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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Good Morning Joes and Janes;

I recently purchased several books and a DVD on preparedness.  Some books were e-books and are on  my computer while the others are sitting on my shelf.  I believe they all have a lot of good information in them and I hope to share some with you in the months ahead.  However if I don’t make the time to actually read them and put the knowledge they contain into action then they are useless.  That is what today’s devotional in James is talking about.

James 1:22-24

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror

24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The part about looking in the mirror reminds me of times I walk into a room to get something but then forget what I was after….but I think James has a different point.  Sitting in church on Sunday morning, reading a passage of the Bible every day or watching a sermon on TV are all great things to do, but if you never actually take that message and change how you live your life; then really it is just a waste of time.   Actually internalizing and putting into practice the Word of God is what changes our lives for the better.

Every morning at least we make a trip to the bathroom, look in the mirror and wash up, shave, brush our teeth and other activities, often not really seeing ourselves.  Stopping to really look in the mirror can be a frightening experience!   We can see lines that were not there before, wrinkles, blemishes we don’t envision in our minds eye of how we look.  James says that listening to the word but not doing it is like looking in the mirror but then just forgetting what we really look like.  Going out into the world with   that mental image of ourselves, not the true image of what we are.

Self examination in the mirror can be hard.  Self examination of our hearts can be even harder; but that is what is required to realize our need for God and our need for changes in our lives.

Have a great day in the Lord and don’t forget to really take a look in the mirror next time you get a chance.

Regular Joe

Off the Track

Good Morning Joes and Janes

Yesterday I went on a 4 mile run that turned into a 4 and 1/4 mile run.  I had mapped out a route on the winding gravel roads near the house.  After running 2 1/4 miles I was getting winded and missed a turn, finding myself up what turned out to be a driveway with a no trespassing sign staring me in the face.  When we are tired and not paying attention in life we can get off the path God has for us.  Just a thought for today.

Following on in James chapter 1, I thought I would add a couple of more verses:

James 1: 4 & 5

4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.    

Perseverance is not something that comes naturally, at least to me.  It is continually making the right choice rather than the easy choice, going forward when you want to quit.  Having the wisdom to make the right decisions is a big part of walking the Christian walk and persevering.  Fortunately for those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of their life; we have this great promise of God found in verse 5.  God gives wisdom generously to all who ask!

Well, I am off for another day in the hot sun, I hope you are able to enjoy some shade where you are at.

Regular Joe

Early morning clouds and smoke in the Bitterroot sky. Is that a smile from God I see?

Back in the Saddle Again

Good Morning Joes and Janes;

I am back after a couple of weeks of not posting.  My life became rather hectic, not that there were great trials, the topic of today’s devotional, just overly busy and not enough energy and time to accomplish the many tasks of the day.  Among the many blessings were the celebration of my 40th wedding anniversary which included a 4 day trip away from the Bitterroot Valley.  Now I hope to return to a daily devotional and other topical posts that cover the 5 G’s.  I hope that you will find them beneficial.

Pelicans just hangin’ out on the river near Virginia City Montana

Today some thoughts on the book of James:

James 1:2-3

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

It can be easy to complain, whether about the heat, or  in a few months about the cold, or whatever is affecting us in our daily lives but God tells us through James that we should consider all of our trials pure joy!  Why would we want to be happy about our trials and suffering?  Because it is these very trials that tests our faith and ultimately strengthens it and develops our ability to persevere or overcome these obstacles.

Yesterday I signed up for a 4 mile run that occurs on August 26th in Missoula.  Am I ready to run 4 miles?  No, but the challenge of preparing and strengthening my muscles over the next couple of weeks will stretch me in ways that I know will help me to persevere when race day comes.   Our muscles, like our spiritual life, will either grow or shrink depending on how much we use them.  If we use trials in our life to expand our relationship with God, then we will grow in our faith.

  • Talking with God
  • Prayer
  • Relying on His strength, not ours
  • Staying in His Word
  • Following His commandments

These are the activities that prepare us for the race of life.

I pray that you go forth today seeking Him, relying on Him and counting the joy of your trials you may run into today; knowing that they will bring you into a closer relationship to Christ Jesus.

I am off to stretch my muscles.

Regular Joe

A New Week; Get Up and Follow Me

Good Morning from the Bitterroot Valley;

I must start with an apology to my regular readers.  I was missing in action most of the last week.  Paying work took precedence over by blog devotionals.  It is hard for me to balance everything out with work and home life and chores.  Winter in construction is generally a slow time while summers become a frenzied rush to first catch up and then store up for the winter ahead.

The past week we have had temperatures close to 100 nearly every day, quite an adjustment from the 60’s only a couple of weeks ago!  This week promises to be cooler, in the 80’s, and the sun is about to poke its head over the horizon so enjoy the view and today’s devotional.

In opening the Bible this morning I came across Matthew 9:9-13

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.

11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

A few quick thoughts from a Regular Joe on these verses before I head out the door:

  1. When God calls on us to do something, do we as Christians, get up and follow?
  2. Are we as Christians meeting with “tax collectors and sinners” and sharing a message of love and salvation, or are we more comfortable in our “church family” never getting out loving the lost?
  3. Are we judging and looking down on the “tax collectors and sinners” around us thinking that we are above them like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day?
  4. Jesus did not come to call self-righteous Pharisees to follow him, but rather sinners, people who knew that they needed a Savior.

If you have accepted Christ as the Savior then remember the joy and freedom that you felt when the weight of the sin was lifted from you.  Can you think of someone who would like to experience that feeling also?

If you are not a follower of Christ Jesus, consider his message of love, hope and grace.

John 3:16-21

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

If you have been blessed in reading this share it with someone you meet today.

Regular Joe

Do I Want To Get Well?

Good Morning Joes and Janes;

I just have time for a quick thought from the New Testament this morning.  This text is from John 5:1-9

The Healing at the Pool

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 

5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

The important question that Jesus asks this man is; “Do you want to get well?”  Whether you are a Christian, a Christ follower struggling with a problem in  your life or a non-believer who has struggled with whether God is real or will make a difference in your life; often the question we need to ask ourselves is do we really want to get well?  Sometimes we can, even unconscously become so adjusted to the discomfort, sin or situation in our life that we come to rely on it.  It can be our crutch, the reason we don’t have to move and stretch ourselves.  It can be an excuse not to grow closer to the Lord.  We can use it as a reason why we don’t do something we know the Lord wants us to do.

Once we answer the big question; Do you want to get well, with a YES, that is when Jesus Christ will step into your life and act!

We are responsible to make the commitment, then Jesus Christ will do what we cannot do for ourselves.  We cannot save our selves from sin and bring about salvation in our lives and we often do not have the power to break sinful addictions or heal our bodies from disease.  But, we can have personal access to the one person in the universe who has all of the power.

Today, ask yourself the big question; Do I want to get well?   Then bow your heart and speak to the one who has the power to answer it!

Regular Joe

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