Thursday, September 15, 2016

Diggin James

Let us start with this first and always!
Prayer before you read the Bible:

During this blog we have looked at so much, but digging has been one thing we have done more of.  Yes, it is a travel blog of sorts but of the heart and mind not necessarily the road which we travel.

Ever feel alone in studying the bible? Join our Community Bible Experience on the book of James. Starting Now! Come check it out | RecklesslyAlive.com:
Sometimes the Lord places on my heart something that I just can not let go of until I write it out.  Like a few posts ago about women in the pastorate.  How important they are the Lord and to the church.  How important women are to the Lord and spreading his word.  Then the Lord took me into Zephaniah to remind me/us of what God is going to do and how we have walked away over and over and over again.  Each generation has walked further away, some remnants remain steadfast after the Lord and His call.  We wonder how did we get this far?  Well, we have to look at our own parenting and the schools, society and what was right at the time.  Each one of us has a story of faith, whether we are believers or not.  Our stories are ours, we own them, but we can change them as we walk them out.  We can look in the mirror and tell ourselves it is time to believe in something bigger than myself.

James is one of those books that helps us to see in the mirror and see the reflection back and ask our self what can we change that we need to change within to make this life the best.  Now being a Christ follower is never easy, never, the easiest road, but the promise of Heaven keeps us going.  Knowing to that no matter what we go through, Jesus is right here with you.  I know he is because I have seen him close by my side.  When Mr. D, my son passed away at age 6, the Lord was right there with us.  When I was pregnant the 3rd time, the boys were 1 and 2 and it was difficult.  The Lord walked me through every single night, alone and in the dark, I found myself not really alone. The Lord was there talking to me and walking me through that darkness. 

So let's go peek into the door of James and see what he is all about. 

Polly-Wolly Doodle: The Book of James  I think my students would love an activity like this for some of their Bible lessons.  ^_^:
James is the 1/2 brother, or full to the Lord Jesus.  1/2 because his father is Joseph and not God and the same mother Mary.  I say full because he grew up in the same home, same parents, since Joseph really reared both of them.  Still James was not a believer, he basically walked away from Jesus' ministry until one fateful day.  When everything shook James reality.  James saw Jesus after the resurrection and then believed.  He began his ministry by this, he believed.  1 Corinthians 15:3-8 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (This is Paul writing this book, Corinthians)


Have you experienced a time when the Lord shook your foundations and you became a believer? 
What happened? 
How did you change?
When did it affect your belief?
Why did it change you?

Then what did you do about it?   

James became a force to be reckoned with.  He became the Bishop of the Jerusalem Council which was a branch of the Jewish church.  He supported Paul as he converted the Gentiles (that is you and me).  However, James was stoned to death, as was Stephen, guesstamations are 65-62 A.D.  by the political people of the time and because James did preach the Gospel of Christ and just like the Pharisees and the Sadducees could not help but kill Jesus, they did the same thing to the followers.  Now, some denominations believe, like Martin Luther, that this book is "full of straw", because it is not evangelical.  However, I beg to differ, it gives us the outline of how to live.  This book contains so much more than just evangelical, it contains How we should live for Christ and how to have joy in adverse conditions.  How it is a reflection of our own life and draws us into a relationship with Jesus, into the wholeness, and into a better life. 
We are going to use the Amplified in this section, it gives a bit better insight to these verses.

Let's go to James 1:1-8

James 1Amplified Bible (AMP)

Testing Your Faith

[a]James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion: Greetings (rejoice)!
Consider it nothing but joy, my [b]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].

What does double minded mean to you? 

To me, it means they have one foot in the world and try to be more worldly and one foot in God's World and struggle with it.
This is where we could use the word Hypocrite and Unbeliever who occasionally believes in god but fails to trust him for anything.  He believes he can do it on his own.  He is bigger than God himself.

What about the trials in your life?  Are you joyous and peaceful as they tear up your life or do they shake your very faith in Christ? 

For us, when we are going through it, we try to remember the Gratitude list, name 3 things you are grateful for.  Sometimes it's tough to see beyond the problems but we can.  We can see the joy in the bad situation, we can see the joy in something that seems so unbearable.  We just have to look.  What about Patience?  How many of you have lots of patience?  Not so much? 
Patience comes through those trials.  It comes through tribulations and it brings you to a place you never thought you would be, but you have arrived nonetheless. Let's go to the next part of this.
 

Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position [as a born-again believer, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God]; 10 and the rich man is to glory in being humbled [by trials revealing human frailty, knowing true riches are found in the grace of God], for like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls off and [c]its beauty fades away; so too will the rich man, in the midst of his pursuits, fade away.
In the early church, it was divided much like it is now, by money.  There is a huge chasm between us but we can be rich in faith and poor in money.  Rich in money and poor in Spirit. 
The thing is money can not buy you a relationship with Jesus.  Even for the rich man who Jesus asked to give it all away and follow him.  The man would not do it.

12 Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” [for temptation does not originate from God, but from our own flaws]; for God cannot be tempted by [what is] evil, and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). 15 Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.

So, in light of the days we live in, what sin could use a death without our screaming that it is wrong but praying for those that are in sin to come out of sin? We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God and no sin is greater or lesser.  Sin is sin.  However, we should work hard at not sinning, not blatantly.  Sometimes, many times, we make mistakes, we need to repent of our sin and make a U-Turn and walk away from it.  

16 Do not be misled, my beloved brothers and sisters. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow [d]cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. 18 It was of His own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself—sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes].


19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. 21 So get rid of all uncleanness and [e]all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens to the word [f]without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets [g]what he looked like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [h]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].


26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious [scrupulously observant of the rituals of his faith], and does not control his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless (futile, barren). 27 Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world.

What do you think Spiritual Maturity is?  What about Christian Maturity? 

Sometimes, churches use these as a measure of how they are doing.   But let's use it here.  How do you think you are doing in your own walk? 

Let's ask a few questions that maybe will show us the answer in it.

Do you make time to really pray, not just help me Lord, but really dig into the prayer? 

Do you make time to really read your Bible? Not just glance at it.

Do you make time to spend a few minutes or a lot of minutes to talk to the Lord without the prayer? 

Our outlook determines our outcome and attitude determines your actions.

Being a Christ follower is not always easy and if you came to Christ believing this, I am so sorry you believed it would be.  If you are not having a hard time, then you might want to rethink what you are doing.  It's not going to be easy, if it is well then you are not in the right type of relationship with Jesus. 

This life is fun there is no doubt.  Hard at times?  Oh Yes!  But the JOY of the LORD is our STRENGTH!



www.biblegateway.com is used for the scriptures.

Footnotes:

  1. James 1:1 James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, was the half brother of Jesus. He became a believer after the resurrection of Jesus and was later martyred for his faith.
  2. James 1:2 Lit brethren.
  3. James 1:11 Lit the beauty of its face perishes.
  4. James 1:17 Lit of turning.
  5. James 1:21 Lit surplus of.
  6. James 1:23 Lit and is not a doer.
  7. James 1:24 Lit what sort he was.
  8. James 1:25 Lit a doer of work.

Are you up for a challenge? Download this 21-Day Challenge inspired by the book of James. Let's put our faith in action! http://www.faithoutspoken.org/devotions-and-studies/21-day-challenge-part-1:

The design of it is to reprove Christians for their great degeneracy both in faith and manners, and to prevent the spreading of those libertine doctrines which threatened the destruction of all practical godliness. .:

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  As I figure out how to teach this in such a way that really glorifies Him who we learn and life for.  Praising Him for all things. 

We will look at James 2 next time.  Thank you.

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