Tag Archives: prayer

Ensnared by God’s love

I wound up watching some episodes of a show yesterday that seemed relatively harmless.  The characters drew me in, the plot was intriguing, and the setting was lovely.  

As I lay down to try to sleep last night; however, I realized the show had affected me more than I’d realized.  The scenes replaying in my mind revealed how quickly I had been drawn in and accepted things that go against my very beliefs and values.  

Here was my next thought:  If sin so easily ensnares and holds up captive, why aren’t we making the love of God so captivating that it ensnares everyone around us in the same way?  

Hear me out.  John 3:16 says that, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  

God’s love is captivating!  He says His yoke [the tie we have with Him] is easy, and His burden upon us is light.  They are not things to weigh us down or make us feel overwhelmed and unable to measure up.  

As I prayed about and contemplated this last night, I thought about the Pharisee’s & the Sadducees of Jesus’ day.  They made so many rules and burdens for the people that the people could hardly get to God.  As the church grew after Jesus was resurrected, there were times when rules and burdens placed on the people were beyond what Jesus instructed.  What about now?

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much we are loved, and that what we have been offered is a relationship. We can understand that once we fall in love with Him, He changes us when & if necessary.  We don’t change out of obligation to rules or burdens.  We change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much He loves others, and we understand that once we can point them to Him and His love, offering them a relationship with the One who loves them as much as He loves us.  How marvelous!  His love will change their lives and their futures for all eternity.  

And He is the One who asks them to make any earthly changes, if necessary.  They don’t change out of obligation to rules, burdens, or traditions; and they don’t change to suit us.  They change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Yes, there will be a judgment one day, and until that day, remember, God is love!  

John 3:17 reminds us, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!”

Let’s go forth today, and make God’s love so captivating that it ensnares those around us!  And maybe binge the Word.  😉

jamie

You’ve been heard

My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles!  I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light.  Micah 7:8

Have you ever felt that way?  You might have had enemies or just troubles.  For a moment you might have fallen.  Perhaps your enemies were more like regular complaints that caused you to feel like your falling.

Maybe you were in the dark, but all of sudden there was the light.  The Lord was there to remind you that He was the light of the world, and  you would not be overtaken by any of it!  

Something like verse 7 might have sprung to your mind, that says, “But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for Him to answer my prayer.”

The waiting may feel longer sometimes than others, but rest assured, dear friend, that even if you’re going through that now, that He has heard you. 

Michael told Daniel, “Daniel, don’t be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the First days you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here.”

The light of the world hears your humble cries.  He will not let you stumble.  God Most High will still be your Refuge in times of need. And He is still the lifter of your head.

Call upon Him and keep trusting,

jamie

A sacrifice worth making

I love the Lord’s timely reminders.  Were your feelings hurt this week like mine?  Have you been in conflict with someone and you haven’t yet shaken it off?  Is there a moment of pain you continue to pray about? 

It’s time to forgive and move on. 

Here’s the deal.  The person who hurt you is a human, just like you.  They are affected by stressors, spiritual powers, and the same fluctuating & selfish traits of humanity as us.  Sometimes others go into protection mode, too.  And sometimes others don’t always act like “perfect Christians” either. 

With that in mind, we need to pray for that other person or people.  I said it.  And you can do it.  Also, I do not mean praying for their demise.  I mean pray for them as you would pray for yourself.  Pray for them as though they are one of God’s children, because they are. 

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, I will remind you that this is scriptural.  Jesus told us to pray for those who mistreat us and to love our enemies.  I don’t typically think of anyone as my enemy, but if there is something keeping us from wanting to pray for someone, then perhaps that qualifies. 

Praying for someone who has hurt us is a beautiful sacrifice of love.  It also allows us to see them the way God does, and to remember that they need a bit of grace, as well.  Suddenly, forgiveness becomes possible, and we are free from that burden we’ve been carrying around.  We will see, once again, how the truth in God’s Word will set us free! 

Note:  Forgiveness is about us being obedient to the Word.  Some relationships can then be reconciled, in a beautiful, and sometimes miraculous way.  Others, especially if it’s a dangerous situation, may not need to be, and that’s ok. 

Let God set you free today!  Forgive,

jamie

Can I have some breakfast?

My daughter walks into the kitchen almost every morning and asks, “Can I have some breakfast?”  This is her home.  It’s breakfast time.  She is old enough and capable enough to fix food on her own.  There is even food in the kitchen.  And yet, she asks this question almost daily.

After she asked it this morning, I thought about the words Jesus told us to pray to our Father in heaven, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Jesus told us to look to the Father as our faithful Provider.  He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  (Per Phil. 4:19)

We don’t have to worry or fret about our physical needs.  In fact, Jesus specifically told us not to.  We are God’s image-bearers.  He will care for our physical needs so that we can pursue needs higher than those.

We just have to ask Him to provide for those physical needs, be grateful for and content with what He gives us, and be willing to move on and pursue the higher calling ahead of us.  Our lives are about more than food and clothing.  There is a much higher calling placed upon each of us.

After breakfast, it’s time to get to work.

Eat up!

jamie

Trusting God…even with our enemies?

Why do we think that God’s Word won’t work?  We do that more often than we will probably admit.  I was reading Ro. 12 this morning, and there are several verses that remind us what the Lord says about 1 subject:

  • “Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you.  Ask Him to bless them and not to curse them.”   (vs. 14)
  • “Dear friends, don’t try to get even.  Let God take revenge.”   (vs. 19)
  • “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat.  And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”  (vs. 20)

From the youngest of ages, this is something we have to begin learning.  It goes against the flesh-nature of us all.  Kids learn immediately that they want their way.  They learn immediately who they feel safe around and who they don’t.  And find out who they can and cannot trust.

Same for us.  But, as Christians, we are told how to we are to handle the situation.  We are told to pray for them.  Ask God to bless them.  And then, if they need something, we are to supply that need, trusting that God’s Word is actually true.  If we say we believe in His Word, then we prove it by doing all of it, not just some, right?  Eeeeeek.

Jesus said, “I tell you love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.”  Does that mean we have to allow an enemy in our lives, submitting to them every minute?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  Wisdom from the Lord, and discernment from the Holy Spirit are certainly very helpful things to have in our lives, to guide us as we make decisions.

But we can pray for anyone, and forgive, finding the love of God for anyone…loving them as Christ loved us.  This will enable God to do the work that only He can do, and let Him prove that He and His Word are mighty and true.

We can’t just pick out all the parts of the Word that we want and leave the rest.  He will honor it all.  And He can be trusted.

Loving you,

jamie

Get off that rock! part 2

In the last blog, I told you how my son got distracted while eating his snack in his kayak and ran into the only rock in the vicinity.   We yelled and tried to warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.  He found himself stuck on the rock.  

He had some decisions to make about how to get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort on his part, so that he didn’t capsize, but he did it.  We were a bit further behind him, and we had to just watch as he did the work; hoping that he would be ok.

Technically, he could have even gotten out of his boat and tried to push or pull the boat loose, even though the river was a bit deep in that section.  The point is that it was completely up to him at that time.  He was the one making his own decisions.  And we just had to watch.

Sometimes we just have to sit back and watch people work out how to break free from their obstacles by themselves….even if we did warn them.  Isn’t that how our own endurance and character has grown in the past?

Who knows, they may ask for our help.  But if not it’s ok.  We know the One to call on to help them in their time of need, and He can be trusted.

Trusting God,

jamie

An unseen enemy

I joined my son in tubing down the Greenbrier a few weeks ago.  Walk up, ride down, and repeat.  As we walked up once, I saw a water snake hiding in the grass.  It headed upstream as we got closer.

My son weren’t fighting the current that day, or the rocks just under the tubes…that wasn’t what we really needed to worry about…and that wasn’t I was watching out for.  I was looking out of the corner of my eye for what I knew was unseen.

Eph. 6:12 says that we are fighting evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but things we can’t see.

Therefore, we need to put on our armor so we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle we will still be standing firm.  (The armor is described in Eph. 6:14-17)  And we are to PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion and stay alert!

My son didn’t even realize that I had been keeping an eye out the entire time.  Having grown up in the waters of WV, I knew that a snake was most definitely lurking in there somewhere.  They blend in so well, you can’t see them until you’re right up on them or they move.

I stopped my son, and we let it get well ahead of us before we continued.  The truth is that the snake had been there all along, hiding in the shallows, and we had gone by it at least 12 times.

I was definitely staying alert on that river.  I knew there was enemy somewhere.  So, when I saw it, I was able to protect us.

We also have an unseen enemy, who is skilled at keeping us worrying about all the wrong things, and we need to stay alert and keep praying, so God can give us that same pause and wisdom I had when I saw my enemy.  He can, and He will.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This song came on during my worship time this morning, and fits perfectly to this thought.  The waves and wind still know His name…He is still in control…and is still greater than he that is in this world.  If we keep our eyes on Him, it will be well with our souls.

I hope you can take a few moments sometime to today and worship the One who is still in control of all things, and gives you the shield of faith to stop all the fiery arrows of the devil!  Our enemy will never be stronger than our Lord.

Pray and stand firm,

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

Hope, like an anchor

Heb. 6:19-20:  The hope [of God’s promises] is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls.  In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place.  Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and He is our high priest forever…”

I had some moments last week being mentally tormented.  I was very ill, physically, and in hindsight, I can see that I’d become severely dehydrated and should have probably taken a little ambulance ride to get some fluids.  At the time; however, all I knew was that my mind was being attacked along with my body.

I was being bombarded with terrible, tormenting thoughts.  My mind was foggy and confused, so when I would try to find a true thought to come against the tormenting thoughts, it was extremely difficult.

Y’all, this is why it is so important to pray for people when they’re sick.  (That’s just your bonus nugget)

I couldn’t fight against every single thought, setting each and everyone right, like on a normal, healthy day, but I could always find a sliver of hope in the midst.  There was an anchor, ever in the midst of the storm in my mind, that remained.  And though I wasn’t able to muster a prayer during those moments, my hope reached behind the curtain, to the most holy place, where Jesus has gone ahead of me.

Praise God we have a Savior who has gone ahead of us and who knows what we need!  Praise God that our hope reaches behind the curtain!  Praise God that our hope in God’s promises can be like a firm and steady anchor for our souls in the hardest of moments!  Praise God for those who pray for us when we cannot.

“What must I give You, Lord, for being so good to me?  I will pour out an offering of wine to You, and i will pray in Your name because You have saved me.  I will keep my promise to You when Your people meet.  You are deeply concerned when one of Your loyal people faces death.  I worship You, Lord, just as my mother did, and You have rescued me, and You have rescued me from the chains of death.  I will offer You a sacrifice to show how grateful I am, and I will pray.  I will keep my promise to You when Your people gather at Your temple.  Shout praises to the Lord!”  Ps. 116:12-19

Anchored in Him,

jamie

Permission to depart

“He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”  Mt. 14:13

Something in ministry that we all worry about it being available to the people.  We should be, but we must remember that need to be refreshed, as well.  If we are modeling our lives after Jesus, then let’s model this part of our lives after Him, as well.

Even Jesus would separate Himself for times of emotional recharging (as in the verse above), or times of prayer.  That ensured that when He would come back to the people He would have something to give them besides a frazzled, “I’m hanging on by a thread and just barely getting things done”, exhausted, Lord who is only giving them pieces of Himself; or a Lord who hasn’t prayed in 3 days because He hasn’t found the time.

Throughout the gospels you will find Scriptures that show Christ getting away by Himself, or getting away with those closest to Him…away from the multitudes…just to recharge and refocus.  See Mt. 17 when He took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain.  It was just the 4 of them and they went for 1 special reason.  Not everyone was invited to this.  Not all 12 disciples, not the whole crowd; and Jesus didn’t just go alone for this one.  These were the ones He needed to be with.

It is ok for us to put our phones away for an hour or 2 (get away from the multitude), go off with our certain one or few for something special (or nothing special), or spend time alone recharging so that when we come back we have more to give in our ministries.

Each time Jesus came back from one of those times, the multitudes were waiting and there was work to do.  He had compassion on them and got to work, but He was refueled and ready.  The work of ministry (and life) will never end, so we must take care to carve out those times of ‘departing’ on our own.  No one else can do that for us…no one will.

Let’s be like Jesus and depart from multitude before it gets out of hand.  Schedule it if you need to.  Refocus, recharge, and come back recharged and ready for ministry…just like Jesus did.

And when He went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with great compassion for them…

jamie