The Sum of Endurance – {The Close of Day}

8

 

There is something that appears, on first glance, ill-fitting about seeing ‘rejoice’ and ‘suffering’ in the same sentence.  They do not really seem to be words that ease well into each other, complement each other or even seem to deserve shared sentence space.  It’s all in all, on the face of it, an entirely uneasy concept.

Paul finished off at the end of Romans talking about how we are justified through our faith in Jesus.  This chapter begins with what could be seen as the aftermath of that faith in this world.

Suffering.

Yet we who lead first-world lives in affluent countries, with modern conveniences, good healthcare, education, freedom of speech and access to many of life’s luxuries do not sit comfortably with the notion of suffering because our societies, communities, governments, media outlets are all telling us that our lives should be anything but marked with suffering.  Our culture encourages to find our help in any number of modern conveniences, establishments, institutions, and so reduce any kind of suffering we might endure.

If we suffer financially, there are endless banks and loan companies willing to provide short-term, expensive solutions to our problem.

If we suffer with our health, there are multiple free and paid for institutions to meet our medical needs.

We can change the way we look, the way we feel, the place we live, the office we work in – we have abundant opportunities at our fingertips.

But what can be our blessing can also be our disaster.  As we fight the waves of an entitlement culture chanting to us that we should, could, can, will, must have anything we want, need, desire in order to avoid suffering, if we’re not careful when we can’t change our circumstances we look pitifully inward and fail to see God’s richest blessing within it.

In these verses, Paul encourages us to remember that suffering is not the end.  In fact, it is just the beginning. [Read more…]

The Close of Day – Week 2 Reading Plan

Well, I only went and forgot to post the next reading plan here!

So, here it is!

 

3 [Read more…]

The Close of Day {Evening Reflections} – Week 1

Well, I am excited to go through Romans with you over these next weeks! Are you ready?

Here is this week’s reading plan and verse for reflection.

 

2

 

So, over the course of the week, read Romans Chapters 1-3, and we’ll do three evening pauses with the verses above along the way!

Looking forward to reading with you!

Grace and Love

Helen x

The Close of Day {Evening Reflections from Romans}

Well, it’s been pretty quiet around here at Home-Spun Hearts these past weeks, but that’s about to change!

Starting on Sunday April 24th, I’ll be running a different kind of Bible Study to the ones I have done previously.  This study will be specifically tailored for the evenings, when all the rush and the busy of the day is done!

 

Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world.

 

Each week, there will be a chapter of Romans to read, and three times a week, there will be a verse to reflect on.  We will start Sundays with a look at the week ahead and the chapters we are going to cover, and then on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, we will take some time to reflect. [Read more…]

Hear. Love. Do {A Conclusion to James}

Ah, friends, here we are at the end of what has been a six week journey through James! I can hardly believe the time has gone, but so it has!

When I set about starting this study, I tried to think of a short phrase that could encapsulate what this study was going to be about. The Bible is so rich and full of wisdom, I am sure we could all study James again and find ourselves looking at different verses in different ways.

However, the words Hear. Love. Do. really stuck with me as I looked at the book of James.

We have seen how important it is for us to stand firm when we are faced with trials, take care to control our tongues, work to take care of each other without favouritism, worry not about tomorrow but rather look to being effective for the Lord today.

Truly we are called to hear the word, love each other, and do what God has told us. [Read more…]

The Prayer of Faith

James 5 13

As we turn towards the latter part of James today, let’s look at 5:13-18.

 

Thoughts for Today

 

  1. What are the different prayers that are mentioned in the passage?
  2. James mentions the particular characteristics of prayers that will bring about changes (such as healing for sickness and forgiveness) in people’s lives. What are these characteristics?
  3. What does the example of Elijah teach us about prayer that is effective?

Prayers for Today

 

  • Whatever situation you are in today, use the encouragement in verse 13 – if you are in trouble, ask for help, and if you are in good cheer, praise Him!
Grace and Love
Helen x

3 Problems with Impatience

I am a terribly impatient person. By no means does patience come easily to me. If you’re going to do something, do it swiftly, economically, effectively and efficiently as possible. And if you can’t do that, then don’t bother doing it all!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It’s a terrible way to be! And I’m not proud of it.  For every time it has been a benefit to me, there are twenty times when it has been anything but.

Because the fruit that impatience bears is more often that not of little or no value at all.

Look at our passage today: James 5:7-9. James reminds us of how the farmer waits for the crops to be ready so that they are valuable. What use would they be to the farmer if he were to dig and harvest before everything was ready? Would they yield a return for him? No. His labour would have been in vain. Instead, we are to wait, as the farmer does for the seasons of life that will help yield the fruit and return of what we are waiting for.

James warns us then of the folly of impatience. When we are impatient, what kinds of characteristics does that lead to? What are, in reality, the fruits of impatience?

Agitation?

Aggravation?

Misery?

Sadness?

Heartache?

Despair?

Have you ever heard anyone say, boy I feel really impatient today, and it makes me full of joy and grace? I doubt it!

Impatience is not your friend. Ever.

  1. Impatience is grace-less and joy-less.  It leads to discontentment and strife as we search for answers to questions we shouldn’t even be asking. We do not react well to others or situations as the grace and joy in our moments are sucked right out.
  2. Impatience is me-centred and inward-focussed. We become distracted by our own self-centredness – what we perceive as being our own need above all else – our own needs start to take centre stage. We forget that God’s hand is in EVERY situation in our lives.
  3. We can become thank-less and trust-less.  In the midst of impatience – who are we praising? Who are we worshipping? How does impatience demonstrate that we believe and know that God is in charge of all our circumstances, whatever they may be?
James tells us to be like the farmer. To be patient and stand firm.
Even in our suffering. Even in.

Thoughts for Today

 

  1. What areas of your own life do you struggle in when it comes to patience? Why are these areas harder for you than others? What areas of your life do you find it easier to exercise patience in?
  2. What practical steps can you take to have a more patient approach to ALL areas of your life?
  3. What do you think James meant when he said ‘stand firm’ and how can we be sure to do this?

Prayers for Today

 

  • Take today to commit to the Lord those areas of your life you feel impatient in; pray for patience and wisdom.
Grace and Love
Helen x

The Ruin of Wealth

As we enter the final week of our James study, let’s turn our attention to Chapter 5.

Here is this week’s reading plan:

5

Here, James changes his audience slightly as he addresses the wealthy Jews who had amassed great wealth. His words are a sombre warning and a reminder that earthly riches do not last.

Let’s read:

 

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.  Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.  You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

[Read more…]

The Good We Ought to Do

Today we conclude Chapter 4 of James.

We have seen this week how once more James has insisted we take care with the way we use our tongues and voices, and that we take the right view of the future.

He concludes with this:

 

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

 

 

Thoughts for Today

 

  1. James is concerned that our lives measure up with what we know about God; what do you think he means by ‘the good we ought to do’?
  2. What situations might we find ourselves in when we know what we should do, but we don’t do it? How can we prevent this from being the case?
  3. What warning does this carry, and why? How is this meant to help us?

Prayers for Today

 

  • Let’s pray today that we would be a people who are known for choosing the right thing to do in every circumstance.
Grace and Love
Helen x

What Comes Next {and how we view it}

Presently I have a part time job. It’s only temporary and I have always known it was temporary. In fact, I’m very happy about that fact because in many ways it gives me options.

But.

Yes, but.  There’s always a but when we know that there are temporary things in our lives…when the end approaches, we have choices to make.

It’s temporary and ending soon, and God knew that would be the case.

Or…

It’s temporary and ending soon and therefore I must now obsess over what on earth is going to come next.

If I’m not careful, I tend to veer towards the latter.

 

Piper Quote

And these are exactly the kinds of mindsets that James is warning us of in this passage of our Bible study today; let’s look at James 4: 13-16: [Read more…]

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