November 4


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James 2-5

We are in the Church Stream reading from the Common English Bible.

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“Holy Spirit, thank you for such pearls of brilliant wisdom that have been brought to us from James today. It is the thinking and life plan that can transform the world. May we live it in full. Amen.”

Here is more from Jesus’ younger brother; the disciple James. We finished his book today.

2 – the maxim to not play favorites is spelled out in very certain terms here. As Believers we are not to play favorites – not in any setting. God rates people on what they want in their heart, not on economic status or anything else except their desire for God. Some think that they can pick and choose items in God’s Law; preferring some rules, shunning/ignoring the ones they don’t appreciate. Well, which holes in your boat should you leave unpatched? James also asserts the need for our faith to be fleshed out and matched by deeds that demonstrate our faith. Faith is not a sleepy thing. It is an activation that spurs us to serve and work. If we will not work, that is proof that our faith is dead.
3 – The first thing God did in this universe is speak it to be. It was a single statement; a “uni” – “verse”. The voice has that much power. With our words we motivate whole populations, encourage nations to rise again, and to come to Jesus. We teach a generation of minds what they are to be. The tongue steers whole societies. Just the same, a tongue can do amazing damage. Realize this and –> talk like a Christian. Talk like Christ. Talk for Christ – or don’t talk. A right faith is marked by good works, and our wisdom should be marked by goodness and a humble spirit. Too many were carousing and using their ingenuity to philosophize, argue, create their own doctrines while claiming they were on God’s side. No, this type of ambition is worldly and demonic. It is rooted in jealousy and helps no one.
4 – James cuts in at this point and insists that the squabbling and contention in some fellowships was not right. Virtually every war and conflict in history was because someone wanted what someone else had and decided they would just take it. James continues, “you people ask things of God that you don’t even realize how selfish your requests are. You’re duplicitous/double-minded. Too much of your talk is contradictory and not rooted in the Holy Spirit … How about stopping to examine your motives?!” Didn’t someone say, “the life unexamined is not worth living.”? James also comments about the pompous nature of wheeler-dealers who are talking about their sales, their deals, their international bargaining and travels. James reminds us to be seeking for God’s will on matters and talking in these same tones.
5 – We are to be financially honest people who use money to bless and provide security v.s. using money to strip people of their security. People who treat finances like a pirate are doing a lot of damage though they claim they harmlessly pad their accounts. The selfishness here is colossal and darkly oppressive. So people cannot claim ignorance when they are living like this. They will suffer like they have forced others to suffer. James reminds us that we honor patient godly people, so let’s act that way ourselves. Be gracious and encouraging with each other. And talk straight – only, ever, and always – talk straight. When it is time to pray, do so with all fervency and candor. Pray for the sick in the same way. Call in the elders, and anoint with oil too. This is powerful serious stuff here that brings results. Lastly, let yourselves be inspired by the life of Elijah for walking with God brings power. And be spurring others to live right. When someone drifts, don’t blather on, “there they go off into sin, Oh well, I respect their views and privacy.” Hogwash! Do what you are able to restore them to Christian living and fellowship.

Thread for the Week

God told them, “kids, I have this all planned out and completely perfected for you. Just do what I planned . . . that is if you want to be well.

in Deuteronomy 1-3, Moses runs through their “desert years”; the last 40 years.  The good, the bad, the disobedient, the provision, it’s all remembered.  Did God have it planned? Yes, He did. And they were well when they stuck to His plan.  They were miserable when they strayed from His plan.  Both sentences are 100% true.
II Chron. 24-29 showed the ebb and flow of blessings/bounty against curses/chaos are starkly illustrated through the reign of six Kings.  When they followed God’s plan in the Law, there was peace and plenty.  When they ignored God’s plan in the Law there was war and woe.  Are you “Einsteins” making any connection here  (I am asking this of the wicked kings)?
Proverbs 17-20  shows us the wise and their lives that follow God’s plan.  It also shows us the fools who live out the idiocy in their heads.  Hmm, y’have any preferences here?
Ezekiel 24-26 shows the tragedy of those who scorn and ignore God’s plan.  Judah/Jerusalem is to be a blessing to the world (taste and see the Lord is good) -that is God’s plan.  But in their dereliction, they are burned up. Ammon could have been a blessing and been blessed, as could have Moab, Seir, Edom, and Tyre.  But they chose shame and played the “horses laugh” when Jerusalem fell.  And they suffered the same fate of decimation.
Zechariah 1-2 The vision of the horses is God telling the newly returned exiles that they had ‘covering’ while they were rebuilding the Temple.  God planned for this. So they could relax and all engage in the process. None of them needed to make security plans or calculate a disaster in case of attack. They were protected, strangely enough by the Persian ruler that ordered for the Jews to be blessed, to go home and to rebuild their Temple.

John 7:25 – 8:59  ‘Jesus is having spirited and testy engagement with the Pharisees intermittently while teaching the eager mob of people who loved Jesus’ instruction. God planned for people to be saved, to know Jesus, to understand Abraham’s calling, to walk with God. The Pharisees planned to keep the people spiritually off-kilter and in the dark … and paying extra to just come in and pray.  And to keep it so, they planned to kill Jesus.
James 2-5 tells us of God’s plan for what the atmosphere in the church communities is to be: to fairly treat all souls graciously as they enter God’s house, for faith to be demonstrated through service, for speech to be gracious and constructive, for wisdom to be the rule, for conflicts to be minimized and resolved, to be courageous, and faithful, to pray and minister to each other.  All this is God’s plan – and it’s a very good plan!

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