Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Pr. 29:6:  “By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”

Well, all I can see in my mind this morning are the Three Little Pigs dancing around with fiddle and flute rejoicing in song after the Big Bad Wolf burned his bottom in the fire.

When we choose to live in a sinful state, we set a trap for ourselves.  The Big Bad Wolf didn’t come after the pigs just 1 time.  He kept coming.  The pigs weren’t too smart the first 2 times, but on the 3rd time, they set a trap.

Perhaps the snare we set for ourselves is a broken relationship.  Perhaps people lose their trust in us.  Maybe it’s a loss of hope or self-control.  Sometimes sin can actually lead to jail, hospitalization, or death.

When we choose not to sin, but to trust that God will meet our needs, then we are able to sing and rejoice in God’s glory and provision.

The pigs danced around singing, “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf?  Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Tra-la-la-la-laa.”  That’s a catchy little tune.

I have a catchy tune for the righteous to sing today (attached below):  “The Name of the Lord is Great!  The Name of the Lord is Great! The Name of the Lord is Great, and greatly to be praised!”

Sing and rejoice with me today!!

jamie

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Grieving the one who is lost

Pr. 15:8:  “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

My friend’s mother passed away yesterday morning.  She was a Christian who had lived a full life.  She was ready to go home to be with the Lord, and what more fitting day than Valentines Day to go home to her true love.  

Even though her family has some peace in her passing, she is now very absent from their lives, and there is still grief in loss.  When someone we love dies, we are keenly aware of the fact that they can never be replaced.  We experience a void that can never be filled.  There is no one who can step into the place of anyone who has passed and fill their spot.  The person we have lost will always be lost, and that brings us very real pain.

There are also families who have a loved one who is missing.  The family has no clue if their loved one is alive or dead; they just know they are gone.  The void that’s left if palpable…unrelenting.  The grief they experience is never-ending.

This made me think about God and how He must feel when we are lost to Him.  Sin separates us from the Lord.  He is Holy, which means He cannot tolerate sin.  Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross, the Lord could not look upon Him.  The sin upon Jesus separated them.  When we live our lives in sin, and are separate from God, do you think He grieves the way we do when we lose the one we love?

In the parable of the lost son, Jesus illustrates what happens when a sinner, who was lost and dead, comes back.  When the father saw his son, he ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him.  He was overjoyed and called for a celebration.  He said, “for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”  Isn’t that how we would feel if we could possibly be reunited with the one we love who was lost or dead?  Imagine the joy we would feel!

The Word tells us that when someone who was lost comes to the Lord there is rejoicing in heaven.  I truly believe that being created in God’s image means that our emotions are not unique to us, but are part of His own make up.  This brings new meaning to the fact that the prayers of the upright are His delight.  If our loved one, who was lost or dead, comes back to us, wouldn’t we delight in their words, as well?

This makes me look at living a life separate from God very differently.  If, in understanding grief, we can put ourselves in His place…imagine His grief for one who is lost…could we more understand His love for us?  We are His children.  He desperately loves us!  He wants us to be with Him—forever.

His,

jamie

The best report

Pr. 15:30:  “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.”

This verse makes me :).

I was reading Luke 24 this morning, when Jesus had risen and was walking on the road to Emmaus with 2 of His followers.  They didn’t realize it was Jesus, but later, acknowledging that they should have known, they said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us.”

They could feel in their hearts that there was something about this Man that was different.  Their hearts “burned” within them.

The Holy Spirit had not yet come, so I’m not sure if they had a way to recognize that “burning” sensation at that point or not.  We know that feeling ourselves, as the Holy Spirit lives within those who believe, and convicts many more.

What a wonderful moment it must have been for them when their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.  Talk about a good report!  Their Messiah truly had risen.

I would classify that as a moment where there was pure light in their eyes that rejoiced the heart.  We read that they rose up, returned to Jerusalem, found the others, and told them all the wonderful news of Jesus.

What better news is there than that of Jesus Christ, risen and living within us?

There are countless individuals right now who can feel that same burning of the Holy Spirit within them, but there eyes are still restrained.  Perhaps we are the ones sent to shed the Light they need.  The Light living within us will bring rejoicing to their hearts as we share the good report with them.

There is no healthier balm than the truth and saving knowledge of The Healer.

We do not have to save people.  That burning they feel is the presence of God already working and moving within them.  We just have to bring the Light for them to see and give to them the best report they’ll ever hear. God will do the rest.

Let your light shine today, and share the good report of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

Rejoicing,

jamie

Another day to persevere

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Do you know what this verse doesn’t say?  It does not say that she shall rejoice every moment of every day.  It says she shall rejoice in time to come.

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6, which says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

This reminds me that diligence, persistence, effort, and perseverance are important qualities of our nature.  We must continue to press forward.  Some activities in our lives seem mundane and routine at times.  Some responsibilities feel overwhelming or paralyzing.

It is the completion of the tasks before us or the persistent effort to do so that brings us honor.  It is the husband who continues to get up and go to work daily, when he would rather do anything else, who receives honor for his perseverance.  It is the student who trudges through their schoolwork, with consistent effort, who receives honor for not giving up or giving in to lesser things.  It is the mother who sweeps the floor for a 3rd time in one day who is doing what is honorable, through her diligence.

There is a lot to be said for not giving up.  If we do not sow any seed, no prosperity will come forth.  However, if we continue to daily sow seeds, something will eventually take root.  We may not see the results right away.  We may wonder if anything will ever come from them.  We may even notice that, other than our own personal satisfaction, not much comes from some of them.

The point is; however, that in order to see the growth of the fruit, we must sow the seeds.  Strength comes when we persevere.  Honor comes from the same.

As we say good-bye to 2014, let’s remember all the ways in which we have been consistently diligent and persistent and rejoice that we have increased in strength.

As we welcome 2015, let’s remember that honor comes from not giving up, and continue to sow our seeds.  Let’s continue to release those things in our hands and watch what comes forth from them.  It will be worth the effort.

God, we thank you for another day…another year to serve You.  Help us this day to rejoice in You and in the blessings that have come from You.  As we face the possibility of another year, give us the daily strength to persevere in Your will and in Your service.  If tomorrow does not come, help us to give ourselves over to You once again, receiving Your salvation and forgiveness, and living a life that honors You.  Our diligence in serving You will not go unrewarded, and for that we give You praise! 

Happy New Year!

jamie

What lights your path?

Pr. 13:9:  “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”

On my own, I’m pretty dysfunctional, at best.  I’m easily distracted and love to have fun.  That is why I need the guidance, wisdom, and leading of the Lord.  Its imperative that I have a plan.  Without a goal in mind, I am wandering aimlessly through this life with a path dimly lit.

If my goals center around worldly things such as monetary success, an HGTV-worthy house, the sexiest clothes, the most well-behaved children, or the most checks on my list, then my path is dimly lit, to be sure.  I am counting on things that lead to nothing and have no eternal value.  That is why I must draw my goals from the Word that promises to lead me to heaven.

I can sometimes become distracted by the dim things, but God’s ultimate goal for my life begins to speak louder and pull my focus back on His plan.  So my kids didn’t go to the trendiest camp this summer.  They do spend time intentional time with me daily in the Word and in prayer.  Maybe they are louder than necessary a little more often than they should be, but hearing my son pretending to preach or sing worship songs at the top of his voice warms my heart.

Maybe my laundry was only 1/2 done, but that’s because I took extra time to cuddle a little boy who just needed the undivided attention of his mommy, or to take my daughter to the park.  And yes, even though the towels are still in the dryer waiting to be folded, I sometimes still just plop down on the couch at the end of the day and do nothing but spend time with my husband.

My mornings belong to God, and even if the dryer still holds that laundry, it can wait.  After kissing my husband, the first priority of my day is to get into the Word.  While I like having a clean house and even well-behaved, well-rounded kids, those things are not my ultimate goal.  The Word of God is a lamp that guides my feet.  It lights my path.  It is where I find my plan.  In the Word, I find what is of most importance.  It is in those things that I find reason to rejoice.

Nothing would bring me more joy than ministering with husband years from now, while watching my children walk in the truth and teaching their own kids to do the same.  While it’s ultimately up to my children what they will do with God’s truth, my goal is to lead them on the path brightly lit by God’s presence and His wisdom.  With God’s help I will stay on task.

Blog to honor God.  √

jamie

 

 

Sowing while we wait

Ps. 126:5-6:  “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him.”

While we are waiting for Christ’s return, we are living in a fallen, sin-cursed world where there is indeed pain and suffering.  Here we still experience sorrow, death, and tears.  So, in the midst of our trials, how does our trust in God come forth?

We know God’s universal law of reaping and sowing:  whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  Gal. 6:7.  This Psalm tells us something even more.  When we sow in tears we will reap in joy.

If, in the midst of our sorrow and weeping, we continue to sow the seeds of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of joy.  Gal. 6:9 promises that, “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Trials are common to us all.  Suffering is a sad result of sin that affects each of us.  Christians, in particular, suffer further persecution at times that can cause even more heart-ache.  The promise we have; however, is that even in the midst of the trials, the tears, and the weeping, our faithful sowing will reap joy and we will have a harvest to show for it.

In faith, we can continue to sow seeds around us, even through our tears.  Actually, doesn’t it seem sometimes that the best seeds are planted when tears are present?  Our experiences give our testimony of faith more weight.

Our trials and painful experiences are like fertilizer that gives the seed the extra nutrients it needs to grow strong.  If we can still plant seed and walk in faith even during trials, it gives others the proof they need that God is faithful and mighty; and this can help them to grow strong in the Lord and in their own faith.

I encourage you today, while you are waiting, to continue trusting in God’s faithfulness and to continue sowing seeds.  Water the seeds with your tears, if need be, but continue to sow.  You will reap joy and come back rejoicing, harvest in hand!

Keep trusting.  He is coming again!

jamie

 

 

Hear Him now

Pr. 5:7:  “Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.”

Yesterday I wrote about allowing God, the light of the world, to show us the stumbling blocks and obstacles in our paths.  Today, I will point out that sometimes, even though our obstacles and stumbling blocks are revealed to us by the Lord, we continue to walk straight into them.  Anyone else experience this besides me?

This is where the importance of becoming a doer of the word comes into play.  We cannot just continue to be hearers of the word, and do nothing about it what we’ve heard or read.  We are urged not to depart from the words of our Father.  God will reveal to us the things, places, or people who cause us to stumble.  Our job after that is to avoid those things.  We were never asked to do it alone, however.  Jesus suffered, being tempted, and is able to aid those who are tempted.

There are lots of tips for us in the word.  The Lord says to flee youthful lusts.  He says to resist the devil.  He gives permission for us to come boldly to the throne of grace in time of need.  He encourages us in the fact that He always gives us another way out of our temptations, so we should diligently seek Him and the way out.  We are told to remove ourselves from sinful situations.  Rejoicing in what we currently have is also recommended.  Paul also wrote that we should meditate on things that are praiseworthy and virtuous; also things that are pure, noble, just, lovely, true, and of good report.  David strengthened himself according to the word and hid it in his heart.  He stood in awe of and rejoiced in the word.

Do not depart from the word.  Hear the Lord now, while your heart is open to His leading.  Hide His word in your heart and allow Him to lead you away from those stumbling blocks for good.  Sometimes our obstacles have become habits that we’ve allowed to keep a hold on us.  God can and will bring our obstacles to our attention, and if we continue to listen and avoid them time after time, eventually we will forget about them and find ourselves habitually going on the path with God.

Flee as if your life depends on it!

jamie