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.  🙂

 

PARDON DAY

TL 9-8 PARDON DAY

On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon of all wrongdoing in the famous Watergate scandal. While a Presidential pardon is quite a big deal, an even more important and eternal pardon was made a very long time ago on a hill called Calvary by Christ Jesus.

The pardon offered to us by God’s own Son has eternal merit. It is not only offered to the rich and affluent, but it is offered to everyone regardless of race, background or social standing.

Christ paid the supreme sacrifice to forgive us of our sins. On this INTERNATIONAL PARDON DAY, won’t you accept the free gift given for you so long ago? As Christ forgave us, so we are to forgive each other.

If you are holding a grudge against those who have committed some offense against you, Pardon Day grants you a valid reason to check your feelings and the time that has passed, and to let that resentment and anger go.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

If you refuse to forgive (even if not asked to) it will take a toll on your attitude, life and eventually your very health and well-being. Research has proven that people who make a choice to give up resentment toward others live longer and have better cardiovascular and nervous systems. To harbor a bitter feeling against someone is to allow them to take up residence in your mind rent-free. Forgiveness is an act that brings happiness to those who give it. To release the negative emotions held inside is a gift you give yourself. The one you harbor bad feelings toward has moved on – you need to do the same.

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.
– Steve Maraboli

Today may be a good time to incorporate some “magic words” into your vocabulary. It’s great to hear someone say, “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” if they accidentally bump into you or run their shopping cart over your foot or something. Those simple words defuse anger and let you know the act was not done on purpose.

One misconception remains about extending a pardon. By no means do you have to fall back into the old trap you were in before with that person. Na na na na huh-uh! I’ve been guilty of it too. You forgive and then get back in the saddle, right? Then you end up having a similar problem. Sigh. I know. Sometimes you just have to cut the ties that strangle you.

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. – John F. Kennedy

Do everything in your power to pardon because Christ gave His all to pardon you. Trust me when I say it is not worth carrying a root of bitterness for one more day. Do what you have to do to rid yourself of it. You can write a letter, send an email, facebook message or call that person on the phone. Get it out and get over it so you can move on.

If the person you’re bitter towards is no longer living, you can write a letter to them with nothing held back – then take it to their grave, read it to them, light it on fire and burn it to set yourself free!

I want everything clear ‘tween me and thee so that all can be clear ‘tween my Lord and me.
– Linda Palmer