10 December 2011
Trials a privilege - Extracted from the letter of James 1: 1-12
From James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the 12 tribes of the Dispersion.
My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully-developed, complete with nothing missing.
If there is any one of you who needs wisdom, he must ask God, who gives to all freely and ungrudgingly; it will be given to him.
But he must ask with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea when the wind drives.
That sort of person, in two(2) minds, wavering between going different ways, must not expect that the Lord will give him anything.
It is right for the poor brother to be proud of his high rank, and the rich one to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flowers fall; what looked so beautiful now disappears. It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes.
Happy the man who stands firm when trials come. He has proved himself, and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Temptation is never from God - Extracted from the letter of James 1: 13-18
Never, when you have been tempted, say, ‘God sent the temptation’; God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and He does not tempt anybody.
Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desires.
Then the desire conceives and give birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it too has a child, and the child is death.
Make no mistake about this, my dear brothers: it is all that is good, everything that is perfect, which is given us from above; it comes from the Father of all light; with Him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow of a change.
By His own choice He made us His children by the message of the truth so that we should be the a sort of first-fruits (1st-fruits) of all that He has created.
Accept and submit to the Word which has been planted in you and can save your souls
- Extracted from the letter of James 1: 19-27
Remember this, my dear brothers: be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper; God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger; so do away with all the impurities and bad habits that are still left in you - accept and submit to the word which has been planted in you and can save your souls.
But you must do what the word tells you, and not to listen to it and deceive yourselves.
To listen to the word and not obey is like looking at your own features in a mirror and then, after a quick look, going off immediately forgetting what you looked like.
But the man who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and makes that his habit— not listening and forgetting, but actively putting it into practice - will be happy in all he does.
Nobody must imagine that he is religious while he still goes on deceiving himself and not keeping control over his tongue; anyone who does this has the wrong idea of religion.
Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
Basic respect for the poor - Extracted from the letter of James, Chapter 2:
1 My brothers, do not let class distinction enter into your faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord.
2 Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, well-dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes,
3 and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, 'Come this way to the best seats'; then you tell the poor man, 'Stand over there' or 'You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.'
4 In making this distinction among yourselves have you not used a corrupt standard?
5 Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who were poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.
6 You, on the other hand, have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who lord it over you?
7 Are not they the ones who drag you into court, who insult the honourable name which has been pronounced over you?
8 Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme Law of scripture: you will love your neighbour as yourself;
9 but as soon as you make class distinctions, you are committing sin and under condemnation for breaking the Law.
10 You see, anyone who keeps the whole of the Law but trips up on a single point, is still guilty of breaking it all.
11 He who said, 'You must not commit adultery' said also, 'You must not kill.' Now if you commit murder, you need not commit adultery as well to become a breaker of the Law.
12 Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom.
13 Whoever acts without mercy will be judged without mercy but the merciful need no fear for judgement.
(Interpretation: The merciful can afford to laugh at judgement time.) 8-)
10 December 2011