Monthly Archives: August 2018

What’s Your Story

Typewriter What is Your Story

Have you heard the story about Maurice the Moose? Probably not, it was one that was fabricated by a grandfather to intrigue and capture the attention of his granddaughters. I’m sure you have heard the ancient story (fable) of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” to many times. These stories and others have the power to leave a lasting impression on us. Our personal stories encapsulate who we are , they communicate life in a way that connects us to one another.

James pulls out all the stops to make his point clear about the importance of living a Christian life. Why do you think James takes the time to mention people like Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, Job and Elijah in his letter? He does so because each of these people have displayed exemplary commitment in their faith to follow God with wisdom and obedience. When James talks about faith in action, he reminds us of the story of Abraham and Isaac, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (2:22) He also mentions Elijah, and because of his faithfulness to God in prayer the people experienced the power and authority of God. Job’s faith in God demonstrates the importance of patience and perseverance in the trials of life. The story of Rahab gives testimony to one’s faith in God and the work that he calls us to, and the work that he will do through us. 

Why are stories important? Well, like James did in his letter, stories have the power to connect not just with our minds but our hearts. When we hear a personal story or testimony of what God has done in and through the lives of other believers it excites an emotional response within us. Our stories of faith in God can often be a vehicle of inspiration that strengthens the relationships of other believers in their walk with God. These incredible stories are authored by God himself to reveal His love and compassion for those who don’t know him yet. When was the last time you shared your story? There is no time like the present to share what God has done for you. 

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What is On Your List?

ChecklistWe all make lists. It might be a mental or written “to do” list, a grocery list, a list of Marvel movies to watch, a wish list on Amazon, a music playlist or a list of your favorite cat videos. Depending on your personality you might make a list to organize your lists. (I know you are out there) Some people have a bucket list, a list of experiences or achievements that they hope to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

In the Bible, James gives us a practical list of ways to live as followers of Christ, to live a Christian life.

  • Know that true wisdom comes from God, not from the things of the world (3:17)
  • Put your faith into action (2:14)
  • Overcome trials with joy (1:2)
  • Think before you speak (1:19)
  • Show no favoritism (2:1)
  • Pride is our enemy (4:6)
  • Taming our tongue (3:9-12)
  • Be humble (4:6)
  • When we are suffering, pray. (5:13)
  • Confess your sin before God and others (5:16)

Did you notice the top two items on the list? Faith and wisdom. Faith is having an active trust and belief that is evident by obedience to the Word of God. Godly wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. When our faith in God is securely built on the foundations of Christ’s death and resurrection and we live that out in our lives we bring honor and glory to our Creator. Because of our faith we can ask God for the wisdom to live our lives according to the rest of the list James gives us. Our faith is strengthened when we find joy in the face of trials of life; when we recognize pride as our enemy we can grow in humility; when we call out to God (pray) in faith he will answer us. God never intended for us to live life on our own, he gave us brothers and sisters in His name to walk alongside us, to be a reflection and reminder of Him, to be listeners and encouragers. If you made it to the end of this blog, I challenge you to choose just one of the listed actions and live in it, ask yourself how you are doing in that area of life and ask God to help you live so that He may be glorified.

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Just Ask

hey siriHey Siri, where can I get wisdom?
“Ok, I found this on the web for ‘where can I get wisdom’”
“How to gain wisdom: 13 Steps (with pictures) – WikiHow – “Wisdom is a virtue that isn’t innate but can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things and reflecting on the process has the ability to gain wisdom. By learning as much as you can, analyzing your experiences and putting your knowledge to the test, you can become a wiser person.”

As smart as Siri might think she is I think that when it comes to gaining wisdom, we as believers need to take a different approach to gaining wisdom. James gives us the best advice in his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. Step one, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” That was step one, if that didn’t work go back and try again and again. James offers up some help when thing don’t go as you might have planned by offering up a this instruction. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt.” James describes a faith that demonstrates action, a living out of what God has called us to without any doubt. He uses the term “double-minded” to describe someone who tries to live two contradictory lifestyles, one that tries to please God and another to please themselves or others; it is like oil and water, the two don’t mix.

God hears the prayers of those whose lives demonstrate that they have faith in him. When James talks about believe or faith, he is referring to an active trust and belief shown by obedience to the Word of God. The wisdom that we receive from God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17). When we experience the incredible gift of grace offered to us through God’s demonstration of love for us through his Son Jesus Christ, when we live our lives obedient to his will, our lives (the way we live) will reflect Godly wisdom, a wisdom that shows greater concern for others than for ourselves. So, instead of the 13 steps suggested by Siri, I would encourage you to listen to what James has to say, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.”

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