderful driving vacation where we covered about 2,000 miles.  A crucial part of that trip was the map.  Without that map, we would not have known where to go.  We had a very specific route and order that we wanted to follow.  Just to be sure, we had it on paper and on the gps.  We wanted to ensure we got where we desired to go when we desired to be there.

This verse speaks to us about how important it is to truly understand our way.  The destination we have in mind for ourselves is good, but we have to choose the path that will get us there.  Not all paths lead to a life full of integrity.  Not all paths lead to a good reputation, a faithful marriage, a life of missions, the job or ministry to which we feel led, or even to heaven.

Keeping our final destination in mind, we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that another path will still end at the same spot.  We also cannot allow others to deceive us, telling us it’s ok to take another path.

With help from the best guide of all, The Holy Spirit, we must strive to understand our way; whether it will lead us to our desired destination or not.  We cannot become lackadaisical on our journey, allowing ourselves to wander down paths that lead us in another direction.

Speaking specifically to heaven, there is but One way.  His name is Jesus Christ.  No matter how many detours the world throws our way, we must use prudence to understand the truth.

Staying alert,

jamie