A completion

“And in this I give advice:  It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.”  2 Cor. 8:10-11

In this verse, Paul was speaking to the church in Macedonia about generosity, but it got me wondering what I was desiring to begin a year ago.  Interestingly (and conveniently) enough, a year ago is when the Lord encouraged me to blog a Month of Prayer, so I was able to go back and read through my blogs from last year.  What exactly was I desiring?  Had I not recorded those prayers, I can honestly say I wouldn’t remember my desires from a year ago.

The Lord has been faithful this past year.  He has not only been answering prayer, but stretching and growing my family and me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  Most of the prayers were things I will need over a lifetime:  to increase in prudence, depart from evil, know Him more, honor Him with my possessions, etc.

I also asked that contentions, gossip, and greed be kept far from me, and that I would be slow to anger.  Truly, the Lord has been faithful in those things; although, like everyone else, I am always a work in progress.  I prayed about my children’s desire to serve Him.  There is an excitement inside them when it comes to serving that warms my heart.  Now, to see them seek after Him as they would seek after treasure.  (that’s coming…)

The desires I had a year ago and things the Lord began when I prayed are not to be forgotten.  This verse in 2 Cor. reminds me that there is not just to be a beginning, but a time of completion.  It is good to take time to revisit and re-evaluate those old desires and monitor our own progress on the journey, as well.  Am I still seeking after the wisdom that I desired last year?  Am I still doing all I can to leave a legacy of integrity and godliness for my children and grandchildren?  Have I been teaching my children how to give when it’s in their power to do so, like I prayed I would?  Have I been trusting in God’s provision?

Do you know what you began or desired a year ago?  Is it time to complete it or to seek God’s guidance?  If the Lord has already completed something for you, or is in the process now, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!  If you have forgotten what you desired, I pray His Holy Spirit will bring it back to your remembrance.  We don’t want to make hollow commitments to the Lord or His work.

When it comes to remembering the things we pray (what we ask for or say to God), a written record can be a very helpful thing.  I will be posting about prayer journaling next.  If you’ve never tried it, or want to try something new, I encourage you to check it out.

Complete it,

jamie

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Are you listening to me!?

Pr. 10:26: “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him.”

Have you ever had smoke from a fire get into your eyes?  I recently did, and it is extremely uncomfortable.  Not only that, but it set off a chain of events that caused more discomfort.  My eyes were irritated and watering, my nose began to run and become stuffy, and my throat began to hurt.

Does your mind link that with a lazy person not doing what you sent them to do?

As a parent, I understand that my kids are not necessarily lazy, but their lack of ‘following orders’ mirrors that of someone lazy on occasion.  My son will just keep moving and pretend he didn’t hear me.  My daughter will instantly begin to play with one of our 2 cats.

It does cause me a bit of discomfort when I realize they have no intentions of doing what I just asked.  Then I have to stop what I’m doing to give them a reminder.  “Oh yeah!,” they say, and then they move to do it.

Occasionally I find that, even though they moved at the 2nd command, they still aren’t doing what I’ve asked.  Now there is a bit of irritation.  If what they are supposed to do is something to help us get out the door to go somewhere, it does set off a chain of events that could definitely cause us to be late, or cause tension as we go, instead of peace.

What about when God asks us to do something?  Ouch!  You felt that one, didn’t you?  I know I did.

When God asks us to do something, do we act like we didn’t hear him?  Do we try to move on and hope He’ll forget what He just asked.  Maybe someone else can do it.  Do we just ignore it and begin to do something we’d rather do instead hoping He didn’t really mean it.  Do we say, “Ok, I’ll do it,” but then move on to the next distraction?  🐱

When we don’t obey our Father, we are acting like the lazy man.  We are irritating His plans, possibly causing a chain of reaction that makes what He was trying to accomplish more difficult.

Not only that, but we miss out on the opportunity to please our Father and to have peace.  I don’t know about you, but when I ignore His requests, it eats at me and I know I’m wrong.  It causes tension in our relationship.

What He asks us to do may not be on our personal list of priorities or on that bucket list we’ve created.  It may require a sacrifice of us, but His thoughts and ways are still higher than ours.  What He has planned is for someone’s good… maybe ours, maybe someone else’s.

Whatever it is, like a parent asking a child to do something, He has his reasons.  Let’s just trust Him and do it.

Listening,

jamie

Dreaming into the New Year…

This is the week after Christmas.  Most of the gifts have been given.  Gatherings have almost all been attended.  Snacks and candies have been savored and devoured.  I hope you all had moments of happiness during this Christmas season.

At my house this week, everyone is home.  Work, school, and outside responsibilities are on hold.  Time for recharging, intentional play, togetherness, and snuggling reigns supreme.

It is easy during this week of winding down and relaxing with the ones I love most to feel as though anything can be accomplished.  (A couple of naps will do that for you!)  So many ideas, goals, and dreams flood my mind, and I feel an eagerness to bring everyone along.

I understand; however, that once school, work, and church begin again, we will once again be on a schedule that will dictate a lot of our time.  How I long to hold tightly to this time of unadulterated togetherness!

My goal for 2017 is to make more time than ever before for dreams.  Things I wish I could do more often need to be scheduled into my days.  Ideas need to be spoken out loud, so that everyone can have a say and come up with ways to flesh them out.  Goals need written out and planned, so they can be accomplished.

I don’t often do the whole “New Years Resolution” thing, but it is a good idea to reevaluate things once in a while.

If you’ve got some dreams or ideas you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to speak them out loud and begin the process of fleshing them out.  And if some of your dreams, like mine, include more time to sit on the couch (or a blanket in the yard) beside a family member for some quality time, that’s ok.

If the Lord has been urging You to do something new, take some time to talk it out with Him and commit.  Anytime He gives us an assignment, He always equips us to carry it out.  That’s a fact.  So, maybe it’s time to simply trust, say, “Yes, Lord,” and step out in faith.

I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!  I pray that in 2017 we all grow closer to God and feel His peace and His presence in our lives more than ever before.  I pray that we share His love with those around us, and pass out forgiveness and mercy generously.

God bless you,

jamie

On helping God

Pr. 19:2:  “Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.”

For the about a month, we have been looking for a new home to purchase.  We put in an offer on 1 lovely place and someone else beat us out with no chance for us to counter.  We have come across a few other places that, before we could gather our thoughts, have gone under contract.  All the while, we have been saying that those properties were clearly not the ones God wanted for us and that we want His will.

Meanwhile, our own home has gone under contract and we still have no new home to which we can move.

Yesterday, we drove by a home that has most of the checklist items we desire.  We told our agent that we want to go see it, knowing that barring some hidden issue, we will be putting in an offer.

Getting to see the house today did not work out at all…and not for a lack of trying.  It was a very frustrating experience, and we got nervous that someone else would get it before us.  We then seriously entertained the thought of putting in an offer without seeing the inside.  Terrible idea, of course, but we need a place to live!

As we were entertaining this idea, I remembered Abraham and Sarah.  God promised Abraham an heir from his own body.  When it didn’t happen right away Sarah and Abraham got nervous.  Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, so that he could have children by her.  God didn’t stop them, but this was certainly not God’s perfect plan for them.

We can read their story and, from the comfort of our reading spot, surmise that if they would have just waited on God there would have been a lot less trouble.  When it comes to our own life; however, we can easily make the same mistake.

Today, instead of waiting on God and trusting in His perfect plan, we thought we’d just speed things up and help Him accomplish the goal.  What a mess we would have made.  Thank God for the knowledge in His Word that the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance.

If this property is the one God wants for us, then He will take care of the details and work it out for us.  If it’s not, then He will give us the right property and things will work out much more beautifully in the end.

It’s the waiting that’s hard.  When we begin to hasten with our feet we can make a big mess out of things.  When we wait on the Lord; however, He renews our strength and has the true promise waiting for us just around the corner.

When we find ourselves growing weary while waiting on the promise, we don’t need to step in and take over, we need to wait a little longer.  What God has in store will be better than anything we could ever create on our own.

Looking forward to the promise,

jamie

Investing in eternal life

Pr. 11:4:  “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

I just finished a book series that took place after an outbreak of a pandemic disease wiped out 80% of the world’s population.  Children were orphaned, farms were abandoned, industry and retail ceased.  Money could no longer buy a single thing on the earth.  Everyone was suddenly on equal grounds…all simply trying to survive.

This verse reminds me of that.  On the day the Lord returns, our riches, material possessions, status, and opulence won’t save us.  Only righteousness (living right with God) will deliver us from death.

The question begs to be asked of us all:  Are you investing more time into gaining or upkeep of riches that will not profit or into gaining or sustaining your relationship with God, which will quite literally save you from death?

As I think about the plans I’ve made for my day, with this verse in mind, I can see that my plans are a bit unbalanced.  Thankfully I still have time to readjust those plans before the day is up.  So do you.  🙂

Calibrating the scale,

jamie

It’s not too late!

Pr. 30:32:  “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.”

As we go into this new year, it’s a good time to reevaluate our plans and our thoughts.  This verse seems a good one to consider.

Perhaps we have begun to do what this verse says, exalting ourselves above those around us.  The more our eyes are on us and our own desires, the easier it can become easy to begin to think we are better, more esteemed, more dignified, or more valuable than others.  I’m sorry to be the bubble-burster, but not one of us is perfect.

Perhaps we have begun to devise evil.  Maybe plans are being made to advance ourselves at the expense of another.  Maybe arguments of justification for sin have laid themselves out clearly in our minds.  Rationalizations for giving into the flesh have been formulated and accepted.

Wait!  If you are reading this, it means that there is still time to stop!  Just because the thoughts have been carefully contemplated and considered does not mean it’s too late.

We still have time to put our hands on our mouths.  We still have time to stop the justifications, rationalizations, and self-exalting.  We still have time to get our eyes off of ourselves and back on our Savior.

Perhaps a few changes are necessary.  Maybe its simply time to get back into the Word.  It could be that some people or activities should be avoided.  Could it be time to lock ourselves away with God for a breakthrough?  I will remind you:  You are of God, and will overcome, because Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

When we are able to focus once again on the Lord, we become eternity-minded.  We no longer strive and plan to satisfy and glorify our flesh, but strive to bring glory and honor to God.  Now that’s a plan!

Re-evaluating,

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