Wait

Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness. 11 Look at how we honor those who have practiced endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job. And you have seen what the Lord has accomplished, for the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12 Most important, my brothers and sisters, never make a solemn pledge—neither by heaven nor earth, nor by anything else. Instead, speak with a simple “Yes” or “No,” or else you may fall under judgment. (James 5:7-12, CEB)

I have a hard time waiting for things. I see something I want and I want it now.

this makes me think of one of my daughters, well two of my daughters. One is just like me impulsive and sees something and wants it and really doesn’t wait on it and when she has the money she buys it. Another daughter asked for something for her and her best friend and it was just a little too expensive, so we kept watching it and seeing if we could find a deal and after about a year or more of her asking for this item, she said, I’m buying the thing for me and my friend. I have wanted them for a long time and that has not changed and I have the money. She was right. She had the money saved, so she bought them. She waited and her desire didn’t change. She persisted in looking for a deal and didn’t find it.

She is like a farmer that waits for rain and then sets up irrigation.

We all need to be tenacious like this. Wait on the Lord. The Lord will always follow through on promises.

Love People. Love God.

Comparison

16 I repeat, no one should take me for a fool. But if you do, then allow me to be a fool so that I can brag like a fool for a bit. 17 I’m not saying what I’m saying because the Lord tells me to. I’m saying it like I’m a fool. I’m putting my confidence in this business of bragging. 18 Since so many people are bragging based on human standards, that is how I’m going to brag too. 19 Because you, who are so wise, are happy to put up with fools. 20 You put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone places themselves over you, or if someone hits you in the face. 21 I’m ashamed to say that we have been weak in comparison! But in whatever they challenge me, I challenge them (I’m speaking foolishly). 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? I’m speaking like a crazy person. What I’ve done goes well beyond what they’ve done. I’ve worked much harder. I’ve been imprisoned much more often. I’ve been beaten more times than I can count. I’ve faced death many times. 24 I received the “forty lashes minus one” from the Jews five times. 25 I was beaten with rods three times. I was stoned once. I was shipwrecked three times. I spent a day and a night on the open sea. 26 I’ve been on many journeys. I faced dangers from rivers, robbers, my people, and Gentiles. I faced dangers in the city, in the desert, on the sea, and from false brothers and sisters. 27 I faced these dangers with hard work and heavy labor, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, and in the cold without enough clothes. 28 Besides all the other things I could mention, there’s my daily stress because I’m concerned about all the churches. 29 Who is weak without me being weak? Who is led astray without me being furious about it? 30 If it’s necessary to brag, I’ll brag about my weaknesses. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the one who is blessed forever, knows that I’m not lying. 32 At Damascus the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to capture me, 33 but I got away from him by being lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall. (2 Corinthians 11:16-33, CEB)

Have you ever compared yourself to someone else?

Thought they had a better life?

Wish you got to write the book like they did?

Think that they are doing a better job following God than you?

Well here Paul goes off about how many times he was beat, almost killed, held down for the gospel. And to be honest when I read it this passage this time I was really just laughing the whole way through. It is as if Paul is making fun of himself to make a point.

You see we all have things we can do better than someone else and they can do something better than us. It really isn’t about who is the best. It is about playing our part and working together to let the world know God loves them.

Work together and don’t compare yourself to others.

Love People. Love God.

Past

Jesus left that place and came to his hometown. His disciples followed him. On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were surprised. “Where did this man get all this? What’s this wisdom he’s been given? What about the powerful acts accomplished through him? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin. Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” He was unable to do any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. He was appalled by their disbelief. Then Jesus traveled through the surrounding villages teaching. He called for the Twelve and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bags, and no money in their belts. He told them to wear sandals but not to put on two shirts. 10 He said, “Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. 11 If a place doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, as you leave, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should change their hearts and lives. 13 They cast out many demons, and they anointed many sick people with olive oil and healed them. (Mark 6:1-13, CEB)

I always found this passage interesting because Jesus couldn’t really do anything in his hometown because everyone was saying who they remembered him as and wasn’t seeing him for who he is now. Even though who he is now is who he was then, even though they didn’t see that then.

But as I read the passage today, I was reminded of something I saw a few days ago.

We judge people by how we knew them. And we wonder how they can be doing these things.

We need to stop looking at people like we know them. Only God truly knows them and how they have changed.

So do not judge a person by their past, and see for them for who they are today. And share God’s love along the way.

Love People. Love God.

Foxes have holes…

18 Now when Jesus saw the crowd, he ordered his disciples to go over to the other side of the lake. 19 A legal expert came and said to him, “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One has no place to lay his head.” 21 Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18-22, CEB)

As I read this passage it reminds me of a song one of my pastors wrote and I played on with him. It is based on this passage.

Here are the lyrics:
Not so long ago – in a not so glorious birth
The King of all creation suffered
As a servant here on earth
He spoke about a Kingdom
And He said it was at hand
What they saw, they couldn’t perceive
And though they heard, they didn’t understand

(Chorus)
Foxes have their holes
And the birds, they have their nests
The Son of God had nowhere
To lay His head to rest
But the stone that they’ve rejected
Has become the Corner stone
He was sin who knew no sin
Then He ascended to the throne of God

Though I look through eyes of faith
It’s still hard to believe
That the Son of God would die
Upon that cross between two thieves
One would think that when God came to earth
He would have a more majestic plan
But His ways are so mysterious
And will still don’t understand.

Jesus came here and knew what was going to happen. He stepped of the throne and became a human, and suffered. He lived to show us how to love and did it by dying the most gruesome death possible. Knowing this place wasn’t his home and what would happen, he chose to come and show us how to love.

So love. Love like Jesus.

Love People. Love God.

Integrity

Look at what is right in front of you! If anyone is sure about belonging to Christ, that person should think again. We belong to Christ just like that person. Even if I went on to brag about our authority, I wouldn’t be ashamed of it. The Lord gave us that authority to build you up and not to destroy you. I don’t want it to seem like I’m trying to intimidate you with my letters. 10 I know what some people are saying: “His letters are severe and powerful, but in person he is weak and his speech is worth nothing.” 11 These people need to think about this—that when we are with you, our actions will show that we are the same as the words we wrote when we were away from you. (2 Corinthians 10:7-11, CEB)

Integrity.

It is a word many today have seem to forgotten.

I can not be one person online and another person in real life. We are one and the same.

When I write something I own it.

When I say something I own it.

I am who I am in writing and in person and you will not see a difference.

We need to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Christ did that.

And God wants us all to be conduits of God’s mercy, grace and love to the world. And you can not do that by being two faced.

Be a person of integrity.

Love People. Love God.

fools for Christ

You’ve been filled already! You’ve become rich already! You rule like kings without us! I wish you did rule so that we could be kings with you! I suppose that God has shown that we apostles are at the end of the line. We are like prisoners sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle in the world, both to angels and to humans. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise through Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! 11 Up to this very moment we are hungry, thirsty, wearing rags, abused, and homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are insulted, we respond with a blessing; when we are harassed, we put up with it; 13 when our reputation is attacked, we are encouraging. We have become the scum of the earth, the waste that runs off everything, up to the present time. (1 Corinthians 4:8-13, CEB)

We are fools for Christ!

Do you make a spectacle of yourself to show others God’s Grace?

Paul tells the Corinthians about being harassed, insulted, and abused. But they took it and put up with it. We need to follow through with the mission God has given us regardless of the positive or negative reactions we get.

When you are attacked know that God is still behind you.

Be a fool for Christ.

Love People. Love God.

Lack of faith!

14 When Jesus, Peter, James, and John approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them and legal experts arguing with them. 15 Suddenly the whole crowd caught sight of Jesus. They ran to greet him, overcome with excitement. 16 Jesus asked them, “What are you arguing about?” 17 Someone from the crowd responded, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, since he has a spirit that doesn’t allow him to speak. 18 Wherever it overpowers him, it throws him into a fit. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and stiffens up. So I spoke to your disciples to see if they could throw it out, but they couldn’t.” 19 Jesus answered them, “You faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 They brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a fit. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been going on?” He said, “Since he was a child. 22 It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him. If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!” 23 Jesus said to him, “‘If you can do anything’? All things are possible for the one who has faith.” 24 At that the boy’s father cried out, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” 25 Noticing that the crowd had surged together, Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 After screaming and shaking the boy horribly, the spirit came out. The boy seemed to be dead; in fact, several people said that he had died. 27 But Jesus took his hand, lifted him up, and he arose. 28 After Jesus went into a house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we throw this spirit out?” 29 Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.” (Mark 9:14-29, CEB)

How many of us are right there with this father?

I have faith, help my lack of faith!

Many of us probably know this verse as I believe, help my unbelief. The word in the Greek is the same word. In fact πίστoς means faith, trust, believe. So usually when you see one of these in the English translation of your Bible you can sub one of the others.

So then why were the disciples not able to cast out this demon, Jesus says because casting out this kind requires prayer, but could it be a lack of faith, belief, or trust? Had the disciples cast out other demons?

What are we not able to do because we don’t believe?

What are we not able to do because we don’t trust?

What are we not able to do because we don’t have faith?

Always know yo are more powerful than you think.

Love People. Love God.

Be prepared

It’s unnecessary for me to write to you about this service for God’s people. I know about your willingness to help. I brag about you to the Macedonians, saying, “Greece has been ready since last year,” and your enthusiasm has motivated most of them. But I’m sending the brothers so that our bragging about you in this case won’t be empty words, and so that you can be prepared, just as I keep telling them you will be. If some Macedonians should come with me and find out that you aren’t ready, we (not to mention you) would be embarrassed as far as this project goes. This is why I thought it was necessary to encourage the brothers to go to you ahead of time and arrange in advance the generous gift you have already promised. I want it to be a real gift from you. I don’t want you to feel like you are being forced to give anything. (2 Corinthians 9:1-5, CEB)

Are we prepared to show what we have done and are doing for God’s mission?

We do not do this to prove that we are good and we are following, but we do this to help others see that it is possible to support God in all circumstances.

We need to always be prepared to be ready to move and show how God is working in and through your life.

Never shy away from the glory that God gets by your following God.

Boldly talk about what God has motivated you to do and be.

Love People. Love God.

Integrity

16 But thank God, who put the same commitment that I have for you in Titus’ heart. 17 Not only has he accepted our challenge but he’s on his way to see you voluntarily, and he’s excited. 18 We are sending the brother who is famous in all the churches because of his work for the gospel along with him. 19 In addition to this, he is chosen by the churches to be our traveling companion in this work of grace, which we are taking care of for the sake of the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our desire to help. 20 We are trying to avoid being blamed by anyone for the way we take care of this large amount of money. 21 We care about doing the right thing, not only in the Lord’s eyes but also in the eyes of other people. 22 We are sending our brother with them. We have tested his commitment in many ways and many times. Now he’s even more committed, because he has so much confidence in you. 23 If there is any question about Titus, he is my partner and coworker among you. If there is any question about our brothers, they are the churches’ apostles and an honor to Christ. 24 So show them the proof of your love and the reason we are so proud of you, in such a way that the churches can see it. (2 Corinthians 8:16-24, CEB)

We want people to see we are handling the money they entrusted us with in a manner that is upright. Not that it is really important for this, because we are handling it appropriately before God. But to keep up relations we do things that show that we are always and completely above board.

We need to live always with integrity. Integrity is doing what is right even when people aren’t looking or noticing. To act like a follower of God at all times, not just when we are being watched.

I have come to discover that usually when people have issues with someone else it is because they are authentic and a person of integrity. Because they are not and have a hard time with someone who is.

But if we all strive to be a person of integrity, our lives would be so much easier. Because only a liar has to have a good memory.

Live your life in such a way that you don’t have to have a good memory, and freely give away the grace, mercy, and love you have received.

Love People. Love God.

Do you believe?

21 Jesus crossed the lake again, and on the other side a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, came forward. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded with him, “My daughter is about to die. Please, come and place your hands on her so that she can be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. A swarm of people were following Jesus, crowding in on him. 25 A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a lot under the care of many doctors, and had spent everything she had without getting any better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. 28 She was thinking, If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed. 29 Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed. 30 At that very moment, Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 His disciples said to him, “Don’t you see the crowd pressing against you? Yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But Jesus looked around carefully to see who had done it. 33 The woman, full of fear and trembling, came forward. Knowing what had happened to her, she fell down in front of Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34 He responded, “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace, healed from your disease.” 35 While Jesus was still speaking with her, messengers came from the synagogue leader’s house, saying to Jairus, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the teacher any longer?” 36 But Jesus overheard their report and said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” 37 He didn’t allow anyone to follow him except Peter, James, and John, James’ brother. 38 They came to the synagogue leader’s house, and he saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “What’s all this commotion and crying about? The child isn’t dead. She’s only sleeping.” 40 They laughed at him, but he threw them all out. Then, taking the child’s parents and his disciples with him, he went to the room where the child was. 41 Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young woman, get up.” 42 Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around. She was 12 years old. They were shocked! 43 He gave them strict orders that no one should know what had happened. Then he told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5:21-43, CEB)

It is interesting that these 2 stories are with each other. The synagogue leader comes to find Jesus because his daughter is ill and he has heard what Jesus can do. He believes in the stories he has heard about Jesus and thinks there maybe hope. But on the way a woman, who was robbed of all of her money by doctors, who knows Jesus can heal her, touches the fringe of his cloak and is healed. Then when Jesus realizes what has happened he asks who touched him, and of course the disciples are like, who didn’t touch you? But Jesus knew someone was healed, and she came forward, and she was sent on her way. And when Jesus arrived at the synagogue leaders home, those there laughed at Jesus when he said the girl was sleeping. They didn’t believe.

Do you believe? These stories show faith and no faith. They show trust in God and no trust in God.

Where are you?

Love People. Love God.