Tag Archives: James 4

What About Your Candle?

Luke 11:33-36

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

As I read Luke 11:33 my first thought was, “Where’s your candle sitting Shari?” I love scented candles. Not of the floral design, but those that cause a visitor to wonder if I just pulled some fabulous dessert from the oven. The one I’ve had wafting through the house this weekend is salted caramel. Yum! But what about the candle that was lit within my heart in 1996 when I accepted Jesus as Lord? How evident is that candle? And where is it sitting? That was the questions I ask myself. I’m so frustrated with my own service for the Lord of late. I’ve allowed so much to strangle my spirit and my spirituality has suffered.

Some would say, that’s life. But for me, that’s death. That exactly how Satan convinces his prey that we’re “fine.” You can’t be on fire every day. I’ve heard that said numerous times and it makes me want to puke every time I hear it, because it’s a lie of the Devil. While it’s true we all have down days, we’re just a heartbeat from settling into as a lifestyle. So what about that candle?

Good vs. Evil

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

This verse reminds me of the children’s song

Oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down on you with love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

What we see and hear every single day effects our character and witness. “Be not deceived” God warns in Galatians 6:7.

I love, love, love bluegrass music. But after about the third song about someone’s cheatin’ wife being buried in the back 40, my mind is in a dark place. I have to shut that off and listen to some gospel. But there are days that I don’t shut it off. I just keep listening, and the stories go from killing her to killing himself with alcohol to get over her “Four ounces at a time.” Yes… I actually have that song on my play list. And I say to myself, I’m fine… yet evil won out.

Lead vs. Follow

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

The “I’m Fine” theory is what lead me to a heart attack and open heart surgery. I did not take heed. I wanted to appear healthy in the world’s eyes. As I scurried about the church in my little “church lady” ways, no one had any idea that in the basement of my favorite place in the world I’d just had a heart attack. I was following the world and not the Lord. God had told me that I wasn’t fine. He’s done the same thing spiritually and I’ve ignored that too. Leading vs. following isn’t necessarily right vs. wrong. You can lead yourself and others astray, or you can follow someone in the path of righteousness. You can lead someone to Christ, or you can follow someone to Hell. Your mind’s eye and your ears have got to be tuned into Christ to keep the candle burning and your body filled with the light of His word and ways.

Light vs. Dark

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

In the battle of light vs. dark, the light always wins out when given the opportunity. Darkness has to flee when light enters the room.

James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Glory to God, He wins! But the key to personal victory is our submission. The world is ready to fill you full of darkness through music, television, books, magazines, internet and any other means of media as well as people. It can all be evil, the same way it can be good. It’s our choice that makes the difference.

What are you filling your eyes and ears with today? Is it filling you with light or darkness? Is your candle burning brightly for the cause of Christ, or is it so dim the world doesn’t even see its flame?

Light the world for Christ today! Fill your mind, body and soul with everything good!

How’s Your Hinges today?

chick labor

There are days when I write that I think I’m writing to read what I have to say. Then I am reminded of the preachers of little country churches who preach Sunday after Sunday to a house of  a half dozen filled seats and a dozen or so good intentions who didn’t show up; it is then that I count it a privilege to have a place that I can share what God speaks to my heart. Every soul that reads the words I write, and are encouraged by my thoughts are soldiers in the field of battle that I’ve had the opportunity to support. God knows each one and I’m encouraged by that. It still however does not stop me from counting and complaining. For myself as a writer and speaker, and for the Pastors that labor and study to fill the pulpit on Sunday, preaching to more air than mass.

Ecclesiastes 12:8-11

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

It reminds me of that song “I’m working on a Building.”

Church attendance is not proof of salvation, but the lack of church attendance is evidence of commitment issues. If people attended work like they do church they’d be fired. And before you say that you have to work to survive and pay bills, let me call to remembrance the scripture in Ephesians 2:17-22 (speaking of Jesus)

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Sunday is the day we go to the hardware store! While that job that pays the bills is important for survival and filling your house with the necessities of life therein, it’s a temporary housing unit for life. Our permanent dwelling isn’t finished yet. (Lest we’d be in it!) And the building material necessary for that life is found in the house of God and in the Word of God.

Solomon said that all was vanity. We spend so much time living for ourselves that we forget our real purpose. Solomon the preacher was wise and taught the people. The people were wise in that they showed up! He reminded them that this life is short… James 4:14 says ~ It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

The words of the wise (the preacher) are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. He’s talking about the building, that’s us! Paul in verse 22 of Ephesians said “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:” That’s the church! The men and women of God who share His word have got the construction material for you to build your house, and if you don’t  show up at the hardware store on Sunday, and read and study His Word the rest of the week, your doors may fall off the hinges, or your pipes might break! The preacher is a goad… it doesn’t sound very flattering but I hope I’m a goad to. Someone that pokes you and prods you into living closer to cross of Christ. That was the first thing He built for us… and then He died on it. So that we could live in this house of flesh and serve Him where we are.

Glory to God! I’m workin’  on a buildin’, I’m workin’ on a buildin’, I’m workin’ on a buildin’ for my Lord, for my Lord!

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Paying off Jiminy Cricket

chick guilt

Why is it, that if it’s not Christmas, our minds are not on giving. Another Francis Chan study has me pondering this question this morning. At Christmas time the extra dollars seem to flow from our fingers much easier when we see the need of someone, time seems readily available to volunteer to help the down and outers. The needs of a child are first and foremost in our mind to insure that they have the best Christmas ever… and then it’s over. We go back to our mundane lives and there are no more bells ringing at the entrance of store. No more reminders that we need to think of the needs of others.

And then Francis Chan comes along and throws me outside my comfort zone. Actually I had been there for several weeks, because that’s how God works. Then He adds a series like “Crazy Love” into your life as if to say, why are you not listening? Life is about serving others, that’s how I did it and that’s how I’d like you to do it.

1 John 3:16-18

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Nowhere in that verse were the words “at Christmas time.” It is during that season that our excessiveness goes out of control, does it not, or am I alone? We buy in extreme for those we love, we expect in extreme from those we love and we soothe our guilty souls by dropping a few Benjamin’s or perhaps it’s a Jackson or Lincoln. It matters not, it’s often times for the purpose of paying off Jiminy Cricket. (our conscience in case you were not familiar with Pinocchio.) But God is not Jiminy Cricket, He’s the Holy Spirit and so much wiser… and bigger. And He’s around 365 days of the year, not just holidays or movie nights; and He has a much greater purpose than just telling us we’re doing wrong.

James 4:17

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

I feel that I should buy the James 4:17 tee shirt, because I’ve earned it. And not in the good sense. God has been so very good to me. I would be ashamed to tell you how good, in that everything I’ve ever truly wanted I have, and almost every time it came in the form of a gift. The passel of instruments sitting in the chair and on the floor across from me attests to God’s goodness to me. People have invested in my love of music and my love of God. I continually am the recipient of words of encouragement that are priceless and yet cost only a second or two of someone’s day.

  • To him/her that knoweth to speak words encouragement and say nothing to him/her it is sin.
  • To him/her that knoweth to tip the box boy and doeth it not, to him/her it is sin.
  • To him/her that knoweth that child needs new shoes and buys them not, it is sin.
  • To him/her that knoweth that elderly person needed groceries and bought them not, it is sin.
  • To him/her that threw away food rather than sharing it with a neighbor, it is sin.

That list could go on a few miles or more, but I won’t. Mainly because my heart can’t bear the reality. Those “to him/her” comments are things I know I’m guilty of, they are not necessarily things you are guilty of. God speaks different purpose to different souls… are we listening?

Stop! in the name of Love

chick stop

Last night I taught our teens from the Francis Chan study on Crazy Love and managed to heap huge conviction upon myself. I hate that! But it’s necessary in your walk with Christ to look at life through the eyes of God, not the eyes of self. I measure up pretty good next to me… as a matter of fact we’re dead even. But line me up next the disciples, or Who we should be lining ourselves up to (Christ Himself) and I’m not so hot. I fall far short of who I should be. I don’t fall in to the completely lukewarm category but I have tendencies that no doubt make God’s stomach queasy.

Going through the motions:

Isaiah 29:13 says “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

Does that not describe the church of modern day to a tee? Everybody’s a Christian (just ask them) but their lives certainly don’t back it up. SMO’s. “Sunday morning only folk.” If you’re one of them, I’m about to get on your last nerve. If we feasted on food like we feast on the word of God you could count our ribs. It’s truth. How on earth do we expect to survive in perilous times, when the only thing that’s going to get you through is the promises of God? And we don’t’ have them. I’m so proud of my group of teens at our church. Wednesday night we’re packed out! But the truth is, we could do better. That’s why I’ve been doing this Crazy Love series with them. I don’t want lukewarm Christians in my class, I want crazy kids who are sold out for Jesus Christ and they don’t care who knows it. I want them to look at their friends and understand if they don’t tell them about Christ, there’s a good chance no one else will either; and the end result is their friend will go to Hell.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” A funeral is better than a party? Yes, because a funeral brings the reality that our lives are like a vapor.

James 4:14

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

If we lived what we say we believe we’d be telling someone about Christ. As a gospel singer I’ve sang at a great multitude of funerals. They’ve not all been for saved people. As a matter of fact the very first funeral I sang for was for a lost soul. His family asked me to sing “Hello in Heaven,” because it was too late for the one whose funeral was being held, but it was not too late for the rest of their friends and family. That was a real eye opener for me as a young convert. I’ve been blessed to be among a congregation of people who try to live for Christ. We all fail. Daily. But we’re trying.

I encourage you to live for Jesus today and tell someone about His saving grace before it’s too late. Live the crazy love that we’re taught the disciples lived.  God likely will not ask you to give up everything you own and serve Christ, but are you willing to use what He’s given you to serve Him? What friend or family are you willing to let go to Hell? You’ve likely said none… but what are you doing to stop it?

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