Justice according to God…not us

Pr. 28:5:  “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all.”

In John 7:24, after Jesus was confronted by people complaining against Him, He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

It can be so easy for us to judge people and circumstances by what we see on the outside.  However, when we are seekers of the Lord, and are consistently gaining more understanding of Him and His will, we find that judgment does not come quite so easily.

The wisdom from the Lord helps us to understand justice according to God’s will and not our own.

We want revenge, but God says vengeance is His.  We want to strike back, but God says turn the other cheek.  We want to be found more faithful, but God says humble yourself and do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.  We believe in choice, but the Lord says to plead the cause of those unable to speak for themselves.

Justice, according to us, is self-seeking and certainly fickle.  One day we’re in a kind, peaceful, forgiving mood.  The next day we might find ourselves mad at the world.  If we seek justice according to our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and personal beliefs, disaster will certainly ensue.  How many wars, divorces, and divisions could have been avoided if personal justice wasn’t sought?

When we become more like Jesus, seeking the will of the Father, then we understand justice according to the One who is true.  God’s ways are not our ways, but plans are for good, and He has proven Himself through the ages to be faithful and sovereign.

If we are to understand justice, we should seek to understand justice from the viewpoint of our Father in heaven.  We can dig through His word and understand what true justice is.  When we seek the Lord we can understand all.

Looking inward,

jamie

The healing tongue

Pr. 12:18:  “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

Almost 3 years ago, I was admitted into the hospital for a lovely 5-day visit.  A dear friend of mine came to visit.  She and I are close friends, and she was also my fitness pal and co-worker at the time.  I vividly remember when she walked through the door because her eyes were brimming with tears and I could see pain on her face.

I eventually found out that prior to her visit she had been “beat up”  and “pierced” by careless and inconsiderate comments by our co-workers concerning the cause of my condition.  Feeling guilt and shame, she asked me, “Did we do this to you?”  Instead of simply offering comfort and care to her as her friend was lying in the hospital, our co-workers had been criticizing our choices and pointing out how we had brought this upon me with exercise and food choices.

Since I have never been fully diagnosed, that could be true.  Who knows?  However, their words at that moment wounded my friend and brought her more pain that she was already feeling.  It’s easy for us to think of all the kind, encouraging things they could have said to her instead that would have promoted health and comfort within her.  As I was lying in the hospital bed, I began to encourage and comfort her, hoping to ease the pain they had inflicted.

This kind of situation is somewhat normal, however.  Human nature makes us quick to throw out words of opinion, criticism, correction, advice, or solution; and much slower at simply offering comfort.  I’m so thankful our Father in heaven isn’t as quick to do those things as we.  His Word is full of healing, comfort, and consolation.

This morning I read Psalm 23, which is indeed filled with comfort:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If you’ve been pierced by careless words, turn to the Word of God for healing.  Then, being full of His Word, when we find ourselves about to pierce another with our own words, we need to take a moment to find healing words to offer instead.  There is enough pain in this world already.  Healing is what is truly needed.

Grateful for His staff,

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

Trust in the One who is faithful

Pr. 29:25:  “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

This is one of those verses I use to remind myself of the truth.  When we begin to fear man more than the Lord, we are on a slippery slope, at best.  A snare is something that entraps us, entangles us, catches and keeps us.

In Mt. 16:26, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This world offers so much.  We can be the most popular, the sexiest, the best dressed, the richest, the most successful.  We can be housewives with immaculate homes, and the cleanest, most well dressed, and sportiest children.  We can have the latest hairstyle or color, the best car, the coolest gadgets.  We can watch all the right shows, have the biggest and best network of contacts, drink the most revered drinks, party at the most sought after places, or hold the most prestigious jobs.

All of it; however, has the potential to bring a snare upon us to entangle us, and to distract us from our true purpose.  If the opinions of others becomes the driving force in our lives, we will become ensnared in the constant pursuit to keep up, to fit in, to be noticed for those titles we hold.  Man’s opinions are fickle, let me remind you, and what’s the best today can easily become the most out-dated tomorrow.  Also, we must keep Jesus’ words in mind:  what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls?  We simply cannot give in and exchange our souls for dust and ashes.

While man’s opinions continually change, the Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The Lord does not change.  Unlike those who may only be a ‘friend’ while you’re doing as they like or approve, the Lord loved us so much that even in our worst state, He sent His Son to take our sin and disease upon Himself to give us eternal life.  Surely we are safe with One such as this.

Also, the Lord, who promised to care for and provide for us, is faithful to keep His promises, never turning His back in our time of need or despair.  The same God whose glory passed before Moses, turning his hair white and causing him to shine so brightly that he had to cover his face with a veil, is the same God who goes before you and keeps you safely in His mighty arms.

His name is actually a refuge to which we can run.  We need not fear.  What can man do to those whose Helper is the great and mighty Lord of Lords?  Don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by the ever-changing opinions or expectations of imperfect people.  Trust in the Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.

In His arms,

jamie

 

I know there’s an answer

Pr. 3:19:  “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens”

I have had tendonitis in my toe since June, and it has not gotten any better.  I will note that I did go to the podiatrist at the onset, but have not yet been back.  Yesterday I was looking online a bit for some options that didn’t include a repeat visit to the doctor.  (just in case)

When you begin looking something up online, its amazing to me how you can end your search overwhelmed with a plethora of information.  There is just so much information out there and it quickly begins to conflict.  Oh, and there are so many perfect things you can buy to completely remedy your situation.

So many options, so many conflicting opinions, and so many different feelings those opinions invoke.  By the time I finished my search I felt bleak.  All I could do was sigh.

Then, realizing I was in over my head, I called out to the One who founded the earth with wisdom and established the heavens with understanding.  I was so thankful to know the One who has and is the answer.  It is important that we have a relationship with the Creator, the One who has all wisdom and understanding, so that we can consult Him for the answers we need.

The beauty of His word is that it does not conflict.  His word is consistent and His word is pure.  I can trust that when I call upon the Lord, or open His word, the information I find there will not overwhelm me in a hopeless and helpless way.  It will not leave me feeling bleak and bested.  In fact, the Lord is our peace.  The Lord and His Word are a shield to those who trust in Him and He is a helper in time of need.

If it’s wisdom I seek, then I know the One who gives it generously to those who ask.  I hope you know Him today, as well.

Peace be with you,

jamie

What are you seeking?

Pr. 25: 27:  “It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”

This verse tells us not to seek our own glory.  Who’s glory are we to seek?  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Mt. 5:16

Do we need seek our glory in order to gain man’s approval?  Solomon warned that, “the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Pr. 29:25.  Worrying about what others think of us only traps us.  Paul encouraged the people in Colosse that it is only God’s opinion that matters:  “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”  Col. 3:23-24.  Man’s opinions are fickle and they can offer nothing of eternal value.  When we seek the approval of the Lord, we will be rewarded with eternal life.

What should we seek?  While on earth, Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”  John 5:30.  In Mt. 6:33, He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, etc.) will be added to you.”  Paul implored Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  1 Tim. 6:11.

The only reward we receive when seeking our own glory is a temporary surge in our pride.  That surge will soon wane and we will have to seek glory once again.  We will never be satisfied.  Ps. 107:9 tells us that “He (the Lord) satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”  The Lord is the only One who will ever satisfy.  Heb. 11:6 tells us that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Let us continue to seek and pursue things outside of ourselves and trust God to keep us safe, reward and satisfy, and turn us into more patient and gentle people.  In doing so, our light will shine before men and point them toward the Savior.  He’s the only One whose opinion will ever matter.

Seeking His glory,

jamie

 

The lips of the righteous

Pr. 10:32:  “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”

When my daughter was little I read Pr. 10:32 and decided that I would use that as the saying for my kids.  “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable.”  My daughter has heard that a lot.

The funny thing?  We know its true.  We absolutely know what acceptable words are to come out of our mouths and what unacceptable things shouldn’t.

God calls us to choose to speak what is acceptable.  He calls us to think on things that are lovely, pure, noble, and praiseworthy.  He reminds us that the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.  He urges us to restrain our lips.  Out of our mouths comes the overflow of our hearts, so we’re reminded that its a heart issue.  God can help with that.

When we trust in Him, we will be safe, and others will be blessed.  If in doubt, either don’t speak, or speak the Word of God.  His word never returns to Him void.

Be careful little mouths what you say,

jamie