Don’t understand?

Pr. 3:5:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Last week I lost a friend to suicide.  How do you line that up with your faith?

Just like anything else.  Keep trusting in the Lord.  In this life we will have trials.  Although God’s plans for us are good, we live in a sin-cursed world where disease and sin have tainted things.  Sin brought in death and disease.  Sin brought in meanness, evil intentions, cruelty, and poison.  The life we live in this temporary place will have trials and pain, but God can turn every pain and trial around for good.

Joseph’s brother’s plotted to kill him, but instead threw him in a well and sold him into slavery.  He was falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned, forgotten.  But of all of the things that were meant for evil in his life, Joseph said, “God meant it for good to save many people.”  And he was right.

This morning I was reading about all the apostles of Christ that were mocked, scourged, homeless, sawed in half, tormented, etc.  (Heb. 11:32-40)  It was said that they did it that they may receive a better resurrection.  Paul, as well, was shipwrecked, snake-bitten, imprisoned, and had a thorn in his flesh that the Lord would not remove.  The Bible says he accepted that gladly for the promise of the power of Christ upon him.

How in the world can we accept suffering, pain, or trials?  How can we make it through these dark times in our lives?  By trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.

It doesn’t make sense to us when the pain comes.  But the Word says that His ways are not our ways.  Perhaps, like Joseph, He is going to make something beautiful come from our pain.  Death and suffering don’t come naturally to us, but God has sent us the Comforter.  God supplies for our needs.  He comforts.  He gives joy and peace in the storms and trials of our lives.  When the storms come, He is the One in which we can take refuge.

The Lord is the One who provides the peace that surpasses all understanding which guards our hearts and minds when we pray to him in our times of anxiety.  The Lord is the One who shows Himself strong for us when we remain loyal to Him.  The Lord is the One whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.  It is the Lord in which we need to continue to trust.  He will be as faithful tomorrow as He was in the beginning.  He does not change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness, in which we can place our trust and our hope!

jamie

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Words revealing the true treasure of the heart

Joel 2:23:  “For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you…”

I had the terrible realization this week that I had replaced God as the treasure in my heart.

In May, our daughter was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Although, we already suspected it, the diagnosis brings a large and immediate flurry of tasks, paperwork, phone calls, and appointments.

If that wasn’t enough, I personally decided to allow future planning, homeschool curriculum planning, future therapies, and even more to loom over me with urgency.  Although these hold a certain level of importance, I honestly didn’t realize how much this had consumed me.

Mt. 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Mt. 15:18 says, “Those things which proceed from the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

Keeping those scriptures in mind, it became obvious this week, through the words of my mouth, that the Lord was no longer the treasure in my heart.  AHHHHHH!!!  I had made research and information my new treasure.  And I honestly didn’t even realize it had happened.

Looking back, however, I can see the warning signs.  I will share those with you in the hopes that I can spare you from doing something similar:

  • I was spending more time reading about Autism than I was reading about and reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
  • I began to consider myself too weak to care for and teach my daughter.  I wasn’t considering the truth, which is that the Lord is my strength and that through Him all things are possible.
  • Fear began to drain a lot of my energy, when the Lord clearly gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
  • I began trusting in the information I was learning in my research more than I was reminding myself that the Lord supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This scripture in Joel says, “For He has given you the former rain faithfully.”  That’s it, isn’t it?  He has always been faithful.  He will continue to be faithful.  He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I’m not saying that the research shouldn’t be done.  Information is good, but when it begins to cause fear and doubt, or begins to overshadow the truths of God’s Word, then there is a problem.

I had to repent for making information and worldly ‘facts’ my treasure.  I want to encourage you, as well.  God is still in control.  He still holds the world in His hands, and if He has taken care of you in the past, He will take care of you in the future.  He is faithful.

Repentant,

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

A lesson from the ants

Pr. 30:25:  “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer”

I was drawn to 2 somewhat different verses together today, but in the end found them very akin. 

2 Cor. 9:10, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”

Giving (sowing seed) is just like storing up/preparing for later.  When you give, well… 2 Cor. 9:6 says, “when you sow bountifully you will also reap bountifully.”

Paul knew that the One who supplies the seed can and will also multiply whatever seed you, in turn, sow around you.

So, just like the ant, when you bountifully sow in your ‘summer’ months, you are wisely storing up and preparing for your ‘winter’ months.

God’s law is universal, which means it is applicable in all cases.  You can count on it.

And none of our gifts are too little.  Just ask the ant.

Happy sowing!

jamie

 

Get this!

Pr. 4:7:  “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding.” 

This morning it struck me that we are constantly trying to get something.  Get fit.  Get rich.  Get healthy.  Get well.  Get promoted.  Get an education.  Get a husband.  Get a wife.  Get this.  Get that.

Solomon tells us that the principal thing to get is wisdom.  I like his next sentence best when he says, “in all your getting, get understanding.”  We know from reading the Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  These are the things we need most.

Paul encourages us in Ro. 16:19 to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  Wisdom of what is truly good is only found in the Lord.

When trying to get wisdom or understanding, what we really need to Get is the Word.  We need to Get into His presence in prayer and submission.  We need to Get alone with Him to hear His Word and His Spirit speak wisdom into our hearts.

Ro. 16:18 reminds us that there are those who do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.  The only way to prevent ourselves from being simple, and allowing ourselves to be lured away from the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to continue to get true wisdom.

Today, we are all encouraged to Get into the Word and God’s presence to find wisdom and understanding.  What God has to offer us is more than enough to help us take care of all the rest.  In fact, one thing we will learn is that all the other things we truly need will be supplied by God, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Getting closer,

jamie

Because of your own understanding, cease!

Pr. 23:4:  “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!”

A month after Donnie and I were married, I accepted a higher-paying promotion at work.  I soon learned; however, that promotions are not always worth accepting.  Although my manager promised to fill the position I previously held, there was a significant amount of stalling and I worked both positions for over a year.

I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make the long commute to be at work at 6:00.  Most days I would arrive back home between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.  Add to that the numerous times I had to fill in for another shift, arriving home at 2:00 a.m., only to get back up and start over.

I averaged 65 hours a week during that time, eventually beginning to break down physically, and also missing out on critical time with my new husband.  When did we have time to enjoy one another?  What should have been our “honeymoon period” was entirely too difficult for us.  That experience is definitely one of those I would go back and do differently, if given the chance.  No amount of money or supervising experience was worth all that I sacrificed during that time.

If we really take God at His word, believing that, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” then we can see that no promotion, position, company, or paycheck will ever be what gets us through.  Our provision comes from the Lord, and no matter where we work, or what our title, that will always be true.  What’s more is that if we tithe a portion back to Him, He will faithfully rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and not allow him to destroy the fruit of our labor.

Worrying about what we will eat, what we will wear, what car we will drive, what we will buy our kids for Christmas…those worries are just a waste of our time.  Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (our basic needs) shall be added to you.”  Mt. 6:33.  He said, “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”  Mt. 7:9-11

If you are faced with the decision to over-work to become rich, remember the Lord’s promises and His enduring faithfulness, and choose to cease.  It is not worth the sacrifices of family relationships, health, your relationship with God, or your time to be able to do God’s work.  Understanding God’s faithfulness, and the effects of your sacrificing choices, work as unto the Lord, and then cease!  Allow God to show His hand of provision in your life.

Content,

jamie

 

 

 

 

Need a good word today?

Pr. 12:26:  “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Jesus, who laid down His life for us, said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  The Lord has been mindful of us: He will bless us.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  For evil doers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  And my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!  God will wipe away every tear from our eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have passed away.

The good words in today’s blog come straight from the Word of God.  In order:  Mt. 11:28-30, Phil. 4:6-7, Ps. 34:17, 2 Peter 3:8-9, Ps. 115:12, Pr. 37:7, 9, Phil. 4:19, Ps. 34:18, Ps. 27:14, Rev. 21:4

For more good words open the Holy Bible and call upon the Lord to draw near to you and to open your heart to hear His truth.  When you get in His presence you will be safe.  Draw near to Him today.

Confident in a faithful and mighty Savior,

jamie