JAMES 1:22 ON 1/22

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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

This portion of Scripture leaves little room for doubt.  Little or no explanation is necessary, as it is self-explanatory.  It’s a bit like the old Nike ad…  JUST DO IT!

Do It

If Jesus asks you To serve water at a wedding, Get the cups.

If He invites you to Meet Him on the lake, Step out.

If Jesus tells you To feed 5,000, Start breaking bread.

When He tells you to Go and preach the gospel, Open your mouth.

When Jesus tells you To let your light shine, Shine it for all.

When He tells you to Pray for your enemies, Drop to your knees.

When Jesus tells you To worship the Father, Lift up your voice.

When He tells you to Give to the poor, Dig deep.

Lucinda Berry Hill, from week 23 of Coffee with Jesus

We can study, listen to sermons and memorize Scripture until the cows come home, but if there aren’t attitudes and actions backing all of that up…  it’s just wasted time and effort.  Faith without works – is dead, so we see later in the book of James.

James was the half-brother of Jesus.  He witnessed the Lord’s resurrected body, then became one of the leaders of the church at Jerusalem.  After Peter’s miraculous release from prison, he singled James out (Acts 12:17).  James made the deciding speech at the Jerusalem Council (15:13-22), and Paul called James one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9).

Some writers are gentle in their attempt to help the reader along in their Christian walk.  We see their human side and find hope because we know if God through Christ Jesus forgave them, He will surely forgive us.  The Psalmist David comes to mind and the Apostle Peter comes to mind.

James is a writer who most definitely does not mince words.  I’d call him a no-nonsense writer.  He’s the one who just tells it like it is – no ands, ifs or buts.  No excuses allowed.  He’s like the spiritual personal trainer who says – “I know you’re tempted…  but so what?  resist the devil and keep going in the right way!”   He supplies the spiritual kick in the backside that makes us say – “Yep!  He’s right about that!”  He says if we’re going to talk the talk, we’d better be walking the walk.

I’ve said in the past that the book of James is a tough one for me.  It’s just the simple, brash, harsh, undiluted truth.  It’s not sugar-coated and there is no room for misinterpretation at all.  He says what he means and means what he says.  And sometimes…  ouch – that smarts.

But really…  can you imagine being the half-brother of the Savior?  I think that relationship has a lot to do with his bold and direct writing.  It’s no holds barred, blunt and to the point.  There’s no wiggle room whatsoever.  And really where outright sin is concerned, there is no wiggle room.  Sin is sin and you can’t giggle and wink your way out of it.  It’s not cute…  it’s wrong and restoration from God is the only cure.  God will forgive any sin, but you have to sincerely ask Him to forgive you.

I wonder if James ever heard, “Why can’t you be more like Jesus?” – ???  I always tell people I’m going to ask questions when I get to Heaven – I want to ask James if he ever heard that – but you know what?  By the time I get to Heaven, it’s not really going to be that important.  🙂

 

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IT CAME UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR

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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…  – Luke 2:8-17

Every time I read this passage, I ask myself, “What if the angels had shown up, made the amazing proclamation, then left – and the shepherds had NOT gone to Bethlehem?”

We can get messages till the cows come home…  but if we don’t get up off our behinds and exercise our faith and take action…  what good does it do?  In Christian circles, that’s referred to as “putting FEET to your FAITH” – and it’s important to do that on a regular basis.

one-bright-night-in-bethlehemThe shepherds made a decision – a choice – to go to Bethlehem.  Of course, God knew they would, but you know ultimately God has given each of us a free will to embrace or ignore His message.  In other words, the proverbial ball is in your court, my friend.

If you read God’s Word and want to embrace it, God is sure ready to give you a brand new life through His Son, Christ Jesus.  I hope you will do that today.  It’s really simple to accept God’s wonderful gift, His Son, Jesus, into your heart and life.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. In Your name, Amen.”

Have a wonderful and blessed day.  Start flexing those faith muscles.  🙂

 

ROMANS 10:9 ON 10/9

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 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  – Romans 10:9

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We live in a society that thinks it is ENTITLED to everything.  We deserve everything for doing nothing.  We put in very little effort or none at all.  That tiny word “IF” really bothers some people.  IF they have to put forth one iota of effort, forget it – they don’t want it.

When it comes to your eternal life, don’t you think it’s worth investing some time, talent and treasure?  The Savior of your soul, Christ Jesus – He invested more than you ever will.  He willingly gave Himself – literally – painfully – lovingly.  So, IF you think the conditions are too strenuous or too demanding, I suggest you take a look in your Bible at the account of Christ’s crucifixion.  You know, if He had not followed through (and by the way, He most certainly would not have had to), where would you and I be?  We would be lost for all eternity – and that’s not a thought I like to dwell on for very long.  Eternity is forever…  jus’ sayin!

We should be praising God and humbly thanking Him every moment of every day for the sacrifice He made so that we could have life everlasting in Paradise!  So many think they have found Paradise on this earth, but just wait…  the best is yet to come!  Sometimes I envy my family because they are already there.  I’m still stuck down here where there is anything but peace!

I guess God’s not done with me yet.  I guess I’m still here to write about God’s plan for man.  His plan for our salvation and eternal life.  Life forever with the Savior of the world.

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… So I will declare with my mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in my heart that God raised Christ from the dead and He now sits at God’s Right hand!  I believe that one day I will be in Paradise, Heaven, God’s perfect place where there is no war, no racial tension, no financial concerns, no sickness, no pain, no more separation from loved ones and no more death!  In God’s Heaven there is joy, peace, contentment, wellness and one dandy reunion with loved ones – and we get to cast whatever crowns we’ve gotten in this life at the feet of Christ – which is totally cool.  It’s ALL about Him because if it were not for Him…  I wouldn’t be there!

Who would not want that???  I guess those who have a problem with that little word…  IF.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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WHAT IF YOU PRAYED

Ants will not cross a line drawn with chalk. 

If a Christian disagrees with something and is opinionated, why is it wrong to take action?  If we fall to our knees and pray and are subsequently led to put feet to our faith and our convictions, why is that a bad thing?  Sometimes I express a desire to stand up against something, but instead of other Christians having my back, they tell me that I need to just stay calm and keep praying.  In other words – do nothing.

Did God not give us brains to use?  Did He not give us the gift of discernment?  If I have prayed about something and am impressed by God to put feet to my faith, why do I not get support for that?

I get so tired of the Christian army sometimes.  It really is the only army that shoots its own soldiers!  I thought we were fighting against the prince of this world, but it seems that so often we are fighting each other.  Doesn’t that make the devil laugh?  It does – and that’s not funny.

Isn’t it a better to pray for people when we think they are going off to act on something that we think may need more prayer power behind it?  I mean, if it really needs more prayer power behind it – what does it hurt to add your prayers with theirs – instead of criticizing them for taking action in the first place?

We are not ants – and God has not drawn a line with chalk that we are not to cross.  Life is messy and there is evil and wicked to fight – yes, with prayer first – but then we are to put feet to our faith.  That is my belief.  If I find out that Christians are in the midst of a fight they feel passionate about, the last thing I’m going to tell them is to back off and pray about it – when I know they began the fight with prayer.  I’m thankful for folks who jump in to affect change in the country – ultimately in the world.  Why do you think Dr. Carson wants to be president?  What if he had not got in the race?  I rest my case.

It makes me nuts when brothers and sisters in Christ tell me I’m wrong to take action against evil.  I know that prayer is the most important part of war, believe me.  It’s my belief that most people should get up and go further.  Pray – but then move!  God does not draw a line with chalk.  God’s children are not ants, or at least they shouldn’t be.  He works THROUGH His children – but if His children decide to stay in the prayer closet, He can still work – but not through you if you refuse to leave the closet.  Yes, being a good prayer warrior is a wonderful and crucial ministry, but when God tells you to act, you need to act.

God has given us able minds and bodies to take action.  So once a Christian has prayed about something, don’t be so quick to discourage them from putting feet to their faith if they are led to do so by God’s Holy Spirit.  What if we encouraged our brothers and sisters in their endeavors, trusting that they have been to the mountain and talked with God about it?   How refreshing that would be!  🙂