Month of Prayer, Day 6

Lord, help me to heed Your Word and Your Fatherly instruction so that You may keep me from shame and enlarge my heart.

Revive me according to Your Word, Lord.  Strengthen me according to Your Word.

In Jesus’ holy name,

jamie

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Month of prayer, Day 1

Lord, in Pr. 1, we read the words a father has lovingly written to his son.  He beseeches his son to hear his father’s instruction and his mother’s law.  He writes words to impart instruction and prudence upon his son.  He implores his son to shun evil counsel and listen to wisdom’s call.  He warns his son what will happen if he forsakes wisdom.

In Ps. 119:1-8, I read about another Father who has written to His children for those same reasons.  I read that those who walk in Your law and keep Your testimonies will be blessed.  I am reminded that You have instructed us in Your rules, Your precepts, and beseeched us to keep them diligently.  If we would but do that, Lord, we would not be ashamed.  If we would do that, we would make wise decisions and forfeit the consequences of forsaking wisdom.  If we would shun evil and do no iniquity, we would be blessed.

Lord, help me to heed my Father’s word.  Help me to walk in Your ways, and to praise You with uprightness of heart.  Help me to listen to wisdom’s call, so that I will not have to suffer the consequences of shame.  Bless me when I seek you with my whole heart.  Bless me when I choose to walk in accordance with Your instructions.  Help me increase in prudence as I learn from Your word.

Lord, I thank you for what I read in Your word today, and I ask that You would allow these instructions to help me hear wisdom’s call more readily.  Help me to become so tuned in to Your mighty voice, that all other ‘instructions’ around me simply fade away.  Thank you for the privilege to have access to Your mind, through Your Word.

I love you,

jamie

Looking for a healthy alternative?

Pr.4:22:  “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Nutrition and health are major topics in our world.  I wonder exactly how many books have been written just about Superfoods?  Scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and every day people are constantly discovering new information about health.  I enjoy a tasty, energy-packed green fruit and veggie drink myself.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of washing our hands prevents countless illnesses.  Now we understand that eating whole foods gives us more energy and less weight than their processed alternatives.  Technology allows us to see exactly what happens inside the body when we choose an unhealthy lifestyle.  It can be quite fun to discover the vitamin/nutrient facts of kale, the many benefits of fresh ginger, and the antioxidant powers of blueberries.

In Pr. 4, Solomon tells his son that there is life and health in his words and sayings.  This is true for the entire Word of God.  If we’re searching for health, there is no healthier place than arms of Jesus, our Healer.  When we give attention to the words of our Father, we find life; and not just more enjoyable life, but eternal life!  Choosing to incline our ears to the sayings of our Father, we allow health comes on our flesh.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings salvation.  It can be quite fun to discover all the way the Lord has been faithful to His children over the years.  Reading the word, we understand exactly how sin affects us and how submitting to God brings true freedom to us and to those around us.  Inclining our ears to the Word, we find a God full of grace and mercy, who lovingly guides and directs us.  Jesus gives us glimpses into what is going on within the body to bring forth filth from our mouths.  It’s all so exciting!

As I think back to the moments when I was living outside of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life, I remember the aches I always felt.  Sure, I may have had moments of exhilaration or pleasure in my sin, but once the moment passed, I was left with guilt, shame, pain, confusion, feelings of being out-of-control, hopelessness, and despair.  Sounds like unhealthiness to me!

Giving my attention to the words of my Father has brought health to my flesh and my mind with signs like joy, peace, hope, security in forgiveness and grace, self-control, reassurance, desire of better things, faith, and confidence in the strength of my Lord.  Truly, God has breathed life into me once again, and continues to give health to me as I grow closer to Him and make new discoveries in His Word.

Are you excited about health and nutrition now?  Me, too!

Getting healthy,

jamie

 

Oh, the love in correction

Pr. 13:18:  “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”

I’m sure it’s just the unconscious “I’m 5 now and it’s time to push all the boundaries” type of situation, but we have noticed a pattern of behavior in our little Levi lately.

It may seem unfair or shocking to you, but yesterday we felt it was necessary to have him pack away his toys and put them away until he can correct this issue within himself.  Because of our great love for Levi, we feel it’s very important to correct his disrespectful behavior while he is still young.  We understand, even if he doesn’t, that hitting, lying, and purposefully disobeying will not bring good to him throughout his life.

Truly poverty has come upon this little guy as his room is void of any toys and actually has an echo to it when you walk in.  He has been shamed in front of his sister who is making wiser choices and has a room full of toys.  He has the choice now to either disregard our newest correction, or to regard this rebuke and receive honor.

If he doesn’t receive our correction, things could stay that way for a while.  Certainly, however, as we see that his heart is receiving the message, he will begin to receive his toys back.

He is a little young for the in-depth conversations of cause and effect, consequences, and the laws of reaping what you sow, although I do counsel them both on these truths in ways they can understand.  He can, however, see the truth of cause and effect before his eyes when his intentional behavior causes him to lose privilege after privilege.

Poor guy.  I don’t like it, but we are told in the word that we must correct him now to save his soul, and that if he will honor his parents his life will go well.  There is more at stake than just behavior and compliance.

Naturally we want to train him in a way to prevent him from going to prison or being fired from a job in his later years. More importantly, though, is that in order to receive eternal life, he must humble himself before the Lord.  If he is to humble himself before a God he cannot see, he must be able to be humble.  Disrespect, selfishness, and lying are not attributes of a humble heart.  He must be taught and trained, and we love him too much not to try.

Just like him, sometimes we need correction to reveal to us that our heart is becoming hardened in sin or we are slipping into patterns of behavior that will drive us away from the Lord.  When correction comes our way, we can be thankful that God loves us enough to take the time to correct us.  He is slow to anger and rich in love.  Correction is not meant to be tyranny or manipulation, but point us back toward His loving arms.

Reminded,

jamie

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

jamie

Raging against wise judgment

Pr. 18:1:  “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”

Yesterday I spent some time at a rebound center for men struggling with addictions and homelessness.  This verse reminds me of them.  The men there have chosen to voluntarily enroll themselves in an intense 90-day program recovery program where they submit themselves and their desires to another’s authority for 90 days.  These adult men enter into an environment where they become fully accountable to others, including curfews, breathalyzer tests, drug screens, group sessions, chapel services, and work assignments.

These men have chosen not to isolate themselves in their out-of-control cycles, but to use wise judgment and allow themselves to be taught and trained in ways to break out of these cycles.  Instead of raging against wise judgment, they choose to seek the wisdom of people who are offering help.  It is good, too, as this center logs a completion rate that is twice the national average.

The difference between this place and the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program?  Jesus Christ.  They call upon the grace and power of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  God’s grace is the hope to which they cling, and they understand there is one more powerful than any addiction or circumstance in their lives.

One of the verses I saw on the wall was 1 Tim. 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  God’s grace is for all of us.  Each one of us sins, but that is exactly why Christ Jesus came into the world.  He loves us and offered salvation to us all on the cross at Calvary.

If you find yourself in a cycle of brokenness, depression, oppression, addiction, harmful habits, powerlessness, shame, inferiority, or any other thing, you will find grace at the cross of Jesus.  There was a song we sang when I was growing up that said, “There’s room at the cross for you.”  God is just waiting on you to run to Him for help.  Call upon the name of the Lord.  He is faithful to hear our prayers.  He will be a shield for you, a Defender, a strong tower, and will give the help you need.

Do not isolate yourself, but like the men at this recovery center, allow yourself to submit to wise judgment.  You may not need to enroll at a recovery center, but maybe you need accountability to or training from another.  Do not isolate yourself from the Lord, either, which is so easy to do in times of trouble.  Cry unto the Lord and He will hear you and lift your head out of shame and cycles that bind you.  He is your Creator, your Sustainer, your Savior, and your Deliverer.  There is room for you.

Thankful,

jamie