Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Epistle of James - A life transforming class

I took the book of James during fall break.  Talk about a life transforming class, I'll say! The controversy about James is whether or not he is the brother of Jesus.  The answer is, yes. At first, James rejected Jesus as Messiah.  If my brother came up to me and said, "Krissy, I am the Lord."  I would have second thoughts as well.  It wasn't until after the resurrection  that James believed that Jesus is the Messiah.

James is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  One of the significant things that James presents in this Epistle is “Trials.” Trials takes us out of our comfort zone but James says, “my brethern count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (1:2). Count means to evaluate or to consider. God knows the outcome, and as Christians we have to look beyond the circumstance and look for the spiritual benefit.  God uses both trials and suffering to test our faith, so that we may learn to patiently endure.  My favorite verse of all is, “for when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when our endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (1:3-4).  I was the type that would worry about certain situations.  James makes it clear that instead of worrying one should start praying immediately.  

I had an encouraging teacher he pulled me aside after one class and said, “Kristina you thought you were taking this class to get your internship cut in half, but God had you to take this class for another reason.” He was right, I can’t tell you how many times I cried in class or while I was studying.  Our teacher stated, “I’m not teaching this class just to give you a grade.” Speaking of grade, I ended up getting a good grade.  God was really ministering to me in this class. If I were to break the book of James down it would consist of:  Trials and Temptations, Faith, and The Untamable Tongue.  

Temptations:  God allows temptations but does not allow sin.  James says, the enemy will tempt us becuase he knows what we are lured by. e.g., physical desires and temptations.  We sometimes do things to applause man instead of God. 

Faith:  faith produces works.  Satan is always there to trick you.  James says, “What does it profit a person to have faith, but no works?  Unbelievers want to see by our actions (live it out).   

Untamable tongue:  The tongue can do a lot of damage.  As proud as you may think you are, your tongue can do a lot of damage. Have you ever thought of a small spark in a fire that cannot be put out?  It can be started carelessly.  Fire is a good thing, but it can escape and get out of control.  Our tongues can also be like fire. (DANGEOURS).  James is not saying to be quiet but to be controlled, “when someone talks about somebody chances are they are talking about you.”  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Undivided Heart

    Commitments are hard to make.  They're even hard to keep.  Some people avoid marriage commitments by changing their vows for "As long as we both shall live" to "As long as we both shall love."  It's a way out for them in case marriage gets too tough.
    It seems as if individuals just don't want to be committed anymore. People’s commitments are only as strong as their feelings.  When their feelings change, their commitments change, too.  But the problem is because feelings always change.  Have you ever had someone disown you for no reason?  How did it make you feel?  Perhaps you might have even wondered if I saw that person, what would I say?
   My paternal father and mother were never married, but ended their relationship when I was two.  My father was very abusive to my mother.  I may have been two, but some things you don't forget.
    Forgiveness is one of God's most wonderful attributes. I had to forgive my father it wasn't easy but I did it three years ago.  Not only did I forgive him, but also his mother (my grandmother) because in my mind I thought it was wrong of her to disown her granddaughter just because the parents were not getting alone.  Which it probably was, but that was not for me to judge. I had to continue to pray.
    I received a call last night saying that my father is sick, and the doctor's aren't sure if he will make it.  Not only that but my father is scared to sleep at night because he is afraid to die, and that if he wakes up; he may not wake up in heaven.  Due to all of the things that he had done in his lifetime.  Immediately, I started praying and I am still praying.  Please pray with me.
   Being truly committed to someone means you hang in there even when the feelings leave.  This should also describe the commitment you have with God.  When you feel close to him, it's easy to stay committed.  But you also need to remain committed when you don't feel like it.  David reaffirmed his commitment to the Lord in Psalms 86 saying, "No god is like you,O Lord" (verse 8).  "You alone are God" (Verse 10), and "I will honor you forever" (Verse 12). 
    How do you need to reaffirm your commitment to God today?  It is by being more committed to your church? My father is a deacon and he is afraid of dying. Or spending more time in prayer? I would choose prayer!  Maybe it's even making a sacrifice and getting rid of that sin you enjoy.
   Hell is real!!!  It is a terrible place of torment, most thinking people should be interested in what they can do to avoid going there. Psalm 86:3 tells us that God's mercy is great and that he had rescued David from hell.  God not only judges those who sin, he also offers a way to escape punishment.  Following Christ is our hope.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Girls of 6A @ DBU

Me, Alexia, and Ore

At first when I realized I had to room with five other girls, I was blown away.  Having one roommate was enough.  The great thing about all of my roommates is that we all love God, and that is important.  The roommate that I share a room with is Ore, we have a blast.  When I decided to move in I realized she didn’t have a television, and neither did I.  We both then came to the conclusion that our father’s thought it would be best for us not to have one, and to focus on our school work.  Thank God for YouTube..:)  So when my dad calls the apartment phone, it would be great if my roommate would say, “she is studying. Instead of she’s at the gym.” Just kidding!!  Loool… Being in college has it’s pro’s and con’s.

I had to really ask God to help me because living on a college campus was something I never wanted to do.  I heard someone say if you ever want to make God laugh; tell Him your plans.  He has the authority to change your life. Like it or not you have to deal with it.  I had my life mapped out; I told the Lord what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. RIGHT!  He took that map and trashed it, every plan on the map was destroyed! The good thing is the experience.  I use to go to bed early, but not anymore. Also, I didn’t know that I wake up in the middle of the night and ask my roommate is she okay. Loool…She says I sleep talk, but just because I don’t remember what I said that night, doesn’t mean that I sleep talk. Or does it?  It is good to learn about her culture, she is from Nigeria and so I’ve heard a lot of great things. Also she knows about my life and how I grew up. All I can say is college are the best years of a student’s life so we should make best of them.  

Ruth, Rachel, Ore, Me, Akevia,&Alexia

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Priorities of the Heart

    One day I sat in the library and flipped through a book on careers.  I wondered:  What interest me?  The options seemed limitless. Teachers often encouraged me to go into teaching.  My late mother supported me in anything as long as I received my degree.  Some friends even suggested counseling.  All of the options were inviting.  I looked up and down the list and thought:  What is best for me?
    College students often choose careers based on interest and values.  People who love the outdoors often choose jobs that allow them to spend time outside.  My brother enjoys building things and such, and he is a welder.  Others love to travel and choose positions that send them to exotic places.  (my enjoyment) Others want to help people and choose from a wide variety of careers that allow them to help others.
    What about you?  What do you want in a job?  What’s the importance to you?  Location, people, or money?  What you decide will tell you a lot about your priorities.  Your values will often shape which direction your life will head. 
    Solomon was someone with proper values and priorities.
    When God asked how he would like to be blessed, King Solomon revealed his priorities-and his love for God. When such things as riches, possessions, honor, power and a long life were made available to him. King Solomon chose wisdom and knowledge instead, "On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, Ask! What shall I give you? And Solomon said to God: You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O LORD God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.  Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:7-10). Because King Solomon’s heart was in the right place, so were his priorities. 
    As I examine my life I look to see what is important.  I check my calendar to see where a majority of my time goes.  Writing out my priorities gives me a clearer perspective.  If anything seems out of place, I write out the action and make plans to correct the problem.

Friday, October 1, 2010

One IS The Loneliest Number

    How can one feel lonely when there are a billion people on earth?  Yet, many do. Are you one?  People pull away from indviduals for various numbers of reasons.  Maybe you have hurt me and I pulled away from you because my emotions felt as if they have been run over by a bulldozer.  Some say “stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  I have news for you, words DO hurt.  One may have been hurt emotionally or socially, it seems safer to get away.  In fact, I for one, have been hurt by family and friends.  It got to the point where I am learning to be alone now.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them or don’t want to be around them, I just speak and say less.
    You know by now I love the book of Psalms.  David knew about discouragement.  He felt secluded, reclusive, and lost.  But he knew he couldn’t pull himself back together, so he asked God to lead him to a place of safety-“to the rock.” Psalm 61:2 says, From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  It was impossible for David to make it alone; he knew that God would hear him. Not only that, but, David remembered God’s strength-NOT HIS OWN-would get him through these tough times.  The same goes for you and I.  When you feel lonely or overwhelmed, call on God to help you.  I’ve done it lots of times.  Tell Him whatever is on your mind.  Let him pull you back together.   
    Pray about it                                                                 
Lord, help me remember that you are the source of my security and strength during the times I’m lonely and discouraged.  Thank you for never leaving me all alone.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God is our Comforter

    God healing your hurts is one of the key components to experiencing His love, "I would comfort myself in sorrow; my heart is faint in me" (Jeremiah 8:18).
    Have you ever lost a loved one?  Where did you look for comfort?  I hope you did not rely on human remedies, you know how their effectiveness diminishes over time.  Some try food, alcohol, drugs, or escape into fantasy-anything to attempt to outrun the pain.  After the glow wears off and the dream ends, the ache remains.  I remember the week my mother passed, she told me herself, "Krissy I love but I can't take this pain anymore."  I did not know what she was saying. I simply stated, “the doctors will give you some medicine and then we are going to go home.” Three days later it hit me; my mother is ready to be with the Lord. There is nothing I can do, but say thank you Lord. The trial was hard for my brother and me.  All the things my mother instilled in me were not about to become trash.  The very next day after my mother's funeral I went to church, everyone thought I was crazy. I could feel the eyes and whispers. The first place Satan will tell you not go is to church, especially after a circumstance has taken place.  Please go, there is always a word. 
    There is no such thing as life without pain and trial, and therefore no such thing as a person without need of comfort.  Don't let anyone deceive you into thinking that the key to leading a joy filled Christian life is avoiding pain; that simply is not possible in this sinful world, and neither is it profitable for us.  God could choose to insulate us from hurt, but instead He allows us to experience the tough times that draw us closer to Him.
    Out of pain comes a need for God.  As he ministers to me and you accept it with thanksgiving and a desire to learn, then you can become equipped to minster to those He places within your reach, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).  Hurting individuals know there is no substitute for experience.  However, you can reach for God's comfort right NOW!  I asked Him to give me solace- and find myself wrapped in the love that will not let me go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relying on God’s strength

    Have you ever faced spiritual warfare?  It can really take a toll on a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I too, have faced it, and I don’t think I am finished.  People can be so cruel, but it’s all a learning process.  I would wake up thinking about the situation and go to bed thinking about the situation.  One day I said to myself, “Lord I want the victory, and the only way I will have it, is if I humble myself just as You did.”  Once I did that, not only did I walk away from the situation(s) with the victory, but it was as if I had lifted a heavy weight off of my shoulder.  Your “enemies” know you have weaknesses, so they’re looking for the first little sign of fear.  Once you doubt the Lord’s strength in your life, then the pressure is really on. (Like Donkey Kong)…LOL.  The enemy will start harassing you by saying, “He’s not going to protect you. You’re on your own!”  Abstaining from that kind of mindset and leaning on God’s strength is the way too go.  
    At this point in my life, I felt alone as if I didn’t have anyone but the Lord.  I didn’t know who my friends were because they seem to change every week.  God has shown me that I absolutely, helplessly need to be dependant upon Him, and there wasn’t anything I could do but rely on His strength.  David said in Psalm 28:7, The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”  The important thing in spiritual warfare is recognizing the battle.  A question to ask yourself is, “Am I going to be glorified in this-or will all glory go to God?  “Winning” doesn’t necessarily mean running someone away.  Rather, it’s enduring and continuing on without defending yourself, blasting someone else, or seeking vengeance. I know it's hard!  Our Father is so sovereign, not because of our strength, our wisdom or our experience(s).  But He has everything in perfect control. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Speaking for God Job 32:6-22

    A lot of people say they speak for God.  But are they really speaking for God, or are they speaking for themselves? 
    Sometimes listening to the wrong people can lead to trouble, even death.  In the 1970s Jim Jones led people to believe the voice of God told them to commit suicide.  And many people died believing him. In the 1990's David Koresh became the voice of God to a select group of people in Waco, Texas.  And bodies of his followers went up in flame, tragically displaying the potential danger of listening to someone who says he or she speaks for God.
    Others really do speak God's truth.  The late Billy Graham had led thousands of people to Christ by preaching God's word.  His voice had been a voice we can trust.  Mother Teresa has also spoke for God.  By helping starving people and showing them the love of Christ, she demonstrates how a person can speak for God with his or her life.
   How can we tell when a person truly speaks for God?  Most of us can tell the difference between a David Koresh and a Billy Graham.  But sometimes it's not so obvious.  When I began reading Elihu's speech in Job 32, he sounded like he really could have been a voice from God.  But as the chapters go on and his speech continues, I realized he sounds a lot like Job's others friends.  All of them were convinced that Job's calamity happened because of his sin.  But Job knew the problems weren't his fault.
    Hearing God's true voice can be tricky at times, I had even mistaken God's voice from people that I love.  But with the help of the Bible and prayer, we can usually tell whether or not someone speaks for God.  And when they do, we'd better listen.