Friday, December 30, 2011

Strange how things Change

My dear readers! I am back! Three months is so long and so short a time. Short in the way that its hard to believe that I haven't posted since then. Long in the way that it feels like I've grown up a lot since then. I don't know what it is about time, but it feels like you never have enough of it and it flies so fast. 

Funny thing about time. You love it and you hate it. You hate it when you can't wait for some specific time or event to come. You love it when it's there and when it's gone it's kind of a mixture of feelings. Love-hate relationship I suppose.

What's strange is change. It's strange how these two things we love and hate work together in perfect harmony to create the constant whirl of life. As time goes by everything around us changes - and we change. It's hard to find a solid, unchanging ground to stand upon, but once you find it, it will carry you through life - through all those changes - and it alone will be unchanging. This ground is God. This solid, unchanging, firm place is our Heavenly Father. The only One who will not change, who will carry you through life with all that change, whether good or bad, and will never let you fall. 

Maybe that's what has changed most in my life in the past three months. My feet have become even more firmly planted on that Solid Ground. Daily it seems like they can't be more firmly planted, but as the next day (or challenge) comes and goes, I am over and over again proven wrong. And how glad I am that I have been wrong so many times! Because for every time I am wrong my feet are planted more firmly and my eyes more set on that which matters most of all. Yes, both my feet and eyes go astray way too often from that which they should be on, but without fail He brings me back again. That's the God I serve. 

It's strange how things change. One day you think everything is great, nothing could go wrong; the next day the clouds overhead become dark and let loose their water; and the next, the sun shines out even brighter than before. You can't ever tell what the next day - or even the next moment! - will bring, but you know that the Rock you are continually standing upon will always be the same.

Thanks, Talia, for encouraging me to come back. :)
In Christ our Rock I stand,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

50 minus 1 Q&A about me :)

1. High heels or boots? I trip without heels. Give me heels and I'd think you were trying to get rid of me. I like boots. :)
2. What time did you get up this morning? Sevenish I think...
3. What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Pirates of the Carribean 4. Not a fave but still a good movie. :)
4. What is your maiden name? Well, right now at least, it's my last name.
5. What is your favorite TV show? Well, seeing as I don't really watch TV besides a random NCIS guess that's my fave. xP
6. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cereal. *sheepish grin* I'm lazy in the mornings.
7. What is your middle name? Don't you wish you knew...
8. What food do you dislike? Olives.
9. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Let's make that plural...Undone by Mercy Me, Restored by Jeremy Camp, Underdog by Audio Adrenaline, and Over and Underneath by Tenth Avenue North.
10. What characteristic do you despise? Self-centeredness.
11. Favorite clothing? Blue jeans.
12. Anywhere in the world on vacation? Not all that hip on vacations. Missions trip? Now we're talking!
13. Are you an organized person? Can't stand my room a mess. Drives me bonkers.
14.Where would you retire to? Right here.
15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? This last one. Awesome possum to say the very, very least.
16. What are you going to do when you finish this? Homework.
17. Furthest place you have ever been to? Belize.
18. Person you wish you could meet? *wish* or *will*? If the latter, then my Lord!
19. When is your birthday? Not tellin'. Though a certain person reading this should know all to well...haha. You know who you are. Don't ask your brother.
20. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night.
21. What is your shoe size? Ultra tiny. 6-6 1/2.
22. Do you own any animals? Nope.
23. Any news you'd like to share? (I feel...interviewed. Like, "anything else you want to say?" Anyways...) I am going to try my hardest to get Go Ye Therefore out this Friday! Don't ask how much I've done...this month has been crazy. And...I'm the world's bestest procrastinator...
24. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Many, many things...One that sticks out in my memory though is an interior designer.
25. What is your favorite flower? Sunflower. :) They're so big and bright and just seem like they're smiling at you.
26. What day on the calender are you looking forward to? hm....probably this Friday...Co-op, Teen Club water day, and sleepover! :)
27. If you were a crayon, what would you be? I don't know...probably a mix between hot pink (excited and happy) and sea blue (calm and peaceful)...depends on the time of day and who is around me.
28. How is the weather right now? Teasing. Holding all that rain up there and just blowing away from us and dropping all it's beautiful goodness somewhere else that doesn't NEED it as much as we do.
29. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My friend, Nona. (nickname)
30. Favorite drink? Water or Dr. Pepper. Depends...
31. Favorite Restaurant? Giovanni's. ooooh man.
32. Hair color? Blonde and proud of it.
33. What was your favorite toy as a child? Giraffee. :) And *was* isn't the right word... xD
34. Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter? WINTER!
35. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla!
36. Coffee or tea? Neither. Aw man, that's the second time now...
37. Wish you were still young? What's that supposed to mean? I'm still high school.
38. Do you want to get married? Depends on what He's got in mind. :)
39. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday or the day before.
40. What is under your bead? Nothing but carpet.
41. What did you do last night? Sat in the dark. (Power went out)
42. What are you afraid of? Needles. O.O
43. Salty or sweet? oooh sweeeeet!!!
44. Best quality you have? I feel bad answering this question. I don't know...ask someone else...
45. How many years at the current job? Random babysitting job? Maybe a year. Maybe. 
46. Favorite day of the week? Sunday!
47. Favorite movie? Don't have one, but I love Fireproof, Soul Surfer (just saw it for the first time...LOVED IT!), Princess Bride...and others.
48. Have you ever had a crush on anyone? That's for me to know. Some of these questions are creepy...
49. Do you like finding all this stuff out about your friends? Oh yeah! Especially when it's peoples like Anna, who tagged me, because she knows  how to write and make you just die laughing.

If you want to do this, please feel free! :)

Have a SUPER DUPER FANTASTIC rest of week!!!
Love in Christ,
Buttercup :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Legal Mass Murder

It’s a mass murder that goes on both continually and legally. It has claimed 15,167,502 (fifteen million, one hundred and sixty seven, five hundred and two) lives since the year 2000. It tears families, friends, and a country apart. This ominous monster is known as Abortion.

          Abortion is the killing of unborn infants in the name of freedom. But what freedom is this? This so called freedom is the freedom to kill defenseless children, to end their lives that have hardly even begun, just so that the woman doesn’t have the “burden” of raising a child. But what freedom does this child have? If you are honest, then the only answer is that they have none at all. This unborn child has no say in whether or not their life will end right then and there. They are completely defenseless in the arms of the ugly fiend known as “choice”.

          Many people are unaware of how this monster works. And many people, like me, know as much as they can handle knowing. The act of abortion is utterly sick. It is brutal. The unborn child is not thought of as human excepting where the furtherance of science is involved. They are inhumanely murdered – taken from their only life support (their mother’s womb) and then they are killed in one of the many indescribable ways that man has thought up. When dead, they are used to further science, not buried or cremated like a normal human being. Their still forming, beautifully designed, little body is treated like garbage. Tell me there are not people that evil in this world who take pleasure in doing this! But there are.

          Here are a few reasons why you should not support abortion.

          1. By supporting abortion you are supporting murder – which is sin. Period. From the time of conception that baby is a human being – nothing less.
          2. The woman who goes through with an abortion usually regrets it. There have been many testimonies of women who had abortions having nightmares and hearing the cries of their baby whom they wanted dead, and other horrible things that only succeed in causing great grief, regret, and depression.
          3. You end a life. The numbers are unreal, the process horrific, the regrets exceeding painful. But the worst part is the fact that that child, that unborn person, doesn’t have a chance to live.
          I think that the most intelligent people on earth cannot truly believe that the unborn baby is not human. If life does not begin at conception then when does it begin? I think that doctors know deep down, even if they don’t admit it, that the unborn baby is indeed human. How can they not when they hear that little heart beat, feel the feet kick, see the baby suck his thumb? And then still, they can take that baby out of his or her mother’s womb and lay it on the table to suffocate, or worse – why?

          There is nothing good about abortion. Choice? Why should we have a choice? The choice to commit sin and not to commit sin is prevalent all day every day. Abortion is murder. Murder is sin. Abortion is encouraged; therefore murder (and sin) is encouraged by the giving of a choice.

          It very well may be that the way to end abortion is to steal away the hearts of those who carry them out – by communicating to the doctors the truth about the awful task they are carrying out and the implications of it. And then telling them of the love and forgiveness that Christ alone supplies.

          What will you do? Will you assent to the murder of innocent unborn babies? Will you allow it to carry on when you can do something about it? Will you promote this mass murder by your admission of being “Pro-Choice”?

*originally written as a speech for a homeschool co-op class assignment*

Healing Begins - Tenth Avenue North

So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

So let it fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now
We're here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark


Monday, September 19, 2011

Hope's Song

Who cares that it's a kids movie? The song still holds a powerful message.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

James - part 13 - "Not listening!"

Dear readers,
Last time I wrote of how we must ACT like Christians. James is still going on with this topic, so just read on. For now though remember this: what's inside comes out. Good and bad. Get the inside fixed by Christ and the outside will follow along.


James 1:23-24
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.


Take note that the first word in verse twenty three is the word "for". This word is in the same family as all the therefores and wherefores we already talked about. So remember what I said - if you find one of these, be sure to read what's next in light of what came before! With that in mind, let's go back and see what the last few verses were.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James, it seems, is spending a lot of time on this, so we should probably take it pretty seriously. James wants us to know that we are not to be HEARERS of the word only, but DOERS also. 

Getting on to our current text: James tells us WHY we should be doers as well as hearers. He tells us the consequences of a mirage-like faith. A faith that in only in your head and not your heart. 

He writes that the person who is a "hearer-only" is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror, then turns around and  forgets what he looks like. We girls especially can see how crazy this is. The question I asked in utter shock at how stupid this guy was, was this: Why look in the mirror if you're just going to forget as soon as you turn around? What good does that do? I look at myself in the mirror - I know what I look like. I don't look, turn around, and utterly forget. If I did that once I'd probably give up on looking into the mirror! Just a waste of time if you don't remember. 

So what is James' point? "Hearers-(or Lookers-)Only" will disregard (forget) what they hear (look like). His point being that if you don't act on what you know then you are as bad as the man that forgot what he looked like the instance he turned away. You turn your back on Christ. You heard. Yes indeed! But you didn't act on it. You didn't believe in Christ while you had the chance, now you are nothing. You have disregarded and turned your back on that which you needed most. You have become unresponsive to the Gospel because you chose this world instead of Him. 

As a final note, I think it interesting that James puts in the little phrase, "and goeth his way". I believe this implies not only a turning your back on Christ, but also of a rebellious "going your own way"; going the way YOU want to go, not the way Christ has offered to you (which is way better!).

So, what is James trying to communicate to us? That if you only hear and don't do anything about it, then you are lost.

Don't just be a Christian in word, but also in action. That's the definition of a true Christian.

In Christ alone,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A lesson from Toy Story 1? Oh yeah.

Near the end of the movie, when the toys are in the moving truck and Buzz and Woody are on RC trying to get into the truck, Bo Peep says: "Look! It's Buzz! Woody was telling the truth!" And among other comments by other toys, Rex says, "Oh great. Now I have guilt!" When he found that he had done wrong in accusing his friend of lying, he regretted it - he felt guilty.

This is what happens in our lives. At the moment, we may make false accusations on the basis of presuppositions, but later we may find out that we're wrong.

When you find that you have sinned against God; when you realize that you have done wrong, you feel guilty; you feel guilty because you know that you're wrong and God's right.

This line, even though it was in a slightly cheesy kids movie, is incredibly true when you think about it. "Oh great. Now I have guilt." It reveals that this guilt was very uncomfortable. It implies that guilt wasn't a thing to be treasured, caressed, and kept forever, but one of those things that "the sooner it's gone the better"!

The Holy Spirit (aka: your conscience) tells you "hey, that was wrong" - guilt. You KNOW you did wrong. This is called guilt. You feel guilty because what you did was wrong and you know it.

Guilt can lead to salvation. Once you realize that YOU have sinned against GOD - that YOU were wrong (guilt) - then you may choose to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Or, you may choose to push that guilt behind you...not a happily ever after ending there.

So, we just got ALL THAT from a little line in a kids I encourage you, my dear reader, look around you. What lessons can you learn from the world around you when you compare physical things to spiritual things? There's so many out there! Just keep an eye out for them! Just be careful when you compare; you can get some pretty wacky doctrine by comparing the wrong things! The safest thing you can do is look at God's word first, then DO NOT go looking for comparable things, but rather, let them come to you. They will. Promise. :)

In Christ my Rock,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

9/11/2001 - terrorist planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon...

The devastation was unreal...

Many firefighters and police risked their lives trying to save others and that day they were made heroes...

2,976 people died...

Americans should never forget 9/11 and the terror it brought to our own soil...

Lest we forget how blessed we are to have the freedom we do...

Taking it for granted and therefore wasting our lives in the "pursuit of happiness" when what we really should be pursuing is knowing God more...

You only have one life and then it's gone...

Live for Christ now.

Lord, protect our soldiers. Protect America. 

Forgive America, Heavenly Father.

America needs to remember Christ. 

Before it is too late.

God, please bless America.

Today, remember the families of those 2,942 people who died on September 11th 2001 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in the other plane that crashed, and pray for them. They need your prayers - today especially.

In Christ alone,
*Disclaimer: photos without my watermark were found on
NOTE: Photos with my watermark were taken at a military cemetery in Oklahoma, but I do not know if there are any 9/11 soldiers buried there..

Friday, September 9, 2011

41 Things I Don't Really Like...

1. Having to make decisions, 2. friends moving away, 3. when people don't write back, 4. not understanding, 5. working really hard at something and then figuring out you didn't need to do any of it, 6. getting hurt, 7. getting up late, 8. bad dreams, 9. not getting enough sleep, 10. writers block, 11. failing, 12. algebra, 13. grammar, 14. blood (you know...not in and of itself, but being around it as in an injury. Dude, we couldn't live without it), 15. olives, 16. creeping things, 17. coffee (deal with it, I greatly dislike it), 18. snakes, 19. silver fish, 20. growing out of cute clothes, 21. awesome shoes that don't fit right, 22. neon green, 23. the end of a fabulous visit, 24. sweating, 25. being sick, 26. rubbing hot pepper juice in my eyes on accident, 27. cayenne pepper, 28. football, 29. being late, 30. missing something, 31. being on the OUTSIDE of an inside joke, 32. worrying, 33. oily hair, 34. sad books, 35. no happily ever after, 36. depressing romances, 37. really long dry books, 38. getting makeup in my eyes, 40. smearing my makeup all over my face, 41. when people startle me.

Wow. 41 things I don't like and 202 things I love...Guess I've got it pretty good. :)
In Christ,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

James - part 12 - Engrafted Word

Dear readers,

Last time I wrote of God's great love for us, His adopted children, and how we can show our love for Him to the world through how we act, what we say, and how we do things. This time, James is going on with what he just wrote, expanding on the topic.


James 1:21-22
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.


James once again starts with "wherefore". What is this "wherefore" here for this time? (Tip: when you see a "therefore" or a "wherefore," look at the text that came before it! For the author wishes for you to read that which comes next in light of that which came before!) What happened in the previous verse? James wrote of how we must be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to wrath; so in regard to that, he now exhorts us to separate ourselves from those things that are bad and receive (or encourage and do) that which is good.

Wherefore, now that you've got a simple grasp on how to live so that others may see Christ in you and that you might continue growing in Christ, here are some tips to REALLY live for Christ! The whole core of it - the basics - are being slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to wrath. Do all that and you are in pretty good standing. But James goes on to expand and explain a little bit so that we have a better idea of what exactly we are to do.

"Lay apart" - this means that you set it aside. If you lay apart a certain blanket from a stack of them you are separating that one from the rest of the group. In many cases, this phrase is used to imply a rejection of that which is laid aside. Not only are you separating it from the group, but you are REJECTING it also. Laying aside in the way James is using it is a complete separation and rejection. A metaphorical brick wall, you may say, between the two groups. But what is it that we are to lay apart?

"All filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness" - this is what we are to lay apart. ALL does not mean some. ALL does not mean certain or chosen ones. ALL means ALL. To say anything differently is to be reading it biasedly, for ALL means every single cotton pickin' one. Filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness are super awesome ways to say evil and sin. You may think of it in this way: God is perfect, clean, white. Sin is dirty, black, and evil. Sin is filthy. Who honestly likes to be filthy? (Sometimes I think my brother does, but I think he just does that cause he's the only boy with five sisters.) It's dreadfully uncomfortable unless you are just totally used to it (which, sadly, is what happens with sin too. By sinning and searing your conscience continually you are getting used to the dirty blackness of sin and sooner or later your sin will not provoke guilt, but it will become comfortable).

I think the word "superfluity" is awesome. According to it means an excessive amount. So, we are to lay aside, all excessive amounts of naughtiness. That's kind of oxymoron if you just read it fast. But really, I think that James used the word "superfluity" to emphasize how great our sin is. He knew our sin was excessive, he knew that all people sinned so much, so often, so consistently, that it was superfluitous (Note: that's not a word but it gets my point across) for everyone. Therefore he said to lay apart ALL of your superfluitous naughtiness.

"And receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" - This phrase is packed with meaning, so be careful to take it a word or two at a time. Receive - although Calvinists say differently, this word implies a choice. Receive is the opposite of reject and by using one or the other you are implying an option. I won't go into depth about this right now because I'll start ranting and the next thing we both know is that this post will be ten miles long, so I'll just say this: I believe in free will; that God knew beforehand who would choose Him, but that He loves us so much that He gave us the choice of either receiving or rejecting Him. (If you would like to talk about this I'd be more than happy to talk with you, just be forewarned that I can/will argue my point till the cows come home...)

I think it interesting that James put the two word phrase "with meekness" after the word receive. By doing this he makes it obvious that receiving Christ is not something you do (or even can do) pridefully. By receiving Christ, truly, you are saying that you know that you cannot save yourself but that you need Christ to save you. "With meekness" you must receive Christ.

When something is grafted in, it is placed into something that is not like itself. A perfect example of this is in horticulture - sometimes people will let a certain kind of tree grow, and when it is big enough they will cut off one limb and put in it's place a limb cut off from another kind of tree. This new limb, apparently, will grow with the tree. Granted, I've never tried it and it doesn't make sense to me, but that's the way I understand it to work. James refers to receiving with meekness the "engrafted word". This means that the word, or Jesus Christ, which is THE WORD, is not a natural part of the Jews life. He offers salvation, a totally unnatural concept, to those who did not have it beforehand.

To gain good fruit, you must first prune of the bad branches so that the good branches get all the nutrients. To live a godly life, you must first do away with (lay apart) your ungodly life (your sinfulness). So, James writes, do away with all evil and sin and receive with meekness the engrafted word. This engrafted word is Jesus Christ, and HE is able to save your soul.

James now warns us: Don't be just hearers, but doers also! You can hear something all day long every day of your life, but if you do not act upon it then it does nothing for or against you. You can hear about Jesus Christ and His love and sacrifice all day every day all of your life, but if you do not receive Him then you will still have to pay for your own sins by spending eternity in hell. Hearing does you no good unless you act upon it. Don't just hear stuff, ACT on it!

Beware! Don't take this as a verse that promotes salvation by works. Many people take things out of context and get crazy doctrines from it. But when taken in context, we can see that it is by RECEIVING Christ that we obtain salvation, not by working hard and "being good" because we can't do it, no matter how hard we try.

By hearing and not acting we may possibly be deceiving ourselves. We would be deceiving ourselves because we somehow got the notion into our own heads that we are Christians on the inside and we do not need to be Christians on the outside. Well, if you are not a Christian on the outside then it's probable that you are not a Christian at all. For being a Christian means that Christ is your Lord, your God, and should be your number one priority. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says that to follow Him you must carry your cross, deny yourself daily, and follow Him. He demands all or nothing. If you are only willing to give Him part and not all then you are rejecting His insanely huge offer of salvation.

Don't just claim to be a Christian: act like one. Be one outside as much as inside. The outward attitudes, words, and actions of every man and woman betray that which is in the heart.

For His glory,

Monday, September 5, 2011

They're watching you!

Hey guys, I just wanted to tell you guys something I know I've told you before...but, hey, reinforcing and reminding is good, right?

You are being watched.

The little ones always see you. Your peers see you. Those older than you (guess what?!) see you. Everything you do around others is seen. Only those things that are done when you are alone are not seen.

You are being copied.

Ever see a little kid spout off to their parents and wonder what those parents do at home? hmm. Interesting. If you look closer you'll see that a lot of times, the kids are doing just what their parents are doing. Don't get me wrong though! There are many cases in which the kids are doing something completely abhorrent to the parents, but you can be assured that the kids are learning it somewhere and from someone. You put your attitude in the copy machine and *pop!* an exact replica comes out on a different sheet of paper. Sounds pretty accurate to me.

Just recently I had the opportunity to see this in action...unfortunately. A group of teens of which I was a part of were watching an exceedingly large group of young children for a few hours. Unfortunately, one teen thought it best to start yelling at the kids; another thought it best to stand on a chair and raise their voice (not yell, just speak really loudly); and a bunch of them thought it best just to leave a couple of us to our own demise and just left the room. 

The teen who frequently yelled at the kids, needless to say, didn't get anywhere with it. In fact, the kids just got rebellious at this act, and simply made more noise. 

The teen who stood on the chair and raised their voice didn't get any response at all.

The teens who left the room...yeah, they didn't even try.

Finally, after I'd stayed shut up for way too long, I broke up the yelling and calmly asked the boys who were causing the most ruckus to watch out for the younger ones and be quieter. They responded by being open to me with their feelings and wants, they were calm, and they behaved quite nicely the rest of the time. What caused this difference?


When you love like Christ, when you act like Christ, when you serve and care like Christ, you get a different response. When you respond out of love in every situation, you can make ANY situation better. Guaranteed. 

Most people today do not respond that way. They respond my yelling, then breaking down because no one is listening, and yelling some more out of anger. But when kids (and teens and adults) are treated with love as fellow human beings, and not as animals needing to be herded and led about, they usually respond back in love - at least, if not in love, they are calmer and respect you more for you are taking control of the situation calmly.

Therefore I exhort you, my dear brothers and sisters - set the example!

Love like Christ. Serve like Christ. Care like Christ. Behave like Christ. And finally, have the attitude of Christ. Do all things out of love, not out of anger or frustration; those things get you no where, but love conquers.

In Christ alone,

NOTE: I absolutely do not hold anything against those teens that I mentioned! They just haven't learned that lesson yet. I pray that I might be an example to them that they might see Christ through me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

James - part 11 - Love is a verb

Dear readers,

In my last James study post, I wrote of how we are adopted by Christ, this time we will talk about what we should do as His new children.


James 1:19-20
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.


"Wherefore" - because we were created and adopted by God. This should tell us something. What James is doing is saying that BECAUSE of what I just said, THIS is what comes next. 

The verse comes to mind: "...what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." (Micah 6:8b) Salvation is not of works, but to show the world that we have faith we must use works. This is kinda sad when you think about it. Remember what Jesus did? "Many signs and wonders" according to the apostle John, and yet, some STILL didn't believe. Jesus said that blessed are those who do not see, and yet, believe! As human beings we like proof. We like tangible proof of things. Many take this to the extreme and worship idols that they can see instead of the true God who they cannot see. Therefore, in order to show God's power, Jesus worked many miracles to show the people, to give them tangible proof, that He was indeed the Son of God. 

Now, we as believers, His hands and feet, must also give tangible proof. We do this by our words, actions, and attitude. Our prayer and desire should be that God would give us the words to say, the courage to say them, and that His light would CONSTANTLY shine through us in everything we do and say. I have written before on the topic of being a "inside only" Christian and being an "outside only" Christian, and the truth that only those who are both are true Christians. Granted, there are times when Christians must go into hiding "faith-wise" to save their lives and the lives of others in the face of persecution, but when you look deep you can see that they would be living out their faith to the whole world if that's what was best for those around them. At times like that, the best way you can be a witness is to do it in secret so that you can reach more people singularly before you are possibly caught.

Okay, that was an insanely long rabbit trail. Let's get back on the track...

James then exhorts his brethren (brothers and sisters in Christ because of our adoption): let every man be swift to hear - listen first, listen carefully, be polite, learn from others. Slow to speak - think about what you are going to say before you say it, make sure all your words are God glorifying. And slow to wrath - don't easily get into fights or get angry, be patient and loving. If you think about it, that covers just about everything. It covers just about every situation I can think of. In many tough situations, we tend to explode, and overall, we tend to do the opposite of all three of these exhortations. We want to be the only ones speaking (swift to hear), not letting anyone else get word in edgewise; we want to say everything we want no matter what it is (slow to speak); and we explode in anger and frustration (slow to wrath). This isn't what God wants for His children. Situations like this sadden our Father just as a naughty child saddens his father. When we do things against the nature of God, things against HIM, sinful things, we cause Him grief. 

This saddens me. It makes me sad to think that I made my adoptive Father so sad by doing things I know I shouldn't have done. It makes me sad to think that He loved me so much that He gave His only Son to die in my place so that I could live with Him, and then I disregard all that and do what I want again. This is sad. 

Instead of doing those things that sadden God, we should, as good children, do those things which make Him happy, those things which glorify Him and exalt His name. Out of gratitude alone, should we do this. Not because we feel like we have to, but because we LOVE Him. It's like a child who cleans up the house for his parents, when it is done out of love it is done with a good attitude and it brings a smile to his parents faces. On the other hand, it is like a child who cleans up the house just because his parents told him to, in many cases this command makes the child go through with this with a bad attitude. 

People who are generally quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to wrath are the kind of people that are enjoyable to be around. These three attributes are those things which generally draw a line between believers and unbelievers. Why? Because believers love God and wish to do HIS will and not their OWN will. For this reason they are less self-centered and more God- and others-centered, they usually care more about others than themselves, and they wish to do what is pleasing in God's eyes. 

You have probably heard the phrase "love is a verb", but have you ever thought of that phrase in light of your love for Christ and His love for you? His love was made manifest for you through His death. Now it's your turn. Does your love for Christ show through your words, actions, and attitude? Hmm. Might want to think about that one a bit.

James also adds that "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God". Being angry does not help you learn more about God and bring glory to Him, therefore, it is not beneficial, but rather, it can be very hurtful both to you and to others. Being angry does not show the world the glory of your adoptive Father, but rather it hides that identity behind your old sinful nature. That is not good. It not only denies you the opportunity to live for Christ, but it also causes you to cease growing in God/growing more like Him. Throughout our lives, yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, and minutely, we should be growing more like God as we grow closer to Him. When we sin we cause a rift in that relationship to form. This isn't good. This does not bring us closer to Him.

I hope you have really thought about the things spoken of in this post. This is a very important thing that every Christian should recognize consistently as they strive to live their lives for the glory of God. To Him be the glory, and may His light shine through us!

In Christ alone,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

202 Things I Love

1. God, 2. my parents, 3. my siblings, 4. my grandparents, 5. my great grandparents, 6. my uncles, 7. my aunts, 8. my cousins, 9. all my other family, 10. God's word, 11. my youth group, 12. my youth leaders, 13. sunshine, 14. smiles, 15. tears, 16. hugs, 17. very good hugs, 18. flowers, 19. butterflies, 20. clay, 21. cameras, 22. captured moments, 23. perfect shots, 24. my friends at the rest home, 25. my three bestest friends, 26. joy, 27. the book of 2nd Timothy, 28. the book of John, 29. the book of James, 30. the book of 1st John, 31. my little Bible that fits in my purse, 32. school, 33. getting done with school earlier than usual, 34. telling secrets to a friend, 35. hearing secrets from a friend, 36. inside jokes that I actually understand, 37. skirts, 38. blue jeans, 39. Converse, 40. ranting, 41. people, 42. a warm handshake, 43. painting my nails, 44. my ring, 45. my two bracelets I wear everyday, 46. hair rubberbands, 47. blonde hair, 48. freckles, 49. chocolate, 50. skittles, 51. volleyball, 52. winter, 53. swimming, 54. snow, 55. mascara, 56. light blue eyeshadow, 57. pink, 58. purple, 59. blue, 60. laughing and smiling eyes, 61. a sweet note, 62. emails, 63. good news, 64. wind, 65. fast working computers, 67. rainy days, 68. stormy nights, 69. warm blankets, 70. bed, 71. praying with a friend, 72. debating, 73. getting my point across, 74. being right, 75. cleaning, 76. a good book, 77. a convicting book, 78. lightbulb moments, 79. stained glass, 80. singing at the top of my voice when no one cares, 81. closing my eyes, 82. biking, 83. giving, 84. sunglasses, 85. crocheting, 86. sculpting, 87. finishing a project, 88. homeschool co-op, 89. AWANA, 90. my kids (AWANA kids and kids I babysit), 91. getting up early, 92. going to bed late, 93. chatting, 94. blogging, 95. taking pictures, 96. editing pictures, 97. when my hair cooperates, 98. music, 99. being comforted, 100. comforting others, 101. bawling, 102. icecream, 103. hearing others laugh, 104. laughing, 105. winking, 106. puppies when they aren't ornery, 107. CD players, 108. Christmas, 109. Thanksgiving, 110. birthdays, 111. pears, 112. strawberries, 113. cookie dough, 114. well done art work, 115. accomplishment, 116. completion, 117. beginnings of good things, 118. ends of bad things, 119. missionary biographies, 120. my brothers and sisters in Christ, 121. opportunities, 122. guidance, 123. remembering, 124. scrapbooks, 125. old photos, 126. Texas, 127. freedom, 128. sight, 129. hearing, 130. taste, 131. touch, 132. scents, 133. being unique, 134. being included, 135. teeny tiny things, 136. enlarging through photography or microscopes those things that are tiny, 137. mechanical pencils, 138. extra lead, 139. erasers, 140. batteries, 141. memory cards, 142. peace, 143. learning a lesson, 144. looking back at old problems and seeing how small they ended up being, 145. agreeing, 146. time, 147. warm shower, 148. fajitas, 149. pasta, 150. making someone's day, 151. parties, 152. having friends over for dinner, 153. cracking up, 154. being alone, 155. being together, 156. Dr Pepper, 157. Root Beer, 158. twenty-five cent machines, 159. plans, 160. goals, 161. a clear schedule, 162. a full schedule, 163. earrings, 164. creating something worthwhile, 165. getting to know someone better, 166. standing up for what I believe, 167. courage, 168. wisdom, 170. grace, 171. mercy, 172. salvation, 178. serving, 179. playing pitch, 180. playing Spoons, 181. getting things out in the open, 182. receiving a letter, 183. sending a letter, 184. giraffee (doll I've had for many years), 185. giraffes, 186. graduating, 187. knowing what to do, 188. making the right decision, 189. not having to make decisions, 190. stripes, 192. checkered pattern, 193. paper, 194. teachers, 195. students, 196. nature, 197. history, 198. knowledge, 199. assurance, 200. sign language, 201. dancing, 202. falling down on my knees before my great God and Savior.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

James - part 10 - Adopted by Him

Dear readers,

Last time we were reminded of how great, powerful, and fantastic our God is, this time, we will be taking a look at a slightly difficult verse to understand. But don't let that scare you away!


James 1:18
Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.


"Of His own will..." implies that this was His plan. His will was that He would have adopted sons and daughters - believers. 

"...begat He us with the word of truth..." Begat. When you produce children, you have begotten them. They are your children. God begets believers "with the word of truth". This word of truth is the gospel. We hear the gospel, we receive it, and we become God's children. Adopted children, but nonetheless His own children. Just as a (good) parent loves the adopted child as their own, so God loves us as His own. 

So, why would God want to adopt us? Why save us from our sinfulness and pay for our salvation with His own flesh and blood (so to speak), His own Child? Its as if a King, who had but one Son and loved him dearly, when seeing the plight of His people and knowing that only if His Son gave His life, would the people be saved - and He gives His only Son for His people who have sinned against Him. This is the great love of our King and our King's Son. This is the price that was paid for our adoption. 

But, do we have to be adopted? You may ask. No. The King, in His great love, allows us to remain in our sin and in our plight if we so desire. Sadly, many people do reject this offer. This offer of life, this offer of a home, this offer of salvation.

"...that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures..." This is a strange phrase, and I don't really understand it. My best guess is this: "we," as we have seen by the first part of this sentence, is referring back to believers. "His creatures" are either all living things He has created, or just human beings. I'm not sure which is the correct interpretation. In the case of it being all human beings, which I am leaning towards, this would mean that we (believers) are the firstfruits (or the first fruits produced in each batch) of His creatures. The firstfruits are those that are taken to the lord and owner of the land for him to see how things are growing. Believers are those who are taken to be with the Lord. Although this continually confuses me, this is my best guess.

I hope this served to get your mind working around one of those seemingly impossible to understand verses of the Bible. Some verses are just so hard to understand! But man, not being able to understand them serves to keep me humble - seeing as I cannot explain everything! Praise God for this blessing! And, oh so much more, thank God for adoption!

In Christ alone,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

James - part 9 - That's one fantastic God!

Dear readers,

Last time we talked about lust and how it turns into sin, which then turns into death. This time is better news...


James 1:17
Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Every. All. No other.

James states here that all good and all perfect gifts are from above. That means that no perfect, or even good, gift can come from anywhere else. Everything of value, everything of worth, comes from above, comes from God. That implies that all the "good" gifts that people give here on earth don't even compare to the gifts given by God. He loves us more than anyone else ever could. He loves us more than we can even fathom.

But James doesn't end there. Not only do they come from God and they're the greatest gifts in the universe, but James describes God as the Father of lights. In Revelation, when John tells of the New Jerusalem, he says that there are no sun, stars, or moon, but God Himself lights the city. God doesn't need physical light like we do. He CREATED light! He is the Father of lights. But, is this what James means? Is James speaking of physical light, or something else?

I think James might be thinking of something else...

Perhaps James is not speaking here of His physical light, but rather of His constancy. Natural light is constant if you think about it. Yes, clouds, trees, buildings, and even the earth, get in the way of the sun - our source of light. But does the sun ever really "set"? Does it ever fail? Does it ever just cease to shine? Does it ever just leave? No. It's the same with God. He never fails to love us. He never fails to care about us. He never leaves.  He IS perfect. He IS love. He IS faithful. Just like with the sun, sometimes we can't see the love of God because things get in the way. Perhaps this is what James is speaking of.

"With whom is no variableness." God doesn't change. Yes, He repents of things, and He does listen and respond to our prayers. It is recorded in the Bible that He has changed His mind. I don't want to go into this much right now, mostly because I am honestly trying to figure this out myself. But you can hold onto this: God's character doesn't change, and neither does His Divine plan for us and the entire world, but - He does change His mind on occasion in accordance with our requests and our sinfulness. Think, for example, of the Flood, the Bible says that God repented that He had made man on the earth. Think also of the multiple passages that tell of Him rejecting Saul as king of Israel and putting David up there instead. God put Saul on the throne, but later He repented that He had done so. Do not think, however, that God repented because He was wrong, He is perfect and therefore cannot be wrong. God simply made His already perfect plan for the world better.

"Neither shadow of turning." I think that James is saying here, that just as God doesn't change, He doesn't even think about changing. He doesn't even contemplate making a decision that goes against His character. Why? Because He is eternal and all-knowing. He is God. He doesn't change, and He doesn't even think about it. 

Now that's a God you can rely on! One who's plan for YOU was laid out thousands of years before you were born. One who knows EXACTLY what's best for YOU.

That's the God I trust.

In Christ alone,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

Before I even start, besides the Bible, this is the best book I have ever read.

Tortured for Christ was written by Richard Wurmbrand. Pastor Wurmbrand lived in Communist Romania in the 1940's-60's. He was in prison for a total of fourteen years. He was not only stuck in prison, but tortured beyond belief. Through all his torture, imprisonment, separation from his wife and son...he was a faithful witness of his Savior.

Even in prison when he knew that he would be beat severely, nearly to death, if he preached to fellow inmates - he did it. Even when he was released from prison, but warned not to preach lest he get himself back in - he did it. Even when he was threatened with death if he preached - he did it. He never gave in. He never denied his Lord. He never regretted proclaiming His Name.

That's faith. That's dedication. That's love.

In his book, Pastor Wurmbrand tells of his time in prison and outside of prison. He tells of some of the tortures he and other believers endured in the name of Christ. He communicates to us the love that he and the other believers had for Christ, their brothers and sisters, and for their enemies - their torturers and murderers, the Communists. These believers had a love for Christ that soared far beyond their love for family and friends, a love that soared above their love for comfort, their desire for peace - they loved Christ more than life.

Many times in his book, Wurmbrand tells of one person or another answering the question of "why do you do what you do?" with a simple and sweet phrase like: Christ died for me, it's the least I can do to be tortured for Him. That's love.

I read this book in three days - you simply can't put it down! It drags you in and chains you to itself. In fact, the night I started to read it, my dad noticed my eyes were bloodshot - guess I forgot to blink.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

"But those Nazi times had one great advantage. They taught us that physical beatings could be endured, and that the human spirit with God's help can survive horrible tortures."

"We should never stop at having won a soul for Christ. By this, we have done only half the work. Every soul won for Christ must be made to be a soul -winner...They [Russian believers] were reckless and daring for Christ, always saying that it was the least they could do for Christ who died for them."

"For them [Communists] nothing besides matter exists and to them a man is like wood, like an eggshell. With this belief they sink to unthinkable depths of cruelty."

"If the heart is cleansed by the love of Jesus Christ, and if the heart loves Him, one can resist all tortures."

"It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us - so everyone was happy."

"Love conquered even the natural thirst for life."

"It was in being tortured by them [Communists] that we learned to love them."

"A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for."

"The Underground Church denounces it [Communism], risking liberty and life. The less have we to be silent in the West."

"I have found truly joyful Christians only in the Bible, in the Underground Church, and in prison."

"What compelled them [underground believers] was the love of God. They knew that they risked their liberty, and that in prison starvation and torture awaited them."

Yeah, that might have been a lot...but believe me, if I really wanted to I would quote the entire book.

Over all, this book receives six stars. Aw, we only go to five? Fine. Five.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially believers who have never heard of the persecution of our brethren in other lands.

In Christ alone,

NOTE: Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of Voice of the Martyrs. Please visit their website - it's wonderful what they are doing!

Monday, August 22, 2011

James - part 8 - Lust

Dear readers,

The last James post was really short, I know, but I felt like I could do that without feeling bad because it was so important. Many times, I think, we blame God when bad things come, but it's not His fault. He allows hard times to come so that when we go through them our faith might be strengthened.

Let us go on to verses fourteen through sixteen, which are still speaking of temptations.


James 1:14-16
But every man is tempted, when he is driven away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.


Temptation originates in your heart. James is clear with this in verse fourteen. He says that "every man is tempted when he is driven away of HIS OWN lust, and enticed. It's not God, it's YOU. God does not tempt you, you are tempted when you are driven away by YOUR OWN lust. You have no one else to blame.

Stop now and think of one time you desired to have something. Shouldn't be too hard. It happens many times to each of us every day. Have you thought of something yet? Did you ever want a new cell phone? Corvette? Chocolate bar? Don't read on until you've got one thing in your mind.

Got it yet? Okay.

What did you think of in relation to this thing? You probably wanted whatever it was pretty bad, right? For some of us, a beat up Jeep is the last thing we'd want; but for some of us, that's our dream. The reason for this is simply personality. We all like different things, we all dislike different things. We were created different and unique. Nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong, though, is lusting after something. Obviously, if you hate chocolate, you're not going to lust after a bar of it. But you may lust after a beat up Jeep or brand new Corvette.

But how, you ask, am I supposed to keep these lusts out?! How in the world am I to NOT think about things like that. I don't have power over things that just pop into my head!

Well, no you don't. But, yes you do.

Thinking, "oh, it would sure be cool to have that", and thinking, "oh, I would really LOVE to have that!" are two different things. They are different mind sets. Different levels, you might say, of lust.

Just thinking that something is cool isn't bad; and it's not sin. Lust is sin. Lust is thinking about it often, wanting it, looking towards it as something very important. uses the words "passionate" and "intense" and "overmastering desire" when defining lust. Lust is a thing that eats up your energy, time, love, and attention.

I like how James started verse fifteen - he writes that when lust has "conceived". A good word for this is "formed". When lust has formed...This implies the prior building up of it. The nurturing of it. The "forming" of it. Clearly, this lust wasn't taken care of when it was small, but has now grown.

James goes on to say that once lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. Here, he uses the analogy of human life. Lust, once conceived, brings forth sin. When lust is allowed to grow and form, it will eventually cause you to sin. So, is lust in and of itself sin? Or does it just make sin happen? Say, if you want a candy bar long enough and you allow that lust to conceive, will you go steal one? I don't think this is correct. Granted, in many cases, if you lust for something long enough you will more than likely act upon it. But I don't think that is what James is implying.

In the original Greek and Hebrew, the languages in which the Old and New Testaments were written, the words for lust and covet are very similar. They mean basically the same thing. One of the ten commandments was "Do not covet". It made the top ten! Clearly, this is something that does not bring God glory.

But, there's one more step. Sin, James says, then brings forth death. The wages of sin is death. The payment for sin is death. Not physical death, mind you, but spiritual death. Eternal separation from God. Eternity in the worst place of all - hell. Eternal torture. Eternal death.

But, you may ask, you didn't answer your own question! HOW am I to NOT lust? Answer this question yourself. Think about it. If your mind is filled with these lusts, how do you get them out? In the same way, if you have a pool full of water that you cannot tip or drain, how do you get the water out?

By replacing the water with something else.

Go to God's word. Go to Him in prayer. When you fill your mind with other things, things more important, you replace what was in your mind previously. You can replace your lust.

Ask God for guidance. Ask Him for help. Fill your mind with things of Him. Fill your time with things that glorify Him. Live every moment for His glory alone and you won't have any time left over for things of this world.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says that in everything we do - whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we need to do ALL for the glory of God!

Finally James writes, "do not err my beloved brethren". James loves his brothers and sisters in Christ as we also ought to love them. He is human also, he knows what they are going through for he goes through the same things. He feels their pain. He warns - do not err. Don't do what's wrong, do what's right. Those believers then, as well as the believers now, are our "beloved brethren". Our brothers and sisters whom we love in Christ.

I think we can pull one last thing from this section. James' love for his brethren. He loved them enough to take the time to write this letter to them. He loved them so much that he took the time to instruct them in the word of God. Do we love our brothers and sisters that much? Do we love them enough to set aside what we want to do to take time to help, edify, and encourage them?

Do you love your brethren?

In Christ alone,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What's on the inside?

Luke 11:39
And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Ever heard the phrase: "it's what's on the inside that counts"? That's what Jesus was talking about in Luke 11:39 when he told the Pharisees that even though they look good on the outside with all their good works, their hearts were full of wickedness. How about the phrase: "don't judge a book by it's cover"? That can go both ways. The cover may look bad, but the book could be amazing. Or the cover may look amazing and the book be horrible. It's the same with people.

Take this example.

One day a handsome young man came walking into the grocery store looking for all his fruits and vegetables. In the store he was pleasant to all, and he left the store, got into a brand new Mustang and drove away.

Soon after that man left, a scruffy old man came walking into the grocery store, he bought a few items also. While in the store, he was sad and didn't speak or look at anyone, he left the store, and started walking down the highway.

Later that day, the handsome young man was seen at a bar, utterly drunk, cussing and fighting with other men there.

Also later that day, the scruffy old man was seen walking into a cheap housing area, and into one of the houses. Inside, the man was taking care of his wife who was sick. He had walked the two miles to the grocery store for her. He knelt by her bed, and prayed.

You see, it's not what WE see that matters. It doesn't matter what the person may look like on the outside. What matters is where their heart is, what matters is what God sees.

Examine yourself, are you a Christian on the outside, inside, or both? If you are only a Christian on the outside, what are your motives? On the contrary, if you are only a Christian on the inside, what are your motives? We need to be both. If you are a true believer, then you will be both. Your Christian life when no one is watching should mirror your Christian life when everyone is watching.

Ultimately, is Christ as important to you in public as He is when you are alone with Him?

In Christ alone,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

James - part 7 - Hard to blame a perfect God

Dear readers,

In the last James study post I asked you a strange question...who's chicken are you? I hope you have honestly answered that question for yourself. It may sound like a pretty stupid question, but the answer is vital - who (or what) would you lay your life down for?

This time, we will continue on in the subject of temptation.


James 1:13
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.


In this verse, James is very to-the-point. He begins by telling us what not to do, then gives us the reason. Short and simple.

What NOT to do: don't blame God when you are tempted. Don't throw a pity party and lose your head and start blaming the God of the universe.

Why? Two reasons. Number one: God absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, be tempted with evil. He is holy. He is perfect. He is the greatest, most powerful, highest being in all the universe. Evil can't even come NEAR Him, much less tempt Him. For example: why would a twelve year old boy (in his right mind) be tempted to buy nail polish for himself? They are utter opposites. They completely contradict one another. It's the same - but to a much, much higher extent - with God and temptations. It doesn't even phase Him. Number two: God doesn't tempt anyone. Temptations are only given out by the devil and our own evil desires (as we will see later). But under no circumstances does God tempt us.

Hard to blame a perfect God? You betcha. Don't blame God when you are tempted - it's not His fault.

In Christ alone,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meat or Milk?

Hebrews 5:12-14
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

When taken literally, this sounds...strange. But this is one not to be taken literally.

Instead of literal milk and meat, the author of Hebrews (probably Paul) uses these two elements to represent levels of understanding when it comes to Biblical and spiritual things.

Milk represents easier to swallow things, simpler things, more general things. Things such as: you are a light in a dark world.

Meat represents harder to chew things, more difficult, complex things. Things such as doctrinal things: did Christ die for the whole world or just for the elect?

This whole meat vs. milk thing if very important. The reason it is important is because if a new believer, or young believer, is immediately bombarded by difficult questions, their faith can be damaged or even destroyed by questions that they are simply not able to answer. But as you grow as a believer it is important that you are challenged by harder stuff - not too hard as to tear at your faith, but hard enough to force you to keep learning.

It's just like with many things in the world. You learn by being forced out of your comfort zone. You won't get anywhere if you just stay with what you know. In fact, you won't know anything that an infant doesn't know. You must be forced out of your comfort zone to learn anything.

Something too hard can discourage and oppress you, something too easy won't teach you anything. The balance in the middle is what we're looking for, and shooting for as we study God's word.

In Christ alone,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

James - part 6 - Enduring until the end

Dear readers,

Last time, we found that James encouraged those who were poor to rejoice in that they were exalted and he encouraged the rich to rejoice in that they were humbled. Did you find which you were? What is your attitude?

This time we will be looking at temptations and the reward for enduring until the end.


James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.


James starts out this by saying that the man that endures temptations is blessed. What does it mean to endure temptations? To me it means not giving in when your friend is asking you to go help him steal something. It means standing strong and immovable through the ridicule you will face for "being a chicken". Well, who's chicken are you? The world's? or Christ's? Being called a chicken is a derogatory statement used to taunt the person to do something outside of their comfort zone, or in some cases, their "belief zone". If you are the world's chicken, then you won't do anything for Christ that takes you outside of luxury and comfort. Obviously, if you are not a believer then you won't be called a chicken by believers if you refuse to do something for Christ - for example, taking the word of God to a cannibalistic jungle village. Why would you risk you life - waste you life - for this God you don't even believe in or worship? If you are Christ's chicken, then you will strive to do His will, which implies doing things that the world thinks is cool, but is against your Lord. An example of this might be like my earlier example - you may not be afraid to steal something (worldly speaking), but you know it's wrong, so you refuse to do it. You may look like a coward in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of Christ you're doing what's right.

Getting back on track...He that endures, stands strong, doesn't fall into all the evil schemes of the devil and desires of his own flesh - that man is blessed. Sounds easy, right? Not if you've ever resisted a temptation! Or, better yet, fallen into one! The trick to not falling into temptations that I have found, is loving God more than anything else. When your number one priority is doing HIS will, then doing YOUR will will be further down on the list. That probably wasn't a great way to put it - the trick to it - because it's really no trick, just the truth. When you love God more, everything else becomes less important - even your own desires.

But, being blessed isn't the only reward. That man will also "receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love Him". See! Told you! Loving God more = wanting to do His will instead of your own. It's all a loop, isn't it? Loving God more = wanting to do His will = not wanting to do your own = resisting temptation = loving God more.

Giving into temptations results in sin. Giving in and going to steal something with your friend results in sin. Deciding to get drunk "just this once" results in sin. Lying to cover your tracks is sin.

Don't give into temptations. Strive to know God more. As you get to know Him more, you will love Him more - guaranteed.

Who's chicken are you?

In Christ alone,