James 5:8-9 Be Patient And Don’t Grumble

“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” James 5:8-9

James had just given the example of a farmer in how he must patiently wait for the rains to come in order to get the desired harvest. Until the rains came there was trouble–drought. Now he tells all the believers to be patient and not grumble, because the Lord is about to return.

Grumbling is something that is easy for people to do, though many don’t call it grumbling. The word is changed to concern about something. Grumbling is muttering about something that happened or is happening that is not very fun to go through.

We like to grumble about what someone else did. We like to grumble about how things are going bad in our lives. We like to grumble about how we were treated unfairly. We like to grumble about the politicians. And the list goes on and on.

All this grumbling is just a form of judging. It is judging others and judging God. It is judging God in telling Him that He did wrong by allowing these bad things to happen in our lives.

All these things that we like to grumble about are things God has allowed into our lives for a purpose. They did not happen by accident and God is not out to hurt us or make our lives miserable. God wants to make each of us more like Jesus and He will use whatever it takes for that to happen. Jesus had troubles in His life, yet you never see Him grumbling about it.

We need to keep in mind that Jesus is about to return. If James was saying that His return was soon, and that was nearly two-thousand years ago, how much closer is it today?

When Jesus returns, will He find us grumbling about our circumstances?

Or, will He find us telling others about Him and see us searching and waiting for His return?

I pray today that we will wait for Jesus to return; that we will trust God in every circumstance; that we will not grumble against God or anyone else; that we will learn to be patient waiting on God; and that God will make us more like Jesus.

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James 4:15 Planning Ahead

“Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’.” James 4:15

When a person is in high school he is often told to start planning what he wants to do after school. He is to determine what college (if any) he will go to, what career he wants to go into, and where does he want to live. All of these things are usually determined by what type of pay the person wants. To determine all of these things, it takes some planning.

Just like going on a major road trip across country, the person must plan out his route. Where to turn? Where to stop? Where to get gas? Where to sleep? Where to eat?

There is nothing wrong with planning like this. It is good to plan, because otherwise you will not get anywhere.

However, many people boast about their plans. They may boast about going to some prestigious college and some day getting some major paycheck at some great company. They boast for a time, but then when graduation time comes, he cannot even find a job anywhere.

In the midst of planning a person must keep God in mind. What is God’s plan for your life?

Although God may have you start down a certain path, He can suddenly change it to a different direction. One reason for this is that He had to have you in a certain place so that He can move you to a very different location in life.

As you seek to make plans in your life, seek God’s direction in it. What does God want you to do? Then you must go forward that if it is God’s will you will go forward with your plans.

You can plan all you want for tomorrow, but tonight God may choose to call you home or allow a sickness come upon you that stops you. His desires will always be for what is best for you. His plan will always be better than yours.

Are you trusting God’s plan for your life?

Are you trusting God when He changes your plans? Or do you get upset with Him?

Plan your life in a way that is held loosely and allow God to mold it the way He wants to.

I pray today that God will reveal His plans for you; that you will live your life in His way; that you will not boast in what you plan or do; and that you will give God complete control of your life.

James 4:3 What Is Your Reason?

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3

James is now talking about wanting things. He had just stated that the desire for things is what causes a lot of fight between people. Then he states that a person does not have because he has not asked God. Then he drops the bomb on people who are asking: they ask for something for the wrong reason.

Just coming out of the Christmas season, this concept can be seen and understood very clearly. Ask any child what she would like and you will get a list a mile long of things. There are a hundred toys that she would like to have to play with.

Adults are really no different. They may not ask for all those things for Christmas, but they are fighting to get them throughout the year. Men see other men with fancy sports cars or a large pickup and they want one. Women see other women in a new designer dress or new jewelry and want it also.

The main motive behind wanting those things is to look good and use it for themselves. Even believers are often guilty of this type of desires. They pray to God for something that they will only use for themselves.

God is a God who loves to share with others. He goal is to build others up, not just be over them. When Jesus was on the earth, you did not see Him asking for much for Himself, it was always asking for others, except in the garden right before the crucifixion.

What are you doing with what God has given you? Are you just using it for yourself? Or are you using it to help others?

Do you use what you have to build God’s kingdom? Or to build your own little kingdom?

When you pray for something, it must be to use it to build God’s kingdom in some way. Check what your reason for having something is. Don’t have it just for your own pleasure, but for building God’s kingdom by helping others out.

I pray today that God will reveal to you the reasons you have for the things you have; that God will show you ways to build His kingdom with what you have; that you will change your motives to line up with God’s desires; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

James 3:13 How To Show You Are Wise And Understanding

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13

Wisdom and understanding go together. A wise person knows the truth, the rules, and the situation and, then, knows how to apply all of those things correctly in the best way possible. People get amazed at a person who is wise and understanding, because most people cannot do both of those things.

James states that a person can show their wisdom and understanding by what they do in life. Wisdom is not just sitting up on a mountain top contemplating the complexities of life. One cannot be wise if he is not in the center of life and he definitely cannot be understanding.

Being wise and understanding is knowing God’s truths and applying them in life to other people. You can see someone in a need and God can give you the best wisdom on how to meet that need. Their need may not be just giving of money, but maybe training or a helping hand in some way. God will reveal the best way to help.

Then, when you do help, it must be done with humility. There are many people in the world who provide a lot of help for people in need, but put on a great show about how much they have done. They are proud of what they have done and want everyone to know.

God loves a humble heart. Your good deeds are just being wise with what God has shown you to do. It is just passing on some of what Jesus has done for you to someone else in need.

God has given you all of His wisdom for your use when you need it. Are you seeking His wisdom in your life?

Now are you applying that wisdom in being a servant to others as Jesus was a servant?

Do not just hoard your wisdom to yourself or show off that wisdom to be looked up to. Use it to help meet the needs of others and spread the gospel message of the love of Jesus for every person.

I pray today that God will fill you with His wisdom; that God will give you understanding of the needs of others; that God will give you strength to help others out; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

James 3:6 A Mouth On Fire

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:6

Keeping up the pressure, James now brings up the dangers of the tongue, or the mouth, what a person says. He gave the examples of a horse and a ship in how they are both controlled and steered by something very small. Then he gave the example of how just a small spark can start a great forest fire. The tongue is just like these examples and can do a lot of control and damage.

There is the old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Most people have probably said this or told someone this. It was the idea that words are just words and cannot do any damage. It is now known that statement is not true, words can do damage.

The mouths of people do a lot of speaking everyday. That is true even of a person who speaks very little compared to most people. The words that are spoken will do one of two things: build up or tear down. They will build up or tear down others and the one speaking.

Often people will speak negative words, words that do not build up and do not trust in God.

How many times have you said that something is hopeless or impossible?

How many times have you complained about something?

How many times have you stated that you are the one who must do something but cannot?

On the flip side, how many times do you speak praise to God for a situation in your life?

How many times do you thank God for someone (even a negative person) that He has placed in your life?

Your mouth will set something on fire. It will be either on fire for God or it will be on fire for hell. It is your choice of words that will determine which fire will be started.

Strive to be on fire for God. Let your mouth set the world on fire for God. Do not use it to destroy.

I pray today that you will allow God to use your mouth to build up His kingdom; that you will not destroy with your words; that you will speak God’s words at all times; and that you will allow God to control your words.

James 2:17 Don’t Have Dead Faith

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

James makes another strong statement to the people. Many of the people were evidently stating that they had great faith in God, but were refusing to do any good deeds. They were being “holy” unto God and not into “legalistic” actions, so they would not do good deeds, their “faith” was enough. James bluntly states that if there is no action, that kind of faith is dead.

Times have not changed the way some people think. There are many in the church who are believers in Jesus, yet, they do not do anything. They refuse to teach Sunday School, clean the church, help a neighbor, feed the poor, visit the sick, help the orphans, or just be a good friend to a non-believer.

Some of these people had done all those things in the past and now state that they are done, they have done their work. Others, just refuse to do it saying that their faith in God is enough. They are focused on caring for themselves.

It has been said that doing good deeds is being legalistic. This is true if you are doing them to earn your salvation. You cannot earn your salvation, but you can do something with it. It is saying thanks to God for what He has done by passing it on to someone else. God helped you, now you can help someone else.

God wants all believers to love everyone. Loving people means helping them, putting them first, meeting their needs. You cannot do everything, but you can do something.

Just speaking the words that you believe in Jesus is enough to be saved, but what are you doing with your salvation?

Are you hoarding everything to yourself?

Or are you passing it on to others?

Don’t allow your faith to be dead. Seek God and ask Him what you can do to show your faith to others. What actions can you do to make a difference in someone else’s life today?

I pray today that God will reveal to you what type of faith you have; that God will show you ways to put your faith into action; that God will bless your work you do for Him; and that you will trust God to meet all of your needs as you meet the needs of others.

James 2:5 Those Chosen By God

“Listen, by dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?” James 1:5

James started to talk about showing favoritism. He gave one of the most common examples of favoritism being shown and that is of showing favor to someone who looks wealthy. Now he is pointing out that God has chosen those who are poor to get His kingdom.

The world likes to say that you must have certain things or you are poor. Some of those things are the newest car, the latest fashion clothing, a job with a very large income, and a large house. The world does not care if you fully own it, or if you are still paying for it on credit as long as it is yours.

When you have all of those things, the world looks at you as someone important and worth being around. Usually it is with the hope that some of that wealth will rub off on the person or that they can get some favors from the wealthy person.

While physical wealth is not bad, it does nothing to help you in the kingdom of God. God is looking at the heart of a person. Your heart must be poor before God. You must know that without God you have nothing of any real value, physically or in your character.

You can have all the wealth of the world and yet have a very bad spirit. It may be selfish and unloving. Or you can have the wealth of the world and have a poor spirit, knowing that without God you have nothing.

When looking at people, do not look at what they physically have, but at what their spirit is like. What is their character like? Those who have a heart seeking God are those who have real value. The rest need to know Jesus.

What is your heart like? Is it rich as the world sees it? Or is it poor and seeking God and God alone?

I pray today that your desire will be to seek God; that you will not seek people for what they have or do; that you will not trust in wealth, but in God; that you will choose people who God will choose; and that you will be rich in faith and love.