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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Knowledge vs. Love

Pr. 9:1: “Wisdom has built her house, she has been out her seven pillars;”

A couple of days ago, after my son woke up, I asked him what he’d read in his Bible when he woke up.  He said, in a confused voice, “I read about She. It was in Proverbs.”  I knew he must have been speaking of wisdom, so we went and looked at it and talked it out so he could understand it a little more.

Wisdom is the one you want to know.  She, as the Bible describes her, was with God at the beginning, when He was creating the foundations of the earth.  She also helps us forsake foolishness and go in the way of understanding.  She speaks excellent, right, and true things.  She is better than rubies and more desirable than any other thing.

This morning I was reading a contrasting scripture, 1 Cor. 8:1, which says, “We know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”

Paul was talking to the Corinthians about a hot topic of that day: food offered to idols.  Of course, people had a lot of knowledge, but apparently not everyone was sharing that knowledge with love.

I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve been present for many heated conversations, and I’ve witnessed the aftermath of people’s “knowledgeable” comments towards one another..we still have the same issue today.

There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom. We all have knowledge, as Paul said, but it is when we let wisdom take charge that we all win.  Wisdom is the one that helps us bite our tongues.  That’s still a rarely used tactic.  Holding back comments is not a bad thing.  Praying before speaking is never a poor decision.  Choosing to not have the last word is never a sign of weakness…that always takes more strength.

Loving people is a choice that sometimes takes extra strength, as well.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and with wisdom, we are much more equipped to show love than to show frustration, anger, disappointment, bitterness, superiority, and the like.

I pray that today, we will lay down our knowledge and choose, in love, to listen to wisdom.  Love edifies.  Let’s seek first the kingdom of God, and second to edify, in love.  When we do that, we can then point people to His kingdom because we won’t be driving them away.

Seek “she” out today,

jamie

I’ve been consenting with sinners

Pr. 1:10:  “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

It’s confession time for me.  I’ve been enticed and I have consented.

We have had Netflix for a long time.  I usually watch fun, innocent things like The Great British Baking Show, Nailed It…things like that.  However, when I become very ill in December I got wrapped up in a very non-innocent drama that has every level of sin.

There are parts that are so inappropriate that they have to be fast-forwarded through.  I do that, at least.  That’s my concession.  That’s my justification.  You with me?  I’ve had to turn down the volume around my kids a few times.  (That tells you a lot about the show)

Something interesting about me is that during the month of January I did a 21-day fast where I read the Bible only…no other books.  (reading is my favorite thing and I was already on a very restricted diet)  But still I was watching this show.

Something else is that my husband and I decided in January of this year that in order to help us pay off some student loan debt we were going to cancel our Netflix subscription.  However, when February came around, I was still so wrapped up in this sinful mess of a show that I didn’t want to give it up and I didn’t cancel our subscription to Netflix.  Y’all!  For real.  I’m being completely honest here.

However, this week, I have finally realized I can no longer do this.  I can’t continue to feed my mind and spirit this filth and expect the Lord to be able to produce in my life the good things I truly want.  I’m not sure how I allowed this to happen.  I’m always so careful.  We listen to Christian music always, we never read anything that will fill our minds with sinful thoughts, we don’t hang out in places that will cause unnecessary temptation.  We are careful.  We have boundaries.  And yet I was enticed, and I consented.  And then I was resistant when it came to giving it up.  (That’s the part that bothers me most)

It can happen to any of us at any moment.  We still have to be so careful.  Daily.  On guard.  Just because it’s just a show on Netflix doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  Just because it’s just a fruity drink doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  Just because they’re just a friend doesn’t mean they’re harmless.  There are so many ways we can be enticed.

Learn from my mistake, and keep your guard up, or give up your enticement now.  We can’t afford to be distracted now.  The Day of the Lord is so close and we have work to do.  We have to stay focused and stay in the game.

Unsubscribing,

jamie

Only Believe reblog

This morning I read my blog from Sept. 26, 2016 and felt it was a very fitting time to share it again:

“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road!  A fierce lion is in the street!'”  Pr. 26:13

I don’t really think we’re all lazy, but certainly we can make situations look larger than life quite often.  We have fear.  We have unbelief in the face of uncertainty.  We forget that is truly God that takes care of us.

I had the privilege to spend time this past weekend with some full-time missionaries from 3 different countries.  You know what I noticed?  They’re just ordinary people.

One lady simply saw a need and God touched her so strongly that she obeyed.   She could have been too afraid, and done nothing, but she knew it was up to her to do something.

Do you think she had all the answers?  Definitely not.  Did she have a full understanding of the depths of time, money, and commitment that would be needed to do the work?  Absolutely not!

The task she undertook could rightly be called monumental.  She absolutely did not have the resources to do it, nor did she understand how drastically her life would change as a result of deciding to do something about this need.

Mark 5:36 stands out in my mind, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

She didn’t enter that situation as a seasoned, full-time missionary.  She did not have the answers.  She did not have the resources.  She likely did not even have the time.  Yet, she chose to obey the touch of the Lord on her heart; and to believe in the One who supplies our every need.

Can’t we all do the same?  It terrifies me to imagine myself running an orphanage, and being the sole guardian for 57 kids at a time.  I would doubt my ability to care for a community that was counting on me to be their source of food.  I would feel afraid to go into a tribal village, facing people who practice religions of rage and violence.

However, we aren’t the ones who have to have the resources, answers, and abilities.  God provides those things.  God simply needs us to obey, and to do His work, believing that He will provide what we need.

Most of us won’t be facing those situations that I just described today.  However, speaking to our co-worker about the Lord can feel just as scary.  Sharing God’s love to the cashier who looks like she’s just about to give up, can leave us doubting our abilities.

Perhaps, the Lord asks us to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or repair or build a house for someone in need.  Guess what?  He will equip us.

We are all called to simply obey God’s will in our lives.  We don’t have to be a full-time missionary to do His work.  We are all just ordinary people, children of God, who long to be His hands and feet in our world.

If we obey His call, He will equip us for every good work.

Believing,

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

 

Seeking faith with the wise

Pr. 13:20:  “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

So, yesterday I admitted that God corrected me for doubting.  Am I alone in that?  I have asked God to increase my faith.  Maybe you guys are already full of faith.

See, it’s not that I doubt that God is able.  My goodness, if He can split the Red Sea, He can heal me.  If He can send so much fire from heaven that it burns up Elijah’s offering, including the wood, the rock altar, the ground around the altar, and the water in the ditch, He can do anything!  I believe He is the God of the Bible.

I believe He is the God that led David’s stone into Goliath’s forehead.  I believe He is the God who kept Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from even smelling of smoke when they were thrown into the fiery furnace.  I believe He is the same God who kept Paul from even getting sick when he was bit by a poisonous viper.

I believe He is the same God today that He was even then!

The trouble I have had in the past is when it comes to His will.  Does He desire for me to be healed?  Paul prayed 3 times to be delivered from the thorn in his flesh and the Lord told him no.  The Lord told Him that His grace was sufficient and that His strength was made perfect in weakness.

What I have found since 2012, when I first became afflicted, is that God’s grace is indeed sufficient.  And although I fought it so many times at first, His strength is made most perfect in my weakness.  I can honestly say that I could not have been brought to the place I am with God had I not gone through what I have.  I can truly say, “what the enemy meant for evil, God has used for good.”

Does that mean that I can’t ask for healing and have the faith that it’s still possible?  No.  And in my Bible study of faith what better place to start than Heb. 11?  I want to walk with wise men, like this proverb says.  I want to walk with the hall-of-famers of faith!  I’m going to start there and keep walking.  I’m going to keep believing and keep increasing in my faith.

Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for…

jamie

Correction from the Lord

Pr. 12:1:  “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

We went to a revival service last night and the Lord corrected me.  As the evangelist was giving his altar call, when I should have been preparing to come down and pray for healing, I was doubting.  The Holy Spirit gave out a message and literally asked me, “After all this, are you still doubting?  After all you’ve seen me do?”  Tears poured down my face.  He was right.

I have no problem worshiping the King of Kings and Great I Am.  Simply because of who He is, He is worthy.  Just because He is Lord, He deserves my praise.  But sometimes I still struggle with doubt.  Does He want healing for me?  Is that His will?  I haven’t asked Him for healing in a while because I decided to be content with the life I’ve been given.  However, as I went to the altar last night, asking for forgiveness for my doubt, I also asked the Lord to increase my faith.  I asked the Lord to have mercy on me and heal me.  I am believing He has heard my prayer and am placing my faith in His power!

I am going to begin studying my Bible specifically for faith and seeking an increase in my faith, so for today I am going to remind myself of some of the faithful ways the Lord has shown Himself Lord over my life.

  • He spared me from being raped by a boyfriend when I was 15
  • He saved me from suicide a few months later
  • He has always given me a job when I needed one
  • He introduced me to the most unlikely man who would end up being my godly husband, at the most unexpected moment in my life.  That man brought me back to the Lord.
  • When I was 23 and low on money, he sent me a co-worker with a box of food, complete with homemade Christmas goodies  🙂
  • When my father was bedridden with a terminal diagnosis, the Lord delivered him and got him out of that bed to continue on with life
  • He delivered my father from prostate cancer
  • He delivered my sister-in-law from breast cancer
  • As my husband and I have paid our tithes throughout our marriage, the Lord has always met our needs
  • He has provided clothing for our children through friends throughout most of their childhood
  • He saved me and then didn’t give up on me when I went astray.  He has forgiven me over and over again
  • He gave me 2 beautiful children that I never deserved, through His grace and His mercy.

This is just the tip of the iceburg of the many ways the Lord has shown Himself faithful over to me over the years.  He is the same God today that He was yesterday.  He will be the same God tomorrow!  I will continue to remember all that He has done for my family and me as I think of His goodness.

Increasing in faith,

jamie