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

Forget what everyone says: love is hard.

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It’s our family motto.

do hard things.

But just because it’s your “motto” it doesn’t always make it easy.

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Monday we’ll say goodbye to this home and although it’s for all sorts of great reasons— I didn’t realize it would be so hard.

Because I’ve wiped lots of tears from tired eyes in this home. I’ve sat with countless mommas for tea. We’ve celebrated countless birthdays and made up countless excuses to throw parties. We’ve hosted countless guests in this little home of ours. We’ve harvested lots of love from our garden and taken lots of walks through those trees. We’ve loved those living around us, countless times. Our children have grown up with the littles around us. We’ve had times of plenty and times of need. We’ve had spiritual bliss, and walked hard roads of wandering in this home. We became a family of eight in this home. We’ve loved big, been loud, and it’s all been within these walls– never knowing it was anything special, it was just life.

And soon– this life will be only a memory.

To the town we prayed we’d never return to – God has brought us. To the town we prayed we’d never return to- God has helped us come to love, call home, and care deeply for.

As we move with purpose to love the community in a bigger way. Gathering with others to open a piece of this towns history for all to see, love, and use all while trying to figure out: when do you just, live. To live our life so openly– is frightening if I give it much thought.

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My head keeps saying, “It’s no big deal, Kati.” with it’s upbeat tune of Bob Marley singing in my ear; every little thing is gonna be alright”. Yet my heart is fighting back the desire to stay in the comfort of all I know and love. Right here on our little hill. With chickens, tall grass, and doors we never lock.

Doing hard things is hard.

I remember a time in my life, before Jesus wrecked me. A time when success what all that mattered. A time when I couldn’t even say the words, “I’m sorrybecause my heart was too prideful.  Then, simply saying, I’m sorry, was hard. Over time, there have been lots of hard things. Times when we could have said, no. There are times when we’ve chosen not to fight and that was the hard choice. There have been times when we’ve had to say goodbye. That was hard.

The truth is: we all have different things we’re facing. Different hard choices. Jesus is such a radical example of choosing the hard way. He forgave. We washed the feet of the man who would betray him only hours later. Jesus showed us what really matters in life. People. Loving people. Regardless of who they are– what they’ve done. He knew, that love would be revolutionary. That love would speak over religion. That love would speak over the pharisees of this world. That love was the universal language.

Love is hard. Real love. Like, lay down your life love. Love can look like a bad day.

At a time in my life, saying sorry was revolutionary. Now I couldn’t imagine being a person like that. One day, I hope to say, “I had a house once, that was hard to give up. Now I can’t imagine being a person like that.”

May we be a people always doing hard things.  May we fight the good fight with kindness, dignity, and respect. May we say goodbye when it’s hard and hello when we just want to turn and run. From speaking love to moving away- there are many seasons of hard.

May we be a people of big love carried by small steps. All over our neighborhoods, towns, communities, and ultimately- the world. Loving in all sorts of ways allowing it to get easier and easier as we start to look a bit more like Jesus.

Like disciples.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

-Jesus

Loves always,
Kati


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Follow what we’re doing with our new house here: Café of Life, Chelsea: a place for community

scripture quoted from, John 13:35 NLT


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You could tell me all day long I’m horrible & I might listen better.

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We have this place.

In the kitchen, where we seem to gather most. Just an $8 bottle of chalk board paint, an empty wall and scrap wood for makeshift frames. We share lots of words there.

The encouraging place. It’s where every soul in our little home has a place to be loved a little special. We call it the, “speak life wall”

And there, she has written something to me.

The mom.

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My oldest, a lover of words, like me– she simply writes:

“You’re so… thoughtful, giving, and kind.”

And I think…

“Is she speaking to ME?”

Because those words don’t want to settle within my soul– no way. I can feel myself pushing them out.

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Why do we do that? At what point do we, “adults”, go from thinking we’re awesome, wonderful, and capable of doing anything (like the six little children in my home think) to thinking we’re just a mean old lady?

How do our men go from thinking they can be a super hero and save the world to thinking they are no better than the desk he sits behind at work? Why can’t they dream big anymore?

Words.

Words are where it started. Somewhere in the middle– somewhere between acne, leg hairs, bad grades, and 90’s big hair; we lost the “amazing” in our life and just started to settle for, normal.


We started seeing the yucky. We started feeling the dark little parts of our soul.  We let ourselves become identified by our worst, rather than our best.

We let the words within our souls go from, “You are amazing” to, “You can’t even get THAT right.”


How about this?

Today- What if we let the words of others sink into our souls. When someone says you’re pretty- say, “Why thank you.” Rather than, “Oh, thanks… it’s a bad hair day.” When someone says, “You did good!” Don’t reply with, “Oh well… except that little part…” Just say, “Thanks!”

Let those words heal. — I know I need healing.

Today- Let’s be givers of words. Encouraging every little soul who walks by.

“You look pretty today.”

“Wow, kiddo… you’re so strong!”

“My goodness, honey- aren’t you handsome today?”

They won’t want to let the words sink in at first. But if we keep doing this little test of love… I bet they’ll start realizing, they’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

Let’s praise HIM by using healing words, speaking into others lives.

Because those around us are wonderfully made.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14 NIV”

I’m right there with ya!

Loves,

Kati


Someone you know, perhaps? Share the love today.

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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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