How’s your flock?

Pr. 27:28:  “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

What is the state of your flock?  Have you been looking, asking, or taking note?  In the class I’m in right now, it’s reminding us how Jesus always noticed the needs in people’s lives and filled those needs.  We are usually so great about filling the needs in the lives of people outside of our families, but I don’t think we are as good at ministering to the ones closest to us.

When it comes to the ones closest to us we suddenly begin looking inwardly, and shifting things to ask, “What are you going to do for me?”

Why does ministry have to stop at our front doors?  We are still supposed to attend to our herds.

We can’t always give our best to those outside our immediate flock (whoever that is for you) and then have nothing left for the ones we have been told to attend.  They also have needs.  They also have desires.  They also have hurts.

My class talks about how Jesus even broke tradition, in order to help people.  He actually touched the leper when He healed him, even though he could have just spoken the word, because the leper probably needed human contact. They didn’t do that back then.  He also forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery instead of stoning her, like he was supposed to by law, because she needed forgiveness.

I also remember when He healed someone on the Sabbath.  I think that shows that just because we have a plan set for our morning, our evening, our day, our weekend, our class, etc., if someone in our flock has a need, sometimes we need to set aside our personal plan and minister to their need, and then move forward; as some needs are more important than others.

This also tells me that sometimes, we will have to do things in ways that might break the traditions we’ve set up in our own minds, as well.  I had some Aha! moments about those for myself this week.  Ask God what those are for you.  In doing so, it may feel like you are giving something up, but didn’t Jesus also sacrifice for His sheep?  If we are following Him, we must be like Him and trust that God will provide for all that we need.

One of the best things we can remember, when we are with our flocks, is that in order to be more like Jesus, we need to care for people.  Jesus didn’t just say the words in the Bible.  He said them while He was caring for people.  We can’t just walk around saying words.  We have to act them out, and it starts with our own flock.

Trust me, I’m talking to myself, fellow shepherds,

jamie

handle with care

Where’s my path?

Pr. 4:18: But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

If we want our paths to be made clearer, so that we know which direction to go, it is possible.  If we seek for our paths to be increasingly brighter, it can happen.

I recall the days of my youth, and even days not so many years ago, when I was increasingly restless, always uncertain about what I should do or what God’s will was for me.  It seemed that I was always searching for direction.

Those who are “just” are those on whom justice has been assigned, through the righteousness of Christ.  It was through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that we are made just.

Once we accept Him and begin consistently turning to Him as our source of direction, we will find our path.  As this scripture tells us, that path will then begin to shine ever brighter as we continue to look to Him for that direction.

We won’t get the answers we need anywhere else but in Him and His Word.

If your path has been growing dim lately, look to Him.  If it has become overgrown, reach out for Him.  If you’ve lost the path altogether, call out for Him!  He is there!

On my path,

jamie

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

 

 

Uncovering the beauty

Pr. 21:9:  “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”  Pr. 21:19:  “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

The truth is that it’s better to dwell in those places than with anyone that’s angry and contentious (likely to cause an argument).  Relationships are hard enough without having someone always looking for a fight.

 

muddycoupleI was walking in the woods behind our house today and found this little figurine.  I couldn’t believe how applicable it was to real life.  Sometimes our relationships can resemble this…soiled, muddy, polluted, and defiled.  During those times, it can be hard to see through the muck to even imagine something that could possibly look better.

 

couplewipedoff

 

But I chose to wipe off the figurine, and do you see what I saw?  They were still holding hands.  With just a bit of effort, I was able to uncover the fact, that underneath it all, they were still connected.  Do you believe that’s true for our relationships?  I do.  Underneath all the mess, there are 2 people that were once connected, and with just a bit of effort, the fact that there is still a connection becomes visible.

 

 

allcleanedupInspired by what I saw, I took the figurine inside and cleansed it with some soap and water, and a bit of bleach.  The cleansing revealed a couple with a few scars, but look at their faces.  They look happy and content again…renewed and ready for a new life.

 

 

 

Sometimes, deciding to work diligently to wipe off all the offenses and grime to uncover a renewed relationship can be rough and it can definitely sting.  (Just as if being cleansed with bleach)  But it’s so worth it.  Those scars just make us stronger, and more able to testify to the Lord’s mercy and miracles.  Just like this figurine, there can be new life waiting underneath; we just have to be willing to uncover it.

I couldn’t tell you how long this figurine was buried in the mud.  It was pretty deep in there, and even under some other trash.  But that just proves that no matter how long our relationships have been in the mire, with just a bit of interest and care something beautiful can be revealed.

And the most beautiful part for us is that God is faithful to stand with us during the process.

Get out that scrub brush!

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 12

You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your Words.  I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your Word.

Let my truthful lips be established forever and do not let my tongue lie.  As my life and my hope are rooted in You, let it yield fruit that is pleasing to You and helpful to those around me.  Let not my root be moved.

Help me to be an excellent wife who is a crown to my husband, not causing him shame or preying upon him.  Let my thoughts be right and just, and based on Your Word.  Lord, Pr. 12:7 says, “The house of the righteous will stand.”  Thank You, Lord.  I am standing on Your promise in that verse.

Help my words to be good, bringing gladness to my husband’s heart and to the hearts of my children, as well.  Help my children to wisely receive my counsel as I teach and train them in Your ways, so that no grave trouble will overtake them.  Help my tongue to promote health in our relationships, and give us joy.

Lord, help us to choose our friends carefully so that we are not led away from You.  Help us to be diligent in all we do, honoring You.

Thank You for Your faithfulness and Your favor.  Thank You for Your mercies and for Your salvation.  You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created!

I love You, Lord, and I  trust in You.  I pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

How to prevent bone decay

Pr. 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

This rottenness in his bones means it preys upon him, and causes decay.  It consumes him.  That sounds horrible!!

I know a good way to prevent this from happening.  Read this question that author, Dannah Gresh, asks.  “Do you spend more time in front of the mirror making yourself externally beautiful, or do you spend more time developing your inner beauty through quiet communion with God?”

1 Peter 3:3-6 talks about women not letting their adornment be merely outward.  We don’t have to have the best make up or wardrobe.  We don’t have to have the perfect hairstyle or jewelry.  We don’t have to be the most ‘up with the times.’  Superior cooking skills aren’t required.

An excellent wife…or a wife of valor, as some translations say…is one who looks well to the ways of her household, and is pious and prudent.

Now, by all means, please fix your hair.  However, if for every minute spent in front of the mirror, we spent a minute or more with God, we will develop a true and deep relationship with God.  When we develop that relationship with God, we cultivate a spirit more like God’s.  This is the prescription to help prevent us from causing bone rot in those we love.

Striving to be truly beautiful,

jamie

Scheduling love

Pr. 31:14:  “She is like the merchant ships, she brings food from afar.”

Recently, while I was preparing a meal plan for the week and the accompanying grocery list, my brother-in-law sarcastically asked, “I wonder where Kaili gets her planning skills?”  ha!

My daughter is the queen of planning.  Ever ready for adventure, she can instantly gather pen and paper and prepare a list of fun activities, things needed, or people to invite within moments of you mentioning any activity or the desire to have one.  It always amazes us and/or makes us giggle.

This morning, as I was reading through Proverbs 31, I was reminded what a great trait that actually is.  If she can plan like that in elementary school, by the time she has her own household, she will likely have her schedules running like clockwork.  I have every confidence that she will care for her household well.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect planners to care for those around us.  We just have to pay attention to their needs and desires.  Simply planning to include others in our own personal schedules makes a huge difference in their lives.

More than ensuring every needed supply on hand and every thing is perfect, if we plan to include our family in our routine, they will know without a doubt that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for.  Sadly, those who are closest to us are often the ones who are pushed off the list first.

Today, let’s put our loved ones on our list in ink, planning to include one of their needs or desires in our day.  Talk about a good investment of our time!

Anticipating my day,

jamie