You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

How to hear wisdom

I just can’t stop thinking about that verse.  “So then faith comes from hearing…”  Ro. 10:17

Do you know what else we hear?  We hear our own thoughts in our heads.  We talk to ourselves all the time.  What are we saying?  Not only that, but sometimes we allow the enemy to run thoughts through our minds that bring us down.  What are we hearing?

“I’ll never be as smart as her.”

“Man, he really has it all together.  Look how successful he is.”

“It’s hopeless.”

“Her kids are so perfect.  I feel like such a mess.”

“I never do anything right.”

“I can’t do this.  It’s too hard.”

“God doesn’t hear my prayers.  What’s the point?”

Pr. 22:17 tells us to incline our ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply our hearts to knowledge.  We will find wisdom and knowledge in the Word of God.  The truth, which are the words that counteract all of the thoughts above, is within God’s Word.

If faith comes from hearing, we need to be careful what we are saying to ourselves.  We need to be hearing words of truth, of life, of wisdom.  We need to put on our helmets of salvation, get out our swords (the Bible), and begin reading words that are living and powerful, that pierce even to the division of soul and spirit, and discern our thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb. 5:12)

In fact, we can trust that God’s Word will help us in our time of need because Is. 55: 11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Where we fail in cheering ourselves us, or convincing ourselves that things are ok, God prevails!  Where we fail in pushing down thoughts of hopelessness, God’s hope achieves exactly that!  God’s Word is truly a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  He sheds light on our darkest moments, situations, and thoughts.

Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness, and the hope we find within the refuge of Your name.  Thank You for shielding and protecting us when we turn to You. 

So, each day, when we notice any thoughts that threaten to drag us down or pull us away from God, we need to turn to the truth of God’s word, allow it to take them captive, and allow Him to give us discernment and breathe life and truth back into us.

We’ve got this!  Because, with God, all things are possible.  😉

jamie

When bad news comes

What do we do when bad news comes our way?  Depending on how bad it is, my first reaction is to cry.  And that’s ok.  It is ok for us to react with emotion.  God made us in His image and we are emotional beings.  But after that…

We have to take our eyes off the circumstances as much as we can and get our eyes on the Lord.  He has the ultimate say in this life.  Sickness doesn’t get to have the final say.  Doctor predictions don’t have the final say.  Lawyers and politicians don’t get the last word.  God is in control and whether He does what we hope or what He knows is best, He is Sovereign and He still holds His creation in His hands.

Keep your eyes on the Lord above.  Keep trusting in Him and calling out to Him in your time of need.  Run boldly to His throne of grace where you will find help.  Find the safety in the refuge of His holy name.  Count on His word that is settled in heaven.  Believe in the One for whom it is impossible to lie.  He is faithful and true.  He has defeated death and the grave, and one day He will send His Son, Jesus, to be with Him again for all eternity.  Praise God, we are His…now and forevermore!  In fact, our eternity has begun now…we are just waiting for Jesus to come get us so we can finish the rest of our eternity in heaven.  We are already His.

When the bad news comes, we have some wonderful, amazing, praise-worthy news to focus on!  God has not left us nor forsaken us.  He is with us.  We just have keep our eyes on Him and lean in.  Not only will He guide and strengthen us, but His Comforter is with us to offer peace every step of the way.

Focusing on Him,

jamie

 

Showing up

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  Heb. 10:25

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time in to the pool and stirred up the water then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, an knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”  John 5:2-8

The man had no one to put him in the water.  And yet he was there.  He was present in the place where the miracles happened.

I recently heard about a woman who was avoiding her church because she is going through a hard time in her life right now and when she goes to church it makes her cry.  I’ve felt that way before.  Sometimes, when times are the toughest, we feel the most like avoiding the house of God.

Friends, it is during those tough times, that we need to be in the house of God the most.  We need to show up and be present in the place of miracles.  We cannot expect a breakthrough if we avoid the place where they happen.  We cannot get the peace that passes understanding if we do not seek out the Peace Giver.  The shadow of death will loom so much larger on the outside, but when we enter into God’s presence, we find Him with us.  His rod and His staff ever ready to comfort us.  His green pastures and restoration of the soul can only be found where He is.

We may cry when we get in church.  It’s ok.  Church is not a place for perfect people.  It is a place for the broken.  Like this infirmed man, when we show up at the place where there is healing, restoration, deliverance, comfort, then there are emotions we will naturally go through.  But when we hear the Lord tell us to, “Rise, take up our bed, and walk,” it will be so worth it!

Go to church.  Cry if you must, but Go!  Seek the Lord.  Seek your miracle.  Just show up and do not give up.  God will meet you there.

Thankful I showed up,

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

Where are you God?

Pr. 1:28:  “They will call on me (says wisdom), but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.”

Last week we returned home from a 3-day trip to a find our house just as we’d left it.  There had been no fire, no break-in, no water damage, no tree through the roof–nothing.  Everything was perfect.

As I thought about this and began to thank God for His protection over our house and our lives, I recalled all the times when I’ve returned home from a trip and didn’t even stop to fully consider it.  I thought of all the things we could have returned home to find, and things that I know others have returned to find before.

I thought about how it can be so easy to blame God when things go wrong.  It seems so normal that we ask or wonder why God allowed unfortunate things to happen.  Why is it that it took me until this trip to come home specifically thanking God that there was no tree on my roof, or water damage to our home?  Why hasn’t it been the most natural thing for me to praise Him for the fact that fire did not burn our home down or destroy our pictures and possessions while we were away?

This proverb reminds me of how we can sometimes wait until disaster strikes to look for God.  Then, we wonder where He is or why He allowed it.  Did we thank Him every other time that it didn’t?  Were we talking to Him daily beforehand, nurturing our relationship with Him?

In this proverb, wisdom didn’t answer nor show herself to those who call upon her or sought her.  Why not?  Because she had been trying to get their attention every other moment before this and they ignored her, turned their backs on her, and refused her.  Now, when they needed her most and finally decided to call for her, she wasn’t there.  She was allowing them to have their own way, just as they had always wanted.  Wisdom means business!

But where is God when disaster strikes?  He is right there, ready to offer peace, strength, refuge, and hope….right where He has always been.  He is the same God that was there every other time disaster did not strike.  He is the same God that offered protection 5 minutes before.

We don’t need to wait until it’s too late to look for or call upon God, and only then to place blame.  We must nurture our relationship with Him from moment to moment, knowing that He loves and cares for us the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His plans for us are good, He always provides, and we have a great reward ahead, just like we always did.

Call for Him now,

jamie

Need a time of refreshing?

Acts 3:19:  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

You may be way ahead of me on this one, but I never noticed the second part of this verse, “So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  That sure sounds like the Lord I know…Refreshing.

I knew we were to repent and be converted so that our sins would be blotted out; however, I never noticed that another promised reward of doing so would be so that times of refreshing would come upon us from God’s presence.  I love when I find something new in a verse I’ve read over and over before.

When we repent and call the Lord ours He not only blots out our sins, but refreshes us with His presence.  I can think of nothing more refreshing than the presence of the Lord.  When I am in His presence I can feel pure joy, peace, love, hope, safety, purity, and salvation.

Are you in need of refreshing?  Not only can God give you what you need, but He will.  Being saved by grace offers a refreshing that you cannot find anywhere else.  Having the Comforter as your King offers a peace that cannot be duplicated.

If you have repented and been converted and you are in need of a time of refreshing, call upon your Savior.  He will rain down all that you need.  Spend time in His presence and feel His power and His love envelope you now.

Enjoying the perks,

jamie