Pure from sin

Pr. 20:9:  “Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

I’ve been reading all week about the grace that comes from God, through Christ Jesus.  Unfortunately, not one of us can be pure through our own works.

(Well, honestly I’m not convinced that is so unfortunate.  As imperfect and inconsistent as I am, I am thankful that my purity from sin is not up to me.  I have a Savior who loves me so much that He took that responsibility upon Himself.)

Sin was brought into the world in the Garden of Eden.  It has been here ever since; so, we were born unclean and sinful into an unclean and sinful world.

Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to make a way for us to be cleansed, forgiven, and justified.  It is through Jesus that we are given salvation. 1 Cor. 1:4-9 talks about the grace we were given, and goes on to say that we are enriched in everything by Him.

Through Jesus, our past has been forgiven, our present is covered by his grace, and our future is in His faithful and merciful hands.  What more could we possibly need?  What a gift we have all been given!

Let’s quit trying to earn more grace and forgiveness and praise the One who has already given it all!

Turning our eyes upon Jesus,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 24

Your testimonies are wonderful, Lord; therefore my soul keeps them.  The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.

Look upon me and be merciful to me, as Your custom is toward those who love Your name.  Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.  Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts.  Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.

I do not desire to be with evil men, but desire that my heart and my home be built by Your wisdom.  I desire that they be filled with the pleasant and precious riches of our knowledge of You.  I desire to be strong, in You, Lord.  Counsel me according to Your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.

Month of Prayer, Day 9

Lord, let Your mercies come to me.  Let Your Word be alive in me.  Let my life show that You and Your Word are true.  Let those around me see that trusting in Your Word is wise.

Lord, do not allow me to be clamorous, simple, or deceitful.  Let Your Word be what my mouth brings forth, and not folly.  My hope is in You, Lord.  Let my life prove that is so.  Let my actions, my words, my reactions, and my exclamations all prove that my hope is indeed in You.

Increase my faith.  Oh, God, I know when I ask You to increase my faith that a situation will likely arise where I will have to make the choice of whether or not to place my faith solely in You.  I have been through this before, and I’m sorry to say that it’s not always easy, but Lord, I trust You.

You have never forsaken me.  I trust that Your plans for my life and my family are good.  I trust that Your wisdom will be with me, helping me to forsake foolishness.  Your Word of truth will not utterly leave my mouth.  Your Holy Spirit will bring to my remembrance the truths I know of You.  I believe Your Word which tells me that You go before me and behind me, guiding me along the way.

Lord, help me go in the way of understanding all the days of my life.  Help my children to receive my teachings that bring them closer and closer to You.  Help my life to be a living testimony of Your goodness and Your faithfulness.  Empower me, through Your Holy Spirit, to be a light.

I love You, Lord.  I thank You for Your Word, and for Your faithfulness.  I thank You for Your mercies and for salvation.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

 

Integrity? Or just the appearance of it?

Pr. 10:9:  “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

It is important to have moral principles and live an upright life, but if it something that is only for appearance, then we’ve erred.

Jesus spoke to the ‘religious’ people, the scribes and Pharisees, about their own integrity.  Outwardly, they gave the impression that they were full of integrity and religion.

Jesus pointed out to them; however, that they were missing the fundamental things of Him:  justice, mercy, and faith.  Their ways had become perverted, and Jesus made it known.

Maybe others cannot, but the Lord can see past the surface into the truth of our hearts.  And a relationship is a choice that is made on the inside.

We can say we have a boyfriend or girlfriend.  We can wear a necklace that bears their name, change our status on Facebook, tell everyone we know all about them.  If we are still secretly dating other people; however, the truth is we have not made the choice to be in a true relationship.

When we have a relationship with God, it is what is truly in our hearts that matters.  No amount of cross necklaces, church attendance, or declarations will replace the decision to turn our lives over to Him alone.

God doesn’t want us to pretend we have a relationship with Him anymore than another person would want us to do that with them.  He is worth us making the choice to truly choose Him and devote ourselves to investing in our relationship with Him.

That’s the integrity that brings security:  security in knowing that God is for us, with us, and that eternal life is ours!

In a relationship,

jamie

 

Satisfaction without devastation

Pr. 14:14:  “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”

I recently saw a sign that read, “Sin Captivates, Then Devastates.”  That is so true.  Sin isn’t always something that reviles us and causes us to turn away in disgust.  Sin can be so alluring.  It captivates us with special effects of glitter and lights.  Sometimes we see adventure.  Sometimes escape.  One thing is certain; however, in the end sin does devastate.

Being ‘filled with our own ways’ might seem to meet some momentary need, but it never truly satisfies.  It destroys and devours.  God not only offers satisfaction, He offers provision, refuge, strength, deliverance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and so much more.  He is truly all we could need.

Sin weighs us down with guilt, consequences, and defeat; and yet the Lord’s yoke is light.  His burden is easy.  He literally invites us to come to Him when we are heavy laden and He will give us rest for our souls.  True rest.  He is gentle.  He is humble.  He renews our strength when we wait on Him.  And He has eternal life waiting for us.

Sin does devastate.  It comes in and throws us completely off course, interrupting our relationship with the Lord, and stalling our ministry.  On the other hand, The Lord, who began a good work in us, will complete what was begun.  He enriches us, builds us up, and He is our helper.  He is the One who offers aid when we are tempted.

I’m so thankful for a God who will never devastate us.  He will leave us nor forsake us.   His promises in His Word are true, and He is faithful.

When we’re looking for true satisfaction, the only place we will find it is at the throne of our High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and offer mercy and grace to help us in time of need.

At His throne,

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