Month of Prayer, Day 20

Lord, I do love knowing Your Word.  I love that throughout the day, Your Word is in my mind and in my mouth.  I love how Your Word guides my steps and equips me.

Knowing that You are with me gives me strength.  Knowing Your law gives me wisdom.  Knowing that I am Yours gives me confidence.  Lord, where would I be without Your Word?  I know where I have ended up during times before when I chose to ignore Your Word and Your Holy Spirit.  Those were times of loneliness and sin that left me with much regret.

In contrast, Lord, when I look back over the times in my life when I allowed You to truly be Lord of my life, I have no regrets.  I never regret serving You.  I never regret choosing to following Your Word, or the leading of Your Holy Spirit.  I never regret trusting You, Lord.  Thank You for the peace that comes from serving You.

Lord, surrendering to You means that I truly have freedom!  There is freedom that comes from the peace of submitting to my Savior.  In light of that, Lord, Your words truly are sweet to my taste.  Your Word and Your Spirit are my treasures.  Your faithfulness is the solid foundation that keeps me upright.

Sin no longer looks good when I know that it’s fruit is loneliness, bitterness, sadness, and regret.  When I know that sin takes me away from You, Lord, I no longer want it.  I want to be safe in the arms of my Father.  I want to be in the shadow of Your wings; the apple of Your eye.

Lord, Pr. 20:7 says, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”  Lord, I want my children to be blessed because I chose to walk with You.  I want my children to find the same trust and security in You that I have found.

I do not want them to have to find out the hard way, as I did, so I try to tell them of Your greatness and Your faithfulness when I can.  Help me to keep Your Word on my lips, encouraging them and telling them of Your greatness.  Oh, that their ears will be open to hear.

Let me walk in integrity, Lord, and be a living example of Your love and Your might for my children.  Let their eyes be open to see.  As You guide my steps, guide theirs ever closer to You, as well.  I long that my children will know and trust and serve You.  I long for them to live in the freedom that comes from serving You.  I defy the bonds of sin that would threaten to ensnare them, in Jesus’ name.

As I meditate on Your Word today, Lord, let it drip from my tongue and taste sweeter than honey to my children, Father.  Let them long for more.

In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Feeding the hungry

Pr. 10:21:  “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.”

This verse instantly makes me think about my Pastor.  Give or take a few services, he feeds thousands of God’s sheep in the pews 144 times each year.  Not only that, but he ensures that we are being fed during the other services, equips us with daily devotions, sends out blogs almost daily for extra nourishment; and for 40 extra days each year, at his urging, we gather as a church for very personal and intentional time with the Lord.

Certainly, our Pastor disburses to us the Bread of Life and the Living Water on a continual basis.  Anyone who is truly hungry or thirsty for eternal things, and encounters our Pastor, will find provisions awaiting them there.

How does our Pastor feed so many?  I think part of it can be summed up in a declaration he made several years ago.  He declared that Jesus is the true Pastor/Shepherd of our church and our earthly Pastor is merely the servant charged with carrying out God’s will in our midst.  He has submitted his life and his will to the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result, the Bread of Life literally moves throughout our midst without hindrance.

He also diligently studies the Word of God.  His study of the Word is intensive and intentional, and his eyes are continually opened in new ways to “old” verses and passages.  He is open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit in not only his life, but in his studies.

He is also unafraid to ask listen to and ask questions of others around him with regard to scriptures.  He truly wants to know what others have gleaned from the scriptures and is constantly seeking more from God.

I read Luke 2:46 today which says, “Now so it was after three days they found Him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”

This is a wonderful example that Jesus set for us.  Vs. 47 says, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”  When we get into the presence of God, when we diligently seek Him in the temple, when we ask questions of and listen to those who are laboriously in the Word, and when we seek answers in His Word, we find understanding and answers.

This Proverb says that fools die for lack of wisdom.  When it comes to learning more of God, we cannot afford to be headstrong, proud, hardened, or unteachable.  We must be willing to submit to Him in order for Him to reveal Himself more and more to us.  We must be willing to consider the teachings of those whose job it is to dig into the Word, find the answers, and guide us through that understanding.

Most importantly, though, we must know the Word and be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, so that we may, in turn, begin to feed those around us.  People around us are hungry for the Bread of Life, and thirsty for Living Water.  Sometimes it is up to us to release those things to them.  We must feed some people ourselves, but we must have something to offer.  We can’t leave it all up to 1 Pastor.

Dig in so you can dish it out!

jamie

Find wisdom

Pr. 3:13:  “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus warns his disciples to beware of the scribes.  He said they were people whose religion was for show.

Verse 28; however, introduces us to a scribe who came to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  After Jesus answered him, the scribe told Jesus, “Well said, Teacher.  You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.  And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Certainly this scribe had gained understanding.  For the wisdom he found, Mark 12:34 says, “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'”

What happier knowledge is there than that you are not far from the kingdom of God?

It is ok for us to ask questions of God.  It is ok for us to seek wisdom in His Word and search for the answers.  Through Him, we gain the wisdom and understanding that we need.  Knowing the truth, knowing who He really is, knowing His nature keeps us from religion that is just for show.  Knowing God leads to loving God, and loving God leads to humble and willing submission to Him.

The most amazing and mind-boggling thing about God is that good works do not impress Him.  He is not interested in our outward appearances or performances.  He does not require that we strive for perfection.  God simply desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that we love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

We learned in 1 Sam. 16:7 that, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  God knows what is truly in our hearts, no matter what sacrifices or pretenses we may bring forth.

Once we discover who He truly is, through the wisdom and understanding found in His Word, it is not difficult to kneel to the God of the Bible.  Our flesh may still be weak and we may have moments of doubt, confusion, or fear; but God, knowing our hearts, will come to our rescue.  If we continue seeking Him, reading His Word, asking questions of Him, and searching for the answers, we find Him ever-faithful.

We don’t need to pretend we have it all together or be afraid to ask questions of God.  Gaining understanding and finding wisdom brings true happiness and brings us ever closer to Him and His kingdom.  What better knowledge is there than that?

Asking,

jamie

The flowing brook

Pr. 18:4:  “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.”

We are not born wise.  Just this morning, as my children began their day and sat down for breakfast and a Saturday morning TV show, my daughter was rude to my son 3 times in about 3 minutes.  Him making a noise was the reason she couldn’t count.  His coughing, with his mouth covered, meant he was coughing on her.  Her putting her finger in his face was just a joke.  Apparently this is the day when she is entitled and everything he does is absolutely wrong.

I had to remind her that her attitude was showing that her heart was not housing kindness or love, and invited her to pray about it and stop, or go back to bed.  She is still sitting at the table with us, so I am hoping that means that wisdom is taking over.  Time will tell.

There were a few verses in Pr. 18 that would have been appropriate with this situation, but I like this one best.  I like the positive note of this particular verse.

It is true that the words of our mouths come from deep places.  The deep, secret places of our hearts contain what we truly feel and believe.  Out of those places, flow the words we speak.  It is clear that deep in my daughter’s heart right now there are places of pride, selfishness, bitterness, and dishonesty.  Now, not to pick on my baby girl (who just yesterday offered to buy the same brother a new Batman sword as he cried over the pieces of the one he had just broken) the same could probably be said of any of us.  We are all imperfect in our flesh.  We live in a fallen, sin-cursed world and will not be perfect until the Lord makes all things new.

What is encouraging to me is that with time, experience, study, prayer, and teaching, we can become people whose hearts are filled with more and more of God.  As we read the Beatitudes over and over, we are reminded that the peacemakers, the merciful, the meek, and the pure are blessed.  Spending years of our lives in submission to God reminds us that He is ultimately in control and will fulfill our every need.  Filling our hearts with His love, His wisdom, His percepts, and His promises cleanses the deep places and purifies the waters.

As our hearts become more full of God and less full of ourselves, His wisdom can take over and the brook that will flow from our mouths will indeed be a wellspring of the wisdom deep inside.  If you’re not perfect today, take heart, each moment that you spend with God purifies you deep inside.  The wellspring within you grows purer and holds more Living Water.  Until we are made new, we will never be perfect, but God can use us now to be a wellspring for those around us.

Cheers!

jamie

 

 

Continuing with God

You’ve heard that pride comes before the fall.  In my reading today I saw more than one example of this.  In Ps. 73, Asaph is confessing how he began envying sinners.  “Pride served as their necklace,” he said.  They were successful, prosperous, glamorous.  He was thinking that if they have it so easy and have such abundance, then surely he had cleansed his heart in vain, giving His life over to God.

Then, however, he went into the sanctuary of God and understood their end.  God’s Word is true, and those who trust in the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life are trusting in the world and not in the Father.  “This world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  1 John 2:17.  Surely they will receive their reward.

Likewise, in Pr. 9:13-18 there is a foolish and prideful woman who is so bold in her pride that she sits at the highest place of the city calling out to those who pass, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”  Isn’t this just was sin and lust do?  They are bold, crying out to us that they are pleasant…just as they did to Asaph.

Asaph questioned if it would just be better to give in, act like the world, turn His back on His suffering for Christ.   For every man who gave into the clamorous woman; however, we are told, “he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”  That is the truth of giving in to sin.  It may seem pleasant, it may sound delightful, it may even promise wonderful things, but the truth is that it leads to hell.

Asaph, upon realizing this same truth, said, “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.  But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.”

Serving and trusting in the Lord means we are submitting our lives to the One about which Asaph said, “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  We have a great reward awaiting us.  Lusts and pride of this world tempts us to give in, but we must remember that its end is death.

“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Asaph.  “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.”  1 John 2:24-25

Keep trusting in God,

jamie

Instruction book

Pr. 10:17:  “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”

I’ve been awake since at least 3 a.m.  My brain was on overdrive thinking about my children.  I kept trying to think of ways to correct the issue of me having to repeat my instructions to them about cleaning up after themselves.  (I hear you seasoned parents chuckling)  As is human nature, my initial thoughts were of talking them to death about how they need to be more responsible and how I am disappointed in their actions up to this point.

I finally climbed out of bed, knowing I needed to seek answers in the Word.  Oh, I can’t thank my Lord enough for giving us His Word!  How many times I have run to it…to Him…for real wisdom.  Thank you, Lord!

So, in the Word, I find a loving, forgiving, encouraging, and understanding Savior who I have disobeyed and let down so many times.  Does He talk me to death?  No.  He lovingly guides me.  Does He lecture me about how irresponsible I am and how disappointed He is in me?  No.  He encourages me with His love for me.  He loves me regardless of my imperfections and He humbly and gently shows me the way to walk.  He corrects me, sure, but through the lens of love.  He forgives me most of all and then encourages me in the fact that I am capable of so much more.

I was instructed by the Word of God today to show my children an example of responsibility through my loving example and guidance; not through an overcritical lecture or the discouraging feelings of disappointment.  I accept the correction of the sinful human nature inside me that allows me to feel entitled to act in the ways of my original thoughts.  I pray that God will help me to keep His instruction and put it into practice in order to guide my children to a loving Savior who offers eternal life.

Do you need instruction today?  Consult the Word.  When we model our lives and our actions after the Lord, we are glorifying Him and pointing others to Him.  Don’t refuse His correction, but knowing that He has good plans for your life, trust Him enough to fully submit to His will and allow His strength to be made known.  We’ll do it together!  My verse for my situation with my kids today:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  Find your verse and God will help you live it out.

Corrected,

jamie

 

No shame in Christ

Pr. 11: 2:  “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.”

Ps. 43:3:  “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!  Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.”

The only real truth that we need to seek out, and upon which we should rely, is the truth from the Lord.  If we ask the Lord to send out His light and His truth, to open our eyes and ears to His Word, He will be faithful to do so.

In Gal. 1:10, Paul speaks about the truth behind his ministry.  He received his truth from heaven, from God, and was not concerned about the opinions or disapproval of man.  He did not serve the Lord for wages, status, approval, or prestige.  He said, “For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

Serving Christ was not something he did, nor could do, in his own strength.  Paul trusted in and relied on the Lord and His grace.  Paul lived by faith and gave up His life for the cause of Christ, for the salvation of others.

When we humble ourselves and submit to the Lord, He can use us to complete the work He began in us.  Allowing Him to do the work in our lives causes us to become a vessel for Him to use for the salvation, encouragement, provision, and education of others.  Trusting Him for our needs allows others to see the gift of faith in action.

We become wise in His presence, sitting at His feet, listening to the Word, and being open to learning more about Him.  There is always more to learn about God.  His Word always has a new truth that He will reveal to us  if we’re willing to take the time to seek Him.  When our understanding comes from the Word of God, and our strength is in Him, we are equipped for all things.

Humbling ourselves before the One who will lift us up will never cause us shame.

Enjoy His presence today,

jamie