Looking for hope

Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”       Ps. 43:5

 

 

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My praise for rising up!

Pr. 6:9:  “How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?”

All I can do today is praise God!!  Lord, I’m so thankful that today You have given me the provisions to not be a sluggard.

I am so grateful that by God’s grace I was able to wake up at the same time as my husband this morning.  I was able to get ready for the day before my kids ever got out of bed.  I was able to do Bible studies with both of them.  I was able to get lunch in the crock pot, and make breakfast.  And I still have the strength and energy for the rest of the day!

These things may not seem like a big deal to most people, but trust me…THIS IS HUGE!!!

While I have not been a sluggard by choice, I have still felt like one for quite some time.  Illness has kept me from a normal, functional life for a long season, but on this day where I feel like I truly rose from my sleep, I am grateful.  I am overwhelmingly grateful to be able to function!

Thank you, God, for Your provisions.  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to serve my family and teach my children more about You.  Thank you for this chance to show my children what my idea of responsibility looks like.  Thank you for this chance to invest more than just my existence into those that I love the most!  Thank you that I was truly able to model the “we put God first” truth into my kids with our Bible studies this morning.  Thank you for a clear mind that was not surrounded by fog.

God, I cannot stop praising You today for these gifts.  I am grateful and do not take one single one of them for granted.

I don’t want to sound as though I’m only praising God for something good.  He is worthy of my praise every day, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take this time to praise Him for something I’ve asked for in prayer for the past 4 years.

What an amazing gift I have been given today, and Lord I know its only by your grace that this has occurred.  I praise Your Holy name and give You all of the glory!

All I can do today is praise You and send out this worship to others.  You are worthy!

If any one of you reading this have found yourself being a sluggard by choice, I pray this praise report will inspire to do more while you’re able.  Each day you have is truly a gift.  Don’t take your abilities for granted.  Rise up from your sleep, feed on God’s Word, and serve.  You will never regret those choices.  You will only regret it if you don’t.

Praising the Lord!

jamie

Not all traditions are bad

2 Thessalonians speaks of one who will come in deceit, proclaiming to be God.  Paul reminds the church that they were called by the gospel, for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He urges the church to stand fast and hold the traditions which we were taught, so as not to be deceived.

Religious traditions get a bad rap, and sometimes rightfully so.  God did not call us to ‘religion’, but to Him.  We can clearly read that Jesus didn’t care for men’s religious rules, but for true worship and belief.

On the other hand, some traditions are pivotal in keeping us as a true follower of Christ.  How can we follow someone we don’t know?  Reading our Bible opens our hearts and minds to truly know the Lord.  How can we have a relationship with someone with whom we don’t speak?  Praying keeps us humble before the mighty God, and open to asking for His own will in our lives.  Prayer reminds us who it is upon which we depend.

Pr. 1:3 reminds us that the traditions of prudence, knowledge, and discretion are located in God’s Word, and are also very beneficial to us.  “To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”

There are deceitful teachings around us that call discretion ‘out-dated’, prudence ‘old fashioned’, and knowledge of God’s Word ‘unnecessary and narrow-minded.’  The Lord reminds us through Paul; however, that some ‘traditional’ things will keep us from being deceived by one who is not the Living God.  We were called to believe in the truth, and traditions that enhance our belief are beneficial.

I’m not telling anyone to get busy keep man’s rules.  I’m encouraging us to hold tightly to the things remind us of the truth of God’s Word, and keep us close to Him.  Those are the things that just might save our lives.

Stand fast,

jamie

Finding the root I needed

Pr. 12:3:  “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.”

I remember my young adult years being filled with what I referred to as restlessness.  I never felt a strong sense of peace in my life and I blamed it on anything but myself.  I listened to my music way too loud, I wore clothes that let me feel ‘free’, I travelled a lot, I drank too much, and camped out alone in the woods.  I was trying to intentionally either out run my restlessness or ease it with over the top activities.

I was trying to find my peace in things of this world, sin, and unconstraint.  Unfortunately, all I really found was more loneliness, more restlessness, and choices to regret later on.  Thankfully I didn’t lose my life in the process.

I remember the day I realized I no longer felt that restlessness.  It kind of snuck up on me, actually.

During my peace-seeking I found a man who loved Jesus.  Yes, I had been raised in church, but I really only loved myself.  Jesus was only ever in my mind when I felt momentary guilt or shame.

Eventually we were married, and this man who loved Jesus took me to a church that loved Jesus.  I began to understand what it meant that Jesus was truly my Savior.  I began to understand how much He loved me.  (You don’t die in someone else’s place if they don’t mean something to you)

I began to read the Word of God out of curiosity and delight rather than out of duty.  I found out more about God’s love than I had ever known before.

I began to worship the Lord just for who He is, not out of guilt or shame.  I finally perceived the truth about grace, realizing salvation was not based on my actions, good or bad, but on God’s grace and compassion.

One day, without warning, I realized I was full of peace.  All the restlessness that I thought I’d been cursed with was simply gone.  In its place was the peace that passes all understanding, and the One who had placed it there was God.

Finally, I had a root to hold me in place.  My foundation was solidly established, and I no longer had to out run the sinking sand beneath my feet.

Once I allowed Jesus Christ to be my personal Cornerstone, I gained the security I’d sought for so long.

I know from experience, that anything outside of God will leave your foundation unsound and unstable.  If you need a foundation for your life that is fixed and unshakable, Jesus Christ is the answer.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  Matthew 14:27

Rooted in Him alone,

jamie

Let’s advance together

Pr. 30:27:  “The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks.”

Locusts are one more thing that is little on the earth, but called exceedingly wise by Agur.  Chemicals in their brains cause wise-spread breeding, and when their numbers are large enough, they advance.  Although they indeed have noted no king, the natural instinct that God placed inside them causes them to move as one in a decisive order.

God has given humans free-will.  We have instincts, but unlike animals, we are not ruled by them.  All of us were created with a sense of right and wrong.  We were all created to worship.  The difference is that we have a choice.  What we decide to worship is a choice.  Whether we fight against that right and wrong is a choice.  We also have the advantage of having the Holy Spirit adding wisdom to the instincts God has already placed within us.

What if we Christians all quit fighting against the God-given instincts of right and wrong and stopped ignoring and going against the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and started advancing, as one, toward our common goal?

The times in my life where I have fought against my God-given instincts and the Holy Spirit’s nudgings and wisdom have been the times when I have fallen out of rank.  I was not advancing the kingdom of Christ one bit.  I was headed in a different direction.

When I choose to follow my God-given instincts and the Holy Spirit’s nudges, I am always left knowing that I have done what I was created to do.  Whether it’s walking away from sin or ministering to someone in need, I am decisively advancing with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

When a swarm of locusts advances, there is no doubt where they’ve been.  The effects are long-term.  They create environmental change, famine, economical devastation, and educational decline.

What if we decided to truly do what is actually right and advanced as one in a decisive order as the locusts do?  We could bring positive environmental change for countless people.  We could feed starving souls the Bread of Life.  We could introduce the Provider to those in need.  We could acquaint others with the wisdom that is freely given from the Lord.

If we allowed ourselves to be driven, as one, by the One who change bring the best change of all, the effects would not only be long-term, but amazingly profitable for all.

Time is short, and the day of Christ’s return is drawing closer.  It’s not time to be falling out of rank.  It is time to pull together and advance for the kingdom of Christ.  He is the answer for us all!

Falling in line,

jamie

Strength for the battle

Pr. 24:5:  “A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength.”

We spent some more time in WV last week–this time on the river.  I spent some time sitting by a small waterfall near the house.  Really, it’s just a rapid in the water, but its strong and powerful, nonetheless.  I went down that rapid without a kayak once and had the month-long bruise to show for it.

As my kids played near me, we found ourselves having to yell at one another in order to hear each other over the noise of the water.  It reminded me of Ps. 93:4 that says, “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.”

This rapid was only about 5 ft. across and maybe 5 ft. down…tiny in comparison to a waterfall you would hike out miles to see or certainly to something like Niagara Falls; nevertheless, the noise it produced was loud enough to deafen our voices.  The Word says that the Lord is mightier than the sound of many waters.

In the word, we find many examples of this might.  One of my favorite stories is that of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chr. 20.  After hearing that several armies were coming against him, he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  All the cities came to seek the Lord.  Jehoshaphat then stood in the assembly and proclaimed the might and power of God, declaring that they had no power against these enemies and that their eyes were now on God.

God then reminded them that indeed the battle was not theirs, but His.  After the multitudes praised and worshiped him, they went out in the morning, singing and praising the beauty of holiness.  Then, God turned the armies on themselves and they wiped each other out.  No one escaped.  The spoils of the armies were so much that it took 3 days to gather them all.

Now, if God can fight a war for Jehoshaphat without him ever picking up a sword or spear, how much more can He do for us?  Jehoshaphat’s job was to praise God, to worship, and to lift up the Lord’s name.  He reminded God that he himself had no power and God showed Jehoshaphat that in his weakness, truly God’s strength is made perfect!

When we realize the might and power of our God, surely we understand that humbling ourselves before Him makes His strength perfect in our lives.  Knowing Him, and knowing what He can do gives us all we need to face the battles in our lives.  We have no need to fear when this kind of God is on our side!

Strengthen yourself with His Word today and build up your faith in the One who has delivered others before you.  He can do the same for you.  When you feel the waters try to overtake you, you can remember than not only is God more powerful than the waters, but more powerful even than their noise.  Begin to praise Him now.  You will NOT be overtaken!

In awe of His might,

jamie

Praise to the Lord, Most High!

I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.  Ps. 54:6

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!  Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.  Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!”  Ps. 66:1-3

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.  Ps. 89:1

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.  The heights of the hills are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.   Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.  Ps. 95:1-7

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!  For He has done marvelous things;  Ps. 98:1

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises!  Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.  Ps. 98:4-6

Praise the Lord!  For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.  Ps. 147:1

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp!  Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!  Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals!  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  Ps. 150:3-6

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  Ps. 9:1-2

 

Worshiping freely,

jamie