Fresh Fruit

by Sarah Nelson

I recently started reading through the book of James.   It is a book I have read through many times as shown by the state of the ragged pages from that section of my Bible.   Why am I reading this again?  Because James has much to say about our words and how they can cause wounds.  It is a book that challenges us as followers of Christ to have our lives, actions, and words be reflections of His grace, His gentleness, His love.

James 3:9-12

 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?   My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Do you, like me, ever get frustrated with yourself as you find yourself quickly using your tongue to tear down, rather than to build up?  Do words that sting and belittle others exit your mouth, instead of words that heal and encourage fellow believers?

We have all failed with our words.  Many times they have been salty, rather than fresh and sweet.   The fruit that is produced in our lives often has not been that of which reflects our Savior.

The Good News is that every time we fail in our words and in our actions, our loving Father grants us forgiveness as we confess our sins to Him.  Christ in us is what produces the fresh and fruitful life.   Left to our own sinful nature, we’d be hopelessly lost and discouraged in our efforts.  Aren’t you amazed and grateful to know that He gives us His Spirit to guide us, counsel us, correct us, and comfort us in this life long process?   I know that I am.

Attention Quilters

The Alaska mission is in need of more quilts to hand out.  They have used up all of their supply when The Net was open.  If you are interested in  helping  out please do.

It would probably be best to send the quilts directly to KAKN Radio. There address is posted below. As far as shipping, Pastor Lee has repeatedly said that flat rate Priority Boxes from the USPS get to Naknek faster and cheaper than Fed-Ex or UPS.

KAKN Radio / Quilt Drive
PO Box 214
Naknek, AK 99633

Don’t Just Hear. Hear and Do.

by Sarah Langness

I’m not gonna lie: my husband and I have a pretty cute kid. (What parent doesn’t say that about their kid?) Unfortunately, though, like all cute kids, our little man doesn’t always do as he’s told. (What kid doesn’t do that to their parents?) But it brings my heart joy when he listens. When he hears me say, “No Zeke; please don’t throw your fork on the floor,” and he doesn’t throw his fork onto the floor’s collection of dropped cheerios and cheese. When he hears me say, “Zeke, can you put your toy in the basket for Mommy?” and he adds that toy to the mound of trucks already in the basket. I can honestly say that such simple things make me smile.

And ya know, I can’t help but think it’s the same way for the Lord. After all, we are His children and He has given us His Word. But He doesn’t want us to just listen. To just underline the parts in our Bibles that sound good, to nod our head in agreement at the things we like, or simply feel inspired, encouraged, or hopeful. He wants us to do.

“But prove yourselves to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” – James 1:22, NASB (emphasis mine)

So when the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “open [my] mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate” (Proverbs 31:8), then I need to not be silent in a culture that kills more than 3000 children every day. And “doing” involves more than bringing such a sad fact to light on a blog.

When the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “let no unwholesome word proceed from [my] mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment” (Ephesians 4:29), then I better clamp my mouth shut when gossip wants to spew forth. Even if it is gossip in the form of a “prayer request”.

When the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “‘Love one another, just as [Jesus] has loved [me]” (John 15:12), then I better start showing love to my husband and son by sacrificing what want. I better get out of my comfortable daily routine and reach out to that new mom, or to that one who’s lived down the street for well over a year.

There’s no end to the list. Practicing hospitality (Romans 12:13). Not worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Making disciples (Matthew 28:28).

But here’s something important – so don’t bypass this or stop reading now:

I don’t do to earn His love.
I don’t do to earn a ticket to heaven.
I don’t do to be “good enough” or “better than”.

I do because I love Him.
Because doing brings Him joy.
Doing points others to Him

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10, NASB (emphasis mine)