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Showing posts from February, 2012

Taming the Tongue | Lessons from James

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Welcome to Real Life.   The tongue is tiny, yet crazy powerful.
It only takes a spark, remember,
to set off a forest fire.
A careless or wrongly placed word
out of your mouth can do that.
By our speech we can ruin the world,
turn harmony to chaos,
throw mud on a reputation,
send the whole world up in smoke
and go up in smoke with it,
smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary:
You can tame a tiger,
but you can't tame a tongue.[1] Guilty.  I’ve said things and immediately wished them unsaid.  I’ve laid awake nights agonizing over stupid, ugly words.  I once heard that the sound waves of spoken words remain in the universe forever.   True or not, they seem to haunt my memory forever.  Dumb remarks uttered years ago can still turn my stomach.
My words hold the power of life and death,[2]  I don’t like that responsibility.   The same as an IED,[3] hit my pressure point and I could explode the shrapnel of deadly words. Like it or not, I hold power in this tongue of mine.  Sure, I can…

Draw Near to God | Lessons from James

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Welcome to Real Life. God is always present. But, his presence is not always felt.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.[1]
This verse used to bother me. I thought, “Why doesn’t God draw near to me first. Then I would naturally want to draw near to him?” I didn’t understand. He already has. God is near. I just don’t sense his nearness. But, when I seek him - read and meditate on his Word, invite him into my thoughts, speak to him throughout my day, sing to him, sit quietly with him – I find him near.

My difficulty is remaining in that sense of his nearness. I often seek Jesus in the morning and then leave him behind in the busyness of my day.

At other times I seek God, but don’t find him. I don’t feel him near. I feel alone. David once said, “God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?”[2] During those times, I keep talking to him like he’s right with me. Because, he is (whether I feel him there or not). Jesus said, “I am with you always.”[3]

What’s …

Just Like Me | Lessons from James

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Welcome to Real Life.  Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets of the Old Testament.  Was he really just like me?  

The prayer of a person living right with God
Is something powerful to be reckoned with.
Elijah, for instance, human just like us,
Prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—
Not a drop for three and a half years.
Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did.
The showers came and everything started growing again.[1]

Elijah, just like me?  I don’t think so.  Elijah prophesied.  He raised the dead.  He called down fire from heaven.  Elijah was superman
Then again … Elijah was afraid.  He ran from Jezebel.  Elijah felt alone.  He thought he was the only one living for God.  Elijah got depressed.  He asked God to take his life.  Okay, maybe he was like me.
Israel was God’s nation.  But their king had led them to worship Baal, rather than Jehovah.[2]  It broke God’s heart.  It broke Elijah’s heart.  So, Elijah prayed for a drought.  No rain meant no crops.…

Why Don't I Ask? | Lessons from James

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Welcome to Real Life.  Happily exhausted, our family was exiting the Magic Kingdom down Main St. USA.  Suddenly five-year-old Cal looked up and said, “But, I didn't get to meet Mickey Mouse.”  My heart sank.  I had no idea he wanted to meet Mickey.  The park was closing.  It was too late to go back.

“Why didn’t you ask?” I replied. I’m his mom. I love him. I would have gladly arranged for my son to meet Mickey Mouse. If only he had asked. 
“You desire but do not have …
You do not have because you do not ask God.”[1]

What am I longing for?  God is my heavenly Father. He loves me. Nothing is too hard for him to arrange. So, why don’t I ask?
God is omniscient.  He sees and knows my deepest thoughts and needs.  Why do I need to ask?  Why doesn’t he just meet my needs?

When God answers my specific prayers it builds my faith.  I know he’s there.  It is powerful evidence of God’s presence in my world.  More importantly, communication builds relationship.  I grow closer to Jesus as I speak wi…