I’m #1! I’m #1!

Pr. 27:2:  “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips”

We sometimes want to brag on ourselves for a number of reasons, but man, isn’t it so much better when some random person brags on us?  It really is.  (Although I do occasionally tell people when I complete I’ve been putting off and tell them, point-blank, to be proud of me. 😛 )

I’d also rather brag on someone than to hear them go on and on about their own accomplishments.  ha!  It may surprise some of those people to hear that, but when you are doing a good job of something it usually doesn’t go unnoticed.

I was helping in a 6th-8th grade cooking class this year and there was a student that was constantly looking for ways to be helpful.  Honestly, you couldn’t have stopped her if you tried.  She went out of her way to be helpful; even staying longer than the other students to make sure everything was cleaned up.  She also had a smile on her face and was just a delight to be around.

I praised her several weeks in a row.  Then, one week, as I was drying the dishes she was washing, I asked her about her helpfulness.  She told me that her New Years Resolution for 2018 was to be more helpful.  Well, she was definitely nailing that one!  What a lovely resolution.

I was reading Eph. 5 this morning that said that we should be imitators of God.  Jesus said that He came to serve and that we should do the same.  This young lady had resolved to imitate the greatest Servant I know, and I know that I’m not the only one who noticed.  Her obedience to His Word will earn her a reward from the Father.

Jesus said, “So the last will be first, and the first last,” and “He who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Mt. 20:16, Mt. 23:11)  Not only has she learned and chosen to humble herself, but she wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops for everyone to know.  It was only after I praised her and asked her why she was choosing to act so differently that she confided in me that she had made that resolution.

I was more than happy to praise this helpful young lady!  She had no need to brag.  I guess that’s the thing with being obedient to God’s Word.  When we are truly doing what it says, it works out just as it says it will.  Amazing, huh!?

This 8th grader can teach us a lot today.  Let’s learn from her example and start humbling ourselves the way Jesus told us to.  God will reward us, whether on this side of eternity or on the next.  You can count on it!

On the flip side, when we see someone doing just that, let’s make sure we say thanks!

jamie

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My praise for rising up!

Pr. 6:9:  “How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?”

All I can do today is praise God!!  Lord, I’m so thankful that today You have given me the provisions to not be a sluggard.

I am so grateful that by God’s grace I was able to wake up at the same time as my husband this morning.  I was able to get ready for the day before my kids ever got out of bed.  I was able to do Bible studies with both of them.  I was able to get lunch in the crock pot, and make breakfast.  And I still have the strength and energy for the rest of the day!

These things may not seem like a big deal to most people, but trust me…THIS IS HUGE!!!

While I have not been a sluggard by choice, I have still felt like one for quite some time.  Illness has kept me from a normal, functional life for a long season, but on this day where I feel like I truly rose from my sleep, I am grateful.  I am overwhelmingly grateful to be able to function!

Thank you, God, for Your provisions.  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to serve my family and teach my children more about You.  Thank you for this chance to show my children what my idea of responsibility looks like.  Thank you for this chance to invest more than just my existence into those that I love the most!  Thank you that I was truly able to model the “we put God first” truth into my kids with our Bible studies this morning.  Thank you for a clear mind that was not surrounded by fog.

God, I cannot stop praising You today for these gifts.  I am grateful and do not take one single one of them for granted.

I don’t want to sound as though I’m only praising God for something good.  He is worthy of my praise every day, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take this time to praise Him for something I’ve asked for in prayer for the past 4 years.

What an amazing gift I have been given today, and Lord I know its only by your grace that this has occurred.  I praise Your Holy name and give You all of the glory!

All I can do today is praise You and send out this worship to others.  You are worthy!

If any one of you reading this have found yourself being a sluggard by choice, I pray this praise report will inspire to do more while you’re able.  Each day you have is truly a gift.  Don’t take your abilities for granted.  Rise up from your sleep, feed on God’s Word, and serve.  You will never regret those choices.  You will only regret it if you don’t.

Praising the Lord!

jamie

What was I trying to say?

Pr. 23:20:  “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.”

Last night I had a dream where I was with a small group of people who was encouraging a broken person and witnessing to them about Christ.  One of the people in our group was one of the Pastor’s from my church.  We wound up at a bar, which was the place where that person was most comfortable.  And then, my Pastor ordered shots for us all.

I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable being in the bar, but when my Pastor ordered us shots and then eagerly drank his, I was worried that he was crossing a dangerous line.   (Reminder…this was only a dream)

We were called to tell others about Christ.  Paul said that he made himself a servant to all, that he might win the more.  To the Jews he became as a Jew, to those who were weak he became as one weak, etc.  (1 Cor. 9:20-23)  He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

Paul did what it took to witness; however, this same man also reminds us in the chapter before to be cautious of our liberties in Christ.  He tells us that our decisions could cause a weaker brother could stumble.  He was ever-mindful of the reason he was witnessing in the first place, disciplining himself as to not become disqualified.  (1 Cor. 9:27)

We exist to win people to Jesus Christ and the best way to do that is to make Jesus so attractive that others cannot resist. While doing so; however, we must be careful that we don’t begin to mar our own credibility and risk becoming in bondage ourselves.

This is definitely not a blog about the right or wrong of drinking, but we have something so much better to offer others than a profitless shot of alcohol, and we have to demonstrate that by our actions.  What can be found in Jesus is far beyond any outside lift.  When becoming a servant to all, we must be ever mindful of the One whose servanthood we are first called to emulate.

We must keep in mind that being a witness for Christ means we must give evidence of the hope that is found in Him, and not allow ourselves to forget what we were trying to say in the first place.

Sticking close to the Savior,

jamie

Sowing harmony

Twice in Proverbs 6 there is mention of sowing discord.  How can we avoid sowing discord?

Becoming humble, understanding that we are imperfect ourselves, helps us not to sow discord.

Walking in the Spirit fills us with the fruit of the Spirit, which promote harmony:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves brings harmony.  If we truly love someone as ourselves, we will want things to be harmonious and not full of discord.

Serving others helps us to love them and to desire harmony with them and others.

Praying for those with whom discord seems to be inevitable.  When you are praying for someone…sincerely praying…it becomes very difficult to talk badly about them or to them.  Sincerely praying for another helps us to love them with the love of Christ.

Imitating Christ is another way to sow harmony instead of discord.  What better example than the One who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the world.

Forgiving helps us to sow harmony, as well.  We are asked to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave us.

It is God’s will that we not sow discord.  Just check Proverbs 6, if you need confirmation.  I pray today that we will not allow discord to be what we sow, but that we will intentionally seek to sow harmony.  If we notice the seeds of discord in our seeder, we can ask God to help us replace them with those of harmony and love.  He will faithfully offer His aid.

Loving you,

jamie

Another day to persevere

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Do you know what this verse doesn’t say?  It does not say that she shall rejoice every moment of every day.  It says she shall rejoice in time to come.

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6, which says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

This reminds me that diligence, persistence, effort, and perseverance are important qualities of our nature.  We must continue to press forward.  Some activities in our lives seem mundane and routine at times.  Some responsibilities feel overwhelming or paralyzing.

It is the completion of the tasks before us or the persistent effort to do so that brings us honor.  It is the husband who continues to get up and go to work daily, when he would rather do anything else, who receives honor for his perseverance.  It is the student who trudges through their schoolwork, with consistent effort, who receives honor for not giving up or giving in to lesser things.  It is the mother who sweeps the floor for a 3rd time in one day who is doing what is honorable, through her diligence.

There is a lot to be said for not giving up.  If we do not sow any seed, no prosperity will come forth.  However, if we continue to daily sow seeds, something will eventually take root.  We may not see the results right away.  We may wonder if anything will ever come from them.  We may even notice that, other than our own personal satisfaction, not much comes from some of them.

The point is; however, that in order to see the growth of the fruit, we must sow the seeds.  Strength comes when we persevere.  Honor comes from the same.

As we say good-bye to 2014, let’s remember all the ways in which we have been consistently diligent and persistent and rejoice that we have increased in strength.

As we welcome 2015, let’s remember that honor comes from not giving up, and continue to sow our seeds.  Let’s continue to release those things in our hands and watch what comes forth from them.  It will be worth the effort.

God, we thank you for another day…another year to serve You.  Help us this day to rejoice in You and in the blessings that have come from You.  As we face the possibility of another year, give us the daily strength to persevere in Your will and in Your service.  If tomorrow does not come, help us to give ourselves over to You once again, receiving Your salvation and forgiveness, and living a life that honors You.  Our diligence in serving You will not go unrewarded, and for that we give You praise! 

Happy New Year!

jamie

You will stand before the King

Pr. 22:29:  “Do you see a man who excels in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.”

I read the perfect example of this in Mark 6 this morning:

Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a fest for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.  And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”  He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

Up to half his kingdom!?  WOW!  That must have been some dance!

What is it that you do?  No matter what you do; whether you’re a manager, a business owner, a janitor, a missionary, a stay-at-home parent, a hairstylist, a truck driver, a CEO, or even a cashier, do what you can to excel at your work and you will stand before “kings.”

Oh, and if you doubt anyone will ever see your excellence and appreciate it, let me remind you of one important detail.  Col. 3:23 clearly tells us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

We actually serve the Lord Christ.  One day we will stand before the King of Kings, and we will then be given the reward of our inheritance.

Don’t give up, and don’t settle for mediocrity.  Excel at what you do for your true King.  Who knows, you may even see that you receive some reward while you’re waiting.  🙂

Like Lowe’s, let’s Never Stop Improving,

jamie

Our great reward awaits!

Pr. 11:23: “The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

This morning I was reading in Matthew 25 about the nations being judged.  There will be a day when we will be gathered before the throne of Jesus and judged.

To those sheep who have loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

To those goats who have not loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Jesus says, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”  Then the righteous asked when they did these things, and this was His answer:  “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”  The goats were reminded that they did not do those things.

When you are caring for people in the name of Jesus, you can look forward to a great reward.  When you ignore or disregard the needs of others, you can expect wrath.

Jesus says that whoever believes on His name shall be saved.  He tells us in Matthew that He also expects us to keep His command of loving our neighbors as ourselves.  When we show love to those around us, we are showing love to Him.

Let’s let the devil and his angels face the everlasting fire on their own.  Looking forward to your great reward, take time to reach out and care for someone today.  Whatever you do to those around you, you are doing to your Savior and King.  You will be rewarded fully with eternal life in the kingdom prepared just for you.

Anticipating,

jamie