Care to hear a story of yet another homeless man? Living the book of James: week 3

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We ended last week with James 1:26-27 and are starting this week with James 2:1-12

Monday night: read James 2:1-12  (thru to the end of 12)

Tuesday night: read James 2:1-12 AGAIN and then go back and read James 2:1-4 (thru to the end of 4)

When I originally wrote this study, it was for Jr. Highers. This is a lot easier text to go through with a bunch of public school Jr. Highers- struggling to figure out who they are in the mist of several different social groups at school. It’s a little harder to address with adults.

Maybe it’s even a little more important?

Vs 3-4 says: If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet”, you have  discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts.

You see, we picture this scenario to go like this…

A nice looking, clean, “rich” person walks into a room and we offer him a chair. THEN a poor man walks into the room, he stinks and is not dressed well. Do we offer him a chair or just ignore him? Of course we offer him the same type of chair at the same table. We would never separate him from the others… that would hurt his feelings. I mean good grief most of us are not totally mean.

As an adult, I believe this scripture goes a little deeper within the heart here. I think it has several applications for different stages of life. For some, it is a matter of just not loving poor people outwardly. For others, it’s a heart issue. And me? I don’t have either one of them figured out. I simply know this. Jesus loves the poor. He loves them just as much as He loves you and I.

Yes, we know He loves the poor child in the other countries we support monthly, and He loves the hard working momma in Uganda, but listen when I tell you this: He loves the man sitting on the corner begging for change. Many of us would probably argue, “How do we even know if that person is poor; he may have a mansion just around the corner.” The beauty of that crazy God story? It doesn’t matter what we think he has, it matters what God says our love should do, love unconditionally.

Here are a few ways you can love poor/homeless people:

Stop and pray with them. This is one of my children’s favorite ones. Especially when a person is in an area that is applicable to stopping, such as a Wal-Mart parking lot. Stop, ask their name. Ask their story. Grab their dirty hand and pray with them. When you leave, don’t stop praying.

Take them home. Yes, I know it’s a scary step. And as much as I want to say, It will be OK, just put them up in your guest room. That is not safe. Let’s be honest, God calls us to love. There’s a smart way to do that. If you choose to take in a hurting stranger, especially one you have never met, I suggest having a garage, tent, or storage building you can give them. Let them earn your trust over time if they stay. Don’t give them your home, especially if you have young children.

Feel uncomfortable doing this? Why not take them to the local shelter for the night? They are equipped for this situation. You can read about one of our homeless friends, Mr Floyd, by clicking here.

Ask them. Ask them what their need is. One man we met, his sign said “Needing cash for gas to get home.” We took him to go get gas. Did he ask us for cash after filling his pump? Yup, he sure did. Did we give it to him? Nope. But we smiled real big and hugged him goodbye. I know he probably stopped and held the same sign for years, every time he needed gas. But it’s not about him, is it? Another man had just been released from jail and had a free rehabilitation place to stay across the country. He only had to get there. He needed a bus ticket. His letter, addressed to him in jail, was from the place he said, stating the things he told us. At that point, we only had one choice, help him.

Ask them to go eat with you. Several times, the sign will read “Hungry, need money for food.” Don’t want to just fork out money? Take them to lunch. We have offered this to several people, several. Only one has accepted; his name was Willy.

willy

 We met him on our vacation to San Antonio, TX a few years back. While walking the river walk, he asked us if we could spare a dollar. We invited him to dinner. He walked with us, several blocks to the hub of town telling us all about the city. As we passed other homeless people, he would call them by name, saying, “Hello, Roger…”. When we passed some of them homeless men, Willy would warn us to move over. “This guy is no good, you kids move away from him.” Our oldest daughter, Alli who was nine at the time,  was totally enamored by his ‘homeless man knowledge’ =) His shoes were too small, and he smelled real bad but he had a smile that was worth gold. There might not have been any teeth, but there was joy. =)

When we asked him what he wanted, he said, a hamburger. “Oh, I’d love me a good hamburger”, he said. Well, have you ever been to the river walk on a Friday night? Yes, it’s packed with people and apparently, they all love a good burger. After waiting several minutes at one restaurant, we decided to move over to another. A fancy Mexican restaurant, they had immediate seating and hamburgers.

The staff was very rude to us and the table next to us asked to be moved. But we laughed, worked with Willy on reading our names, and talked about life. Willy’s belly was full. And us? We.were.full.


Taking them to lunch too big of a step for you right now? I had a friend tell me once they buy up lots of gift cards and store them in their purse. When they see someone but don’t have time to stop, they give them a small gift card. Do the people sell that for drugs or beer? Possibly. But again,

It is not our job to determine how they use Grace, it’s our privilege to share it.

Wednesday:

Thursday: read James 2:5-12 (thru to the end of 12)

Question: what do you think about vs5?

Notice how he says “those who are poor in the eyes of the world

You see, we put a value on people based on what they look like or by what they own. If they don’t look a certain way, they are poor. If they don’t have a certain amount of money, they are poor.

God puts a value on people by where their faith lies. 

God says, you can have a great style, a nice house, tons of friends and money but if your faith does not dwell/reside in God, you are poor. And the people we think are poor, God considers rich.

Notice James says at the end of that verse … he promised those who love him. The poor person has to love God, obviously. BUT it is much easier for a poor person to have faith in God; not only because they don’t have money to depend on but also the little things like not typically having friends or family.  God is their source of strength in times of loneliness, heartache, and financial crisis. Again, if they love God.

Who or what do we truly depend on in times of loneliness or heartache? Our family? Our spouse? Our credit card? Our savings?

Oh friends, being alone. The desert. There is a relationship in those places we will never understand.

He says in vs 5 that He has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom He has promised those who love him. But we say, well, I love God. Do we? We love God by loving people, not only believing in Him. We learned that a few weeks ago. We have to love all people. It is a hard thing to do, trust me, I know but God knows when we are trying. When we are trying that is being faithful to Him. It is when we just don’t even try that we are lying to ourselves in saying that we love God.

My friend Tony says it best,

Love is an action.

Friday read James 2:5-12

Yesterday we touched a little on ‘you love God by loving people’ check out vs 8. It says, if you keep the royal law (which is the law of love) found in scripture “love your neighbor as yourself”, you are doing right.  You see, friends. It all comes down to the same song, love others like you love yourself. This is everyone. Your parents, your friends, your boss, people who are real mean to you, people who are totally skanky. We are called to love them all. Sometimes we feel like it is our job to not love them or to be mean to them because they are always mean to us. Nope. Jesus says revenge is his. Our job is to love them and trust faithfully that the Lord is going to bring justice. And believe me; He does a much better job of it than we do!

We think that we have all these “rights” but think about this:

God is the shepherd of our lives. Think of a shepherd, what does he do? He takes care of his flock. The sheep have no rights; they cannot do anything for that shepherd or to that shepherd. But guess what! The shepherd is always faithful to care for the sheep’s needs. He protects them, feeds them, and dedicates his life to them FULLY.  If we are the sheep, what rights do we have, especially the right to determine who to love and not love. {my, oh, my I am right there with you!}

This weekend, let’s focus on not being the judge of people’s status. Let’s try our hardest to love everyone equal. Treat everyone with equal respect.  Remember, God does not judge us at all by what our money can buy or by how our clothes look. He judges our heart and our faithfulness. We cannot be a fair judge of those things, only He can because only He knows our hearts. Therefore, we have no business judging others. I cannot tell you how happy I am knowing that only God can judge my worth because I know that I will just never measure up to everyone’s standards!

vs 13.  … if you have been merciful.

 Mercy, Grace, and Peace to you!

Lovingly,
Kati


Many of you have been asking for updates on our new adventure! (click here for info)

Thank you for inquiring. God is doing wonderful, amazing, and CRAZY things every.single.day Feel free to stay up to date with all of the good news by clicking and subscribing here: Café of Life, Chelsea Facebook page. Our first, official day is Tomorrow, October 14th!!


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Living the book of James: week two of a simple study

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Busy weekend, friends? I’m right there with you.

Remember last week, when I mentioned I first did this study years ago with my Jr. High Sunday school class? Well, one of those junior highers moved in with us this weekend. Yup, he traveled from the precious place we once called home– a state away, and joined us to live life together. However, he is no longer a junior higher, he is now a man.

You just never know what tomorrow brings.

Grab a few minutes this afternoon and let’s dig in, simply.

May you be challenged and loved as you walk the scriptures this week.

I’m right there with you.

 


living the book of James
Week 2
End of Ch 1

Written by James, brother of Jesus.

We ended last week with James 1:21-25 and are Starting this week with James 1:26-27

Monday: read James 1:26-27 (thru to vs. 27)

Tuesday: read James 1:26-27 again.

Vs 26 says… if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Question:

Do we consider ourselves to be religious? Now days we use that term like it is bad. For example, we might say “Well, they are just religious.” because they like a certain type of praise music in the church or maybe they like a “type of church” better than the other. That is what we have made religion to mean… what it actually means is our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian.

Someone should be able to look at us and say “wow, that person is so different” NOT because we are rude toward non-Christians or because we go around judging other peoples sin, but because we are so incredibly nice to people, forgiving, happy, and carefree of life’s worries. {aka living by the fruit oh.so.hard}

Gandhi says it best. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Oh, friends. What does our Christ look like?

Continuing in vs. 26: How about our tongue? Do we keep a tight rein on it?

Tomorrow: Lets focus on displaying our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian. Lets watch our tongue, think before we speak, (remember last week… quick to listen and slow to speak). Vs. 26  doesn’t just mean bad language; this means all talk. Mommas, talking bad about one friend to another friend is wrong, it is a sin. It is a sin that is so VERY EASY to fix! We have to just train our mouths to not speak mean things.

When we choose to love God more than we love talking bad about people it makes us a more beautiful person.

Remember who we are. we are a wife, a mother, a friend, a mother in law, perhaps even a grandmother. Let’s work together hard now on using kind words to others and about others; trust me, it pays off. Are you sick of having friends who back stab you? Then quit being a backstabber. We only attract the type of friends we ourselves are– or the type of friends who want to become someone like who we are–

Not because we are so good, oh we are not. But because the grace and goodness of that sweet Jesus. That crazy Jesus love.

Wednesday: Write it down! Feel like talking about someone? Mad at someone, been hurt? Start a journal. Lets write our feelings down. When we write out our thoughts, without even knowing it, we are giving all our worries and cares to God–he will take care of us. Then, it is so amazing to look back and see his goodness in each step.

Thursday: read James 1: 26-27 again

  1. 27: the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: look after orphans and widows in their troubled times and keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.

Is our religion one that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless?  James gives us the exact definition of a religion which God accepts as pure and faultless.

do.we.know.an.orphan?

how.about.a.widow?

not do we know of one, do we know even one?

what are our hands, our feet, our words, our lives too busy doing?

Oh friends, mine is busy doing the laundry, are you there with me? There are always things to be done, but which are eternal?

Friday night: read James 1:26-27 again

Question:

Do we find ourselves taking better care of us rather than others?

How are we doing with keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world?

The world says, “Oh, you deserve a break.” “Take a rest.” “This is too much for you.” 

Jesus says,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” no matter the context, it still says the same. He is our strength.

This weekend, lets focus on taking better care of others rather than ourselves.  I think we will find, it is not just pleasing to God but it also makes us feel much better, as a person.

Even if we feel the person we are serving does not deserve it remember, we sure didn’t deserve what Christ did for us but he did it anyway. AND remember we are doing it because we love God. I can’t tell you how often I have to say that to myself… “This is because I love you God, because I know this person doesn’t appreciate what I am doing, but you do.”

He sees you.

Our mission? To become a servant of all.

Becoming with you,

Kati

join me in living the book of james? well, trying to.

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I have recently returned to James; easy for me [reading James, not living James] Reading James is like slipping on old comfy shoes on a rainy day, I love to be there. Now, living James? That’s always a new journey in itself.

A few years back, I did a study through the book of James with the Jr. Highers at church with devotions lined out for each day. I’m posting those here, journey with me?

The first day is simple, read those words, examine your heart, pray to that great big God of ours. Tomorrow, read it again and ask yourself the questions.

I’ll be right there with you.

living the book of James—>> not just studying it.

The book of James, Written by James, brother of Jesus; one of the many brothers of Jesus.

Monday: Just read James 1:19-25 (thru to the end of 25)

Tuesday: Read James 1:19-25 AGAIN then go back and read James 1:19-20 (thru to the end of 20)

Question:

Vs19: how do you feel you do with this verse? Are you quick to listen? Slow to speak? How about slow to become angry?

It says in verse 20 “mans anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

That doesn’t mean that we have to not get angry just because God “desires” it from us. It doesn’t even say that we have to do it to go to heaven. We are not God’s little puppets, we have a choice. God desires us to have the best life possible. When are we going to wake up and realize that HIS instructions are A BETTER WAY OF LIFE not just his way of controlling us? I would much rather live a life full of joy instead of bitterness. A life full of kindness instead of hate. Why waste so much time on being so mad at people and being quick to say mean things? It is a choice that we make; nobody MAKES us angry… we choose it.

Today: meditate on trying to be QUICK to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry In every situation! Friends, parents, teachers, siblings, people you don’t know that make you mad.  Think back to this day last year… I am sure you were mad about something. What was it? Hmmm, must not have been that important. Rest assured I will be challenged right there with you today, we are on this journey together.

Wednesday: Read James 1:21-24 (thru to the end of 24)

Thursday: Read James 1:19-25 AGAIN then go back and read James 1:21-24

Question:
Vs21:  Do you have Gods word [the bible] planted in you?

I love verse 22… it is like God knew how we were going to answer that question (imagine that). He says “Do not just listen to the word and deceive yourselves, [trick yourselves into believing that you obey it] DO WHAT IT SAYS.” He continues in verse 23 “ Anyone who listens to the word [the bible] but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Do we remember what we look like when we look away from the mirror? Do we remember what you learn when we read God’s word?

He is saying, those who just sit and listen or sit and read but don’t act upon what they have learned are deceiving themselves. There is a big difference between TRYING to honor God’s word by planting it inside our hearts and just showing up to church each week and listening because we think that is our “Christian obligation”.

Sometimes God tells me: Kati, you just need to put the bible study down and live what you’ve learned.

I once thought it was real hard to learn scripture and find time to study it. But over time I have realized it is just as easy as keeping the scores of the last football or basketball game, remembering the latest celebrity gossip, a great movie, or the last conversation you had with a friend.

We will retain in our brain, anything we value. Do we value God’s teaching? (deep breath, i am right there with you, friends)

Friday: Read James 1:21-25 (read thru 25)

Vs 25: BUT the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.

Isn’t that just amazing? PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM… WHAT? That’s right! Freedom!! When we accept Jesus we are set free, our chains are gone. It is not a life full of rules but a life full of blessing.

Do you feel like you are blessed in what you do?  When we choose to trust and have faith in God believing that He has our best interest in mind our life will be so much better!

This weekend, focus on finding joy. Don’t focus on the negative. This path that you have chosen in Christ will be the only thing that will ever bring you everlasting joy. Everyone, everything, in this life will let you down at some point in time. Stay focused on him.

James Ch 2 — next Monday?

Much love this Monday and always,

Kati

Many of you have been asking for updates on our new adventure! (click here for info)

Thank you for inquiring. God is doing wonderful, amazing, and CRAZY things every.single.day Feel free to stay up to date with all of the good news by clicking and subscribing here: Café of Life, Chelsea Facebook page. Our first, official day is Tomorrow, October 14th!!


Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.