Living the book of James: final week. stupid, hard sin.

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(picture taken from the day I didn’t exactly treat others so nice.—> ‘could my bad mom moment help you‘)


On to James:

Monday: Read James Ch 5 vs 1-19


Tuesday: Read James Ch 5 vs 1-19 again.

Let’s focus on the Warning of the Rich. vs. 1-5

“Listen, you rich men! Cry about the troubles that will come to you.  Your riches are worth nothing. Your fine clothes are full of moth holes. Your gold and silver have rusted. Their rust will speak against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have saved riches for yourselves for the last days. See! The men working in your fields are crying against you because you have kept back part of their pay. Their cries have been heard by the Lord Who hears His people. You have had everything while you lived on the earth and have enjoyed its fun. You have made your hearts fat and are ready to be killed as an animal is killed… ” James 5 1:5 NLT

ANYTIME my heart is turned towards the poor and oppressed, I always find myself in Matthew, listening to the words of Jesus:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”

Matthew 25: 31-46 NLT

I don’t know much, but I know the words of Jesus are pretty simple and to the point. I don’t think it’s about how much money we have, rather what we do with the money we do have and where we find our true security.

Today, lets focus on two things.

First: Who have we helped today?

Second: Where does our security come from?

Sometimes, we don’t have much, sometimes we do. How are we in both situations? I don’t know about you, but it sure is harder for me to surrender worry when the bank account is running low. =) Well if my joy, my security, my life is found in Him… why is that the case? *sigh* because we need Him so badly, that’s why.


Wednesday and Thursday: (it’s a lot to chew on)

Read James 5: 7-12
These verses are full of so many different things. I am going to touch on patience and trusting God. Of course, I am! Those are my biggest struggles.

James makes a reference to Job, whom I love. However, I am going to go from the standpoint of Esther for this one. You are probably familiar with Esther– a young lady taken from her home because the King up and decided he needed a new Queen. (are you seeing veggie tales right now? ha!) She and others were taken away from their lives, to the king’s harem to wait for their future. Taken to wait and see who would be chosen as the kings favorite.

“Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king.  Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments.Esther 2:2 NLT

Do you know how long those beauty treatments last? 12 months. Yes, ONE year. Esther was in a strange place, hiding her family heritage, awaiting the day she would be brought before the kings bed.

Once she was taken before King Xerxes, he loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He loved her more than he had ever loved another. After favor with the king, she went on to save the Jewish people–her heritage by going before the king. (You really should read Esther)

I wonder what situations we are in, friends, that require maybe a week or two maybe even a month of waiting. Situations that could change the course of our lives but we are to impatient to just wait and let God’s plan take it’s course. Esther waited 12 months before going to the king. She had no idea if he would like her. She hadn’t been promised anything from God. In fact, God is pretty absent from this whole story.

Esther was just like us, living in her current circumstance, dealing with it the best she could. (yes, read it again. nice and slow) But she dealt with it. And lives were changed.Same goes for Job. He had no idea what God was doing, what his plan was. We know, because as the reader you see all the “behind the scenes stuff”. But Job? He was just left to trust. Job suffered. Esther, I don’t think suffered much, matter of fact, she was favored. I wonder how different it would have been if she had turned her waiting into suffering. I know I do that quite a bit.

Oh, my. Patience. Trust.  It all comes back to trust doesn’t it?


Friday: Read James 5 16-20

I am going to keep this simple and to the point. James says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

I can only say it one way. We must confess our sins. It is a deep, dark place. The place which we hide sin. And this is what it does. It kills us. Our sinful nature will fool us into thinking those things are so bad we need to keep them to ourselves. This is a lie.

To share our sins, to confess them–Is to be set free. Is to have accountability. Is to have help. Is to change.

When we confess our sins to others, we confess it to ourselves. Then, we can see the reality of our mess and deal with it. Oh, the daily task of dealing with our messes.


I have been struggling a lot lately with the enemies lies. I think it has been more now than ever in my life. We have a house full of people at any given moment. There are lots of people pulling together to make The Café of Life happen. We have three additional people living with us right now. All of our dreams of what this would look like are happening. However, I have needed the sweetness of God’s word and promises more now than ever. Each day, the enemy has a new lie for me and each day I have to combat it. Sometimes, he takes it easy on me- other days it makes me cry.

I feel like a basket case.

“These people are surely getting sick of helping.”

“How can you really afford to have people stay with you?”

“Your children don’t get enough of your time.”

“You are incapable of all this.”

“They don’t like you.”

“You made them mad… again.”

“What if it all happens again?”

The list goes on and on.

This, friends, is the last week of our time together in James. I share my heart with you for the purpose of encouraging you to continue on daily in his word. Grasp it as though it were a lifeline. Because it is.

John Piper, one of my favorites, pretty much pins sin on the head:

“Am I wanting to look at Twitter before I look at Jesus? It sounds stupid. That’s how stupid sin is. – John Piper

Don’t let the stupid sin of doubt so easily entrap you friends. Confess your sins, your struggles, your joys daily and live fully in Jesus.

So thankful for both the struggle and grace.

Kati


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Living the book of James: Week Six. Of course! We all love being called adulterers.

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You know, don’t you? You do realize and believe me when I say:

These words minister to my heart daily.

So, when someone tells me last week- “You should go back to the bible study you did over James and practice what you preach.”  (ha! no, it wasn’t my husband.)

If you think for one second I have it all together you must thing again. We all struggle through this life simply waiting to dance sweetly with Jesus. The beauty of this life is:

Deciding to dance today. While we wait, we rejoice! While we wait, we grow. While we wait, we struggle through what it means to truly be a disciple of the only one who is perfect.


Monday: Read James Chapter 4 vs 1-18

Tuesday: Read James Chapter 4 vs 1-18 again

Let’s focus on verses 1-3

You want something you do not have, so you kill. You want something but cannot get it, so you fight for it. You do not get things because you do not ask for them.  Or if you do ask, you do not receive because your reasons for asking are wrong. You want these things only to please yourselves.”

As we dig deeper into James, I struggle on how to “bring out the text” I mean, I don’t really know what to say outside of what James says. It’s pretty plain and simple, there.

I do know I think of this verse often, especially the You do not get things because you do not ask for them.   Often times, I struggle with asking for things. I think God doesn’t want to give those things to me because they are either “worthless”, “petty”, or maybe even “worldly”.

It’s true. I don’t necessarily know if God cares about a new TV I want or a better looking car. I’m not sure he cares If I can take a vacation, visit special places, or even have the fancy house I want. When I get into places of doubt like that– I examine the character of God.

He is my father.

His word says, he will give me the desires of my heart, yes. Although, are my desires good and pure desires? Or are they greedy and ill motive desires? Maybe it all comes back to the heart of the issue.

Take two of my girls for example, they are so very different. One would take a candy bar we gave her and be thankful. She would nibble on it here and there, save it well. She would hide it away and forget about it, really. Nobody would ever know she had it so she’d never have to share. She’d like it that way.  She wouldn’t gobble it all down at once, and she SURE wouldn’t ask for another one. She would be most thankful. However, the other daughter, she would eat it as quickly as she could and ask for another. She would never save it, it would drive her crazy having an uneaten portion of candy within her grasp–chances are, she will even ask for a soda to wash it down. BUT this daughter would share.

Remember James says, Or if you do ask, you do not receive because your reasons for asking are wrong. You want these things only to please yourselves.”

Perhaps its more about who we are, what we’ll do, and how our character matches up with the character of God that determines how God gives us good gifts? I wonder which one God would have chosen to give the candy to. My saver or my sharer.

Today: Examine yourself, your motives. Pray God would reveal his character to you, showing you who he is and how you can strive to be more of his character. Many times, I think I’m doing just fine and then God brings me back to 1 Samuel.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

Wednesday: Read chapter 4 again.

Let’s focus on vs. 4-10

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”


So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

Something I have been convicted of strongly lately. When was the last time I was broken. When was the last time I just broke down, humbled myself, quit trying to be so strong and fell at the feet of Jesus?  —what? He’ll lift me up in honor?


Oh, the sweet, sweet ways of Jesus.

Thursday: Read Chapter 4 again.

Let’s focus on vs. 11-12

“Christian brothers, do not talk against anyone or speak bad things about each other. If a person says bad things about his brother, he is speaking against him. And he will be speaking against God’s Law. If you say the Law is wrong, and do not obey it, you are saying you are better than the Law. Only God can say what is right or wrong. He made the Law. He can save or put to death. How can we say if our brother is right or wrong?

Ahhh, there goes nice ‘ol James again. Giving it to us straight. Remember week two: the gossip journal? Have a problem with another brother or sister in Christ? Take it to the brother or sister. Doesn’t fix it? Pour your heart out to God about it. Make it your focus until the issue is resolved. By focus I mean, don’t stop praying, seeking, and humbling yourself before the King before you have a resolution to the situation. Remember David and King Solomon. Sheesh!

Friday: Last day, read it again! Come on, you can do it!

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans and all such boasting is evil.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

Can I just say? Five years ago my husband was in a full time youth ministry we lived a happy little life. We had a steady paycheck, did normal church things. Our home was always full of students and parents.  Behind the scenes we struggled daily with being so comfortable. Each day we prayed over and over again for God to stretch us. Wouldn’t you know? Within a year we were plucked up and moved to the town we prayed we’d never return to. Now, we are so blessed to live in that town and use our home as a non-profit café a place for community and outreach along with a clothing closet. People come here to volunteer. We have increased our home size to eleven having a new family move in just yesterday. We walk hard and joyful roads with friends. Friends who show us what Jesus looks like, daily.

Here’s the deal. You never know what tomorrow might bring friends, love big today.

 Challenged right there along side you.

For real.

Full Love,

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

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