Tag Archives: path

Who/what is driving our choices?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the moment he left Samuel, after he was anointed to become king.  The Bible says that God made him a different person.  The Lord had also helped Saul defeat the army of the Ammonites when they came against the town of Jabesh, rescuing the people, when His Spirit once again came upon Saul.  

The Lord had sent a thunderstorm in the middle of the dry season to show his power and might.  And Samuel reminded them of all the other amazing things that God had done for them before.  

Now, another army is coming against them, and King Saul’s soldiers are shaking in their boots.  Fear is a natural human emotion, but the Lord had continued to prove Himself to them over and over again, so they knew they had a Helper to watch their backs.  Other soldiers had run off and left, and suddenly Saul, the one who had been anointed, the one who had become a different person, the one upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had come again and again took on the fear and the worry of the others around him, and he began to worry, as well.  

Not only that, but Samuel, who was supposed to come and offer sacrifices to the Lord for them, had not yet come.  Where was he!?  (enter nail-biting)

Saul, let all of this fear and worry from these outside sources drive his choices, and he took matters into his own hands.  If that doesn’t sound like us, I don’t know what does.  

Things look scary, people say things that drive up our fear, worry, or anxiety, and it doesn’t seem like help is anywhere to be found.  All the while, the Holy Spirit…the Comforter…is living inside of us.  The One who gives peace, who guides us into all understanding, who leads us into the right paths, is living within us, and is ready to help us make choices that are not driven by outside circumstances, but by faith, by hope, by truth, trust, and peace.  

Not only does the spirit of fear not come from the Lord; but when we keep our eyes on Him, He allows His perfect peace to be ours.  With that peace guarding our minds and hearts, we are able to trust Him to fight our battles, just like He’s done in the past; and go forth, in victory!

Don’t bite those nails,

jamie 

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Don’t lose your balance

“So don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.”  2 Peter 3:17

That’s what it says in the CEV.  In The Passion Translation, it says, “Be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip of the truth.”

Either way, when we have our eyes on others, we can be led in the wrong direction, lose our grip on the truth, lose our balance, and even fall. 

This is why Paul told us to plant our roots in Christ, and to let Him be the foundation for our lives.  He also told us to set our hearts on what is in heaven.  John tells us to keep thinking about the message we first heard so that we will always be one in our hearts with the Son, and the Father, just as the Holy Spirit has taught us to do. 

Where are your roots getting their nourishment right now?  Make sure that you are planted in Christ, first and foremost.  What was that message you first heard?  Do you need to go back to the B.I.B.L.E?  Do you need to remind yourself that, “Jesus Loves Me, this I know?” 

Let me affirm you right now, and remind you that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.  You have also been blessed with the Holy Spirit…the same powerful Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.  You belong to Christ, who is over every power & authority, and in His name, you are more than a conqueror! 

Brothers & sisters, I encourage you, with the words of Paul, “But you must stay deeply rooted & firm in your faith.  You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news.”  Col. 1:23

No matter what is going on around you, and what choices others are making, know that you are loved, you have power, and you can keep your balance as you stay on the path with the Lord.  Take time to nourish yourself.  It matters.  

Dig those roots in,

jamie

Don’t quit now

Farkle.  Have you ever played?  It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.  My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.  He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”  I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.  You lose your points.”  Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”  Nope!  That was also not an option.  We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.  Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,  He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.  Just let me die.”  And then he fell asleep.  If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  We don’t run without a goal.  He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”  Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!  There is no 2nd place with God.  There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.  We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Walking His Way

When we were on the Greenbrier River, in WV, a few days ago, my son spent a lot of time tubing down a certain part of the river.  There were 2 paths.  Both were fast, but no matter which path he chose, he had to walk up against the current.  He would walk up the one that was slightly more shallow, and then he rode back down on the faster current.

I was reading 2 Cor. 10:3-5 this morning, in the CEV, which says, “We live in this world; but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world.  Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses.  We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.”

Is that what we’re doing right now?  Those kind of words are what we do when we’re walking against the current, not comfortably riding down on the faster current.

I’m reminded of Eph. 6:18, which says, “Never stop praying especially for others.  Always pray by the power of the Spirit.  Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.”  Our weapons are not of this world.  We are to destroy arguments, not start or continue them, and we are never to stop praying for others.

We are also to destroy every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that more important than being right?  Oh, God, help us!  Forgive us.  Be merciful, one more time, and help us, so that we can lead others to you while it is still today.

“Go in through the narrow gate.  The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow.  A lot of people go through that gate.  But the gate to life is very narrow.  The road that leads there is so hard to follow that few people find it.”  Mt. 7:13-14

Lord, help us not give up, and go through the wide gate now.  The current gets so strong sometimes, and we find ourselves struggling to fight to go Your way.  This verse is such a strong reminder of that truth, and how relevant it is in our world right now.  But Lord, we don’t want to take someone else through the wide gate with us.  Better to tarry, and struggle through the current to get through the narrow gate to You, and bring others with us, than to give up and drag others along, too.

Help us to act like Your people, fighting in the Spirit, and praying always.  Convict us when we are prideful, reminding us that Jesus died for all of the world, not just us, and that not even we are worthy outside of His blood and Your grace.  Thank You for the gifts of grace and forgiveness.  Help us to offer the same to those around us, and to tell them the good news of Your great love.  

Follow Him,

jamie

Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

Broken, but not forsaken

I heard a sermon on Sunday night that reminded us that a lot of times before we go into a season of being given out to be used by the Lord we go through a season of being broken, like bread.

I keep thinking about that, and what I love about God is that during that time when we are broken, He doesn’t allow us to be broken into crumbs and spread out in such a way that we cannot be whole again.  If we are like bread, He continues to hold the 2 pieces in His 2 capable hands the entire time, ensuring that we are well and cared-for, never alone, or truly crumbled; and we are never crushed!  Sometimes we feel that way, but all the while, He is holding us.  We are in his hands.  We are safe, and when it passes, He will use that time of brokenness as a way for us to minster to the people in our lives.

He never lets go!

“He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.”  Ps. 23:3

You are held,

jamie

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

A life without apology

I was sweeping up the pieces of a broken glass lampshade this morning and the Lord showed me how the pieces were like our choices.

I’ve seen pretty memes on social media about how we should live our lives without apology, but a life without apology doesn’t always look beautiful.  A life without apology is selfish.  It can even be evil.  It can look like rape, murder, genocide, incest, abuse, lies, manipulation, or many other things that people aren’t thinking about when they see they first see that statement.

The choices we make in our lives affect other people whether we want them to or not.  Cause and effect is a certainty.

Now, if our choices are to sin, things around us break.  Even things in the lives of others.  We may not like to believe it, but it’s true nonetheless.  If we choose to lie, others are hurt.  If we choose to murder, others are affected.  If we choose to [you fill in the blank] there is a ripple affect.

“Oh, but no one else even knows what I’m doing.” Maybe they don’t, and maybe they won’t, but I assure you that your choices are affecting the people around you.  Pieces around you are breaking.  Things are not whole and well like they used to be.

Even though I swept up the pieces of that broken lampshade, I am sure there are pieces that are scattered in places I cannot see.  Some pieces are so minute that I can’t see them.  Some will show themselves later on down the line.

It’s the same with our choices.  Whether good or bad, we don’t always see the outcome and affect of our choices until later, and some are so minute we may not notice, but we can know with certainty that our choices have affected those around us.

As Christians, we don’t have the luxury of living a life without apology.  Sorry.  We have people counting on us and a God to answer to, in the end.   We are called to be a living sacrifice…even in 2019.

Sorry, not sorry,

jamie

Who am I?

Yesterday I turned down a job opportunity.  To be exact, my husband and I turned down the opportunity to minister in a new state, hundreds of miles away from where we are living now.  It’s something we have been praying about since February, and yesterday we officially said no.  I knew it was the right decision.  He knew it was the right decision.  And although I suppose I should have expected it, I wasn’t prepared for the attack that came at me after the phone call ended.

Backstory time…

As 2019 rolled around, my husband and I knew that God was preparing us for something new.  We knew that He was preparing us for the next thing.  When we got the invitation for this ministry opportunity, we couldn’t help but wonder if this was the new thing.  There was a nagging feeling; however, that it was not.  If it wasn’t, though, what was?  So, we kept hanging on, undecided.

Meanwhile, I was sick, sick, and sicker.  Currently, I am bed-ridden…well, couch-bound, I’d say, since I am spending my days on the couch instead of the bed.  haha.  I will be having surgery in 7 days (yes, I’m counting down), but until then, I am trapped, unproductive, not participating in life the way I would like, and in pain.

So, here I am, not attending church, not being “productive”, and not contributing to the world in the ways I would like to, and now I’m turning down an amazing opportunity in ministry.  I live to minister.  I love to minister.  I desire to minister.  And now I’m trapped on a couch and saying, “No, thank you,” to this opportunity before me.  What is happening?  Who am I?

Who am I?  That’s the exact question the enemy wanted to attack me with when the phone call ended.  If you aren’t going to go minister to these people; if you aren’t going to take this chance, then who are you?  If you are just going to be lying around on the couch doing nothing, then how can God even use you?  What difference can you even make?

This, my dear friends, is why we need to know what God has said about us.  10 days ago, I got a confirmation that the Lord was calling me to a higher level.  Just because I’ve said no to that specific chance does not mean it’s the end of my story.  It means God has a different plan for me.  There is a different assignment under my name and once I am healed and my training is complete, He will make sure that I am placed there.

I cannot allow the enemy to take captive my thoughts and pull me down now…not after all this time.  The Word tells me that I am to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ, and to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  It’s up to me to take captive my own thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.  Anything that tries to set itself against my knowledge of Christ has got to go!

So, today, if you feel yourself having any thoughts like me:  Who am I?  What difference can I make anyway?  How can God even use me?  Then I hope you will demolish those arguments, as well, and take captive your thoughts, too!  Satan wants to steal our hopes, destroy our ministries, and kill the people we love by having us neglect to do the ministry we were meant to do because we feel too crippled to do it.

Even from this couch, I can minister.  Even from where you are, so can you.  Take those thoughts captive and let’s get busy!  There are too many souls at stake and there are assignments out there with OUR names on them!

Called,

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