On courage

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'” John 4:34

I was reading about courage this morning: Courage being the act of doing what you are afraid to do.

It occurred to me that I most often hear people (including myself) express fear about doing God’s work.  People aren’t as hesitant to go back to school, move to a new state for work, go skydiving, or start a new business as they are to begin a new ministry, teach Sunday school, sing on the praise team, or speak from the pulpit.  Forget moving to another country to minister in missions…that is almost incomprehensible.

Why in the world are we more afraid to do the work of the One who is our Provider than to do ordinary things?  Why are we more willing to commit to the PTA than to helping in the nursery at church just once a quarter?

Is it possible that we are feeding on the wrong things?  Jesus’ food was to do the will of the One who sent Him, and we have been sent by that same God.

When the Lord lays some new work on our heart, here are some helpful things we will need to have been feeding on:

  • God has commissioned all of his followers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  (Mt. 28:19)  This is our job.
  • God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Ph. 4:19)
  • God has already sent pastors and teachers to equip us for the work of the ministry  (Eph. 4:11-12)  We are ready.
  • We’re invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb. 4:16)  We are not alone.
  • And finally, if we our obedient and choose to give in to God’s leading, trusting that He will take care of our needs, we can be certain He will meet them as He said because Heb. 5:18 reminds us that, “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Karl Bath said, “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.”  I can’t think of a better way for us to take on our fears.

If the Lord lays a work on our hearts, it’s ok to be afraid.  Moses was afraid.  Joshua was afraid.  Gideon was afraid, too.  However, we need to take our fears to God’s throne of grace and receive the help He has waiting there for us.

Don’t we know that the One who created the heavens and the earth, owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and holds this world in His hand…that same One can certainly help us teach a class, preach a sermon, sing a song, minister to the sick, or any other thing He has asked us to do?

He has given us His Word so that we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim. 3:17)  If we are feeding on the right things, then we have all we need.

Let’s get to work!

jamie

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Only believe

“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.  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 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

Month of Prayer, Day 30

Give me understanding according to Your Word, as I cry out to You, O Lord.  Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your Word.

I am grateful that I know You and I know Your Son.  I know the One who has gathered the wind in His fists.  I praise You.  I know the One who has bound the waters.  I honor You.  I know the One who established the ends of the earth.  I glorify You.

Every one of Your words are pure.  I magnify You.  Thank You for being a shield for those who trust in You.  You are faithful and good.

Let me never deny You or profane Your holy name.  Keep greed far from me.  Keep strife from me, as well.  Let Your Word be ever hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You or distract others from Your glory.  You are a mighty God!

Thank You for every blessing You have given me.  Surely You provide my daily bread, and meet my every need.  You are a mighty Provider, Lord!

I love you with all my heart,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 17

Lord, in Ps. 119:81-88, I see the author is being persecuted and crying out for You to execute judgment upon his enemies.  In Pr. 17, Solomon warns over and over about lying, gossip, spitefulness, quarreling, deceitfulness, and evil intentions.  He even says, in vs. 12, that it would be better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs, than to come upon a man in his folly.

It is clear that other people’s decisions, intentions, and actions can greatly affect our lives here on earth.  But You, O Lord, test the hearts. Judgment comes from You alone.  Solomon tells us that, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Knowledge and understanding of You, O Lord, can keep our spirits calm here as we endure the circumstances that present themselves in our lives.  Our hope, Lord, is in You.  Indeed, we do hope in Your Word and long for eternity with You.

No matter what happens around us, Lord, we can continue to pursue our relationship with You.  We can continue to trust and hope in You.  We can keep Your testimony in our mouth as You revive us according to Your lovingkindness.

Thank You for being the One upon which we can call.  Thank You for being faithful to hear and to provide.  Thank You for being the Wise King who is just and honorable.  We can certainly trust in You.

I love you, My King.

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 3

Oh, God, let me not forget Your Word.  Let me bind mercy and truth around my neck and write Your words on the tablet of my heart, so that I might find favor and high esteem in Your sight and in the sight of man.  Let me delight in Your precepts and in Your statutes that length of days, long life, and peace will be added to me.

Help me, Lord, to trust in You with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding, as You direct my paths.  Help me not to be wise in my own eyes, but in the confidence that comes from following You.  Help me to depart from evil and to honor You alone with my possessions.  Thank You for Your provision; always ensuring I have exactly what I need for the moment.  Help me to trust that You will always provide and will not forsake Your own inheritance.

Lord, when You chastise me, as a loving Father, bring back to my remembrance that You do it because You delight in me, just as Your Word says.  Help me to remember that it is out of Your love that You correct and guide me.

Lord I thank You that You give wisdom freely to those who seek.  I thank You that Your wisdom, understanding, and knowledge keep my feet from stumbling.  I thank You for being my confidence and for keeping my foot from being caught.  No wonder the author of Psalm 119:14 said, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”  Truly nothing compares to You, Your might, and Your faithfulness, Lord.

Lord, through Your guidance and Your wisdom, let me leave a legacy of honor and glory to You.  Bless my home and my family.  Let my children seek You as they would seek a treasure.  Help me to show them how to give when it is in their power to do so.  Help them to be just.

Blessed are You, O Lord!

jamie

God’s clear guidance

Pr. 8:5:  “O you simple ones, understand prudence, and you fools, be of an understanding heart.”

You know what our Bible gives us?  It gives a clear road map we can follow throughout our lives.

No, the Bible doesn’t tell us if we should move to a different town, take that new job, or say no to that new offer.  It does, however, give us very clear examples of the consequences of other people’s choices.  The Bible has an example of every type of sin, with the cause and effect clearly laid out.  The Bible has examples of faith, clearly showing the rewards that accompany it.

Learning from the choices of others is very resourceful.  We can save ourselves a lot of time by simply noting how the decisions of others affect their lives, their families, and their walk with God.

Instead of being simple…walking straight into the wall we just watched someone else walk in to, we can can watch and learn how to be prudent (careful) by taking note and choosing differently.

An understanding heart can clearly see that not only was David’s decision to commit adultery a sin, but it led to even more sins, a blemished relationship with God, and the death of his child.

An understanding heart can see clearly that running from God, as Jonah did, only causes unnecessary troubles in our lives and delays the inevitable.

Heb. 4:11 reminds us, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”  The Bible is full of examples from which we can learn.  We just have to read it and trust God enough to fight the urges to make those same mistakes.

We are also given examples of faith that can encourage us that trusting God will not end badly.

An understanding heart can see clearly that Noah’s faith in God caused him to be not only favored by God, but caused his family to be saved from destruction.

An understanding heart can clearly see that Rahab’s faith also caused her family to be saved.

An understanding heart can note the provision that came when Moses’s faith allowed him to stretch out his hand over the Red Sea, believing that God would do what He said He would do.  Provision also came to the widow who made a cake for Elijah with her last flour and oil, believing the Lord’s word that her flour and oil would last for her son and her until the rain came.

Over and over, we can see how faith has produced results and sin has caused harm.  There is so much we can learn in God’s Word.  There is so much guidance for us all.  All we have to do is read, and with our understanding hearts, learn prudence.  Praise God for His Word that gives provision!

Taking note,

jamie

Growing up for a reason

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1

Pr. 11:30 reminds us that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  It is hard to win souls when we’re still babes in Christ.

Babies need almost constant attention.  When they’re not sleeping they need to be fed, held, cleaned, and kept safe.

There comes a time in our spiritual journey that we must make the decision to grow up.  We must begin feeding and caring for ourselves, not depending on others to provide us with everything.  We must learn to trust God to hold us and clean us up, not expecting others around us to be the ones who do so.

Of course, we all have moments when we need the love and care of those around us; however, when we find that we need that almost constantly it is an indication that perhaps we are still behaving as babes.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world preaching and baptizing.  Solomon reminded us that winning souls is the wise thing to do.  In order to do these things, we must have something to offer.

Babies are born helpless and have almost nothing to offer others.  They have to learn and grow so that they can begin contributing to the world around them.  Likewise, we must continue to grow in our trust in God and in our knowledge of Him so that we have something to offer those around us who are truly in need.

The best place to start is…drum roll, please…the Word.  When we begin feeding ourselves the Bread of Life each day, we are beginning to grow up and care for ourselves.

Once we get used to feeding ourselves, we can begin cleaning ourselves up through prayer.  Asking God for forgiveness and direction cleans us up and gives us wisdom for our next steps.  Thanking God for His blessings causes us to become grateful, which is a very grown up attribute.

With these skills, we will then find ourselves running to God to be held.  We will have grown in our understanding of who our Provider, Comforter, Helper, Deliverer, and Savior truly is.  We will know that when we need help the most, the safest, most dependable place to run is to the arms of our Father in heaven.

Armed with all this knowledge, we can then teach others that these same things are true.  We can point them to the same Father, who gives us the safety to be His baby, and the wisdom to grow into spiritual adults.

Growing up alongside you,

jamie