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

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Teaching love through the muddiness of life. [how God uses broken people like you and me]

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I’m not sure when it hit me.

The reality. He’s not mine and what in the world am I going to do with this teenager? Besides, what in the world were his parents thinking? Sending him to live with two 28 year olds raising four children of their own in a tiny little town called Chelsea?

I wonder, was it the first time I had to use the phrase– “If you don’t fix your attitude, I’m going to have to take your ipod and cell phone” or was it the first time he raised his voice at me– raised it louder than any child ever had.

Perhaps it was when I raised mine in reply.

I remember feeling very scared. Scared we were going to ruin him for sure and he would never know Jesus.


“Hello Gibson’s-

How are you guys?? Doing well??

I miss you all like crazy when I got back to my Taiwan’s home. 

Remember we used to riding bikes, planting garden, swimming together, cleaning house, also traveling? Do all the things together as a family… and you guys took your free time, come to my school games, I’m really thankful and love you guys sooooo much, more than I can say and write. 

Gibson’s shone the glory, mercy, peaceful around people, let people feel how gorgeous and wonderful this family could be…

I’m glad I could meet you guys, I have learned a lot from you all, learn how to babysitting, how to use the mower cutting the grass without using scissors… also learn how to be independent without parents around, learn how to work hard as a man, the most important is loving people like God does!!!

I miss Gibson’s and love them…, hope we can get together again like we used to be… 

Pray for Gibson’s to do well on everything… “

Ting.

Because he knew us best. He lived every moment, saw our good and bad. And appearance only lasts so long, right?

Sound familiar?

It only makes sense that my eyes fill with tears and I’m full of emotion when I read his words. Words sent from across the world– words handwritten and sent right to our little place we call home.When I opened the package and saw his writing, my heart leaped and I cried just a bit. Even now, as I type– my eyes fill with tears, at just the simple thought of his words written on paper for us.

There’s no obligation now. He doesn’t live here, eat here, rely on our transportation. He’s home– free to live his life. Yet, each morning– we talk. It’s his night, our morning and always– there’s Ting.

 

When he writes to tell us he finally attended church for the first time in Taiwan, along side his Dad— my heart leaped again.


 

 

 

Then he says, “I was the only teenager there and the crowd was small.” And I think,

he went.

He continues, “It felt good-like being back with the church in America- I could feel Jesus close. We sang songs and worshiped our God”

I wanted to wrap my arms around his tiny self and whisper, “He is always close.” I wanted to look into his eyes and tell him, “You are not alone in this scary journey. God is there. He is real, can’t you feel Him?”

 

And I think to myself, is this it? Is this what it is like, sending them out– our little children, out to the wolves? How will my heart take this ever again? How can I do this not once but four more times and possibly even more? How do I let go?

 

How do I trust that God is God and He is Good. How can I Trust that my children listen to God, not me. How do I trust that He is the Lord of their life and I’m not just lording over them. 

After we’ve spent years raising our voices louder than anyone else ever has– threatening to take away everything under the sun, for whatever reason irritates us that day; said, what feels like, one million I’m sorry’s, cried over math problems, worried over reading and relationships– then blistered our knees in prayer–

How do we know they will be alright?

How do we trust they will seek Him? How do we know we haven’t ruined them for life? How do we know this everyday thing we call, life– hasn’t left it’s ugly mark all over their souls?

We know, because we’ve loved.

We know, because He loved.

We know, because we fell.

Time and time again, we fell.

We muddied our knees once more, wiped up our mess and tried again.

Just like they will one day do.

We loved through spit up, spilled milk and mis-spelled words. We loved when it was hard and they were ugly. We loved just a bit harder when we felt like giving up. We went to games and cleaned the house. We rode bikes and said, no. We showed glory, mercy, and peace to people — so they could see Jesus. We lived. Together. Every moment.

And they watched.

He watched.

and now he says, “I know the most important thing is loving people like God does.”

He doesn’t say, “Why did you take my ipod that time, or yell back at me when I was rude.” Not, “Why did you make me go to bed early some nights and tell me I couldn’t have everything I wanted.”

He says, you taught me love. 

And I think, really? Us?

Us, with our crazy bed hair, messy house; and crying baby? Us, with the five year old who’s always in your business and the sometimes moody 11 year old? Us? Married, with our “discussions” that can sometimes become heated or long and drawn out?

Us, with our constant talk of that crazy love for this person you’ve never heard of– this person called Jesus. Us? Messy, desperate for grace, constantly in the mud of life… We taught you love?

He simply says, yes.

And that great big God of ours, so full of good, simply reminds me– it’s not about what you do, Kati. It’s about what I’m doing.

Because I Am. And I Am good. And I Am always there, can’t you feel me?

 

May you trust– they are watching you, He is using you, and He is always good.

Much love, friends.

Jude 1:2,

Kati

 

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.