Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Come Alive!

Listen to me:  You must be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  For human anger does not produce the righteousness of God.  So, get rid of the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept this word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
Don't just listen to God's word, you must do it.  Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away and forget who you are, what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
                                                                                                                 James 1:19-27

I am so convicted by this set of verses.  While I am not prone to anger, I am prone to speak first and listen later.  What a practice to keep my mouth shut!

Actually, the thought-provoking statement is "forgetting who you are, forgetting what you look like."  The challenge is for my statements to reflect God's ultimate Truth about me (and not the sinful-evil/filthy truth).  If I claim the truth that I am a child of God, that I follow Jesus Christ, that I desire to obey his commandments for me, then my speech should follow accordingly.  My actions should follow in such a way to produce the "rightness" of God.

This is neither novel nor complicated.  It is quite simple, but incredibly hard.

I think though, there is clear directive about how to do it.  If I can keep my thoughts in my head and measure it by the righteousness (rightness) of God then my words would change.  "Slow to speak" gives me time to evaluate the tone and emphasis of my words within the context of the intent of God.  Then my words would be first loving, then clearly constructive and, finally, a blessing.  They could still be a challenge or correction, but more readily received and God more easily seen.

What a great opportunity!  To have my words reflect God!  Glory!

Saturday, August 17, 2019


My dearly loved brothers and sisters, don't be misled.  Every good gift bestowed, even perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights.He won't change His mind or play tricks in the shadows.  We have a special role in His plan.  He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love.
                                                                 James 1:16-18

I do have so many gifts:  salvation, resources, family, good health, choices.  Lord, I have you!  (Or you have me!)  Show me how to use them to show your love.  Some are obvious:  I use my resources to benefit others.  I use my health in social justice and taking care of others.  I see that I can use the outcomes of my salvation - assurance, freedom, love, right living - the same way.

Sometimes those things appear most clearly when you carried and sustained me through dark times.  Are you seen better at the margins?  The proliferation of wealth and resources seems a murky presentation because it resembles and is mixed with cultural standards.

I want to distinctly pull out the gifts and use them to show your goodness and love.  I think that includes never taking credit for them, using it for the welfare of others, living thankfully, learning how to celebrate properly and by pointing to you constantly.  Each of those deserves expansion.

You are a generous God!

Thursday, August 01, 2019


Items which were pure,

or of first or best effort,

were then dedicated for a holy act of God:  

sacrificed or used.

The purposes were many:

to atone for sin,

as a mark of gratitude or

as a blessing to God.

Lord, sanctify me.