Praying James 5 – A Warning

Praying James 5 – A Warning

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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When Praying James is Hard

We are entering into the last chapter of James.  I’ll warn you, the first part is a scolding. It’s easy to read this passage and want to apply it to someone else. But let’s be careful not to do that. Let’s focus on our own hearts, because those are the only hearts we can change. We can encourage others hearts but it’s better if we take care of our own first. This goes back to taking a splinter out of someone else’s eye before we take the plank out of ours.

I know, you probably feel like this warning isn’t for you, but be careful. None of us are perfect. If we have been blessed at all by God, we are wealthy! One day every single material possession we have will be gone. Will what is in our possession to glorify God or will it eventually rot away without being a blessing?

Lord, instead of waging our finger at someone else, we pray that we will look into our own hearts. Let us take this warning to heart personally. Show us where in our lives we are holding on to the things of this world instead of sharing your blessings with others. In Jesus name – Amen!

A Warning

James 5:1-2

Dear Lord, when you warn of condemnation that is coming we want to believe it’s for someone else and not us. But your warnings are to help all of us re-examine our hearts to make sure that we are not putting anything including wealth in your place.

Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and how He helps us examine our hearts. May we be honest with ourselves to see if we are putting our hope in money and the things we have or in you.

You are the only truly secure thing in our lives. Help us not be deceived into thinking that the blessings you have given us are more important than you. Those things can all disappear in an instant. They will not save us. Only you will.

May we put our trust fully in you so that in the end we will not be weeping and wailing but will be rejoicing in you.

In the One who is coming soon – Amen!

James 5:3

Praise you, Lord, for your patience! You do not want to lose anyone. You are constantly warning us to look outside of ourselves. To look to you, a God who gives and meets all our needs, and share the blessings you have given us with others. It helps no one to hoard blessings and keep them from being used.

Oh, Lord, may we not allow your blessings to be wasted! Instead, let us hold onto your word in Luke 6:38,

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Let us have a grace and a giving spirit that not only exceeds the expectations of others but shows your benevolence and goodness. Not only in how we love others but in how we give as well. Let this continue to echo in our hearts so that when Satan tries to get us to place security in things instead of security in you, we can hold onto you tighter and let those things go.

In the One who will provide in ways we can’t imagine – Amen!

James 5:4

How thankful we are, Lord, that you are just and hear the cries of those suffering at the hands of others. When they have been deceived and not received what was promised to them upon completing their work, they along with their entire families suffer. They cry out to you for help and justice and you hear them.

Selfish greed overtakes honesty and steals right out of the mouths of others.

Lord, let us search our hearts and see where selfishness is hidden. We cannot fathom ourselves doing this to others but selfishness starts out small and snowballs into injustice. Bring to our attention where we allow selfishness to reign in our lives, so that with your help we can deal with it swiftly and be able to help care and stand up for those who are mistreated.

In the One who knows us better than we know ourselves – Amen!

James 5:5

When we fix our eyes on anything but you, Lord, we miss a glorious opportunity to live the life of self-sacrifice that you call us to live.

Your life showed us that denying self for a little while will bring you honor and us eternal joy that starts now. Help us, Lord, to not become entangled by the luxuries of this life. Help us to choose your comfort over the quickly disappearing comforts of the world.

We never want to hear that we chose anything over you. May we search our hearts daily to make sure these things are not taking top priority.

In the One who sacrificed himself for us – Amen!

James 5:6

Lord, we want to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you.

Living without mercy or considering the needs around us, but instead hoarding all of the blessings we have been given just for ourselves is evil in your eyes. It is careless and unloving. Does this equal murder in your eyes? When we could have helped someone by sharing what we have, but keep it for ourselves is this condemning them to death, when we could have otherwise saved them by sharing?

You say that “anyone who knows the good they out to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Lord, help us not to overlook those you have put in our path to serve. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to serve you because we are fixated on holding on to things that will eventually fade away.

May we truly act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you.

In the One who always takes our actions to the heart of the matter – Amen!

 

 

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

What does your morning look like? Do you jump out of bed, heading straight to the window? Or maybe you’re more like me and you press snooze several times before slowly dragging yourself to the coffee maker. You might be busy getting ready for work, meeting the needs of your family, or you might be in a season of life that offers a more relaxed approach. Regardless of how our mornings might look, there is one morning ritual we can all benefit from, and that is acknowledging God’s presence.

 

I am certainly not a natural morning person, but I do enjoy waking up early to have quiet time with God. I usually start my quiet time with a cup of coffee and a short verse before diving into my prayer journal and Bible study. A scripture beforehand helps me meet God, and remember who He is before I enjoy His presence.

But you don’t have to enter a long study with the Father to find encouragement from a short psalm in the morning. To be honest, I’m not always diligent about making time for morning devotion. I could pour out excuses about the distractions I face with motherhood, but the truth is that I found excuses before I became a mom too. The devil prowls around, wanting to pull us away from our Father however he can. All the more reason why we need to meet with Jesus as we start our day! 

 

With the new year, I have, like many others, set a goal to be more disciplined in my devotion and study time. It is always good to prioritize some quiet time with the Lord! Sometimes, though, we can get discouraged. When we don’t know how to shell out an hour we just give up. God is so much more merciful than we give Him credit for! Yes, He wants us to give him time. He wants us in his Word. That should be more important to us than anything, but there is power in His name. Simply taking a short moment to recognize His presence at the beginning of each day can give us so much power as we go forward. Power to live for him! A short psalm is a wonderful way to acknowledge our Father God.

 

I want to encourage you to make time every morning to acknowledge God. (I’m encouraging myself to remember this as well!) You don’t have to start out with a long study. Start simple, with a verse and a short prayer. Our little girl loves to see her daddy in the mornMaybe the morning isn’t a good time for you to focus, and you want to have quiet time later in the day. If so, that is awesome! There is still something so wonderful about taking a moment to meet God in the morning.  Our little girl loves to see her daddy in the morning. Her eyes get big and she grins from ear to ear as she runs toward him. My husband loves these greetings. I think that’s how our heavenly Father wants to meet us each day. 

So write these verses down or type them in your phone! Read one as you wait for your coffee to brew, dry your hair, nurse your baby, before you start your quiet time, or even before you hop out of bed. I pray they will encourage you as you begin your days!

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day  

Psalm 90:14     Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 46:5     God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 143:8     Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 23:5     My cup overflows with blessings. (NLT)

Psalm 139:18     And when I wake up, you are still with me! (NLT)

 

There are verses all over the Bible (not just from Psalms) that can offer encouragement in the morning! Which Bible verses do you enjoy waking up to?

 

 

 

Keeping Anger from Exploding into Sin

Keeping Anger from Exploding into Sin

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Anger unchecked is explosive. It can leave physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. Learning how to keep anger from exploding into sin is a must in this society. We must not only teach ourselves but our children what to do when anger arises.

Watching the news makes it pretty obvious that we as a society are not doing a good job. Instead of encouraging others to not let their anger spew, it has become acceptable and encouraged. Then people wonder why it seems like every other day violent outbursts are literally killing others.

Being Cautious with Anger

Anger is a tricky thing because it is not a sin to be angry but if we do not deal with it then we can sin in our anger.

We have a set of questions that gets repeated often with a houseful of strong headed kids. These typically get asked when someone becomes angry:

Is it ok to be angry? Yes.

Is it ok to sin in our anger? No.

It is ok if a situation brings feelings of anger, but it’s how we choose to handle that anger that determines whether or not we sin in our anger. So how do we keep anger from exploding into sin?

When Anger Erupts

The other night one of our precious children’s anger erupted into a sinful flow of burning lava. The child at first tried to control it, but then gave completely into it. The child’s demeanor changed and the anger that was boiling inside his heart was so evidently displayed on the face and spewed out through his actions.

It was obvious that our son was struggling. Wanting to lash out was the last thing he wanted to do but he couldn’t figure out how to keep his anger in check.

Keeping Anger from Exploding into Sin

After cooling down a bit, my precious son walked up to me with a Bible in hand, asking for Bible stories about anger. Knowing full well what this child needed to hear, God put a passage on my heart and his. It was amazing how they complimented each other and taught the lesson he needed to hear.

Holding onto to our anger

Because the anger our son had was geared toward another sibling, I chose for us to read Genesis 4, which is the story of when Cain killed his own brother Able.

The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Genesis 4:4b-5

After reading that passage, I pulled our son in close and we started to compare his situation to Cain’s.

Me: Did you notice the description of Cain’s face? It was “downcast.”  Do you know how your face looks right now?

Looking into a mirror, he was quickly able to see what a downcast face looks like. His demeanor changed a little upon seeing the anger written upon his face.

Then we refocused on verses 6-7:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

God came to Cain. He asked him why he was angry and warned him not to let sin overtake him. But Cain chose to allow anger to rule his heart instead of leaning in and giving it to God. The result was horrific. He allowed anger to not only rule that moment but his life. He killed his own brother.

In turning back to our son, I asked, “Are you willing to hold onto your justified anger and let it stew in your heart against your brother? God doesn’t recommend it and doesn’t want you to sin by holding on to it. Do you know 1 John  says hating your brother is like murdering him? Do you really want to murder him?

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 3:15

Giving our Anger to God

The passage my son asked to read could not have been more perfect for this situation. I was amazed that he even remembered it. We’ve only read the story once while reading through the Chronological Bible, but it obviously made an impact with him. He wanted to read the Number 16, which is the story of Korah leading a rebellion against Moses.

His specific request was, “Mom, can we read the story about when the earth opened up and swallowed those people?” So I’m not sure if in that moment he was hoping for some justification as to why his annoying little sibling should be swallowed up whole or if he remembered how Moses handled his anger. Either way, God was about to use this story to remind both of us of a valuable lesson.

This was the perfect passage because like my son Moses had a reason to be angry, but Moses chose to handle his anger in a completely different way than Cain did.

Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.”
Numbers 16:15

Do you see the difference? Moses went straight to God with his anger!  This is exactly what we need to do. When anger balls up in us and we want to lash out, take it to God instead of taking it out on others. Allow God to deal with those who hurt you. Let him dispense justice, but even more pray for them that the person’s heart and attitude will be changed.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written [Deut. 32:35] : “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Romans 12:19

And boy did God avenge Moses!

As soon as [Moses] finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart  and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions…And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
Numbers 16:31,21,35

When Anger Flares up – Stop, Drop, & Pray

Anger much like fire is all consuming. It destroys what holds it as well as everything around it if it is not properly cared for, so when anger flares up in our lives, we need to be like Moses. Stop, drop, & pray!

So that’s exactly what we did. We took the time out to pray and ask God to calm his spirit as well as find better ways of dealing with his siblings.

I don’t want to raise Cains that think it’s ok to let the sin of anger overtake them and unleash their wrath on the world. So we will continue to keep anger from exploding into sin and pray our children will encourage others to do the same as well.

 

 

 

The Submissive Wife

The Submissive Wife

Candace B

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am currently a stay-at-home-mom and I help my husband in every way in his position as a youth minister (It's a true labor of love and we wouldn't be anywhere else!). I am also working on my teacher certification so when both my kids get into school I will have a job that I am passionate about, get to see my kids all the time, and will be out when they are out. I am most importantly a Christian and strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man.”

1 Timothy 2:11-12

Submission

It is a humble word, but in years past the world has twisted the meaning into something negative and something to cause disruption in relationships.  Why is this? Women’s rights? Equality? It could be attributed to many different things. I asked my husband what his definition of submission would be.  His answer was, “Putting someone else’s desire or will in front of your own.”  I love that the man I married–the man I committed my life to–understands that when I am submissive to him that I am putting his needs before my own. And likewise, he also puts my needs before his own.

I pray that you and your husband feel the same way.  Being a submissive wife is a beautiful thing.  I have never thought of it as negative, but I have seen it misconstrued in many ways.  As a Christian you are not only to be submissive to your husband but most importantly to God.  He commands it.  James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Humbling yourself to our Lord–submitting to him–is putting your faith in Him and fleeing from evil.

There will be people who take advantage of this humbling act.  Some people do take advantage of their role as head of the household instead of centering the marriage relationship on what God wants and demands of husbands.  1 Corinthians 7:3 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” We need to be proactive about this, but moreover we need to trust our husband and have open communication to further strengthen the marriage.  When your marriage is centered on Christ, you serve your husband, and, in turn, serve God’s purpose for a strong Christian marriage.

christian-marriage

What Does Being Submissive Mean?

Does being submissive mean you don’t get a say? That what your husband says goes? Absolutely not!  Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through word and present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Praise God for the Word!  Scripture tells us that husbands are to take their role VERY seriously and to be able “present her as a radiant church.”  Being a submissive wife is a beautiful, humbling act.  As wives, let’s be mindful that our husbands can be under pressure with having this charged to them by our Lord.  Encourage your husband.  Always let him know that you appreciate him in all that he does for you and your family.  Practice being submissive daily and look to the Bible for encouragement and understanding in this matter.

May God bless you and your marriages.  Be the wives that God wants you to be according to Ephesians 5:22:

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

ephesians-5_22

How can you be an encouragement to your husband?

 

submissive wife
Courageous Perseverance

Courageous Perseverance

Jennifer E

Jennifer E

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E

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As a new year approached, many people were reflecting on the peaks and pits of the previous year. Many of us are cultivating our hopes, dreams, and goals for the year that lies ahead. In a previous post, I wrote about the seasons and landscapes that my faith walk has journeyed through. Some may have had an amazing year where their faith flourished. Others may have struggled to keep their faith intact through the last year.

Religion or Faith?

I think it can be very easy to confuse “religion” with our faith and feel let down by God when His people let us down. A few weeks ago our minister shared this verse in a sermon and I could feel the tears well up in my eyes.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

A Spirit of Courageous Perseverance

So, with the fresh beginning of a new year I hope this verse can encourage you. Maybe it will ignite a spirit of continuing courageous perseverance for those who are feeling tired and weary. For without those years which test us, our faith will not have the years of abundant growth.

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In what areas of your life do you need courageous perseverance?

Praying James 4 to Avoid Satan’s Traps

Praying James 4 to Avoid Satan’s Traps

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Praying James 4 to Avoid Satan’s Traps

Satan lays traps for us constantly. He wants us to take the bait, but our Savior has walked this road. He can point the traps out to us so we don’t fall for Satan’s schemes.  Not only do we have our Father, Savior, and Holy Spirit, but we have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to help us along our journey.

When I ran cross country, oftentimes we would hear someone in front of us shout, “Hole!” Our fellow competitors were kindly letting us know there was a hole in the ground coming up to avoid so we wouldn’t get hurt. Thankfully, we don’t have to compete with our brothers and sisters in Christ, even though Satan often wants to make it a competition of “who’s holier.” He tries to get us to fixate on what others are doing instead of focusing our eyes on Christ and encouraging others to do the same. James 4 warns us firmly to avoid these holes so we don’t hurt ourselves spiritually.

James 4:11

james-4-11

Lord, you’ve given us a wonderful blessing in the church body to help build each other up, sharpen each other, and keep each other from falling away. Let us not allow Satan to sneak in under the guise of helping each other.

We are supposed to reach out and help each other walk this faith walk, not gossip and slander behind their back. We are to love others like we love ourselves and continually point them to you. Not point and jeer at them even if they are veering off the path.

If we are falling into one of Satan’s traps, how would we want someone to help us out? That is how we should help someone else in the same position.

Oh, Lord! Let our hearts be focused on loving you and encouraging each other. May we build each other up instead of tearing each other down. We know Satan’s goal is to destroy your church from the inside, but help us resist him in this. If we don’t, we are allowing ourselves to sin as well.

In the One who teaches us how to win against the devil’s attacks – Amen!

James 4:12
james-4-12

Lord, help us clearly understand your word. Take off the blinders that keep us from understanding it.

Satan loves to twist your word so that we will become inactive and complacent in our understanding. May we continually lean into your word so that we will understand it better and live for you instead of against you.

This verse is one Satan likes to use to keep us inactive. He twists it in order to scare us into silence so that we will not share your truth. When we open our mouths to warn people that they are headed in the wrong direction, he shouts back,

“Who are you to judge your neighbor!?”

The truth Satan leaves out and that we need to embrace is that we are not to judge or slander others, but we are called to love. And love protects!

What better protection is there than to warn someone when the path they are walking leads to death? Lord, help us to be bold instead of scared. Help us love others enough to help them escape Satan’s bondage.

If we start walking down the wrong path, we pray that someone will be brave enough to let us know. We do not want to stray from you, Lord, but our hearts are prone to wander.

In the One who defeated death so that we may live fully and courageously – Amen!

James 4:13-15

james-4_13-15-1

How conceited we are, Lord! We make our plans and often don’t even consult you. We know what we want and plan how to achieve it. From vacations to business to everyday living, do we stop and ask you?

You know all! You know our past, present, and our future. Only You can see what lies ahead for us AND you are willing to guide us! Praise you, Lord, for loving us so much that all we have to do is ask. Instead of planning on our own, let us plan with you. Even in our conversation let us humble ourselves to you, by saying “If it is the Lord’s will.”

Let us always be reminded that our time here is short. Help us honor you with the time we have because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

In Jesus’ name – Amen!

Jams 4:16

james-4_16

Lord, it takes a little bit to wrap our minds around the fact that boasting about our plans for tomorrow and the future is evil. It’s such an everyday occurrence. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but then James calls it “arrogant scheming” and “evil.”

May we boast in nothing but you and your amazing ways!

Let us take heed that you hold the future, not us. You determine the number of our days and they are limited. As we speak of tomorrow and even the plans you have for us, remind us that if it is your will, it will happen. Overall, let us praise and honor you with our days.

In the One who is the beginning and the end – Amen!

James 4:17

james-4-17

Oh, Lord! Once again, you challenge us in how we think. It’s not enough to know you and to think about your Word. You want us to put into action what we know!

How often do we think about our own convenience over doing what’s right? Are we putting ourselves in front of expressing your love in our lives?

You make this point over and over, when you spoke of the good Samaritan, when you spoke of the rich man who stock piled stuff, when you picked up the cut off ear of the soldier who came to arrest you and you reattached it to his head! Constantly you are challenging us to do what we know is right.

It’s hard to swallow that it’s a sin when we let our feelings get in the way.

Surely, we wouldn’t just ignore you and what you are calling us to do. Thank you for warning us to not fall into this trap.

Hearing these words written in your brother’s hand, who did not follow you while you were teaching, makes these words even more pointed! It’s like James is begging us not to fall into the same trap he did.

Lord, open our eyes to what we are ignoring and walking away from. Help us to do what we know is right to do and do it in a way that honors you.

In the One who did what was right even though it cost him his life – Amen!

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

The Gift Jesus Refused Praying James Words Have Power The Gift of Newness

 

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