Authentic parenting

Pr. 10:25: When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

3 times in the last 3 weeks my son has been given advice that goes against our Christian beliefs.  It’s amazing.  He is being offered things other than what the Word of God says.  In fact, one person’s sentence literally started with the words, “Just because the Bible says it’s wrong…”

I’ve been so proud of and amazed by my son.  He has stood his ground and defended his beliefs to the best of his 9-year-old ability.  Actually, he has probably done better than some adults.  He is a natural evangelist, and I have got to step up my game in my prayers of protection for this boy.  The job my son has ahead of him is not going to be an easy one.

What I’m impressed to share today is that we cannot hope that 1 or 2 hours at church each week will equip our kids for evangelism or for attacks from the enemy.  It will never be enough.

We have got to walk the walk at home, and talk the talk as we trust God in the hard times.  We have got to show our kids how to love the people who are living in sin, while pointing them to Christ.  We must teach them how to pray, by praying.  We have to give them a hunger for the Word by being hungry for the Word ourselves.  If we want our kids to love to worship, we have to love to worship.

Now, I understand that our kids are going to make their own choices, but I also know what the Word says, and it tells us that if we train them in the way they should go, that when they are old they will not depart from it.  We must never cease to do our job as parents just because we may not see the results on the outside.  We must do our job and let the Holy Spirit do His.

Our children need to be prepared with every piece of armor that is available to them and it is our job to equip them.

Even if your kids are grown and out of the house, do not give up.   There is still hope!  They are still watching you, and they still know whether you are trusting in God or not.

Walk the walk.  Don’t just be a Christian at church.  1 or 2 hours a week will never be enough.  We must be authentic if we are to truly win the souls of our children and the lost around us.  We have to equip them!

My motherly advice for today,

jamie

Reading the whole Word

This morning I was reading the book of Amos.  I was reminded that we cannot just pick and choose which parts of God’s Word we read.  It is all important.

It is normal and helpful to choose verses that help us through the day, such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” or “My God shall supply all your needs through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Mt. 6 reminds us not to worry.  John reveals to us the power of Jesus and the power that brings to our lives.

These verses are wonderful and help us survive and cope here on Earth.  While we are waiting on the Lord, we cling to the hope we find in His Word.  I am so grateful that we have access to the Word of God.

What a blessing that He gave us such access to Him!

Reading Amos; however, reminds us that this life is about more than just being comfortable.  Life is about more than surviving.

Amos reminds us that while we are comfortable, other around us are lost and dying.  People are literally without God and headed for destruction.  When we read outside of our “comfort verses,” we are reminded to grieve for the lost, which will spur us to action.  We are reminded that this life isn’t a game.  There is a mission for us in this life.

Yes, I believe God’s promises to prosper us and give us life more abundantly, but I don’t believe those things supersede His desire that all His children come to Him.  I don’t believe He sent His Son to die on the cross simply for our comfort.

He wants us to be saved, and to live eternally with Him.  But not just us…also those around us.

Amos, and other prophets remind us that this life will not always be.  The Word of God is a gift we have, that cannot be taken for granted.  Life is not only about eating, drinking, and being merry, but also about eternity.

Christ’s return will come.  Not everyone will be known by Him on that day.  Does that grieve your heart?  If it doesn’t, I encourage you to turn to Amos.  I encourage you to ask the Lord to remind you of His heart.

It is easy for the worries of the day to blind us and cause us to forget the larger picture.  God’s Word is there to remind us to grieve and to act.  We can spread the verses of hope with those who come to believe.

Encouraging you,

jamie

Lessons from creation

Mt. 18:14:  “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

The song of a Carolina Wren caught my attention this morning.  I found it was perched on my fence, singing.  I noticed a rustling in the garden below and realized that it’s mate was down there eating.  I watched as they took turns perching and eating.  It was nice to see the unity between the birds.

After that, I read the parable of the lost sheep, and I couldn’t help but see the way God shows us His feelings throughout His creation.  Mt. 18:12 says that if one sheep is lost it will be sought.  Every single one of us is important to God.

When we think of the way we feel about our own family, we can understand why this is important to God.  If one of our own family becomes separated from us, we would give anything to bring them back to us.  The birds I was watching this morning were in sync, so beautifully paired, that I know they’re union has meaning to them.

God put examples of His own feelings within His creation.  We can better understand that God truly doesn’t want to lose a single one of us.  He wants us all with Him.  We are important to Him and it grieves Him to lose us, just as it grieves us to lose someone.

If we know someone’s family member is missing, we do everything in our power to help them find that person.  God asked us to do the same with His children.  When one strays away, or one hasn’t found the way to Him, He asks us to show them the way.  He asks us to introduce them to the One who is the Way, Jesus Christ.

We can take a lesson from God’s creation and lovingly seek out God’s lost children and bring them to Him.

Lord, help us show them the Way.  Help us to get over the fear of  speaking to others about You.  Help us to remember that the love we have for our own family is just a glimmer of the love You have for Your own children.  Help us to be willing to seek and find those who are lost.  We know this is Your will.  Thank You for loving each one of us this much, Lord.  You are a good Father.

Found,

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 17:24:  “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

The Lord revealed something to me yesterday as I was driving.  There are signs, arrows, and directional markers all around us.  Some signs to tell us exactly which driving lane we need to be in.  Arrows point us in the right direction on one-way streets.  There are signs to let us know what’s ahead, when to merge, if there is a detour, and on and on.  

We are surrounded by instructions, and yet some people are still ‘directionally challenged.’  Why is that? They have good intentions.  They know where they want to end up; however, the get flustered in the details and lose their way.

This proverb says that even though the fool is looking for wisdom, he cannot see her, though she is right in front of him.

Not everyone can clearly see the signs and markers.  Not everyone can figure out which lane is correct when there is so much going on around them.  Driving (like life) is so busy sometimes, and we cannot always see the little arrows in the midst of the noisy crowds.  Sometimes the little details can be hard to pick out among all the hundreds of signs, directions, and choices all around us.

This could be a lesson about how we shouldn’t overlook the wisdom that is right in front of us.  This morning; however, my heart is aching for those are can’t find their way.

The word fool has a condescending meaning in our times; however, God uses the word fool to mean someone who is disregarding His Word.  It is someone who has become lost on their journey.  Sure, there are signs, markers, arrows, and indicators all around them, but they cannot see them in their search for answers.

Instead of us having ‘road rage’ against those around us who are lost or disregarding God’s Word, we must allow compassion for their souls to cause us to be someone who lovingly points them in the right direction.  Do we want those around us to drive off the cliff into tribulation, fiery death, or torment?  I don’t want anyone to end up in a location of pain and anguish that was designed for their enemy just because they missed the U-turn sign.

When we’re driving as a group and someone doesn’t make it through the light or misses the turn, do we continue on, leaving them behind?  No.  We stop and wait for them.  Perhaps we go back to get them and guide them on.

The journey to eternity is of far greater importance than a trip to the store or to that vacation spot.  We can’t let ‘road rage’ cause us to laugh at, judge, or scoff at those who are losing our way.  We MUST stop and help!  Someone else showed us the way.  We have to share the secret with someone else.

Help us see the wisdom, Lord,

jamie

Now is the time for mourning

Pr. 5:11:  “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed.”

Sometimes we continue on a path of sin even though we know better.  Sometimes, even though we’ve been warned and cautioned by others to refrain, we continue to imbibe.  It’s not just you.  We’ve all done it.

Let me encourage you today; however, to stop.  Whatever sinful activity you know you’re entertaining or currently undertaking, simply stop.  Put on the brakes and say, “Today is the that day it stops.”

Don’t wait until it has gone so far that your ‘flesh and your body are consumed.’  Don’t let the time of consequences be your mourning point.

I came by to remind you today that Jesus Christ died to free you from your sins.  He did not leave you helpless, to be bound by sin.  He died to provide you freedom.  He died to provide freedom for those around you.

Let’s not wait and mourn when the consequences of sin have gotten to the point of consuming us.  Let’s mourn now for any separation we have from God.  Let’s let that mourning draw us back to Him.  Let’s mourn now for the lost souls around us, and let’s do something about it.

We have a bigger purpose on this earth than fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  We have a gospel to preach.  What better way to preach than with the example of our lives?  When we tell others the sinful places and activities from which God has brought us, and the love He continues to have for us and for them, we are fulfilling our purpose.

Stopping today gives you a testimony that is real and that can be used for His purpose.  Mourning now will motivate you to mourn for others around you, and inspire you to share the reality of that same grace and forgiveness that was offered for you.

Now is the time to mourn.

Grieving,

jamie

Grieving the one who is lost

Pr. 15:8:  “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

My friend’s mother passed away yesterday morning.  She was a Christian who had lived a full life.  She was ready to go home to be with the Lord, and what more fitting day than Valentines Day to go home to her true love.  

Even though her family has some peace in her passing, she is now very absent from their lives, and there is still grief in loss.  When someone we love dies, we are keenly aware of the fact that they can never be replaced.  We experience a void that can never be filled.  There is no one who can step into the place of anyone who has passed and fill their spot.  The person we have lost will always be lost, and that brings us very real pain.

There are also families who have a loved one who is missing.  The family has no clue if their loved one is alive or dead; they just know they are gone.  The void that’s left if palpable…unrelenting.  The grief they experience is never-ending.

This made me think about God and how He must feel when we are lost to Him.  Sin separates us from the Lord.  He is Holy, which means He cannot tolerate sin.  Even as Jesus hung dying on the cross, the Lord could not look upon Him.  The sin upon Jesus separated them.  When we live our lives in sin, and are separate from God, do you think He grieves the way we do when we lose the one we love?

In the parable of the lost son, Jesus illustrates what happens when a sinner, who was lost and dead, comes back.  When the father saw his son, he ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him.  He was overjoyed and called for a celebration.  He said, “for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”  Isn’t that how we would feel if we could possibly be reunited with the one we love who was lost or dead?  Imagine the joy we would feel!

The Word tells us that when someone who was lost comes to the Lord there is rejoicing in heaven.  I truly believe that being created in God’s image means that our emotions are not unique to us, but are part of His own make up.  This brings new meaning to the fact that the prayers of the upright are His delight.  If our loved one, who was lost or dead, comes back to us, wouldn’t we delight in their words, as well?

This makes me look at living a life separate from God very differently.  If, in understanding grief, we can put ourselves in His place…imagine His grief for one who is lost…could we more understand His love for us?  We are His children.  He desperately loves us!  He wants us to be with Him—forever.

His,

jamie

Are you a murky spring?

Pr. 25:26:  “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”

Unfortunately, as Christians we do feel a little more pressure on us at times to be perfect; which is something we can never do.  What gets us into heaven?  Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  There is only one way and His name is Jesus Christ.  Our actions do not get us there.  Our bank account does not get us there.  Our choice of clothing does not get us there.  Our volunteer role at church will not get us into heaven.  We have to believe in Jesus.

Why then does it matter what we do?  It matters because if we believe in Jesus, then out of our hearts will flow rivers of living waters.  Those rivers are the Holy Spirit who will then dwell within us, directing us to do God’s will.  When we believe in and love Jesus we are changed.  We become a new creation and the things that used to satisfy no longer do.  We are cleansed and renewed when we are born again into Christ and we realize that our purpose is much higher than us.  The Holy Spirit guides us in all things and brings to our remembrance the things of God.  The Holy Spirit cautions us and rebukes us when we are going to make a decision that will create a gap between us and the Lord.  The Lord cannot look upon sin.  The Holy Spirit is keeping us ever mindful of the things of God so that our lives will smell like Jesus.

When we do not heed the Holy Spirit’s direction and urgings, and we choose to sin and allow ourselves to be deceived, then we become a murky spring.  No longer do rivers of living water flow from us.  The waters that come from us are then murky and filled with confusion.  When we falter before the wicked, we are losing an opportunity to give them the Living Water.  We miss the chance to introduce someone to a Savior when we waver in our purpose.   The living waters flowing from us become contaminated with sin and tainted with deceit.  Is that what we want to offer to the lost around us?

There are people around us that will be lost to hell if not for us.  We are not called to be perfect.  We will never be perfect.  We are only even worthy because of the blood of Jesus.  However, we were called to live a life led by the Holy Spirit.  He is ever faithful to guide us into all truth.  He will keep us from the wrong paths if we but listen.  He will guide our steps if we will allow Him to lead and guide us.

Let’s trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.  There is one who knows all things, including the deep things of God.  We are blessed and privileged to have an ever-present guide on our walk.  Let’s allow Him to do the exact thing for which He was sent.  🙂  How amazing that God truly gave us everything we could ever need!  Thank you, Lord.  Truly no praise is high enough to express how great you are!  Now let’s let those living waters refresh and renew the lost around us!

Counting on Him,

jamie