Month of Prayer, Day 10

Lord, how I do love Your Word.  Not only is it the weapon You have given us against the enemy, but it is life, and truth, and love.  Your Word is living and powerful.  It transforms and reforms.  It cleanses and guides.  It breathes life into our thirsty souls.

I love Pr. 10:3, that says You will not allow the righteous soul to famish.  Lord, Your Word is living water and food for our hungry souls.  Only You can fill the void within us.  That is why we can delight in Your Word and in Your commandments; because Your Word protects us, shapes us, and breathes truth into our inmost beings.

Lord, we can walk securely and at liberty when we follow Your precepts.  Your precepts and commands are what keep us safe.  In Proverbs 10, Solomon wrote of the peril, destruction, danger, and consequences of living a life outside of Your will.  But, oh my God, You made us Your righteousness through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and You, Lord, will keep us safe when we follow You.

Lord, keep my feet from stumbling onto any path that is not laid out by You.  When I face a fork in the road, let Your law I have kept be my compass.  Let Your statutes I have meditated upon make my decisions easy and my choices clear.  Lord, Your Word gives me very clear guidance.  Help me to heed it.

Thank You that Your way is strength for the upright.  Thank You that the righteous will never be removed, and that our labor leads to life.  Thank You for the security, the love, and the salvation that You have given us.

Oh God, let me be wise enough to make You glad.  Let my life please You and be a sweet-smelling offering for You, as I walk in love and in Your wisdom.  You are the amazing God!

I love you,

jamie

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Month of Prayer, Day 2

Oh, Lord, let Your Word change me.  Let it seep into the deepest parts of my heart and my soul and renew and transform me.  Let me receive Your words and treasure Your commands within me, so that I may incline my ear to wisdom.  Help me to seek for Your wisdom and understanding as though I am seeking for hidden treasures, so that I will understand the fear of You and find the knowledge of You.

Help me hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  Help me to cleanse my way by taking heed according to Your Word.  When I seek You, Lord, I will want more of You and will not want to wander from Your commandments.  Oh, Lord, that I would seek You more.  Lord, that I would look for the wisdom You have stored up for me.

Lord, let me hear the wisdom, the knowledge, and the understanding that comes from Your mouth.  Then, Lord I will understand righteousness and justice, and every good path.  Lord, when those things come into my heart, they will preserve and keep me.  Those gifts from You will deliver me from the way of evil and keep me to the paths of righteousness.  With Your Word hidden in my heart, Lord, I will walk in the way of goodness and dwell with You forever.

I love you, Lord, and I long to know You more.  I want to be close to You now and forever.  I want You alone to be my God and my King.  I want You alone to be my Father and my Savior, my Redeemer and my Guide.  Guard me as a shield as I walk on Your paths, Lord, according to Your Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God’s spring cleaning

Ps. 11:  “The Lord is in His holy temple, and His eyes behold, testing the sons of men.”

vs. 5:  The Lord tests the righteous.

Yesterday turned into an early spring cleaning day at my house.  I started out simply wanting to dust the furniture and ceiling fans, but of course that led to sweeping.  When I took one of the rugs outside to shake I realized there was more dust hiding in there than I could shake out.  Every rug in the house ended up in the washing machine.

The realization that there was so much hidden dirt in the rugs led to every base board in the house being scrubbed down, the floors being mopped, and by the time the day was done, even the broom ended up being washed.

This morning, as I read Psalm 11, I was reminded of those rugs and baseboards.

When I began cleaning, it was only because I noticed a thin layer of dust on the furniture.  I didn’t see the deep hidden dirt that had settled in cracks, fibers, and crevices.  However, as each layer of dust was removed, a new layer was revealed.

God doesn’t just see the thin layer of dust on our surface.  He sees the deeper layers of grime, debris, smut, and filth that lie underneath.  Ps. 11:4 says, “His eyes behold.”  Knowing that God created dust and then created man out of dust allows me to know that He can behold even the smallest specks.

When He tests us, He is not simply trying to shine us up.  He is trying to get inside, layer by layer, to remove all the fragments of sin and unholiness from our hearts.

He starts with the top, simply shining us up a bit, polishing and cleansing us.  He then moves deeper, getting larger amounts of debris from our hearts.  Once that debris is removed, the layer of grime underneath is revealed.  Without the grime, the smut that has adhered itself deep down inside can be scrubbed away.  The leftover filth is now clear as day, and the Lord can finally remove each speck from deep within.

What we’re left with is not just something that looks clean, but something that deep down inside has been sanitized…or more appropriately said, “sanctified.”

I’m not saying its easy.  I’m pretty sure that if my rugs had any nerve endings, their time spent spinning and agitating in the washing machine would have felt pretty horrible.  I’m sure they wouldn’t have enjoyed being beaten about by dryer balls in the heat of my dryer.

The baseboards probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the scrubbing or the smell of vinegar as the grime was removed from them.  Nevertheless, without those processes, they would never have been truly cleansed.

Sometimes the tests we face hurt.  They can be hot, agitating, smelly, and dizzying.  However, The Lord loves righteousness and the end result is something called holiness.  Without the deep cleaning, that is something that could never be achieved.

Scoured,

jamie

Ahhhhh!!! That’s gonna feel so good when it’s over!

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

Carefully feeding your teacher

Pr. 16:23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

Last time we talked about how filling our hearts with righteous things would help ensure our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.

Proverb 16:23 reminds us that our hearts actually teach our mouths and add learning to our lips.  The things with which we are filling our hearts are teaching us.  They may be teaching us good and righteous things, but they could also be teaching us harmful/sinful things.

There is a particular music group that I cannot listen to.  I love their music!  Their style is fun, the tunes are catchy, and their voices blend in a harmony that pleases me deep in my soul.  I’m not the only one, either.  They are very popular.  The lyrics; however, are not exactly conducive to my Christian walk.  They sing about things I shouldn’t be thinking about, but I get those catchy songs in my mind and can’t quit singing them throughout the day.

As I sing those lyrics, those thoughts begin to take root within me and I find myself become discontented with my current walk.  I begin to think about the scenarios they create with their music and my flesh reacts to those thoughts.  I also feel my flesh begin to justify the sinful thoughts.  They’re popular songs, afterall.  It’s just the norm, right?

Those singers aren’t awful people, and I’ve certainly heard worse lyrics before.  I know my limits; however, so I in order to keep my heart from teaching my lips to sing those harmful/sinful things, I have to intentionally avoid this music.  (Not always easy.  I actually find myself sometimes craving those tunes.)

If we want to speak righteous things, and we understand our hearts teach our mouths, then it’s logical that we make intentional decisions in our lives.  We must be careful to fill our hearts with righteous things and to avoid those things we know are filling our hearts with harmful/sinful thoughts.

Even if it’s hard and unpopular, we must guard our hearts.  If we do, then we can be sure that the Lord can speak through us.

Carefully choosing,

jamie

 

Righteousness prevents the stings

Pr. 12:13:  “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.” 

I’ve been thinking about yellow jackets all day long.  When I read this Proverb this morning, I immediately remembered an incident that happened to me in high school.  One afternoon a group of kids in my youth group jumped on me in the yard of the church and began holding me down and tickling me.  I very much dislike being tickled, and it was torture.  I sincerely begged for them to stop, but they only seemed encouraged and would not relent.

Suddenly a swarm of yellow jackets came out of the ground and began stinging them all.  I was untouched.

This Proverb reminds me of that event.  One can’t help but wonder if perhaps those kids were punished for their actions towards me.  I’m not saying I was perfect and they were horrible human beings, but I was the one being tormented in that moment, and I certainly came through trouble without a single sting. Did they set a trap for themselves?

Our words are a choice that we make.  We can choose to allow transgression to flow forth from our lips, and become ensnared by the trap we’ve set; or we can allow righteousness to prevail, ensuring that we come through trouble.

It certainly isn’t always simple to speak right words, but as Luke 6:45 reminds us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Ensuring that we are filling our hearts with righteous things will definitely help our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.  And that will help us come through trouble.

Trying not to get stung,

jamie

How ya sleeping?

Pr. 3:24:  “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”

Solomon wrote that when we keep wisdom and discretion this will be one of the results.

I have nights where I awake in the middle of the night and am bombarded by terribly self-defeating thoughts.  I suppose that during the day I am more alert and ready to defend myself, but at night I am groggy and vulnerable.

This happened to me again last night.  As I was lying there being  attacked by thoughts of defeat, doubt, hopelessness, and despair, I heard these words come to the surface of my mind:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

Christ alone is my Cornerstone.  On Him, the Solid Rock, I stand, and certainly all other ground is sinking sand.

Verse 2 says,  “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.”  How fitting for the middle of the night when my thoughts loomed so largely in the forefront of my mind.

Through wisdom, I was able to rest on His unchanging grace last night.  Through discretion, I was able to apply good judgment to which thoughts I would allow to take me captive and which I would no longer entertain.

Remembering on whom my hope is built brought me peace and I was able to rest sweetly the remainder of the night.

This is a good example of a reason we must have the Lord’s wisdom in our lives.  Satan loves to attack our thoughts with fear, deception, and lies.  Often he uses half truths to attack us, which is why we sometimes believe or give in.

If we know the Word, and His truth, we will be able to take up our shield of faith and withstand the fiery darts of the wicked one.  We will be able to remind ourselves that do not need to place our trust in “the sweetest frames,” but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

If we know the Word, we can rest on the fact that our hope isn’t built on anything that will sink or corrode, but is on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.

We have all we need in Christ.  I pray that when thoughts to the contrary attempt to take you captive, you will remember this story, and be able to rest sweetly in the truth of the Word.  I pray I will, too.

Trusting in Him,

jamie