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

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Waging your own war

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Pr. 24:6

I like having a safety net.

Yesterday I found my mind in worry mode.  There was no real reason it needed to be, but it was an indicator to me that I was looking to the wrong things in which to put my trust, that’s for sure.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Since I wasn’t feeling that peace, I knew that I needed to set my mind on God, but I was struggling with that a bit.

Enter my wise counselors:  It was time for Bible study and prayer with my kids.  When we were talking about our prayer requests, I let them know that I was feeling worried.  They did not like that one bit.  I reminded them that I knew that I just needed to trust that God will take care of things, because He always does.  They wholeheartedly agreed.  And then they prayed for me, and the peace set in.

By building up wise counselors these few years, I have helped to wage my own war!  The Lord has given me all that I need and then some.  Not only has He given me His Word for me to depend upon and to use, but I now have wise counselors around me to add extra safety when I need it.

I am so thankful for a God who cares and provides!

Who are your wise counselors?  Where is your safety?  If you know, but you resist them, stop resisting.  God put them in your life for a reason.  If you’re not sure, then ask the Lord to show you.  He always provides for our needs.

Safe,

jamie

Can we be trusted?

Pr. 6:13 describes a wicked man: “He winks with his eyes, he shuffles with his feet, he points with his fingers.”

In other words, he can not be trusted.

And then, in Psalm 7:8, we read the words of David, “The Lord shall judge the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and acccording to my integrity within me.”

What a striking contrast.  David actually invites the Lord to judge him according to his integrity.  As Christians, we already know God will judge us; however, David’s conscience is so clean that he invites God to do this.

Lord, You said that David was a man after Your own heart.  Like David, make us more like You.  Help us to be full of integrity, Father, and contrite when we’re not.  We love You, Lord, and long to honor You with our lives.  Help us to be the ones of which it can be said, “Yes.  They can be trusted.”  

Genuinely,

jamie

The proof is in the pudding

Pr. 21:3:  “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

I know what God means.  Last week my daughter got in trouble.  She said she was sorry.  🙂 Very nice.  The next day, it happened again.  The next day, again.  Those words, “I’m sorry,” sure lost their meaning.

I explained to my daughter that she could tell me she was sorry 1,000 times and it wouldn’t mean anything unless I saw her making different choices.  Her actions were contrary to her words, and the actions were the ones that ultimately counted most.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Certainly, we are not saved by our works.  It is Jesus’ death and our belief in Him that saves us.  However, our actions sure speak loudly of who we really are.

We can say we trust God’s word to be true, but just like in the case of my daughter, our actions speak much louder than our words.  Do we show we believe God’s word to be true by the way we behave and the choices that we make?

When we see needs around us, do we respond, or just walk by thinking God will use someone else to provide?

Does our trust in God show up when we need something we cannot provide for ourselves?

When we commit sin, do we tell God how sorry we are and then go right back to that sin, or do we show Him that He is more important, by making the choice to stop sinning and run to Him?

Do we obey the Lord’s voice we He tells us to do something?

When we fail to be obedient to the Lord, does our regret cause us to be obedient next time, regardless of our doubts or concerns, or do we do the same thing over and over again?

Like it or not, our actions show who we really are.  Just like my daughter, I sometimes forget this truth.  It’s great to be a believer in Christ, it’s even better to prove it.

This one stung a bit,

jamie

 

 

The beauty of church

I went to church yesterday feeling tired, heavy, and regretful.

I taught my 5th graders in Sunday school about 3 superheros named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  Even in the face of great pain and death, they stood up for what was right, and because of their conviction, others could literally see God, and came to believe that He was the Most High God.

What is the worst thing we can do about this story?  Forget.  Without reminding ourselves of what God can do and has done, we forget that we can be delivered from the fiery furnaces in our own lives.  We forget that if we stand up for and believe in God, even in our painful situation, others may be able to see God and come to believe that He is the Most High God, as well.

During the church service I was reminded that anything I can’t stop thinking about is an idol.  I could list several things that my mind couldn’t shake at that moment.  Do I want to be a servant of regrets, money, sickness, fashion, or cultural acceptance; or do I want to be a servant of the Most High God?  If it’s the later, then I need to be thinking about Him.  Trusting in Him means thinking about His goodness, His faithfulness, and His constant provision and abilities.

I then heard a testimony that reminded me that I am still alive because I still have work to do for Christ.  I don’t need to become so distracted that I forget why I’m here.

Last night I was heard that the Lord made dry bones live (Ez. 37), and that if He can bring dry bones back together into a perfect person, breathe life back into them, and join their ranks into an exceedingly great army; then He can breathe life back into the places that feel dry in my life, and that rivers of Living Water can still pour forth from me to reach those in need.

I was still tired when I left church last night; however, I was tired from being taught and ministered to all day long.  This morning, I feel the rivers stirring around in me.  My hope is not cut off.  I am not dry and desolate.  I am full of the Lord and His goodness, and because I am choosing to stand on His promises, I believe that others will be able to see Him in my life.

What’s the big deal about going to church?  Had I sat home with my heaviness and regrets yesterday, this morning would have looked a lot more dismal.  When you go to church and focus on God, allowing yourself to be open to His wisdom and encouragement brought in unexpected ways, He will minister to you, dust you off, and breathe life into you for the rest of the journey ahead.

I’m so thankful for a place to refuel, and for those who encourage and pray for me.

Gushing,

jamie

 

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Pr. 29:6:  “By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”

Well, all I can see in my mind this morning are the Three Little Pigs dancing around with fiddle and flute rejoicing in song after the Big Bad Wolf burned his bottom in the fire.

When we choose to live in a sinful state, we set a trap for ourselves.  The Big Bad Wolf didn’t come after the pigs just 1 time.  He kept coming.  The pigs weren’t too smart the first 2 times, but on the 3rd time, they set a trap.

Perhaps the snare we set for ourselves is a broken relationship.  Perhaps people lose their trust in us.  Maybe it’s a loss of hope or self-control.  Sometimes sin can actually lead to jail, hospitalization, or death.

When we choose not to sin, but to trust that God will meet our needs, then we are able to sing and rejoice in God’s glory and provision.

The pigs danced around singing, “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf?  Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Tra-la-la-la-laa.”  That’s a catchy little tune.

I have a catchy tune for the righteous to sing today (attached below):  “The Name of the Lord is Great!  The Name of the Lord is Great! The Name of the Lord is Great, and greatly to be praised!”

Sing and rejoice with me today!!

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