3 Ways the Epistle of James Helps Me Succeed in Day-to-Day Living

Prayer, Recreation, and Organization

In the age of the Internet, iPhones, social media, and other technological amenities of the 21st century, is learning from the pages of centuries old writing even relevant anymore? Have we not progressed as a society where psychologists, depression medicine, and other self-help tactics are a dime a dozen? While I do believe there our current social-historical environment enjoys some of the greatest advancements and quality of life in the history of the human race, there still is wisdom to be gleaned from ancient texts. I came across such writing recently in both a familiar yet fresh place—the Epistle of James from the New Testament.

three pigs houses.jpg

1. Build your house on the living cornerstone instead of out of straw: One of my favorite children’s short stories is The Story of the Three Little Pigs. Along with being able to tell that tale to my children now, I enjoy the practical…

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Why Read Leviticus?

Deep Down Things

While reading in Leviticus, I cannot help but notice the obvious economic implications of religious sacrifice. Burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings: all of these require a lamb, a goat, a bull, or birds. I may not be a rancher, but I know that livestock is expensive. A good Black Angus bull, used for commercial grade beef, can run anywhere from $1,400 to as much as $3,400. If I had several bulls, or even goats or lambs, I could count as them as an investment worth protecting. If I lived in a mobile, agrarian society, like the Israelites in Leviticus, the value of my livestock would increase, because livestock might possibly be my only property of significant value. With no house, no car, no stocks, and no investment funds, the fortune 500 of ancient Israel may have very well consisted of 500 bearded men with the biggest herds…

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He knows our Future

The Organic acoustic and suitcase

You think you know what tomorrow will bring about or holds in store; I do not think what will happen tomorrow, I know what will happen tomorrow, the next day, week, month, year, until forever reaches no end.  I created it all, set it all in motion.  Why do you wonder about tomorrow in the midst of today’s problems.

With all your curiosity about tomorrow and the future, why do you not simply ask Me about it?  Did you just hear what I said in the previous paragraph?
I know it all: Ask and you will receive.
I know it all: Seek and I will show you.
I know it all: Knock and I will will open and will reveal it all to you.

Do not be fearful of the future, I created you, you are my child, I love you; why would I let my child who loves Me…

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Two Hands and Three Foods

Journeys in Discipleship

A few weeks ago, in “A Handful of Melon Seeds”,  we referred to a “monkey trap,” in which a man in the Kalahari used a handful of melon seeds to trap a baboon.  The point was that our grasp on the things of this world enslaves us.  This week, I’d like to talk about the related effect that this grasping to our old ways has – denying us the blessings God has for us.  To do that, I’d like to use another illustration incorporating a primate, this time the “Slow Loris.”

Some of you may have seen the “I have two hands and three foods” image above as a meme or video floating around the Internet.  The Loris – a small primate with a very worried-looking face – appears to be in a dilemma.  It has been offered a treat, but its two hands are already full.  It knows…

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Hospitality and Horror

Joe Writes Words...

I’m a Christian who loves horror movies.

And not just the classy or smart horror movies, like the Universal monsters or Rosemary’s Baby. I mean all horror movies: smart stuff like The Exorcist and The Witch, popular stuff like Dawn of the Dead or The Sixth Sense, and trashy stuff like Friday the 13th and Frankenhooker.

That statement has earned me more than a few raised eyebrows, even in the past few years, when people have rushed home from church to catch The Walking Dead. Why in the world would someone who knows that perfect love drives out fear spend time making himself afraid?

There are lots of reasons, more than I’ll cover right now. But one of the best reasons is to see what scares people. You see, the things that scare us in movies almost always stem from real-world problems and concerns.

The…

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Captivating Woman’s Heart

I behold the one who's beautiful, Captivated am I by her loveliness. How elegant is her exquisite form, Her body leaves me spellbound. But it's her soul that lures me,' My heart is attracted to hers. For she reflects the image of God, In her, I see the Lord's reflection. She is full of love … Continue reading Captivating Woman’s Heart

Praying “In Jesus’ Name”

shawnethomas

These two verses in John 14 are VERY strong in their teaching that what a follower of Jesus asks “in His name”, He will give:

— :13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do …”
— :14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

How much more clear can these verses be? And yet the meaning of these promises is often greatly misunderstood.

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The Long Game

In the Beginning, God

Today’s reading is Psalms 90-93.

I’m a terrible chess player. I can possibly think two moves ahead, but that’s about it. Why on earth would I ever think I know best how to run life or the world? And yet far too often, having seen one or two moves ahead, I can’t understand why God is letting things happen the way He is. I can imagine Joseph didn’t quite understand when he was in the pit or Moses when he was in the wilderness or David when he was hiding out in the cave. But God can see the end from the beginning. More than that, He isn’t working on my time table. Time is meaningless to Him: a day, a thousand years, they’re pretty much the same to Him. Therefore, though I don’t understand everything that will happen today, I do trust that God has control of the…

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Is Your Faith Strong Enough to Move Mountains?

Taking Up My Cross

What does having faith in God mean?

Well, in my blog post,Will You Walk By Faith?I talked about howwe should put our faith in God and believe that He will do what He said He would do, but also realize that not everything is going to turn out the way we want it too. Now, let’s get to the core the matter; what kind of faith do you have to move your mountains? In Matthew 17:20, it tells us what type of faith we, as Christians and people should have.

Matthew 17:20-21
“20 Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and…

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More Lessons from Our Arrows

Becoming Titus 2 Women

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One of the many lessons that I’m learning from motherhood is selflessness. Oh it’s a hard lesson, one in which I’m not through being taught. We’re all naturally selfish and want everything our way, but when you have other humans to think about, it sure puts a new light on situations. We have to start thinking of others more and ourselves less, which can be tough at times.

There are some days that I don’t feel like having to cook, teach, or even stop arguments. I would much rather be writing, taking pictures, or swinging on our porch. Our children are helping me learn what it means to serve. Though, I’m still learning to serve them without complaint because that is definitely a work in progress. Our children are not only for us to help, but they also can help us.

By serving them, I’m learning how to humble myself…

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