Looking to be honored?

“Exalt her [wisdom], and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.  She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.”. Pr. 4:8-9

In a time when it seems that many are seeking honor, promotions, and ‘crowns’, this is an apt verse.

It’s not our fancy clothes, top-of-the-line vehicles, great dance moves, super tolerance of all things socially acceptable, newest gadgets, or anything else you can think of that will bring true honor.  Those things may bring momentary acceptance here on earth, but it will pass.

What lasts is the honor and promotion that are brought to us by wisdom.  When we embrace wisdom, she embraces us back.  Not only that, but she places on our heads an ornament of grace, and delivers to us a crown of glory.

Not only will she give us honor and promotion here on earth, but her gifts are eternal.  A crown of glory is ours.  For eternity.

Sometimes, for that momentary feeling of acceptance, the urge to push her to the side will come.  We must remember that we are striving for an eternal, lasting crown, not that momentary, fake, plastic crown.

Embrace her,

jamie

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God still loves you

“But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20  (The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32)

I’ve been teaching my class about God, the Father, and yesterday we talked about the prodigal son.  This son took the possessions his father gave him, went his own way, wasted them all to the point of starvation, and found himself wishing he could eat pig food.  He suddenly realized that even the servants who worked for his father had it better than he, so he decided to go back home and beg his father for mercy…and for a job.

The scripture says that when he was still a great way off his father saw him.  That makes me think his father had been watching for him.  His father was just hoping and waiting, day after day, that his son would return.  The father was so full of compassion that he ran and hugged and kissed his son.

Not only did he welcome him, but he gave him gifts.  He ordered that the best robe and a ring be put on his son.  He also gave him new sandals.  I don’t know if he had no sandals by this point, or his were just tattered all to pieces, but his father wanted nothing but the best for his son.

Next he ordered a feast–bbq time!!  He said, “It’s time to eat and be merry, for my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  There was music, dancing, and celebration for this son who came home.

It’s the same way when we come back to the Lord.  God isn’t just sitting on a throne of Judgment.  Hebrews 4:16 says it is a “Throne of Grace, where we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  God is waiting for us, just like that father.  God is our Father, waiting for us with grace and mercy.

Not only that, but when we do decide that being with Him is better than starving in sin, there is rejoicing in heaven when we come home!  (Luke 15:6-7)

Don’t ever think it’s too late to return to your Father, God.  He still loves you.  You are still His child.  He’s watching for you, waiting.  He has good things to bestow upon you.  His grace and mercy still available now.

Come home,

jamie

On the verge of eternity

Pr. 5:14:  “I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

It’s never too late to turn back!

Even if you’re on the verge of total ruin, God’s forgiveness and grace is still available.

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.  1 Jo. 2:12

Don’t take another step towards ruination.  God is willing to forgive and make you a new creation.  You just have to ask.

Father, I come to You right now, confessing my sins against you.  Lord, Your word says that forgiveness is available through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Right now I need that forgiveness.  Have mercy on me now, God, and cleanse me.  Turn my feet from the path of ruin to the path of eternal life.  Lord, I no longer desire to live for myself and for my own desires, but long to live a life that is pleasing and useful for You.  Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask that You guide me the rest of my days.  Thank You for salvation and forgiveness.  I love You, Lord.  In Jesus Christ’s saving name, Amen.

I am praying for you,

jamie

A story of integrity

Pr. 11:3:  “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

The word that piqued my interest in this verse this morning was ‘guide.’  I find it interesting that the thing that will guide us is integrity.  It’s not just recommended or a good idea, integrity will guide us.

Have you ever thought about that before?  Have you ever thought, “If I want some guidance today, I will start with integrity!”?  I sure haven’t.

When we’re making plans and decisions; however, if you really think about it, integrity does determine which path we choose to take.

Ok, here’s an example:  There are days when I’d love to nothing but sit on the couch and read all day.  Seriously, all day.  My integrity; however, will not allow me to do that because I have responsibilities in my home.  My integrity drives me to keep up my end of things and do my work.  So, I take an allotted amount of time to read, and then I move on to my other tasks.

Let’s look at the other side of this verse:  the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.  We can probably all give examples of this.  Lying sets us up to be found out and to lose others’ trust.  Cheating and stealing can get us punished in all kinds of ways.  Constant excuses render us unreliable.  Unforgiveness and lack of mercy clothe us in bitterness and anger that affects all of our relationships.  A consistent track record of these kind of things causes our character, and sometimes our quality of life, to be destroyed.

2 Cor. 3:3 talks about being an epistle of Christ, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God.  Our lives are a story.  If we allow integrity and the Holy Spirit to guide us, then our story points to Christ and His love.  We don’t have to declare ourselves as good people, as honest and faithful, or even as Christians.  Our actions tell that story for us.

If perversity guides us, we are telling a much different story, and no matter what we think, that truth and destruction cannot be hidden.  It is there for all to see.

So today, we need to look to integrity to help us determine what choices we will make.  If integrity is our guide, our actions will reflect it.

Seek out that guide today,

jamie

 

Not to fear

But now, this is what the Lord says–He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel:  ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west…’. Is. 43:1-3, 5

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Is. 43:18-19

Go forth, with Him!

jamie

Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

jamie

Which fruit are you eating?

Pr. 1:31:  “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

I have eaten the ‘fruit of my own way’ more times than I care to admit. I must say, that while it may have tasted sweet for a moment, it turned quickly bitter, and left an aftertaste not to be desired.

We’ve all done it.  We have wanted to be full of our own fancies, and have our own way.  Perhaps we have even tried to push the voice of wisdom to the back and keep trodding through the mud and muck of sin to have just a bit more.  Sad, but true, huh?

The beautiful thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it doesn’t require such a struggle.  When we choose to live for God, and walk in the Spirit, we take the path without the mud.  In fact, we can soar above it, on wings like eagles.  There is no conscience to step over.  There is certainly no bitter taste.  And the aftertaste?  Heavenly.

I can’t help but think of the lyrics of Blessed Assurance that say, “Oh what a foretaste of glory devine.”  The fruit of God’s way not only nourishes and fills us here and now; its nutritional benefits are eternal and more wonderful than we can even begin to imagine.  Thank You, Lord, for Your fruit!

Bon Appetit!

jamie