Thursday, June 14, 2018

Listen Quick, Slow to Speak

James 1:19-20

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 

In this fast paced world we live in now sometimes I forget to slow down. Now I’m not near as busy as those with full families all the schedules that go on forever, but I still keep a pretty full schedule. Trying to keep that schedule in my head is part of days gone by. Now I try and write everything down. I try and put everything into my phone and onto a paper calendar. I figure if it is in two places I won’t forget, but I do.

James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak and become angry. That sounds pretty easy but it isn’t. Normally I am trying to think up what to say next while someone is talking to me. I believe a lot of us are that way. Sometimes that leads to not really hearing what is being said. Seems to me everyone wants to be heard and give their opinion on the situation.

I try to really focus on what the person is saying. Stop my mind from wondering onto thoughts of my reply or advice. As James goes on to tell us that anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires it makes me think about what God does want me to do when listening.

Normally as we listen, to another person or God, we gather information. It could simply be that the individual we are talking to needs a sounding board, just someone to vent to and talk through a situation. Other times by listening we find out more about the person, get to know them better.

When we listen to God we learn what He expects of us. What His desires are for us. Who doesn’t want to know God better?

So listen up friends and be slow to reply.

May God Bless

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dreams vs Reality

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine from church and discussing how difficult life can be. Why does it have to be so hard? Seems so simple when you day dream. It’s all laid out in a nice neat order that has a flow to it. You know there will be disappointments and hurdles to climb, but you know you’ll get though it all. You have parents, siblings and friends to help you over the rough parts. You will find your soul mate and live happily ever after. 

In those dreams, we don’t feel the emotions of every day events that land squarely on our shoulders.

I’m not living in the home I dreamed of. There is no wraparound porch with wicker furniture and ceiling fans. No manicured yard with lots of flowers blooming year round. No white picket fence. I’m not sitting on that porch reading a book and sipping sweet tea with lemon.

I do have a nice comfortable home with a deck on the back of house that I can sit on and sip unsweetened tea. A few flowers are scattered around that need my attention. The deck needs to be cleaned from all the pollen. It’s hot and muggy out so a noisy fan rotates to move the humid air. There is laundry in the dryer that needs folding and my floors need to be mopped. What happened to that dream? 

Life happened. Neither of the pictures I painted above is right or wrong, they are just pictures in a moment of time, not a complete life. When life hits us with its everyday problems and responsibilities it gets hard. When life gets hard on a Christian, Satan comes at you like the roaring lion God warns us about. His claws are out, his teeth are bared and he is ready to leap on his prey and devour.

However, we have an opportunity to ward off Satan. God has prepared a way for us to get free, His word. 

We were discussing how if we stay in His word and bury ourselves there Satan wouldn’t have as many opportunities to lunge at us. He is there and waiting for when we are weak, he always will be. The more I study, pray and lean on God daily, the less opportunity he will have to attack me. It was true; I wasn’t as deep as I should be in His word. I had slacked off and that was all Satan needed. He saw an opening and took it. He lunged and I wasn’t prepared. I was almost devoured before I realized it was Satan that was next to me. 

This week will be different. I’m in His word.

How about you?

May God Bless