“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:16-18 NKJV
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book of James, chapters 1-5 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). James is the brother of Jesus (we just saw James the brother of John get murdered in acts). James is the head of a church of Jews who believe and the idea of a church is so new he uses terms like synagogue for the meeting place of the believers. This is actually the first book written, of the New Testament. James is writing to address a number of problems among the believers and some of these problems are difficult to really understand unless we first understand Jewish culture.
The book is only approximately 2,450 words long – yet I once took a 7 hour course on it and left ready to sit and learn more about it. So I sit here, having read the book again, looking at my notes from various sermons and that class – and I am asking God: How am I supposed to write up anything about ALL of this in this short format? At this point, I do not even have a verse at the top to open with – I can’t choose. (Hopefully there is one there by the time you read this.) It is NOT that I have nothing to say – it is that I could give you a seven day course on the book, I have too much to say!
“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.” James 1:1
I suppose I could start at the beginning. As this greeting we take for granted as meaning to the church – but it literally says to the 12 scattered tribes. The tribes were scattered when Assyria took the northern kingdom and Babylon took Judah. This was a past event. Although they were scattered a few times throughout history. At the time when James was writing – there was a scattering of the Jews in the sense that Rome often relocated the Jews throughout their kingdom. There was also a scattering of the Christians, themselves, after Stephan died. When Paul converted this did not die down, especially (our reading on the 20th) when the new Herod took over. He saw a way to gain the trust and loyalty of the Jewish population by joining them with persecuting the church. James’ group of believers (his local church) was also scattered at this moment – which was why a letter was circulated instead of James preaching it to them directly.
Then there were also scatterings happening in other areas of history. When Rome tore down the temple, the Jews scattered. When Hitler came for them, they scattered.
The root word is “the dispersement”. James is not writing to the Jewish unbelievers, but writing to the believers.
James is also, in my opinion the book MOST taken out of context. Let us start with the first chapter as an example – trials. Many of these verses have been quoted outside of the context in which they are clearly tied to. Asking for wisdom, for example – is in relation to the trial. God is not going to give you wisdom to heap upon your pride. So be careful when you see a verse from this book quoted to support something else, that it also reflects back to what it was written about.
Then the opening verses (Look! I managed to put one there) – in that passage the first verse is not usually associated with trials nor is it associated with God’s will to make us a type of “firstfruits”. The firstfruit was the offering – the best of the best, the perfect and the sacrifice – which we have already learned that Obedience is better then, and that true obedience is a type of sacrifice. We are this firstfruit, perfected in Christ through trials and God’s goodness.
Chapter one is best understood if read alongside the book of Job. James walks us through the discourse.
As I write this I just got a text that Rittenhouse was found not guilty and the depth of the lies of the mainstream media’s narrative has been exposed. Many eyes are still blind to see and are enraged by the outcome. As I write about trials – and hear this verdict I think I ought to speak to “justice” and legal trials. (As we hold our breath wondering what the overall reaction in the nation will be.)
Trials – like when the enemy attacks – like here in James chapter one or in Job when, while one messenger spoke, another came in with bad news, and while he spoke, yet another, and so on… THAT is an attack. It comes from every angle and is meant to throw you off balance. This is why the armor of God concludes with JUST STAND (and having done all STAND).
And a trial is like a trial. Yes – there are false witnesses, or even true witnesses who accuse of things you have dealt with and are forgiven of but it is designed to blight your character. Trials also have prosecutor, accusers, defenders and evidence that is manipulated. There are people watching every detail and jurying your actions. Many times all of this makes you feel like it is all stacked against you – and it very much is. That is how a trial works. Sometimes the defendant is kept in chains during the trial – this is also the case sometimes in the spiritual trials.
BUT the judge is JESUS CHRIST!!! This is why I say to repent and get humble daily in front of Him! Because every day HE IS THE JUDGE! And His justice is true and honest and glorifies the Father.
Does the trial goes on until verdict? Well kinda – like today’s verdict (where the judge ruled in an unfavorable way according to the narrative told to the mass population) there is going to be continued activity after the verdict. Young Rittenhouse has to face the backlash and God knows what else. (I hope you have been praying for Him since you are reading this 3 days later.) The prayers in a period of trials should not stop when the verdict is read, for yourself or for this boy. If you agree with this boy’s verdict or not – or in your own trials…. God is still in control and JESUS is the judge with PERFECT JUSTICE – bringing this back to the opening verses…. The verdict on this boy is good, therefore it is of God. Do not wrestle God, but realize HE is good – ALWAYS GOOD.
Another thing to look at with today’s trial verdict. This young man can now sew the media and he probably will because it is a slam dunk win for him. He will be very wealthy. You see. If you show up for your trial, you bear through it, you do not waver, you even wash your face and get dressed for it (as sometimes it is tempting to wallow while going through a trial), and you just trust God through it – the other side is blessed.
Now let me be very clear – the principle is doctrinally sound. But people’s understanding can be confusing. The word blessing ALWAYS refers to a spiritual thing! I once wrote here I was blessed by a dress for $1 – which ended up being free. It was NOT the dress that was the blessing – it was the spiritual events surrounding it. The part where God gave it to me and showed me His tender love and mercy. Yes – this boy will see financial compensation for his trial. But do not be deceived, this is a spiritual blessing. Sometimes Blessings are accompanied by physical / tangible things – but look in the spirit for your true reward.
Let me encourage you to read this book slowly – in here are amazing gems to help you grow in wisdom and love. May God help you tuck it in your heart so you may use this information timely in your life.
Seek God, Repent and stay humble – this is how we must live now. The hour is late. So get alone with God and let Him guide you.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: This month we have another powerful verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! Knowing the Word is our Sword and Jesus is the Word! Jesus accomplishes what He set out to do. Quoting this verse is therefore the very act of walking in the victory!
NKJV – “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
NAS – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.”
ESV – “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
AMP – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
NIV – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: James 1-5 NKJV
Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The Perspective of Rich and Poor
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Loving God Under Trials
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Qualities Needed in Trials
19 [c]So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Doers—Not Hearers Only
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and [d]overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone [e]among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Beware of Personal Favoritism
2 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in [f]fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in [g]filthy clothes, 3 and you [h]pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not [i]shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you [j]show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [k]your works, and I will show you my faith by [l]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [m]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [n]perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was [o]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The Untamable Tongue
3 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a [p]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [q]Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of [r]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [s]nature; and it is set on fire by [t]hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the [u]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [v]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and [w]self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Pride Promotes Strife
4 Where do [x]wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and [y]war. [z]Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 [aa]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Humility Cures Worldliness
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Do Not Judge a Brother
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one [ab]Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who[ac] are you to judge [ad]another?
Do Not Boast About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow [ae]we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Rich Oppressors Will Be Judged
5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches [af]are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of [ag]Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and [ah]luxury; you have [ai]fattened your hearts [aj]as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
Be Patient and Persevering
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord [ak]is at hand.
9 Do not [al]grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be [am]condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into [an]judgment.
Meeting Specific Needs
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? 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. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 [ao]Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [ap]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Bring Back the Erring One
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save [aq]a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
- James 1:3 endurance or perseverance
- James 1:4 mature
- James 1:19 NU Know this or This you know
- James 1:21 abundance
- James 1:26 NU omits among you
- James 2:2 bright
- James 2:2 vile
- James 2:3 Lit. look upon
- James 2:4 differentiated
- James 2:9 Lit. receive the face
- James 2:18 NU omits your
- James 2:18 NU omits my
- James 2:20 NU useless
- James 2:22 complete
- James 2:23 credited
- James 3:2 mature
- James 3:3 NU Now if
- James 3:6 unrighteousness
- James 3:6 existence
- James 3:6 Gr. Gehenna
- James 3:9 likeness
- James 3:12 NU Neither can a salty spring produce fresh water.
- James 3:14 selfish ambition
- James 4:1 battles
- James 4:2 battle
- James 4:2 NU, M omit Yet
- James 4:4 NU omits Adulterers and
- James 4:12 NU adds and Judge
- James 4:12 NU, M But who
- James 4:12 NU a neighbor
- James 4:13 M let us
- James 5:2 have rotted
- James 5:4 Lit., in Heb., Hosts
- James 5:5 indulgence
- James 5:5 Lit. nourished
- James 5:5 NU omits as
- James 5:8 has drawn near
- James 5:9 Lit. groan
- James 5:9 NU, M judged
- James 5:12 M hypocrisy
- James 5:16 NU Therefore confess your sins
- James 5:16 supplication
- James 5:20 NU his soul