A lesson on haughtiness

Pr. 18:12:  “Before the destruction of the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”

I learned the physical application of this verse when I was about 10 or 11.  I had gone swimming at my best friend’s house.  As I was riding my bike home, I noticed some neighborhood kids playing baseball in the yard of my neighbor.  Now, keep in mind that the neighborhood kids were always jealous that I got to swim in her in-ground pool, but then again, they never really wanted to be her friend any other time.

So, here I come, riding my bike in my bathing suit.  It was obvious where I’d been.  I wanted to rub it in that I’d gone swimming and they didn’t, so I made a big show of waving at them.  While I was haughtily showing off, I neglected to see the baseball stuck in a hole in the road.  Yep.

Next thing I knew, I experienced an intense jarring and flew over the handlebars of my bike.  My knee was torn open and my neighbor’s dad literally had to carry me home.

That was my lesson about how being haughty leads to destruction.  I still remember it quite vividly.

Learn from my mistake.  🙂

Still have the scar to prove it,

jamie

Fruit. (with a funny story at the end)

Pr. 27:19:  “As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”

What is truly in our hearts will be reflected in our actions.  We may think that we can walk in our own strength, outside of God’s will, and still appear to be living for Him, but our fruit will eventually give us away.  The truth of the fruit in our lives reveals what, or who, is really in our heart.

Galatians 5 says that when we are walking in the flesh, our fruit will show as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are walking in the Spirit, our fruit will show as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth of the matter is that the fruit of the flesh is what comes most naturally for us.  In our natural state, we are selfish and indulgent.  The fruit of the Spirit is just that…His fruit.  It comes from walking with Him and allowing Him to be the One to feed, water, and fertilize us.  John 15:4 reminds us that we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, unless we abide in the Vine.  Jesus is the Vine, and our Father is the Vinedresser.  When we abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit, and that fruit will be of the Spirit.

Our flesh wars against the Spirit, just as drought, pestilence, and heat war against healthy plants in nature. We must pay attention to the fruit we are bearing.  If we notice something rotten, then adjustments need to be made.  We need to ask God to fertilize, prune, protect, and water us with His Spirit and His Word, so that our fruit will once again be of Him.

NOTE:  As I was typing this, my son spilled milk on our cloth couch.  Instead of reacting in the flesh, yelling and belittling, allowing it to ruin our morning, or going out to buy a new couch, God gave me His Spirit to react with His fruit.  I was patient and kind with my son.  I practiced self-control by thoroughly cleaning the couch instead of throwing it out and buying a new one (like I wanted to do), and I was able to show joy as I laughed with my kids when they pretended the uncovered couch cushions were cloud town.  🙂  Thank you, God.  What a perfect example you allowed me to live out.

Abiding in the Vine,

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

 

Scattering gladness

Pr. 12:25:  “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Newsflash:  not everyone who is depressed lies in bed with the covers over their head.  Most go to work, shop at the store, attend church and social events, and live their lives the best they can.

Just because we’re unaware of someone’s anxiety or depression, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  So, it seems that a good rule of thumb is to make sure we have a good word for each person with whom we come into contact.

We don’t have to be intimidated, thinking we have to always offer up some prophetic word from the Lord, or the best advice ever given.  We just need to give a good word.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but if good words can give gladness to a depressed heart, then it would be good for us to aim to distribute those words more generously.

We don’t have to pretend that we ourselves our happy when we’re not; however, I’m reminded of the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Still, I think we can do better than that most of the time.

Out of the abundance that God has placed within us, let’s make someone’s heart glad today.  🙂

Cordially,

jamie

Carefully feeding your teacher

Pr. 16:23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

Last time we talked about how filling our hearts with righteous things would help ensure our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.

Proverb 16:23 reminds us that our hearts actually teach our mouths and add learning to our lips.  The things with which we are filling our hearts are teaching us.  They may be teaching us good and righteous things, but they could also be teaching us harmful/sinful things.

There is a particular music group that I cannot listen to.  I love their music!  Their style is fun, the tunes are catchy, and their voices blend in a harmony that pleases me deep in my soul.  I’m not the only one, either.  They are very popular.  The lyrics; however, are not exactly conducive to my Christian walk.  They sing about things I shouldn’t be thinking about, but I get those catchy songs in my mind and can’t quit singing them throughout the day.

As I sing those lyrics, those thoughts begin to take root within me and I find myself become discontented with my current walk.  I begin to think about the scenarios they create with their music and my flesh reacts to those thoughts.  I also feel my flesh begin to justify the sinful thoughts.  They’re popular songs, afterall.  It’s just the norm, right?

Those singers aren’t awful people, and I’ve certainly heard worse lyrics before.  I know my limits; however, so I in order to keep my heart from teaching my lips to sing those harmful/sinful things, I have to intentionally avoid this music.  (Not always easy.  I actually find myself sometimes craving those tunes.)

If we want to speak righteous things, and we understand our hearts teach our mouths, then it’s logical that we make intentional decisions in our lives.  We must be careful to fill our hearts with righteous things and to avoid those things we know are filling our hearts with harmful/sinful thoughts.

Even if it’s hard and unpopular, we must guard our hearts.  If we do, then we can be sure that the Lord can speak through us.

Carefully choosing,

jamie

 

Pouring out sweet freedom

Pr. 27:9:  “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” 
Having just spent the morning playing with essential oils, this verse about perfume delighting the heart certainly stands out for me.

And is it surprising that my reading in Acts this morning also speaks to this verse?  In Acts 15 we find that “certain men” came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren of Gentiles that unless they were circumcised, they could not be saved.

The teaching certainly caused many to become troubled and upset.  The apostles and elders then met to discuss the matter and were reminded that it was the Holy Spirit who acknowledged the Gentiles and not men themselves.  James recited the words God spoke through Amos that said that all mankind could seek the Lord, “Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”

The Holy Spirit did not call us to place burdens upon our fellow believers.  John 8:36 tells us that, “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Just as ointment and perfume delight the heart, sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.  Those believers who had been troubled received a letter declaring that no excess burdens would be placed upon them.  Vs. 31 says, “When they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Let’s make a pact that going forward we will allow the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit’s job; and that our hearty counsel will not trouble our friends or add excess burdens upon them, but that the freedom that was given through Jesus Christ will be poured upon them like a healing ointment and the sweetest of all perfumes.

Hoping to delight some hearts,

jamie

That leaves a pleasant taste…

Pr. 22:18:  “For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips”

Keeping the words of wisdom and knowledge within us is not only wise, but indeed, it is pleasant.

When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with the scripture.  When Satan attacks us with doubt, fear, anxiety, and other lies, it helps if we have the truth from the Word of God fixed upon our lips.

Lie:  I am unworthy.  I am not good enough.  I am inferior.

Truth:  God formed me in my mother’s womb.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are the works of God.  (Ps. 139:13-14)

Lie:  I can’t do this.  This will turn out so badly.  I’m not strong enough.

Truth:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  The Lord will show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (Phil. 4:13, 1 Co. 12:9, 2 Ch. 16:9)

Lie:  I can’t trust anyone.  I can’t bear this.

Truth:  The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  If I humble myself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift me up.  Branches are pruned to bear more fruit.  (Pr. 29:25, Ja. 4:10, Jo. 15:2)

Lie:  God will never forgive me.  I will never be good enough for God to love me.

Truth:  Greater love has no on than this, than to lay down His life for his friends.  God loved me so much that He gave His only Son, that believing in Him I would not perish but have everlasting life.  God did not send His song into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Jesus prayed for me, asking God that I would know “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  (Jo. 15:13, Jo. 3:16-17, Jo. 17:23)

Isn’t God’s Word much more pleasant than the lies that Satan whispers?  The best part is that God’s Word is the truth.  It is pure.  It is proven.  And God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  (Pr. 30:5)

Know the Word and know the pleasant truth of a love that is unlike any other.  Fix it in your heart and upon your lips.

Trusting,

jamie