Praying James 5 – Suffering Patiently

Praying James 5 – Suffering Patiently

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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 Suffering

Suffering patiently is not a characteristic we look forward to building. How fast will this trial end? Lord, save us from these times!  These are our cries. Cries that fall on ears of one who is very familiar with suffering.

From heaven he suffered heartache as He watched Adam and Eve choose to disobey and eat of the only tree they were forbidden to them. From heaven, he watched as the prophets he sent to proclaim his love and justice were ridiculed and killed. From the cross, his physical life slowly faded breath by suffering breath as people hurled insults upon him. He was the ultimate suffering servant proclaimed in Isaiah 53. Jesus knows what suffering is.

Jesus us calls us to be willing to suffer patiently too.

James 5:7

Lord, how we long to be with you! To be away from the troubles of this world, the pain, the suffering, and grief. We praise you for the joy we get to have in us constantly while seeing the chaos of this world.

We pray we will take you at your word. May we wholeheartedly believe that you will come back soon! We pray for patience as we continue to serve you and others while we are waiting. Help us to focus on you so that we will continue to tend to what you have planted in our hearts and in the hearts of others. Let us grow our faith and share this faith with others until the day of your return.

In the One who is coming back soon – Amen!

James 5:8

Lord, help us not to just stand firm, but to stand firm on the Rock, our Salvation! The devil is twisting your words and creating division. Lord, let us search your word and make sure what is being taught it true. Let us act in ways that bring people together instead of tear them apart. We pray that we would stand firmly and patiently in a way that will bring you honor and glory.

In the One, who through his death, brought about the opportunity to be united with you once again – Amen!

James 5:10

Lord, we praise you for how you take care of us physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually.

You know that we will have highs and lows and there will be times of loneliness, heartache, and suffering.

Thank you for prophets and their patience in the face of suffering. When we pour over your words written through them, it fans our hope and reminds our hearts that putting our trust in you will never fail.

In the One who inspires us daily with the past to live in the present and have hope for the future – Amen!

James 5:11

In the midst of the trials that overwhelm us completely, its verses like this that give us hope. Hope for how you will use the trial to bring us closer to you and encourage others going through the same thing.

Lord, help us to cling to you in the midst of our trials. Helps us to trust you even when it doesn’t make sense and the devil is trying to make us think that you’ve left us.

Help us to stand firm in your truth and continue to build our faith through the struggles.

In the One who is full of love and mercy – Amen!

James 5:12

We praise you, Lord, because you are a God who keeps his word! as we read your promises for us in the Bible, we can’t help but rejoice knowing that they will happen.

Lord, we pray we will honor you by being people of our word too.

When we fail at this, we pray we will make it right. We don’t want our own words to condemn us.

In Jesus’ holy name – Amen!

Pruning Roses

Pruning Roses

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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Today, I pruned our rose bushes. This is not my favorite job, even at the best of times. It certainly is not my favorite while being eight months pregnant. Pruning is hard work–prickly, back ache-y, and tough.

Pruning is Necessary

And yet, any gardener worth his salt will tell you that you need to prune your rose bushes. Something happens, even though it seems backwards. That cutting and snipping–with those awful, sharp scissors–it seems merciful that plants don’t have feeling! It would be horrible to feel each clip and snip, to watch your former glory fall off, dead and useless to the cold, wintry ground.

But it does something wonderful for the rose bush. You see, not only does the rosebush grow back, it grows back fuller, richer, more beautifully. The rose bush needed to have its branches pruned, no matter how painful (for the bush or for the cutter) in order for the rose to be at its best and most beautiful.

A Parallel in Our Own Lives

Isn’t that how we are with God? John 15:2 says:

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

God knows exactly what we are capable of. And although pruning is certainly a better alternative to being thrown away, we know it to be painful in our own lives. When God’s deft, loving, and wise fingers prune me, it hurts. It hurts when sin must be ripped out of the dark corners of my life. It hurts when old, selfish habits must be relearned and bettered. When I must change my heart and my actions, it hurts. Because change is hard and often painful.

Pruning Sin from My Life Makes Me More Like Jesus

But I can also take hope. Just as I pruned my rosebushes, not with malice but with an eye to the future, with an understanding that it was for the bush’s best interests, certainly the Master Gardener, the Creator, the Almighty, will prune me with such thoughts. It may sting a little in the meantime, but in the end, I can be even more beautiful than a rose. I can be a reflection of Christ himself.

 

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?

 

 

 

My Valentine’s Day Confession

My Valentine’s Day Confession

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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Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. I perceive it differently.This perception has inspired me in how I love.

As a child we had fun with it. Getting to choose, who got which valentine’s card and what treat went with it.Taking the time to make cards that weren’t perfect but heartfelt.

My Valentine’s Day Confession

As I grew, my fondness for Valentine’s day wore off. My girlfriends and I would gather together to have anti-Valentine’s Day parties. We would make cookies with black frosting and celebrate our friendship even if we were dating someone at the time. We were determined not to let one day determine whether or not love was in the air.

That has seemed to carry on into my marriage as well. I no longer make cookies and frost them with black icing but my husband knows that gifting me something on the day doesn’t thrill me. That sounds kinda rude or mean, but the truth of the matter is because this day seems commercially forced upon us, it feels more like a day of obligation than of love.

I’d rather have a year full of small expressions of love than a day of forced love. If this day was not called Valentine’s Day would there still be a compulsive out flowing of love? 

What does our “love” look like to God?

I wonder how often God looks down on our time of worship and pines for our love to flow throughout the week instead of just seeing it expressed for a couple of hours. Do we pray, read our Bibles, sing songs, or even worship with the church out of obligation and compulsion or because we can’t help but express our love that way?

That has to be part of the reason why God gave us the choice to love Him. Forced love is no love at all but simply submission to what has to be.

Real love is willing to sacrifice itself and die to self for the sake of another.

“I will find you!”

My husband and I have a running joke. Sometimes, when we say good-bye or don’t know when we will see each other again because of hectic schedules, we will say in a husky voice, “I will find you!” (Think Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans, my favorite movie.)

This simple phrase when said, not only makes us laugh, but conveys the thought that no matter what  is going on, we will be there for each other. We will go after and sacrifice ourselves for each other, if need be.

Jesus came from heaven to earth to find us! He came to save us long before we ever realized we need saving. He knocks on our door and we get to choose whether or not we open our hearts to receive his love and love Him back.

A Valentine’s Day Question

As you ponder what love is on this day, will you ask yourself this question:

Are you loving God and willing to sacrifice your life for Him, or are you just going through the motions because you feel this is something you need to do?

The Great Unknown: The Land of Obedience

The Great Unknown: The Land of Obedience

Ali R

Hey! While most of my life was spent in Colorado, I am happy to now call Oklahoma my home. I am amazingly blessed to have a supportive and God-fearing husband who is also a terrific dad to our four kiddos (who we had in a 3 year 9 month time frame). I love to drink coffee, sing, hear people’s stories and have dance parties. I am passionate about my relationship with Jesus and desire to share that gift with every person that I meet. My hope is that I can encourage someone today with and through the Word of God and His steadfast love. ::psalm 27:4::

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“Then the LORD said to him,

‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said,

‘I will give it to your descendants.’

I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’”

– Deuteronomy 34:4

 

I have read this passage about God speaking to Moses multiple times. Every time, all I have ever seen was the love of God as He let Moses actually see the Promised Land even though he wouldn’t be able to enter into it (Numbers 20:12). Blame it on my optimism or my view of God, but I have never looked beyond that sweet act of mercy. It was almost as if God had told Moses:

“I made a promise years ago and you have always trusted in that promise.

You may not have understood where I was leading you, but you always followed.

I led you into a land of unknown for forty years and you never stopped seeking Me.

 It is because of this that I will show you what I said was true.

I want you to know, my son, that I always have been and always will be faithful to my people.”

How could you not be overwhelmed with the grace and love of God in that moment? He is so good to us even though we don’t deserve it. Because of this great truth, I looked at the passage differently last week when I read it. I could not help but look beyond God’s blessing and look at God Himself, as Moses did. Even though he knew he would not inherit the blessing of the Promised Land, he continued to trust and serve the Lord. Just knowing God was enough reason for Moses to obey all those years spent wandering in the wilderness. It didn’t matter where he was going or what God would give him in the end. If God said “Go,” Moses started walking.

Of course, God, in all his perfect timing, placed this truth on my heart in a season where there are many unknowns and uncertainties of what lies ahead. In a season like this, doubt and fear can easily infiltrate my heart if I do not hold on to God’s promises. Friend, if you find yourself in the same season of life, my hope and prayer is that these words the Lord placed on my heart would also encourage you…

“I made a promise years ago and I need you to trust in that promise.

You may not understand where I am leading you, but I need you to follow.

While I lead you into a land of the great unknown, never stop seeking Me.

I will show you what I said was true.

I want you to know, my daughter, that I always have been and always will be faithful to my people.”

So what do you say, beloved?

The Great Unknown_ Call to Action

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