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

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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

The serving legacy

Have you been called to serve?  Do you find yourself serving in your church over and over again?  There could be a good reason for that.  Maybe it runs in the family.

I’ve been reading the first few chapters of Numbers.  This is where the Lord placed the Levites over the service of the care of the most holy things in the tabernacle of meeting.  When the Israelites were ready to move locations, Aaron and his sons would disassemble everything…the curtains, the utensils, the lamps…and then cover them.  They were the only ones allowed to touch the things inside.  After that, the Levites were the ones entrusted with carrying everything to the next location.  They were called for this purpose.

I believe that there are families today that are called in this same way.  Do you notice how some people just love to serve?  Have you seen some families that seem to always have a member that serves or is involved?  The church needs workers.  Things that go on at a church don’t happen by accident or without help.

My great-grandmother, Pearl Tolbert

My great-grandmother started a church that is still going strong to this day.  To its original church building, she would walk from her home, and light a fire in the old wood stove in the winters.  Sometimes, when it was extremely cold, people wouldn’t even show up, but she was ever-faithfully there.

My mother was often a teacher for one of my classes at church; and we sang in the church choir together for most of my life.  My father served on the church board up until my young adulthood; and, on the weekends, could almost always be found mowing grass or making repairs around the church.

On the flip side, I know a pastor who was not raised with Christian parents, but made the decision to live for and serve the Lord.  His son and grandson became pastors, as well.  His great-grandchildren are also growing up with hearts that love the Lord and a passion for serving.  Just because you don’t have the heritage behind you, doesn’t mean you can’t start one for the generations that will follow you!

The best thing you can do for your family is to serve with them, and to leave a legacy of service behind you.  I am grateful that I was born into a family of people who serve the Lord, but I am more grateful that I can show my children the way to serve Him.  Even if you don’t have children of your own, it’s those nieces and nephews, those cousins and young people around you that you can still influence.  Don’t ever think it doesn’t matter.  Just one servant decision at a time…it matters.

Serving with you,

jamie

2 things to believe

Pr. 15:14:  “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.”

Today my study of faith brought me to my long-time hero…Enoch!  He rocked!

Let me tell you his story.  After Enoch begot Methuselah, he walked with God 300 years and had sons and daughters.  The Bible says he lived 365 years.  So, for 300 of his 365 years, he walked with God.  And this must have been some really good walking (i.e. living), because the Bible doesn’t say that he died.  It says, “And he was not, for God took him.”  Man!  I just love this!!!!  How amazing must his relationship with God have been!?  Heb. 11:5 tells us that he had this testimony, “That he pleased God.”

It goes on, in verse 6, to say, but without faith it is impossible to please God, for He who comes to God must believe 2 things:  #1. that He is.  #2. that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Ok.  So, do you believe that He is?  If you do, check that one off.  If you’re unsure, then move on with us to #2 and we can all journey together.

#2 says we must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  If we believe this then we’re already walking down a similar path like Brother Enoch, and that’s amazing!

I looked up verses this morning about seeking God and thought I’d just share a couple.  What happens when we seek God?

  • Ja. 4:8:  “Come near to God & He will come near to You.”
  • Jer. 29:13:  “You will seek Me & find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
  • Ps. 9:10  “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord have never forsaken those who seek You.”
  • Deut. 4:29  “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart & soul.”
  • Is. 55:6  “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.”
  • Luke 11:10b  “The one who seeks finds, & and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

When we seek God, He is always there.

On Tuesday, my son came up to me and asked me if he deserved a hug.  I told him there will never be a moment when he doesn’t deserve a hug.  He doesn’t have to earn those.  He is my son and therefore he gets hugs, regardless of the circumstances.

If we, being sinful, understand this, how much more does our Heavenly Father love us and desire to show us His affection.  If His Word says it, then He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  How much has He already given to us with His grace and His mercy and yet we wonder if we’re enough and if we deserve what He’s got.  Just like my son, we’ve simply got to come to Him…seek Him, and ask.

Let’s please God today, like Enoch, and take Him at His Word.

jamie

 

Where’s the faithful man?

Pr. 20:6:  “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

I read a chapter in a book to my kids yesterday and, after I finished, I asked them what happened.  My daughter gave a quick answer, but my son was distracted and didn’t appear to be prepared to speak.  I asked him a question about it and, after pretending to think about the answer, he said he didn’t remember.  I asked him some specific questions about the story about things that would have stood out, and found out that he had not been listening at all…for the entire chapter!!  Grrrrr.  I was pretty frustrated.

Now what?  Was I to read the entire chapter over just for him?  Skip it and just recap it for him?  Make him read it on his own?  (It’s way above his “grade level” but that could be a good reminder for him)  Or perhaps I should just give up on that book entirely since it obviously didn’t grab his attention?  Anyway…

I was so frustrated at that moment that I decided it would be best if we moved on to another school subject.  I would decide what to do about the book later, but I was stewing on the inside.

Boy did he throw off my vibe for the day and my plans for our book reading time.  Why couldn’t he just listen?  Why didn’t I just make him sit beside me like I usually did?  So many questions.  So much stewing.  Why couldn’t he just be perfect, right?  haha!

How many times have my kids tried to talk to me and I’ve been doing something else and giving them half of my attention?  How many times have they told me all about something they’ve been working hard on in Minecraft and, while I “listened” to them enough to appease them, I couldn’t repeat it to you now if I had to because it didn’t really matter to me?

I know I’m not the only one.  We are all guilty of things like this.  When we see the faults in others, we compare their faults to our strengths.  That’s not really fair, is it?  Like this verse says, we all proclaim our own goodness, but not one of us are faithful.  Not 100%.  We are all just doing the best we can.

It’s good that we know who we are in Christ and that we have confidence in ourselves.  It’s when we start thinking ourselves better than those around us that we begin to err.  We have no business comparing ourselves with others…especially not fault to strength.  We each have our faults and we each have our strengths.  That’s why we work so well together as ‘the body’ of Christ; each having our own part to play.

Today is a new day.  My son will be sitting beside me today as we read, but my understanding cap is on and we will get through this together.

Team building,

jamie

Does your lamp go out at night?

Pr. 31:18: “She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.”

I’m alright at perceiving that my merchandise is good, but I am Not a night person, so the second part of this verse has never been one of my favorites to read.  I love my sleep!  And not 4 hours… I’ll take 8 hours, thank you very much.

I just realized I’ve been overthinking it.  I’ve envisioned myself having to staying up, bonnet on head, sewing clothes, doing bills, and cooking a week’s worth of meals while everyone else was sleeping soundly.

At about 9:20 last night, my daughter was throwing up.  No matter how old she is, I’m not going to just go to bed and leave her alone while she’s suffering.  I stayed up with her, and even slept on the couch with her, checking on her and helping her through the night.  I didn’t even think twice about it.

Phew!  I no longer have to be intimidated by that verse, thinking that one day I’ll get to it.  I’ve had babies, and lost lots of sleep caring for them.

Although it’s thankfully not the norm in our house anymore, sometimes care needs to happen at night.  If you have ever had to respond to a need at night that you didn’t think twice about, then you’ve done the same.  Well done, you!

When a loved one needs us, whether they live in our house or not, we have to be available.  They need to know that like Motel 6, “we’ll leave the light on for you.”

Responding,

jamie

My prayer journal entry for today

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.” Pr. 20:7

Lord, help me to walk in my integrity so that You may be glorified and my children may be blessed.