Showing posts from January, 2012

A Position of Influence | Lessons from James

Welcome to Real Life .  When I read this verse, I caught my breath.  “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” [1] I’m teaching a women’s class right now.  Should I be?   It’s a serious responsibility.  A teacher holds a position of influence.  I must be careful to teach what’s true.  God will hold me accountable. This verse speaks about the position of teacher in the church.  However in a broader sense, we’re all teachers.  We all wield influence.  You’re teaching me and I’m teaching you.  Every day, we’re learning about life from each other.  A neighbor with lupus never complains.  A friend donates a kidney to a stranger.  A son begins his day reading God's Word.  Unless you’re a hermit, you're life is affecting someone.  You are a teacher.  What lessons is my life teaching?  Who I am, what I say, and what I do reflect what I believe at the core of my being.  That thought

The Rest of the Story on Doing and Being

Welcome to Real Life .  Last week, I wrote that God was calling me to shift priorities from doing things for him to being with him .  This week, God has been stressing the importance of "doing" in the book of James. “Faith without works is dead.” [1]   Really, God?  I thought work was not supposed to be my priority.  After wrestling with him over these seemingly opposite directives, I get it.  I needed the whole story.  James completes my picture of faith, doing, and being. I am a doer.  Therefore God is consistently reining me in, pulling me back from my inclination to overload my days with work.  However, this doesn’t mean I stop doing.  It means my work must be balanced by rest and quietness and trust (last week’s blog).  It also means my work should be the natural result of being with God.  This is the crux of the message in James. When I fill life with work, I don’t have time to spend with God. My soul is cut off from its supply of Living Water.  My f

One Important Thing

Welcome to Real Life .  It’s January.  I’m inspired.  I’m full of ideas for wonderful things I want to make happen this year.  I start the New Year running!  The problem is… I’m off-focus.  I’m concentrating on doing things for God, rather than spending time with him.  But, God’s been adjusting my focus with his words in Isaiah: This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:  "In repentance and rest is your salvation,  in quietness and trust is your strength,  but you would have none of it." [1]   Repentance   It’s a scary word.  It conjures up images of red-faced preachers with big black Bibles.  At least it used to, until God showed me another picture of repentance:  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, [2]  a son asks his father for an early inheritance . Then he leaves town and parties away his windfall.   Broke, dirty and hungry, he comes to his senses.   He repents .   He heads home to humbly ask his father’s forgiveness.   Dad’s there wa

A Call to Holiness

Welcome to Real Life .  As I begin the New Year, I am pondering God’s call to holiness. View from my window I’m looking out the window on this second day of the New Year.  It’s snowing hard.  It hasn’t snowed much this year.  (I know, it’s coming.)  The whiteness is blinding after days of dull, dreary rain.  Watching the snow, I sense God’s Spirit saying:  I am holy.  I live in blinding light. [1]   I want you to be holy as well.  Yesterday on New Year’s Day, we sang in church:         He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide        And trembles at his voice... How great is our God  Pure. Clean. Blinding light.  God is holy.  I am not.  In fact, I’m far from it.   A great gap exists between who I am and who God is calling me to be.  Yet, He still wants me to be holy.  It almost seems unfair.  Kindness, compassion, and maybe even love might be do-able.  But holiness feels out of my league, like an amateur athlete trying to compete in the Olympics.  Leave h