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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Yes, It's All About Faith

It's All About Faith 
James 2
Caree Connolly 

In Chapter 1 we learn that James went from unbelief of the Lord Jesus Christ to the full immersion into the Word of God, willingly becoming a bond servant for Jesus.  We begin to understand the necessary tools God gave us to grow and mature in faith.

In the first chapter James dealt with believers struggling with many different issues. One of the issues was materialism. This is something still going today. I mentioned the shows that portray the wealthy, but we can also see evidence in magazines, and even emails which send out letters or pictures to entice the eye. 

We saw in verses 2-4 that God wants us to find Joy and have patience in our trials. And to ask Him for the wisdom needed, which He will give abundantly. (Ephesians 3: 20  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us 

In  verses 6-8, James spoke of how doubt is like a wave, tossed by the wind. But to keep our eyes on Jesus. 

From the verses 13-18, we were shown that trials are a test of endurance and patience, and temptations can draw you into disobedience.

The final verses in the first chapter (19-27) We saw that being swift to hear, {being hearers and doers of the Word}, Slow to Speak; {being mindful of what we say, and guarding our tongues} is crucial for a Christian. 
(Ephesians 4:29 tells us:  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but such as is good for building up as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.) And Slow to Wrath; {wrath does not produce the righteous of God) 

James is giving us the tools to help us learn. And as we look into the second chapter, we will read much about faith and our actions, but we will also find that discrimination in the church was a problem that needed dealing with.

Faith removes Favoritism

Chapter 2:1  My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
King James versions sometimes use the term 'Respect' in place of 'partiality'. Those with NIV its 'favoritism'. For all these different words, they all have a basic and similar meaning: a preference to something or someone over another. But the Jewish people of  that day coveted honor, recognition and vied for praise.

Jesus gave a parable in Luke 14:7-14 about an ambitious guest attending a wedding. He also characterizes and condemns the pharisees for their practices in Matthew 23. Partiality or favoritism is still with us today. It is seen in politics, industry, society, and even in many churches. A few churches have their cliques, and new Christians find it hard to be welcomed.

I remember in school all the cliques that we had. The jocks, cheerleaders, brains, the goth, etc. I may have known practically everyone in school, but if your not part of a group, you were excluded many times.

Verses 2-4 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You should stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

I was too young than, but my parents remember seeing the hippie’s from the 70's become new Christians, wanting a church to attend. But because of their long hair, funny clothes, and lack of shoes, lots of churches rejected them. A church called Calvary Chapel was one of the few who welcomed them in at first.  

Jesus doesn’t look at the outward appearance, but He does look at your heart. In Matthew 22:16 his enemies told him; You aren't swayed by man because you pay no attention to who they are.  So far, in this town, I haven't seen someone who looked grungy and dirty turned away from church, but wonder how many big churches in big cities still look on the outward person. They are coming because they heard God knocking and are trying to answer. Matthew 7:7 says Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 

Verses 5-7 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

The key word I saw in vs. 5 was 'chosen'. Chosen, not by merit, but by grace. God saved us completely on the basis of the work on the cross and from Nothing  that we are or have.  He chose the poor that have a lack of worldly goods, but are rich in faith. God measures riches on a far different standard than the does. 
For example: the United States used to use Gold as their monetary standard. No more though. Now it uses paper money. Quite a bit change.

I Corinthians 1:26-27 “For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

Wealth and power will not save you or me. It has much to do with what we do with Christ and the material wealth he gave us. God promises the kingdom to “those that love him” (James 2:5) not those  that love this world and its riches more.

Jesus himself was poor, and was a sufferer of injustice by the church leaders. In my Sunday school class, we learned about how the church leaders took advantage of the people and used their own currency (the temple shekel) to get richer, and Jesus came in and overturned their money tables and called them a den of thieves. Perhaps being rebuked in public in front of the people they thought they had spiritual authority over, was the turning point for them into getting rid of this Jesus. 

The blessing for us is that He's not gone at all. He's still here with us! 

Verses 8-11 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourselves,” you do well: But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble at one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become transgressors of the law.

James begins by melding the new testament with the old testament.

Some Christians feel that the old testament is no longer useful, but as we see here in James, both are necessary for our maturity and growth. Verse 8 is speaking of the law. 

Warren Weirsbe in his commentary, Be Mature, brings up: why is “Love thy neighbor” called the royal law? It was given by the king. God the Father gave it in the law. God the Son referred it to his disciples (John 13:34  A new  commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” 

God the Spirit fills our hearts with God's love He expects us to share it with others.

The law, “Love thy neighbor, “ comes to us from the old testament, Leviticus 19:18  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) tells us that our neighbor is anyone in need, not just the people who live next door.

Another reason I found of the royal law: It heads all other laws. Romans 13:10 bears this out by saying: “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

With the royal law, obeying it makes you as a king. Hatred can enslave you, but love frees us from selfishness. It enables us to obey the Word of God and treat others as God commands us to.

We obey His law, not with fear, but out of Love. 

Which brings us up to verse 9 in which showing partiality or respect is disobeying the law, and that is sin. Remember what it says in verse 10: For whoever shall keep the law, yet stumble at one point, he is guilty of all. 

Chuck Smith in his Blue Letter Commentary makes use some of the ten commandments: Thou shall not Kill, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not steal. 

Unfortunately for myself, I stole a candy bar, when I was 5 years old. I was caught by my older brother, and had to go confess to my mom, take back the candy to the store, which meant confessing to the store clerk. Then I had to go home and await discipline from my parents. Not only did I brake a commandment, I broke the state law.

But what if you have not broken ANY of the ten commandments?  Don't forget, Jesus gave gave us one more. “Love one another as I have loved you. Its pretty easy to love a sister or brother in Christ, but what about someone your not really fond of? If we can't, we're guilty of breaking the royal law. Our christian love means treating others the way God treats me. It's an act of will, not an emotion manufactured. It's to glorify God.

Verses 12 & 13  So speak and do so as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

I looked online for the 'law of liberty' and found in a section where Bible questions are answered, and found this: {It's a perfect system which contains laws and commandments which are is not grievous, and yet it's a system of grace and liberty}(John 5:3, Galatians 5:1-13) We have liberty from sin when we obey. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-12)

With this law, there is judgment, and all will be judged. II Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one my receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad. 
We'll be judged on our words. What we say and how we say it. 

He will judge our attitudes. James shows in verse 13 that there are two different attitudes here: showing mercy to others, and having no mercy. Matthew 5:7 Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. But Matthew 7:1,2 give a warning: Judge not, that you be not judged. For what judgment you judge, you will be judged: with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Mercy and Judgment both come from God. Where he finds repentance and faith, he shows mercy. When he sees rebellion and unbelief, He must administer justice. The parable Jesus gave in Matthew 18:21-35 is a great example of mercy and justice.

Verse 14  What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

Can faith alone save someone? I think yes. My Grandpa was dying of cancer and in the hospital at the end. He accepted Jesus into his heart. He did not have works, but he did have faith to believe. Many have come to Christ in the last few days or hours of their life. 
But If someone says though that they have faith, but they don't show any works, we know that will not save them. It reminds us again of James 1:22 where he says,  Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Faith in Christ brings life, and where there is life, there must be growth. James warns us three times in this chapter that faith without works is dead. (verses 17, 20, & 26)

Verses  15-17  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warm and filed,” but do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Words might be encouraging in this case, but it won't help someone who obviously is in need. I know when myself or others were struggling to make ends meet, how the church stepped in to help. No  names where ever used. It was just provided. It was such a blessing to have such a wonderful church family. 

Verse 18 But  if someone will say, “you have faith. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

This is a declaration with something behind it. The proof is in the works we do. The works itself can't save us, but they can justify that we have a saving faith. If there are no works that correspond to what we are declaring, we do not have a saving faith. It becomes just a declaration. Only words.  

Verse 19  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even demons believe-and tremble!

Who hasn't ever heard someone say..I believe in God. Most people do, except the foolish. Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none that doeth good. 

And yes, the demons believed in Christ as well. They bore witness to his son-ship (Mark 3:11-12), a place of punishment (Luke 8:31), and saw Jesus as the true Judge (Matthew 5:1-13) They had to submit to the power of His Word. And still people deny the truth of Jesus.

Verses 20-22  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Issac his son on the alter? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by his works faith was made perfect?

We aren't saved by faith in faith; we were saved by faith in Christ as revealed in His Word. It involves the whole person. The men and women named in Hebrews 11 were people of action. God spoke to them and they obeyed. Abraham was a man of faith. Even to the point of offering up his only son Issac as a sacrifice, only believing that God would raise up a nation through his son Issac.

Verse 23 & 24 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Abraham could have argue with God since Issac was his only son, and this just isn't right. But He did exercise faith, knowing that somehow, God would provide a way through this. And God did provide a ram as sacrifice. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22 

Verse 25 & 26  Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James used Rahab also as a person of great faith. Joshua had sent spies into Jericho to get the lay of the land. Rahab hid the men from the guards and than sent them out a safer way, with a promise of the men that she and her family would be spared when the city was taken. The men did as they promised. Rahab knew her city was condemned. She had heard the truth about the living God, and believed. Her mind knew the truth, her heart was stirred, and her will acted on the truth. 

Closing: In this second chapter of James, once again, he emphasizes how important faith is. He reminds us That we must not be favor one person over another. Finally we are encouraged that faith without works is dead.

 Let us be alive in Christ and put action into our faith.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Koinonia Community

Studies in the Book of James
Chapter 1

In my Bible, (in the book of James), each chapter has a title, which I like. It helps me understand more of what the chapter is about. When I first began to study the book of James, I looked beyond the words that were written. 
The first chapter in James is titled: THE PURPOSE OF TESTS. I for one am not fond of tests, but they do help us learn and grow. The word 'purpose' itself means: intention, meaning, aim. The Thesarus has a list of words which all have similar meanings. 
The word my  eyes were drawn to was 'direction'. In life, direction is used in many ways. 
  • Our daily walk in Christ, 
  • Our jobs, 
  • Even in our prayers.  

In the Webster's dictionary, the definition of direction is: the line or path along  which something travels, lies, or points. 
We all need direction in our lives and in the book of James it comes through to us in the form of tests. 
In Warren Wiersbe's commentary of James, the introduction written by Ken Baugh speaks of being a construction worker, and that you need the tools to get the job done. 
That's actually true for any job. Without the proper tools, the job is incomplete or will breakdown. In our own Christian lives, we have the most important tool or learning manual anyone can need. 
In this book of James, we have the tools to gain maturity in Christ. 
God's desire is for us to grow in faith. 
"For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."         Hebrews 5:13,14  
We grow and mature in faith by reading God's Word and applying it to our lives. The book of James is a great tool and give us the direction needed to do just that.
Chapter 1:1
James, a bond servant of God and Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
First of all, I wanted to give you a bit of context about the author James. This James was most probably the half-brother of Jesus. He was not a disciple or a follower of Jesus during his ministry. Mark 3:31 and John 7: 1-5 have him and his brothers trying to get Jesus to stop preaching to the people. 
                                 They did not believe or understand him.                                                                             (sounds like the typical sibling) 
It wasn't till his resurrection that a deeper understanding occurred. Jesus appeared to James himself (1 Cor. 15:7)  After that he was seen of James: than all of the apostles. 
James had been hearing Jesus teach at a distance for three and a half years and they grew up together as brothers. He must have seen something was different but didn't understand what. I'm sure seeing a crucifixion and than seeing Jesus alive again must have opened his heart finally to what God had to say. Jesus already knew James would be a great minister for his Word.
Chapter 1:1 In this first verse, James is calling himself a bond servant. In two different versions of a King James Bible, one version says just servant and another says bond servant. I looked up both words in the dictionary to see if the meanings and there is a slight difference. 
Servant is: One who serves another 
Bond servant is: One who is obligated to work without wages. 
James himself was not sold into bond service.  He went willingly into bondage for Christ. Choosing to serve without wages to the Lord Jesus. 
Pretty awesome for someone who didn't believe at all.
And he greets the twelve tribes. Many Jewish believers were living in Roman Provinces, outside Palestine. They were struggling with impatience, bitterness, materialism, dis-unity, and spiritual apathy. (Things still going on today) This letter was to encourage and exhort them in their struggles with faith. Again, this letter can encourage us as well.
Chapter 1:2,3, & 4
*2* My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
In 1 Peter 1:7 it says That the trial of your faith, being much more than gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory of Jesus Christ.
We will have trials. This 3rd verse in James says when, not if. And though its not easy going through trials, James writes
Therefore, among God's churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. (2nd Thessalonians 1:4) 
  1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
*3,4* Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you  may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Verses 3 and 4 speak of patience. 
Ah, that wonderful patience........ 
Having patience in general is hard enough. Having patience to go through a trial can be more difficult. We read a lot in the Bible where faith is tested. God called Abraham to live by faith and tested him in order to increase it. 
These trials we have, rightly used, will help us gain maturity. With maturity, we gain patience, endurance, and the ability to keep going when thing get tough.
Romans 5:3-4 We glory in tribulations also knowing that that tribulations worketh patience; patience, experience; and experience, hope.
Warren Wiersbe brings up in his commentary 'Be Mature' that a little child who does not learn patience will not learn much of anything else. 
I can't say from a parents point of view, but in my experience working with children, especially school age, both I and the child need patience. For myself, watching the struggle to learn to figure it out. And for them, that they can complete a problem and not skip over the hard just because its difficult.
God is building up our characters. But He can't without our cooperation. When we resist Him, that's when He must discipline us. As my dad would say...sending us out to the wood shed.
Some Christians shelter themselves from the trails of life
But they also don't grow either. God's desire is for 'little children' to become young men (women), and young men (women) to become 'fathers' (mothers)
1 John 2:12-14  I write to you dear children, because your sins have become forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because, you have known him from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him, who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
As you have watched your own children grow and mature, so God does that for us as well.
Chapter 1:5, 6, 7, & 8
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man  suppose that will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James saw that believers were having difficulties with prayer., such as not knowing how to pray or what to pray about. James is giving an excellent tool in this verse: asking God for wisdom. And we will be learning more about wisdom in chapter 3. But we're not there yet.
In his commentary, W. Wiersbe writes about something someone had said. No name was given, but I liked this: 
Knowledge is the ability to take things apart, 
while wisdom is the ability to put them together.
Why is wisdom so important when going through a trial? Wisdom will help us understand how to use the circumstances for our good and God's glory.When we pray for wisdom, God doesn't just give us a thimbleful. He gives it to us liberally. 
Some of the words in my Thesaurus for how He gives to us liberally are: abundantly, generously, lavishly, richly, and bountifully
I can honestly say that our God is exceedingly abundant in what he gives us.  1 Cor. 9:8 says God is able to bless you abundantly, so that all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Verse 6 is reminding us to not only ask God for wisdom, but to  ask in faith. He is waiting to hear from us. And he is generous. (He giveth more grace) James 4:6The hard part that we might come across is unbelief or doubt.
James describes doubt in this verse as a wave in the sea. Living by the ocean, we see the unpredictability of the waves. Calm and smooth one minute and wild and strong the next. Scary to think of doubt in this manner. But there it is, right in the Bible.
Matthew 14: 22-33 tells how Peter saw Jesus and was actually walking on water to get to him. But seeing the waves, began to doubt and started to sink. Jesus had to reach out a hand and save him. 
If we take our eyes off Jesus, we flounder and need his hand to bring us back.
Chapter 1:9, 10, & 11
Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
J. V. McGee explains verse 9 in this way.  In terms of the word Lowly, it basically means average. Or everyday. We may not have a riches and wealth of others, but we as Children of God,  we are wealthy beyond measure. The  wealth of man will burn up and fade away. Our treasure in heaven is everlasting.
Some of the programs that I sometimes come across show people who have million dollar homes for sale but have to have just that higher bid. And the people with mega-yachts, who are happy for a while till they want a bigger boat. The warning James is giving, is for the heart of man who holds much, but places God second. 
God should always be first and wealth can be a stumbling block.
Getting to verse 12, I see two words that spring out at me. 
  • Blessed:  a title for those who have been beautified. 
  • Crown of Life. The crown is laid up for all who prove true, but possessed of none, until time of reward. It is in view, not possession.

Chapter 1:13-18
Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Than, when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin: and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my brethren. Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.
Sometimes, the difference between trials and temptations can be confusing for ones who don't understand. The word Tempted means: to draw into a wrong or foolish course of action. God cannot sin, therefore He would not send his children into a sinful circumstance.
Trial means: a source of vexation or distress that tests patience and endurance.
The devil is a tempter. Many times in the Bible we can read about him tempting Jesus in the wilderness. (Matthew, Mark &  Luke speak to this). But the sinful nature comes from the heart. and when a  temptation becomes a sin, its disobedience. When disobedience becomes commonplace in your life, the disobedience gives birth to death. 
 * When we lived in sin, we were dead. But in Christ, we have Life. Even when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us in Christ.(by Grace you are saved) Eph. 2:5
James takes time to tell us Do Not Be Deceived. This might be opportunity to pray for wisdom and discernment.
God has only good gifts for us. If we have am ailment, we might not understand why, but like the Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh, it can be a blessing instead. And we don't always see all the gifts He is sending us.  But we know He sends them to us. 
The Bible does not lie
We are His new creatures. After you and accepted Him, we were made new. Totally different from our old selves. The spirit of God uses the Word of God to bring about the miracle of the new birth. The Word of God is 'living' and 'powerful'. (Hebrews 4:12) It can generate new life in the heart of a sinner who trusts Christ, and that life is God's life.
Chapter 1:19, 20, 21-27
So than, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow, to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
In this last portion of verses, we have a combination of warnings and useful tools making us aware of stumbling blocks and how to avoid them. James tells us to be 'swift to hear'. We must be ready to hear what God had to say. 'Be slow to speak'. 
Prov. 10:19 He that refrains his lips is wise. 
Prov. 17:27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words.  
I sometimes myself will say something and than wish that I hadn't.
Warren Weirsbe once sawa poster that said: Temper is such a valuable thing, it is a shame to lose it.
'Be slow to wrath'. The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Anger is actually just the opposite of the patience God wants us to produce in our lives as we mature in Christ.
Verse 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
In Warren's commentary, he feels that James is liking the heart as a garden. A garden which if not tended, can grow weeds. We need to pull out the weeds of wickedness and filthiness or basically whatever is chocking out the good fruit God wants us to produce. One of the parables Jesus gave was of thorns and how they chock out the Word of God. We don't want that to happen. 
When we have an attitude of meekness, with this, we honor God.
Verse 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 
Hearing is very necessary to hear His voice, but we must be doers as well. Some Christians think just going to church will cause spiritual growth and get God's blessings. Not going to happen. It's not just the hearing but also the doing. God wants a daily walk, not just stand and do nothing.
Verses 23-27 For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. Be he who looks into a perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this ones religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in the trouble, and keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Before James used a garden. Now he is using a mirror. A mirror is an object which can show all the blemishes. I use mine mostly to brush my hair and stay tidy, though yes, I do see the changes which come, sometimes daily.
In this case, this verse is speaking of Christians who like looking in a mirror then walk away forgetting what they just saw. People can become complacent in their lives. Like reading the Bible everyday, but not applying to their lives. The mirror of our lives should be a reflection of God's life in us. 
               We need to examine our hearts and live in the light of God's Word.                                            This requires time, attention, and sincere devotion.
Our tongues also needs care. These can be hard to control. It hurts my ears and heart to hear Christians use the Lord's name in vane in their casual conversations. I don't understand that.  Matthew 12:34-37 talks about the tongue. In paraphrased form: if the heart is right, the speech will be right.
James closes with knowing words are not substitute for deeds. Visiting those in need is a good ministry. We must stay unspotted in the world. Romans 12:2 says And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We close with seeing the tools James has given us in this first chapter. The tools that will help us when we will be tested and tried. 
  • By being a willing servant for Christ. 
  • By allowing there to be joy in trials. 
  • By asking God for wisdom, knowing it will be given back abundantly

Copyright 2014 - Caree Connolly 
Koinonia Community