Tag Archives: spiritual health

Feeling dismayed?

These all look to You to give them their food in due season.  When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.  When You hide Your face, they are dismayed…”  Ps. 104:27-29

Since Creation began there have been moments where the creation has felt like God has hidden His face from them.  All throughout the Pslams you can see the questions, posed, “Why do you hide Your face from me? Why are You so far from helping me?”

Before that, Job asked, “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?” We even heard Jesus, from the cross, ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Because we look to God for all things, it is in our moments of sorrow, pain, anxiousness, or uncertainty; it’s in the moments of silence that we sometimes feel as though He has hidden His face, and we are dismayed.

As we can see from the reaction of Jesus, and all throughout the Bible, it is a normal, human reaction.  We were created in God’s image, with emotions; and loneliness, uncertainty, grief, and pain are some of those emotions.

What can we do?  Keep looking for Him, seeking Him, and reminding ourselves of all He has done.  Job was looking for him in his darkest moments, when all he wanted to do was die, and he couldn’t find God to the right or the left–he kept seeking.

He spoke of all the works and wonders God had done in the past, and even as he wondered at first where God was, speaking of who God is built him up, and helped him keep close the One he needed all along.  Eventually he found his way back, not just to physical health, but to emotional and spiritual health, too.  This is how it works for us all.

I know there was a lot involved behind the scenes in Job’s story, but seeking God in the tough times the way Job did, praising, and reminding ourselves of God’s works and the things He has done in the past is the best way to find our way out.

We tend to pull away when we go through pain and crisis, and we feel like we can’t find God, but the truth is that the answer lies with Him alone.  He is the One.  He is the Salvation.  He is the Deliverance.  He is the Healing.  He is the Provision.  He is the Wisdom.  He is the Unity.  He is the Peace.  He is All in All, the Great I Am.

Every answer we need to fill the great gaping hole we feel inside is found in Him.  We just have to hold on and seek Him.   God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  This is still true today.

Grateful for a God who cares,

jamie

Lessons from ol’ Eb

In Jeremiah 38, we find Jeremiah cast into a dungeon, meaning he had to be lowered down with ropes; and the Bible says there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.  Jeremiah is in a bad situation.

Someone found out about this.  He was a eunuch in the king’s house, named Ebed-Melech.  We’ll just call him Eb, for short.

Jeremiah was a prophet, which means he normally had some respect, but right now he is sinking in mire, in a place where he had to literally be lowered down with ropes.  Yikes!  Not much respect here.  Eb goes to the king and says, “My lord the king, these men have done evil..to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is.  For there is no bread in the city.”

The king commands Eb to take 30 men with him to go lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he could die.  So, the men got some old rags and clothes and lowered them down into the dungeon on some ropes and told Jeremiah to put them under his armpits, under the ropes, and then they pulled him up, and hopefully fed the man and let him get cleaned up a little.  (I don’t know…it doesn’t say that part)

There are people in our lives right now that feel as though they are sinking the mire.  Are we taking the time out of our lives to send down the ropes and pull them out?  It’s ok if we need to get some others to go with us.  Eb took 30 men with him.  If you’re too insecure or uncertain to do it alone call for back up!  But never leave someone sinking if you know they’re there.  Pull them out before they can die…emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

I also love the care they took with Jeremiah.  They considered his weakened state and sent down some old rags and clothes for him to put under his armpits before having him put the ropes under his arms before they pulled him back up.  When we are helping people, it’s ok to take a little extra care and not always assume “tough love” is the immediate best plan.

There are also people around us who need to be literally fed or given some water.  Perhaps you can help with that.  If so, please do.  Maybe you don’t have all the resources, but like Eb, you know someone who does.  Talk to them.  See if they can help, and maybe you can even pitch in and help like ol’ Eb did.  Don’t just watch someone suffer and do nothing.  Pr. 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.”

Thanks for these great reminders today Eb!  You were a stand up guy!

Look for someone around you that may need some help today,

jamie

 

Are you with him?

Do we really need to read our Bibles, pray, worship, spend time with God?  Does that stuff actually matter?  Does it make us saved?  Does it change anything?

Things I’ve heard lately:  “How do I know if I’m saved?”  “I don’t need to raise my hands in worship.  God knows how I feel.”  “I don’t need to read my Bible, I feel saved.”

Now, let me be clear right up front.  John 3:16 says whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life.  It says if we believe, then we are saved.  I will never say that anyone is not saved if they don’t perform.  The Lord indeed knows our hearts.

However, when Jesus told people to follow Him, He would ask them to give things up.  Some gave up families, jobs, and homes.  He asked the rich, young ruler to give up his wealth.  And he always told people to repent.  He never said that anyone could just go on sinning.  He very clearly told the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.”

We don’t believe in Jesus without knowing Him and if we truly know Him then we understand that He is not ok with us just living any kind of way we want.  No, He doesn’t expect us to come to Him in a perfect state.  What He does expect is that we spend time with Him and allow Him to change us, mold us, and grow us into the person He wants us to be.

How does this happen?

I can say that I’m married to my husband, but if I never spend time with him, how can I know him?  If I don’t have conversations with him, then I will never learn anything about him.  If we never spend time together, then we won’t grow closer together.  What if I live somewhere else and choose to maybe call him twice a year?  What kind of relationship would we have then?

And if we told you we were married, but we were never affectionate, we never saw each other outside of the church, never talked outside of the church, and didn’t even write letters or emails to one another or read each others writings, then would you really believe we belonged to one another?

Worship (being affectionate to God) is an outward way to show that we know Him, we are grateful for His blessings, and that we believe in Him.  No, it is not required, but if you’re in a relationship with someone, isn’t affection usually expected?

Reading your Bible is the way you get to know God more.  It isn’t required, but the Bible is our sword!  It gets us right into the heart of God.  It is how we grow and change.

Prayer is the way we get to talk to God.  We are blessed to be able to speak directly to Him.  Prayer is our lifeline to God.

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what grows us and helps others to see that we belong to Him.  Then we become a true disciple for Him.

Follow Him,

jamie

 

 

Should we run or stand by?

Pr. 28:18:  “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”

I saw a remarkable sight a few weeks ago while we were on vacation in the mountains.  While sitting on the porch eating dinner one evening, I noticed a deer eating at an apple tree across the way.  My family and I watched the doe as she ate.  It was a nice, quiet evening, and she seemed to be as relaxed as us.

A cousin of mine was spending that same week up there mowing grass, and as we watched the deer eating under his apple tree, we could hear his tractor coming up the rocky road toward his house.  I watched to see how quickly the doe ran away, but as I watched, I saw an illustration instead.

As my cousin’s tractor got near to his house, the doe simply watched him and kept chewing.  He and his tractor were less than 50 ft. from her.  She was slightly more alert, but was certainly not sprinting away.  He stopped, left his tractor running, went inside and grabbed a jacket, and drove off to do more mowing.  All the while, the doe simply watched.

Later that evening, I told him how amazed I was that this happened.  He said it happens all the time.  As he mows, he sees all kinds of wildlife.  They have become so used to him that as long as his tractor is running, they don’t move, but if he turns the tractor off they bolt.

This made me think of how easily we can become so used to dangers around us that in their presence we continue to feel safe.  My cousin, if he were so inclined, could easily take a rifle with him and shoot himself a deer while he’s on the tractor, knowing they wouldn’t run.

The same could happen to us.  Just because most movies and television shows have inappropriate sexual scenes in them, and we can become used to them, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous to us spiritually.  Finding ourselves becoming comfortable in company that is putting pleasure first may not seem very dangerous, but without a doubt we will find ourselves putting pleasure first after a while.  Decorating our homes with trinkets from other religions just because they’re pretty, might seem harmless, but they invite the enemy to become comfortable in our homes.

There are so many examples I could use.  The point is that we cannot allow ourselves to become so used to sin and danger around us that we simply stand by and watch it become the norm in our lives.  We must remember that sin is dangerous and when it comes driving up that rocky road toward us, we must bolt.

Just being used to sin doesn’t make it safe.  At some point, we will fall.  At any time, the enemy can take out his rifle and fire a shot that proves it’s too late to run.

We must be on guard, and even in the presence of dangerous things that seem unthreatening, we must continue to flee and walk blamelessly on our way.

Standing ready to bolt,

jamie

Looking for an answer

Pr. 6:22:  “When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep they will keep you; when you awake, they will speak with you.” 

This verse is talking about what will happen when you bind the commands of the father and the law of the mother on your heart, and tie them around your neck.

If you can bind the Father’s commands on your heart, and remember the truth you’ve been taught about Him over the years, then you won’t have to search for answers to every question.

Yesterday I watched an interview of someone who was searching for the answer to a question she was asking.  She said, “We prayed about it.  We weren’t sure if it was right.”  I feel certain she knew the answer before she prayed, because the question was about murder.

Having bound God’s commands on my heart, I know the answer from God would be no.  I feel certain she did, too; however, she went ahead and decided to do it, saying that they got comfortable with the idea after being around others who knew more about it.

When we need answers to our questions, other people are not the place to find them.  The Lord’s Word will lead us, keep us, and speak to us.  His Word has not changed.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He is still as faithful to take care of us as He has ever been.

When we choose to trust Him enough to follow His commands…no matter what anyone else chooses…then we are allowing Him to prove Himself faithful, strong, and true in our lives.  He IS our Provider, our Shelter, our Deliverer, and our Savior, and He always will be.  He will take care of us.

We must not forget what we’ve learned, and we must keep learning day by day.  God is our Guide and our Answer!

Gratefully His,

jamie

The Word of God

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”  Ps. 1:1-3

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is pure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb, moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”  Ps. 19:7-11

We don’t read the Word of God because we want to impress the preacher.  God doesn’t urge us to read so that we are burdened with 1 more thing to do each day.  Having the most elegant Bible study isn’t the point.  The Word of God makes us wise, coverts our souls, rejoices our heart, enlightens our eyes, gives us strength, increases our hope, and fertilizes our hearts for the Lord to bring forth fruit in its season.

Certainly we are warned in the Word, and encouraged to keep from things like standing in the path of sinners and sin; but more than that we are rewarded daily by the Word of God.*  His Word is life, and it is strength to our bones.  He will satisfy in drought, shield us from fear, and light our paths each day.

How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.                                                                                   Ps. 119:103

*For your reward and strength, see the Word of God.

jamie

Desiring those Great riches

Pr. 13:7:  “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

This Proverb is actually the one that spoke to me on Saturday, but I was unable to get to a computer that day.  However, this morning I cannot pass it up to move on to another.

I read Luke 5 on Saturday, as well, and was touched by verse 11, which describes the decision/actions of James, John, and Simon.  “…they forsook all and followed Him.”

These men gave up their plans, their businesses, and their comforts of home to follow Jesus.  What a lovely example of sacrifice they set for us.

Truly they made themselves poor, but as we know, they were far richer in following Jesus than they had ever been before they knew and served Him.

Making ourselves rich is not always the most profitable.  Having possessions does not always mean we have the most.

If our efforts to fit in, to possess, to take the common path, or to attain more for security, we often become poorer and poorer in spirit.  We run out of time for prayer.  (I’ll pray on the way to work)  In talking about our plans, we run out of time to talk about the Lord when we sit in our house, walk by the way, lie down, or rise up.  (Deut. 6)

We’re so busy trying to catch up on our sleep and get things done that the Word of God sits neglected on the shelf.  (I’m sure a devotional email will come through during the day.  I will slow down then to read it.)  Slowly, but surely, our spirit is undervalued and decay begins.

We cannot see the neglect caused to our spirits with physical eyes, the way we can see the deterioration of a house or a pet; however, the decline is still very real.

Following Jesus may me we have less earthly wealth or possessions.  Serving Jesus may mean we have to abandon relationships that stand between us and Him.  Serving Him may mean we have to change our own plans in order to do His will.

Following Jesus; however, will make us far richer in the things that truly matter.  We cannot undervalue our spiritual health and expect to become richer in Him.  We must invest in ourselves and our relationship with the One who matters most of all.  Riches will follow.

Following Him,

jamie