Now is the time for mourning

Pr. 5:11:  “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed.”

Sometimes we continue on a path of sin even though we know better.  Sometimes, even though we’ve been warned and cautioned by others to refrain, we continue to imbibe.  It’s not just you.  We’ve all done it.

Let me encourage you today; however, to stop.  Whatever sinful activity you know you’re entertaining or currently undertaking, simply stop.  Put on the brakes and say, “Today is the that day it stops.”

Don’t wait until it has gone so far that your ‘flesh and your body are consumed.’  Don’t let the time of consequences be your mourning point.

I came by to remind you today that Jesus Christ died to free you from your sins.  He did not leave you helpless, to be bound by sin.  He died to provide you freedom.  He died to provide freedom for those around you.

Let’s not wait and mourn when the consequences of sin have gotten to the point of consuming us.  Let’s mourn now for any separation we have from God.  Let’s let that mourning draw us back to Him.  Let’s mourn now for the lost souls around us, and let’s do something about it.

We have a bigger purpose on this earth than fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  We have a gospel to preach.  What better way to preach than with the example of our lives?  When we tell others the sinful places and activities from which God has brought us, and the love He continues to have for us and for them, we are fulfilling our purpose.

Stopping today gives you a testimony that is real and that can be used for His purpose.  Mourning now will motivate you to mourn for others around you, and inspire you to share the reality of that same grace and forgiveness that was offered for you.

Now is the time to mourn.

Grieving,

jamie

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Lessons from Captain Hook

This morning I saw a cartoon where Captain Hook was sitting in some water.  He asked, “What is underneath me?”  Surprise, surprise, it was Tick-Tock Croc.  Isn’t that crocodile always right there, waiting to take a bite out of Captain Hook?

It reminded me of temptation.  It seems that we all have that one vicious temptation that seems to always be there, just waiting to attack.

But what does Captain Hook do?  Well, first he flees.  I’m reminded of 2 Tim. 2:22 that tells us to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Next, after the Captain gets away, he just keeps on going about his swashbuckling business.  We can’t live in such fear of our temptations that we hide away and stop living our lives.  We have to keep moving.  Just as Captain Hook has a job to do, so do we.  We have been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world preaching, teaching, and baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One more observation:  that crocodile was underneath him.  Romans 16:19-20 implores and reassures us, saying, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”  Sin and temptation have no authority over us.

So, our lessons from Captain Hook today:  flee, don’t give up, continue to learn God’s wisdom, and remember that God has already won the victory!

Not just blathering,

jamie

Which do you desire more?

Pr. 24:1:  “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them”

Ro. 13:11-14 encourages us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  It says, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Why?  Because the day is at hand.  Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Make no provision for the flesh:  making provision for something means that you gather necessary supplies, plan and prepare, set the stage.  We are not to do those things for the lusts of our flesh.  We are to cast off the works of darkness, getting rid of the provisions and plans for our lusts.

Some associations in our lives make it difficult to walk as in the day.  Choosing not to walk in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness usually involves ending some relationships.  Making no provisions will mean that certain actions will have to be changed.  Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ will mean that new choices will need to be made.

Change is never easy, but with the day of our salvation nearer than ever before, it is necessary.  Anticipating the day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, take away sorrow, death, crying, and pain, we must not give up or continue to willingly give in.  On that day, former things will pass away, and The Word tells us that, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by My son.” (Rev. 21:7)

Since the former things are going to pass away anyway, they are not worth hanging on to.   Rev. 12:11 tells us not to “love our lives to the death.”  Choosing the idols of our flesh over God reveals what we love most, and will only lead to our death.  We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  It is our relationship with Jesus that bring salvation.

Making provision to put on the Lord Jesus Christ every day will allow Him to bring to us His great reward.  Choosing Him gives us rights to the tree of life and access to the gates of the city of heaven.  Confessing, by our choices, that He alone is our God allows us to hear Him say, “Come!” on that great day.

Let’s allow God to help us get rid of the provisions we’ve placed in our lives that help us feed the lusts of our flesh, and to give us a new testimony that includes the healing blood of the Lamb.  Together, we will worship, knowing that He is coming quickly…for us.

Here is a song to help set the stage for those changes.  I pray God will speak to, strengthen, and cleanse us all today.

Desiring what will last,

jamie

The suffering is a good thing

Pr. 1:22:  “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.”

This morning I read 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

Seems to me that living a life where you attempt to cease from sin is far from simple.  Peter says that those who have ceased from sin suffer in the flesh.  Ceasing from sin requires an intentional decision, perseverance, and endurance.  It requires faith in God, a strong desire to submit to His will, and a decision to separate oneself from the will of the world around us.

At every turn, we are met with lusts and enticements of sin.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted.  Deciding not to give in to our temptations is a decision that requires consistent effort.  When the temptation comes, sometimes our flesh causes us to suffer, or to experience a very uncomfortable battle within us as our flesh and the Spirit within us battle for the win.

Having knowledge of the Holy One, His Word, His will, and His strength within us is what will see us through.  Instead of hating knowledge, we must embrace it and allow His wisdom, His precepts, and His guidance to see us through the times of suffering.  Rather than giving in to the feelings of simplicity we think will come from giving in to sin, from compromising, or from giving up the fight, we must cherish and hold dear to the knowledge we get from reading God’s word and from the Holy Spirit ever reminding us of the truth.

Delighting in knowledge won’t be the easy route.  We will have battles.  Those battles are worth the fight; however, as suffering as a Christian brings glory to God above.  Don’t love simplicity, but take heart in the fact that you are quite blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Suffering alongside you,

jamie

 

Are you a sharp friend?

Pr. 27:17:  “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

As friends, we are able to sharpen our friends in order to strengthen them, build them up, and guide them to keep them focused.  They are able to do the same for us.  Friends are able to speak into each other’s lives in ways that others cannot.

I was reading 2 Timothy chapter 2 this morning, which relates well to this scripture about friends.  We are told in vs. 24 that, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

While this verse is speaking about correcting those who are distorting the truth of the gospel message, it is also applies to those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior, but are living a life opposed to their beliefs.  As friends, we have a more intimate knowledge of one another’s lives and true thoughts.  We are able to see discrepancies in each others lives and know if repentance is needed.

Paul tells us not to quarrel, but be able to gently, patiently, and humbly teach each other, in order to let the truth be known and repentance be granted.  The truth is in this verse.  If your friend is not walking in their faith, they have lost their senses and have been taken captive and ensnared by the devil, to do the devil’s will.  As friends, we have the unique opportunity and duty to gently guide our friends to the Lord, so that He can bring repentance and sensibility to them.

We will need to know the Word in order to guide them.  We need to be able to tell them that they must be diligent to present themselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.  (vs. 15)  We need to able to encourage them to flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (vs. 22)  We need to be able to remind them that if they cleanse themselves, they will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  (vs. 21)

Likewise, if you have a friend rubbing you with the truth of the Word, examine your heart to make sure you haven’t lost your own senses.  Perhaps your friend is trying to faithfully sharpen you.  Be grateful for a true friend that doesn’t desire that you remain a captive of the devil, to do his will, but instead desires repentance and eternal life for you.  Now that’s a friend!  🙂

Gently,

jamie

Hear Him now

Pr. 5:7:  “Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.”

Yesterday I wrote about allowing God, the light of the world, to show us the stumbling blocks and obstacles in our paths.  Today, I will point out that sometimes, even though our obstacles and stumbling blocks are revealed to us by the Lord, we continue to walk straight into them.  Anyone else experience this besides me?

This is where the importance of becoming a doer of the word comes into play.  We cannot just continue to be hearers of the word, and do nothing about it what we’ve heard or read.  We are urged not to depart from the words of our Father.  God will reveal to us the things, places, or people who cause us to stumble.  Our job after that is to avoid those things.  We were never asked to do it alone, however.  Jesus suffered, being tempted, and is able to aid those who are tempted.

There are lots of tips for us in the word.  The Lord says to flee youthful lusts.  He says to resist the devil.  He gives permission for us to come boldly to the throne of grace in time of need.  He encourages us in the fact that He always gives us another way out of our temptations, so we should diligently seek Him and the way out.  We are told to remove ourselves from sinful situations.  Rejoicing in what we currently have is also recommended.  Paul also wrote that we should meditate on things that are praiseworthy and virtuous; also things that are pure, noble, just, lovely, true, and of good report.  David strengthened himself according to the word and hid it in his heart.  He stood in awe of and rejoiced in the word.

Do not depart from the word.  Hear the Lord now, while your heart is open to His leading.  Hide His word in your heart and allow Him to lead you away from those stumbling blocks for good.  Sometimes our obstacles have become habits that we’ve allowed to keep a hold on us.  God can and will bring our obstacles to our attention, and if we continue to listen and avoid them time after time, eventually we will forget about them and find ourselves habitually going on the path with God.

Flee as if your life depends on it!

jamie

Guide your heart in the way

Pr. 23:19:  “Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way.”

In 1 Cor. 13, Paul says, “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”  There comes a time when we must put some things aside and leave them.  Of those things are following our hearts and our youthful lusts.  We cannot claim ignorance forever.  We must study the Word and find out the will of God for our lives.  We must allow the Word of God to be what guides our path.  Through Jesus Christ, we also have the privilege and invitation to boldly approach the throne of the Lord at any time.  We have all that we need at our disposal.

Our hearts are deceitful above all things.  (Jer. 17:9)  We do not need to follow them, but to guide them in the direction we want to go.  We are told several times in the scriptures to love the Lord our with all our hearts, soul, and strength.  The Lord looks for hearts that are loyal to Him in order show Himself strong for them.We need to set a course for our hearts and lead them there.  We need to set our course for heaven, for the Lord.  You could do a Bible study on the word heart and make a list of ways to guide your heart towards the Lord.  A few examples:

Treasure the Lord above all:  (For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Mt. 6:21)

Allow the Lord to examine your heart:  (Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;  Ps. 26:2)

Trust in the Lord:  (Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  Pr. 3:5)

These are just a few verses that we can use to guide our hearts.  The Word is full of guidance, wisdom, and knowledge to guide us on our journey through this life.  Praise God for the wonderful resources He has granted.  Let’s be wise and set a specific course for ourselves today and spend some time in the Word looking for the guidance we need to get us there.

Happy Reading,

jamie