Posts Tagged With: James

Spiritual Boot Camp Day 35

Today is the last day of spiritual boot camp and I have truly enjoyed sharing this journey with so many of you. Your comments have been encouraging, challenging and inspiring. As we wrap up our study of James today, I hope you have been challenged and have grown in your faith. Most importantly, I hope you have grown closer to your Lord and Savior. I will be taking a week off from blogging and look forward to sharing God’s Word and my faith walk with you when I return.

James 5:17-18

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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.

I love how James reminds us that the great prophet Elijah was just a human being like us. It is a reminder that the people we read about in Scripture are simply that – people. They may have had some amazing experiences with the Lord but they were just people. We, too, can have some amazing experiences with the Lord when we pray and seek Him. Elijah prayed to the Lord and He answered His prayers. He answers our prayers when we seek Him as well – not always when we want or how we want because His plans and His timing are better than ours.

James 5:19-20

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

I couldn’t think of a better way to end the book of James than with these two verses. If we stray from the truth, we need a brother or sister in Chrsit to bring us back. What a beautiful message for us as we end our boot camp. We need to be the kind of believers who can hold others accountable and lovingly correct them without passing judgment. In addition, we need to have people in our lives who will hold us accountable and we need to be receptive to their correction. We are not meant to walk this journey alone, we need each other to love, support, encourage, challenge and hold accountable. Who in your life does that for you? Who does the Lord want you to love, support, encourage or challenge today?

It is easy to be supportive and encouraging but is much harder to challenge others or hold them accountable. But we all need people in our lives who will tell us what we NEED to hear and not necessarily what we WANT to hear. How do you respond to correction from others? As we go forth from our spiritual boot camp, be encouraged and challenged to make a difference in the lives of others. Find people to encourage and support. Love those who are difficult to love with the love of Christ. Challenge those in your life to walk the walk and not just talk the talk – remember we want to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Find accountability partners who can help you stay on track and most importantly seek the Lord. 

Thank you so much for joining me for this spiritual boot camp. I have been tremendously blessed by your comments and have learned a lot from you. I feel incredibly humbled and blessed to be able to share my faith journey with people from all over the world! If you have enjoyed this boot camp, you might be interested in getting a copy of my devotional “Deeply Rooted”. It is 365 day devotional designed to help inspire your quiet time. It is available in hardback, paper back or for Kindle, Nook or Kobo.

http://www.amazon.com/Deeply-Rooted-A-365-Day-Devotional/dp/146272082X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1372429547&sr=8-2

Psalm 67:1

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us

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Spiritual Boot Camp Day 34

Sorry for the late post. I have had some technical difficulties.  Hard to believe only two more days and we will have wrapped up our spiritual boot camp through the book of James.  Hang in there – you can do it!

James 5:13

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 

Regardless of what we are facing in our lives, times of sorrorw or times of joy, the Lord wants us to share it with Him. He wants us to actively engage Him in every part of our life. When we are in need we can call out to Him in prayer and when we are happy, we can share our joy with Him. In doing so we will be acknowledging our dependence upon Him and giving Him glory through our praises.

James 5:14-15

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them 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 them up. If they have sinned, they 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 person is powerful and effective.

James is encouraging the people to reach out and pray for one another’s needs. Whether it is praying for someone who is ill or praying for someone who is struggling with sin in their life, there is power in prayer. It is humbling to ask someone to pray for you because it means you know you can’t do it on your own and are enlisting the help of other believers and the Lord. When prayers are answered it is uplifting for the one who sought prayer and the one who interceded in prayer. 

When was the last time you sought the Lord’s help in times of trouble? Can you think of the last time you were really happy? Did you give the Lord praise for your happiness and glory for His invovlement in your life? What challenges are you facing right now? Are you willing to humble yourself and seek others to intercede to the Lord on your behalf? Who do you need to be interceding for in prayer?

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Spiritual Boot Camp Day 33

It is the middle of the week and the time when we usually feel like skipping a day of boot camp. Hope you are able to persevere through the next three days as we wrap up our study of James.

James 5:12

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

James is reiterating what Jesus said about oaths in Matthew 5:34-37.

“34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

James was telling the people their word should be enough, they should not need to make oaths. It is not that oaths were forbidden, but they should not be said lightly. There is a seriousness in making an oath because it involves making it in the name of the Lord. Our word should stand for itself and we should not have to make promises, swear or make an oath in order for our word to mean something.

This verse may seem out of place because what came before had to do with patience with  others and what follows has to do with prayer. However, it is very much in line with a theme we have seen over and over again in James – the power of our words. We are pretty careless with our words and they can be very harmful to others. How often do we tell someone we will do something and then not actually do it? Or we don’t do it in the time frame we committed to do it? When we don’t follow through on our word, it becomes less meaningful and we become less trustworthy. 

In today’s world of constant communication and stimulation it is easy to become overwhelmed and become to busy to do what we say we are going to do. How often does that happen to you? Or the opposite, we say we aren’t going to do something any more and yet we do. I want you to think about what your word stands for – is your word trustworthy? Do you do what you say you are going to do and not do what you say you aren’t going to do?

In particular, I want you to think about what your word means in regards to praying for others. Sometimes we are asked to pray for someone else and say we will but then forget. Has that ever happened to you? We need to be people of our word and we need to be trustworthy, especially in the area of prayer. Instead of telling someone you will pray for them, how about simply doing it when they ask rather than waiting until later? Some people are more comfortable praying silently in their own place and time but what if we stepped out in boldness and whenever we were asked to pray for someone we simply did it right then and right there? I think we talk a lot about prayer without actually ever getting around to doing it. Praying for people right when they ask and engaging them in the prayer will encourage them, remind us both of our dependence upon God and help us both grow in our faith. I challenge you to do it the next time someone asks you to pray for them and make it a new habit.

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Spiritual Boot Camp Day 32

There are only four days left in our spiritual boot camp! It is hard to believe we have been at it for 32 days. I hope you have grown in your faith and grown closer to the Lord through this study. Today we will continue looking at James 5.

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

James is telling the people to be patient even under the difficulties they are facing. Remember from yesterday’s verses James addressed the rich and those who were not treating their workers fairly. The Greek word for “patience” in this verse is “makrothymeo” which means “to endure patiently, as opposed to experiencing despondency”. “Makrothymeo involves exercising understanding and patience towards persons and frequently suggests a refusal to retaliate.” So James was telling the “brothers” to be patient with the people they were having to deal with and to not retaliate even if they were not being treated fairly. How hard is it for you to be patient with others? How difficult would it be for you to be patient in a situation where you were being taken advantage of or treated unfairly?

James goes on in verse 8 to tell them to  “stand firm” which “literally means ‘strengthen your hearts’. The reason given for standing firm is that ‘the Lord’s coming is near’.” James wanted to encourage them to be patient, not retaliate and stand firm so they would be seen as righteous before the Lord on the day of judgement and we see this in the next verse.

James 5:9

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:10-11

10 Brothers and sisters, 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 count as 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.

James first uses the example of the farmer waiting patiently for the rains to come. Then he uses the example of the suffering of the prophets followed by the suffering and perseverance of Job to give the people examples of those who have been patient waiting on the Lord. He says those who wait and persevere are “blessed”. When have you waited patiently on the Lord and persevered? What were the results of your faith and obedience?

It is easy to become discouraged and frustrated in difficult circumstances and our flesh wants us to react in anger and give up. However, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us wants us to exercise our faith by being patient, relying on the Lord and persevering knowing He is trustworthy. What situations are you facing where you need to put your faith into action by being patient and not retaliating? What circumstances do you need to show perseverance? When you look back over you faith walk, what examples do you have of being blessed by being faithful, patient, persevering and being obedient? What examples do you have and what were the results when you chose to respond in your flesh?

  • All Scripture references are from http://www.biblegateway.com

  • Greek definitions are from “The Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers

  • Quotes are from “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Vol. 12, Zondervan
 
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Spiritual Boot Camp Day 31

This is our final week of boot camp and we will look at all of James 5. Congratulations on making it to the final week!

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 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. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

In James 4:9 he told the people to grieve, wail and mourn for their sins and to repent. In these verses James is telling the people of what is to happen at the time of judgement. They will be “weep and wail” because of the misery brought upon them by the judgement of the Lord because of their actions. Let’s take a look at what their actions were like.

Their focus was on accumulating and “hoarding wealth”. There is nothing wrong with having money or things, but it is the attitude of heart towards it that makes the difference. If your sole purpose is the accumulation of money and stuff, your heart is not in the right place.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus is very clear about the fact that money and stuff can become a heart issue. Instead of accumulating stuff here on earth, we should be trying to build up “treasures in heaven”; eternal rewards based on how we live our lives here on earth. Where is your treasure? What is it you work towards gaining? What attitude do you have towards money and stuff?

The next thing James addresses is the unfair treatment of the workers. We all want to be successful at what we do, but not at any cost. Have you ever done something to get ahead that harmed someone else? Have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work or exaggerated your contributions or put someone else down in order to make yourself look better? Earning money, promotions, accolades and stuff at any cost isn’t really earning anything but heartache. When our selfish ambition becomes the priority, we are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead.

James addresses them for having “lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence”. Does that describe your life? Are you focused on earning more and getting further ahead in your career so you can enjoy the luxuries of life? Having luxuries in and of themselves is not a problem, but we need to make sure we keep our hearts and attitudes in check. What does God want us to be doing? If we get a raise or a bonus – how does He want us to spend it?

As we begin this week. look at the luxuries you have in your life or the things you treasure, is your heart in the right place? How are you spending the money you earn? Are you seeking the Lord and how He would have you spend it or are you making your own plans and storing up treasures for yourself on earth?

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