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5 Parting Shots From James 5

1. The words you use to respond to suffering or success are a reflection of your heart. Is your heart full of yourself? Do these experiences cause you to turn to God? 2. You can always choose to speak positively. 3. Setting ourselves apart for God's service is extremely difficult but extraordinarily important. 4. If you want to know what God's plan is for you, pay attention to how He answers your prayer. 5. Confession without repentance is like a Twinkie without the cream filling. It looks good on the surface but it's really just sticky and hollow.

5 Reasons You Should Be More Generous

You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving.  ~Amy Carmichael 1. God’s creation was GENEROUS. Instead of just creating a functional, mechanical world; He gave us an amazingly creative, colorful, complex yet simple world. The variety and beauty of creation is a constant reminder of God’s GENEROSITY. 2. The most beloved characters in the history of the world are those who were viewed as GENEROUS by their contemporaries. 3. The hero of every story is the one who GIVES AWAY for the good of others. 4. The best meal is one that is prepared by a GENEROUS chef (delicious is important, but useless if you only get two bites) 5. The single greatest act of all time was the GENEROUS gift of life, given to us by God through His Son, Jesus. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.  - Proverbs 19:17

5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone who refuses to listen or have a civil conversation? It doesn't matter if they are right or wrong, they don't convince anyone because of the manner in which they debate. Sometimes we need to disagree with people. When those moments arrive, consider these 5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement: 1. Be Gentle, not harsh. 2. Listen well before you formulate your answer. 3. Weigh your answer, don’t immediately gush. 4. Give answers that reflect Scripture. 5. Don’t endlessly debate with a fool. These guidelines came as the result of studying this topic in Proverbs. Below are some of the verses that helped inform these thoughts: Proverbs 1:28 - “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:28 - The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked

9 Character Traits of God Worth Remembering

On Sunday, we talked about James' statement that God is "compassionate" and "merciful". Of course, He is also much more than that! Check out these thoughts from a prayer in Nehemiah 9 which remind us of several more of God's character traits. While you patiently wait for God to act on your behalf, use these to remind yourself that He is indeed compassionate, merciful and much more! \ God is sovereign -- "You alone are the LORD" God is faithful -- "You have kept your promise because you are righteous" God is a savior -- "You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters." God is a provider -- "In their hunger, you gave them bread from heaven, and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock" God is forgiving -- "But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not

10 Pieces of Advice for Every Young Person (and old person!)

I came across these tonight. They are from my study of 2 Timothy a few years ago when I was preparing for a Family Camp at Barakel.  They seem to be fairly relevant for today… Don’t ever be ashamed of doing the right thing. Don’t ever be ashamed of doing the thing God gifted you to do. Don’t ever grow tired of doing the thing God gifted you to do. Be very ashamed of following the wrong pursuits. Be very ashamed of following the wrong people. Finish the race. When you are absolutely positive about who you are, it is no longer embarrassing to act like yourself. If you are not content to let people think you are wrong, you will embarrass yourself by pursuing silly arguments. Embarrassment for Christ’s sake is far better than popularity for my own sake. A Christ-centered life will never bring me shame.

Just Sit Down and Let Jesus Do His Thing!

"Have the people sit down " (John 10:6) This was Jesus' response to the disciples doubts about Christ's ability to feed the crowd. Jesus had told his disciples to find enough food for more than 5,000 people who had come to hear Him teach. Andrew had found a small amount of food, but wasn't sure it would do much. The disciple's were stressed that they could never find enough food to feed everyone. Jesus' simple response to have everyone sit down was all that was necessary. Sometimes, we're so busy running around that we don't allow Jesus to do his thing. We are, like the disciples, doing everything we can do to "make things happen", but we don't realize that things will happen when HE MAKES THEM HAPPEN! This command is a good reminder to us that it is good sometimes to simply sit and be patient. Take some time to just sit down and allow God to do His work in you.

Learning Patience from Aaron Rodgers

Patience is a big theme in the Bible. We touched on it last Sunday, and we'll focus more on it this week. I wrote this nearly six years ago. Brett Favre was still a Packer. Turns out things worked out okay for that "discount double check" guy... My advice for Aaron Rodgers? Poison Brett Favre's food. Just kidding. I feel for Aaron. I really do. It would appear that the Green Bay Packer organization has made a decision that it is time for Rodgers to step up and replace Brett Favre. He's been waiting for this day patiently since he was drafted several years ago. After being a highly touted college QB, he's quietly taken the back-seat, watching, learning, waiting until it was his turn to shine. The coach and team executives have made it clear that the future rests in his hands, but it's been a long time coming. Finally this year, Favre retired and Aaron prepared to take the reigns. Now it looks like he may have to wait again... and even if he does