Sunday, September 30, 2007


Time is one of those ever-elusive realities of life. My constant question is "where did it go?" It is rare that I do not wish I had more time to devote to whatever I am doing - be it talking to one of my girls, writing a letter, reading, studying.

Have you ever noticed how many clocks are in our homes? Almost every appliance and electric gadget comes with a clock to set. I deliberately do not set these digital reminders. It is a small act of defiance to say that I will not be ruled by the clock; but other people come behind me and set them anyway. It is hard to look any direction within my home and not see the time.

In my effort to be free from the tyranny of time, I try not to look at my clocks constantly. I try to free myself from the mindset that today I must accomplish a little more than I did yesterday. But I am not very successful. Furthermore, the clock is always calling out to me: time to pick up children from school, time for a meeting, time to begin dinner, time for bed.

This is a puzzling issue of discipleship. God honors work, but He also honors rest. When God created time, He declared that a 24-hour day was good. (What was He thinking?!) Jesus does not appear rushed or harried in the Gospels. He seems content with the time that God has given Him. So where is my misunderstanding of time? Am I a prisoner to a society that honors busyness above all else? Do I have too many responsibilities? Am I involved in the wrong activities?

My problem is not with time management – I know how to do that. My problem is more basic. I need to agree with God in His perspective and purposes of time. I need to be content and faithful with what God has given and declared good.

May God grant me contentment and understanding in using my days for His glory.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Ordinary Man

In my study of James, I have often thought about its author. As I mentioned before, James did not always think that Jesus was the Messiah. John 7:5 says, "For not even His brothers were believing in Him." In fact, at one point Jesus' family goes to take custody of Him for they feared He had lost His senses (Mark 3:20-21). Yet after Jesus has ascended into Heaven, there James is with the apostles devoting himself to prayer.

How did James move from being a skeptic, to a believer, devoted to prayer (Acts 1:14), to a leader in the church (Acts 12:17, 15:13), and then to a pillar of the church (Galatians 2:9)? What made the difference? I believe it was an encounter with the Living Christ. "He (Jesus) appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve...then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles."

An encounter with the Living Christ has the power to change everything - and it did.

In Acts 4:13 the Peter and John were brought before Annas and Caiaphas by the Sadducees. After listening to Peter talk, Acts records, "they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."

These early church leaders were not extraordinary giants of the faith. In fact, many of them were uneducated and untrained - like me. I do not hold a degree from a prestigious university; I am not a CEOs of a Fortune 500 company. I wash dishes and cook dinner and spend many hours listening and talking with my children. In reality, I am sort of a 21st century female equivalent of a Galilean fisherman - a very ordinary person carrying out very ordinary responsibilities.

But these men, these uneducated and untrained men, had been with Jesus.

And the gospel still has the lifechanging power to transform lives today. I am an ordinary woman; I have ordinary responsibilities. But I pray that as others see and observe my life, they will say of me, "this woman has been with Jesus."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

James, the brother of Jesus

James, the brother of Jesus, is one of the prominent early church leaders in Jerusalem. Paul, in fact, describes him as a pillar of the church. (Galatians 2:9)

But, as for most of us, life hasn't always been that way. We don’t have a lot of information on how or when Jesus’ family came to believe that He was the Son of God. But there are a few snippets in the Scriptures which hint of it.

Think for a moment what it would be like to grow up with a perfect brother. I cannot imagine that perfection would be an endearing quality to a sibling: always right, never guilty, perfectly obedient to parents. I wonder if Jesus’ siblings tried, as the Pharisees would in later years, to make him sin. Unfortunately, I think I would have – so that I could feel better about myself. (ugh!) Jesus is aware how people you live around feel. He says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and among his own relatives and in his own household.” (Mark 6:4)

Yet, somewhere, somehow, something has changed. Just after Jesus' ascension into Heaven, James, along with his mother and his brothers, are in the upper room with the disciples. Their days are devoted to prayer. It appears that now, not only Mary understands who Jesus is, but His brothers do as well. God has opened their eyes.

Prayer becomes a way of life for James. He is said to have had camel knees – knees made leathery and tough from his long hours of prayer spent on his knees. He led a very devout life. Think what this means – James sees, knows, believes that his brother is truly the Son of God. James believed this so much that he is eventually martyred for his faith in Christ Jesus.

Lord, please give me that type of devotion for the Lord Jesus Christ