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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Making time for what matters. living the book of James: week 4

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We ended last week with James 2: 5-12 and are starting this week with James 2:14-26

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Grabbing a few moments of sweetness in His word this morning.

A few moments because it has already been a crazy day- and it’s only 7:30 in the morning.

Because my night job ran crazy long and seemed to fall apart at the seams; which put me home late this morning. Then, one of the seven children who live life fully within these walls- had an accident in their bed. Of course, this was the one who needed to be up and out the door the earliest. Then, of course, there is a pile of paperwork that needs looked at, a trip to the bank, breakfast to make- oh wait, lunch and dinner. But then again- I need to leave the house in 20 minutes with a car full of kiddos; equipped with their homeschool books for a morning of shopping for the café (you know- that place where we shack up with people?)

On top of it all: that enemy and his whispers… those evil whispers of, “You’re not good enough. You’re always… a failure, disorganized, good for nothing… you name it, he says it.”

So, THIS time in James? Let’s make time for it together and nurture our souls.

Because a million other people have a harder story than mine this Monday morning and.it’s.all.going.to.be.okay.

(Thanks to the sanitizing setting on the laundry machine- thank you, sweet Jesus)


just. breathe.

exhale.

Pssstttt, this is one of my very favorite parts of James.

Monday: read James 2:14-26

Tuesday: read James 2:14-26 AGAIN and then go back and read James 2:14- 15  (thru end of 15)

Question: Do we consider ourselves someone who has faith? The passage is not referring to a faith like,  “Oh yes I believe in Jesus.”  You see, I cannot just say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus, I have faith in him” and never do a good deed.  He is saying that a GENUINE Faith will produce good deeds because we cannot have a true faith without good deeds.

It is like this: If you are an apple tree, what kind of fruit are you going to produce? Apples! always! There will never be an orange on your tree. IF we are someone who is captured by faith in Christ as a savior than we will automatically be someone who produces good deeds. It is like the apple tree; it cannot help but produce Apples. Like a young tree, someone young in their faith will not produce as much as a mature tree, although they are producing. We cannot help but produce good deeds, it’s an overflow of the God story.

Are you saved by deeds? No, not by deeds alone. We are saved by grace and grace alone. Grace, my – oh – my that wonderful thing called grace.

What a great deed that was– the journey to the cross.

Tomorrow, let’s examine ourselves. Are we REALLY a person of faith? Let’s keep tabs on all of our good deeds and keep track of all our bad deeds. Which one wins out? How often do we think of others first? Friends, this is not a time for us to say, “Oh man, this is too hard; I can’t ever be good enough.” NO!

It’s not all about being good enough, it’s about being good–good to others.

All God asks of us is: try. And when we mess up or fail, just try again. Let’s try to be a person who thinks of others first. Trying to be a person who is more worried about other people than ourselves. It is something we can acquire, I promise! Galatians says that we will know a Christian by their fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.) If we are striving to live a life that Loves God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength our life will produce good deeds, which IS a true faith, the kind of faith that we are saved by.  Oh my goodness- doing things for others is sooo addicting! Trust me, it’s like a good time, Jesus drug. =)

Wednesday:  Read James 2: 15-17 (thru to the end of 17)

It seems like a lot of times we just see a ‘sad situation’ and walk away without doing something. We may even go home and say to our family… “I talked with this person l today that is having a real hard time, they just kept telling me about all this bad stuff that keeps happening to them.” and you continue by saying… “I felt so sorry for them.”

What if, instead of just making that the ‘story of our day’ we made it the story of their day. What if we made a change in that person’s life–all by a simple deed.

What if we went home, cleaned out our closet and took that person a lot of new clothes from our own closet? Groceries from our own pantry, A gift tucked away in a secret place for them to find, never telling them what you did?

Have you ever done something like that? Let’s take a second to write down what we think of this passage. Have we ever been in this situation? How does the passage challenge us?

Thursday: Read James 2:14-24

Notice that he asks in vs 14 ‘can such faith (a faith without good deeds) save you…’ What do you think?  vs 20 says You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Then he tells the story of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son because God had told him to. God sent a sacrifice and Abraham did not have to do that but because of his faithfulness to honor God, his faithfulness to love God more than he even loved his son, he was called God’s friend.  Then he continues by saying… you see? A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Thought for tomorrow: Does God call us his friend?

Friday: Read James 2: 20-26

vs 26 says As a body without the spirit is dead so faith without deeds is dead.

This weekend, let’s try to focus on being ALIVE in Christ! So excited about what he did for us, is doing for us we cannot help but make this life WONDERFUL by an overflowing of sharing love with others. Let’s have fun, laugh, focus on the blessings of beauty all around us. Let’s be thankful for friends to talk to, legs to walk on, clothes to wear, little cheeks to kiss, phones to talk to friends with… everything! When we learn to focus on the wonderful things it makes it a lot easier to love people through good deeds/actions/ words, etc.

It becomes our heartbeat.

Are you hurting right now? Hurting too much for this?  I pray someone is living this scripture with you, loving you along life’s hard roads– like that sweet Jesus type of love.

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Loves to you, friend.

Kati


Totally lost?
We started the book of James HERE.
Week two is HERE
Week three is HERE

A book I recommend on finding joy and living life fully? Oh yes. This. A Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are.


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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