"Shine like the moon; reflect the Son"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Corel Painter, digital painting
Yay! This is the last post from the Book of James. It's one of the toughest books to read because it's so clear about what's right and wrong. Hard to take sometimes but like medicine it makes us stronger. Thanks for bearing with me.
Before I press on, I wanted to share about a few Christian heroes in America. Feel free to share about heroes you've noticed.
During the tornadoes in Oklahoma, the teachers chose to shield the children with their bodies. They sang "Jesus loves me." As the storm grew stronger they all sang louder. Sometimes we hear about those who died and forget to remember the survivors. I kept singing Kumbaya (Come by here my Lord) during our hurricanes.
This Bible verse is so true
"Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
I know, I found peace in the hurricanes : ) The devil says, "You're gonna die! This is the end."
Jesus says, "Peace be still."
I'll continue to pray for those in Oklahoma.
Our country is struggling right now because there are a few atheists that don't like Christians. Guess we smile too much making them uncomfortable. Grumpy people hate smiles. I know I was one. Our constitution states we have "Freedom of religion." In fact some of my ancestors fought and died for this right. They came to the USA as Mennonites in the 1600's.
A few atheists threatened to sue a school district. A young man was tasked with speaking at his High School graduation ceremony as Valedictorian. He was told not to include religion. He prepared a speech, got it approved and stood up to speak. After a few minutes, he ripped it up and started saying the prayer Jesus taught us.
Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name,
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors,
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen
Evidently the whole school recited the prayer with him and cheered in the beginning and the end. We must protect our Constitutional rights and not be afraid. A lot of Americans love the Lord : ) Jesus' prayer is so applicable to so many circumstances.
This is a favorite song from the Newsboys. My favorite lines are "Shine make em wonder what you got. Make em wish that they were not on the outside looking bored." Newsboys song Shine (link)
My life changed from anger and emptiness to joy and purpose when I became a Christian. There's no need for us to hide under rocks. We get to shine. When we join Jesus in the end, that light is going to be amazing! No more mopping floors or baths for sure. Totally clean inside and out! Err I need to mop the kitchen today...
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment.
When I hear the word "swear" I think of bad language. But what this verse is saying to me is to be honest in what I say. If you don't have time to bake cookies for your husband just say it. Don't say you will and then not do it. That just destroys trust. Afraid this is something I need to work on.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Honestly I've been accused of being overly cheerful. Yup a shiner... drives some folks nuts. And people do like it when I sing. Love the old hymns and contemporary music. I really don't think about it much but maybe the Lord wants me to do it. He has stuff for all of us to do.
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Confessing to others is hard in our world. It's hard to find people we can totally trust. Unfortunately sometimes the Church takes on the form of Judge rather than Minister. All the through the Bible it teaches not to judge- we've all sinned. We should work on this. I need to think about how trustworthy I am with secrets. The story of Elijah is amazing. I want to write about a character next maybe Elijah. Had lots of fun with Jonah.
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
God has provided many ways for us to receive forgiveness. This one promises that if we humbly correct and restore someone who's fallen from faith, even our own sins will be forgiven. Sometimes we forget God doesn't want to condemn, He wants to gather and love us.