Tag Archives: relationships

A sacrifice worth making

I love the Lord’s timely reminders.  Were your feelings hurt this week like mine?  Have you been in conflict with someone and you haven’t yet shaken it off?  Is there a moment of pain you continue to pray about? 

It’s time to forgive and move on. 

Here’s the deal.  The person who hurt you is a human, just like you.  They are affected by stressors, spiritual powers, and the same fluctuating & selfish traits of humanity as us.  Sometimes others go into protection mode, too.  And sometimes others don’t always act like “perfect Christians” either. 

With that in mind, we need to pray for that other person or people.  I said it.  And you can do it.  Also, I do not mean praying for their demise.  I mean pray for them as you would pray for yourself.  Pray for them as though they are one of God’s children, because they are. 

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, I will remind you that this is scriptural.  Jesus told us to pray for those who mistreat us and to love our enemies.  I don’t typically think of anyone as my enemy, but if there is something keeping us from wanting to pray for someone, then perhaps that qualifies. 

Praying for someone who has hurt us is a beautiful sacrifice of love.  It also allows us to see them the way God does, and to remember that they need a bit of grace, as well.  Suddenly, forgiveness becomes possible, and we are free from that burden we’ve been carrying around.  We will see, once again, how the truth in God’s Word will set us free! 

Note:  Forgiveness is about us being obedient to the Word.  Some relationships can then be reconciled, in a beautiful, and sometimes miraculous way.  Others, especially if it’s a dangerous situation, may not need to be, and that’s ok. 

Let God set you free today!  Forgive,

jamie

Trusting God…even with our enemies?

Why do we think that God’s Word won’t work?  We do that more often than we will probably admit.  I was reading Ro. 12 this morning, and there are several verses that remind us what the Lord says about 1 subject:

  • “Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you.  Ask Him to bless them and not to curse them.”   (vs. 14)
  • “Dear friends, don’t try to get even.  Let God take revenge.”   (vs. 19)
  • “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat.  And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”  (vs. 20)

From the youngest of ages, this is something we have to begin learning.  It goes against the flesh-nature of us all.  Kids learn immediately that they want their way.  They learn immediately who they feel safe around and who they don’t.  And find out who they can and cannot trust.

Same for us.  But, as Christians, we are told how to we are to handle the situation.  We are told to pray for them.  Ask God to bless them.  And then, if they need something, we are to supply that need, trusting that God’s Word is actually true.  If we say we believe in His Word, then we prove it by doing all of it, not just some, right?  Eeeeeek.

Jesus said, “I tell you love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.”  Does that mean we have to allow an enemy in our lives, submitting to them every minute?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  Wisdom from the Lord, and discernment from the Holy Spirit are certainly very helpful things to have in our lives, to guide us as we make decisions.

But we can pray for anyone, and forgive, finding the love of God for anyone…loving them as Christ loved us.  This will enable God to do the work that only He can do, and let Him prove that He and His Word are mighty and true.

We can’t just pick out all the parts of the Word that we want and leave the rest.  He will honor it all.  And He can be trusted.

Loving you,

jamie

Get off that rock! part 2

In the last blog, I told you how my son got distracted while eating his snack in his kayak and ran into the only rock in the vicinity.   We yelled and tried to warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.  He found himself stuck on the rock.  

He had some decisions to make about how to get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort on his part, so that he didn’t capsize, but he did it.  We were a bit further behind him, and we had to just watch as he did the work; hoping that he would be ok.

Technically, he could have even gotten out of his boat and tried to push or pull the boat loose, even though the river was a bit deep in that section.  The point is that it was completely up to him at that time.  He was the one making his own decisions.  And we just had to watch.

Sometimes we just have to sit back and watch people work out how to break free from their obstacles by themselves….even if we did warn them.  Isn’t that how our own endurance and character has grown in the past?

Who knows, they may ask for our help.  But if not it’s ok.  We know the One to call on to help them in their time of need, and He can be trusted.

Trusting God,

jamie

Get off that rock! part 1

While we were kayaking, my son started eating a snack.  While he was distracted with that, his kayak ran straight into the only huge rock sticking out in this section of the wide, clear river.  We’d even tried to yell and warn him, but he was so distracted that he couldn’t hear us.

Sometimes we get distracted.  In life, we eat, clean the house, work, invest in relationships, drive places, pay bills, etc.  And while we’re distracted with those things, sometimes we run into the 1st big obstacle that sticks out.

People might even warn us.  But there we are.  Stuck on a rock.

We can stay there, stuck and unable to move forward.  We can let it be the place where we take up residence.  Or we can do like my son did and break free.

He knew how to safely get his boat off the rock.  It took a bit of patience and effort, but to him it was worth it.

If we’ve found ourselves stuck on some obstacle in life, it might be time to break free.

We may be able to just wiggle a tiny bit and quickly break away.  Small changes.  A new attitude.  A decision to simply move on.

Or we may find that it takes a bit more patience and effort to move on.  But, it will be worth it!

Distractions and obstacles are all it takes to keep us from remembering that God showed how much He loved us by having Christ die for us, that faith in Him causes God to accept us, and that Christ’s death has allows us to live in peace with God.

We are loved.  So we can get off the rock.  Those around us are loved, too.  They need to know it.

“Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper.  Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”  Ph. 4:8

Get off that rock! part 2

jamie

(not an actual picture of my son)  😉

Throw some shade

Pr. 10:12:  Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.

Overlooks the wrongs.  Doesn’t take notice.  Covers up.  Makes up for.  Forgives.

We went back to WV last weekend and kayaked about 3 miles down the river.  It was hot that day, and the river was low, which mean there wasn’t much current.  That can make some fun rapids, and it can be nice to be on the calm water for a bit; but after a while, it gets hotter, and the sun starts baking your skin.

As the temperature increased and my skin began to turn more red, I found myself seeking out the shady areas of the river.  I was looking for a reprieve.  I was looking for some relief.

I thought about how often, in life, others around us are looking for a reprieve.  They’re just looking for someone to let-up for a while because life has been baking them so much and things have been uncomfortable for some time.  They just need some relief.

Maybe that means we don’t remind them every time we see them of how disappointed we are with their choices, but instead we seek out some way to tell them how proud we are of something they’ve done.

Perhaps it means we don’t offer any advice this time, but just let them talk it out, and then we say we’re sorry for their pain and show them love.

Maybe it means we need to forgive them once and for all, and never bring it up again.

We could just need to completely change the way we speak.  God can help with that.

Sometimes, just remembering that there have been times in our own lives when we have needed a reprieve, and just a little relief, instead of the constant beating down from outside sources.

If there is something that isn’t right between someone and the Lord, you can ask the Holy Spirit to guide you about if you should speak or not, and then if so how and when.  I can assure you; however, that He won’t tell you to not let up and bring it up to them each time you see them, making them feel as though they are a failure or out of His reach.

In fact, praying for people is one of the most beautiful acts of love there is.  Not for our own will and way, but genuine prayers of love for those that we love, just as we would pray for ourselves.  God knows each one of our needs and will work out the plans He has for each one of our lives.  He can be trusted.  Hasn’t He show that in your own life?

Let’s give others some shade (in the best way), when we’re around them, and be the relief this world so badly needs.

“If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”  Jo. 13:35

loving you,

jamie

Walking His Way

When we were on the Greenbrier River, in WV, a few days ago, my son spent a lot of time tubing down a certain part of the river.  There were 2 paths.  Both were fast, but no matter which path he chose, he had to walk up against the current.  He would walk up the one that was slightly more shallow, and then he rode back down on the faster current.

I was reading 2 Cor. 10:3-5 this morning, in the CEV, which says, “We live in this world; but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world.  Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses.  We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.”

Is that what we’re doing right now?  Those kind of words are what we do when we’re walking against the current, not comfortably riding down on the faster current.

I’m reminded of Eph. 6:18, which says, “Never stop praying especially for others.  Always pray by the power of the Spirit.  Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.”  Our weapons are not of this world.  We are to destroy arguments, not start or continue them, and we are never to stop praying for others.

We are also to destroy every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that more important than being right?  Oh, God, help us!  Forgive us.  Be merciful, one more time, and help us, so that we can lead others to you while it is still today.

“Go in through the narrow gate.  The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow.  A lot of people go through that gate.  But the gate to life is very narrow.  The road that leads there is so hard to follow that few people find it.”  Mt. 7:13-14

Lord, help us not give up, and go through the wide gate now.  The current gets so strong sometimes, and we find ourselves struggling to fight to go Your way.  This verse is such a strong reminder of that truth, and how relevant it is in our world right now.  But Lord, we don’t want to take someone else through the wide gate with us.  Better to tarry, and struggle through the current to get through the narrow gate to You, and bring others with us, than to give up and drag others along, too.

Help us to act like Your people, fighting in the Spirit, and praying always.  Convict us when we are prideful, reminding us that Jesus died for all of the world, not just us, and that not even we are worthy outside of His blood and Your grace.  Thank You for the gifts of grace and forgiveness.  Help us to offer the same to those around us, and to tell them the good news of Your great love.  

Follow Him,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 1

Jn. 21:21:  ‘When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus, “Lord what about him?”‘

I found a beautiful, deep lesson in some interaction between Jesus and Peter this morning.  And then I found this, and I had to laugh!

Jesus had literally just commissioned Peter to take care of His church.  He had just set Peter apart.  They had just had this beautiful, special moment, where Jesus told Peter to “Feed His sheep.”  It was an individual calling.  A singular, specific commission just for Peter.  A memorable moment.  It couldn’t have been more personal.

Then, Peter turned and sees Jesus’ ‘favorite disciple’ following them, and Peter asked, “Lord what about him?”  Jesus’ answer is just wow:  “What is it to you?”

Peter’s concern is so like ours.  Here he is having this amazing moment with Jesus, literally being commissioned for ministry, by the physical Lord, and He’s looking at someone else, asking, “But what about them?”  “Why does their calling looking different than mine?”

It made me laugh out loud and yet made me feel so much relief.  It’s human nature.  He asked that directly to the face of the Lord.  But take note: what was Jesus answer?

Jesus replied, “What is it to you?”  Can we see that Jesus doesn’t want us concerning ourselves with this?  We know that Jesus had a specific calling on Peter’s life.  A job Peter was created to do.  It couldn’t have been done by another.  Not the way Peter did it.  Peter was made for his purpose.

We, likewise, were made for ours.  Yes, it’s human nature that look to others and ask, “but what about them?”  But what is it to us?  God is calling us to our purpose.  He is calling them to theirs.  It’s time to remember that it’s not a competition or a fight.  We all have our own job to do, as we work to the same end.

Our job:  focus on our relationship with Christ, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we do the job He has given us each to do.  Meanwhile, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, as we support them while they are doing their best to do the same.

Thanks for the laugh, Lord,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Lessons from Peter, part 3

Messes and all…

When I got to the couch this morning to do my devotions, I moved the couch pillow and discovered crumbs from my son’s snack of chips last night.  “Ugh!” was my immediate reaction.  Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me.  So I left them there, took a picture, and opened up my Bible to Psalm 103.

The Lord redeems our lives from destruction.  He crowns us with lovingkindness & tender mercies.  He is merciful & gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to them, but sent His Son as the Way of salvation.

The Lord’s mercy is a great as the heavens are high, and He removes our sins and mistakes from us.  He pities us as a father pities his children.  (hmmmmm)  He knows our frame, remembering that we are dust….

I thought about how many messes I have tried to hide or cover up.  I thought about how many crumbs I’ve left behind in my life and how many mistakes I’ve made.  Yet, my heavenly Father continually has mercy upon me, and He pities me, remembering my frame.

How will I react towards my son’s little chip mess here beside me?  Will I guide him?  Absolutely.  Will I be a tyrant, lording over him the rules in frustration?  After reading this, I cannot.  Will I show mercy?  That’s exactly what I will do.  I’ve made my own mistakes, and I’ve been forgiven!  I have to model the same forgiveness my Father shows me.

It may not be chips on your couch, but whatever situation you find yourself facing today, I pray you’ll remember to be slow to anger, to show mercy, and to deal in lovingkindness.

dusting myself off,

jamie

 

Permission to depart

“He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”  Mt. 14:13

Something in ministry that we all worry about it being available to the people.  We should be, but we must remember that need to be refreshed, as well.  If we are modeling our lives after Jesus, then let’s model this part of our lives after Him, as well.

Even Jesus would separate Himself for times of emotional recharging (as in the verse above), or times of prayer.  That ensured that when He would come back to the people He would have something to give them besides a frazzled, “I’m hanging on by a thread and just barely getting things done”, exhausted, Lord who is only giving them pieces of Himself; or a Lord who hasn’t prayed in 3 days because He hasn’t found the time.

Throughout the gospels you will find Scriptures that show Christ getting away by Himself, or getting away with those closest to Him…away from the multitudes…just to recharge and refocus.  See Mt. 17 when He took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain.  It was just the 4 of them and they went for 1 special reason.  Not everyone was invited to this.  Not all 12 disciples, not the whole crowd; and Jesus didn’t just go alone for this one.  These were the ones He needed to be with.

It is ok for us to put our phones away for an hour or 2 (get away from the multitude), go off with our certain one or few for something special (or nothing special), or spend time alone recharging so that when we come back we have more to give in our ministries.

Each time Jesus came back from one of those times, the multitudes were waiting and there was work to do.  He had compassion on them and got to work, but He was refueled and ready.  The work of ministry (and life) will never end, so we must take care to carve out those times of ‘departing’ on our own.  No one else can do that for us…no one will.

Let’s be like Jesus and depart from multitude before it gets out of hand.  Schedule it if you need to.  Refocus, recharge, and come back recharged and ready for ministry…just like Jesus did.

And when He went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with great compassion for them…

jamie

Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie