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

Words revealing the true treasure of the heart

Joel 2:23:  “For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you…”

I had the terrible realization this week that I had replaced God as the treasure in my heart.

In May, our daughter was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Although, we already suspected it, the diagnosis brings a large and immediate flurry of tasks, paperwork, phone calls, and appointments.

If that wasn’t enough, I personally decided to allow future planning, homeschool curriculum planning, future therapies, and even more to loom over me with urgency.  Although these hold a certain level of importance, I honestly didn’t realize how much this had consumed me.

Mt. 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Mt. 15:18 says, “Those things which proceed from the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

Keeping those scriptures in mind, it became obvious this week, through the words of my mouth, that the Lord was no longer the treasure in my heart.  AHHHHHH!!!  I had made research and information my new treasure.  And I honestly didn’t even realize it had happened.

Looking back, however, I can see the warning signs.  I will share those with you in the hopes that I can spare you from doing something similar:

  • I was spending more time reading about Autism than I was reading about and reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
  • I began to consider myself too weak to care for and teach my daughter.  I wasn’t considering the truth, which is that the Lord is my strength and that through Him all things are possible.
  • Fear began to drain a lot of my energy, when the Lord clearly gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
  • I began trusting in the information I was learning in my research more than I was reminding myself that the Lord supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This scripture in Joel says, “For He has given you the former rain faithfully.”  That’s it, isn’t it?  He has always been faithful.  He will continue to be faithful.  He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I’m not saying that the research shouldn’t be done.  Information is good, but when it begins to cause fear and doubt, or begins to overshadow the truths of God’s Word, then there is a problem.

I had to repent for making information and worldly ‘facts’ my treasure.  I want to encourage you, as well.  God is still in control.  He still holds the world in His hands, and if He has taken care of you in the past, He will take care of you in the future.  He is faithful.

Repentant,

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

How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

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

Get this!

Pr. 4:7:  “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding.” 

This morning it struck me that we are constantly trying to get something.  Get fit.  Get rich.  Get healthy.  Get well.  Get promoted.  Get an education.  Get a husband.  Get a wife.  Get this.  Get that.

Solomon tells us that the principal thing to get is wisdom.  I like his next sentence best when he says, “in all your getting, get understanding.”  We know from reading the Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  These are the things we need most.

Paul encourages us in Ro. 16:19 to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  Wisdom of what is truly good is only found in the Lord.

When trying to get wisdom or understanding, what we really need to Get is the Word.  We need to Get into His presence in prayer and submission.  We need to Get alone with Him to hear His Word and His Spirit speak wisdom into our hearts.

Ro. 16:18 reminds us that there are those who do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.  The only way to prevent ourselves from being simple, and allowing ourselves to be lured away from the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to continue to get true wisdom.

Today, we are all encouraged to Get into the Word and God’s presence to find wisdom and understanding.  What God has to offer us is more than enough to help us take care of all the rest.  In fact, one thing we will learn is that all the other things we truly need will be supplied by God, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Getting closer,

jamie

Don’t reach for that compromise

Tuesday night we headed outside for a family activity.  Within minutes, we realized that the mosquito families had joined us.  My husband was quick to declare it time for bug spray.

Not speaking in time to ask for my own chemical free bug spray, and not wanting to walk the 200 ft. inside to get it myself, I decided to tough it out.  It wasn’t long before I was so uncomfortable that I actually reached for the chemical laden bug spray and sprayed it on my skin.

Although I was uneasy with my decision and trying to spray it a bit lighter than usual, I covered all exposed areas.  As I wondered why I wouldn’t just walk back in and grab the spray I’m more comfortable with, I began an internal dialog:  “Just once won’t hurt.  I need this.  It will be alright.  If you go inside you might miss out on some fun.  Quit stressing about this one decision.”

I compromised my standards about intentionally using chemicals on my skin and still ended up with 10 mosquito bites.  Not only that, but the effects of the chemicals absorbing into my skin are not yet known.  Who knows the damage that my “just this once” decision has left?

Sinful temptations are just like this.  We are faced with a real issue.  Maybe we’re too lazy to walk away or too proud to ask for help.  Sometimes, because of those things, we justify the reasons why it’s ok just this once.

Most of the time, we end up with visible wounds right away.  Sometimes, the damage done under the surface doesn’t show up until later.  The fact of the matter is; however, no matter what we feel at the moment, the universal laws of cause and effect ensure that there is damage being done.

Sadly, we do these things intentionally.  What can be done to stop us?

Well, we can grab the warnings from my bug spray episode and remember to ask for help, walk away, or to refuse to give in.  We can remember that justifying harmful actions will only invite and accelerate afflictions in our life.  Not compromising on our standards, we can choose to stand firm and say no.

I’m reminded of Heb. 2:18 and 4:16, which say, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have a Helper upon which we can call.  We don’t have to intentionally inflict harm and destruction upon ourselves.  I’m so grateful we’ve not been left stranded and helpless.  Thank you, Jesus, and right now, Lord, please help us all.

Still itchy, but much more alert,

jamie