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

Godly feet

Pr. 7:11: “She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home.”. 

Being a stay-at-home mom, I can easily understand what this harlot should have been doing.  (Hang with me, men).  It says her feet would not stay home.

She had responsibilities she should have been home taking care of.  She had a husband that relied on her to be trustworthy while he was away.

She was loud and rebellious, not caring about what she ought to be doing.  No doubt the phrase, “I’m going to do what I want, when I want, and no on is going to stop me” was something she believed.

In Titus 2, Paul writes out some of the qualities of a sound church.  Older men are to be sober, reverent, temperate, and sound in faith, love, and patience.  In other words, men are expected to behave sensibly and respectfully.  They should be able to show restraint because of their faith.

Women are asked to also be reverent, not slanderers, not given to much wine, and to be teachers of good things.  They are also to be a good example for younger women, demonstrating how to love their husbands and children, how to be discreet and chaste, obedient, and how to be good homemakers.

Eeeeek!  This goes against so much that our society teaches right now.  I know.  I get it.  I’m sorry.

The thing is, though, the Word hasn’t changed.  God has not changed.  He still expects us to live lives that are godly and reverent, and that being honor and glory to Him.

The harlot in that verse wasn’t doing any of the things she should have been doing, and was, in fact, doing exactly what she shouldn’t.

When we serve the Lord, we cannot just act any way we want.  No, we aren’t going to be perfect, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to not even try to live a godly life.

When we choose to serve the Lord, we are expected to make some changes.  If our lives are to point others to Him and to glorify Him, we must make every effort to live as examples.

We need to keep our feet at home, which for us means we need to be about our own business and about the business of the Lord.  We also don’t need to be loud or rebellious, but instead we should be discreet, respectful, and submissive to the word of God.

Those things don’t make us weak or mindless, they make us strong, full of integrity, and influential for Christ.  And, contrary to what the world tells us, being influential for Christ is why we are here.  That is the goal.

Let’s be loud in our obedience to Christ, and be faithful in our example.

In charge of my feet,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 25

Truly Your word is very pure, Lord.  I love it.  You are righteous!  Though trouble and anguish have attempted to overtake me, Your commandments have saved me.  I do not forget Your precepts.  The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live.  I would rather live with You as my God, than die in sin.

Do not let me falter before the wicked, like a murky spring or a polluted well.  Let my confidence be in You.  Help my countenance reflect the unspeakable joy that comes from knowing and serving You.

Through Your Holy Spirit, give me rule over my own spirit, so that I am not like a city broken down, without walls.  Self-control protects my heart from wandering from You and Your precepts.  Your Word gives me protection.  You are a shield to those who trust You.  Thank You, Lord!!!

I love You, Father.  Forgive me for anything I have placed before You.  Help me to break down every idol that has attempted to interpose itself between You and me.  You alone are my God.  You alone have brought me salvation.  You alone are my Healer.  You alone are the One, true, living God!  You alone are the Resurrection and the Life!  I want to live in You alone.

I love you My God and My King,

jamie

How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie

How a 4-year-old fights temptation

Pr. 25:28:  “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”

We’ve been learning this great verse about self-control in Sunday school this month.  Yesterday I heard the perfect example of what it means.

My friend’s 4-year-old son told her that the devil was trying to get him to break his bed.  He said, “I’m going to tell him to leave, and I’m going to read my Word of God!”

We all have different struggles and temptations.  For a teenager, it might be stealing.  For a married adult, it could be adultery.  For another, it could be hate and unforgiveness.  For a 4-year-old boy, it might be the temptation to break his bed.

We can learn a lot from this 4-year-old.  He had enough rule over his own spirit that he didn’t simply give in to his temptation.  As adults, our justifications and excuses sure make it seem complicated to resist our temptations; however, it couldn’t be more simple.

Note what he did:  He identified the desire as coming from the devil.  He told the devil to leave.  He read his Word of God!  Isn’t this what the Bible tells us to do?

Thank you for the lesson, Isaiah,

jamie

A fine line

Pr. 19:23:  “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

Attempting to guide my children in the truths of the Bible isn’t always easy.  Lately I’ve been unsure if I’m handling things right.

While trying to teach them about sin, I am very nervous that I might leave out the beauty of grace.  Then, while I’m busy teaching grace, I have an ever-present fear that I’m leaving no room for accountability and repentance.

This morning I bumped into this Proverb about ‘the fear of the Lord,’ and I realize that the only answer for me as a parent is to walk this fine line with a foundation of prayer and trust in the Lord.

In my own strength, I will never be able to teach them exactly right.  The beauty of God’s word is that it does not return to Him void.  It accomplishes what God pleases, and will prosper in the purpose for which it was sent.  (Is. 55:11)  Therefore, I must conclude that speaking the Word into my children’s lives is my job.  Accomplishing what God pleases is His.

Also, I must keep in mind that I was not created as The Holy Spirit.  While it is my job to guide and teach my children, it is the Holy Spirit who will bring to their remembrance the things they’ve learned about God as they walk through their lives.  (Jn. 14:26)

Fear of the Lord is something I can demonstrate in my own life and in the way I teach and train my children.  The more we learn about God, the more our own values and character will be fashioned after His.

I must also demonstrate what it means to grow in Christ.  While speaking to my daughter about self-control a few weeks ago, I realized that I’m not bearing that same fruit in certain areas in my own life.  So, I had to make some adjustments.  Allowing her to see those weaknesses in me and to see how I choose to confront them will testify my beliefs to her more than any words I could ever speak.

So, do I know exactly how to walk this thin line of teaching sin and grace at the same time.  Definitely not.  But I know the One who does and I am reminded that not only is His strength is made perfect in my weakness, but that He loves and cares for my children even more than I ever could.  He will guide and water them as His own. I just need to plant the seeds.

I’m thinking the best way to teach them is for me to continue to stay grounded in Him.  Thank you, Lord, for this reminder.  I trust in You.

Learning,

jamie

Don’t give up now

Pr. 27: 18:  “Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.”

A workout buddy of mine once gave me some advice that stuck.  She said, “At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.”  Her advice got me through some intense (former) workouts.

However, the last time I felt like giving up the fight and giving into depression, her words rang again in my mind.  I realized how true they are, not just for working out, but for life.

The NKJV Bible that I read uses the word perseverance.  Let’s look at Ro. 5:3-5:

we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Peter 1:5-11 talks about fruitful growth in the faith:

giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Talk about eating the fruit of the tree we keep.

Peter also reminds us in chapter 3, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, [the day of the Lord] be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (vs. 14-18)

At the point where we feel like giving up the fight against temptation, sin, indifference, and justification…if we will instead choose to persevere, that is when our endurance is built.

What happens when we build endurance?  We are stronger in the face of the next temptation.  We have the stamina to go longer between moments of intentional, willing sin.  Our brains begin to think more clearly, and our justifications become baseless.  Our confidence in who we are in Christ will grow, and our confidence in His strength will not easily be shaken.

Building our endurance takes diligence.  Diligently growing in our faith while we wait on our Master will allow us to be honored upon His arrival.

The day is at hand.  We cannot give up now.  We must diligently keep ourselves to see the fruit.

Let me say it again so maybe it will stick in your brain like it has mine:  At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.  And for that fight we put up, we will indeed be honored.  🙂

Waiting on Him,

jamie

Oh, and I heard this song this morning that reminded me of this.  He is worth it!