Tag Archives: the cross

How’s your flock?

Pr. 27:28:  “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

What is the state of your flock?  Have you been looking, asking, or taking note?  In the class I’m in right now, it’s reminding us how Jesus always noticed the needs in people’s lives and filled those needs.  We are usually so great about filling the needs in the lives of people outside of our families, but I don’t think we are as good at ministering to the ones closest to us.

When it comes to the ones closest to us we suddenly begin looking inwardly, and shifting things to ask, “What are you going to do for me?”

Why does ministry have to stop at our front doors?  We are still supposed to attend to our herds.

We can’t always give our best to those outside our immediate flock (whoever that is for you) and then have nothing left for the ones we have been told to attend.  They also have needs.  They also have desires.  They also have hurts.

My class talks about how Jesus even broke tradition, in order to help people.  He actually touched the leper when He healed him, even though he could have just spoken the word, because the leper probably needed human contact. They didn’t do that back then.  He also forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery instead of stoning her, like he was supposed to by law, because she needed forgiveness.

I also remember when He healed someone on the Sabbath.  I think that shows that just because we have a plan set for our morning, our evening, our day, our weekend, our class, etc., if someone in our flock has a need, sometimes we need to set aside our personal plan and minister to their need, and then move forward; as some needs are more important than others.

This also tells me that sometimes, we will have to do things in ways that might break the traditions we’ve set up in our own minds, as well.  I had some Aha! moments about those for myself this week.  Ask God what those are for you.  In doing so, it may feel like you are giving something up, but didn’t Jesus also sacrifice for His sheep?  If we are following Him, we must be like Him and trust that God will provide for all that we need.

One of the best things we can remember, when we are with our flocks, is that in order to be more like Jesus, we need to care for people.  Jesus didn’t just say the words in the Bible.  He said them while He was caring for people.  We can’t just walk around saying words.  We have to act them out, and it starts with our own flock.

Trust me, I’m talking to myself, fellow shepherds,

jamie

handle with care

Love your enemies, part 3

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

Ok, if you haven’t read parts onetwo of this series, please go back and start there.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

So, the person (or people) who came to your mind when you first read this verse…do you still feel the same way about them?  I hope not.  However, let’s continue talking about what the Word says about how we, as Christians, are supposed to behave.

Eph. 4:31-32 tells us, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Bitterness=resentment, Wrath=extreme anger, Clamor=loud, insistent protesting, Malice=the intention or desire to do evil

Those things need to be put away from us.  Like away.  Not set to the side for us to pull out when we feel hurt again, but put away as in gone.  Imagine a box where we lock the scary things we don’t want to let out.

Instead, we bring out our kindness, our tenderheartedness (compassionate feelings), and our forgiveness.  Now it goes on to say that we should forgive as Christ forgave us.

How did Christ forgive us?  This way:  Dying on cross; flesh ripped and torn.  Naked and bruised, with blood dripping.  Thirsty and alone; forsaken by His own Father.  Spat upon and mocked.  Yet, He cried out in the midst of all that…in that exact moment of His torment, “Father, forgive them.”

And we hold a grudge when someone steals our parking spot.  We can’t get over the fact that someone raised their voice to us 3 months ago.  Well, you don’t know what they’ve done to me!  “Don’t you remember what he said to me?”  You’ve never been through anything like that!

“Father, forgive them.”

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Col. 3:12

It’s a choice.  Each day when we get up, we need to put these things on.  If they slide off during the day, we need pull them back up!  We are God’s chosen people…holy and dearly loved.  We need to act like it!         **I’m not talking to the other people around you.  I’m talking to you!  You can only control you!  I can only control me!**

Join me tomorrow for part 4!  Until then…

forgive them,

jamie

How Great He Is!

“When He prepared the heavens, I was [wisdom] was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoice always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.”  Pr. 8:27-31

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

How Great Thou Art, by:  Carl Boberg

Awestruck,

jamie

God’s love for us all

On this Good Friday, I am reminded of the love of God.  Our Savior literally took on death to save us from our sins.  He took the punishment that would have been ours in order to keep us safe.  Truly He is good.

Remember today that God loves you.  Whatever the Lord speaks is created, so when He says that He loves you, it is.  He proved it by doing whatever it took for our salvation.

I know there are a lot of songs I could share today, but this is the one I can’t shake.  He is a good, good Father, and today is the perfect day to remember that we are loved by Him.

Loved,

jamie

 

What does Jesus live to do?

Jesus lives to make intercession for us.  Did you realize that?  Heb. 7:25 says, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

What does that mean for us today?  He is alive so that He can present the merits of His death on the cross as reasonable evidence as to why we should be saved.

He is making intercession for us.  Intercession means pleading on behalf of another person.  When we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior, He pleads with His Father to remember that the sacrifice for our sins has been made.

Unlike the high priests of old, Jesus doesn’t have to make sacrifice over and over for His own sins first, and then our own.  He did this once, for all, and He is able to present that evidence to His Father when pleading on our behalf.

Our Savior is pleading on our behalf.  Not only did He die to save us, but He lives to save us, as well.  He will not stop.  He will remain our High Priest forever.  When we are saved to the uttermost, we are saved forever, completely, and we are whole.  There is nothing lacking because His salvation renders us faultless.

Not only that, but as we slip and blunder along the way, He offers the help we need to get back in line with His will and in our relationship with Him.

Isn’t this a wonderful truth for us to embrace today?  God wants us to be encouraged, understanding we are not alone, as the enemy would have us believe, but we have One who literally lives to be on our side.  Thank You, Jesus!

Grateful,

jamie

Reality

I’ve been sick for a while.  While I was simply trying to function, blogging was beyond the scope of possibility.  This morning is the first day I have been mentally/physically able to read the Word in quit some time, and as always, God was there.  Waiting.

Sickness has a way of making it feel as though weakness is the reality in which you live.  Then I read the words in 2 Cor. 5 that speak of the way our tents groan; being burdened, because we long to be clothed in immortality, which God has already prepared.  It reminds me that all of us groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.  This weakness is just part of my groaning.

Reality is that while we are at ‘home’ here on this earth, we are absent from the Lord, and nothing will ever be perfect until we are present with Him.  Reality is that there is something wonderful awaiting us.

Verse 16 says, “we regard no one according to the flesh.”  Vs. 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”  I cannot regard myself or my reality according to the flesh.  My flesh may be weak, but that does not cancel out the fact that I am a temple of the living God.

I think it’s significant that 2 years to the day that I was re-baptized, I wound up in the ER.  Sept. 18, 2013, I was re-baptized to publicly make known that no matter what struggles I may have been presented within my body, the Lord was and will continue to be my God.

2 years later I was lying in the ER, barely able to hold myself up.  Weak as I may have been, I am still a new creation.  I may have dark, sunken skin around my eyes right now, but through Christ Jesus, all things in my life have become new.  I may have physical issues that I continue to carry around, but my sins are no longer imputed to me because my Savior bore them upon Himself at Calvary.

Reality isn’t what we see or feel on this earth.  Reality is God.  Reality is that our Savior took the sins from all of us, offering forgiveness and salvation to all who will believe in Him and call Him Lord.  Reality is that one day soon God will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, sorrow, or crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have completely passed away.

No matter your struggles or weaknesses here on this earth, remember that there is so much more to your reality.  Christ WILL appear a second time, and your groaning will end.

Thank you for this guarantee, Holy Spirit,

jamie

It is finished

Pr. 3:20:  “By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew.” 

Ya know there are some things that just are…

The clouds drop down dew because that is the way the Lord designed it.  We “men” don’t have to force that to happen.  The Lord, in His knowledge, deliberately set it up so that dew would water the earth.

Breathing.  Most of us don’t have to think about making ourselves breathe, although anyone who has ever had breathing difficulties will appreciate breath all the more.  God created our brain to cause our lungs to work on their own.  It just happens.

We also don’t have to tell our hearts to beat.  With wise forethought, our Creator, caused this to happen whether we’re consciously thinking about it or not.

These are not the only things God purposely designed to be already in place for us.  For example, we don’t have to offer sacrifices for our forgiveness.  Likewise, we don’t have to earn our salvation.

Our forgiveness and salvation are already in place.  With the same forethought, our Deliverer offered His Son on the cross and offered salvation and forgiveness to us all.

Besides accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is nothing we have to do to make those things happen.  Jesus already did it.

Sometimes we don’t “feel” like we’re forgiven.  Sometimes we may worry that we’re not doing enough to be saved.  When our feelings don’t line up with the Word of God, however, those feelings are wrong.  Forgiveness and salvation already exist, whether we ‘feel’ them or not.

In the same way that we don’t have to cause the clouds to drop down dew, tell our lungs to breathe, or remind our hearts to beat, we don’t have to do anything to earn those things.  By His knowledge, the Lord has done it!  When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it.

Go out and touch the dew.  Let it remind you of the grace of God, which was offered freely, and has saved you.  Just like that dew you didn’t create, you don’t have to make it happen.  It is finished.

Breathing fresh air,

jamie

 

True trust in God

I know it’s Christmas, which is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, but the next chapter in my regular reading this morning was about Jesus’ crucifixion.  He was brought before Pilate, accused, betrayed, scourged, ridiculed, struck, spat upon, mockingly worshiped, forced to carry His cross, pierced, blasphemed, and killed.  Only as He died did one of the centurions proclaim, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

During our Christmas performance at church last night, Mary, the mother of Jesus sang a song that said, “Only God knows what my eyes cannot see.  When I don’t understand, I still believe there’s a plan…that only God knows.”  Mary had trusted the Lord even when it made no sense to her.  Joseph had done the same.

As I read about Jesus’ death this morning, I couldn’t help but note the striking difference in feelings that emerge from the story of His birth and the story of His death.  How proud I felt last night of Mary and Joseph for truly trusting God, in His sovereignty, and being vessels to carry out His plans.  We find Joseph trusting in and obeying God more than once as we read the scriptures.  We find Mary, not only being willing, but also magnifying and rejoicing in the Lord.

The story of Jesus’ death includes His mother, as well.  Yet, as I read about her looking on as her Son had been humiliated, abused, and was now suffering and dying on a cross, I felt such sadness for her.  How much harder must it have been to continue to trust in God’s plan during that pain.

And yet, we find her afterwards, in Acts 1:14, gathered with the other believers, continuing in one accord in prayer and supplication.  She continued to submit herself to the Lord and His will even though she had witnessed His will including the horrific death of her Son.  She understood what Jesus’ death meant.  She understood that there is so much more to this life that what our eyes can see.

Oh, how I pray that we will be able to trust in the Lord as Mary did.  As the end approaches, and things increasingly point us away from the Lord, we must still trust in Him and His will.  He still has a plan, and if we’re willing, that plans still includes us.  There is so much more for those who believe in Him.  There is so much more than what our eyes can see or what we can even understand.

The birth of Mary’s Son brought the gospel, healing, and deliverance to those who heard and were touched by Him.  The death of Mary’s Son brought salvation upon the whole world.  Whatever God does through our willingness is also a part of His plan.  We can trust in the One who continues to be faithful.

Counting on Him,

jamie

Freedom from sin’s diligence

Pr. 7:15:  “So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you.”

Do not be deceived.  Satan will diligently send sin our way.  That is why Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We have a personal adversary that comes at us with our specific problems and weaknesses so that we may be distracted and won’t be sober and vigilant.  He wants to preoccupy us with sin, and cause us to become engrossed in it.  If he can do that, he knows our hearts will become hardened and callous, no longer caring whether sin rules our hearts or not.  Once sin takes us captive, only an act of God can free us from the bondage.

In contrast, God wishes to perfect, support, strengthen, comfort, and establish us.  He sent His very own Son to bring freedom from sin and eternal death.  The Lord welcomes us to come to Him in time of need, and there find mercy and grace to help.  God does not try to bind or entrap us, but sent Jesus the Christ to set us free from all bondage with true liberty.

We must remain sober, seriously considering God’s word and will throughout our day.  We must remain vigilant, carefully watching for danger, and allowing the Holy Spirit’s alerts to avert us from oncoming temptations and traps.

When Satan sends sin out to find and meet you, and to diligently seek your face, remember that you have a Helper who will show you the way of escape.  The Lord promises us in 1 Cor. 10:13, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Therefore, my beloved, flee!!  There is always a way out.  If you must run, then run.  If you can pray, then pray.  If you are able to hear the Holy Spirit’s directions for escape, listen.  No matter what you think or feel, there IS a way out.  Just because the sin eagerly and intentionally came for you, does not mean you must acquiesce.

Jesus has already defeated satan.  Don’t let that liar tell you otherwise.  So, during those times when we allow the way out to pass us by and we sin, we must remember that mercy, grace, and forgiveness were already poured out for us on the cross.  Jesus sets us free with the forgiveness He made possible.  We never have to be devoured, entangled, or bound again!  The final answer in our lives is never sin; it is always Jesus!

Praise God!

jamie