Tag Archives: the Comforter

Approval that matters

“When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo.  He told his family and servants what to do.  Then he hanged himself.”  2 Sam. 17:23 

Let’s go back to chapter 16 vs. 23:  “Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.”

I know I started this off with a shocker of a verse this morning, but it’s reality.  Let’s face it, Ahithophel had fallen far.  

At one time his advice was revered by both King David, a man after God’s own heart, and his son, Absalom, who was now trying to be king.  They literally regarded his advice as though he was one who had been in a consultation with God.  And later, no one wanted to follow his advice.  

It didn’t just hurt his feelings a little or make him feel a bit disgraced.  It caused him to go commit suicide.  

It may sound shocking to you, but it shouldn’t.  When we get our sense of self-worth from people, this can easily happen.  If our identity is tied up in those around us, and they don’t approve of us, then, just like Ahithophel, we may feel like that is our only answer.  

When we are regarded by men as the best or regarded by men as not much, we need to keep our eyes on the Maker of heaven and earth.  He is the One who is our Strength.  He fights for us, gives us wisdom, lets us run to Him for refuge, and comforts us in times of need.  

Our identity comes from the One who created us, wonderfully, and willingly gave His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life.  God made us in His image, and calls us His own.  He created us with a purpose.  We are loved so much that Jesus chose to die for us–we were worth dying for.  

No matter what happens or what they say…stand on what God says, and run to Him when you need a word of encouragement.  He is always faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Choose to stay, with Him,

jamie

Who/what is driving our choices?

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul the moment he left Samuel, after he was anointed to become king.  The Bible says that God made him a different person.  The Lord had also helped Saul defeat the army of the Ammonites when they came against the town of Jabesh, rescuing the people, when His Spirit once again came upon Saul.  

The Lord had sent a thunderstorm in the middle of the dry season to show his power and might.  And Samuel reminded them of all the other amazing things that God had done for them before.  

Now, another army is coming against them, and King Saul’s soldiers are shaking in their boots.  Fear is a natural human emotion, but the Lord had continued to prove Himself to them over and over again, so they knew they had a Helper to watch their backs.  Other soldiers had run off and left, and suddenly Saul, the one who had been anointed, the one who had become a different person, the one upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had come again and again took on the fear and the worry of the others around him, and he began to worry, as well.  

Not only that, but Samuel, who was supposed to come and offer sacrifices to the Lord for them, had not yet come.  Where was he!?  (enter nail-biting)

Saul, let all of this fear and worry from these outside sources drive his choices, and he took matters into his own hands.  If that doesn’t sound like us, I don’t know what does.  

Things look scary, people say things that drive up our fear, worry, or anxiety, and it doesn’t seem like help is anywhere to be found.  All the while, the Holy Spirit…the Comforter…is living inside of us.  The One who gives peace, who guides us into all understanding, who leads us into the right paths, is living within us, and is ready to help us make choices that are not driven by outside circumstances, but by faith, by hope, by truth, trust, and peace.  

Not only does the spirit of fear not come from the Lord; but when we keep our eyes on Him, He allows His perfect peace to be ours.  With that peace guarding our minds and hearts, we are able to trust Him to fight our battles, just like He’s done in the past; and go forth, in victory!

Don’t bite those nails,

jamie 

Why so afraid?

Heb. 13:6 “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I read & prayed over this verse 3 days ago, as well as another, which ends with, “Whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

And then yesterday I was in a setting where I have very little control, and where just 8 days prior come out physically altered and injured.

I’d love to say that I quoted those verses to myself and held strong, but the truth is that I crumbled and cried like a baby. I literally sobbed…in front of people. Ugh.

Then my pain was called into question. My past was brought up. Other conditions in my life were brought up, and even the world’s stress was mentioned. And I felt that my pain had been invalidated.

In a situation where I already had very little control, I suddenly felt smaller and discredited. I left feeling broken, victimized, and hurt. And my posture, for the rest of the day, showed it.

I made a choice. A natural human choice, but a poor one. 2 days prior I’d read that God is my Helper. 3 days prior I taught about it! I had just been reminded not to fear man, and to trust in the Lord; and here I was, focusing on feeling victimized.

Isn’t that so typical of us? I’m sure I’m not alone.

This morning, I woke up remembering that the Lord is my Helper, and I wanted to remind you, as well. Whatever it is you’re going through, look to Him.

Whatever pain you are in…and don’t let others tell you it isn’t real…look to Him for your comfort. For He says, “I am the Lord, the One who encourages you. Why are you afraid of mere humans? They dry up and die like grass.” Is. 51:12. He can be trusted.

Encouraged,

jamie

You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

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

Month of Prayer, Day 14

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.  The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.”  Ps. 119:71-72.  Lord, in 2011, I wrote in my Bible that this is my testimony.  Remembering the battle that had just been won in my life, I know this was true.  I look at that now, after having fought for 4 1/2 years with physical mysteries and I notice my heart is a bit hardened towards those words.  I don’t like being afflicted.

But Lord, You have indeed dealt well with me.  According to Your Word, You have walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death.  You have been my comfort.  You have led me in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.  You have been my shepherd who restores.  You have been a place of refuge.  You have turned me away from the snares of death.  And I thank You.

Surely I can have strong confidence in the One who does all those things.  Surely I can rest on the promises of the One who is consistently faithful.  Although there have been times of tearing in my life, I have also seen healing.  When I focus my thoughts on You, I see promise.  Isn’t that what Your Word encourages us to do?  Pr. 14:14 says, “A good man will be satisfied from above.”  Col. 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Set Your mind on things above, not on things on earth.”

Lord, help me set my sights on You and, according to Your Word, let Your peace rule in my heart, causing me to be thankful.  Would I have desired to seek You so had I not been afflicted?  If everything were going my way, would I need a Provider?  Were my body to be in perfect shape, would I consult the Healer?  If I weren’t in pain, would I run after my Father, seeking comfort and peace?  Perhaps not.

Lord, with prudence, help me as I consider well my steps.  As I walk out this affliction day by day, let my focus remain on the One who is good and who does good.  Let my eyes stay fixed on the One who does not cast off His people, nor forsake His inheritance.  Let my trust be in the One who anoints my head with oil, and causes my cup to run over.  Let my cries be sent out to the One who hears my voice from His temple.  Let my tears be entrusted with the One who puts them in His bottle, treasuring my heart’s loyalty and trust in Him.

Lord, the care You take of me, the salvation You’ve given, and the promises You keep in Your faithfulness…surely those things are worth more than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  Thank You, Lord.

I love you,

jamie

Need a time of refreshing?

Acts 3:19:  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

You may be way ahead of me on this one, but I never noticed the second part of this verse, “So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  That sure sounds like the Lord I know…Refreshing.

I knew we were to repent and be converted so that our sins would be blotted out; however, I never noticed that another promised reward of doing so would be so that times of refreshing would come upon us from God’s presence.  I love when I find something new in a verse I’ve read over and over before.

When we repent and call the Lord ours He not only blots out our sins, but refreshes us with His presence.  I can think of nothing more refreshing than the presence of the Lord.  When I am in His presence I can feel pure joy, peace, love, hope, safety, purity, and salvation.

Are you in need of refreshing?  Not only can God give you what you need, but He will.  Being saved by grace offers a refreshing that you cannot find anywhere else.  Having the Comforter as your King offers a peace that cannot be duplicated.

If you have repented and been converted and you are in need of a time of refreshing, call upon your Savior.  He will rain down all that you need.  Spend time in His presence and feel His power and His love envelope you now.

Enjoying the perks,

jamie

The blessing of friendship

Pr. 17:17:  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Good, true friends are a treasure.  God knows we have need of affection and companionship and I believe He sends the right people into our lives for the right moments.  I love the stories of the friendship of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel.  Despite his father, Jonathan was a true friend to David.  What a privilege for them to have a friendship so strong.

It is rare to find a friendship that is as strong as that.  Most often we have more acquaintances or friendly relationships.  Occasionally, however, we find another person with whom we connect in a way that is deeper than just association.  What happens to cause a friendship so strong that it causes one to love another as his own soul, as David loved Jonathan?  Loyalty.

When a friend is around during the good times it is great fun.  It’s always good to have some good laughs and to find others who amuse us and give good conversation.  However, when a friend is around and constant during the hard times in life, they become more like a brother or sister to us.  It is so comforting to know that there is someone with whom you can be yourself.  It is a wonderful to have someone in whom you can confide.  It is a blessing to know that there is one who will lift you up when you are down.

Often, when people go through truly hard times, people will actually pull away.  When the good times are gone, they may not see much point in hanging around, or they just don’t know how they can help.  It is during those hard times that you find your “brother” or your “sister.”  The ones who not only hang around, but who encourage you, uphold you, allow you to lean on them, and who continue in prayer for you will stand out as ones who are truly loyal.

Let me encourage you today.  If you have a friend who is facing adversity, dig in and encourage them.  In the end, you may just find that you have found a new brother or sister, and if the time ever comes when you’re the one facing the hardship, that dear friend will be right there to return the favor.

If you are in the middle of adversity today, and all your friends have pulled away, I pray that the Holy Spirit will surround and comfort you today.  Surely, Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He loved you so much that He died just for you.  Call out to Him today and the Comforter will be swift to uphold you.

Affectionately,

jamie