Tag Archives: James

Jeremiah 22, 23, 26; Psalm 77; James 2

14My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.

18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.

20You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called “God’s friend.” 24So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.

25Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

26A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead! James 2:14-26

One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I like just about everything about that movie, including Harrison Ford’s handsome face 😉 .

One scene always stands out to me:  Indy is working his way through the cave to find the Holy Grail coming against tests to prove his worth. During one test, as he stares down into the abyss of the cavern, he realizes that he’s going to have to have faith to “leap” to the other side. He gathers his courage. He puts his foot out and leans forward, half expecting to fall to his death. As he begins to fall, his foot lands on an invisible bridge that stretches across the gap and he is able to walk across safely.

I often feel like this is how I live my life. So many chasms lay before me in this journey. When I have faith in God to be there every step of the way, I am able to stick my foot out and leap.

Indiana didn’t simply have faith and then walk away from the impossible. He took action. He did something. He put out his foot and started walking, knowing that it was quite possible it could lead to his death.

As James points out in his letter, both Abraham and Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and they acted on it, being obedient to what God had instructed. They demonstrated their faith through their actions…and were blessed for it.

Faith doesn’t stop at believing that Christ died and rose again. Yes, that the first step, but faith is also about how I live my life, the outcome of the choices that I make, and the strong foundations that I strive to build in myself and others.

Faith is a tree, and works are it’s fruit. I’m saved because I believe in Christ as my Savior, but my maturity lies in how I live that faith out in my daily life – do I ignore the needs of the people around me, living selfishly in my own little bubble or do I reach out and help, encourage, and love them without an expectation of return as Christ instructed?

Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions, my behavior, my choices, my speech or do I pray and read the Bible only for brownie points and notches on my spiritual belt?

Yesappa,Thank You for your gift of grace given for all who believe and have faith. Help me grow strong in my faith in You and Your goodness and mercy. Help my faith in your be evident in the way I live my life and the things that I do to glorify You and honor those you’ve put in my life, be it for a moment or a season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45; Psalm 133; James 3

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. James 3:1-12

I’ve been told by a handful of people that I should have been a lawyer because of how well I can present an argument; I’m pretty sure that a couple of those comment were not meant as compliments at the time.

Words are my greatest asset and at the same time lead to downfall. Controlling my tongue has by far been one of the hardest parts on my journey as a believer. When I get excited about something, I won’t stop talking about it, sharing everything with others, often to the point of too much information. When I get angry, I won’t stop talking – sometimes the better word would be yelling – trying to prove my point, the reason I’m angry, in the hopes that it will convince others to side with me.

Worst of all, I know that I am completely out of control when four letter words start popping out of mouth, unfortunately sometimes in front of my kids. In my past, I used to joke that my language would make a sailor blush (apologies to all the sailors who aren’t foul-mouthed).

In various stages in my walk with Christ, I have gained much control over my mouth and the words that waterfall out. I have reigned myself in, with the help of Holy Spirit – learned how to hold my tongue even when desperate to talk, practiced giving others the chance to add their input to the conversation, breaking habits of using bad words as an instant emotion release and as the means to feeling more powerful in the moment.

I’m in a season right now, where I am really struggling with controlling my tongue. As a solo mom of three wonderful, yet very high spirited and strong willed children under the age of five, I am exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out, stretched too thin, did I mention exhausted…and running on empty makes it much harder to control those outbursts in the midst of repetitive daily frustrations.

It is said that the tongue can bring life or death and I want mine to be a bringer of life.

Yesappa, Thank You for giving me the gift of words, for allowing me to share with the world through writing and speaking, by teaching Your Word to those who will listen and hear. Lord, help me better control my tongue, that it won’t be venom to my loved ones, but that it will build-up and encourage. Help my words bring life to my husband, my children, my family and friends, and even the people who seem to be my enemies. Remove the curses from my mouth and fill me with words of love, peace, patience, kindness…and when all that bubbles up is unedifying, help me hold my tongue, keeping silent, instead of lashing out with my two-edged sword. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Ezekiel 27, 28; James 4

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

I see and hear it all over, judgment and criticism spewed out everywhere, on every one; people playing judge and jury for people they may not even know. Society as a whole has seemed to really embrace this holier-than-thou attitude, especially since the rise of social media and blogging. Everyone has the right to their own opinion; they have the right to make their own choices in how they walk their journey in life. But, for heaven’s sake, your decisions better look like mine, or else. Right!?…Wrong!

Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others? James 4:11-12 (MSG)

I’ve been there, both on the giving end of judgment and the receiving end. Neither one is pleasant. Hearing criticism against me and the choices that I have made in life, for myself, for my family is hurtful. I know I am doing the best that I can in any given moment, and in the words of Iyanla Vazant, “When I know better, I do better.”

As a mother, it is even harder. At any given moment, I am being judged based on my choices to co-sleep, baby wear, breast feed, vaccinate, switch between cloth and disposable diapers, discipline based in love versus rejection, spend time on my smart phone while the kids are playing at Chick-fil-A, let my kids watch TV, etc. I am even judged by some on the decision to not shave my girls head to ‘make their hair more beautiful’, for allowing my youngest to comfort herself with a pacifier, and to let my girls drink juice when they are sick.

I don’t need any help from anyone else to feel like a failure; I already struggle with that lie from the enemy, even though I know that I am doing a good job despite the circumstances of my life. What I need, instead of disapproval, is help; a village surrounding me to pick up the pieces when I inevitably fumble.

Even as I am writing, I am convicted in my heart that I too often stand in that place of judgment. I also condemn others for choosing differently from me. Whether I judge people on their politics, their lifestyle choices, their parenting skills, their actions or beliefs, in that twinkling of an eye, I have put myself over them and over God to find them guilty. It doesn’t matter if I have posted my views all over the internet, gossiped to my friends, or simply considered it in my thoughts; I have spoken evil against another…I have sinned. And, who am I to judge my neighbor?

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-8; 10

When I realize that I have been judgmental or that I need to forgive someone who has judged me, I know that it is time to get right with God again. I need to step down from the judge’s bench and let Him have His seat back. I need to humble myself, submit myself once more to Him, because God is the only One who can clean my hands, purify my heart, and keep my mind in alignment with His love, grace, and mercy.

When I repent and when I offer forgiveness, my heart grows with compassion, and what I once saw through blinders, I am now able to see through truth. I am able to see better through the defenses that have been put up by others to protect themselves from judgment, and I am able to break down the walls I’ve built around myself. Instead of judging someone else for being different than me, I am able to choose to love them right where they are, no matter what their life looks like. And when I am feeling judged, I am able to focus more on the intention behind the critique, which many times is actually care and concern, glean God’s truth from the comments, and choose to be vulnerable, to share my struggles and even ask for help.

It takes courage to stop standing in the place of judgment, to choose to not be the one to cast the first stone. It takes courage to forgive others, then submit the criticisms received to God and ask for His truth and wisdom. And, when I step out in courage, I am honoring God and living by His Word, which is the best way to live.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Ezekiel, James, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Chronicles 13, 14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. Such doubters are thinking two different things at the same time, and they cannot decide about anything they do. They should not think they will receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-8 (NCV)

As I think about the word wisdom, I am struck that wisdom is so much more than simply being intelligent. I can be educated, well-studied, but that doesn’t mean that I am wise. I can have common sense, street-smarts as it were, but it doesn’t mean that I have wisdom.

Wisdom is defined as the ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight in a situation. It is using the education I have received through schooling and through life experience in the context of the circumstances I am living through right now. But it shouldn’t start there; it should start with a conversation with the Lord; it should start with His Living Word.

This verse in James reminds me that if I need wisdom in any situation, all I need to do is ask God and believe that He will give it to me. I need to trust that He will give me the wisdom that I require in every circumstance. He is all-knowing, all-seeing and desires to help me through all of the events of my life. He has all of the answers and is just waiting for me to ask Him for help.

David asked God, “Should I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.” 1 Chronicles 14:10 (NCV)

Soon the Philistines attacked the people in the valley again. David prayed to God again, and God answered him, saying, “Don’t attack the Philistines from the front. Instead, go around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then attack. I, God, will have gone out before you to defeat the Philistine army.” David did as God commanded, and he and his men defeated the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 (NCV)

Throughout David’s life, he consistently looked to God for wisdom and God gave it to him. He asked God for help. He asked God what he should do, what steps he should take. And, when he asked, God gave him instructions, detailed directives in everything, from how to slay Goliath when he was a youth to how to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem after he became king. Repeatedly, David asked for wisdom in how to defeat the Philistines in battle, and God never failed to share with him the way to gain victory over Israel’s enemy.

In Luke, as John the Baptizer began paving the way for Christ, he brought conviction to the hearts of the people. As John preached about changed hearts and lives for the forgiveness of sins, the people began looking to him for answers. They asked him, “What should we do?” and because of His dedication to God, he was able to give them godly counsel to demonstrate their transformation.

The Lord God says: “The days are coming

when I will cause a time of hunger in the land.

The people will not be hungry for bread or thirsty for water,

but they will be hungry for words from the Lord. Amos 8:11 (NCV)

In Proverbs it shares that ONLY God gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I can look to a book, to education, or to another person, but the One who IS Wisdom, is the only one who can impart strategic wisdom for my specific situation. And I can receive that wisdom by asking Him and then listening to and obeying His response.

As I remember to look to God first for wisdom in every aspect of my life, He will help me apply the earthly knowledge that I have by giving me better understanding of the state of affairs by giving me directions, by guiding me in each step I need to take.

Yesappa, Thank You for providing for ALL of my needs, especially my need for Your wisdom for the various circumstances of my life. Lord, I ask for wisdom in what steps to take in managing my home well. I ask for wisdom in my relationship with my husband, my marriage. I ask for wisdom in parenting my children. I ask for wisdom to help me survive and thrive each day, to not feel overwhelmed in the day to day of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, Amos, James, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

2 Kings 10,11,12; James 4

James 4

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.

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

Submit and Repent!  It has been said that James is the book written to show the practical implications of true faith – what Christianity looks like in action?  Action?  Do my actions really matter?  I thought it was just about believing.

James says that we have to pray.  Prayer is action.  However, not just any old prayer will do, praying without the proper motives will achieve nothing.  He definitely nailed most of my prayers, they aren’t all about my pleasures but most of them are definitely about me and mine!

James says that we must submit ourselves to God.  Submitting sounds like an action.  It also sounds like a topic I hear tossed around in almost every discussion about Jesus – “Die to Self.”  I’m working on this one.  The concept seems simple and yet …!

James says we must resist the devil.  Resisting is an action I’m good at, just ask my wife.  I resist doing every project she throws my way.  Paul talked about needing the “Full Armor of God” to fight the devil’s schemes.  James makes it sound easy – simply resist and the devil will flee.  Resisting by being Humble before the Lord.  Humility – I haven’t quite gotten the hang of that one yet, either.

James says we shouldn’t boast and brag.  I’m pretty good at boasting!  And bragging too – after all, haven’t you seen my beautiful girls?  It’s the should not part that trips me up.

James says that we must do what we know is good.  I’m pretty good at making excuse for this one too.

My self assessment for the actions required for true faith, identified by James, show some glaring deficiencies.  However, My Faith is Not Dead.  My actions can be changed.

Father, help us to always be aware of your presence in our lives.  Help us to be aware of our actions.  Pour out your spirit on us so that we may have actions that demonstrate the life you have given us.  Write your name on our hearts and help us to share the Gospel with others.  May all things be as Jesus said they would be, Amen.

Ed Sorrell

1 Comment

Filed under 2 Kings, 66 Books, James, Uncategorized

1 Chronicles 18, James 5, Jonah 2, Luke 7

When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’” Jonah 2:7-9

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. James 5:1-5

King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold he had taken from all these nations: Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. 1 Chronicles 18:11

But say the word, and my servant will be healed. Luke 7:7b

Over the last six months, I have cultivated the habit of shopping at Goodwill. I pay good money to take home what other people have decided is not worth keeping. I spend additional money to have my precious finds dry cleaned. I decorate my home with my discoveries. Some treasures I simply stockpile in my closet for future use. I feel a sense of pride when someone complements me on my recycled handbag or my shiny brass candlesticks.

As I peruse the interior of my house searching for more closet space, I realize that I’ve become like that guy in the bible who tears his barn down to make room for more grain. Today will my very life be demanded of me? I suddenly realized I only needed one word from God to experience his healing power -The Word made flesh that dwelt among us, Jesus, in whose Name I pray.

Please, Lord, forgive me for forgetting to thank You, from whom all blessings flow. May I not make these worthless things into idols.  Show me every opportunity where I can share with others. Help me to be more like your servant David in dedicating all the gifts with which you bless me to your holy purpose. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen

One day a friend that I was visiting admired a turquoise suede jacket I was wearing. I took it off and hung it on the back of the chair in her kitchen before I left. She called me later and said she was grateful for the gift and glad she hadn’t admired my pants. I was thankful that God gave me a chance to pass the blessings on.

yicareggie

4 Comments

Filed under Luke

Numbers 20, Psalm 58-59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the site of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I gave them.” Number 20:12

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. Isaiah 10:4 

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Oh my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God are my fortress, my loving God. Psalm 59:16-17 

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13

Moses’ heart may have angered God more than his hapless hands. James says that the entire course of life could change because of thoughtless words. What did Moses say before he hit the rock?  “Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (Num 20:10) We? Did he forget God? Was his heart rebellious?

Oh, the dearth of the things I have let fly from my tainted heart to my untamed mouth!

I was at a party recently where I shared my true feelings about God’s work in my life. I was summarily mocked. I thought I don’t belong here.

Like Israel, when they had to change course because they couldn’t go through Edom, I had gotten off track at some point. No wonder Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years. Backtracking takes a long time. Instead of making progress in my spiritual life, I feel like I’ve regressed.

Who can forget God?

Who is all powerful?

Who is holy?

Who protects?

Who judges?

Who has compassion?

Who is my strength?

Who is my hiding place?

Who does not forget me?

When do I forget God?

When I fail to fall on my face at the feet of the Prince of Peace.

When my plans lack the approval of the Wonderful Counselor.

When my words do not point to the Everlasting Father.

When my behavior doesn’t align with the laws of a Mighty God.

When I think I don’t need the Lord Almighty.

Oh Lord, I’m sorry. Please help me return to You. Thank you for your Son who took all the anger of your upraised hand. Jesus got a whipping because of my rebellion. He spilled his blood for me. May I never forget that.

yicareggie

1 Comment

Filed under New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized