Monday Musings: Different ways to spend time with God

Monday Musings: Different ways to spend time with God

Well hello all!

First of all, it's absolutely Tuesday, but I'm calling it Monday Musings regardless. 

Second of all, we may have realised that my Instagram is not working at the moment. Basically I realised on Saturday that I'd been locked out and I'm really sure if and when I will get it back. 

Anyway, I have had the most amazing day today! I have been really pressing into God and his word. I've been reading Exodus and am really loving it. It's crazy how you can read a book of the Bible and then read it again and notice something totally different. On that, I wanted to share a few ways that you can spend time with God aside from just praying.

Of course, prayer is super important (a literal conversation between you and your Heavenly Father - amazing) but there are also other ways to connect with God so I thought I would chat about them. Just before I dive into them I wanted to quickly mention my new fave habit I've added into my morning: Prayer walks. Every morning Luca and I will go on a walk. For half of my walk, I don’t listen to anything, I just pray and chat to God about everything on my heart and mind. The other half of the walk, I will either listen to worship and meditate on the words or listen to a sermon. I love this time filling my cup and setting myself up for the day. There’s something so peaceful about being outside with God in the mornings.

 

Reading the Bible

If you are not reading your Bible daily - YOU NEED TO START. Look, it doesn't have to be a super crazy deep devotional and it doesn't have to be 2 hours long, but make time. If you have time to watch Instagram stories for 5 minutes, you 5 minutes to read the Bible. When I don't read my Bible in the morning, I am genuinely a way less patient person (just ask Brenton lol). You can read it on the free Bible app, but I would highly suggest reading an actual book because a) it is way less distracting and b) you can take notes and underline things! YouVersion Bible App and MessengerX app are amazing for Bible studies and daily devotionals. Everyone is different with how they love spending time in the word. For me, I love starting with prayer to set my heart and mind up to read and be open to receiving and hearing. I then journal - I write down my prayer requests, my praise points and anything on my mind. It’s like a brain dump for me. I love to choose a Book in the Bible (sometimes I’ll randomly choose, sometimes I’ll feel God put something on my heart) and read it. I’ll then journal about what I have learnt and any reflections.

 

Journal

I like reading the Bible and journalling at the same time. I love writing down my thoughts, my prayers and anything I find interesting that I have been reading or anything that stands out to me. I don't follow any prompts, but I'm sure there are some online.

 

Worship

Find artists that you love! Some of my favourites are: Maverick City Music, Hillsong UNITED, Montell Fish, Mosaic MSC, Brandon Lake and Local Sound. The Mosaic MSC album “This Is How I Thank The Lord” has been playing on repeat in our home.

 

Remember: God wants you to show up exactly as you are. You don't have to pull yourself together or have it all together before showing up to talk to God. He will meet you exactly where you are at. We are all broken people, we all have sin in our life but God is willing to meet us in our brokenness. Don't worry about showing up as 'perfect' or putting on a facade. God knows our hearts and thoughts anyway.

x

September 20, 2022
James Study: The Final Week

James Study: The Final Week

James 5:7-20

Patience and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

The Power of Prayer

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

Restore Wandering Believers

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

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Good morning and welcome to the last week! I was going to do 2 more weeks but I wanted to cover both topics today because I feel like they go well together. The first passage talks about how this life will bring trials and suffering, but we need to have patience as we endure it. We need to trust God in these seasons. The second passage speaks about prayer. I feel like we take prayer for granted so often. We forget about the powerful weapon that prayer is. James speaks about praying in all seasons (happy, sick, suffering hardships). This is a great reminder that we shouldn't pray only when we need something. I pray in the mornings and when I go to bed but something that I started a few years ago is thanking God before every meal or snack that I ate throughout the day. It helps me remember to give thanks and be grateful for all that He has provided me with and I'm doing it multiple times a day! It only takes 2 seconds but really helps redirect my thoughts to be thankful and pause for a moment to honour Him. Life can get so busy and chaotic but taking those few moments really helps me slow down and focus on what is truly important. I hope this study has blessed you and you have been able to grow in your faith and relationship with God. If you wanted a new devotional, the free Bible app has some amazing bible studies and devotionals! Have a beautiful week x

August 22, 2022
James Study: Week 9

James Study: Week 9

James 5:1-6

Warning to the Rich

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people,[a] who do not resist you.

 

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Good morning! This is our third-last bit of passage until we have completed the book of James. I feel like it's gone so quickly! Now, I know this passage can be taken out of context. James isn't saying here that you "can't have money". He is speaking to those who have had self-indulgent actions. He is speaking to those whose motives are to indulge in only themselves, without giving to others. He addresses the wealthy landowners back in the day and denounces them for their materialistic accumulation of wealth and for their actions which led to the death of innocent and righteous people. We can see that James speaks about materialistic items and riches that people have and how they are stewarding them. Every single thing that are material riches will be lost forever, we can't take it to Heaven. James isn't saying "don't work hard and save money" that would be unwise. But we need to remember that we are blessed by God with what he have. Our jobs, money, and the materialistic items we buy all come from God and his provision. We should be generous and good stewards of our money. We should help those who are in need and give generously. 

August 16, 2022
James Study: Week 8

James Study: Week 8

Good morning and happy Monday! I can't believe it's August already, this year has gone so quickly. As I was praying this morning I felt really strongly to just commit this new day, fresh week and new month to God. So often we can forget how important his path so can I encourage you to ask God for direction and guidance, we want to do things His way not ours! After all, he created us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. As I read today's scripture after my prayer, the passage was a perfect reflection of what I was praying. Let's get into it.

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Warning about Self-Confidence

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.

 

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James speaks on boasting about tomorrow. I think so often we think that we can control our lives, our plans and the outcome of things. Of course, we can put in work and achieve things - that is up to us! But ultimately it is God who has planned our paths. In 14:4 the verse speaks on planning and investing and how they are not wrong, however arrogant self-confidence and boasting are wrong. Instead, we should ask God what he wants us to do with our plans and lives. Let's make it a habit, when making decision to ask God "God, what do you want me to do with this decision?". When I wanted to leave my corporate job, I was hesitant because my job was secure. But I wasn't passionate about it and deep down knew that God had something planned for me. I was nervous, but I asked God for direction and guidance and He was so clear that I needed to start my studies in fitness and personal training to be able to start State of Wellness. Maybe you're at a cross-roads and needing to make a decision on something. Ask God for help with this decision. If you feel like you haven't heard a "yes", "no" or "not yet" from God, you can take a step out towards the direction you think you should go and He will either close the door or open the door for you. 

August 01, 2022
James Study: Week 7

James Study: Week 7

Good morning and Happy Monday! I have had such an amazing morning with God. I watched an amazing sermon yesterday, I'll link it here. Lisa spoke about a lot of things that resonated with me. The first one was making sure what we are fearing God and not fearing man. I feel like it can be so easy to get caught up in worrying about others opinions of you, but it was a great reminder that everyone's opinions and everything that you own fades away. At the end of the day, it's about who you are in Christ.  I really spent a lot of time in prayer this morning and and journalling my thoughts, prayers and dreams (and Luca slept the whole time - thank you Lord!). I love this passage of scripture and you will see my reflections on it after you read it. Let's get into it!

 

James 4:1-12

Drawing Close to God

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers![a] Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.[b] And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”[c]

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Warning against Judging Others

11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[d] If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

 

 

Wow. Let's look at "you do not have because you do not ask", it's a great reminder that we should ask God for what we are seeking in our lives rather than trying to do everything in our own strength or looking at other people saying "why don't I have that?". We need to remember the power of prayer. The sermon that I linked actually said something that ties into this! Basically she said that we need to pray but we also need to use our feet (i.e. take action!). Remember right at the beginning of this study we looked at faith without works is dead? This is the concept! We need to pray but also follow it with actions. Want a new career? Ask God but also start applying, start researching, put in the work and ask God to help you. Want to find your husband? Pray for him every day but also actively work on YOU to prepare yourself to be the best wife you can be. Of course, the next few verses (4:3) speaks about asking wrongly. Not all prayers are going to be pleasing. Our prayers need to be seeking to honour God and advance his Kingdom, not just gratify our self-centred desires! 

4:6 speaks about God's grace which extends for those who are humble before Him. 4:7-8 is important as we learn that the only way to resist the devil is to draw close to God. When we do this, the enemy has no option but to flee. 

We see in verses 4:11 gossip brought up again! It's a common theme in James. It is a problem we face in society daily - speaking evil and slander against people. Those who inappropriately judge others break Gods law.

It's a big one this week but I have felt to inspired to share my thoughts! If you get a chance, watch the sermon I linked. It was just incredible. Lisa Bevere is a weapon preacher. Have a beautiful week guys x

July 25, 2022
James Study: Week 6

James Study: Week 6

Good morning lovelies and Happy Monday!

We are over halfway through the James Bible study and it has been so nice reading your DM's about how much you've enjoyed reading it. Can I encourage you to participate in it (doesn't have to be posted here - you can journal it in your own time!). However, if you did want to join in on the conversation, you can post here under a fake name and remain anonymous if you would prefer.

Let's get into week 6!

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James 3:13-18

True Wisdom Comes from God

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

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Such a great reminder going into our week. We should have humility and actions that follow our faith and wisdom. Bitterness, jealousy and selfishness are the antithesis of true Godly wisdom. Selfish ambition is divisive willingness to split the group in order to achieve personal power and prestige. 

How often in our jobs or at uni do we not want to help others because we want to get the best grades or shine in our workplace? As Jesus followers, there is room for everyone to bloom and flourish! 

James reminds us that the answer to disorder is to seek wisdom from above. Those who bring peace rather than conflict bring a harvest of righteousness. Peacemaking in a tumultuous world is counter-cultural for sure. Staying away from gossip and slander is absolutely counter-cultural in a world full of gossip and rumours but we need to be strong enough to go against the spirit of division and instead make peace and not join in.  

What do we think about this passage? How can you make sure to be a peacemaker this week, even in hard situations? How can you not buy into gossip and remove yourself from gossip and slander in your workplace or uni?

 

July 18, 2022
James Study: Week 5

James Study: Week 5

Good morning and welcome to week 5! Think of a time where someone said something nasty about you or to you. You can probably remember straight away, right? Words have so much power. This passage of scripture is so important, especially in the times we live. Gossip, rumours and talking about people is sadly a huge part of the world we live in. Let's get into it...

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James 3:1-12

Controlling the Tongue

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.[b]

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.[c]

 

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James is counter-cultural and warns us about our tongue and the power that it has. Words have so much power - they can bring life or death. They can encourage and uplift or tear down and destroy. 

I love the example James uses with the rudder being a tiny part of the ship, yet it steers the whole ship. Our tongues are a tiny part of our body, yet it really does control over everything we are and do. He also compares the tongue to a tiny spark, which can set a whole forest on fire. It's true, our words have the power to really hurt people. 

Yes, this goes for directly speaking hurtful words to people but it also goes for gossip. Verses 9 and 10 say: "Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" James is making a point that as Christians, we shouldn't be praising God and gossiping about others (who are made in the image of God). It is hypocritical to bless God and curse someone who God created. 

We need to work on being disciplined and being intentional with our words. I have a friend, who might be reading this (you know who you are) and I tell her all the time that I love how intentional she is with her words. She doesn't talk over people, she is always listening and she chooses her words carefully. You can tell she thinks before she speaks and because she is a woman of fewer words, her words hold great weight. I really admire this friend and she inspires me to be a better listener and be more intentional with my words. 

In a world where social media is full of hurt people, gossip, slander, rumours, talking about others, we as Christians need to go against that culture. We need to be the light and not conform to the patterns of this world. Romans 12:2 (NLT) says "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

July 05, 2022
James Study: Week 4

James Study: Week 4

James 2:14-26

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[a] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[b] He was even called the friend of God.[c] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[d] so also faith is dead without good works.

 

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Good morning and happy Monday! I love Mondays so much. I can't wait to see what this week brings. Let's get into todays devotional. I love this bit of James. It's so important to apply this. James is saying that having faith but not following through with our actions is pointless. Verses 2:15-16 give an example or what faith without action looks like: saying "go in peace and be warm and I hope you eat well" to someone who has no food or clothing is a cop-out. What good is it to wish someone "well" but not actually help them out when they are in need? 

This is a convicting passage today! How many times do we say to people "I hope it works out" without actually asking "how can I help?". Faith by itself isn’t enough - unless it produces good deeds, James says it's dead and useless.

James gives an example of what faith with action looks like. In verse 25 he speaks about Rahab (from the book of Joshua in the OT). Rahab hid Jewish spies from her own people and lowered them on a rope so that they could escape - that is her faith followed with action.

How can we make sure this week to follow our faith with action?

Have a beautiful week guys, I can't wait for next week's passage, it's a good one!

 

June 27, 2022
James Study: Week 3

James Study: Week 3

Hello lovelies,

Welcome to week 3 of the James Bible study! Sorry I'm a day late, I had a crazy day yesterday and Luca was super clingy and just needed his mama. I have been really enjoying this and I'm so glad you guys are too. Let's get into today's reading.

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James 2:1-13

A Warning against Prejudice

My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name[c] you bear?

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”[e] So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

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This is such an important lesson that James is teaching. There is no place for prejudice when we are people of faith. We should love everyone and never favour some people over others. This is really hard when we think about people who are nasty to us. As Christians, we are instructed to love those who persecute us and pray for our enemies. When I actually started doing this, it was the most freeing thing ever. Unforgiveness and bitterness will grow in us if we hold onto it. Being able to let go and pray for those who are mean to us will allow us to find freedom. Whenever I get an awful DM or comment, I will always lift them up to God. Instead of feeling annoyed, hurt or offended like I used to, I actually feel sad for them because they are hurt. I just lift them up to God. Who in your life comes to mind when we are told to pray for our enemies? Why not take a second and pray for them. I know it can be painful the first, second, even tenth time. But trust me, once you start doing it, you feel SO MUCH FREEDOM! The greatest commandment is to love God and love others. 

I love how James talks about those who are rich in a worldy sense vs. those who are rich in a heavenly sense. The world will tell you that to be rich is to have lots of money and material items. But true riches is found in God and our salvation. Take a moment and reflect: how do you define wealthy? Is it happiness with your family? Being able to afford food?

I think this passage is beautiful because it reminds us to check our hearts. Verse 13: "There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you" is a great reminder to not judge others or have prejudice. Instead, we are called to be a light: compassionate, loving and merciful (even to those who wrong us!). 

Love you guys! Let me know if I can be praying for anything! x

June 21, 2022
James Study: Week 2

James Study: Week 2

Good morning everyone and welcome to another week! My prayer for you this week is that you find joy in the little things. Let's get straight into today's reading...

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James 1: 19-27

Listening and Doing

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger[g] does not produce the righteousness[h] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

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The first thing I notice in this reading is the very first verse. James doesn't say "never get angry", he says for us to be slow to anger. Anger is a useful emotion when angry for the right reasons and handled correctly. We call this righteous anger. We should be angry about injustice for tragic and horrible things like child slavery. We would be robots if things like that didn't get us angry and make us feel heartbroken! So the type of anger we need to avoid is unrighteous anger.
I love how James says we shouldn't just listen to God's word, we should also apply it. He uses the analogy of looking at yourself in the mirror and then walking away and immediately forgetting what we look like. I love this analogy because I view the Bible as a mirror. It is the only book that reads you and I. It convicts us and tells us what we are doing well and what we are doing not so well. If we see that we have food all over our face when we look in the mirror, we would naturally clean it up. So when we read the word and realise we could be more kind and loving, why would we then not change our behaviour to be that way? When we see flaws and room for improvement, we should actively apply God's word to our lives and try to improve in that area. 
Another huge point that stuck out for me is verse 26: "If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless". Worthless is a weighty word! We need to keep a right reign on out speech, just like a bridle controls a horse. Words can bring life or death. Words are so very powerful. I'm sure you can think of a time someone said something hurtful to you. I remember things al the way back when I was 7 years old. Words truly are so powerful, so let's make sure we use them to encourage and build people up, not tear people down. This is just another reminder to think before we speak. What did you guys get out of this mornings reading? I have been loving this study so far with you guys! x
June 13, 2022
James Study: Week 1

James Study: Week 1

James Study: Part 1. 
Reading: James 1: 1-18

 

Good morning guys, 

I have copied and pasted the passage of scripture that we will be reading below. The Bible reading for week is James 1:1-18. The below version that I have copied and pasted is the NLT version. For my reflection, please see below the passage. 

 

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Greetings from James

This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad.

Greetings!

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Believers who are[b] poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[c] and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[d] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[e] 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.[f]

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My reflections on the above passage of scripture:

Wow. What a reminder of what is truly important in life, hey? I love how James speaks about trials and how we should find joy in trials because they are designed to produce spiritual maturity. It's true - trials can be so refining and really make us stop and focus on what is truly important. It's not saying to be happy when we are struggling in a trial, but rather to view trials as a long-term joy, because that is what they will produce. Worldly, temporary happiness is different to spiritual joy. I like in verse 6 how it talks about doubting being like a wave of the sea. So often I find myself trying to do everything in my own strength (going back and forth between dealing with trials in a worldly way or dealing with trials in a spiritual way, like waves swishing around).

Verses 9,10 and 11 speak about rich and poor and how both bring pressure. James exhorts the poor to boast in their high status in Christ - the ultimate gift in this world, better than any riches this life can offer! James also exhorts the rich to boast in their humiliation (the abasement of pride and leads to a state of being humbled) because wealth is temporary. None of us will take our earthly possessions to Heaven. Wealth how the world perceives it (i.e. money, fame, power, etc.) brings people no advantage before God. The church is called to be countercultural - meaning the reverse of what the world teaches. I think of the scripture in Matthew 6:24 which says "you cannot serve both God and money".

Verse 13 speaks about God testing his people, but never tempting his people. Testing = strengthening character. Temping = leading into sin. God never tempts, only tests. The enemy tempts. So if you are being tempted, that is not of God. We should never blame God when we do wrong or fall into toxic habits/out sinful nature.

Verse 17 speaks about every good and perfect gift coming from God. I love this verse because it reminds me that God truly has given us so much in this life, and we should always thank Him for his provision, grace, kindness, mercy and faithfulness. I'm not talking about financial or material provision, though we should be grateful for that. But I am referring to the ultimate gift: the gift to be able to be in relationship with God and Jesus. 

I love how James is written. It's so digestible and easy to read. I see it as a bit of a mini handbook for life and living life to the fullest with God!  I am really looking forward to the next 11 weeks. What did you guys get out of this? Also, if you guys have any prayer requests, please leave them below. I would love to be praying for you guys. x

June 06, 2022
James Study: Introduction

James Study: Introduction

Hey lovelies!

I was praying about what book of the Bible I should read next and I really felt to study James. Last year in lockdown we did a Bible study on the book of Ruth which I absolutely loved. It was so great to hear what you guys got out of it and to explore scripture together. I thought why not do a weekly online Bible study for those who are keen!

I thought doing it here on my blog could be the way to go moving forward as you have the option to post anonymously or with a pseudonym if you are someone who wants to get involved but are not wanting to be identified. 

How will it work?

I will be posting the part of scripture for the week along with my personal reflections on this scripture every Monday for the next 11 weeks. We will be studying the Book of James which is a small book in the New Testament. It has 11 subheadings/topics so I thought we could take 11 weeks to explore the Book of James.

Feel free to comment or just spectate and read through. There is zero pressure to comment or participate. What I will say is I find it really helpful to have a notebook next to me where I will write my prayers and thoughts. But if you want to get involved, I would really encourage that! Remember, you can always post anonymously :)

 

Do I need a Bible?

You don't need a physical Bible. If you don't yet have a Bible, you can read online or on the Bible You Version app (this app is free and has great Bible study plans too!). I love reading my physical Bible because I am not distracted by my phone and I find it really nice not looking into a screen first thing in the morning! I also love being able to circle things and annotate my Bible. I would highly recommend getting one! 

 

I pray that this study blesses you and ultimately draws you closer to Jesus.

If there are any questions about this study please leave them below. The next post is where we will get into week 1! 

June 06, 2022