In my Beth Moore study this week I am studying James 1:17: “Every good and perfect thing is from above….”
She had participants divide their age by 4, and then write a list of GOOD things in each quarter of life. I wrote about five things in each quarter, including things such as a great job, new car, first step into my healthcare career, ability to begin college, getting through the hardest trials in my life, etc., and was so taken back by God’s grace in my life, and also shocked at the realization that I am such an ungrateful creature who takes so much for granted. Did I even realize during these times that God was so kind to me in giving me, an undeserving sinner, such wonderful gifts?
She then had us specifically write, boldly, the good characteristics/strengths that we may possess, by God’s grace. That includes any spiritual growth and maturation. If we have anything good in us (or have had anything good in life in general), it is by God’s grace and we do not have to be silent about it in the name of humility, she says. I love how Beth Moore states: “Pride takes credit. Glory gives credit.” Her point was that we can acknowledge the good things in life, and God can be glorified through it.
Too often we hold back and keep silent about the good things God has given us, whether it be characteristic or materialistic, and we do not give God the glory for it. People can see the good things we have in life, but the impact comes when we open our mouths and they hear us give credit where credit is due. God is kind to us and gives us good gifts that we do not deserve, and we are forever indebted. The least we can do is open our mouths and give Him the glory.
Last night, I was taking down signs for a yardsale for some friends, and I parked my car at a gas station, kinda outta the way. Out the window there was a man on a cell phone, walking back and forth on a strip of grass (right in front of my car). I get out of my car and start crossing the grass, headed toward the sign I need to take down (which is actually on the other side of the street). From across a street, a lady comes running toward the man saying “I’m a nurse, is he still alive?” and at that point, I involuntarily looked to my right and saw a man…laying behind the dumpster. I don’t need to give more details. Just, it was disturbing. I finished my task and made it back to the car.
I had to get gas, so while I was pumping, I saw an ambulance pull into the parking lot. Some guys got out and….did nothing. Thus giving me the impression that the man had already passed.
I’m not sure how the man ended up behind the dumpster, and I’m not sure who killed him (or even if he was murdered by someone). Incidents like this occur every day. But I can’t wait for the day when there is NONE of this, none of this sick wickedness in this world.
More on Tuesday. I’ll share what happened later Sat. night…which was such a blessing and joy to me!
Recently I took a trip up to Alaska. Every time I travel, I wear my FBI (Firm Believer In Christ) shirt. My dad dropped me off at our tiny little airport here in Springfield. I got to my gate and still had about 45 minutes to kill. I just sat down and played with my phone and tried reading my book. But I couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation between the guy and lady right behind my chair (the chairs were actually attached). He was sharing Christ with the lady. I was amazed… and excited! I eavesdropped as well as I could, and was very impressed. I heard another 2 other ladies talking, also obviously Christians. I finally got up and went and joined the little group. They saw me and noticed my shirt, and they smiled at me (no kidding!). I sat down and they introduced themselves, and we all became friends and talked about our churches, where we live, etc. Finally, it was time to board the plane. I hoped I was sitting next to at least 1 of these people. This was my first flight alone, and it would have been nice to sit next to at least one of these Christians.
Well, as it turned out, the couple (the guy who was sharing his faith with someone else and his wife) were sitting right behind me, and the lady who greeted me first when I joined the group was sitting next to me! (the lady who was asking the guy questions was on the other side of the plane) (and, by the way, these Christians didn’t even know eachother (‘cept for the couple, obviously) – they just “happened” to meet at the airport)
The couple were Missionaries to Mongolia. They had very, very neat stories that they shared with me and the lady next to me.
It was such a blessing to meet these people. The Missionaries made quite an impact on me. One thing they talked about is their 6 yr old daughter they recently lost. They lost her on short notice. I was about ready to cry when they told me what happened. But, instead of them telling me how much they missed their dear daughter, and what a blessing she was and how they wish to have her back, they dwelt on the subject of “Oh, how good God has been to us! We are thankful He gave her to us, even for that short time. And, He was even so kind during the trial, and blessed us in many ways (like, they were stand-bys for a plane, and they were all able to get on the same plane when they were trying to get out of Mongolia to the States for medical care).”
These are the people I LOVE to be with, and who encourage me greatly. I am so grateful I had the privilege of meeting them, and getting to talk to them. I hope that if someday, if the Lord wants me to go through trials like that, that I would have a spirit of joy, like they did, and that I would encourage and bless others, like they did. Talk about walking Faith Strengtheners.
Who will separate us from the love of Chris? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
… For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8
I am the type of person who is always “ready to go”. First thing I do in the morning is jump in the shower (not turn on the coffee pot, or work out, etc.). Then I do my hair and anything else to make myself socially acceptable – in case I might need to unexpectedly go run an errand or receive an unexpected visitor etc.
Why am I like that? When I was ages 8 through 10, I lived in a little town called Pilot Hill (California). You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s another place way out in the middle of nowhere. My cousins lived in a nearby town called Cool – another town way out in the middle of nowhere. They would unexpectedly drop in 3 or 4 times a week. As soon as I heard a vehicle coming up our driveway, I would run and get my shoes on, and as soon as it was safe to jump out of the car, Levi would leap out and we’d run to our Secret Fort.
Now, we lived on the side of a hill, and all five acres were sloped. Thus, the only appropriate shoes to wear outside were tennis shoes. I always needed to wear socks with my tennis shoes (or I got in trouble). If I didn’t have socks on when Levi showed up, he’d have to wait and I would have to run around the house looking for socks ( I never put them in my drawers so finding my socks was quite the task). Sometimes I would be so desperate that I’d going Dirty-Clothes-Mountain-Diving and wear my dirty socks.
I HATED having people wait on me (I still hate it). So I would always keep my socks on to avoid having Levi wait for me, because I knew he’d be showing up any minute.
What I just wrote is a silly illustration, but what I shared with you above it’s what I think of when I read:
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace;
16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
You know how in some books the character is in some dilemma, and then the book just ENDS and then YOU have to come up with the ending? Well, I hate books like that. But I can’t figure out how to wrap up this post without it sounding cheesy (“May I always keep my socks on and run from any sin”? “keeping my socks on”? (you get the picture))
The way that the Lord answers my prayers is… flat out humbling.
He is so good!
He who give attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. Prov. 16:20
I hope you’re having a good day.”
-James, age 6 (youngest of The Six)