You Make God Tired

Last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen spoke about dealing with temptation.

“All temptation is common. …Temptation means you think about it, until you justify it, and then sin is conceived in you. …Flee temptation. …Take your thoughts captive. …Deny yourself. …Recognize the horrible cost of sin. …” Pastor Monte Knudsen, September 26, 2018

He read the temptations of the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. They are the same things we are tempted with.

Today was a quiet day. I didn’t fall for any temptations. But, according to Malachi, “normal” days are dangerous.

“Most of life is not lived in crisis…when things are… ‘normal,’ our interest in God is crowded to the margins…and we become preoccupied with ourselves. ‘Religion’ during such times is trivialized…calling God into question or complaining…treating worship…as a mere hobby…managing our personal affairs (such as marriage) for our own convenience…going about our usual activities as if God were not involved. …Malachi…wakes us up…during the times when the only thing we are concerned with is us. He keeps us on our toes, listening for God, waiting in anticipation for God, ready to respond to God, who is always coming to us.” The Message Introduction to Malachi

Many things Malachi listed still happen today.

Malachi 1:7, “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority, ‘that’s defiling.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 1:12-13, “You profane me when you say,… ‘I’m bored – this doesn’t do anything for me.’ (13) You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 2:13, “And here’s the second offense: ‘You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 2:17, “You make God tired with all your talk. ‘How do we tire Him out?’ you ask. By saying, ‘God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.’ And also by saying, ‘Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.’ ” The Message

I don’t know about you, but I feel conviction.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

#bible

Things That You Could Never Figure Out On Your Own

“Understanding” was the subject of Pastor Monte Knudsen’s sermon on Wednesday night. We read 30 verses in Proverbs about understanding. Then he pointed out several details in Mark 6:35-52. It was where Jesus fed the 5000 men.

  • There were not enough resources to meet the need.
  • The disciples wanted to send them to buy food in the city.
  • We think our resources are somewhere else.
  • All the resources needed are in Christ.
  • Look at what you have in your hand.
  • Because we don’t have enough, we never think about what we have.
  • They prepared for a miracle by having them sit down in groups so everyone’s needs were met.
  • Jesus blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples.
  • The food multiplied in the hands of the disciples.
  • God was teaching them something through the miracle, not trying to impress them.
  • “Their hearts were hardened” means their minds were closed.

Pastor Monte Knudsen, August 22, 2018

Faced with a sticky situation – an unsolvable problem – I asked God for understanding.

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” The Message

I told God that I could not figure out what to do. I gave the problem to Him and did nothing. It wasn’t easy. I wanted to do something!

  • When Jesus gets into our boat, the wind stops.
  • When Jesus called the disciples, He called them to be with Him.
  • We are human beings, not human doings.

Pastor Monte Knudsen, August 22, 2018

I went to bed with the problem unresolved. God worked out an answer without my help! Had I gotten involved, I’m sure it would have made matters worse! All I did was “be” with Jesus.

“Miracles” by Jesus Culture

“…The One who made the deaf to hear is silencing my every fear…

The One who does impossible is reaching out to make me whole…”

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

#bible

Christ Thought of Everything

Grief. The family is walking through the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Everyone grieves differently. Four members of the same family can start in four different stages. Some are in shock and cannot cry. Others can’t stop crying.

There are so many decisions – so much to do:

  • Find the best pictures.
  • Pick verses that reflect their life or were favorites.
  • Remembering everything for the obituary.
  • Choosing a final resting place.
  • Dispersing all the stuff.
  • Re-homing the animals.
  • Explaining everything to his granddaughter.
  • Which songs?

Acts 28 is a wonderful example of how to survive grief or another trauma.

1. Build a campfire.

Acts 28:1-2, “Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it… (2) went out of their way to be friendly…they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.” The Message

The grieving need to look around make sure everyone is there. The friends of the family are to gather around the family. They are there to listen or just cry with you.

2. Take them home.

Acts 28:7-9, “The head man…Publius…took us into his home as his guests, drying us out and putting us up in fine style. … (8) Publius’s father was sick…Paul…laid hands on him and prayed, the man was healed. (9) Word of the healing got around fast, and soon everyone on the island who was sick came and got healed.” The Message

Send the grieving to your guest room for a nap. Or to rest and let their mind stop spinning. Take them out to eat to let them set the grief aside for a bit.

Friends can get you away from the grief for an hour or so. But, even in grief, look for ways to serve. Doing something kind for someone else lifts our spirits.

3. Meet their needs.

Acts 28:10, “We spent a wonderful three months on Malta. They treated us royally, took care of our needs and outfitted us for the rest of the journey.” The Message

Offer water and food. Loan them what they are lacking – an umbrella on a rainy day. Guard them like royalty. Be a buffer for them.

4. Realize their grieving is not permanent.

Acts 28:15, “Paul, brimming over with praise, led us in prayers of Thanksgiving.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Acts 28:20, “…I’m a hostage here for hope, not doom.” The Message

Time eases grief. It becomes easier to bear. You never stop missing your loved one but you find reasons to smile again. We start to see things differently.

* * * * * * *

Death is not the only hard time we will experience. Divorce, unemployment, accidents, and serious illnesses all take us through a valley.

“We want God to change the situation but not us. God wants to change us.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-27-18

* * * * * * *

“…He wanted me to learn that His grace is sufficient in the pit. …God didn’t rescue Daniel from the pit; He delivered Him from the power of the enemy while he was in the pit.” Pastor Sarah Utterbach – Redeeming Love Christian Center in The Word for You Today, 6-27-18

God has a plan for our lives. We will not stay in this valley or pit forever.

Ephesians 1:8-9, “He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, (9) letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ephesians 1:11-12, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. (12) …He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” The Message

Lean on your church family during hard times. They want to bear your burdens. Their prayers will carry you when you can’t go any further.

Ephesians 1:22, “…The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.” The Message

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Strength is for Service, Not Status

A week ago Wednesday, Pastor Monte Knudsen taught us how to bless people. You listen to them. When God gives an opportunity, ask if you can pray for them. Then take their hand or touch their shoulder, and ask God to bless them. Pray over any needs they share with you.

Last Wednesday, Pastor Monte asked if we obeyed. Several shared their stories. (My favorite was Simon who said, “A guy sneezed and I said, ‘God bless you!’ “)

I refused to make eye contact with Pastor because I failed the assignment. (I prayed with Derek when he was sick and my sister during a rough day. But I hadn’t blessed someone outside of my family.)

* * * * * * * *

Yesterday we went shopping for a new dress for our son’s wedding in the fall. I looked at stores in Cedar Rapids without success. On the way home, we stopped at Dillard’s in Iowa City.

I pulled every navy blue dress in my size off of the racks. I tried a couple on and realized – I’m no longer that size. *Sigh*

I asked David to bring me a larger size. He saw one dress he thought would look nice on me and brought it.

When I put it on, I realized something was wrong. The side zipper was open across my torso.

It was a “form-fitting” dress with only half of the material covering my form! I wriggled and rolled the material up trying to get it off. The chiffon cape covered my head and I couldn’t see to get out of it!

When I was finally free, I looked at the size – “6!” The only place it fit was around my neck! (In his defense, the number on the hanger was correct.)

We narrowed it down to two dresses. The one he liked was all lace. I pointed out it would require an expensive undergarment. The one I liked covered everything from my neck to my knees! But, it made me feel young and pretty.

During this process, David visited with my saleslady. She ended up with a pile of dresses in 4 different sizes to put away!

David kept talking to her after we checked out. (She’s my mother’s age, so I didn’t feel jealous.) She shared that she was still working because she couldn’t live on social security. She was alone and had arthritis.

He asked her if she went to church. She replied she was Catholic. I exclaimed, “Wonderful!” because we both serve Jesus. Then he asked her if he could pray for her.

She said yes and we had a holy moment in the middle of Dillard’s! (The store was empty because it was a gorgeous day. Everyone was out enjoying nature, not shopping.)

It may surprise you that we didn’t try to convert her. But that is not our job. We are to love her and share in her burdens.

Romans 14:1, “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 14:4, “…If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” The Message

During Paul’s time, the controversy was over eating meat offered to idols. Some ate only vegetables just in case the meat was offered to an idol.

Romans 14:6-7, “What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. (7) None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 14:17-18, “God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness sake. It’s what God does with your life as He sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. (18) Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. …” The Message

* * * * * *

Romans 15:1-3, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. (2) Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’ (3) That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out.” The Message

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Live a Real Life, Eternal Life

We met with our accountability group on Tuesday night. We lean on these 2 couples during hard times and rejoice together during good times.

Last week we finished a DVD series from Jimmy Evans. I thought we had one more episode. So, I scrolled through some recorded Andy Stanley episodes. I found we had not finished “The N Commandments” series. We watched session 4.

“I’m worried about ________. Replace whatever word you put in that blank with “tomorrow.” Everything we worry about won’t happen until tomorrow. Don’t think about tomorrow; think about today.”

“The N Commandments” Andy Stanley

His text was Matthew 6:25-34 and “Take no thought” is in there 3 times. “Do Not Worry” or “Don’t fuss” repeated 3 times.

Then in Pastor Monte Knudsen’s sermon last night, I heard “Do not be troubled” 3 times.

  1. Matthew 24:6, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. …” New Living Translation
  2. 2 Thessalonians 2:2, “Not let your mind be quickly shaken or troubled…” New Living Translation
  3. John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled. …” New Living Translation

* * * * * * *

While working on yesterday’s post, I followed the advice of FBI Agent LaRae Quy. I made a list of tasks and ideas for my blog. Some items are overwhelming.

I woke at 3:30 am going over that list. I am not supposed to worry or be troubled. Then I remembered something Joseph Morris said at Faith Conference 2018.

“The rapture of the church is signless. The second coming has several signs. …Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus returned on the ‘Feast of Trumpets’ in September?” Joseph Morris at Faith Conference 2018

I went over my mental list again. If I only had until September, there wouldn’t be time to complete the first three. I think I will concentrate on the next 4 items.

This morning, I listened to Joseph Morris’ End of Days Update. He mentioned many signs, but 2 stuck with me.

  1. Blood Moons – We had four of them this last year. One was on the Passover and one on the Feast of Tabernacles. This happened 3 other times in history: 1492 – the expulsion of Jews from Spain; 1948 – when Israel became a nation in 1 day; and 1967 – when Israel reclaimed Jerusalem and all its land in the “6 Day War.”
  2. The Bethlehem Star – It appeared over 2000 years ago under the sign of Virgo. It appeared last December under the sign of Leo. Jesus was born of a virgin and He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Signs in the heavens. Yesterday, at lunch, I read some space trivia:

“When will the sun burn out? …So far, the star that powers our solar system has burned about half of its hydrogen reserves…the sun will grow so large it will boil our oceans and make the earth uninhabitable.” triviatoday.com

The Bible says the sun will burn out!

Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days; ‘the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ (30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31) And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” New Living Translation

* * * * * * *

2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” New American Standard Bible

Hmm. You can’t stop global warming and Matthew 24:31 mentioned trumpets. So, how am I going to live?

* * * * * * *

The late entertainer, formerly known as Prince, wrote a song at the turn of the century called “1999.”

“…it was judgment day…people runnin’ everywhere tryin’ to run from the destruction…war is all around us…out of time, so tonight I’m gonna party like its nineteen-ninety-nine.” “1999” by Prince

That was his answer to facing the end. He planned to live it up until he died.

Tim McGraw recorded another song about his dad when he found out he was dying.

“…and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.” “Live Like You We’re Dying” Tim McGraw

We don’t need to live it up or live like we’re dying. Paul shows us a better way – live a real life, eternal life.

Romans 6:20-23, “As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. (21) But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end. (22) But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin to tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise? A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! (23) Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” The Message

So, how do we live? Don’t worry and don’t be troubled; live like we’re leaving!

Proverbs 10:28, “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.” New International Study Bible

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Right-Living, Right-Giving Fathers

Five Fatal Mistakes Fathers Make ( from the life of Lot)

  1. Selfishness – Lot chose money over God, he chose the land with the best prospects, Genesis 13:10.
  2. Bad Environment – Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, Genesis 13:12.
  3. Expectations – Lot moved into Sodom and thought he could change it, Genesis 14:11-12; 2 Peter 2:6-8.
  4. Example – He thought his family would listen to his words, not watch his lifestyle. When the angels arrived in Sodom, Lot was on the council sitting at the city gate, Genesis 19:1. When Lot told his sons-in-law the Lord was going to destroy the city, they laughed at him, Genesis 19:14.
  5. Entrapment – The world entangled Lot and his family. He knew the city would be destroyed, but he lingered. The angels had to grab the hands of him, his wife, and 2 unmarried daughters to pull them out of the city, Genesis 19:15-16.”

“Wear the Shoes You Want Filled” – Pastor Monte Knudsen,

June 17, 2018

* * * * * * *

2 Corinthians 9:9, “As one Psalmist put it, ‘He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.’ ” The Message

Paul was quoting from Psalms 112. It describes the attributes of a godly parent.

Psalms 112:1-9, “Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, who cherish and relish His commandments, (2) Their children robust on the earth, and the homes of the upright – how blessed! (3) Their homes brim with wealth and generosity that never runs dry. (4) Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people – God’s grace and mercy and justice! (5) The good person is generous and lends lavishly; no shuffling or stumbling around for this one, (6) But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. (7) Unfazed by rumor and gossip, heart ready, trusting in God, (8) Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies, (9) They lavish gifts on the poor – a generosity that goes on, and on, and on. An honored life! A beautiful life!” The Message

There is a connection between right-living and right-giving. Paul consistently addressed a financial offering for the church in Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 9:1, “If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I’d be repeating myself.” The Message

* * * * * *

“This collection for the Jerusalem church seems to have originated at the so-called Jerusalem council (Acts 15; Galatians 2:1-10). While the apostles and elders of the council agreed that Paul could pursue his mission to the Gentiles, they asked that he ‘remember the poor’ (Galatians 2:10), indirectly referring to an offering for the Jerusalem church. The collection, therefore, stood at the very foundation of Paul’s missionary work.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Which shoes do you want your children to wear?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Not a Religious Plod, But a Living, Spirited Dance

Each day I make a cup of coffee. Then I open and shut the Keurig on the same pod and brew another one. I mix the two together and add cream and sugar. I pour it into a stainless steel water bottle. The remainder goes into my cup. I pour out a half a cup at a time. I have hot coffee, just the way I like it, as I write.

(Thank you, Paula Adam, for telling me to brew both cups and mix them together! You should be frugalfish!)

Since switching to the Keurig, we both have cut back to 2 cups a day. That was one of our goals.

You would not believe how much I look forward to that first cup of coffee! I’ve burned the top of my mouth and my tongue many times. I was pretty proud of myself for cutting back…until last night’s sermon…

“Do we crave God’s Word more than coffee? …We partake of God’s nature when we eat God’s Word. …Revelation 10:8-9, ‘…Go take the little scroll…Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’ (New Living Translation) …The Word of God is good for correction…” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-6-18

I felt like I had been hit in the gut! I don’t crave God’s Word like I crave my coffee!

When I read the Bible it always tastes sweet. But when I chew (meditate and think) on it, I feel sick to my stomach! The Word is correcting me. It points out the things in my life that are contrary to God’s nature.

I dislike sharing my faults and failures. Last night, I realized Pastor Monte does it twice a week – and on Facebook Live! Thank God, preaching is not my vocation!

The synonyms of vocation are: calling, life’s work, mission, purpose, etc. We read a few verses today about doing our work and fulfilling our calling.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-6, “All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. (6) You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way.” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time – pray that our God will make you fit for what He’s called you to be, pray that He’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy so that it all amounts to something. (12) If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you.” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17, “So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. (11) May Jesus Himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, (17) put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.” The Message

God never planned for our vocation as work or drudgery. The secret is to find your calling in your job. Give your best work when you are on the clock. Be the employee of the month every month. That honors God.

But on your breaks, lunch, before and after work, fulfill your calling. Reach out to your coworkers. Everywhere Jesus went, He was doing good, (Matthew 9:35; Acts 10:38).

Being a good person is not our goal; being a God-person is. The more Word we think on, the more of God’s nature manifests.

Paul gave the Thessalonians several instructions on how to live:

1 Thessalonians 4:1, “One final word, friends. We ask you – urge you is more like it – that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. (12) We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Thessalonians 5:13-14, “Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. (14) Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on…” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be cheerful no matter what, (17) Pray all the time; (18) thank God no matter what happens…” The Message

* * * * * * * *

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now, friends, read these next words carefully. Slow down and don’t go jumping to conclusions regarding the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome Him. (2) Don’t let anyone shake you up…” The Message

Pray. Twice Paul said, “Pray all the time!” We will never fulfill our calling, our destiny, without prayer.

“Dear friend, never go out into the danger of the world without praying first. …You have failed to pray, and you will suffer as a result. Temptations are waiting to confront you, and you are not prepared to withstand them. …When we give in to laziness, moments of prayer that are missed can never be redeemed.” Frederick William Robertson in “Streams in the Desert” June 6

* * * * * * * *

“…We’re all called as gospel ministers, no matter what our job or vocation. I’ve met some of the poorest, most destitute people in the world, and some are powerful evangelists for the Lord. They all have one thing in common with the late, amazing Billy Graham: When you meet them, you know they’ve spent time in God’s presence. That makes all the difference, no matter what our station in life.

…So, what does it mean, exactly, to have God’s nature in us? It means we don’t have to try to be holy; we are holy, by virtue of His presence in us. We don’t have to try to be acceptable; we are made acceptable by Him. We don’t have to try to be good; we already are good by His divine nature, which resides in us through His Spirit.

…Here is yet another aspect of God’s presence in us; having the mind of Christ. No matter what mental battles we face, our stance is always one of victory, because we live and move in God’s presence. Even on our worst days we’re held together, propped up, and put at peace by the life and mind of Christ within us. Yet breaking chains is only the beginning of Jesus’ work in us. The more time we spend with Him, the more He prepares us to do His works. ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil,’ (1 John 3:8).“Intimacy with God – Out of His presence Come the Works of Jesus,” by Gary Wilkerson, World Challenge Pulpit Series, May 21, 2018

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Live Well, Live Wisely, Live Humbly

“When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong, sooner or later does. …Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. …” The Message Introduction to the Book of James

Sin is like diabetes. Daily Bible reading and prayer are your insulin. But we all had “kidney failure” so to speak. Going to church is our dialysis. Every few days we get our heart cleaned out.

“…So Christian churches are not as a rule model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced, and dealt with….” The Message Introduction to the Book of James

We face our failures – and with God’s help, set strategies to keep from repeating them.

“The letter of James shows one of the church’s early pastors skillfully going about his work of confronting, diagnosing, and dealing with areas of mis-belief and misbehavior that had turned up in congregations committed to his care. …Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that; it is skill in living. For, what good is truth if we don’t know how to live it? …James carried the nickname “Old Camel Knees” because of thick calluses built up on his knees from many years of determined prayer. …Prayer is always foundational to wisdom.” The Message Introduction to the Book of James

There would be fewer knee replacements if we spent more time on them in prayer.

James 1:2, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” The Message

Now I am a little afraid to go to church!

James 1:3-4, “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. (4) So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” The Message

Whatever test is coming, I will need to endure it with patience!

James 1:22-24, “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! (23) Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, (24) walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” The Message

Guilty. I am easily distracted. I need to make action notes with my sermon notes.

James 1:25, “But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God – the free life! – even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” The Message

Cool. My actions will be rewarded!

James 2:12-13, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. (13) For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.” The Message

Note to self: Be kind. Show Mercy.

James 2:14-18, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?

(15) For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved

(16) and say, ‘Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup – where does that get you?

(17) Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

(18)…You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.” The Message

It’s time to leave for worship practice before church. Time to put my faith to work!

* * * * * * *

The keyboard monitor didn’t seem to work well in practice. I decided to use earphones – just in case. We started the service and nothing came out of the monitor. Thankfully, the synth came in and off we went.

Still no monitor. I thought the sound man had left my channel muted. I was a virtuoso. I hit 10 or 12 glissandos, a little rock and roll, and several jazz notes.

Nothing. The synth led the next 2 songs. When I came in on my part, I hit it hard. At the end of the third song, I even waved at the sound man. Still nothing.

I was to lead the fourth song. The guitar player was gone and wasn’t there to cover for me. I played the intro – NOTHING!

I ripped the earphones out of the keyboard and pushed the volume up to the max. The external speakers on it, (which were muted by the earphones), were loud enough for the leader to hear.

I grinned at the worship leader on the drums. He mouthed, “Make Rachel play the synth.” She came in and we finished worship.

The lay pastor came forward. (We are to turn our instruments down while he talks.)

Suddenly, the keyboard came through the system. My nephew, Brayden, put it best, “All service I couldn’t hear the piano. Then it was as if I fell into a piano!”

I had the keyboard as loud as it would go. The sound man had the channel as loud as it could go. It was an explosion of keys!

It turns out there was a short in the soundboard. That is why the keyboard kept disappearing in the monitor! It refused to work all through worship. The poor sound man tried everything. Then it decided to work at the most inopportune time!

James 3:1, “Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards.” The Message

Teachers teach about what they know. I know about being tested!

James 3:2, “And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths.” The Message

Have you met me?

James 3:5, “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Over time, small things make a huge difference. …How often do you put your trust in the wrong thing. …Faith is not talking to God about your mountain; it’s talking to your mountain about your great God. …Most people don’t do great things. They do small things well and that changes everything.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, June 3, 2018

* * * * * * *

James 3:13, “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.” The Message

I spent the rest of the service concerned for the sound man. It’s a thankless job. After a service, he may have 2 people talk to him. One will say it was too loud and the other will say they couldn’t hear. I expected he would be stressed out.

I was wrong.

After the service, he quietly made his way to the platform. He calmly explained about the short and promised to report it. (Shout out to Cam, the sound man! You should have been a doctor – you work well in a crisis.)

James 3:17-18, “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.

(18) You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” The Message

I need to apologize to all the sound men I’ve worked with before. (Why, oh why, did I start a blog?) When things went wrong, as they inevitably did, I blamed them. They didn’t have any more control over things than me. God is in control. I learned my lesson.

James 4:1-3, “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again.

(2) They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not?

(3) Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” The Message

Ouch.

James 4:7-10, “So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.

(8) Say a quiet yes to God and He’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.

(9) Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over.

(10) Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” The Message

The only way to get on my feet is by getting back on my knees.

“Even though we follow Christ’s command, we should not expect to escape the storm …Christ may delay coming to us during our times of distress, but it is simply so our faith may be tested and strengthened. …’With Christ in my vessel, I smile at the storm.’ Christ said, ‘Let’s go over to the other side’ – not ‘to the middle of the lake to be drowned.’ ” Daniel Crawford, “Streams in the Desert” June 3

Christ didn’t bail me out during the first song. But I weathered the storm and I’m stronger for it.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Submission Is Not About Surrender

1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” ESV

“Man, “aner” – a man (properly as an individual male): – husband, man (-hood), sir.” ESV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible Notes

The same word means man or husband, just as the Greek word “gune” means woman or wife. It does not say every man is the head of every woman. It says a husband is the head of his wife.

Pastor Monte Knudsen has been preaching through 1 Corinthians on Wednesday nights. He spoke about submission when he preached on this chapter.

  1. Submission is not about surrender.
  2. Submission is a mutual commitment for cooperation.
  3. Submission is a key element in God’s plan for your life.
  4. Submission for a wife is to her husband, only.

Men are not off of the hook either; not only do they have to submit to Christ, we all have to submit to one another.

Ephesians 5:21, “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” ESV