A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  – James 2:24

Once again we hear from the no-nonsense half brother of Christ.  We all know that good works is the result of strong faith in Christ Jesus.  As we lean strongly on Him every day, He shows us avenues of ministry along the way that we can either choose to follow or not.  When a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, they are justified.

Our works have nothing to do with our salvation – for that was taken care of by our LORD – he hung on the cross and died to save us – nothing we do can save our souls – we need to accept HIS sacrifice on our behalf.

Does James contradict Paul?  NO.  The apostle Paul was talking about eternal matters while James is referring to earthly matters.  We don’t have to do good works to get to Heaven – but doing good works is something we want to do because we have faith and a desire to serve the Lord.  How do we serve Him?  We serve other people.  We are His hands, His feet.  We put feet to our faith.  God loves a cheerful giver…  it’s about more than money.

I can talk about having great faith all day long, but until I put some feet to that faith, it’s just lip service – am I right?  Doing good won’t save my soul, but I still want to do good – be kind, and act on my faith.  🙂

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REVELATION 2:19 ON 2/19

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 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.  – Revelation 2:19

I don’t pretend to understand the book of Revelation; however, I do speak and read English, and this looks fairly cut and dried to me.  There is a comfort in knowing that GOD knows – He knows it all.  Not everyone feels comforted by that fact – but I do.  Does that make me weird?  I don’t know – maybe.

Think about it – God knows your deeds, your love, faith, service and perseverance – and that you’re doing more now than you did when you first started your journey with Him.

God knows…  and if I said only that much, it would be enough.  He knows the good, the bad and the ugly.  Any effort to hide anything from Him is in vain.  So now that we’ve established that God knows – the ball is in your court.  What will you do with that information?

You’ve not gone too far in the wrong direction to make a U-turn in the right direction.  There is only one unpardonable sin – and that is rejecting Christ as your personal Savior.  Everything else (and I do mean everything) is negotiable.  If you need to have a heart to heart with the Father, He’s ready to hear from you.  It’s not too late until you die.

From the moment we receive Jesus into our hearts and lives, growth begins.  It’s continual and provides God’s own strength and courage along the way.

Can growth be stifled?  Yes, it can – but it would be the will of the person, not the will of the Father.  It’s always God will that we grow some every day.  He wants us to be mature in our walk with Him.

Their works had been recently more numerous and praiseworthy even than they had formerly been.  This tells me that it’s important to strive to do better deeds – not necessarily more deeds – but better ones.  Sometimes it’s a matter of having a forgiving attitude or be quick to pray for one who has hurt or wronged you instead of reacting badly.

Although this passage goes on to talk about the bad things going on in the church of Thyatira, our focus today was on the positive aspects – (vs. 19).

We can’t rest on the works (NOT that we are saved by works – clearly we are not – works are an outpouring of our love for Christ) of the past.  We need to keep growing in attitudes, actions and let the Lord strengthen our faith and resolve more every day.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)It’s been unseasonably warm for autumn here in Kansas, but I know that one of these days the cool crisp air will move in.  November is the month we start nesting and putting our warm throws over chairs, add spicy scents to our Scentsy warmers and stock up on sugar-free pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

While we are preparing our homes for the onslaught of cold breezes, we need to keep in mind that there are some folks who are just trying to survive – and in some cases they don’t have a home, which is heart breaking.love-in-action

I’ve read a few cool posts on facebook about how we can help the homeless without breaking our own piggy bank.  These are simple suggestions and won’t take much time, but could make all the difference for a stranger who needs help.

  • A BLESSING BAG – I read about this on my newsfeed and thought, “Oh, I need to share this idea with others!”  Fill a large plastic bag with things that will help a person in need.  I think most of this stuff can be found at the Dollar Tree store – and $1 per item is a small price to pay to help others.  Pick up items such as gloves, thermal socks, beef jerky, crackers, candy bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, wipes, deodorant.  And don’t forget, many homeless people have dogs.  It’s a good idea to add some treats or a bone for them.  And children – sadly, there are homeless children.  How ’bout a small teddy bear?

It was suggested that you put the blessing bag in the trunk of your car and have it handy when you see a person who needs it.  You could also leave a bag in a gas station restroom or a restroom at McDonald’s.  Trust that God will see to it that the person who takes it is the one who needs it.

Add a note to the bag.  It doesn’t have to be long – just some simple words of encouragement such as “YOU’VE GOT THIS” – “GOD’S STILL GOOD” – “BLESSINGS” – “HOPE” – “HOPE STILL LIVES” – “GOD BLESS YOU”.

Sometimes my local drug store would have good deals that are free or almost free.  Even if I don’t use that brand or product, I’ll get it anyway and give to the local shelter.  – Lucinda Berry Hill

  • Planet Fitness has a food drive every year where canned goods are collected for local shelters.  Even if you’re not a member of the gym, you are welcome to give food.  One thing to keep in mind – and I’m probably preaching to the choir here…  but if you hate sardines, don’t give them to a shelter!  And, if you have old canned goods that you’ve not used – don’t give those either.  It’s the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  Did you know that most people are one paycheck away from being homeless?  It’s only by the wonderful Grace of God that you have shelter and food.  Don’t give the worst in your pantry – that’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Do you knit or crochet???  Boy do I have a project for you!  Crafty women all over the country are making scarves and wrapping them around trees!  Nope – I’m not kidding!  Do the trees need to be kept warm?  Of course not – but some people may need to be much warmer this winter – especially children.  😦  Oh – and don’t forget to put a little note on your scarf.  Let people know that they are not forgotten.  ❤

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screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-44-22-amWhat a labor of love!  God bless these women for what they do!  I neither knit nor crochet, but I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets.  I could buy a scarf and adorn a tree trunk.  Is that cheating?  Does it matter?  Nah…  probably not.

  • There is a group of women at a Baptist church here in Wichita that get together in the fellowship center once a month to sew and tie comforters for our Good Neighbor Center.  Those comforters are various sizes and colors (some are quite interesting, actually).  One day I remember using bright purple yarn to tie a quilt made of a solid bright green and a dinosaur print.  I could imagine that one going to a little boy somewhere.

Faith without works is dead.  These are some examples of the “works” we put our faith into.  It’s not that difficult to put feet to your faith after all.  We sometimes make it harder than it really is, don’t we?  🙂