The proof is in the pudding

Pr. 21:3:  “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

I know what God means.  Last week my daughter got in trouble.  She said she was sorry.  🙂 Very nice.  The next day, it happened again.  The next day, again.  Those words, “I’m sorry,” sure lost their meaning.

I explained to my daughter that she could tell me she was sorry 1,000 times and it wouldn’t mean anything unless I saw her making different choices.  Her actions were contrary to her words, and the actions were the ones that ultimately counted most.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Certainly, we are not saved by our works.  It is Jesus’ death and our belief in Him that saves us.  However, our actions sure speak loudly of who we really are.

We can say we trust God’s word to be true, but just like in the case of my daughter, our actions speak much louder than our words.  Do we show we believe God’s word to be true by the way we behave and the choices that we make?

When we see needs around us, do we respond, or just walk by thinking God will use someone else to provide?

Does our trust in God show up when we need something we cannot provide for ourselves?

When we commit sin, do we tell God how sorry we are and then go right back to that sin, or do we show Him that He is more important, by making the choice to stop sinning and run to Him?

Do we obey the Lord’s voice we He tells us to do something?

When we fail to be obedient to the Lord, does our regret cause us to be obedient next time, regardless of our doubts or concerns, or do we do the same thing over and over again?

Like it or not, our actions show who we really are.  Just like my daughter, I sometimes forget this truth.  It’s great to be a believer in Christ, it’s even better to prove it.

This one stung a bit,

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

Which do you desire more?

Pr. 24:1:  “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them”

Ro. 13:11-14 encourages us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  It says, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Why?  Because the day is at hand.  Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Make no provision for the flesh:  making provision for something means that you gather necessary supplies, plan and prepare, set the stage.  We are not to do those things for the lusts of our flesh.  We are to cast off the works of darkness, getting rid of the provisions and plans for our lusts.

Some associations in our lives make it difficult to walk as in the day.  Choosing not to walk in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness usually involves ending some relationships.  Making no provisions will mean that certain actions will have to be changed.  Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ will mean that new choices will need to be made.

Change is never easy, but with the day of our salvation nearer than ever before, it is necessary.  Anticipating the day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, take away sorrow, death, crying, and pain, we must not give up or continue to willingly give in.  On that day, former things will pass away, and The Word tells us that, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by My son.” (Rev. 21:7)

Since the former things are going to pass away anyway, they are not worth hanging on to.   Rev. 12:11 tells us not to “love our lives to the death.”  Choosing the idols of our flesh over God reveals what we love most, and will only lead to our death.  We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  It is our relationship with Jesus that bring salvation.

Making provision to put on the Lord Jesus Christ every day will allow Him to bring to us His great reward.  Choosing Him gives us rights to the tree of life and access to the gates of the city of heaven.  Confessing, by our choices, that He alone is our God allows us to hear Him say, “Come!” on that great day.

Let’s allow God to help us get rid of the provisions we’ve placed in our lives that help us feed the lusts of our flesh, and to give us a new testimony that includes the healing blood of the Lamb.  Together, we will worship, knowing that He is coming quickly…for us.

Here is a song to help set the stage for those changes.  I pray God will speak to, strengthen, and cleanse us all today.

Desiring what will last,

jamie

That necklace is Perfect for you!

Pr. 1:8-9:  “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for the will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.”

Several years ago, when my sister-in-law began her journey with breast cancer, she sent out 7 necklaces.  Each necklace had a letter from the word JOURNEY.  I remember receiving mine in the mail and feeling the weight and privilege of it.  It felt very heavy because of the diagnosis and turmoil that I understood would accompany it; but it was a privilege because she entrusted me to pray with her, reach out to her, and be on her side along the way.

I wore my necklace every day and would sometimes touch it during the day, reminding myself of all she was going through, or facing in the future.  It was a great reminder for me of what was going on in her life.

Solomon compares hearing the instruction of your father and not forsaking the law of your mother to graceful ornaments on our head and chains about our neck.  I certainly don’t believe he meant heavy construction chains.  I believe he meant something more like that necklace my sister-in-law sent to me.  I believe he is saying to his son that the instructions and law would be good reminders for him throughout his life.  Those reminders would guide and protect him.

The entire law of God is the same way.  God does not place heavy chains upon us or bind us with His law.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  His precepts are like these graceful ornaments and chains of remembrance.  Heeding His instruction protects us, keeps us safe, and keeps us mindful of what is truly important.

We all need reminders.  Just as that necklace reminded me to pray for my sister-in-law, God’s instructions and laws remind me to be mindful of things above.  They remind me why I am really here, and what my purpose truly is.  They remind me whose I am.  They remind me that I am not alone on this earth.  I have a Father who has reached out to me and given me His Word to keep me safe and give me everlasting life.

God’s law reminds me that there is One who cares for me so much that He would set things in place to provide protection for me.  The instruction in His Word reminds me that He is aware of me and my needs.  He is my Provider, my Shepherd, my Deliverer, Healer, Help in time of need.  He is my everything.

It is good for us to heed the instruction and law of our Lord and Savior, and to “wear” them as reminders.  They will allow God to guide and protect us all the days of our lives.

Being reminded,

jamie

 

Worrying about those riches

Pr. 23:5:  “Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”

Solomon was telling his son not to overwork to become rich.  With our citizenship being in heaven, and the fact that riches will fade away, there is a time to cease.  There are many types of “riches” on which we can set our minds.

Until 4:00 a.m., I was lying in bed for an hour or so trying to “be anxious for nothing.”  I had recited Ph. 4:6-7 several times, offering thanksgiving to God and praying, in order that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, would guard my heart and mind.  Sometimes I guess I expect that the peace will fall heavily upon me and I will no longer think about my anxieties, but it didn’t necessarily do that this time.  I do believe; however, that it is guarding my heart and mind, and the moment a forceful attack comes, the protection will already be in place.

I am anxious because at 8:45 this morning I will be having the x-ray that will let me know how the fracture in my shin has healed.  This could go 1 of 3 ways, and after 7 weeks of putting no weight on my leg, I feel ready to get back to “normal life.”

Will I set my eyes on that which is not?  That’s what anxiety is.  In Ph. 4:11, Paul writes, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  Anxiety is me not being content in my current state.  Anxiety is me worrying about the future, when I’m still in the present.

Now, I recall Jesus in the garden the night before His betrayal.  He said that His soul was deeply sorrowful, even to death.  It does give me peace in knowing that even Jesus became sorrowful and asked that the cup be passed from Him.  Understanding what He faced, I am not comparing my level of sorrow to His.  I do, however, take comfort in the fact that He truly does understand what it means to want an impending event not to take place.

I do not want to hear the doctor say that I am not healed.  Even before I go; however, I must decide, if I will set my eyes on those uncertain things?  If I am not healed, will God still supply my needs?  Of course.  The “riches” I desire do not ensure a perfect life.  Jesus gave Himself to God’s will in order to glorify His Father.  That’s the point of our lives, and if I cannot glorify my Father with on crutches, then perhaps I never can.

I am a child of God, and no matter what state I am in, He will still provide.  Setting my eyes now on things above, reminds me that peace comes from knowing and trusting in God.  With Him, I am complete, and can now cease over-worrying about my riches.  It’s God’s riches I’m counting on!  🙂

Resting in Him,

jamie

Proving we are faithful stewards

Pr. 3:9:  “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase”

This morning I was also reading Luke 16, about the unjust steward.  A steward is a person in charge of the property of affairs of another.  I believe the Lord has placed us all in charge of His estate here on earth, as we are His hands and feet.  That is why this proverb is so important.

When we honor the Lord with our possessions, with our firstfruits (our tithes) we are honoring and giving back to Him what is really His.  The parable of the unjust steward talks about a steward accused of wasting his master’s goods.  Verses 11 and 12 teach us, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

Instead of wasting the money He entrusts to us, we give back a portion to Him in a demonstration of our understanding that He is the One who provides for all of our needs.  We give evidence that our trust is not in money, but in the One who holds the world in His hands.

We are told that if we are not faithful with money, we will not be trusted with true riches.  I am now reminded of Mt. 6:19-21.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If our heart and our trust belong to the Lord, we understand that being faithful stewards of the things He has entrusted to us on this earth will store up for us treasures for eternity.

God will provide for our needs here on earth, if we are faithful with what He gives us.  If we show honor to Him by demonstrating our trust in Him through tithing, then we are demonstrating that we can be trusted with true riches.  What is more complimentary than that?

Let’s be faithful stewards, doing God’s work with the provisions He gives to us.  He will bless and care for us here, and reward us further in heaven.

Thanks, God!

jamie

Continuing on “Trusting in the Provider”

Ever since I posted my blog this morning, my mind has been bombarded with this one central thought:

Replace ‘what if’ with ‘even if’

No need to worry, “What if everything breaks all at once?”  Instead, “Even if everything breaks all at once, God will provide.”

No need to worry, “What if someone gets sick?”  Instead, “Even if someone gets sick, God will provide.”

No need to worry, “What if we don’t have enough money to pay this bill?”  Instead, “Even if we don’t have enough money to pay this bill, God will provide.”

No need to worry, “What if we get into a wreck on our trip?”  Instead, “Even if there is a wreck, God will provide.”

No need to worry, “What if my child doesn’t get on the team or into that school?”  Instead, “Even if he or she doesn’t get in, God will provide.”

You get the point.  Anytime the words “what if” enter our minds, we can replace it with “even if,” and remember that God will always provide.  There is Nothing our God cannot do!

Just had to share,

jamie