Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patient endurance

I am in a group on Thursdays that is studying the book of James. Our leaders took the book of James and printed the whole thing on four pages of 8 1/2 by 11 paper. They got rid of all the chapter and verse number that weren't there to begin with. We read it together as a letter not as a book. It was awesome.

Since we've found a million different ways to print the bible. I think someone should take all the books that are really letters and print them that way. It really invites you to sit and read it all in one setting. It helps with the issue of thinking about what is being said in the context of the whole letter.

Since reading this together, I've been thinking about a couple of phrases. The first is the truth that we are asked to patiently endure. We are to value perseverance.

Perseverance and I have love/hate relationship. I've been trained through my athletic and academic experiences to value perseverance. It has been easy for me to value persevering in those circumstances. Since I have always valued the end goal I have therefore been willing to do what it takes to get there. In large part this has been because of coaches, teachers, parents and their faith in me and their words of encouragement to me.

Perseverance as it relates to my walk of faith with God, well not so good some days. I often want something specific or tangible as my end goal. For instance take, trusting God as an example. I can look back ten years and say with confidence I trust God much more now than I did then. But what about six months ago or last week. My spiritual life is not as easily measured as other areas of my life. I am having to learn to be more accepting of that.

I find it easier when I make it a point to spend time with other believers. I need coaches, teachers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles to help me see what I can't easily see. So that I will embrace not just tolerate one more day of patiently enduring.

Dear Lord,

Thanks for all that you led James to write down in this letter. Thanks for all the believers you have used in my life to encourage me to patiently endure. Thank you for the encouragement you have given me through your Spirit. May we endure with joy. May you use me to encourage others as they patiently endure.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

A quick hug

So I was substituting the other day. I was at an elementary school for a Resource Teacher. This particular teacher goes into a 3rd grade classroom and helps three children who need extra assistance keeping up with the rest of the children.

Out of the corner of my eye I kept noticing one little girl. She was watching me. Everytime I would turn towards her to make eye contact she would shyly turn her eyes away from me. I have no idea what was going through her cute little head. A couple of hours into my time there I was sitting at a table in the back of the room helping a boy read the directions to a math problem. This little girl came and just stood in the small space between the boy and I and listened. She waited till I finished. Then in the quietest voice asked me a question. She just needed confirmation that she understood and was doing the problem right. I confirmed she was with a nod and a smile. Then to my surprise, she gave me a hug and walked quickly back to her seat to sit down.

The rest of the afternoon she no longer avoided eye contact with me. That little girl made my afternoon all worth while.

I make it a point before I enter a school to pray that God will use me somehow. Some days it seems that God is aware that I need to be encouraged as well. I'm learning to marvel at how beautiful even a brief relationship can be.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Whew! We made it to January 1st.

While I was thinking back on everything that has happened between my last post on December 15th and today my head started to spin.

I'm very grateful that I can honestly say that most of what has taken place this last two weeks has been really enjoyable. Its a little overwhelming to think of all the people who didn't enjoy this Christmas season for whatever reason. Another example of life is not fair.

From someone, I heard that there is a church offering a "Blue Christmas Service" for those who find themselves grieving this Christmas and unable to enjoy the traditional Holly Jolly Christmas.

For various reasons, I've been thinking a lot about heaven during Christmas. In addition to other things, I've been looking forward to there being physical substance and attributes associated with God. Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled we can sense God's presence here with us now. But I'm looking forward to more.

And even at my young age there's also a list of people I miss and look forward to being with again. Oh the things my Granddaddy and I are going to have to talk about!

Just think

no more sorrow
no more hidden agendas
no more sickness
no more hatred
no more selfishness
no more pride
no more death
no more damage

the presence of God
the beauty
the sounds, the sights, the smells
the things to do
the ways to be
the variety of souls