A treasure worth the search

Pr. 2:4:  “If you seek for her [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures…”

Last week my kids were able to spend time playing outside with some cousins their age.  They found some bones in the woods, and suddenly there was a mystery in play.  They began talking about the origin of the bones, desiring to get to the bottom of why the bones were there, and searching for clues.

When we went home later that day, my kids were still talking about the bones.  In fact, they came up with plans for tracking down the secret of the mystery.  They also packed extra supplies to use the next morning when we went back.  No provision was overlooked.  There were magnifying glasses, binoculars, field journals, walking sticks, ropes, flashlights…you name it!

On the way back to see their cousins the next morning, my kids were brimming with excitement as they discussed their plans in depth.  When we arrived, they got right to work.  They spent the next 5 hours setting up traps, walking the property looking for clues, and searching for the answers to the mystery.  At one point I saw them walking around with a bone attached to a rope.  (It would later become the bait for a trap)

None of us adults ever told them that the bones were from a Thanksgiving turkey thrown out earlier that week.  It was much more fun to watch their minds and imaginations at work.

Now bones aren’t much of a treasure to most of us adults, but the concept remains.  Those kids spent a total of 7 hours on those 2 days searching for the hidden answers to the treasure they found.  My kids were exhausted by the time we got back home the second day, heading straight to the couch to lie down for some rest.

This proverb tells us that when we search for wisdom as one searches for hidden treasure, that we will then understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  I saw illustrated with those kids, that it sure takes some persistence when searching for hidden treasure.  Their thoughts were focused on it, their planning time was consumed with it, and their time searching was spent solely on that purpose.

If we can be as persistent, we will find the treasures that await.  Will we have to answer to every question we’ve ever wondered?  Not just yet.  But we will find the knowledge we need for now, the fear of the One who gives it, and find the peace and satisfaction that can only come from Him.

We will know Who we are living for, and why we do what we do.  We will be more determined than ever to persist in using our lives for Him.  And then, one glorious day, we will be with Him for all eternity!  🙂  Now that’s a treasure worth our time!

Happy hunting!

jamie

 

 

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The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.

Now is the time for mourning

Pr. 5:11:  “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed.”

Sometimes we continue on a path of sin even though we know better.  Sometimes, even though we’ve been warned and cautioned by others to refrain, we continue to imbibe.  It’s not just you.  We’ve all done it.

Let me encourage you today; however, to stop.  Whatever sinful activity you know you’re entertaining or currently undertaking, simply stop.  Put on the brakes and say, “Today is the that day it stops.”

Don’t wait until it has gone so far that your ‘flesh and your body are consumed.’  Don’t let the time of consequences be your mourning point.

I came by to remind you today that Jesus Christ died to free you from your sins.  He did not leave you helpless, to be bound by sin.  He died to provide you freedom.  He died to provide freedom for those around you.

Let’s not wait and mourn when the consequences of sin have gotten to the point of consuming us.  Let’s mourn now for any separation we have from God.  Let’s let that mourning draw us back to Him.  Let’s mourn now for the lost souls around us, and let’s do something about it.

We have a bigger purpose on this earth than fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  We have a gospel to preach.  What better way to preach than with the example of our lives?  When we tell others the sinful places and activities from which God has brought us, and the love He continues to have for us and for them, we are fulfilling our purpose.

Stopping today gives you a testimony that is real and that can be used for His purpose.  Mourning now will motivate you to mourn for others around you, and inspire you to share the reality of that same grace and forgiveness that was offered for you.

Now is the time to mourn.

Grieving,

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

 

Looking for a healthy alternative?

Pr.4:22:  “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Nutrition and health are major topics in our world.  I wonder exactly how many books have been written just about Superfoods?  Scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and every day people are constantly discovering new information about health.  I enjoy a tasty, energy-packed green fruit and veggie drink myself.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of washing our hands prevents countless illnesses.  Now we understand that eating whole foods gives us more energy and less weight than their processed alternatives.  Technology allows us to see exactly what happens inside the body when we choose an unhealthy lifestyle.  It can be quite fun to discover the vitamin/nutrient facts of kale, the many benefits of fresh ginger, and the antioxidant powers of blueberries.

In Pr. 4, Solomon tells his son that there is life and health in his words and sayings.  This is true for the entire Word of God.  If we’re searching for health, there is no healthier place than arms of Jesus, our Healer.  When we give attention to the words of our Father, we find life; and not just more enjoyable life, but eternal life!  Choosing to incline our ears to the sayings of our Father, we allow health comes on our flesh.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings salvation.  It can be quite fun to discover all the way the Lord has been faithful to His children over the years.  Reading the word, we understand exactly how sin affects us and how submitting to God brings true freedom to us and to those around us.  Inclining our ears to the Word, we find a God full of grace and mercy, who lovingly guides and directs us.  Jesus gives us glimpses into what is going on within the body to bring forth filth from our mouths.  It’s all so exciting!

As I think back to the moments when I was living outside of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life, I remember the aches I always felt.  Sure, I may have had moments of exhilaration or pleasure in my sin, but once the moment passed, I was left with guilt, shame, pain, confusion, feelings of being out-of-control, hopelessness, and despair.  Sounds like unhealthiness to me!

Giving my attention to the words of my Father has brought health to my flesh and my mind with signs like joy, peace, hope, security in forgiveness and grace, self-control, reassurance, desire of better things, faith, and confidence in the strength of my Lord.  Truly, God has breathed life into me once again, and continues to give health to me as I grow closer to Him and make new discoveries in His Word.

Are you excited about health and nutrition now?  Me, too!

Getting healthy,

jamie

 

Break out of the norm!

Pr. 30:13:  “There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!  And their eyelids are lifted up.”

Knowing that our strength and provision come from the Lord, it’s not really our place to be puffed up with pride.  Treating others as though they are somehow beneath us just isn’t what we were commanded to do.

As I recall, Jesus broke bread with the reviled tax collectors and with sinners.  He knew the reason for which He came to this earth, and He did not stray from that purpose.  When questioned about it He spoke, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  He came for people just as those.  Just like me.

Jesus also reminded us that the same measure of judgment we use will be measured back to us.  This a serious statement that we simply must remember.

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  And he added, ‘And the second is like this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘  He then gave an example of who qualifies as a neighbor.  Apparently we are all neighbors.  We are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves.

Loving as we love ourselves brings to mind Romans 12, which reminds us that each of us have a function and serve a specific purpose.  We must  not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, as we were all created as an essential part of the body of Christ.   None are more important than any other.

Jesus, when faced with the question of who would be the greatest, spoke these important words, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  Humbling ourselves, preferring others over ourselves, serving others, and operating in our specific purpose is what is seen as greatest to Him.

Although the generation in which we live certainly promotes being lofty, puffed up, and vain, we must hold tightly to the teaching of our Savior.  No matter what attitude is the ‘norm’ in our world, the attitude that makes us the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is that of a servant.

God created each of us with different gifts and functions in this world.  Instead of walking around thinking how much better we are than others, we are commanded to love everyone, and called to use our gifts to help one another and glorify the Father.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”  Ro. 12:10-12

Let’s reach out today and truly love.

Warmly,

jamie

 

What’s the point?

2 Cor. 4:17, 18, 16 (in that order):  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

Day by day we are being renewed.  No matter how our bodies feel.  No matter how our immune system reacts.  No matter our physical, emotional, or mental limitations.  Day by day we are being renewed.  We have a heavenly future ahead of us.  The things on which we place our hope, our faith, and our trust are unseen, and they are eternal.

We have affliction on this earth, but Paul reminds us that it is light affliction, compared to eternal death, and that is but for a moment.  This is NOT our final stop.  Our afflictions are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  Vs. 15 says, “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

Our lives are about God.  Our lives are about giving glory to God, growing in our relationships with God, and bringing other’s to the saving knowledge of God.  He is the point of our lives.  Heaven is our true home.  We can trust what vs. 14 says, “He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus.”  This our goal.  This is our hope.  This is the point.

Do not give up now.  We all have affliction, but please remember that it is working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  Your testimony will be the glory of God that comes from the affliction through which you are now going.  And it may just save lives.

Pr. 1:33 says, “whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”  We are secure in God’s arms.  In times of affliction, sometimes we feel like running from His arms is the only option, but it is those times when we need Him the most.  Let’s choose to dwell in the safety and security of His protection.  He is not only the One who created us fearfully and wonderfully; He is the Savior who longs to bring us home to Him again.

Don’t give up!

jamie