Tag Archives: religion

James memory, but why?

19 Jun

You may have noticed that I sometimes post scripture verses from the book of James without any commentary, and you may wonder why (or not, I don’t know :)).

Anyway, my purpose in doing so is two-fold: 1) because it helps me in my bible memory review to type it out from memory, and 2) because it is the word of God and my life depends on being in it and sharing it.

To clarify, I’m not memorizing the book of James so that I can go around telling everyone how great my memory is. In fact, it takes quite a heaping of courage for me to quote it in front of people or to even tell them I’m attempting such a goal.

I am, however, memorizing the word of God, starting with James, for the purpose of allowing God to speak into my life via scripture. As many great books are out there by well-meaning Christian authors, there is nothing like the word! And because, as one of my favorite verses says, the word of God was written for our instruction (Romans 15:4). I cannot live without it!

And, in time, I hope my James memory will be used for the purpose of encouraging other believers. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I know I’m called to love God and love his people. And if the day comes when my freedom to serve God is taken from me, I will still love God and his people, and share the word with his people, even if it comes from memory.

I hope to share more about how the book of James has changed and grown me, but I believe it is only just beginning. After all, I’m only in chapter two. ❤

(And, by the way, if you think memorizing a whole book is impossible for you to do, think again. I thought so too just a few months ago!)

Jen

Trials: Mercy from God

12 Jun

What if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

(Blessings – Laura Story)

Had a revelation about this song today and how it has applied to my own life and experiences.

Ask yourself: Where has God allowed trials in your life and how have they been a blessing to you? Have you thanked him for the hard times that have molded you into the image of who you were called to be as a follower of Christ?

Jen

Livin’ like Hebrews 12:1-2

8 Jun

Are you willing?

Are you willing to press on in your walk with Christ and strive to become more like him with each day, even if it means leaving some parts of your old life behind? Such as friends who influence you and hold you back? A relationship you’re not supposed to be in? A pathway of life that leads to destruction? A career change? The approval of your peers? Repentance?

I was asked something along those lines this week.

And, I am willing. Because, as Paul said in Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Oh, and it’s not about me. It’s not my life. It’s HIS life. The purpose of my life is not for Jen to be happy and feel good. It’s for Jen to glorify Jesus.

Living like Hebrews 12:1-2 (look it up!),
Jen

Wisdom from C.S. Lewis

5 Jun

Today I had a thought.

Just a tiny, little, insignificant thought.

But it wasn’t insignificant. And it started to expand from its tininess. For just a split second, it was pain-inflicting.

But I stopped. And as I began to preach God’s faithfulness to myself, I was reminded of this quote:

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

If you’re struggling with the past, do you really believe this?

When it’s hard for you to believe, simply remember that God loves you. Preach it to yourself. And no matter what it is you’re leaving behind–an addiction, a relationship, a difficult time, a poor decision, a rough past–as long as you are walking in obedience to God, there will be far, far better things in store for your future. No, I do not mean that your life will be perfect. I mean that your walk with God will become more beautiful than it ever has been before…full of peace, joy, strength and wisdom. There is nothing so valuable as a relationship with God that is full of surrender and trust.

And, looking back, you won’t wish that things had turned out different. You won’t wish you could change the past. Why? Because you will value your grown relationship with God so much that you wouldn’t trade it for a single thing on the planet.

Are you having a hard time believing this today?

Take this advice and remember the quote from Mr. Lewis. I certainly am. Oh, and remember: He is holding you together (Colossians 1:17).

And…you’re not alone!

Jen

Partiality (a little James 2 memory)

2 Jun

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has God not chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

Jen

Faith that saves embraces and acts

29 May

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works. James 2:18-22

—–

In Sunday school growing up, I heard many conversations between student and teacher that went a little bit like this:

T: “Who can tell me what it means to be saved?”
S: “Believing in God.”
T: “Yes, but believing in God is not enough. Even the devil believes there is a God. We have to repent of our sins, accept Jesus into our hearts and strive to become more like him. That’s what separates us.”

In other words, we can’t just believe IN God to be saved….we have to actually believe him. That means we take him at his word. We believe that what Christ did on the Cross is real and true. And we repent of our sins and work hard to be doers of the word (James 1:22) and become more Christlike, which is our calling (Romans 8:28-29a).

This is confirmed in the commentary on James 2:19 provided by Crossway’s ESV Study Bible:

The affirmation of monotheism stems from the core Jewish creed called Shema. But James stresses its inadequacy, since even the demons believe this, and they shudder. Mere mental assent to the Christian faith does not save anyone. The faith that saves, as both Paul and James affirm, embraces the truth of the gospel and acts accordingly.

So, what is the result of faith that actually believes God? Faithful obedience. But it requires action. How do I know that? Well, let me make a list from Hebrews 11…

  • By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain…
  • By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark…
  • By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age…
  • By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…
  • By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau…

By faith, they all obeyed. They acted. They trusted. Their faith was ever-so-clearly completed by their works (James 1:22).

Is that not inspiring? I’m feeling challenged to evaluate areas of my life where I’m simply believing in God and not truly believing him. I hope you are, too! Let me leave you with one of my favorite parts of James that helps us remember to do more than just believe IN:

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25

Jen


Unstained from the world (a James 1-from-memory victory)

17 May

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. {James 1:26-27}

Jen

Whatever is TRUE

12 May

Have you ever had a bad dream? One that wakes you up in the middle of the night and disrupts your peace? Maybe it was a nightmare, or maybe it was something from your past that creeped into your dream world and awoke you abruptly after it finished.

When I have dreams such as these, I find it difficult to start the day off on the right foot. Often I find myself trying to figure out why I had the dream. Did it result from a thought or worry I had the previous day? Was it because of something I overheard that my subconscious picked up? Long story short, I begin to evaluate the dream and my mind can wander off into a somewhat depressing place.

And I can’t stand it. Thankfully, I have learned that when a bad dream leaves me feeling down, I must remember that it shouldn’t control or direct my thought life for the rest of the day. It should have no power over me.

Why is that?

It’s because Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. A bad dream does not fall under any of those categories. In fact, it’s the opposite of “true.” Dreams are not real. I encourage you not to spend your entire day dwelling on something that is not a part of reality. Instead, remember what is real: God is good, Jesus died for my sins, He rescued me, He is with me and He loves me. Those are all things that are true. And honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, etc…

I just have to leave you with a cool little story. Last week, I woke up in the morning from a rough dream. Shortly after I awoke, I read the following tweet by Christian recording artist Dara MacLean:

“Had a dream about the past & realized its because the enemy is scared of my future. Today u have everything u need through him 2 succeed.”

Girl knows what she is talkin’ about. And God knew I needed that! I instantly began to see my dream as an opportunity to trust God instead of a reason to doubt myself and my situation in life. I’m not going to let the enemy become a stumbling block to my growth and maturity in Christ. Are you?

Jen

Yes means yes, no means no

11 May

Anyone out there remember the song “Follow Through” by Gavin DeGraw? I always have and always will love that song. And even though it’s not a Christian song, it has a great message. The chorus includes the following phrase:

You have to follow through with every word you say.

I was reminded of this song recently in a session of Beth Moore’s James: Mercy Triumphs study when she mentioned James 5:12:

Above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

This was a major challenge to me because, just like anyone reading this probably has, I have experienced broken promises in my lifetime. I’ve had people tell me “I promise to never _____,” and then they go and do that very thing. Even I have made statements such as, “I promise I will ____,” and then I go away and forget to do that very thing.

You see, we really shouldn’t have to use the word “promise” at all (James is telling us not to!). When I say, “I will do this,” I should just do it. I should be a woman of my word. I want to be someone people can trust and have faith in.

It’s challenging. It’s biblical. It’s hard work. But I’m going to try harder. Anyone with me?

Jen

A victor, not a victim

10 May

Today I was talking with a dear friend about how, no matter what we’re going through, we are not to view ourselves as victims. She said to me something along the lines of, “We are not victims. We are victors because of Christ. It is about him, not about our suffering.”

Yes!

And, after our conversation, I began to wonder and almost worry: Have I conveyed that completely in each blog I post about difficult times and the things I’m going through?

Just incase…let me be clear:

I am not a victim. I am a VICTOR. And only through Christ and what he did for me on the Cross.

Life’s gonna knock me down.
It’s not gonna keep me down.
I’m gonna trust You now, in every season.
I know You’re here.
I know You’re for me.
I know that joy comes in the morning.
God, I believe it now.
God, I believe You now.

{Britt Nicole – Who You Say You Are}

Jen