September 6, 2019

Humility and sacrifice…

Two words that define those who follow Jesus.  There are other words too but these two have been on my mind for a while. 

Those who are humble don’t usually realize they are being humble it’s just a way of life for them, it could be called an attitude or a behavior free from worry about self. 

Humility doesn’t mean weakness rather humility is a strength when it’s all boiled down to it’s precipitate.  It takes a strong person to humble themselves before others.

Sacrifice involves putting others before ourselves in many ways, it means looking out for the good of others at the expense of our own time, effort, money, personal safety, way of life etc.  Sacrifice like humility takes strength of character.

Jesus taught humility and sacrifice by the way he lived his life…we would do well to follow his example.

Just a few thoughts before bedtime…

Peace

Jim

June 16, 2019

I’m preaching next Sunday for only the third time since I retired a year and a half ago.  I have missed sermon preparation and time spent pondering the Scripture text I want to use; I’ll enjoy that this week.

That said, I have enjoyed being a part in leading the singing on Sunday mornings, it’s a way to be involved with the service and helping lead worship.  So next week I get to do both – how fortunate am I.

Part of the text I’m using is in Luke’s Gospel chapter six (New Living Translation) where Jesus finishes up some teaching by saying:

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

So if the heart is full of love…we speak love.
If the heart is full of grace…we are graceful.
If the heart is full of peace…we speak words of peace.
If the heart is full of mercy…we speak words of mercy.
If the heart is full of gratitude…we express thankfulness.

On and on we could go.  Suffice it to say the heart is the foundation of who we are…spend whatever time necessary to ensure the heart is in the proper order.

Peace

Jim

June 5, 2019

I have been doing some sermon prep for a Sunday I’ll be filling in for our preacher and I ran across a text that caused me to stop, reread, read again in other translations, and spend some time thinking about.

I seemed to gravitate to the New Living Translation version that says of Luke 6:45:

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

And then Jesus said what got me to thinking:

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

I like the way the New Living Translation brings it home to me.

Not what somebody else says, but what I say flows from what is in my heart.”

And I don’t know if you’re like me or not (even though my guess is that you are like me) but what comes out of my mouth is not always something I’m proud of…and to think that is a reflection of my heart? 

It just reminds me of the need to spend time being more like Jesus, more time focusing on love, mercy and grace, more time seeking goodness, gentleness and patience. 

Spend a few minutes thinking about what has flowed from our heart today…do we need to be more like Jesus?

Peace

Jim

 

June 4, 2019

Observation from one year and six months of retirement:

Retirement life is hectic.

I haven’t taken the time to write on the ole blog because I’ve been too busy doing other things like playing with grandkids, yard work, wood working, and generally being busy with life.

I have taken a few pictures lately though…mostly birds but a few other critters too.

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Peace

Jim

May 24, 2019

Listen for the still small voice amid the hectic-ness of our days.  A peaceful life is sure to follow…not a trouble free life but a peaceful one.

Listen…

Jim

May 9, 2019

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Sitting and thinking this beautiful May morning…

I’m thinking about keeping attention focused on Jesus.  That sounds easy but not so much when we’re going through stressful times.  It is so easy to keep attention on whatever the issues are and how frustrated we get.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the excitement of our pain that we put Jesus on the back burner until we can muster some energy to look his way.

Even when we know better.

I have learned from experience that even though we go through the fire of others looking down on us for whatever reason, even though we have to fend off the flaming arrows of the evil one, even though it seems that no good outcome is even on the horizon much less right in front of us…our charge is to trust Jesus, to call on him to make whatever resolves, and keep our minds focused on what is right and good.

We are to pray for those who want to be our enemies, ask God to bless them and change them.  When we persevere God will answer.

It is so difficult to pray for our adversaries that we rarely think of it, but praying for them allows us to see them in a different light and it puts our focus back on Jesus, the one who can make the necessary changes.

Like any of our relationships with people, when we serve them, when we pray for them, when we act on their behalf…we receive much more than we give because our focus is on Jesus…not our issues.

Peace

Jim

May 7, 2019

A while back I read this:

“Always give more than you take.”

Lots of things came to my mind, but I thought most about life in general.  Giving more than you take keeps our focus on other people and puts our mind on something other than ourselves.  Because if most people are like me, and I sort of believe they are, we spend way too much time focusing our attention on ourselves, our wants, our problems, our wealth, our happiness.

Spending excessive amounts of time on ourselves tends to make us self-centered, and a self-centered attitude always tries to take more than we give.

Look for ways to be giving.
Who do we see who are needy?
How can we be helpful?
What do we have to offer?
Think about other people first.

Go through the day today thinking about how we can give time, attention, love, mercy, grace…focus on others and their needs before we think about our own wants.

Just some thoughts this morning.

Peace

Jim