Post with 2 notes
1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.
I have to say, the first part of this section sounds like it’s making fun of people! I think we all have days like that, where we feel like we need to feel good all the time, and we need certain material things to do that. We worry constantly about money, what we look like and what we wear. As if that’s not bad enough, it talks about how when we indulge in this kind of attitude, we are ignoring, condemning, and even killing innocent people. In eternity, will it matter what we had on earth? No. What will matter is what we did with the time and money we were given. If we use it wisely, God promises that we will be rewarded.
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
Patience is so hard sometimes. I know for me, it can seem like the drama and struggles will never end. There is always something bothering me. As much as we say we trust God and will wait on him, do we really believe it? I need to ask God to help me grow more patient and trusting.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
Sometimes it seems so normal to just complain- about the weather, about food, about people. Is that fair? As much as we can think that it’s so normal and everyone does it, God sees that. He’s right there, he sees, he judges. Thank God he forgives, too.
10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. 12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.
Again, James gives us examples of people in the Bible who lived according to God’s commands. If you haven’t heard the story of Job, go read it. He endured so much suffering, and with patience. Verse 11 says that we give great honor to people like him. Even now, people look up to him as a man who had nothing and still endured and praised the Lord. In the end, he was rewarded by God, who is always merciful.
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
This might be my very favorite passage in the Bible about the power of prayer. It’s so simple. We need God in all situations. We have the privilege of coming to him in any situation- when we’re in trouble, when we are happy, when someone is sick. Verse 14 is amazing to me. I’ve seen people be healed by prayer before, but this is such a promise, “Such a prayer offered in faith WILL heal the sick”.
We are called to be honest, earnest, and righteous in in prayer. If we do so, there will be results!
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
I’ve watched plenty of people wander away from God. I like the way this is worded. Someone who has wandered from the truth is still our brother or sister in Christ. We can encourage them and be a part in their coming back to God. The Holy Spirit will work in their heart, but through prayer, talking with them, and letting them know that you care about them, maybe they will come back and be forgiven.
Verses to Remember
Post with 5 notes
I am not doing so well in the daily devotion area… but I plan to actually follow through my plan to start each day off with my God time. I know he can help me do it.
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
There are evil desires at war within my heart. I need help to make sure they don’t win, because we all know that things are better when the good guy wins. These evil desires are selfish and jealous, and cause us to do anything to get what we want.
We don’t have certain things because we don’t ask for them! There are some things I need to be asking for every day. I want to ask for the Holy Spirit’s direction in my daily life, and to put me in situations where I can grow more like Christ and serve him wholeheartedly. I want to ask for more conversation between me and God. I want to ask for spiritual gifts and gifts of the father. As crazy as it sounds, I want to ask for the things I wouldn’t ever think to ask for, but God knows I need in my life.
However, there are certain things that we ask for that come from wrong motives- those, we don’t get.
4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? 6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”
Adulterers. Wow. If we are a friend of the world, we are an enemy of God. How can we do that? We live in the world. We have worldly friends who aren’t following God. Verse 6 says that we are given grace enough to resist the evil desires we talked about each other. We can’t just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing. We need to obey God. When we obey God, our way of life is going to be a different way of life than the world. When we live differently, we are setting example for nonbelievers, so they can see the amazing things God is doing in us (Matthew 5:16).
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
My study Bible made this part of the passage into 5 points. I will do the same:
1) Humble yourself
2) Resist the devil
3) Wash your hands and purify your heart
4) Grieve and feel sorrow for your sins
5) Humble yourself
I think this is something we have to do often, some steps we have to take to make sure we don’t become a friend of the world and not God.
11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
Just obey. Don’t judge- that’s God’s job.
13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
That is something I tend to do often. I have my plan, and I know how I think things should go, but I don’t talk to God about it. I don’t think it’s wrong to think about what might happen or make plans, as long as we give our plans to God and say it knowing that it will only happen if God wants it to happen. He’s the boss. So next time I make a plan, I’ll make sure I say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that” and not think too much about my plans.
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
What do I know I need to do? Have I done it? If not… that is a sin. Woah.
Post with 1 note
1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
Treat everyone equally. If you treat people better because you like them more, it is actually a sin! God has chosen the poor to inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, I don’t think this means we can’t have best friends, even Jesus had best friends! I do think this means that we should treat everyone- friends, acquaintances, strangers, enemies- with an equal amount of love and respect.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
All sins are equal in God’s eyes. Even if you break one law, you are as guilty as someone who broke them all. When you gossip about someone behind their back, you are as guilty and deserving of punishment as a serial killer. Just think about that for a moment. I think this verse should significantly change how we treat other people. When you look at someone you know is sinning, do you instantly put yourself above them? I know I do sometimes. What if, instead of doing that, we thought of ourselves as being just as guilty? It’s a really hard thing to do, but that’s how God sees us. All equally sinful.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.
We will be judged for everything we do. Everything.
13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
If we show mercy, God will show us mercy. If we don’t show mercy, God won’t show us mercy.
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
Faith is shown by action. What good is it to tell a hungry person, “God bless you!” and then leave them? No good at all. Show your faith and give them food to eat. What do your actions show about you and your faith?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Faith and good deeds are both great, but they go together! God desires for us to have both to truly be his disciples. Even demons believe in God, you need to take it further than just believing! How can you step out further and further in faith? Good deeds are a good place to start.
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
Look at the examples of Abraham and Rahab (if you don’t know these stories already, check out Genesis 22:1-18 and Joshua 2). They are good people for us to look up to. Not only did they believe in God, but there were willing to risk a lot to put their faith in action. They had faith and good deeds, just as James 2 instructs us to do.
Ultimately, I think this Chapter is very challenging. First of all, it challenges me to take a look at how I live my life. How I treat others, how I look at others, how I live, how I show mercy, how my faith is shown through my actions, and what good I am doing are all things I need to be thinking about daily. I can be improving in these areas more and more, with God’s help.
Verses to Remember (there are a lot this Chapter, I apologize!)
10: For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
13: There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
15-16: Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
22: You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.
26: Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
God, please help me to see the areas in my life that need improvement. Help me to treat everyone equally, as you call us to do. It is your job to judge, not mine. Help me to show mercy, just as you show mercy. Holy Spirit, Put me in situations where I can put my faith into action. Show me how I can step out further and further in faith. Help me to live like Abraham and Rahab, willing to risk anything to obey you and build the Kingdom of God. Amen.