This is our last week in James. In chapter 5, James gives some warnings, reminders and instructions about how we should live. These are given in a tone similar to the way a parent might instruct a child as they are about to leave home to help their child have a good perspective and a joyful, healthy life.
Many people find writing out scripture to be helpful. In fact, many retreat centers offer opportunities where there is time set aside to write out scripture. The book of James is often one used for such a spiritual exercise. It is short, to the point and very instructional and applicable to life in the here and now. Writing scripture can slow our mind and bodies down in such a way that we are better able to pray, focus, and ponder what God may be saying to us. Perhaps that is something for you to consider
INVITATION: Join us in reading James Chapter five and listen to the warnings, reminders and instructions God has for your life. Also, consider setting aside a few hours and writing out the entire book of James some time in the near future. Or, consider inviting others to join you for an evening or Saturday morning where you get together and do this and then discusses it. Could this be a way for you to offer a “Bible study” even when you don’t consider yourself a Bible teacher? Even if you choose not to do this writing spiritual exercise, is there some way the Lord may want you to slow down and listen to His still, small voice in a particular way this week?
MONDAY: James 5:1-6: James jumps in with hard, clear words for people who have more than others. Americans have more than most other countries - regardless of what income bracket you are in here in America. We are instructed to never use what we have to cheat others and to guard against having a pleasure dominated life. How are you using whatever you have been given by God in order to help others? How tightly do you hold your money, position or possessions? How tightly do you hold the pleasures given by God? Ask God to search your heart and help you see if there are idols present that you are putting above God.
TUESDAY: James 5:7-9: These verses instruct us to be patient regarding circumstances. Farmers get up early, work long and hard all day, then get up and do it again and again. They trust a harvest is coming…..in due time. It could be this year, it could be the next. They keep on working and trusting in God and the process. How can you trust God and trust the process in your life? Is there a circumstance in your life right now that needs more patience? How might you include that in your prayer time this week
WEDNESDAY: James 5:10: We are to have patience with others. The prophets in scripture were called to speak to some difficult, hard hearted people. It must have seemed like a dead end street at times. Is there someone in your life that you feel doesn’t “deserve” your patience or the patience of God? Do you think YOU deserve God’s patience? How can you share the patience God has shown you toward others this week?
THURSDAY: James 5:11: This verse encourages us to be patient with God. Job is referenced and all those who James was speaking to would have understood this reference. The book of Job has 30 chapters of suffering and misery. Job’s wife and most of his friends encouraged him to “curse God.” Job persevered. God restored all to Job. Have you ever felt like God has left you high and dry and was nowhere to be found? Maybe you have even felt like cursing God. Tell God about that today during your prayer time. He can handle it. He knows your heart anyway. Unload your heart to God and see if He doesn’t “restore” things for you. It may not always look the way you expect, but he is a God of restoration and transformation.
FRIDAY: James 5:12: We are to live with integrity - letting our “yes” be yes and our “no” be no. As you read and reflect on this verse today, is there an area of life where you might be wavering and need to have a clear “yes” or “no”?
SATURDAY: James 13-20: We are to be people who pray in all circumstances and help others find and follow Jesus. Is there someone you can pray with or for today? Ask the Lord to bring people to mind today and when He does, pray for them. Perhaps you might even call or text them and encourage them that you are praying for them? This thing called life is a long, slow and difficult, but beautiful journey. Consider taking a long, slow walk with Jesus for your prayer time today, meditating on how life is a pilgrimage and a journey. Notice the curves or rocks or stop signs, etc. on your walk and think about the metaphors in your life journey.