Sept. 25 – (James 1:1-11) It is believed that the letter of James was likely written to predominantly Jewish Christian house churches outside of Palestine, based on its mention of the “twelve tribes in the Dispersion” (1:1), its distinctly Jewish content, and its focus on persecution and poverty. This would mean it was sent throughout most of the ancient Mediterranean world. The author was traditionally believed to be James, the brother of Jesus and an early leader of the church in Jerusalem.
What produces patience (vv. 2-8)? How do we get wisdom? I love the book of James! He has answers to many of my questions. Of course, the answer takes a life time of getting it into our thoughts and actions!
Sept. 26 – (James 1:12-18) What happens to the person who endures temptation (vv. 12-18)? Remember temptation is not sin! It is when we give in to the temptation that brings sin! Who tempts us? What is the process to sinning? Here is how I see the process. We have trials in this life. How we handle those trial is a test of faith in God. We are tempted to handle them the world’s way. How we choose at this point decides if we sin or are strengthened in our faith.
Sept. 27 – (James 1:19-27) What should we be swift to do (vv. 19-20)? What two things should we be slow to do? Not all anger is sinful (Eph. 4:26). However, the quick-tempered, selfish anger of man shows a lack of trust in God and a lack of love for others. Even when directed against wrong doing, anger cannot change another person’s heart. Thus, it does not produce the righteousness of God. Righteousness here means conducting one’s life by the will of God, per His standards (see Isa. 561:3; Matt. 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1,33). This definition helps me see what the root of anger is: a lack of trust in God and a lack of love for others. Selah
Sept. 28 – (James 2:1-13) Are you doing well? In other words, are you loving your neighbor as yourself? We are not just talking about the ones who are easy to love. I must stop and examine my thoughts about all my “neighbors”. Selah
Sept. 29 – (James 2:14-26) When this chapter says “faith without works is dead”, does it mean “good works’ will get us the reward of heaven (14-26)? Good works shows us our faith…it is not how we get faith. The example was Rahab (Josh. 2:8-11). She was a pagan among pagans but had seen or heard what God did for the Israelites in crossing the Red Sea and in conquering several kingdoms. It brought faith to her so that her “works” that followed came from a place of knowing the Truth about God and acting on that Truth. Let’s look today for a specific way to “act” in faith on some aspect of Truth you know. Tell me what happens. You may not save the whole Israeli people but you will be recorded in that final day as being faithful in this moment! SELAH!
Sept. 30 – (James 3:1-12) Now we get to a sticky part. Did you know that every time you talk about someone God has made (and of course He has made everyone!) you are either blessing or cursing them (vv. 8-10)? Read it for yourself. I’m trying to decide if he is talking about fellow Christians or any person on earth. (Anyone want to do a word research?) Either way, it gives me pause to think about how the words come out of my mouth. Selah!
DID YOU KNOW? Familiar word pictures. The images James uses to describe the power of the tongue (vv.1-12) were well chosen to communicate to his original readers. The Greek playwright Sophocles spoke of wild horses being tamed by a small bit in the mouth. The Jewish philosopher Philo compared ones’ senses to a helmsman steering a boat. And the Roman historian Plutarch compared a loose tongue to a blazing forest fire.
Oct. 1 – (James 3:13-18) The beginning of chapter 3 is a digression into the power and misuse of the tongue (vs. 2-12) but now returns to an admonition to Christian teachers. Even though it is aimed at teachers, there is nothing there that can’t apply to every believer. Every Christian needs to bring his tongue under control but we also need to demonstrate godly wisdom. This section can be divided into three parts: the appeal to demonstrate true wisdom (v.13), the demonstration of earth bound wisdom (vv. 14-16), and the demonstration of higher wisdom (vv. 17-18).
James mentions 7 marks of true wisdom: pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, merciful, unwavering, and without hypocrisy. The seeds of gentleness and good works (v.13) – which bear the fruit (characteristics) of purity, peaceableness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy with good fruits, principle, and integrity - result in peace. Let’s examine each of these in our lives and shore up those weak areas.