Tag Archives: James

Summer Days


I, for one, am really sad to see summer come to a close. But it is officially happening. The blankets are plied back on my bed and the hoodies are reappearing in my wardrobe. The other night I got home about 8:45 and I found myself thinking it was rather dark out. Summer is ending.

In remembrance of the great summer months, I thought I would share with you the top 5 things I love about summer.

  1. Sunshine. I love being warm and I love when the sun is out during summer! It generally means warm weather and long days to play. There is always a possibility of sunshine in the other seasons, but warm, summer sunshine makes me very happy. And there is nothing quite as exciting as when you realizing it’s 9pm and there it’s still light enough outside to play!
  2. No School. Now I’m not currently in school, but let me explain. There is a general, cultural relaxation when school is out of session. It just makes life more fun! Kids are out playing, families don’t feel rushed to get home to do homework or get ready for bed, and most people take the time to do more playing!
  3. Swimming. I cannot tell you how much I love to swim! It’s even better when it’s at the beach, but when that doesn’t happen near as much as I would like. But I love it when it’s warm enough to just play in the water. I think one of my highlights this summer was meeting up with a bunch of kids and parents at the pool for a few hours of swimming (totally related to my #2 reason for loving summer!). It was awesome to see some of the kids accomplish the diving board for the first time! It was awesome.
  4. Food. Not even kidding. There is something great about food in the summer time. I mean really, it’s BBQ, Farmer’s Market, and berry season. Can it get better than that? I think not.
  5. Shorts. If I could handle the cold, I would wear my shorts all year! But I can’t handle the cold. So the shorts will soon be packed away for another year. That makes me sad. But I really enjoyed using them while I could!

That’s my top 5. What about yours? What has been the best part of summer? Have you really thought about it? Here’s what I would encourage you to do: Think about it! But don’t just leave it there. James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” What if we took each moment that was fun, each thing we enjoyed, and turned it into praise to God? One of the things I’ve learned is that when I start looking for the good things God has given me, it helps me focus. I realize that there is a lot of good things from God! And actually, when I am looking for God’s good gifts, I’m not to bothered by the end of summer any more… Instead, I’m overwhelmed by good gifts!


Who’s There?


Last week I was at the annual meetings for our district. It was a pretty good time- a lot of sitting and listening, but good reports and conversations. We had a rather substantial break for dinner and I decided it would be a good time to go to Target to get a few things for home. I especially wanted to make it to Target because I miss living near Target and I just think it’s fun to shop there. Anyway- I digress.

After getting what I needed, I decided to stop at a particular restaurant for dinner. It was the dinner break after all. So I walked in, ask for a table for 1, and was seated. As I was sitting down at the table, I had a gut feeling. I was going to be forgotten about. This actually happens quite often. I can’t quite discover why, but there are two basic things that I think happen in this scenario.

One, is that people feel sorry for you when you are by yourself. I think sometimes they mean well, but other times, the look I get is
“That’s pathetic.” They don’t know what to do with you because they feel sorry for you and it makes them feel awkward. The other thing at work, is that they actually don’t see you. It’s weird. But I have often been by myself places and it really seems like people just don’t see me. It’s wild.

I’m not entirely sure what was at work that day at the restaurant, but sure enough, I was forgotten about. After about 10 minutes of sitting without any acknowledgement from any of the wait staff, I decided to do something I don’t normally do. I sat up very straight and began to make eye contact with anyone I could. Normally, I would have just played on my phone, look through the menu again, something like that to try and decrease the obviousness that I was not being noticed. People at the tables around me began to notice- giving me funny looks and I think realizing how long I had sat there without any acknowledgement from the staff.

But I could not catch the attention of any of the staff. A couple of them looked towards me but didn’t really see me… Finally one of them did. Well, I had actually made eye contact with him about 3 times at that point, but he finally came over and asked if I had been helped yet. “No, not yet,” I said. “Oh, I’m sorry! Let me get you taken care of. What can I get you to drink today?” So I told him what I would like and then went ahead and ordered (I had only had 18 minutes to decide….). He took care of things at that point.

A few minutes after he took my order, the manager (who had actually been the one to seat me) came over and apologized that I had been forgotten. She then said, “I am buying your dinner tonight. I am very sorry. We don’t normally mess up this bad.” Well, that was not hard to agree with, so I said, “Well, thank you very much. I was a little surprised at waiting so long– so thank you.” From there I enjoyed a very nice, free dinner.

Now here is my real point- I’ve been thinking about this whole experience. I’ve wondered, how many times are there people right around me whom I do not see or whom I forget about? I’ve wondered this especially in regards to church gatherings. I have a pastor friend who told me a story the other day about watching a lady in their congregation (whose husband past away a few months ago) come into Sunday worship and proceed to sit by herself the entire time. No one approached her. She sat during service, weeping- she’s grieving- but no one seemed to care… no one really seemed to “see” her.

I can kind of understand being overlooked in a restaurant or something like. But I am really wondering if we pay attention when it comes to our church family. Believe me, it’s not fun to be overlooked. It’s rather degrading really. All of this is challenging me to really pay attention to those around me.

It’s also reminded me a little bit of James 2. It’s specifically identifying how the rich and pour were being treated, but the principle is what I’m getting. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9) Do I love the people around me enough to see them and then actually pay attention to them? Do I see and value those who are around me? What about you?


Thankful


I turned on facebook real quick this morning to see what was going on in the world of my friends and one of them had this question in her status:

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Wow. Really made me think… what if?… It caused me to stop and ask myself, did I really thank God for the good gifts in my life yesterday? As I reflected, I could totally identify things I had thanked God for- like my friends (new and old), my new home, and the new football season. But what if I woke up today with only the things I had thanked God for yesterday? Well, then I have to admit I missed a lot!

All of this has caused me to remember that an attitude of thankfulness is so important. And not just at Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for, not just big life events or relationships, but so many little good things as well. James 1:17 says, Every good gift and every perfect give is from above….Being thankful should be part of my daily attitude, habits, and lifestyle. So that is what I am going to work on this week. And to start, I am thankful for a new day, fresh coffee, and the patience of my Savior as I figure out what it means to live a life completely restored to it’s full potential!


Every Good Gift


A small devotional thought. It’s designed with kids in mind…..

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

The good things in our lives come from God. God does not change God’s mind about us. God always loves us and wants to do good things for us.

What do you have in your life that is good? (Write some of the down. Then on days that you don’t think very many good things are happening, you can remember the good things you do have in your life!)

Thank God for these good things. They came from God!


Shhhhhh…..


Sometimes I just need to be reminded… Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20


Good Stuff Is More Than Just Good Stuff


James 1:16-18

What in your life is good? What do you enjoy? What brings a smile to your face? What in your life is good that you don’t normally think about, but if it went away it would make a big difference? I often think of soap. I don’t normally stop and think about how grateful I am for soap, but if it went away, I would be very sad- and rather dirty.

We have many things in our lives that if we stop and pay attention, we realize they are good. James helps us realize that all these good things in our lives, all the great gifts, are from God. They are evidence of God’s love and truth in our lives.

So what is in your life? Have you thought about it? Maybe even spend time as a family thinking of the good things in your lives. They are more than just good things- they are there to help us remember how God loves us. They can help us focus on God. So don’t overlook them…. even if it’s just soap.


Stay On Target


James 1:1-15

Growing up, us kids loved to watch Stars Wars with our dad. There is this one scene at the end of Episode IV: A New Hope when the heroes are attacking the Death Star and trying to make the galaxy safe from the evil Galactic Empire. In that scene there is a point when three of the fighters think they can get close enough to weak spot in the Death Star to take a shot at destroying it. As they get closer, one of them is shot down by Darth Vader and another starts to panic. But Gold Five keeps saying, “Stay on target!” That line is incredibly quotable. So there were often times we went around the house as kids saying, “Stay on target!” As I read today’s passage, I was reminded of this line.

James is writing to Hebrew Christians who are scattered because of persecution. His opening statements are like he’s saying to them, “Stay on target!” Their circumstances that are completely beyond their control and not what we would call good. But James tells them to “Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trialsof various kinds, for you know thatthe testing of your faithproduces steadfastness.” He also reminds them, “Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial.” Everything around them seems controlled by the evil Empire, but James is there to remind them to stay on target.

I wonder about us… how often do we need to be reminded to stay on target? To keep our eyes fixed on Jesus? What distracts us? Who is around you to encourage you to stay on target?