(picture taken from the day I didn’t exactly treat others so nice.—> ‘could my bad mom moment help you‘)
On to James:
Monday: Read James Ch 5 vs 1-19
Tuesday: Read James Ch 5 vs 1-19 again.
Let’s focus on the Warning of the Rich. vs. 1-5
“Listen, you rich men! Cry about the troubles that will come to you. Your riches are worth nothing. Your fine clothes are full of moth holes. Your gold and silver have rusted. Their rust will speak against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have saved riches for yourselves for the last days. See! The men working in your fields are crying against you because you have kept back part of their pay. Their cries have been heard by the Lord Who hears His people. You have had everything while you lived on the earth and have enjoyed its fun. You have made your hearts fat and are ready to be killed as an animal is killed… ” James 5 1:5 NLT
ANYTIME my heart is turned towards the poor and oppressed, I always find myself in Matthew, listening to the words of Jesus:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”
Matthew 25: 31-46 NLT
I don’t know much, but I know the words of Jesus are pretty simple and to the point. I don’t think it’s about how much money we have, rather what we do with the money we do have and where we find our true security.
Today, lets focus on two things.
First: Who have we helped today?
Second: Where does our security come from?
Sometimes, we don’t have much, sometimes we do. How are we in both situations? I don’t know about you, but it sure is harder for me to surrender worry when the bank account is running low. =) Well if my joy, my security, my life is found in Him… why is that the case? *sigh* because we need Him so badly, that’s why.
Wednesday and Thursday: (it’s a lot to chew on)
Read James 5: 7-12
These verses are full of so many different things. I am going to touch on patience and trusting God. Of course, I am! Those are my biggest struggles.
James makes a reference to Job, whom I love. However, I am going to go from the standpoint of Esther for this one. You are probably familiar with Esther– a young lady taken from her home because the King up and decided he needed a new Queen. (are you seeing veggie tales right now? ha!) She and others were taken away from their lives, to the king’s harem to wait for their future. Taken to wait and see who would be chosen as the kings favorite.
“Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments.” Esther 2:2 NLT
Do you know how long those beauty treatments last? 12 months. Yes, ONE year. Esther was in a strange place, hiding her family heritage, awaiting the day she would be brought before the kings bed.
Once she was taken before King Xerxes, he loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He loved her more than he had ever loved another. After favor with the king, she went on to save the Jewish people–her heritage by going before the king. (You really should read Esther)
I wonder what situations we are in, friends, that require maybe a week or two maybe even a month of waiting. Situations that could change the course of our lives but we are to impatient to just wait and let God’s plan take it’s course. Esther waited 12 months before going to the king. She had no idea if he would like her. She hadn’t been promised anything from God. In fact, God is pretty absent from this whole story.
Esther was just like us, living in her current circumstance, dealing with it the best she could. (yes, read it again. nice and slow) But she dealt with it. And lives were changed.Same goes for Job. He had no idea what God was doing, what his plan was. We know, because as the reader you see all the “behind the scenes stuff”. But Job? He was just left to trust. Job suffered. Esther, I don’t think suffered much, matter of fact, she was favored. I wonder how different it would have been if she had turned her waiting into suffering. I know I do that quite a bit.
Oh, my. Patience. Trust. It all comes back to trust doesn’t it?
I am going to keep this simple and to the point. James says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
I can only say it one way. We must confess our sins. It is a deep, dark place. The place which we hide sin. And this is what it does. It kills us. Our sinful nature will fool us into thinking those things are so bad we need to keep them to ourselves. This is a lie.
To share our sins, to confess them–Is to be set free. Is to have accountability. Is to have help. Is to change.
When we confess our sins to others, we confess it to ourselves. Then, we can see the reality of our mess and deal with it. Oh, the daily task of dealing with our messes.
I have been struggling a lot lately with the enemies lies. I think it has been more now than ever in my life. We have a house full of people at any given moment. There are lots of people pulling together to make The Café of Life happen. We have three additional people living with us right now. All of our dreams of what this would look like are happening. However, I have needed the sweetness of God’s word and promises more now than ever. Each day, the enemy has a new lie for me and each day I have to combat it. Sometimes, he takes it easy on me- other days it makes me cry.
I feel like a basket case.
“These people are surely getting sick of helping.”
“How can you really afford to have people stay with you?”
“Your children don’t get enough of your time.”
“You are incapable of all this.”
“They don’t like you.”
“You made them mad… again.”
The list goes on and on.
This, friends, is the last week of our time together in James. I share my heart with you for the purpose of encouraging you to continue on daily in his word. Grasp it as though it were a lifeline. Because it is.
John Piper, one of my favorites, pretty much pins sin on the head:
“Am I wanting to look at Twitter before I look at Jesus? It sounds stupid. That’s how stupid sin is. – John Piper
Don’t let the stupid sin of doubt so easily entrap you friends. Confess your sins, your struggles, your joys daily and live fully in Jesus.
So thankful for both the struggle and grace.
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