James 5:19-20

Our Scripture for today is:

James 5:19           My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

COMMENTS:

Wow! That is IT!??? Kind of an abrupt way to end this letter… I am just thinking that maybe the end was actually lost or something!

But whatever, it drives yesterday’s point home further: We need to turn from our erring ways and seek the covering of our sins in Jesus Christ!

This is why we at Peace Church “Call All to Grace and Worship”

How could anything be so lovely than to be part of God’s beautiful and eternal flock who’s main message is the Kingdom of God and the Love of God in Jesus Christ? Let us pray EARNESTLY for the world and all who are in need of God’s Grace.

God bless us all!

James 5:13-18

Our Reading for today is:

James 5:13           Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:17           Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

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COMMENTS:

James is quite funny here when he speaks to one of the biggest complaint about pastors in the church: how they never come to visit people in the hospital even when the pastor is never called! Notice how he says that if anyone is sick “HE should call the elders of the church to pray over him!”

But what about the strong language that James uses that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective to heal and save? It seems that we have, for the most part, very little “faith” in prayer. Yes, it is important to always pray “if it be your will, Lord”… But in my own heart it is very difficult for me to simply POUR out my heart in faithFULL prayer to God. It is always way too timid and lacking in faith.

And we must note that there is some ambiguity here in the words James uses… He seems to be mixing up physical healing with spiritual healing… but that is only strange to our modern thinking… But in the whole of scripture, the physical and spiritual are almost one and the same!

Perhaps one of the most important things that strikes me in this passage is the emphasis ON spiritual healing. Our prayers are most often VERY lopsided in their attention on the physical. We hardly EVER pray for SPIRITUAL healing!

Let us pray with faith concerning all these things!

James 5:7-11

Our Scripture Reading for today is:

James 5:7           Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:10           Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

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In the midst of our lives, we are thrilled to have not just ANY God, not JUST a God who is our Judge and who stands at the door, BUT a Lord who is FULL of compassion and mercy! Proven on the cross, our God abides with us each and every day, giving us the confidence and strength and faith to PERSEVERE with great joy until He comes again!

BLESSED are those who persevere! Think of all the times that blessing resulted in your life because you persevered. In our modern day we just do NOT practice perseverance… We live in the day where if Obama doesn’t deliver in 100 days all his promises, we have the tendency to give up on the idea that he can accomplish anything. We live in the day of immediate gratification and we need to release those gratifications and set our eyes on the long view of faith. Pray for it! God will give it to you!

James 5:1-6

Our Scripture for today is:

James 5:1           Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

COMMENTS:

When we read passages like this it is easy for us to say: “That doesn’t apply to me… I am NOT like those filthy rich people on Wallstreet!” But, are we sure it does not apply to you and me? DO we not live in the richest nation of the world? Even the poor among us would be considered immensely rich by perhaps 1/3 of the world! We live in a world filled with inequity with the very rich and very poor living often side by side. Why does God bless anyone with an abundance of riches? The Bible is clear: so that they can bless others! We should also be very conscious of our actions as Christians… Often times our buying habits and even other practices reinforce and entrench the inequities in the local, national, and world economies. Should we be concerned about fair living wages we pay to our workers? For example: Should we buy from companies who pay their workers starvation wages?

But, even more practically, if you been blessed by God… What should your response be? “Let’s see how much fun we can have in Las Vegas!” or “How can I bless others through this gift of God?” Answer for yourself, and then DO IT! We most definitely do not want to be the subject of James’ warning… We need to have our head in the clouds, seeing and counting everything a loss in comparison to Jesus Christ!

There is a great video to see here!

James 4:13-17

Our Scripture reading for today is:

James 4:13           Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

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The Church Father Oecumenius writes in his commentary on James concerning verse 14 and the fleeting nature of temporal riches:

“James says this in order to indicate just how fleeting and empty our present life is. He wants to make us ashamed of the fact that we spend all our time engaged in its vanity, and in the evils of this age and in things which, as soon as they are accomplished, disappear, and all our labor vanishes with them.”

No matter how we look at it, no matter the gyrations we put our mind through and excuses we make, at the end of the day, it is a very rare person these days that is truly focused on Godliness rather than making as much money as they can so they can boast and enjoy themselves on the weekend. But I am HAPPY to say we actually have quite a few of those rare birds here at Peace Lutheran!

But for you as the reader of this blog, (the one or two of you), and all who might read this passage in James, the question is for YOU: Is your heart truly an “If it is the Lord’s Will” kind of heart who is perfectly content to reside in the palm of the Lord’s hand? Is YOUR heart in any way tainted with the stain of the world and the many opportunities for you to boast in something other than the Lord.

If so (and it really is for so for all of us to some extent or another), today is the day that we can do the good we know we ought to do! Today is the day to turn your face to Jesus and know His powerful Grace and Mercy for you. Today is the day for you to know His forgiveness anew and live aright!

James 4:13-17

Our Scripture reading for today is:

James 4:13           Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

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The Church Father Oecumenius writes in his commentary on James concerning verse 14 and the fleeting nature of temporal riches:

“James says this in order to indicate just how fleeting and empty our present life is. He wants to make us ashamed of the fact that we spend all our time engaged in its vanity, and in the evils of this age and in things which, as soon as they are accomplished, disappear, and all our labor vanishes with them.”

No matter how we look at it, no matter the gyrations we put our mind through and excuses we make, at the end of the day, it is a very rare person these days that is truly focused on Godliness rather than making as much money as they can so they can boast and enjoy themselves on the weekend. But I am HAPPY to say we actually have quite a few of those rare birds here at Peace Lutheran!

But for you as the reader of this blog, (the one or two of you), and all who might read this passage in James, the question is for YOU: Is your heart truly an “If it is the Lord’s Will” kind of heart who is perfectly content to reside in the palm of the Lord’s hand? Is YOUR heart in any way tainted with the stain of the world and the many opportunities for you to boast in something other than the Lord.

If so (and it really is for so for all of us to some extent or another), today is the day that we can do the good we know we ought to do! Today is the day to turn your face to Jesus and know His powerful Grace and Mercy for you. Today is the day for you to know His forgiveness anew and live aright!

James 4:11-12

Our Scripture text for today is:

James 4:11           Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

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COMMENTS:

Continuing on the theme of speaking against one’s neighbor, James expands that somewhat to include that nasty habit of judging one’s neighbor… The two, unfortunately, usually go together!

But we need to be careful we don’t misunderstand these (and other) verses in the scripture that have to do with not judging our neighbor. Many people take this to mean that there is NO judgement and that “anything goes”… This is NOT the case, as these verses in the same breath take great pains to remind us that indeed there IS a judge, and that judge is God! And so when the church preaches on moral and ethical issues to the world (and to individuals) it does so on the basis of GOD’S JUDGEMENTS, not our own! The PROBLEM for Christians is that we like to judge others on the basis of our own made up “laws” that we have in our mind, not actually and ONLY the law of Christ! We like to judge our neighbor because his dog or children misbehave or he looks funny or different or… WHATEVER… This is evil because it makes US into the lawgiver and judge – an office that only God can occupy!

Pray, pray, pray, that we can keep our tongue and mind in check when it comes to slandering and judging our neighbor!