Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Bank Account Versus Fat Faith Account

531."Big Bank Account Versus Fat Faith Account"                     
May 31, 2012
James 5-Part 1
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered: and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.  James 5:2-3


Which is growing fatter-my savings account at the local bank or my faith account in the bank of heaven? Am I adding up dollars and cents or good works and loving attitudes? Which is the bigger account?
In what does my hope lie? Am I depending upon God or my money? Is my faith growing fatter or my pockets? Am I being a doer of the Word or just a hearer only? How are my attitudes and priorities? Questions to contemplate. James begins our last chapter talking to the wealthy, which are probably Christians in the church.

Let's consider the divine retribution first:
  • Hoarded riches reap miserable dividends (verses 1-3a). These dividends are bitterness, cynicism, disappointment, and emptiness, to name a few. Don't they remind us of Dickens' character Scrooge?
  • Riches provide no relief in eternity (verse 3b-5b). Our earthly bank account won't matter in heaven. Only the righteousness of Christ that has sbeen credited to our account through faith in Him.
  • The unjust acts of the unsaved are not forgotten (verse 4b). Though it looks like the unsaved wealthy don't have to answer for their selfish ways, the day is coming when they will.
  • A lack of judgment today does not mean a lack of judgment tomorrow. In Luke 16, we see the rich man and Lazarus with their contrasted lives. (Swindoll)

Though this may not be encouraging to read, it shows us the just and judging God we serve.


Even though James is addressing the rich, can't these principles apply to all of us? So I turned them around and made it into how I don't want to be like them:
1. Don't be guilty of hoarding wealth (verses 2-3a). Food rots, clothes get moth eatten, and metal
    coins rust or tarnish. Where my treasure is, there is my heart. What do I spend my money on? Do I
    stock the cabinets, closets, and coin banks? Or do I use my money to meet needs of others? Give to
    the Lord's work?

2. Don't cheat others (verse 4). A servant who is poor and needy should not be opressed. (Deut. 24)

3. Don't live a totally selfish lifestyle (verse 5). Self-indulgence is not right when the poor worker that
    makes the wealthy rich is starving.

4. Don't take advantage of the righteous. (verse 6). Are believers dragged into court?

Is my faith account getting bigger than my bank account?


What do I need to leave behind so I can follow Jesus?

Check my faith account.

Look over my priorities.

Share with those in need.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If the Lord's Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

530.  "If the Lord's Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise"
May 30, 2012
James 4-Part 4
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.    James 4:15


See ya in church Sunday? How many times have I heard someone answer, "If the Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise." I think that phrase was used instead of answering yes or no. I suppose that saying came from the horse and buggy/wagon era. If the creek was up and roaring out of its banks, which is common here during the spring floods, then I could see that horses and wagons couldn't cross it. (We still have a few low-water bridges on our back roads like this.) But what gets me is they bring the Lord's will into the situation, which probably isn't even being considered about the matter at hand, especially if He wants them to attend worship services.
Less you think I'm coming down too hard, I do the same thing. Oh, not in those words, but I use maybe, or I don't know when I really mean no, but don't want to say it.

What does James have to say about it? What is the Lord's will? Does He care about our little decisions we make during the day, or the plans we make during the month or throughout the year? Does it matter what we do or where we go?

We should respect the divine sovereignty of God and be willing to have something interrupt my plans and cheerfully make the most of it. Everything is contingent on God's will (Blake)

Do I boast in God and His wonders? Trust in His plans?

We all depend upon Almighty God for life, and breath, and all things. (Matthew Henry)

I have been praying for rain the last 2 weeks. We are looking like Texas last year. No rain has come. Yet God knows best, when to send it, when not to send it. Maybe more people should pray.

Psalm 22:3, NIV, says, Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the praise of Israel.

We will agree that God is still on His throne. Even if it doesn't rain this week, can I say, "Yet Linda will still praise Him?" Do I yield to the Lord's Will willingly?
Please join me in praying for rain for Arkansas.


If we are ever considering walking on a different path than what the Lord Jesus has us on, don't. Verse 17 warns us: If I know the right thing to do, and don't do it, then I have sinned.

Take what you have learned from God's Word and begin practicing it. Stop running others down and let God do the judging. Instead of seeking to control, learn to submit to God and follow. (Swindoll)

Sins of omission lead directly to sins of commission. (MacArthur)

It is never a minor thing to know God's will and not do it. God calls this sin. We can make excuses for our lack of obedience. We can rationalize, procrastinate, deceive ourselves into thinking that good intentions equal obedient actions.They do not. A good intention without corresponding activity is disobedience .Making commitments is not the same as obeying the Lord. Only obedience satisfies God's desire for obedience.  (Blackaby)

If I know it is the right thing to do, yet I don't do it, then I am sinning, right?


Boast in what the Lord does, not what I do.

Trust Jesus in all things.

Do what I know is right and what I know is the Lord's will.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

529.  "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"
May 29, 2012
James 4-Part 3
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." 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.
James 4:13-14


One cool, early morning, as usual, I looked out the window of our front door at the pond across the road. The scene over the pond got my atention. I had to go step outside to take a closer and clearer look. The previous week's temperature had been warm for spring. As I stepped out, the cool breeze hit me. That was the reason for the scene on the pond. There was a fog hovering over it, like none I had ever seen before. It wasn't covering the entire pond, just in one spot. It was lifting up, up, and away, as if the Lord was standing over the water, disappearing. Okay, I have an imagination, But it was an unusual sight, a breathtaking one I might add. Isn't that the way life is- here today, gone tomorrow?

One thing is certain in this life-life is uncertain.
How quickly the days are passing. Half of the year will soon be over. It's true that time goes by faster as you get older. It seems as though yesterday our children were toddlers, that the day before yesterday, I was a child at home with my parents.
I wonder, am I doing what is important or wasting my time? Am I doing God's will or my will?

It seems that this person in the illustration, must be a wealthy merchant, talking to his business associates. What can I learn from him?
  • Include God in my plans; seek His will concerning events and decisions.
  • When I find God's will, have unwavering faith that His will is best.
  • Submit to God's will for my life and do it. Don't be independent, but dependent on His promises, power, and Word.
  • Life is uncertain, so I'm going to trust His leading and follow His steps. (Only He is sovereign.)
  • He alone knows the future and reveals it to whom He will. I am limited in my understanding.
  • Life is short, like a puff of smoke, vapor, a breath seen in for a second in cold air, so live it without regrets.
  • Soon I will be gone from my little world, in the ground bodily, but in heaven spiritually.
  • If the Lord wills, be willing to have something interrupt my plans, and cheerfully make the most of it. Conform to His will, whatever it may be. Everything is contingent on God's will. (Blake)
  • Life is fragile, handle it with care. Consider others.
  • Only God gives us breath of life, so live it for Him.


For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (verses 15-17)

A man who brags about future plans while ignoring God's sovereignty is foolish, but more than that his attitude is evil. The extent of this marks the depravity of contemporary society. (Falwell)

It is the height of arrogance to disregard God as the master of our fate. As Psalm 14:1 says, The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God' (emphasis added).  It's a fool's game to play God; nevertheless, James knows that some would rather take the risk and play than humbly submit to the Lord. (Swindoll)

How do I stop playing God, living by my rules, ways, and plans?
  • Get into God's Word.
  • Start doing what is right according to His word.
  • Stop running others down and let God do the judging.
  • Instead of seeking to control, learn to submit to God and follow. (Swindoll)

Leave the control, reins, to God. Surrender to His plans, His ways for my life.

Find out what pleases God from His Word and strive to please Him, not self.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Judging Others

Memorial Day
I want to say thank you to all of those men and women who have given up so much to serve our country and us, keeping us safe. Let's not forget their families who give up spending time with their loved ones who are serving in our military-thank you isn't enough.
I want to remember those who gave their life/and or limbs in preserving our freedoms. So many wars have been fought by Americans to fight the enemy. Thank God we still live a fairly free country, where we can worship, pray, read the Truth-Bible, without persecution.
My own father lost a leg during WWII, but said he'd go fight again if he could.
As Christians, we are in a war against sin and evil, fighting for our families, marriage, purity of life, Christian values, praying for darkness  to be held back.
Enjoy your holiday, dear friends in Christ. May God bless your family and our nation as we stay faithful to Him.

528.  " Judging Others"                              May 28, 2012
James 4-Part 2
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?  James 4:12 NIV


I recall the days in high school, during social studies classes, we would be given a senerio and then debated it. We were not allowed to choose which side we were on, but it was appointed to us. Usually, they were current events in our world. We set ourselves up as judges of the matter at hand. It seems like those issues later became matters of importance in our society as we voted on them when we became of age. Now we are the generation that is involved in making the laws of our land. In the spiritual realm, do I find myself continuing to judge, only to judge peoples' ways and actions, spiritual condition?  James gives me advice on the matter.
Only God is qualified to be Judge. He is the one who gave us the Law, moral and spiritual laws to live by.

God is designated as author, interpreter, and executor of the law. If He alone holds these functions, then who are we to judge another? (Falwell)
Only God has the ability to to save and destroy, which proves that only He is qualified to judge. (Swindoll)
The question is: Do I try to take His place as judge of others?


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. James 4:11 NIV

Does this mean that when I put down someone, I am making myself superior to other Christians?
Speak against means to talk down. It's the idea of talking about one person to another with the goal of lowering your listener's estimate of that third person.
Judge means to pronounce condemnation upon someone. In order to judge someone rightly, however, we must know all there is to know about that other person. It requires the kind of complete understanding about a person's thoughts and motives that only God possesses.
Didn't Jesus tell us to get the log out of our own eye before we get the speck out of our brother's eye?
(Matt. 7:1-5)
When I critize others, I speak against the law and judge it. Probably, the law which James is referring to is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (2:8). Do I then change position from being a doer of the law to a judge of the law?
Isn't God supposed to be the final authority over my life? Do I depend on Him? Or am I "playing God" with myself?
[Swindoll's Study Guide on James]

I remember that the beginning of this chapter discussed strife. The solutions for strife is to get right with God and to get right with other people.

Wehn I'm right with other people, it will show in the way I talk about them. So I must not speak evil of one another and not judge my brother/sister.
1 John 4:20 says, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (NIV)

When I have the proper humility before God, it just isn't within me to arrogantly judge others, is it?

Friends, I have some homework to do with this lesson.


Stop judging others. Stop critizing them.

Start loving others as Christ does-accepting us as we are.

Pray for others and myself.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why? Why? Why?

527.  "Why? Why? Why?"                 May 25, 2012
James 4-Part 1
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.   James 4:6-9

Why? Why? Why? How many times does a preschooler ask that one worded question in a day?
I find myself answering it, but getting impatient with the next why. Then I turn around and ask,"Why? why? why?" I am glad that God does not get impatient. That brings me to some questions I asked after reading chapter 4. Here are some:
Why are our Christian brothers and sisters in church quarreling and having conflicts?
Why does God seem so distant from me?
Why do I not feel more of God's grace?
Why won't the devil leave me alone?
Why won't God lift me up?
The answers to these questions are found in James chapter 4.
1,. What causes fights and quarrels among us? (verse 1)
     We don't get what we want. (verse 2)
     We don't have because we don't ask God for it. (verse 2)
     When we ask, we don't receive, because we ask with wrong motives-so we can spend what we get
      on our pleasures. (verse 3)
So if everyone is wanting their way instead of God's way, there are conflicts.
2. Why does God seem so distant from me?
     Friendship with the world is hatred towards God. (verse 4)
     My allegiance divided between the world and God.
     I shut out the Holy Spirit. (verse 5)
     My sins have seperated me from God.
3. Why do I not feel more of God's grace?
     SUBMIT TO GOD. (verse 7a)

4.  Why won't the devil leave me alone?
      I am not resisting temptations, but yield, and thus sin.
      I'm not standing up against the devil and his ways.
      I am straddling the fence.
      I don't know enough scriptures to refute him.
      RESIST THE DEVIL. (verse 7b)
5. Why won't God lift me up?
     I don't come near to Him. (verse 8)
     I don't wash my hands and purify my heart. (verse 8b)
     I don't grieve, mourn, and wail over my sins. (verse 9a)
     Instead, I laugh and am joyful in my sins. (verse 9b)
[Reference: James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll]

What does James tell me to do?
  • Submit to God. Order yourself under God, surrender to Him as conquering King, and receive the benefits of His reign.
  • Resist the devil to solve problems that carnality and strife cause. Stand against the devil's deceptions and intimidation. Come in the authority of what Jesus did on the cross.
  • Draw near to God.  
  • Cleanse my hands at the cross and purify my heart.
  • Humble myself. He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. (Grace is unmerited favor of God.) (David Guzik)
Liberty Bible Commentary has this to say:
Because of God's never-ending grace, the Christian's logical behavior is total submission to Him, rather than enslavement to the world's allurements. The believer must walk in the Spirit with the utmost caution. He must walk worthy (Col 1:9-10).

Totally submit everything and myself to God.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Kind of Fruit is in Your Garden?

526.  "What Kind of Fruit is in Your Garden?"                            May 24, 2012
James 3-Part 6
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peacae of them that make peace.  James 3:17-18


One spring my son and I decided to plant a garden. We hoed by hand a spot of ground outside the fenced in yard. (We had a beagle inside that liked to dig.) Since we didn't have a tiller, it was hard work hoeing to dig up the grass. We planted the hills of corn and squash, tied up tomato plants, even put in seeds of okra, too. After much watering and weeding, as time passed, we had the fruit of our labor to enjoy. It was a good time that we spent together, talking, and working with our hands. There are seven fruits that were not found in our garden, but are characteristic of divine wisdom from above. Shall we see what they are?

We talked about the true, false, and human wisdom in our last lesson. Today's verses talk more in depth about the true, divine wisdom that is from above. The tests of true wisdom are good behavior and gentleness (verse 13). Good behavior means change: an inner willingness to obey God's Word. Gentleness refers to strength under control, like that seen in a high-spirited horse that has been well trained.

What are its characteristics of divine wisdom? (Thayer's Lexicon definition), [from Swindoll's James],  {from MacArthur}

1. Pure: (pure from every fault, immaculate)
              [It is listed first in importance and first on the list. Means freedom from defilement, without
               contamination, clean; moral cleanliness and purity of  motive. In Matt. 5:8, Jesus says
               the pure in heart will see God-meaning they'll see Him come to their rescue when
               tempted or facing trials.]
              {This refers to spiritual integrity and moral sincerity.}
2. Peaceable: (loving peace),
                       [We're like a desert when God's rain gently falls upon the desert, a peaceable attitude
                         springs to life.]
                      {Refers to peace-loving, peace-promoting.}

3. Gentle: (fair, mild)
                  [Means equitable, moderate, tolerant; refers to those in places of authority over
                    others. "Sweet reasonableness-to extend to others the kindly consideration we would wish
                    to receive ourselves," says Matthew Arnold.]
                  {Such a person will submit to all kinds of mistreatment and difficulty with an attitude of
                    kind, courteous, patient humility, without any thought of hatred or revenge.}

4. Easy to be Intreated, reasonable: (easily obeyed, compliant)
                                                             [Refers to those who are under someone else's authority; means
                                                              easily persuaded]
                                                             {Willing to yield, someone who is teachable, willingly submits
                                                                to moral and legal standards; obedience to God's standards.}
5. Full of Mercy and Good Fruits: (Mercy is kindness or good will towards the miserable and
                                                            afflicted; joined with a desire to relieve them, of men towards
                                                            [Mercy is a compassionate attitude, and good fruits are actions
                                                             that naturalllly flow from mercy.]
                                                            {A gift of showing concern for those who suffer pain and
                                                              hardship, andthe ability to forgive quickly.}

6. Without Partiality: (Without dubiousness, ambiguity, or uncertainty)
                                      [Unwavering-means a person of fixed principles; decisive person who is
                                        unafraid to make decisions based on Scripture.]
                                      {A consistent, unwavering person who is undivided in his committment and
                                        conviction and does not make unfair distinctions.}

7. Without Hupocrisy: (unfeigned, undisguised)
                                        [A hypocrite who wears a mask, who pretends to be someone he or she is not,
                                          as an actor; not two-faced or deceptive.]

There are a lot of fruit of divine wisdom, isn't there?


Now that we've completed our fruit inspection, did we find all seven in us? What result can divine wisdom make in our lives?
Peace, according to James, means being rightly related to one another; it's a horizontal peace between humans beings, not vertical peace between God and man.

Righteousness means integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting.

Do I want correctness in my thinking, feelings, and actions? I need to study the Word so I know how.

Verse 18 refers to good works that result from salvation. Righteousness flourishes in a climate of spiritual peace. (MacArthur)

As rain gives life to the desert, so can God cultivate a garden of divine wisdom in us through the living water of His Holy Spirit. Am I ready to change from being a fruit inspector to a fruit grower?


Be a fruit grower; allow the Holy Spirit to produce divine wisdom in me.

Develop pure thoughts. Slam that door to unpure thoughts and temptations.

Live peaceably with others.

Become a gentle and  reasonable person.

Have a heart full of mercy and good fruits.

Stand unwaveringly in the principles of the Word of God.

Be a person without hypocrisy.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

True or False

525.  "True or False"                           May 23, 2012
James 3-Part 5
If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  James 3:13 NLT 
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. NAS


I liked true or false tests in school. I had a 50 % chance of getting it right. I would look for anything that might make the statement false, if not found, then it was obviously true. Wisdom can be true or false, genuine or counterfeit. James tells us about both.

How do I recognize if wisdom is true or false? Charles Swindoll helps answer that question in his book James, Practical and Authentic Living.

True wisdom, divine and genuine, is tested by good behavior and good deeds.
Good behavior means to return or turn back, with the root idea being to change or return to the truth. James is saying a wise person is someone whose life is changing in accordance with the truth of God's Word. Gentleness, in James' day, meant bringing a high-spirited horse under control. The spirit and strength of the horse weren't lost, simply harnessed. The test of wisdom is a life that is patterned after the truth and is under control; is a changed life. Paul said it in 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

A gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:4)

Human wisdom is characterized by bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in the heart (verse 14a). Jealousy begins with full hands but is threatened by the thought of losing what it possesses. James is saying that an unwise person is someone who tends to be suspicious, resistant, and given to rivalry.
Selfish ambition is the desire to be seen, quoted, and respected (Matt. 23:1-7). The wise allow God to open doors instead of trying to force them open themselves.

NLT says in  verse 14, But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying.

Shouldn't I face it, deal with it as sin, confess it, and seek wisdom instead of covering it up with boasting and lies?
Which wisdom describes me? Our next lesson will describe divine wisdom, so come back tomorrow


There are four charactistics of false wisdom given in verses 14b-15:
  1. Arrogant-rationizing our own sins or even boasting that the end justifies the means, that the bad done wasn't all that bad, or that everybody does it.This word was used to describe a person who boasted about winning anelection dishonestly, in ancient times.
  2. Lying against the turth-eventually the truth will be manipulated to justify the person's sin.
  3. Earthly-veiew everything from a strictly horizontal perspective using earthly success, standards, motives, attitudes, and methods.
  4. Natural-soulish, meaning fleshly, not related to the Spirit of God; limited by temporal things, not eternal.
  5. Demonic-no change, no obedience, and no yielding of self to God.
The result of false wisdom is not only bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, but also disorder, confusion, disharmony, and every evil thing, which are worthless, petty, and evil, sinful thoughts.


Live an honorable life with good behavior and good deeds.

Strive to have a gentle and quiet spirit.

Keep jealousy and selfish ambition away.

Yield to the spirit of God.

Seek true wisdom, not human or false wisdom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who do I Resemble?

524.  "Who do I Resemble?"                     May 22, 2012
James 3-Part 4
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.   James 3:9-10


I never thought that I looked like my mother until a complete stranger came up to me once at a graveyard and said that I must be Mom's daughter. Family members say I resemble Mom. Well, I knew I had her wide nose, but I always thought I have Dad's long nose (his was pointed). At any rate, I don't stand a chance-I have a big nose. In fact, I am surprised that kids didn't tease me while growing up. My husband did years ago-saying it was my umbrella, don't look up or I'd drown. Finally, he stopped teasing when I  told him those comments hurt my feelings. You know, when I look in the mirror, I don't notice my nose, but the wrinkles that are developing. A big nose is the least of my concerns. Who do you resemble?

Similitude (homoyosis in Greek) means after the likeness of God; assimilation, resemblance.
(Thayer's Lexicon, Strong's Concordance)

We are made in the image of God, all of us. We have a soul and a spirit. That is how we differ from animals.
When we curse human beings we are assaulting God also, for we humans were created in the likeness of God. (Baker)

Man is a "rational, self-conscious, self-determining creature, capable of obedience to moral law, and intended by God for fellowship with Himself." (Stephen Barabas in Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary)

In spite of man's fall and resulting wickedness, he still bears God's image (ICor. 11:7, Gen. 1:26, Gen. 5:1-3) although there is an infinite qualitative differene between them man resembles God in a way which distinguishes him from the rest of God's creation. The main view of scholars are bodily form, dominion over the animal world, moral nature, and personality. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Ephesians 4:23-24 says, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Do you recall that we are still discussing the tongue in the third chapter of James? The tongue can be used for the highest calling (to bless our God) and for the lowest evil (to curse men). but in those who are born again, it shouldn't be said that out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. Our speech should be consistently glorifying to God. We shouldn't use one vocabulary or one tone of speaking at church, and a different one at home or on the job. (Guzik)

Jesus had some things to say about our words in Matthew 12:34-37. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; a good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, likewise for evil words come from an evil heart; one day we will give an account for every idle word we speak. (my paraphrasing)

Is my tongue praising my Lord Jesus and heavenly Father? Or is it saying bad things about people?Are my words resembling Jesus? Do I bless God before meals, with other saints, verbally, in prayer, with songs? Which do I do the most of during a day's time? I don't like my answer.


In verse 9, curse means to imprecate evil on (imprecate means to involk a curse or evil upon); doom.

It sounds rather strong, doesn't it?
James goes on to make four comparisons within nature:
  • A fountain cannot produce sweet water and bitter. (verse 11)
  • A fig tree cannot produce olive berries. (verse 12)
  • A vine cannot produce figs. (verse 120
  • Salt water cannot be made sweet. (verse 12)
According to ordinary operations of nature, these things are impossible. Grace can make the same moiuth that "sent forth the bitter" once, send forth the sweet for the time to come. (Adam Clarke)

A mouth that condemns men while praising God lacks credibility. That sort of person would have a shallow Christian experience, if one at all. (Falwell)

Three illustrations from nature demonstrate the sinfulness of cursing. The genuine believer will not contradict his profession of faith by the regular use of unwholesome words. (MacArthur)

Who do I resemble-God or the devil?

What to do? Check out our previous lesson for Scriptures. I am finding that when I am giving thanks or singing praises to Jesus, I am not thinking bad thoughts nor saying the wrong things.

Psalm 19:14 in NLT says, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

This is my prayer.


Lord, let me bite my tongue when  I am saying things that You don't want me to say.

Keep my heart and tongue clean. 

Love others and leave the judging to God.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Taming Wild Kittens and Tongues

523.  "Taming Wild Kittens and Tongues"      May 21, 2012
James 3-Part 3
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8


I have always had a love for cats. During my childhood, cats were always on our farm. Perhaps it was because they kept down the mice population around the barn and chickenhouses where feed was stored.
Most of my cats were a muckeldedum gray. (One of Dad's favorite adjectives, which I don't know what it means.) Since old Tom was a lifetime resident, and we always had females around, too, there were many kittens. In case  you don't know, kittens are not born tame, but wild. It was easier to tame them while they were young. It takes a lot of patience, time, and milk to tame wild kittens. They would hiss at me when approached, scratch me when picked up, and even bite it they felt in danger or had a mind to do so. But there wasn't a cat on our farm that I didn't try to tame, anyway. Most of the time I was successful. After taming the kittens, I would often dressing them up in my doll's clothes. They were my babies. after reading the scriptures, I realized my tongue is like those kittens, untamed, wild, and out of control.
Friends, don't leave me now, I need to know I'm not alone on this walk through the Word about the tongue. Yes, I am certainly in need on this topic. Let's walk on.

James has previously used the illustrations of horses and ships, and now the third one is fire. I understand that the tongue is a small part of the body. A strong horse can be controlled by a small bit and a huge ship can be controlled by a small rudder.

In verse 5, James says that a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. He says that a tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting my entire body. It can set my whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. (NLT)

(Please stay with me, I know this is not encouraging.)
What is learned about the tongue in these verses?
  • It is like a fire. The tongue is in comparison to a match in size, but its effect is like a raging forest fire. (Falwell)
  • It is a small member of the bodythat is powerful. Even though the small tongue boasts, it is still a little spark that can burn a whole forest, thousands of acres, down.
  • It is a world of iniquity, which means unrighteousness. The whole world of evil finds its expression through the tongue. Boastful pride, destructive anger, cutting bitterness, flattering lust-the tongue communicates them all (Swindoll)
  • It can defile the whole body. It spreads throughtout the body like a devouring cancer.
  • It can set on fire the course of nature, which refers to the pattern of history. A sharp tongue may instigate war or peace, or prevent an election.
  • It is set on fire of  hell (geenna in Greek), which originally referred to the Valley of Hinnom, south and west of Jerusalem, where a perpetual fire blazed on its garbage heaps. It became a symbol of the eternal abode of the lost. (Falwell)
  • It cannot be tamed. All kinds of animals, lions (Clarence the Crossed Lion), bears (Gentle Ben), porpoises (Flipper), and whales (Shamu), horses (Mr. Ed), cockatoos (on Baretta) have been tamed and even do tricks. The circus profession and others have made money by showing off tamed, wild animals taught to perform stunts. Still, we don't tame our tongue. 
  • It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. (NLT) Like the forked tongue of a venimous snake, we can strike and poison those around us.An example is Hitler baring his fangs into Christianity and God's chosen people, the Israelites. Millions were killed by poison gas. Whispers and gossips threaten friendships, reputations, and the work of the church.

What can I do with this uncontrollable tongue?
Galatians 5:16 says, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
1 John 3:18 says, Love not with tongue but in deed and truth.
1 Peter 3:10 says, Refrain the tongue from evil.
Colosssians 3:17 says, Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Walking by the Spirit is a decision of faith in the Spirit's power, always available to us if we will simply ask in faith for it. (Blake)

God is perfect. He alone can control our tongue. Our deep need is to be possessed by Him so that He can forgive all of our sin and enable us by the power of the Holy Spirit to control our tongue and our total being. (Preacher's Commentary)


 As much as possible, refrain my tongue.

Surrender to the Holy Spirit's control.

Keep "thanks" on my tongue; thank the Lord for all things and in all situations.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stick out Your Tongue

522.  "Stick out Your Tongue"                     May 18, 2012
James 3-Part 2
Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
James 3:4-5


How many times have I gone to the doctor and he told me to stick out my tongue? I say ah-h-h-h and he looks at it, then inside my mouth, at my tonsils. I suppose there is a purpose for that humiliating act. He can tell if there is infection present. My tongue may look healthy, but it could have been saying bad things that week or it could look bad and said good, kind things that week. The tongue is used to reveal what is in my heart. James uses two illustrations of that.

First, the bit is put into a horse's mouth for a reason. A bit is about six inches long, connected to the bridle. It fits onto the back part of the tongue, behind the teeth. The bridle fits over the ears, forehead, and cheek of the horse. The reins are connected to the bridle. I siad all of that so we understand the bit.
Why do we use the bit in a horse's mouth? It controls the horse. Such a small object can control a large, strong horse. The size of the bit has nothing to do with its importance, but everything to do with its use. The animal obeys its master with its usage.

When I was a child, my neighbor had two huge horses, Clydesdale type, taller than a pick-up,giants to me, that he used to plow his garden. If it hadn't been for the bit, the man surely would not have had straight rows plowed because those giant, strong horses would have gone all over the land, out of control.

Something as small as the tongue can have tremendous power, for either good or evil. (Guzik)

The tongue is a bit, a small, two-ounce bit nestled in our mouths that controls the direction of our lives. The tongue is small, but powerful.
  • The tongue defiles, which is actually an expression of what is in the heart (Matt. 15). Defile means corrupt, according to Webster's Dictionary.
  • The tongue defies every attempt at human control. If we didn't offend with it, we would be perfect,  but we aren't. Only Jesus was perfect and able to contol His tongue. If we surrender our tongue to Him, would He not control it?
  • The tongue displays what we really are.
The ability to control the tongue implies the ability to control the whole body. Since sin usually involves the body, the ability to control the whole body involves the ability to control all forms of sin. Controlling the tongue is to control the inward sin that drives the tongue to utter sinful things. It's the key to dealing with all other sins.

Horses are strong, without understanding, and need direction in what path to go. So do people. Our words and language can be unruly or directed in a good way.
[Referneces: James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll and James and First and Second Peter by William Baker, John Gill Concordance]

Do I say no to sinful words or just carelessly speak what is on my mind? Say, I'm beginning to see the seriousness of our words, use of my tongue.

Romans 14:12 says, So then everyone of us shall give an account of himself to God. 


The second illustratioon James uses is that of the rudder.
A small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. (New Living Translation)

Helm, pedalion in Greek, means rudder. A rudder is a beam or biece of timber fastened into the rudder, under the ship. the steerer stands at the helm and directs, steers a large ship, moving it in the direction he wantsit to go. Wherever the pilot wants the ship to go, it is going to go. How important a small thling is.

The tongue has great influence over the whole body. Like ships on the ocean, churches, societies, and bodies of Christians, can be tossed to and fro with temptests, driven by Satan's temptations and the world's persecution, ready to be carried away with winds of false doctrine, yet influenced and directed by those at the helm, faithful ministers of the Word who say,"This is the way, walk in it." And Jesus left us directions in His Word as to how we are to walk and speak.

A small tongue has the power to control one's whole person and influence everthing in his/her life. It can speak sinfully, erroneously, and inappropriately. (MacArthur)

The tongue can also encourage, express love, ask forgiveness, say good things. Once they are said, words can't be retreived, taken back into the mouth.
How am I using my tongue?
Are others seeing me swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger? (James 1:19)


Let Jesus take control of my tongue so it says the Truth, lovely and loving words.

Think before I speak. Bite my tongue if needful.

Walk away so I don't say something I might regret.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


521.  "Teachers"                     May 17, 2012
James 3-Part 1
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. 
 James 3:1-2 NLT


What a joy it has been to teach children, not only the Word of God, but worldly information, how to read, write, and do arithmetic. Now most of those children have grown up, some graduated from school, some in college, some in the work force, some married with their own family. How fast time marches on! My first class to teach is now around the age of 34, the same as my son. I was reminded that last week when I saw pictures of some of my second graders in the newspaper, graduating from high school. I wonder about all those I taught in Christians schools, what their life is like now. Did I have a good influence on them? Did they take to heart what I taught in Bible class? Is it helping them with life?
Then I wonder about all those children I have taught Sunday School lessons and Bible studies at children and youth camps. Did my words make a difference in their lives? Only God knows the answer. Maybe in heaven I will get an update on all my children under my teachings.
Teachers' words are important and influencial.

In Jesus' day, He wasn't the first person to teach the Scriptures, the scribes did also. However, the teachings of the scribes was meanless, dry theological speculation, but Jesus taught them as the living words of God. The Father gave Jesus a full measure of His wisdom and His authority (Mark 1:22).
Isn't there a difference between religious words and a word directly from the Lord? Whenever you teach, counsel, or share a word of encouragement, be very careful that the words you share are indeed from the Lord and are not just your own thinking. You don't want to be a false prophet (Deut. 18:20-22).
 [Reference: Experienceing God Day-By-Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby]

I ask the Lord to fill my mouth with His words before I begin writing. It's my desire for Jesus to minister to hearts of readers through this blog.


What about teachers in church?
  • They should take your responsibility seriously.
  • They are held to a greater  accountability
  • They shall receive a stricter judgment.
  • They have a handle on their tongue.
  • Their life is one that shows they practice what they preach/teach.
  • They seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance.
The Rabbi teachers of Jesus' day loved the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places (Matt. 23:6-8). Jesus was speaking particularly of the Pharisees. He was thinking of the sin of love of position, where such a position puts a person in a place of influence that gives him the power to manipulate Scripture as well as people. The Pharisees wanted to advance their own personal prestige.
[Reference: James and First and Second Peter by William Baker]

I am responsible for teaching God's truth, not my own opinion. We all stumble in many areas. None of us has reached perfection, but should be striving for it. That's when we honor our Lord Jesus.

Our next lesson speaks about the tongue, so come back tomorrow. I am definite need in this area.


Practice what I teach.

Apply what I learn.

Get control of my tongue.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

House of Hay

520.  "House of Hay"              May 16, 2012
James 2-Part 5
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.   James 2:25-26


Whenever it was hay season on the farm, my uncles, dad, brother, and cousins got together and all helped my grandfather. That was such a fun time for us girl cousins. We could play while our moms made lunch, the boy cousins were out of our hair, and dads were in the hayfields. One particular time sticks out in my memory, 50 years ago. We gals got some loose hay and made us a house out of it. (Sounds like the 3 little pigs.) It had been months since we had visited, and they lived in other towns, so we naturally talked inside our  house of hay. (Hopefully, we didn't get any ticks, chiggars, or seed ticks.) I don't know how we kept the roof up, maybe with sticks. We were good house builders, because the proof was in the roof-it stood. That reminded me of Rahab hiding two spies under the flax on her roof.  Let's look into the story closer.

When I hear the name "Rahab," usually it doesn't stand alone, but usually I call her "Rahab the harlot." What a stigma. Even after she rescued the two spies of Israel, she is still known as that. Rahab's works were done by faith. I don't know when she became a believer in God, Israel's God. Was it when the two spies came to lodge in her house and they shared what Jehovah had done? Or was it before that, yet she was stuck in "that" profession in order to make a living for her family? Guess I will have a chance to ask her one day in heaven.
What else do I know about this lady? I turned to Joshua 2 for the answer:
  • Joshua, king and commander-in-chief of Israel's army, sent out two men to spy secretly the land of Jericho before they attacked. Where did they lodge that night? Rahab's Inn.
  • The king of Jericho found out-news traveled quickly in that city.
  • The spies must have told Rahab their purpose in being there, for she hid the two men on her roof, under the stalks of flax. Did Rahab figure that these men would be pursued after by the king's men? Apparently so.
  • There was a knock at the door and the king's men were asking if she had any foreigners in her hotel. Rahab made up a story about them leaving out the city gate, so the regement pursued after them.
  • Rahab has a conversation with the two spies on her roof. She tells them that Jericho had heard about their God drying up the Red Sea and giving victory with the Amorites. This made their hearts melt with fear. In verse 11, Rahab declares her faith-the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
  • Since Rahab showed kindness to the two spies in protecting them, she asked that her family be saved when Israel attacks Jericho. They agreed-our life for yours if ye utter not this our business. 
  • Rahab let the spies down the wall, out the back window by a cord. She told them to hide for three days on the mountain, then the pursuerers would give up the hunt and return back to Jericho.
  • She was told to hang a red cord out her window and have her family in her house whenever Israel attacked Jericho. If she kept this plan a secret, they would be spared from death. And so it happened that way, in  Joshua.  Verse 25 tells us she dwelt with Israel. Because of her act of faith, Rahab the harlot is mentioned in the Roll Call of faith in Hebrews 11. Also, Rahab is mentioned as the wife of Salmon and was Boaz's mother, in the geneology of Jesus (Matt. 1:5). Boaz became the great-grandfather of David, making her David's great-great-grandmother. What a reward!
Did you see Rahab's faith being put into action? Her faith's proof was on the roof. :0)

Charles Swindoll describes Rahab as a pagan prostitute, a harlot looked on with disdain, considered insignificant, yet demonstraated her faith when she risked her life to protect the two Israelite spies.

William Baker says "Rahab's faith was thus "justified" by her courageous decision to take her place with the people of God. Her decision flowed out of her justifying faith."

Is my faith genuine? Is there evidence that it is?

By faith Linda...
Fill in your name: by faITH, ______...


In verse 26, James says that faith without works is dead. He compares it with a dead body, a corpse, without the spirit. This dead body does not move nor does anything. God regards the time someone is dead when the spirit/soul deparst from the body. When the soul sepearates from the body, that person is dead. So faith without works is dead because it has no action.

As much as you can have a body with no life, so you can have faith with no life, and faith without works is a dead faith. If we believe something, we'll follow through and act upon it. If we really put our trust and faith in Jesus, we will care for the naked and destitute as He told us to. We can see if faith is alive if accompanied by works, if not, then it is dead. (Guzik)

As a breathless body emits no indication of life, so fruitless faith exhibits nothing more than hypocrisy. (Falwell)

An intellectual faith and works done in the flesh are dead. Works done in the power of the Holy Spirit bring dead faith to life. We respond in active obedience to what God tells us. Forsake the life of the flesh in order to walk in the Spirit. Believe in God, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). Follow Him with active obedience, living by faith, and let your light shine so others see your good works and glorify our Father. (People's New Testament Concordance)

Man isn't justified by faith alone, that is, by a bare and empty knowledge of God; he's justified by works, that is, his righteousness is known and proved by its fruit. (Calvin)

Even if my body is alive, my faith can be dead. Are both my faith and body living, active, fruitful, serving? Can others see my faith by what it does?


Wake up my dead faith so it is alive and walking with Jesus in obedience.

Leave the works of the flesh behind.

Bear fruit of the Spirit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still Good Friends

519.  "Still Good Friends"                        May 15, 2012
James-Part 4
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  James 2:21-23


I have a childhood friend that lived just down the road less than a mile. During the summer months, we would ride our bikes together, meet at the creek and swim together, and play together, and celebrate our birthdays together. After high school, we went our seperate ways. But fate brought us back together again. She and her husband bought a farm only 12 miles away from me. We attend the same church. We are still good friends, even though forty years have passed. Then I wonder, how does God consider our friendship?

Did you notice that in verse 23, Abraham was called the "Friend of God?"  In 2 Chronicles 20:7, he is called God's friend forever. In Isaiah 41:8 the Lord calls Abraham "my friend." Abraham is called the Friend of God because of his obedience. (MacArthur)

In John 15:14, Jesus said, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

How badly do I want Jesus to call me "His Friend?" Is that desire so strong that I am willing to suffer for the "cause of Christ?" Do I strive to obey His Word? Those questions cut to the core, don't they?


The word justify has two meanings:
 (1) vindication (true, correct) of the reality of something,
 (2) to acquit or justify leagally.

James' use (#1) of this word is probably different than Paul's use (#2) of the word. Before anything happens, Abraham believes what God is telling him as truth. Paul refers to Genesis 15, Romans 1-7, Galatians 3:11.

Genesis 15:6 says, And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he (God) counted it to him (Abraham) for righteousness.

In this chapter, The Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, telling him that Abram would have an heir, and that his seed would be as numerous as the stars. Abram believed what the Lord told him to be true, so it was counted as righteousness for him.

James' example of Abraham in our key verses refer to Genesis 22 when God tests Abraham's faith by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar as a burnt offering. As it turned out, Abraham obeyed- in his heart was ready to kill Isaac when the Lord stopped Abraham and provided a ram in the son's place. This was a  proof of Abraham's faith, the legal pronouncement based on faith. Paul and James don't contradict each other, but have different points.

Abraham's faith originated either when God first appeared to him to call him out of his homeland (Gen. 12:1-4).
[Resource: James and First and Second Peter, Faith, Suffering, and Knowledge by William Baker]

How strong is my faith? Am I willing to move when God says for me to go? Am I willing to sacrifice my family, leave them behind in order to follow God's will?

Righteousness is the condition acceptable to God (Thayer's Concordance)

Abraham's faith was evident when he went so far as to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, almost killing him. His fame resulted from works.
Romans 4:20-24 says that not only was Abraham's faith imputed unto him as righteousness, but ours is also if we believe on God that raised Jesus from the dead, for our justification He was delivered for our offences.

How strong is my faith? Can I say, "Whatever Lord You deam best and for Your glory?"


Search my heart O Lord and tell me what I need to let go of so my faith is imputed as righteousness,
so my faith is evident to others, so You are glorified with my life, so I am called a friend of God.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Eight-Pound Pumpkin Pie

518.  "An Eight-Pound Pumpkin Pie"          May 14, 2012  
James 2-Part 3
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has not works?  James 2:14a

But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  James 2:18 NAS


I can blame the pumpkin pie I ate at Thanksgiving. Yes, I ate the whole pie during the week to follow. Hubby doesn't like it. I couldn't let it go to waste. (Should have given it away.) Up until then, I had been doing fine in keeping off the 22 pounds I had previously lost. You must know, my weakness is sweets. Little did I know that pie was only the beginning of my eating cakes, donuts, cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls (pieces, not whole ones). As I watched the scales move upwards and flab come back on my waist, I became frustrated. I didn't want to gain it all back.It was too hared to get it off. Besiedes,  I enjoyed the freedom of comfortably wearing size 10 jeans. Finally, the talk with myself informed me that if I didn't do something, like saying no to desserts, I'd never get back into those jeans again. I might as well throw them away. Now I am on my diet again, today. (Yesterday I blew it eating blueberry cheesecake for my son's birthday party! Oh my it was delicious!) Can you relate, friends? Isn't it better for my soul to gain than my physical body? Is my faith increasing like my weight has increased? 

Paul says in Romans 3:28, Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Ephesians 2:-9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Timothy 1:9 states, Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purposes and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Titus 3:5 states, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

It was Martin Luther that began the Reformation with the cry of  Justification by faith alone.
What is genuine, true, real, and living faith like? That seems to be the theme of James' letter.

In his book, James, Practical and Authuentic Living, Charles Swindoll tells us"
Genuine faith produces genuine works. Paul stresses the root of salvation, which is faith in Christ plus nothing. James calls attention to the fruit  after salvation. In contrast, Paul looks at life from God's perspective, while James looks at life from a human perspective. When Paul uses the word justified, he means the act of God at salvation whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous while still in a sinning state. James uses it to mean "validate or evidence." We justify or prove our faith, by our works.

Looking at verse 14a, what good is it if I say I have faith if I have no works to justify that claim?  Isn't it like having a drivers' license and not driving? What good does it do me to have it? None. so what good is faith if it doesn't produce works? Can that kind of phony faith save? No. Reformationn leaders said that we're justified by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone. Genuine saving faith is accompanied by fruit; itls not found in the empty wastes of hollow words.  (Swindoll)

James illustrates four marks of genuine faith:
1. It is not indifferent but involved. Verse 15-16 illustrate empty platitudes we receive instead of real
    help. The proof of genuine faith is in the real food and real clothes. 1John 3:17-18 tell us to love in
    deed and truth.
2. It is not independen but in partnership. (verse 17) Like a horse and carriage, love and marriage,
    you can't have one without the other. Faith wasn't designed to be alone, but partnered with works to
    prove its existence.
3. It is not invisible but on display. (verse 18) Show means to bring to light, to display or exhibit. If
    faith doesn't show, you don't have it.
4. It is not intellectual but from the heart. (verse 19a) We can have a head knowledge and not a heart
    knowledge. Demons know there is an all-powerful God. Genuine faith has both.
[Reference: James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll]

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone-it has good works with it. (Guzik)

Is my faith genuine, revealing itself in works? Do others see me helping those in need? Am I sharing the love of Christ like He wants me to?


We can see if faith is alive if accopanied by works, if not, then it is dead. Living faith is demonstrated in loving action. (Guzik)

Is my faith dead, without works, only a false profession?

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible says:
The marks of a false profession are:
1. Careless and forgetful hearing of The Word (1:22-24)
2. The semblance of religion, accompanied by the unbridled tongue (1:26)
3. Respect of persons; honoring the rich and despising the poor (2:1-9)
4. Partial obedience to the law (2:10-12)
5. Unmercifulness (2:13)
6. Mere profession of faith unaccompanied by acts of mercy and help (2:14-16)
7. Inactive faith (2:17-18)
8. Intellectual assent to truth, without change of character (2:19-20)
So if I don't want my faith to be false or a dead faith, I should do the opposite of those things listed above, right?  I should remember, memorize Scriptures, control my tongue, treat people the same, obey the law, show mercy, and help others, let the Word change my character. Whew! I have homework to do!


Put love into action.

Show others my faith by my good works.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mercy Me, I am Guilty

517.  "Mercy Me, I am Guilty"          May 11, 2012
James 2-Part 2
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10


After I got my driver's license, at age 17, my folks let me drive the car to a local town. I was alone, driving the local teenager hot-spots, talking with friends. As it got later, nature called, so I went to a nearby station. While I was inside, it started to rain. As I began backing out of the parking spot, a car pulled in behind me, which I didn't see, and backed into it. It was a nice older couple. They took my dad's phone number and didn't call the police to report the accident. so I had to tell Dad about it, which was very difficult. It turned out ok, and my folks only paid $50 for the damage. The best thing is that it didn't go on my driving record nor insurance. (Dad disn't even yell at me nor take away my driving privileges.  Altogether, you could say I was shown mercy, though I was guilty. Isn't that the way it is with God?

Verse 13 says mercy rejoiceth against judgment. (KJV)

NIV in verses 12-13 states, Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Mercy is mentioned 3 times in the King James version. The first mercy mentioned is referring to merciless, without mercy. This is the person who does not show mercy to others.
The second and third mercy, refer to kindness or good will towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to reliever them. One meaning is of men towards men and the other is of God towards men. Since I can't read Greek, I can't distinguish which meaning goes where in the sentence. (My husband isn't here to help me, either, sorry.) I tend to think the second meaning goes with the second word and so the third meaning goes with the third word.

John Gill says,"Heathens will be judged by the law of nature, Jews by the law of Moses, and those who live under the Gospel dispensation, according to the Gospel of Christ."

If that is so, then whatever believers do and say will be judged by the law that sets us free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if I have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges me. (NLT)

Am I merciful to others?

Aren't we glad that His mercies are new every morning! And His mercy endures forever! (Ps. 136) His mercy is everlasting! (Ps. 100:5)


Look back at verse 10. If I offend, stumble or trip, at one law, then I am guilty of breaking all of God's Laws. As I learned in the last lesson, if I show partiality, I have sinned. Therefore, I need to repent and ask God's forgiveness. (If you aren't a Christian, ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart.)

Continue speaking and continue doing good. Christians ought to conduct themselves as if judgment may come at any moment. (Falwell)

The measure we use to measure others will be used to measure us. (Matt. 7:22)

Only one sin makes me guilty of all sins. I am to guard against selective obedience, seen in verse 11.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 MacArthur said,"The person whose life is characterized by mercy is ready for the day of judgment, and will escape all the charges that strict justice might bring against him because, by showning mercy to others, her gives genuine evidence of having received God's mercy."

Someone said that mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is getting what we don't deserve.

OOOeeeeeeeee! Mercy there was grace and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me; there my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.


Show mercy and receive mercy.

Repent, for I am guilty of sins; daily repent for I daily sin.

Thank God for His mercy that is everlasting, new every morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Poor, yet Rich

516.  "Poor, yet Rich"                     May 10, 2012
James 2-Part 1
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.   James 2:1 NAS
Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 2:5 NAS


As you may already know, when my husband and I went to college, we already had our two children in our family. We moved away from our hometown and home church and moved by faith to enter the ministry, following God. We left our house to be rented and occupied by another, then later sold; sold our dream car and bought a jalopy; gave away unneeded things we would have no room for; cashed in the company stock; left a good job of five years with seniority; said our good byes to family and friends; set out on a four-year journey of living by faith. Our God was always faithful in providing for the needs of our family during that time. Being the poor of this world, we grew rich in faith and God's Word. It was exciting to watch God provide milk and grocery money when we were empty; provide hand-me-down clothes for me and the kids; even extra goodies made us feel loved. How rich we grew as we depended upon God those four years!

Verse 5 says that God chose the poor in worldly terms to rich. How are they rich? They are rich in faith to depend upon our heavenly Father's provisions. They are rich as heirs to the kingdom of heaven that He promised to believers in His Son Jesus Christ. They are chosen believers, chosen for salvation, to rule during the millennial and eternity.

Christian paupers posses secret riches both in their present faith and in His eternal kingdom. (Falwell)

Would I rather be rich in faith or rich in wealth and material things? Jesus became poor so we might become rich in Him.


I forgot that James discusses a series of tests in his book:
  • the test of perseverance in suffering (1:2-12),
  • the test of blame in temptation (1:13-18),
  • the test of response to the Word (1:19-27),
  • and the test of impartial love (2:1-13). (MacArthur)
How are you doing on your tests so far? Are you passing them?

Liberty Bible Commentary has this to say about the beginning of the second chapter:
 If true religioon entails visiting the destitute, it leaves no room for respect of persons (prosopolempsia in Greek), which conotes "receiving because of one's face or appearance.
Instead of  personal favoritism, KJV says "respect of persons." A clear illustratioon dismisses all excuses and exceptions. One might imaagine two visitors arriving at a church on a Sunday morning. A chauffeured limousine exhibits a man arrayed in expensive clothing. another man approaches in an old jalopy, and his cheap suit has almost worn through. When the usher favors the wealthy man, he becomes partial and a judge of evil thoughts. Partial comes from the same verb (diakrinomai) as used in 1:6 (wandering). By their partiality the offernders have "wavered" in their faith. Judges with evil thoughts explains that their evaluation was based on sinful attitudes.

How are the poor treated?
  • despised-In verse 6, KJV uses the word despised, atimazo in Greek, involves not only attitudes but shameful treatment, as when Jesus was "dishonored" by the Jewish leaders (John 8:49).
  • oppressed refers to the arrogant flaunting of governmental authority over Christians, as tyrants over helpless peasants. They draw you before the judgment seats or local court.
  • direct their assaults against the Lord Jesus Himself. They slander His name by their actions.
  • blaspheme or speak evil against that worthy name by which we are called-Christians (Acts 11:26, Lev. 19:18). Respect of persons makes one a violator of God's Law.
Do I snub people? Do I raise my nose in the air when they walk by me? Do I look down on someone or show prejudice because of their appearance, race, wealth, rank, or social status? Are the wealthy allowed special seats in church? Do I treat another good/well with ulterior motives?

Favoritism means to receive by face. It's the idea of judging others solely on external face values. Externals such as clothes, cars, or color.

"The same kind of faith has brought all believers into equality regardless of their social or economic status," says William Baker.

God is no respecter of persons. When He judges, He judges the heart, not outward appearances.

How can we do well? Verse 8 says to obey the royal law. What is the royal law? It is royal or kingly in its relation to other laws, the sovereign law, which is supreme or binding. Jesus said that this and the first commandment are so fundamental that on them "hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:40). "Love your neighbor as yourself" is to what His referance is made. But if we show favoritism, partiality, we sin by breaking this law. Partiality represses genuine love.

Am I showing the love of Christ to all people or partiality to Mrs. Have and Mrs. Have Not?
Does my church silently think, "We will love you if you...?"  Or do we respond to "How can we love this person?"

Things to consider today.


Be rich in faith.

Love all.

Don't show partiality.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Who has the Reins?

515.  "Who has the Reins?                      May 9, 2012
James 1-Part 11
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:26-27


One of my early childhood pleasant recollections is that of my riding Topsy. She was our horse we had when I was three years old. She was a good, tame young horse, to me, anyway. She would let me ride her, alone, while my brother or sister led her calmly and slowly around the yard. But let one of them get on her, and away she'd go, down the road as fast as she could.

Before anyone could ride her, someone had to catch Topsy and put the bridle on her. That someone was usually my brother. I recall one time he chased her all the way to the back forty corner fence before getting the bridle on her, then rode bareback to us. Without the bridle, there was no controlling that horse. With the bit in her mouth, a small bar connected to the harness, and the reins, we could turn her left or right or make her stop. I am like that horse-stubborn, wild, out of control. Today I was convicted with the studying of these two verses.

Am I giving God the reins of my life or do I continue to take control of it, going where ever I want? Do I give Him control of my tongue, as a bit in the horse's mouth? Will I let God control when I stop talking and where I go by His pulling on the reins of my life? Do I quickly obey His commands? Will I let go and allow Him to lead me where He wants me to go, faithfully walking beside Him? Do I graze in God's grace when He lets me relax and feed on His Word?  Or am I like a wild, rebellious, untamed horse that defies having the bits and bridle on, controlled by my God? Things to ponder hard.
Friends, I have felt convicted by the words of this lesson. I only thought I was submitting to God's reins and bridle, but was only deceiving myself. My words were my words; my life was my life. After repenting, I'll share what I learned.

We are still reading about the effectual doer obeying God's Word. When I obey, I am a mirror reflecting real Christianity. What should I look like?
  • Quickly use an open ear to listen to what the Word of God says.
  • Be slow to speak
  • Have a calm spirit, not get angry at the drop of a hat.
  • Have a clean heart by putting away filthiness and wickedness.
  • Keep a humble attitude.
  • Not only hear the Word, but also do it, applying it in my life.
  • Endures or runs from temptation; slam the door to my thought rooms of my mind.
  • Asks God for wisdom in how to handle a trial or temptation.
  • Stay joyful during trials.
Then I will be blessed according to verse 25.


Read the two key verses again.
In MacArthur Bible Commentary, it says:
Religious, in verse 26, refers to ceremonial public worship (Acts 26:5). Instead of internal godlliness, James emphasized the external trappings, rituals, routines, and forms that were not followed sincerely. Bridle means "control" or "keep a tight rein." Purity of heart is often revealed by controlled and proper speech (Matt. 12:36). James picks two synonymous adjectives to define the most spotless kind of religious faith-that which is measured by compassionate love.

James tells me what I am supposed to be doing if I want my religion to be pure and undefiled before God:
  • Control my tongue. Remember that I will some day give an account for all my words said. If they were put on a video screen, would I want everyone to see it? "An uncontrolled tongue is a spiritual problem," says Liberty Bible Commentary.
  • Visit the fatherless (orphans) and widows in their afflictions. These are without parents and husbands. Not only am I to see them and speak words of comfort, but I am to help meet their needs. Caring for them shows Christian love.
  • Keep myself unspotted from the world, the evil world system. Strive to stay free from the evil influences in my culture that would altar my values and pursuits. (Baker) (1John 2:15-16) Watch out for their ungldliness and lusts.
Guzik says,"Your walk with God is usless if it does not translate into the way you live and the way you treat others."


Pass the reins of my life and my tongue over to God so He can control them.

Use my thoughts, words, and actions so they are honoring my Savior, Jesus.

Be open to helping widows and orphans.

Avoid world things.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Teenager's Face of Zits

514.  "A Teenager's Face of Zits"                   May 8, 2012
James 1-Part 10
But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  James 1:22


Verse 25 says, But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

How can I be blessed in my deeds?
  • Look at the perfect  law of liberty. Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Matt. 5;17). It says to love God and love our neighbors (Mark 12:29-31), and to love your neighbor as yourself (Gal. 5:14). Looketh refers to "one who would become acquainted with something; look carefully into"; doer is" one who obeys or fulfills the law, a performer"; work is "an act, deed, thing done"; blessed means "happy, well off, fortunate"; deed is "a doing or performing; in the obedience he renders to the law." So if I am becoming acquainted with God's Word, the New Covenant, and my heart is transformed by the Spirit, and I am a believer in Jesus and saved by His grace, then I am blessed in my deeds.   
  • Continue in freedom from sin. Jesus sets me free when I ask for and receive His forgiveness. I am free from the bondage of sin, free from Satan's captivity, not influenced by other doctrine, but established in faith, stand fast in it, abide in it, look to Christ as the author and finisher of my faith, keep my eye on it, and constantly attend to it. I am blessed in what I do, not for what I do. (Gill)
  • Do what the Word of truth says, not just hear what it says. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, Jesus said in John 8:32. Actions should become my lifestyle.
I will be blessed by God, prosperous and successful in all I do. God's blessings are rich both in spiritual and temporals.


I remember as a teenager, spending time in front of the mirror. I squeezed zits, blackheads, and whiteheads. I pampered my face. I tried to improve my face. I even put green and blue facials on it. But when it was all done, I had the same face-a teenager's face. Nothing seemed to help, so when I walked away from the mirror, I forgot about all that stuff and focused on something else that was previlent in my life. These scriptures seem to describe a person who forgets what they saw in the mirror-a hearer of the Word, not a doer. Wonder what's the difference? Read on, friend.

Doers of the Word of God continue being doers, become doers, views their obedience as a constant struggle. Their life changes because of what they read because they apply it to themselves.
Hearers merely soothe their conscience temporarily, deceiving themselves. They leave the mirror, go on their way, forgetting what they read.
Whoso looketh (parakyto in Greek), implies much more than a glance, for the word involves bending over for closer inspection. It pictures a person before a mirror noticing a blemish, then leaning forward to examine and attend to it.  (Falwell)

How closely do I look into the Word of God? Does my heart bend down in humility, with open ears, taking a closer look at what it has to say to me so I can apply it? Or do I quickly read it, then go on down the road of life, forgetting what I read? So many times it is the latter. Perhaps I should ask Jesus to speak to my heart through His Word before I read it. Sometimes I do invite Him to sit beside me while I type a lesson and speak to me and through me. Perhaps that isn't enough.

Change my heart, Lord, into what You want it to be. May the Words for today stick in my heart all day long.
Which am I-a hearer or a doer of the Word? Which does Jesus want me to be?


Look closer into the Word of God.

Let it change my heart.

Apply it in my life.

Bless my deeds as I work with You and You work in me, Lord Jesus.

In the key verse above, James doesn't say just "be doers." God isn't looking for activeists who don't know His Word. Nor is He interested in hearers who know His Word but do nothing. The Greek term for hearers refers to someone who audits a course at a university-someone who listens carefully and takes notes, but has no assignments, tests, or responsibilities. someone who merely takes in information. Those who simply audit the faith are deceiving themselves about their Christianity, and that sincere believers will prove their authenticity by applying what they hear. (Swindoll)

Unlike the mirror, which only reflects outward appearance, the Scriptures reveal our inner character. This hearer forgets what both reflect; while the effectual doer, gives careful attention to the Scriptures, responds positively, applies what is heard and is genuinely fulfilled. As an effectual doer, obeying the revealed Scriptures, I become a mirror reflecting real Christianity. The question is, "Do I?"

Am I walking the talk?