Fatih and Actions Working Together

The crowd, somewhat calmed, but still heightened by James teaching, cautiously listens even as James calls them foolish. Accusing them of being empty of moral content and pretentious. By the power of Holy Spirit he continues to press them harder but they remain incredulous demanding evidence that faith without deeds is useless. Collectively they wonder, “Who is this man turning upside down our thought process, the very core of what we grew up learning? Who does he think he is? Isn’t he simply the brother, and half at that, of the man named Jesus who claimed to be The Messiah? And, he has the audacity to liken what Father Abraham did [offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice] as a deed because of his faith in God?”

James was on fire in his teaching, actually throughout the entire book of James, he is succinct and to the point not parsing words (oh, that the Bride would be more James-like holding herself accountable by drawing herself back to the truth of God’s word in love and grace rather than falling into the trap of societal correctness, when it is our job as believers to hold each other accountable and draw each other back to the truth of God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and recognizing we are not judging each other but loving each other, but I digress).

How often do you, do I require evidence from God about anything?

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

James 2:21-22

Abraham didn’t need any evidence for what God was asking him to do. He allowed his faith to help him be obedient together with his action resulting in his faith made complete.

Do you often think about your faith connected to the deeds God asks of you as growing your faith? How gracious God is when He asks us to fill a need at the same time He is growing our faith! Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said we would do greater things than these (John 14:12-14). Collectively, spurred on by our ever increasing faith and by the power of Holy Spirit we can and ought to do the deeds or good work God calls us to do.

So, how do we apply this to our life? I will always lead you back to time spent with God. It is only through reading and studying His word and prayer that we begin to hear His voice guiding us in the direction He wants us to go and His will for our life.

Let’s aspire to take on the characteristics of James and Abraham believing that faith and deeds is an abundant way of living.

Shalom!

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Faith, Deeds, Life

The man standing at the back of the gathering in the square shouted, “That is preposterous!” Another jumped to his feet, robes gently billowing in the late afternoon breeze, and demanded, “What is the meaning of this?” As I watched the crowd was becoming restless and I could sense a small uprising mounting. I could taste the dust in my mouth as the people milling around kicked it up in disbelief wondering, is James telling us faith is the catalyst for good deeds?

They were taught to take care of the widows and orphans, give to the poor and be a good samaritan. That every good deed they produced was of their own accord and had absolutely nothing to do with faith. Faith was something in Yahweh.

Faith is not passive and genuine faith is the reality that we align our life too through Jesus and the power of Holy Spirit.

As your faith grows so will the deeds God wants you to be involved in. Faith and deeds go hand in hand. Our responsibility is to remain open to all acts of deeds He places before us asking Holy Spirit to help us be courageous, bold and obedient.

Further, our responsibility is to move when God instructs us to. To fill the needs He places before us. Whether these needs are financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. Healing, great healing, comes from our faith which leads to deeds that God works through to offer healing to others.

May our good deeds be known by our growing faith in Jesus. May our faith be genuine and always active as we continue to seek Him and His righteousness.

Shalom!

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Anxiousness

I stepped on without a care in the world. Grabbed ahold of the black rubber rail and looked up to carry on the conversation I was having with my daughter. Suddenly it hit me. I started to shake, my grip on the rail grew tighter, I couldn’t see the top nor did I want to because that meant looking up while traveling up the 213 vertical feet of one on the tallest escalators in the Western Hemisphere. I looked down and my daughter instantly knew I was struggling and there wasn’t anything we could do about it. So I prayed. That was the longest two minutes and forty seconds of my life!

Daily the average ridership on the DC Metro system is 626,000 [The Washinton Post 1/15/20]. Every time I am in DC I am amazed by the people walking up and down the escalators throughout the metro tunnels. Standing behind those walking down there appears to be a certain sway to their descent like they are walking on a small pillow of air. Likewise watching others walk up on the opposite escalator they appear slightly bent forward like they’re carrying a small burden. I suppose one becomes acclimated to the escalators and there are elevators but I challenge myself whenever I am there to use the escalators. However, anticipating riding them always causes a certain amount of anxiousness and a WHOLE lot of prayer!

In our verse for today Paul encourages us to not be anxious about anything but focus on God bringing our concerns to Him. Many times and for many of us this is easier said than done. There are times anxiety happens in situations like anticipating riding a very tall escalator and other times it can be because of an imbalance in our system. Before we move on my encouragement is to seek God and His wisdom about what you ought to do to feel healthy and live the full life He came to give each of us.

And that’s just it…seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Including God in your every day, every minute, every choice and He will lead you in His direction which is perfect and best for you.

When we choose to live in this fashion Paul goes on to encourage us…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7.

Practicing more peace for my heart and mind along with you!

Shalom!

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Belonging

We need encouragement in our lives on a daily basis. We need someone to build us up and help us see our value and worth before the Lord. The devil and the world’s systems grind us down and wear us out. We need others in the body of Christ to remind us that we are God’s unique and irreplaceable creations, called to unique and irreplaceable places of ministry. We need to be reminded of God’s love for us and of our importance to the church.

Charles Stanley

When our children were younger and I would drop them off at school before they got out of the car I would say to them, “Remember who you are and Who you belong to.

As a believer in Christ your identity is in Jesus[.]. I know, I know, the world and the enemy clamor for our attention and we begin to look here, we look there, we look anywhere except up. It is vitally important that you and I stay connected to Jesus on a consistent basis practicing all the spiritual disciplines [I recently read there are at least twelve] throughout the day or by Holy Spirit’s leading. He is the only One who can help us keep our focus on Him.

Whatever your today and all your tomorrows hold I bless you with the knowledge and truth that Holy Spirit lives in you as a believer in Jesus and is available to you for whatever you need.

Shalom!

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Katapetasma

The earth shook, rocks were split and miraculously, before their eyes, those that had fallen asleep believing in Jesus were raised FROM the dead! Even more miraculously and after the resurrection of Jesus they left the tombs where their bodies had lain and entered the holy city appearing to many people. Can you EVEN imagine this?! If I were the relative or close friend of someone who had died and rose again and didn’t believe in Jesus that definitely would have sealed the deal for me. Alas, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Holy Spirit gives to each of us the faith to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The decision to receive this gift is always up to us.

Prior to the earthquake and the rocks splitting the single most important thing that happened in this event was the katapetasma [veil] which hung in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This veil separated the Holy of Holies, where the presence of God lived, from the outer part of the temple in Jerusalem.

Prior to Jesus death and resurrection the veil was significant because only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies as an intermediary for Israel and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The moment Jesus breathed His last breath the katapetasma was torn and some believe this event symbolizes the departure of God’s presence from the temple. This event also ushered in direct access to God by all those who believe in His Son Jesus.

In our verse today Paul is talking about the hardened minds of the Israelites to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it isn’t only the nation of Israel that had hardened minds against Jesus even today there are many who believe if they do good, if they don’t lie, steal or cheat they are in good standing with God. Sadly, their minds are still covered by a veil that continues to keep them hardened toward God.

My prayer is that God will remove the katapetasma over all Israel so she will see Jesus the Messiah she has been looking for.

That He will remove the veil from all who are yet to believe revealing His beauty.

That He would simply cause the Bride to stop picking up and covering her mind with another veil. Jesus died once[.].

That we would see the beauty of the glory of the Lord reflected in us and grasp ahold of the freedom in and through Jesus in our life that spills onto the lives of others simply because Holy Spirit lives in us.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17.

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Pics from Wisconsin

The pic of my husband and me was taken when it was 1 degree out! The trains run right through town. I was close enough to see the Engineer and we exchanged waves. My husband ‘skating’ at the snow covered skate park. One of the many dams along Fox River. The trees covered in bright, white snow after an all nighter snow storm. Our fresh footprints in the new fallen snow. Enjoy!

Seeking Wisdom in the Right Place

May we not miss Wisdom and thereby injure ourselves. Rather let us love Wisdom finding favor with the Lord and living the abundant life Christ has given us as our inheritance here on earth.

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Shalom!

No. 736

A train I did find

Just in time

Though she no longer runs.

Passengers she did carry

Here and there

Maybe everywhere.

Can’t you hear her horn

See her billowing steam

If only in your memory?

Her glory days are over

But here she sits

For all to see.

No longer charging across the tracks

A stunning beauty

No power does she lack.

No. 736

You proudly sit on display

Thank you for your service.

It’s Enough or God is Enough?

Two young women sat at the bar sharing their day with each other over hors d’oeuvres. They wore their game day best and were ready for some football! My husband and I and our friend sat at a table directly behind them. We too were wearing our game day best, however, we were cheering for the opposing team. We were in the land of the frozen tundra. Not the arctic but the state that is home to the football field known for that name. With the exception of the sweet older woman who wore all purple to rep her favorite team, we were the only ones not dressed in the hometown color.

The game started and as it progressed the hometown fans were loud and shouted in unison as their team made good plays. The place was eerily quiet except for my husband’s and my whoops when our team was doing well. Soon we noticed that every time we would cheer the two women at the bar would turn slightly and give us the stink eye [I guess they take their football seriously in the frozen tundra]. I mean, I like our team and I would have been disappointed if they would have lost but I wouldn’t have been giving the opposing fans a sidewards stink eye glance.

Soon one woman left leaving her friend to watch the rest of the game by herself. When it was clear that her team would not be the victors she abruptly got up, firmly pushed her chair in and left the establishment. Her body language spoke louder than any words she would have spoken. She was downright mad.

“My grace is sufficient for you…”

2 Corinthians 12:9

What caused her to be so mad? Is it simply because her favorite team had lost or is there a deeper issue? I don’t know the answer but it caused me to think about empty love tanks and the places we look to fill our love tank. I use to use food of the simple carbohydrate kind to comfort myself whenever I was stressed or upset [I also use to have a terrible anger issue that was a learned behavior as well as a spiritual stronghold. Praise God He delivered and healed me!].

So how do we ensure that our love tank is full and where ought we turn when we feel it beginning to deplete? God’s grace. His grace which He extends to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus is free. Like any relationship this takes practice. It takes a commitment by you to carve out time for Him daily.

When you allow yourself to accept His grace you become content and you acknowledge that God is enough. He is sufficient for anything you face in life. Even your favorite team losing.

If you need prayer or believe you are ready to ask Jesus into your life please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top right or if you are on a mobile device click on the menu button.

Shalom!

The Disguise of Vanity

My momma, a beautiful woman inside and out, would spend at least an hour everyday doing her hair just right. She had a standing weekly appointment with her hair stylist and was part of the last generation of women who carried over the bouffant hairdo from the sixties into the nineties! Each night after her hair appointment she would pin curl her hair in order to keep the shape. In the morning she would tease and back comb the top, sweep her bangs to the side and all those pin curls she would tease and flip up individually. I’m exhausted just remembering this!

I’ve never considered my momma to be vain. Certainly many of us have a daily routine that includes styling that makes us feel good about ourselves, however, there is always the danger of going to far and falling into the trap of vanity.

In our verse Paul is telling the Corinthians that the apostles proclamation of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and their faith is in vain if they do not believe in the resurrection. He is telling them that their faith is ineffective, foolish and worthless. This is exactly what vanity does to our true identity in Jesus. Vanity attempts to cause us to believe our identity is ineffective, foolish and worthless.

How do we protect ourselves from this sneaky and subtle ploy of the enemy of our soul? Consistency is the key by reading and studying God’s word. Asking the Holy Spirit to highlight what He wants to speak to your heart through His word [I like to take Scripture that speaks to me and turn it into personalized prayer on neon colored 3×5 cards], through prayer, here again, asking the Holy Spirit to lead your prayers and taking time to listen to what God is speaking to your heart. When we commit to practice these disciplines we begin to understand the work God has carved out for us to accomplish. The power of the Holy Spirit [the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead] causes us to be steadfast, immovable and always excelling in the work of the Lord.

…because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58c.

Stay tethered to Jesus because you my friend are priceless.

Shalom!

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