Tag Archives: learning

You are qualified to minister!

Why is it that our imperfections make us feel as though we are unqualified to minister?

Logically, we know that no one is perfect.  When it comes to ourselves; however, we have this harsh standard of judgment that we hold ourselves up against.  We think our imperfections are too imperfect.  If people only knew…  Why would anyone want to listen to us…  What makes us so special or all-knowing…

Let me tell you this.  Your imperfections are Exactly what make you qualified to minister.  It is because you are imperfect that you know how to relate to the imperfections of others.  It is because of your past trials that you understand what others are going through.  It is precisely because of the pain you’ve experienced that you can speak to another’s pain.

No hurting person wants to be ministered to by someone who acts like their own life is perfect and that nothing has ever gone wrong for them.  We always relate much more to people who are real and have scars, just like us .

Having gone through your trials, your pain, and your battles has made you the minister that you were meant to be.  I know for a fact that God doesn’t allow things to happen in our lives without having something good come from them.  If that good thing is that our faith is built, then we are better for it.  If that good thing is that our character is stronger, than praise be to Him!  If that good thing is that we now rely on the One who gives the strength, then we have come out as winners.

You get it?  There is a verse in 2 Timothy that really speaks to me on this.  Chapter 3, verse 7 says, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Is that what we are doing?  Always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth?  It is time for that to stop!  It is time to come to the knowledge of the truth, once and for all.

My pain and my trials have equipped me for ministry.  What I have learned through them and through God’s Word have equipped me for ministry.  What you have learned has done the same for you.  It is time to stop doubting, to trust in God, to come to the full knowledge of the truth, and to minister as though the end is drawing near.  Because brothers and sisters, I assure you the end is indeed drawing nigh.

The very fact that you have come out on this side of your battle, still looking to God as your Source, says that you have endured!  Now, there are others out there in need of the same Savior, Healer, Deliverer, and Provider that you’ve been leaning upon.  It is time for you to go forth and minister!

Fulfill your ministry,

jamie

Giving glory to God!

It occurs to me that I’ve been remiss in giving God glory.  Let’s remedy that.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I began having undiagnosable health issues in 2012.  The Lord has brought me a long, long way since then and He deserves to be praised!

In the winter of 2016, the Lord led me to a possible diagnosis.  It took a simple pill to test my theory and I found a Dr. who was willing to give it a try.  Within 2 weeks, my constant, chronic pain was gone.  For the first time in almost 5 years, I could barely detect it!  Miracle!!!

I could now function at an almost normal level.  Just amazing!!!!

Unfortunately, the pill that took away my chronic pain increases my migraines about 10-fold, so for the last year or so I have been working with my neurologist to regulate those.  I think we’ve finally found a good balance.

I’m not trying to bore you with medical details, as I know everyone has their own.  I just want to give God the glory for what He has done for me!

All the prayers that went up for me during the years I was in pain have been answered!  All of the faith that people had in God for me was not in vain!  All of the trust I had in Him as my Healer, Provider, and Deliverer is well-placed!

The answers to our prayers don’t always look the way we envision them.  The answers don’t always come when we hope.  This does not mean God has left us or isn’t working in our lives.  God has plans that we don’t always know or understand.

I can absolutely say to you today that I am much more confident in Him as my Provider than in any other time in my history.  I can say with certainty that He most certainly uses our weaknesses to perfect His strength.  I know that the woman I am today is directly related to the pain I’ve experienced, and the trust I’ve had to place in my Lord.

I’ve also been able to be used in new ways, due to my experience.  I am much more alert to others’ pain, and I can relate in a way that some cannot.  I know what to say and what is best left unsaid.  God is able to use me in a unique way in the lives of His children now, and for that I can honestly say I am grateful.

So, thank You, Lord, for healing me.  Thank You, also, for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  And, as Ps. 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”  I love that I know Your Word better today than I have ever before.  I love You, my Lord and my God!

jamie

Foolishness can depart

Pr. 27:22:  “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”

This week I ran into a girl I knew in high school.  She mentioned a mutual friend we had and noted that while that friend had been pretending to act foolishly like us, she was really going home at night and doing her homework.  She was the only one who got a full scholarship to college and went on to have a prestigious career.

I left there with memories of the past replaying in my mind and, as is my custom, I began to feel down.  I began to recount the many, many bad and sinful decisions I have made and how they greatly altered the course of my life.

Each time I thought of a low point, I’d remember an even lower point, and then I wondered if I’m the foolish person in this proverb.  Am I the one who will never learn?  I began to worry about how it would be all too easy for me to allow one more foolish decision to cause the life I live now to crumble around me.  But isn’t that basically true for us all?

Then, I thought of God’s grace.  I remember when God stepped into my life and said, “That’s enough.”  I’m grateful to  remember the decision He used to turn my course back to Him.  I can look back and see my life changing and my decisions slowly changing to line up with His will and His word.  I can recall times when He helped me make the decision to turn my back on foolishness in an effort to be wise.

I will never be perfect; however, I am not as foolish as I once was.  I have allowed God to undertake the ongoing process of replacing my foolishness with His wisdom.  Trusting God is the wisest thing I’ve ever done.  Foolishness can depart, through Him.

Carefully,

jamie

Hoarding treasure

Pr. 16:21:  “The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.”

I was reading Matthew 13:52 this morning, which is one of those verses I never noticed before.  Here is the verse:

“Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

This is what Matthew Henry’s commentary said, “A skillful, faithful minister of the gospel is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them.  Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends.  Old experiences and new observations, all have their use.  Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.”

Our place is at Christ’s feet.  If we can get that right, the wisdom and learning will come.

When we are speaking to others about Christ, it will be the combination of old lessons we’ve experienced and new observations we are daily experiencing that will bring it all together.  Every day we learn more about Christ, and sometimes those things enlighten us to the older things we’ve already gone through or learned.  It all adds to what we know.

Even those old lessons we learned that we’d rather not share, can help bring credibility to what we say.  If we’ve been through something and learned more about Christ through it, perhaps that will be the thing that will most connect with the person with whom we are speaking.

Perhaps telling someone that God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light is best said when you share about a time when you found out the hard way just how heavy the burden of sin became for you.  Perhaps the childhood verse you learned about hiding God’s word in your heart means so much more when you read Mt. 13:52 that says a scribe is the one who brings out old treasures to combine with the new.

We bring out of the treasure of our knowledge of Christ something to share with others.  Spending time with Christ is what gives us something to share.

Happy hoarding,

jamie

God’s clear guidance

Pr. 8:5:  “O you simple ones, understand prudence, and you fools, be of an understanding heart.”

You know what our Bible gives us?  It gives a clear road map we can follow throughout our lives.

No, the Bible doesn’t tell us if we should move to a different town, take that new job, or say no to that new offer.  It does, however, give us very clear examples of the consequences of other people’s choices.  The Bible has an example of every type of sin, with the cause and effect clearly laid out.  The Bible has examples of faith, clearly showing the rewards that accompany it.

Learning from the choices of others is very resourceful.  We can save ourselves a lot of time by simply noting how the decisions of others affect their lives, their families, and their walk with God.

Instead of being simple…walking straight into the wall we just watched someone else walk in to, we can can watch and learn how to be prudent (careful) by taking note and choosing differently.

An understanding heart can clearly see that not only was David’s decision to commit adultery a sin, but it led to even more sins, a blemished relationship with God, and the death of his child.

An understanding heart can see clearly that running from God, as Jonah did, only causes unnecessary troubles in our lives and delays the inevitable.

Heb. 4:11 reminds us, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”  The Bible is full of examples from which we can learn.  We just have to read it and trust God enough to fight the urges to make those same mistakes.

We are also given examples of faith that can encourage us that trusting God will not end badly.

An understanding heart can see clearly that Noah’s faith in God caused him to be not only favored by God, but caused his family to be saved from destruction.

An understanding heart can clearly see that Rahab’s faith also caused her family to be saved.

An understanding heart can note the provision that came when Moses’s faith allowed him to stretch out his hand over the Red Sea, believing that God would do what He said He would do.  Provision also came to the widow who made a cake for Elijah with her last flour and oil, believing the Lord’s word that her flour and oil would last for her son and her until the rain came.

Over and over, we can see how faith has produced results and sin has caused harm.  There is so much we can learn in God’s Word.  There is so much guidance for us all.  All we have to do is read, and with our understanding hearts, learn prudence.  Praise God for His Word that gives provision!

Taking note,

jamie

Learning even more

Pr. 9:9:  “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” 

So, the reason I’ve been MIA for a few days is that I fractured my tibial plateau on Tuesday night.  (the top of my shin bone)  Everything has been taking 3 times as long to do, so I’m just starting to adjust.

For the next 6 weeks I cannot put Any weight on my leg.  Here on day 3 (only 5 weeks and 4 days to go!!), I am noticing something beautiful taking place.  Although I have casually taught my children how to do laundry, sweep, etc., they are now going to get a deeper experience with it as they help out around the house.

This morning my son not only cleaned up his mess, but put everything exactly where it should be without me reminding him to do so.

My children are wise.  They know how to do quite a bit.  What I am witnessing and realizing now, however, is that by the end of this 6 weeks, they will be much wiser and much more capable of taking care of themselves and our house.  They are going to grow in ways they otherwise would not have.

This is how it is with the Lord.  No matter how much we know about the Lord, His word, and His precepts, the more we dig and study the more we will learn.  His wisdom will continue to fill us throughout our lives.  When we are willing to be taught, we will continue to learn.

Maybe we have read the parable of the wicked vinedressers 84 times.  We may have read the book of Galatians through every few months for the last 20 years of our lives.  There may be times when we find ourselves mindlessly speed-reading through them, but the truth is…we can always learn more from the Word of God.  Because His Word does not return to Him void, there is always something to glean from it.

If we find ourselves casually reading the Word, we can ask the Lord to help us give a deeper experience by taking more responsibility upon ourselves for what we’re learning.  Perhaps we need to find someone who needs to be instructed.  That may cause us to look for more wisdom as we read.  Things we never noticed in those scriptures will suddenly have new meaning.

Maybe there is some kind of ministry for which we need to become responsible.  Learning God’s word to ensure we are filled with Him in order to pour Him out onto others will cause our study time to become more intentional.

Maybe our light has just grown a bit dim.  Reading with the goal of raising the wattage in our light that shines for Him may help us to take on a bit more responsibility with our study time.

Like my kids, maybe it’s the time in our lives when we need to learn more, dig deeper, and grow in ways we didn’t realize we were ready for.  Perhaps now is the time when God has something even more for you…and for me.

Growing with you,

jamie

Come and rest

Mt. 11:28-30:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I love reading these verses about the true rest that Jesus gives.  We do not have to work for grace, He gives it freely.  We do not have to work harder to earn our salvation.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then His salvation is ours.

Submitting to Him doesn’t shackle and burden us, or add more weight.  It takes the weight away.  Allowing Him to pour His love and peace upon us will give us true rest.  We are invited to come to him, learn from Him, and find rest for our souls.  He is gentle and lowly in heart, as He proved when He walked on this earth.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Running faster or working harder will not increase our strength or our salvation.  Our strength comes from the Lord.  The harder we work in our own flesh, the more likely we will fall.  God says to “wait” on Him.  We must slow down, be still, and wait.  When we do, He will renew our strength, in His power, and we will no longer be weary.

Jesus also taught us in John 15:4 to abide in Him.  Abide means to wait, to stay, be still, endure, and bear patiently.  He said that, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  He calls Himself the vine and us the branches.  With only the minimal knowledge of vines, we can certainly understand that if the branch is not attached to a vine, it cannot grow fruit.  In fact, it will wither and die.

What better news could we receive today?  Our job is to come to Jesus, be still, endure with Him, wait on Him, and learn from Him.  This will allow Him to give us rest, renew our strength, and cause us to not grow faint.  Abiding in Him will also allow Him to cause fruit to bear forth in our lives.  We don’t have to work harder for the fruit to come, but we must remain attached to the Vine.  He is the source of life.  Remain attached to Him and enjoy your rest.

Sigh…

jamie

Consider who is instructing you

Pr. 22:19:  “So that your trust your trust may be in the Lord, I have instructed you today, even you.”

Years ago I was hooked on a show about clothes and makeovers.  It was pretty inspiring, and funny, to boot.  I eventually noticed that I was overly worried about the clothes, or lack of clothes, in my closet and I quit watching the show.  I am now content again with the blessings God has given me.

Any subject in which you invest your time instructs you, and draws your focus.  When I watch cooking shows a lot, I think about food and cooking a lot of the time.  When I research health and wellness, my thoughts tend to revolve around those things.  When I listen to music, my thoughts begin to be influenced by the words and ideas that I hear.  I must be careful what I allow to instruct me.

Have you considered the purpose of those things you are allowing to instruct you?  Whatever I immerse myself in becomes something on which I focus and I notice my thoughts returning to them over and over.  I find the same to be true of the Word.  When I immerse myself in the Word of God, my thoughts remain focused on the Lord, on His promises, on His commands, on His wisdom, and on His faithfulness.  The Word runs through my mind throughout the day and I see applications of the Word in my daily life.

In whom or in what do you want to place your trust?  This verse tells us that the instructions are given so that our trust may be in the Lord.  If you want your trust to be fully in the Lord, then you must continually be instructed by Him.

When I was watching the show about clothes so often, I began to lose confidence.  Why is that?  I dare say I was being instructed to trust in clothing, money, and outward appearances.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing nicely or buying nice things, but I noticed within myself the feelings of discontent that indicated to me that I was beginning to trust in something that can just be thrown away.

God’s faithfulness endures forever.  He is the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  If we are going to receive instruction, I think it wise that it be the instruction of the pure, proven, and living Word of God.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with learning new things, but when our lives become about things other than God, we are trusting in dust and ash.  God’s faithfulness proves that trusting in Him is not only beneficial, it is eternal.

If you truly want your trust to be in the Lord, the God Most High, the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, then you must be instructed by Him.  He is wisdom.  He is peace.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Lord of all.  Open up your heart and mind to His instruction, and reject any instruction that causes you to trust in lesser things.

Taking notes,

jamie

Are you seeking wise counsel?

Pr. 1:5:  “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”

We know that we must increase learning.  We’ve talked about how we should make time to saturate ourselves in God’s Word.  He has given us so much in His pure, proven, powerful Word.  We can never get too much.

How about attaining wise counsel?  Are we simply reading the Word or are we allowing the Lord’s Word to direct us?  Before making a decision, do we ask ourselves what the Word says about it?

Are we also listening to those whose priority is the Lord and His will?

It is natural to listen to the opinions and suggestions of those around us.  It can be a very good thing.  However, we must guard ourselves and be very careful about which counsel we are allowing to guide us.  We must keep in mind the trajectory of our lives and our final goal.

There are many who focus on and teach about earthly gain, earthly wisdom, earthly perfection, and other earthly priorities.  While it is fine to have many types of acquaintances, I encourage you to be cautious about which one’s you allow to guide your understanding and your decisions.

Find a mentor in the Lord.  Find someone who can teach you more about God.  Find someone who’s life points to the Lord.  Find someone whose priorities are heavenly things.  Find someone with faith like you’ve never seen.

Be aware; however, that your loyalty is always 1st to the Lord.  Humans are imperfect at their very best.  It is wise to find wise counsel, it is wise to swim against the current of our society, and it is wise to let the Lord’s opinion have the final say.

Rejoicing in this day He has made!

jamie