Are you listening to me!?

Pr. 10:26: “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him.”

Have you ever had smoke from a fire get into your eyes?  I recently did, and it is extremely uncomfortable.  Not only that, but it set off a chain of events that caused more discomfort.  My eyes were irritated and watering, my nose began to run and become stuffy, and my throat began to hurt.

Does your mind link that with a lazy person not doing what you sent them to do?

As a parent, I understand that my kids are not necessarily lazy, but their lack of ‘following orders’ mirrors that of someone lazy on occasion.  My son will just keep moving and pretend he didn’t hear me.  My daughter will instantly begin to play with one of our 2 cats.

It does cause me a bit of discomfort when I realize they have no intentions of doing what I just asked.  Then I have to stop what I’m doing to give them a reminder.  “Oh yeah!,” they say, and then they move to do it.

Occasionally I find that, even though they moved at the 2nd command, they still aren’t doing what I’ve asked.  Now there is a bit of irritation.  If what they are supposed to do is something to help us get out the door to go somewhere, it does set off a chain of events that could definitely cause us to be late, or cause tension as we go, instead of peace.

What about when God asks us to do something?  Ouch!  You felt that one, didn’t you?  I know I did.

When God asks us to do something, do we act like we didn’t hear him?  Do we try to move on and hope He’ll forget what He just asked.  Maybe someone else can do it.  Do we just ignore it and begin to do something we’d rather do instead hoping He didn’t really mean it.  Do we say, “Ok, I’ll do it,” but then move on to the next distraction?  🐱

When we don’t obey our Father, we are acting like the lazy man.  We are irritating His plans, possibly causing a chain of reaction that makes what He was trying to accomplish more difficult.

Not only that, but we miss out on the opportunity to please our Father and to have peace.  I don’t know about you, but when I ignore His requests, it eats at me and I know I’m wrong.  It causes tension in our relationship.

What He asks us to do may not be on our personal list of priorities or on that bucket list we’ve created.  It may require a sacrifice of us, but His thoughts and ways are still higher than ours.  What He has planned is for someone’s good… maybe ours, maybe someone else’s.

Whatever it is, like a parent asking a child to do something, He has his reasons.  Let’s just trust Him and do it.

Listening,

jamie

Advertisements

Month of Prayer, Day 18

Today’s scriptures are about words.  Your Words are powerful, Lord, because they create.  Indeed, Lord, Your Word is forever settled in heaven.  It is as unchanging as Your faithfulness.  You established the earth by Your Word, and it abides.  What You create is for a purpose.

Lord, Pr. 18 tells us that our words create, as well.  Help my words to also have a purpose.  Help me not to express my own heart, but to delight in understanding. Help the wellspring of wisdom flow from my mouth and not foolishness.  Help my lips not to enter into contention or call for blows.  I do not want my mouth to be my destruction, or be a snare for my soul.  I want my mouth to honor and glorify You.

Keep me from haughtiness. Keep my ears and my lips closed to gossip. Let my ears wisely seek knowledge. Help my heart to be prudent, acquiring knowledge. Let the produce of my lips be good and not evil.

Lord, Pr. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Let my tongue speak life. Help me to be a wife who is honorable, loyal, and helpful.  Help me to speak life into my husband.  Let me to listen before speaking, and to answer softly.

Lord, I thank You that Your name is a strong tower that I can run to for safety.  When I need protection, Lord, You are ever there; unchanging, and eternal.  Thank You, Lord.  Thank You that Your faithfulness will endure to the generations that come after me!

I love You, Lord,

jamie

 

Prudently receiving instruction

Pr. 15:5:  “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.”

Peter once had a remarkable vision of instruction from the Lord.

Meet another man:  a Gentile named Cornelius, a devout man who feared God with all his household, giving generously and praying to God always.  In a vision, he was told that His prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God, and that a man named Peter would come and tell him what to do.

In His vision, the Lord revealed to Peter that no man is common or unclean, and that God shows no partiality.  This was a life-changing revelation!  When Peter preached to Cornelius’ household, the Holy Spirit fell upon the household.  The Gentiles not only spoke in tongues and magnified God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they were baptized with water, as well.

Because Peter received the correction of his Father, this was a major shift in the church and in the meaning of the Great Commission.

Peter certainly had a choice.  He could have ignored the correction and refused to go to Cornelius.  Upon arriving at Cornelius’ house, he even reminded Cornelius that it was unlawful for him to be there.  He went on; however, explaining that God had given him new instructions.  Peter prudently followed the instructions of the Lord and our lives have never been the same.

Also worth noting…Cornelius was following the instructions of the Lord long before this happened, this fact went up as a memorial before the Lord, and his life was forever changed.  God’s instructions are always for good.  Perhaps they are for our own good, as in the case of Cornelius.  Perhaps they are for the good of others, as we see with Peter’s instructions.  Regardless, He knows best.

The Lord humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth.  (Ps. 113:6)  It is prudent for us to follow His lead.

Listening,

jamie

Nourishment to complete the tasks

Pr. 19:27:  “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

It is easy for us to give in to busyness in this life, especially during this season of year.  There are so many things pulling at us each day.  We have countless responsibilities.  We are asked to help with many things from those around us.  We have personal things we want to do.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with being busy.  Currently, our “Christmas break” schedule is jam-packed with things to do.

The danger; however, is neglecting the only thing that really matters:  our relationship with God.  With all the busyness, it can be easy to put aside our time with God in an effort to get done all the things that are pulling at us.

Without God, though, we can do nothing.  He is our Strength.  He is our Provider.  He is the One who guides and directs us.  He is the One who instructs us.  If we put Him first, He will help us get done all the things we need to do, or He will direct us when we need to say no to certain things.

Because it is true that when we cease listening to instruction we are more likely to stray from the words of knowledge, we must be diligent and intentional in setting aside our time for the Word of God.

If we are going to choose to say no to something, we must make sure that something is not our time with God.  Above all else, we need to continue abiding in the Vine.  We must remain attached to Him, allowing Him to nourish and enrich us.  It is only abiding in Him that brings the fruit in our lives.

John 15:6 reminds us, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

We cannot risk not abiding in Him.  Once we become unattached, we stray, and eventually fall away, being then cast out and withered.  After that, we see what happens.

It may seem like I’m being overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen it before.  Sometimes it only takes a few days for the enemy to cause us to become so distracted that we get out of the routine of making time with God our priority.  Once that takes place, we are vulnerable to his sway.  His sway will always lead us away from God.

During this season, during all the busyness, giving, and frivolity, we must protect our time with God and in His Word.  We must ensure that abiding in Him is at the top of our to-do list.  If we put Him first, all the rest will fall beautifully into place.  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Let’s remain in Him,

jamie

Have you been listening?

Pr. 10:8:  “The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.”

 

This verse reminds me of the scribes and Pharisees about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 23.  They would tell the people all that they should do, lay heavy burdens of duty upon the people’s shoulders, and loved to be the center of attention.  These men would be seen in the synagogues, at the best feasts, and making long eloquent prayers in order to draw all attention upon themselves.

With their many words, they exalted themselves.  Jesus said, “but all their works they do to be seen by men.”  Jesus called them hypocrites, fools, and blind, saying they were clean on the outside but full of uncleanness on the inside.  “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  Mt.23:28

Over and over, Jesus reminded those who listened and received His commands that He came to serve and they we are called to do the same.  “He who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Mt.23:12.  Those who are truly wise in heart are those who listen to the words of God and hide them in their hearts.  The wisdom they receive from the Lord is then put into practice.  It is not something about which they simply chatter.

Learning from them, we must examine ourselves from time to time.  If we find ourselves talking more than those around us, there is a strong likelihood that we’re no longer receiving commands, but possibly trying to give them.  Constantly stating our own opinion is a warning sign, as well.  Unless speaking is our full-time job, having wisdom within is not something we must prove with words.  Putting our beliefs into action usually what speaks the loudest.

To be truly wise servants, we must ensure that we are clean on the inside.  As we’ve heard, the outward appearance means nothing to God.  The blood of Jesus washes and cleanses us from the inside out, and the Word pierces to the division of soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.  If there is anything in our hearts that needs to be cleansed, God is the answer.  He will cleanse us from our sins, create a clean heart within us, and draw us nearer to Him.

When we are truly clean, God can use us to minister to and encourage His people.  Listen closely and serve joyfully.  When our works of service are done for His glory, He uses us more and more.  This is the recipe that will keep us from falling.  We won’t have to exalt ourselves.  He promised to exalt us Himself one day.

Shhhhhh,

jamie

He speaks

Pr. 28:14:  “Happy is the man who is fears the Lord always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

This morning I read Mt. 13:1, “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.  And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”

Multitudes traveled countless miles and gathered to hear Jesus speak.  They stood in the crowd to glean wisdom from Him, possibly to receive healing from Him, or maybe just out of curiosity.  The point is that they so wanted to see or hear Jesus that they came to find Him.

Ps. 117:2 tells us, “And the truth of the Lord endures forever.”

Like the multitudes, we need to seek Jesus.  We need to find Him so that we may hear the enduring truth that He and the Father speak.

In order to fear the Lord, keeping ourselves to His will and His precepts, we must know what He has said to us.

Had the multitudes not gathered that day, they would not have head the parables of Jesus.  They would not have heard about the kingdom of heaven.  The judgment would not have been revealed to them.

In order to keep our hearts from hardening in sin and against the Lord, we must find Him and hear Him.  Lest we fall into calamity, we must remain close to His teachings.  Having heard Him, we can then turn our lives fully over to Him and His will.

When we know the true God, we do not desire to turn our backs on Him, but to walk with Him and keep ourselves holy unto Him.  This fear of the Lord makes us happy.

Find Jesus today.  Seek Him out.  Do whatever you must to hear His words of truth which endures forever.  I pray that in your hearing, you also understand.  True happiness and joy await.

Smiling for you,

jamie

 

You will be so wise

Pr. 19:20:  “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.”

This summer my Pastor has been doing a short series about simple, godly money management for the teenagers and young adults in our church.  As he teaches, we all learn, but I also pray for them to listen with their whole hearts.  He speaks as a man of experience, a man who has raised children, learned the hard lessons of being a servant to debt, and has created better habits for his future.  If anyone would listen to him and put his wise teachings into practice now, they will be grateful 15 years from now.

Same goes with Sunday school.  If children listen to the wisdom of their teachers, they will be able to avoid making some mistakes, remember how to steer around certain temptations, and know upon who to call when they need wisdom, help, or peace.  If teachers will share the wisdom of their own experiences, it may just save those children from learning the hard way.  But the children have to listen.

All of us have had counsel and instruction that has or could have taught us, so that we would be wise in our latter days.  Maybe we listened; maybe we didn’t.  The best thing is that if you’re reading this, you’re still alive, and you still have the opportunity to listen and receive counsel and instruction now.

We can still dig in to the Word of God and receive direction and cautions to direct us throughout our lives.  We can still listen to those who have already been through the fire, fun, and obstacles.  Whether they’ve been through it themselves or have watched others, they know what comes on the other side of certain decisions.  If we observe their lives or ask for advice, we could learn so much.

God gave us an abundance of advice, instruction, caution, and warnings in His Word.  The key to using it?  We have to listen.  Open your ears to the Word today and to godly people who are full of wisdom.  In your latter days, you will be grateful you did.

Listening,

jamie