Tag Archives: the Way

Messes and all…

When I got to the couch this morning to do my devotions, I moved the couch pillow and discovered crumbs from my son’s snack of chips last night.  “Ugh!” was my immediate reaction.  Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me.  So I left them there, took a picture, and opened up my Bible to Psalm 103.

The Lord redeems our lives from destruction.  He crowns us with lovingkindness & tender mercies.  He is merciful & gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to them, but sent His Son as the Way of salvation.

The Lord’s mercy is a great as the heavens are high, and He removes our sins and mistakes from us.  He pities us as a father pities his children.  (hmmmmm)  He knows our frame, remembering that we are dust….

I thought about how many messes I have tried to hide or cover up.  I thought about how many crumbs I’ve left behind in my life and how many mistakes I’ve made.  Yet, my heavenly Father continually has mercy upon me, and He pities me, remembering my frame.

How will I react towards my son’s little chip mess here beside me?  Will I guide him?  Absolutely.  Will I be a tyrant, lording over him the rules in frustration?  After reading this, I cannot.  Will I show mercy?  That’s exactly what I will do.  I’ve made my own mistakes, and I’ve been forgiven!  I have to model the same forgiveness my Father shows me.

It may not be chips on your couch, but whatever situation you find yourself facing today, I pray you’ll remember to be slow to anger, to show mercy, and to deal in lovingkindness.

dusting myself off,

jamie

 

Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

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. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

jamie

Which way to heaven?

Pr. 2:13:  “From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness;”

We just spent the weekend deep in the mountains of West Virginia.  My family is blessed to have some land where we can reunite and unwind.  A few years ago some of my cousins made a new trail in the woods up on the mountain behind our house to mark the property line.  The trail they cut out is wide enough for a 4-wheeler or my cousin Mark’s off-road vehicle called ‘the mule.’

All the kids love to ride on Mark’s mule, and they made several trips on that trail over the weekend.  My dad was taking the kids for one of the rides and I joined them.  This was my first time on the trail and I saw there were some smaller paths leading off to the side.  I noted that my dad always took the path to the right and he confirmed that the main trail went to the right.  He said the smaller paths were dead ends that were made for other purposes.

This verse reminds me of that trail and those other paths.  If you got on that main trail for the first time and didn’t know which way to head, you could easily wind up on the wrong path.  Instead of an hour long walk down a path that’s been laid out, you could wind up hitting every dead-end there is, and spend several hours just trying to find where the trail lets out.  (View of trail’s exit below)

photo 2(1)

Almost Heaven, West Virginia

The Lord has a path clearly laid out for us all, and you can find the directions in the Word.  Without knowing or heeding the Word, we often try to take those paths off the main trail, but they are dead ends that only lead to darkness, sin, pain, and ultimately death.  We don’t have to create new paths or take the paths towards darkness.  Keeping the word in our hearts, we can stay on the path of uprightness, which leads to eternal life.

Stay on the path today and do not let yourself be lured by the paths of darkness.  Those smaller paths will ensnare you, trap you, and will not let out in heaven.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  If you need to know the way, His name is Jesus.  He was in the beginning with God:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  If you know the Word, you know Jesus, and you will get to the Father through Him.”  (John 1:1)  Continue to the right.  Heaven awaits!

Trusting in Jesus,

jamie

 

Forsake foolishness

Pr. 9:6:  “Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.”

The Word also tells us in Pr. 14:1 that, “the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Creation screams out the existence of God.  Science points us to the Creator, as well.  The Holy Spirit tugs at our hearts to remind us that there is One God who holds this world in His hands and who wants communion with us.  Satan loves to deceive and get our eyes off the Lord, even to the point that we would deny His existence.

Romans 1:18-32 talks about how people suppress the truth and become futile in their thoughts, allowing their foolish hearts to be hardened.  It says that people exchange the truth of God for a lie, and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.  “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like a corruptible man.”  (vs.22-23)

Doesn’t this sound just like our world?  So many people profess their “wise” opinions that point away from the Lord, the Creator of all things, and are exchanging the truth of God for a lie.  We don’t naturally want to be outsiders, so occasionally we go with the flow of the thoughts, opinions, or lifestyles around us.

The word of God tells us that understanding is knowledge of the Holy One, but Ro. 1:28 says, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…”  If we deny the Lord or His power and insist on continuing in that way, God will allow us to have what we want and we become fools who are headed toward destruction.

David said, in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me.”  This sounds like what we all should do.  If we want true understanding, we must know more about the Lord.  Fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, points us away from the things not fitting, as described in Romans 1:29-32; and points us straight to the Creator and to eternal life.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”  1Tim. 4:1-3.

Sounds like these latter times are upon us.  Don’t be swept up by futile thoughts, lies, and deceiving spirits.  Stand firm on the solid foundation that is Jesus Christ.  Go in the way of understanding.  Know the Lord and His word and have life!

Cramming,

jamie

 

Which way to eternal life?

Pr. 14:12:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Last night, one of our pastors asked, “Can you do the golden rule and still not be a Christian?”  The answer is most certainly, “yes.”  When my daughter went to Kindergarten at public school, the golden rule was actually one of their class rules.  It’s a great rule; however, doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you, isn’t what makes us a believer in Christ, or a Christ follower.  It also isn’t what will get us to heaven.

It seems right to be a good person, to treat others fairly, to look after our neighbors and our friends.  It seems right to pay your bills on time, look after the environment, rescue pets and whales.  Being tolerant of others and making time to volunteer for a good cause seems right as well.  “Doing” is not the key, however.  Although these things seem right, they do not end in life.  We have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life.

Recently, I sat at a dinner table with a friend of mine who serves the Lord with vigor and passion.  In fact, the extent of all that he does is almost incomprehensible and his energy level is pretty near unmatched.  This man never stops serving, helping, or encouraging.  Looking at his schedule alone would wear you out.  Interestingly, until about 8 or 9 years ago, he thought serving Christ was rubbish.  Over dinner I heard a few stories that brought light to the fact that while he was unsaved, he was the exact same way.  He has always been one to help others and serve, but until he was saved, his way was still leading him to death.

No matter how many elderly people he drove to the hospital, renovation jobs he did for those in need, homeless people he fed, bathed, or clothed, or the fact that he once held a dying man on his knees so that man could pray, my friend was unsaved.  He thought back to holding his dying friend up on his knees while he prayed, and the knowledge that his own salvation was so lost to him at that moment still causes him to shudder.  No matter that he was living the golden rule, and his acts of service seemed right; his way was leading him to death.  He absolutely did not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and eternity in heaven was completely out of his reach.

Should we do unto others as we would have them do unto us?  Yes!  More importantly, though, we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He came to this earth as our Savior and He will come again to take us home for eternity.  If you “do” anything today, do whatever you must to ensure that belief.

Believing,

jamie

Training them

Pr. 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

When I went to church this morning, I tried to type a post about this verse, but my wi-fi on my phone wasn’t working very well.  I am glad it wasn’t.  The Lord changed what I needed to say during my time at church.

My Sunday school class was on my mind when I woke up this morning and this verse made me think of them even more; and of my job as their teacher.  Occasionally I wonder if it matters.  This verse reminds me that it does.  As I minister to these 4th graders each week I am training them in the way they should go.  Like training a vine to grow in the direction you desire, we are all training children to go a certain way.  I have been charged with caring for these certain children and I must take my job very seriously, as it has eternal consequences.

I want the children in my Sunday school class to head towards the Lord, therefore I must train them and guide them towards Him.  To encourage growth I have to prune them to get the unwanted or dead growth from their lives.  (the things of this world that don’t truly matter)  To point them in the right direction I must attach the Word of God upon them to hold them in place.  To encourage that they continue on the right path I must pray with them and for them.  I am also encouraging them to pray for one another as they journey together towards the Lord.

Each Sunday I am giving them all the care and attention I can to ensure healthy growth that ends at the only place that matters—with their Savior, the true Vine.  Today we learned a lesson on patience, played games, shared personal concerns, and then I taught them how to look up scriptures in their Bibles.  These things may not seems glamorous while in the classroom with distracted students; however, they couldn’t be more important.  I am helping to equip people to grow in their spiritual maturity throughout the rest of their lives.  I am trusting that God will do the rest once they leave me, and that truly when they are old they will not depart from the truths they are learning even now.

It’s never to late to train, but your example is the loudest teacher.  Stay strong in the Lord and continue your journey.  God will bring the harvest.  What you are doing matters!

Lord, bless my students today and throughout this week.  Let them hear your voice and feel your touch each week as they grow under my care.  Let them remember the truth of Your Word that we learn each week and help them to continue to apply it to their lives.  Lord, please help me not to grow weary in well-doing but to remember that one day You will reap the harvest of their souls.

Happy Gardening!

jamie

The Way is not just for us

Pr. 21: 2:  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”

When we stand before the Lord what is it that will be needed for us to hear Jesus say that we are His?  We need to have believed on Him.  Jesus is the Way to heaven.  There is no other way into the kingdom of heaven but believing in Him.  When He laid down His life for us on the cross, He covered our sins, became our righteousness, and He became the Door to eternal life.

Why then does it matter about our hearts?  Becoming a Christ follower makes us a new creation.  We can’t follow Jesus and be the same as we were before we met Him.  The blood of Jesus changes everything.  He made us His righteousness.  He is holy and therefore, when He is our Lord, He lives within us and needs a dwelling place that is holy.  1 Cor. 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  The Lord cannot dwell in a temple full of sin.  He could not even look upon Jesus when the sin of the world was upon Him.  We must allow Him to rid our hearts of all unrighteousness and trust Him to fill in the holes.

I can recall moments in my life where I held back from God and held onto certain sins or thoughts, not wanting to give up all control.  Why is that?  Why would I resist the nudging of the Holy Spirit telling me to give in and let God be God of it all?  Flesh.  The flesh is weak and wants its every desire at any cost.  Did I still believe in Jesus?  Yes.  Did I trust in Him enough to give up my fleshly desires and allow Him to fill me with His full presence in order to accomplish all the work He had for me?  No.  I felt like I could somehow work around the sins and still serve Him.

We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.  We will never be free of sin.  Willingly, purposefully living a life of sin; however, is not showing the Lord that we fear Him and trust in His provision.  If we fear Him and allow Him to weigh our heart and rid us of all our sins, every day, He is our help and our shield and He will guide and deliver us.  We will live a life full of Him and be able to bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  How can we show others the Way when we are straying from wisdom?  Our witness will only cause further doubt and confusion in a fallen world.  If we allow God to weigh and examine our hearts, we will find His Way, and others will be able to find the Way through the example of our lives.

He really is enough.  He will fill all the longings.

Heart wide open,

jamie