Happy 5th of July! Having a holiday mid-week really through a wrench in my organizational skills, but it was a nice day off nonetheless... more to come on that... along with a catch up on what we've been up to and where we've been for the past two weeks. Summertime does not mean slower-time for this family- we're running just as fast as always! But let's get down to it, shall we?
This week's topic was based on a message that my husband preached last week from the book of James. If you did not get a chance to check it out, you can view it online here, and the week 2 message is up now, too, if you are at all interested. There was so much good "meat" in this message, so I thought it would be best to just hone in on a couple major points so that I don't write a blog post that would take you two hours to read.
The first, is applications. So you claim to be a Christian, eh? Did you know that Christian basically means "little-Christ"? So if I asked you what you were doing on a day-to-day basis to be like Christ and show His love to others, would you be able to give me several examples? What about reading the Bible? Are you actively in the Word? Are you tithing? Are you praying? ... Let me say this before I go any further: these questions are just as much for me as for anyone else. Although I am married to a pastor, I can put all kinds of "priorities" in my life above these that I just listed. It pains me to type these words, but I have to admit that I do not read my Bible everyday. Eek! And you know what? There are days that I get in bed and realize that I did not speak to God all day! And then I look back at my day and you know what I see? That the "priorities" I put in front of those things were running around like a crazy person picking up groceries, cleaning up toys, doing laundry, and doing the everyday mundane things that are inevitably going to need to get done again tomorrow. Cleaning up after two kids is like shoveling snow in a blizzard... so why should I focus so much of my attention on that when the creator of the universe is patiently waiting on me to come to Him? I think I forget what a privilege that is. I mean, think about it: the most powerful force in the entire universe wants my company? He wants to bless me? And He wants to do it even though I don't love Him and serve Him perfectly? If the President of the United States or maybe even a famous actor, sports player, or public figure wanted my company, wouldn't I drop just about everything to see that it happened? Wouldn't I let the laundry sit for another hour or two or the house go messy for a day so that I could work that out? And yet, someone FAR more powerful and important than all of those things beckons me to Him everyday and I brush Him off sometimes. "Give me five more minutes, God," or "Let me finish these dishes, God" or "I'm not ready to get up, God... You made me and understand that I need my sleep rather than getting up to spend some time with You" always get in the way. Sound familiar?
And then there's the other issue of reading that book of His. In order to be like Christ (so a Christian in other words), don't we have to know what He said and did while He was here? And isn't that all written down for us? I know as well as anyone that the Bible is an intimidating book. It's big, and it doesn't use the same flow of language that we use in everyday conversation. But as Josh points out in this message, there are so many different version and translations of the Bible, so you can always try a different one if the one you have isn't working. I feel silly in saying that until about five years ago, I did not know that there was anything other than the King James Version! No wonder I was confused! So if you take nothing else from his message this week, I at least hope you walk away knowing that there are resources out there to help you understand what it is that He is trying to say to You. We speak to Him through prayer... He speaks through us in His word. How can we live it if we don't read it?
He summed it all up with this one verse found in James chapter 1 (imagine that!):
Josh puts it in language that we will definitely understand: "Don't just hear it, but DO it!"
How often do we know what to do, but yet we go the other way? And how often does that turn out the way we'd like it to? Hardly ever. So let's try it together... let's do the things that we already know, learn what we don't, and try them out, too. Make TIME for God, for He is the giver of time... shouldn't He get some? And put Him first, because He always puts you first. Start making choices based on His word and see how your life begins to change.
As always, you can read Brittany's thoughts over on her blog here and leave your own thoughts as a comment. Appropriately, Brittany picked next week's topic that falls right in line with this. Coincidence? I think not. So here's the topic for next Thursday:
"I have been challenged to my core recently to really evaluate how good I am doing with "living it out" so I pose the question....how are you doing??? I'd like for us to focus on this for next week. And share along the lines for some accountability what is working and what may not be working right now. And I'd like for the MAIN IDEA to be that of "cooperation and discipline"...what do you think??"
So let's live it out together this week. I'm particularly excited about sharing what works for you so that hopefully some of it can be applied to my own life. And just like every Thursday, I look forward to meeting you all again here next week.