James 5: 7-11

 “Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. A farmer patiently waits for his valuable crop to grow from the earth and for it to receive the autumn and spring rains.  You, too, must be patient. Do not give up hope, because the Lord is coming soon.  Brothers and sisters, do not complain against each other or you will be judged guilty. And the Judge is ready to come!  Brothers and sisters, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They suffered many hard things, but they were patient.  We say they are happy because they did not give up. You have heard about Job’s patience, and you know the Lord’s purpose for him in the end. You know the Lord is full of mercy and is kind.” – James 5:7-11

The Beautiful Attitude

Beauty in nature brings smiles to the face and twinkle to the eyes. We enjoy natural beauty. It is how we are made. We specifically enjoy beauty that mimics our Creator. By that I mean that the internal attitude of our hearts naturally leans toward the perfection that is our Creator. Even His craziest looking deep sea creatures reveal qualities about Him of beauty and grace or sheer determination and power. And much more importantly, our attitudes externally toward people should mimic the beauty we possess internally from our Creator. Now when that doesn’t happen, usually there has been an injury to cause a disconnect. Some people have years and years of multiple injuries and have difficulty expressing beauty because they no longer believe the truth of their internal beauty. And sometimes the injury is self-inflicted and then we assist the lie that beauty can not reside where we were ugly on purpose. And this is the truth here… ready for it? Pause for dramatic effect, you have always been to God as beautiful to Him as He purposefully designed you to be. Nothing has come as a surprise to Him. Nothing has made Him hate you. That is the truth. Everything else is lies by the enemy to hurt you and destroy you if he can. There is a reason the devil is called the father of lies. Now, there is the matter is sin. When you are saved and you confess the sins to Him and turn away from them, leaving them behind, the sin is washed clean. You are instantly just as beautiful as the day you were designed by the Creator. And once you believe that truth, you will start acting beautiful, which is an attitude of appreciation and love, respect and worship, peace and power, self-control and goodness, the more fruits of His Spirit you will reflect. What we appreciate of Him a d His beauty will start pouring out of you and your beauty will show as a light to all. Now, just because this happens doesn’t mean the enemy is going to leave you alone. He still wants you gone, so until heaven is our home, memorize this and say it out loud, “Nope, that’s a lie, get away from me in Jesus Christ’s name”. That is your tool. And back to the beauty, the renewal process works best when you replace the holes the lies left with truth from God’s Word, the Bible, and prayer. Allow the Source of truth to fill you up and renew your beauty. This will help a lot. You got this. And the best thing is you never walk alone. God is always there with you.

Mingling Chocolate and Consequences

I love chocolate. Specifically, I love dark chocolate mostly but any chocolate that is real and alone will do. Now, the downside to my love of chocolate is my strong dislike of the consequences of having too much. For instance, I break out and my clothes get smaller overnight. Now, relying too much on anyone thing for happiness is completely foolish unless that thing you are relying on is an eternal and good thing. Otherwise your reliance is founded in something temporary, something evil (the opposite of good). This makes sense, right? So my reliance on chocolate to make me happy or alcohol or drugs or gambling or pornography or other things would expend energy that could be used for lasting and good purposes to bring glory to and worship God and instead distorts, damages, delays, detracts and completely screws up your life eventually for the enemy’s gain and laughter at your falling for it again. The opposite of good is evil. There is a definite and consistent stark contrast in the Bible between good and evil. There are not varying shades of evil or varying shades of good. It is either good or it is evil. That is truth. So, if the reach isn’t for something or someone good, we are reaching for something or someone evil. And anytime we take our chances and run with the evil side because it feels good to do so or has become habit or is familiar and comfortable, we enable the enemy a door to sections of our soul and spirit and help him in his work of killing us. The enemy, Satan, and his spiritual army only seek to destroy the amazing and beautiful people God made and loves. In contrast, when we resist the devil, he flees because he has to. He has already been defeated. So, resisting evil on purpose and reaching for good and eternal things and People will bring peace and love and joy and blessings and a purity renewed that is splendid and healthy. We get to pick. However, we must pick on purpose or it will be picked for us. God gives us the tools we only need open the toolbox and use them to receive the benefits. Prayer, salvation, repentance, Bible study, worship, church support and involvement, service, work. These things are all tools for lasting good and eternal beauty. So great a gift!

Spousal Responsibilities

When we fast and give are the times to not let the other part of yourself (your spouse) know what you are doing. We do not have to indulge every thought to our mate, I don’t find that in Scripture. However, I find such things as love each other as a mandate. Wives are supposed to respect their husbands. It does not ever say that our husbands have to be perfectly respectable for this to happen. In fact, there is a good deal on being kind, forgiving, loving, gentle, self-controlled, and so on. I don’t see any prideful alternative here. In like manner, men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. That is a much taller order because no pride was involved in the depth of His love as He gave up His life for her. No prideful alternative is here either. All I see does not entail pride and selfishness at all. Quite the contrary. This is radical teaching in a culture of “all about me” and “I deserve it”. To say no to our rights and no to pridefully wanting to be right is indeed an act of the strongest faith. I don’t get it right as much as I would like to believe. I am not called to be right but be righteous, and that is quite different. I would rather be wrong and humbled in someone’s eyes and allow my trust in God to shine through as a testimony than to proudly stand correct and kill any testimony I may have had. I won’t be happy with evils hitting me in the face every day but I will have peace. I won’t ever say evil is good or okay or no big deal but I will focus on doing the Godly thing myself and pray and let the Holy Spirit work in my mate’s life. I am responsible to keep myself clean and faithful and gentle and kind and loving, just as I would be were I called to be single, and my spouse has that same responsibility. And if he chooses to chase after evil, nothing will stop him because God gives us free will. And if I choose to chase after evil, there is nothing anyone can do about it either. So the best I can do is be the best that I can, pray over the rest, repent of my wrongs, forgive, work on following Christ, and let the rest go. It breaks your heart and can make you quite depressed because of your love and desire to see that person at peace, but hurt or not, you have to let it go and work on your relationship with God and do the best you can. Just my thoughts on the matter as I see it Biblically.

Ten Awkward Things To Be Doing When Raptured

So, those faithful to Jesus Christ at some unknown-to-us specific period of time are going to be caught up to be with Him in Heaven in the twinkling of an eye. People call this described phenomenon as the rapture. No signal or announcement precedes this. And of course this got my overly imaginative mind wondering and I thought of ten awkward things to be doing when the rapture happens. Again, ten things that would be awkward for us to be doing when the rapture happens and we faithful are teleported to Heaven instantly.
1. Having sex.
2. Being on the down moment of a teeter totter with someone else up.
3. Taking a shower.
4. The moment gearing up for a sneeze.
5. Juggling.
6. When you were just about to yell, “Timber”.
7. When diving for a dive toy at a nonbeliever’s home.
8. Driving.
9. About to catch the final out in a championship baseball game to win.
10. Any willful sin.
Feel free to think of your own. Have a wonderful day!

A Light Bit of Encouragement

The darkness surrounds us. Some churches are bright lights and refuges from the dark, while others resemble the darkness. This causes sadness. BUT, we who love God and His Son, our perfect sacrifice and means of hope and help and love, are so blessed to have His light in us! We have this amazing ability to see and walk with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of the darkness surrounding us and sometimes in our own homes, supposed to be a sanctuary. The thing is, our absolute greatest source of encouragement in this world and any world is also the source of all light! The Father is the one who provides and loves us. Jesus fights for us, the Holy Spirit strengthens and blesses us (and keeps us on our toes). These three persons of the amazing Holy God in concert could not possibly love and encourage us more. Our greatest source of encouragement is God, the greatest reason (along with truth) for keeping our noses in the Good Book, our Bible and our eyes trained with prayer on God. Keep on the path! Keep in the light. Darkness surrounds, yes, but so what. Let it. We already won because of God and we have to encourage others to step out of the darkness into light. Light is SSSOOOOO much better!

Second Chances

God gives second chances. And third. And fourth. So on. The thing is not so much that failure is not falling down but staying down. The thing is knowing that you have fallen in the first place. Lies are the fuel of the repeated bad decisions. Lies are often so much in control of the situation that the truth seems some dark foggy place. However, praise God that He is all about truth and clarity! Our constant mission as followers of the way of Love (Christ followers) is to constantly seek truth, which is always found in the Bible. There are no lies there. It is a lie-free zone. No one understands truth like God because He is truth. Truth is His business. His and our enemy is the father of lies. Lies is his trademark, his tool to sell his deadly wares. Lies like, no one gets hurt OR it’s okay to do some bad if you do some good to balance it out OR if it feels good or makes you happy, do it OR no one will find out. These are the most common, I think but there are so many more. Lies can only be brought to light and defeated by truth. There is no amount of therapy that will bring peace apart from the truth found in the Bible. There just isn’t. It is a fact and a good one because it provides hope and a way out. Truth is our chance. And salvation through Jesus Christ is the strongest part of that truth and hope. We have forgiveness when we humbly ask because God forgives and is big enough to forgive many times over. He longs for relationship with us that He made so He wants that forgiveness and cleansing of us. He longs for us to see the truth and have it set us free from guilt and bad and/or incorrect thoughts about ourselves and even Him. He gives us many second chances. Praise God!