Let love lurk

Pr. 1:11:  “If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;”

1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

There is a striking difference between the attitudes in this proverb and in 1 John.  Without God, love is not shown to others.  In fact, as is demonstrated in this verse, there may be complete disregard for others well-being.

What’s lurking beneath our surface?  Are we ready to pounce on others and cause harm; or are we so saturated with God’s love that it overflows and gushes onto those around us?

When we are born of God and know God, we show love.  The love in our relationships is a very clear indicator of the knowledge of God and His love within us.  If God’s love is revealed through us, what is our love for others saying right now on His behalf?

Paying attention to my ambushes,

jamie

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Investing in eternal life

Pr. 11:4:  “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

I just finished a book series that took place after an outbreak of a pandemic disease wiped out 80% of the world’s population.  Children were orphaned, farms were abandoned, industry and retail ceased.  Money could no longer buy a single thing on the earth.  Everyone was suddenly on equal grounds…all simply trying to survive.

This verse reminds me of that.  On the day the Lord returns, our riches, material possessions, status, and opulence won’t save us.  Only righteousness (living right with God) will deliver us from death.

The question begs to be asked of us all:  Are you investing more time into gaining or upkeep of riches that will not profit or into gaining or sustaining your relationship with God, which will quite literally save you from death?

As I think about the plans I’ve made for my day, with this verse in mind, I can see that my plans are a bit unbalanced.  Thankfully I still have time to readjust those plans before the day is up.  So do you.  🙂

Calibrating the scale,

jamie

Not all traditions are bad

2 Thessalonians speaks of one who will come in deceit, proclaiming to be God.  Paul reminds the church that they were called by the gospel, for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He urges the church to stand fast and hold the traditions which we were taught, so as not to be deceived.

Religious traditions get a bad rap, and sometimes rightfully so.  God did not call us to ‘religion’, but to Him.  We can clearly read that Jesus didn’t care for men’s religious rules, but for true worship and belief.

On the other hand, some traditions are pivotal in keeping us as a true follower of Christ.  How can we follow someone we don’t know?  Reading our Bible opens our hearts and minds to truly know the Lord.  How can we have a relationship with someone with whom we don’t speak?  Praying keeps us humble before the mighty God, and open to asking for His own will in our lives.  Prayer reminds us who it is upon which we depend.

Pr. 1:3 reminds us that the traditions of prudence, knowledge, and discretion are located in God’s Word, and are also very beneficial to us.  “To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”

There are deceitful teachings around us that call discretion ‘out-dated’, prudence ‘old fashioned’, and knowledge of God’s Word ‘unnecessary and narrow-minded.’  The Lord reminds us through Paul; however, that some ‘traditional’ things will keep us from being deceived by one who is not the Living God.  We were called to believe in the truth, and traditions that enhance our belief are beneficial.

I’m not telling anyone to get busy keep man’s rules.  I’m encouraging us to hold tightly to the things remind us of the truth of God’s Word, and keep us close to Him.  Those are the things that just might save our lives.

Stand fast,

jamie

Are they singing along?

Pr. 25:20:  “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”

This is an interesting verse.  Of course we want to cheer up those around us who have a heavy heart, but this verse is speaking more about not showing a caring attitude toward those around us who are hurting.

When we were camping a few weeks ago, there was one night when I was so cold that I couldn’t sleep.  At some point, my husband became aware of how cold I was and he gave me his toboggan.  Normally, I would have tried to refuse, worrying that he might need it; however, that night I was so cold I was almost in pain and I certainly wasn’t sleeping at all.  I accepted the toboggan with only an intense thank you.

Him giving me that garment when I needed it most was like such a relief, and was the start of a more restful and pleasant night.

Most of us care.  I have no doubt that most of us care enough to try to offer help and encouragement to someone who is hurting or in need.  Sometimes, however, we can be moving so fast or be so consumed in our own affairs that we maybe don’t notice their pain.  When we’re singing our songs of cheer, it’s good to take notice if those around us aren’t singing along.  If we recognize a long face in the presence of our cheer, we may need to stop and find out if there is some encouragement needed.

We don’t want people to think we don’t care.  Of course we don’t want them to hurt.  It’s certainly ok for sing songs of cheer; however, upon noticing a heavy heart around us, we need to be quick to show concern and to offer a warm garment of encouragement.  It may just be the start of a more restful and pleasant pilgrimage.

Carrying an extra garment,

jamie

Is the Word your treasure?

Pr. 2:1:  “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you…”

We just got home from a 6-day visit with our family in WV.  Last Wednesday, about 30 minutes up the interstate, I realized I had forgotten my Bible.  No!!!!!!!!  As the realization set in, I felt like I was missing an appendage.  I knew my in-laws had many Bibles at their house, and my husband assured me I could use his, as well, but that didn’t ease the disappointment in my heart.  My Bible is a part of me.

While the other Bibles still contain the Word of God, they can not replace the relationship I have with my personal Bible.  I have wept over, agonized over, and sought the will of God through my personal Bible.  I have diligently studied and voraciously turned the pages, trying to find more of God in my personal Bible.  The Lord has spoken to me, counseled me, rebuked me, and guided me through my own Bible.  I know exactly where to find scriptures in my own Bible, even without the exact scripture reference, because I’ve been in it so much that I know on what part of the page the scripture is typed.

I have poured myself into my Bible, and the Lord has poured into me.  I treasure the words in my Bible like nothing else.  Knowing I would be without it for 6 days truly felt like an eternity.

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Is this how you feel about the Word of God?  Maybe you’re not like me, needing 1 specific Bible to hear the Word of God. (like a baby with their pacifier.  haha)  But is the Word of God your treasure?  Do you need the Word so much that allowing a day to go by leaves you disappointed?  Does the thought of missing 2 days in God’s word leave you knowing that you’d be missing out on the most important thing in your life?

The Word of God is a critical component of our relationship with God.  We speak to God through prayer, and He can speak to us and to our hearts through His Holy Spirit.  We also need to hear His voice through the Word which He has provided.  The Word is vital, which is why it referred to as the sword in the set of armor we are encouraged to put on each day.  The Lord breathed life into His Word, and when we burrow in, consider, and explore it, He breathes life into us.

Pulling my Bible off the shelf this morning brought a rush of exhilaration to me this morning.  My Bible!  I was so joyful as I unzipped the cover and opened the pages.  I hope the same joy finds you today as you read and consider the Word.

Complete,

jamie

 

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

jamie