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James chapter 5:13-20

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
TUESDAY, MAY 5

 
SCRIPTURE: JAMES 5:13-20
Author:  Jeremy Witt

Prayer update:  Brandon Kalicki’s kidney numbers improved somewhat.  They took a lot of fluid off the lung with pneumonia, so that should make things better for him.  The next 24 hours will indicate his prognosis.  So please keep praying.

I apologize for the lateness today.  Tuesday’s are staff meeting mornings, and we have quite a bit to discuss as we try to prepare for the coming days.  The “new normal” is going to brings changes and will require all of us to be flexible, adaptable, and changeable.  I am learning how much I struggle with some of this.  We could use prayer as pastors, but also simply as a church in 3 locations.  It will cause all of us at all three locations to improve at this. 

 

Ironically, James 5:13 tells us to pray especially when in suffering and hardships.  We should sing praises during these times and even when in prison as Paul and Silas did in Acts.  We should sing praises to our LORD.  James covers sickness and asking church leaders to pray over you.  He includes the use of oil in anointing a person’s head.  This served two purposes.  Oil was used medicinally, (see the parable of the Good Samaritan how oil was used for healing) and oil was used to show the spiritual as well.  (Anointing of kings in 1 Samuel 16 and in setting apart of people as holy as in Exodus 30:29 and even in fasting as in Matthew 6:17)

 

James covers the confession of sins and praying for others to be healed.  The bottom line for whatever we encounter is that we should pray for others.  When we pray, we should be praying in faith.  Does this mean for the person whom we are praying for?  Yes, they need to have faith in God, but specifically, here, it is referring to the ones praying.  When we pray for others, we should pray in faith and the only One who can do the healing.  Does faith heal on its own?  No, healing only comes from God, but faith is part of the “tool” that brings healing.  How can I say this?  God is the only One capable of healing.  He is the Great Physician.  Can God heal without our faith?  Yes, He can.  Can faith heal without God?  No, it cannot.  Does God use faith?  Now, do I really need to answer this?  Yes, God uses faith.  It is impossible to please God without faith.  So what is the point, Mr. Witt?  If we want our prayers to be answered, we must pray in faith that God can.  Whether He does heal is not our call, however.  We must pray in His Will and for His will, and have faith that God can if He so chooses.  Remember Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego?  How did they pray?  They prayed in faith but also confessed that if God does not choose as they were asking, they would not bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image.  James then refers to Elijah in verse 17-18 to support what can be down in prayer of faith.  For a Christ-follower, our prayers of faith draw us closer to God first and foremost, and praying to God directly is one of our greatest gifts.  Through our prayers, we can accomplish greater things than we could ever imagine all due to our trust and faith in the LORD Jesus via the Holy Spirit. 

 

Remember that James tells us to put our faith into action.  The last two verses are given to encourage us to reach out to help those who have fallen away.  It might be due to sin in their life or due to fear and persecution, they have given up.  Our role to walk beside them and lead them back to Jesus.  This requires us to put our faith into action.  We must live out our faith in how we live.  A shepherd would go over the lost sheep, injured sheep, and unfocused sheep.  It might be a salvation issue, a persecution issue, or a “life happened” issue, but we are to be helpful, encouraging, and actively living out our faith.

 

As we follow Jesus, let us help others to follow us to our Great Shepherd.  Take our faith to the streets.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

James chapter 5:7-12

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
MONDAY, MAY 4

 
SCRIPTURE: JAMES 5:7-12
Author:  Jeremy Witt

I have a prayer request as we begin.  A longtime friend and brother in ministry and he needs urgent prayer.  His name is Brandon Kalicki.  He is a husband to Shanna and has two teenage kids.

He has been at Watonga FBC as a student pastor for over 13+ years.  He is battling cancer, has pneumonia and his kidneys are shutting down.  Of course, his family can’t even see him due to this virus.  Thank you.

Back to James      https://bibleproject.com/explore/james/ 

I just started teaching through James in our online Sunday morning Bible study.  I found this site which gives a great overview of James.  I learned something that I wanted to share.  The author of our letter, via the Holy Spirit, his name is not actually James.  It is James in English.  In Greek, his name is Jakobas or Jacobas. (Spelling?)  I do not understand why he didn’t go by Jacob, but it was something I learned that I felt that many of you might enjoy learning.

Remember that Jacob or James was one of the primary leaders of the Jerusalem church.  James most likely wrote this one year before he died according to most researchers.  The church in Jerusalem went through many difficult times including a famine in which Paul sent offerings from other house churches that he helped to start in the modern-day Turkey and Greek areas.  Most churches did this because the Jerusalem church was struggling, but also these churches heard the Gospel because of these believers shared with others.  When Saul and later Paul was persecuting the church (Jerusalem), they (Christ-followers) fled to other places like Antioch and shared Jesus where new churches were started. 

 

Why am I going back to this information?  James or Jacob just went over money or riches in the first six verses.  Now in verses 7-12, James is addressing patience, suffering, and endurance.  The church in Jerusalem is still under suffering.  Primarily, this is coming from the Jewish people who view the church as a cult or sect.  The “orthodox” Jews are the primary cause of this, which would help explain why James refers to the Old Testament so much.  This is why he wrote as their wisdom literature did.  He was trying to reach his people with the hope of the Gospel.  This is also why he said that “faith without works is dead.”  The Jewish people had many works in their tradition.  For their faith not to be lived out would not help reach other Jews.  Their faith had to impact their entire lives.  It could not be hidden.  (Do you see where I am going?)  THE SAME IS TRUE IN OUR CULTURE!  People will not come to know Jesus if we are not real.  James wrote in such a way as to encourage other “Messianic” Jews or Jewish Christ-followers.  If we do not live a life that our faith is lived out and shown, people will never come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD. 

 

James gives some clear ways to be patient, to endure, and to suffer well for the LORD.  Just like the farmer who waits on the rain and waits on the harvest, he is still active throughout the growing season.  They were expecting Jesus to return, but they were reminded not to just sit inside and wait, but keep working.  Waiting for the rain can be difficult.  Praying that when it does rain that there will not be hail or that bugs will not eat the produce is difficult for any farmer.  This is the same for a Christ-follower trying to live out our faith and waiting on our LORD to return. 

James also refers to something else we should do in the meantime, and it ties into the sermon from yesterday.  Read verse 9.  Don’t grumble or argue with other Christ-followers.  The longer we wait, the more frustrated we become.  This is why James speaks of patience.  Go back to James 1:2.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters when troubles come.”  Jesus told the disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.  Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

May we take these words to heart and into practice.  For we are promised by our Savior that we too will have trouble, but we can rest in His peace.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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