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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Part 1. Why resolving to love is really the only thing worth striving for this new year. [ a three part series on 2014 new year’s resolutions ]

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“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

-Helen Keller

This was once my grandmothers house.

I remember when I was a young girl and we would travel there– I would always run fast from the car to step on the grass.

She had the fancy grass. You know, the kind that stands two inches from the ground and feels like you’re walking on clouds.

I remember her yard was always so beautiful and full of life. Her backyard was full of flowers and there was always laundry hanging out to dry. I remember she went out and fed the birds each morning, even calling one Robin by name, Robbie. He would eat raisins from her hand.

She had raised him from a baby and set him free in the backyard.

I remember the day of my Papa’s funeral, the adults sat inside listening to the funeral service on a cassette tape. I was outside, kicking a ball against the shed out back.

I remember the way her door would sloowwwly close with that hissing sound only screen doors can make.

I remember my mother and her, never getting along. I remember my mom always saying, “Mom, you don’t have to make your yard look perfect, you really are too old to be out there doing all that work.” I remember going for walks while visiting — my mom would always say, “Oh, my goodness. I don’t know why your Mema chooses to live in this neighborhood. The houses are so close together.”

I was 12 when my grandmother passed away. I remember my mother had a letter from my grandmother,  sitting on the kitchen counter. She had been too busy to write her back. Those were the days when you paid for long distance and nobody had a home computer.

When the call came in that she had passed away, I remember how badly it hurt my mother.

And now, when you hear my mother talk of my grandmother, she has only good things to say about her. That grandmother she use to talk about is no more and she dreams of just one more day with her mom, in that cramped neighborhood, with that perfect yard– just one day to sit and love.

So when I told her I was making a trip to Oklahoma City she asks me to go.

“Go and take some pictures for me, Kati. I haven’t seen it since we laid her to rest.”

When I give her the pictures, I simply wrote:

“I hope these photos can bring good memories and not bad pain. It is such a good testament to how we must love fully today because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.”

I love you,
Kati

And it did to me, like writing somehow always does–

it changed me.

Because isn’t it the truth? When we resolve to love fully, it changes us. If we love fully our family, we strive to bend in service for them more than expect things from them. If we love fully our bodies, given to us by our creator, we strive to only give it the best things- to nourish and keep it well. Put simply, when we love fully those around us, we are truly full.

I believe a little man named Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others.

And a little old lady, not always so old once said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

Oh my! This could start a resolution revolution!

May we love fully today friends. Touching those around us with gentle smiles of love and grace. Creating warm feelings deep within them of value. Starting with those in our home. {my, oh my- how this story is for me.}  May this be the thread that binds our resolutions together this 2014 New Year’s.

Simply, Love.
All my love,

Kati