Book of James – Day 30

Genesis 12:6-9 (KJV)   “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.”

             Abram later had his named changed to Abraham and became the father of all three of the of the world monotheistic religions. But before Abram became Abraham he began a walk with God. It was not always perfect and he definitely made some mistakes.

            When Abram was called into the land of Canaan every placed he pitched his tent and God spoke to him he erected an altar so he could worship the one true God. Abram did not worry about what the Canaanite thought, did not worry about being accepted into the local culture. Abram followed his God and worshipped God the best he knew how.

            Today modern day Abrams do not follow this ancient example. They are to wrapped up in political correctness, worrying that they may offend the world refusing to build altars for the entire world to see not proclaiming their relationship with the one true God publicly.

            True Christians today need to build altars not only in their homes but in their neighborhoods and in their communities allowing the world to see us praise and worship the one and only true God. Pray that each of us can make that commitment to begin building altars.

Book of James – Day 29

Yesterday was thanksgiving one of the most joyful holidays of the year. People gather and thank God for what they have and pray for the poorer people who are doing without. The worst thing is most people do not know the one true God and their prayers are never heard. Never the less they still attempt to be pious and try to reach an unknown god.

            That was yesterday and today those same people will trample each other maiming or killing each other in a frantic stampede to get the biggest toy. Not caring that yesterday they attempted to speak to a savior they did not know. The saddest part is most claim to be Christians. These Christians in name only are going to run and fight for the most and biggest toys. They are like the rich young ruler who met Jesus. He walked away from Jesus crying because he could not part with his earthly treasures. How often do we place earthly things in the way of our eternal life? Missing all of eternity for a chance to buy a big screen television so we can watch the athletes sweat, forgetting about eternity for a fleeting few moments of pleasure. 

            We as true Christians need to place Jesus first and try to reach these individuals so they can find true joy and not just a fleeting happiness. For the only true joy is found in the one true God.

Book of James – Day 28

John 14:7-11 (KJV)   “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

              Thomas is called doubting Thomas yet in the next verses Phillip shows the same lack of faith not really seeing Jesus as God. Both Thomas and Phillip had sat at Jesus’ feet for three years yet they still did not realize he truly was the messiah all of them had been waiting for. Jesus was God himself.

              How often today do some people still miss who Jesus truly is. God himself came to earth as the man Christ Jesus. The disciples themselves missed the fact that Jesus was the messiah until they saw the resurrected savior. Once they saw Jesus they believed and understood that he was the messiah. How many people sit in church today make the same mistake. Not knowing that Jesus is the savior the world has been looking for. Looking to themselves instead of looking to the lord.  

              As true Christians we need to have a strong enough witness that even others who profess to be Christians but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus can see Jesus in us. Are each of us willing to show the world that Jesus truly is God.

             

 

Book of James – Day 27

John 14:5-6 (KJV)   “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

              Thomas is one of my favorite apostles. He asks the questions we all want to ask but are afraid to ask. With this simple question Thomas gives Jesus the opportunity to make one the greatest proclamations in the Bible. Jesus has an opportunity to remove all doubt on how to reach the father and obtain entrance into eternal life with Jesus and the father.

              The entire gospel hinges on what Jesus said. He proclaimed he was God himself by saying I am the way. This is the same I am Moses encountered at the burning bush. The same I am that is spoken about in all of scripture.

              Today Jesus is still the great I am. He is still the kings of kings and the lord of lords. He still leads the way, speaks the truth, and is the giver of life, the only way to reach the father and have an eternity in heaven.

Book of James – Day 26

This devotion probably should have been the first. I would like to give a better biography of James’ life.

              James was the half brother of Jesus and lived with him until Jesus turned thirty and began a public ministry. James may have been told by his father and mother that Jesus was the son of God.  But James never believed this fact. He grew up with Jesus, saw and heard about the miracles. Yet he never believed the claim that Jesus was the messiah. At one point James and his mother tried to stop Jesus from preaching thinking there was something wrong with him mentally. James knew who Jesus better than most of the world yet until he saw his resurrected brother personally he did not believe he was the son of God. Once he saw the resurrected Messiah then he believed and became a servant of God.

              Today how many Christians know of Jesus. They have heard the stories. They believed he lived and performed miracles. Yet like James they refuse to believe he is the messiah the only way to the father. Until they hear the gospel and realize that Jesus was resurrected having died for their sins. Once they know the truth. They too will become servants of the one true god, the same as James. Willing to follow Jesus where ever Jesus leads them.

Book of James – Day 25

James 5:19-20 (KJV)    “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

Last item on James list is to watch out for our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we see them straying speak to them, encouraging them to have a closer walk with God. In verse 19 the conversion James speaks is to turn from sin and repent of the sins we have committed.

In verse 20 James is speaking of converting or turning a sinner from a life of sin to a follower of Jesus. Some will say wait a minute only God can soften a heart to accept the gospel and this is true. Yet the gospel has to be shared and God has chosen the church the bride of Christ to do this work. So if we can share the gospel and a person is converted it will definitely save a soul from death and will cover their sins by washing them away with the redeeming blood of Jesus.

We are commanded rote share the Love of our savior are you doing your part? 

Book of James – Day 24

James 5:16-18 (KJV)   “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”

Who among us will pray as Elias did, having such a close walk with his Lord that his prayers were answered immediately. Each of us has met prayer warriors that seemed to have a direct line to God and their prayers were always answered.

The man who taught me to pray, not by telling me how to pray but showing me with his actions, was such a man. He prayed continuously praying for God’s will to be done and not his own.

One morning I was called into the pastor’s office to receive my daily assignments. I was told that I needed to go and visit an older gentleman. The pastor recommended I take someone older with me and suggested I should ask the man who later taught me to pray. I asked and later we became visitation partners and spent plenty of time together. This happened on a Wednesday but what I did not know was he had told his daughter the night befog that he was going to begin to pray to start visiting again.

This proves that even today “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As Christians today each of must develop this type of prayer life. Staying in constant communication with god and praying for his will to be done and not our own. 

Book of James – Day 23

James 5:14-16 (KJV)      “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

The third circumstance is when we become sick. We are instructed to call for the church elders to lay hands on us praying in faith that we will be healed. At the same time we should be anointed with oil.

In December of 2002 I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I was facing radical surgery, the surgeon was not sure if she would take my entire stomach or just part. My pastor at the time asked me to read these verses from James and decide whether or not I would follow the biblical instructions. I decided I would allow the pastor and deacons to lay hands on me and pray for me. I was not physically healed on the spot but there was a spiritual healing that took place that I almost cannot describe. I was totally at peace with what was about to happen in my life and felt a warmth and closeness to my Lord that I had not felt before. I knew I was totally enveloped in his arms and nothing would harm me. I understood it did not matter where I woke up. Either looking into my wife’s eyes or at my savior it did not matter. This peace is beyond mortal comprehension and I have not even begun to explain it.

The prayer of faith definitely saved me and each of us when we become ill should look to God for a healing relying on the men of God to help each of us when we are sick.

William Barclay has a comment well worth our noting:

“The Church has always cared for her sick; and in the Church there has always resided the gift of healing. The social gospel is not an appendix to Christianity; it is the very essence of the Christian faith and life” (The Letters of James and Peter, p.153). 

Book of James – Day 22

James 5:13 (KJV)   “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”

The second circumstance is during times of affliction we are to pray, then during times of joy we are to worship God. Does this mean we only pray when we have troubles or only worship God when we feel good?

Of course not we need to pray continuously but during times of affliction we need to be more focused in our payer life. We need to look to God’s leadership in our lives to bring us back to the mountain tops. During these times we also need to praise and worship God. It is not easy to praise and worship God when we are in the valley of the shadow of death. But we need to show the world and other believers our faith that God will bring us through all our trials and temptations. Through praise and worship we can show our faith in the one true God. 

Book of James – Day 21

James 5:12 (KJV)    “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

James has just written about how to deal with trials and temptations through patients and endurance. In the next verses James explains how to handle specific circumstances.

The first is a command to never swear neither by heaven nor by earth. Today Christians have a cute way of substituting words for actual curse words but God still knows the intent of the heart. We have already been commanded not to speak ill of our brothers and we need to watch our tongues.

The most important thing is to not have to make an oath pledging to do something. We should lead a life that is exemplary and always mirrors Jesus. By doing this when we make a statement people will trust what we say. We need not make an oath, because if our word alone is not enough we as Christians have missed the mark.