Seems Fitting At This Time

I’ve mentioned before that I listen to the Daily Audio Bible. It’s an awesome supplement to personal study and prayer. Brian Hardin is the creative man of God who implemented this vision, and the time spent listening as he reads the scriptures will be like water for your soul.

DAB has a large, international community of listeners and prayer warriors who tune in daily (or as often as possible) to hear Brian read through the bible each year. You will hear Old Testament passages 1st, followed by New Testament scripture, a Psalm and then a Proverb, all in chronological order, allowing you to build upon each previous day’s reading. The Holy Spirit will speak through this if you are willing to listenCheck it out when you have the chance.

I have the app on my phone, which is great when I’m driving in the car. One of the things I really enjoy is hearing the scripture read from different versions. This week, Brian is reading from The Voice, which is a beautifully expressive, easily understood version of an English-reader’s bible.

We in the USA have just come through a most exhausting, confounding and vitriolic election cycle, that thankfully is mostly finished, except for the actual transfer of power. Today’s reading out of James seemed a timely choice to share, so welcome to today’s post:

James 1:19-2:17:

1:19 Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world. So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.

Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived. If some fail to do what God requires, it’s as if they forget the word as soon as they hear it. One minute they look in the mirror, and the next they forget who they are and what they look like. However, it is possible to open your eyes and take in the beautiful, perfect truth found in God’s law of liberty and live by it. If you pursue that path and actually do what God has commanded, then you will avoid the many distractions that lead to an amnesia of all true things and you will be blessed.

If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless. Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.

2:1 My brothers and sisters, I know you’ve heard this before, but stop playing favorites! Do not try to blend the genuine faith of our glorious Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, with your silly pretentiousness. If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice—offer him a seat up front, next to you. If you tell the wealthy man, “Come sit by me; there’s plenty of room,” but tell the vagrant, “Oh, these seats are saved. Go over there,” then you’ll be judging God’s children out of evil motives.

My dear brothers and sisters, listen: God has picked the poor of this world to become unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom, which He has pledged to those who love Him. By favoring the rich, you have mocked the poor. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the rich who step on you while climbing the ladder of success? And isn’t it the rich who take advantage of you and drag you into court?  Aren’t they the ones mocking the noble name of our God, the One calling us?

mother-theresa

Mother Teresa

 

Remember His call, and live by the royal law found in Scripture: love others as you love yourself. You’ll be doing very well if you can get this down. But if you show favoritism—paying attention to those who can help you in some way, while ignoring those who seem to need all the help—you’ll be sinning and condemned by the law. For if a person could keep all of the laws and yet break just one; it would be like breaking them all. The same God who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also says, “Do not murder.” If you break either of these commands, you’re a lawbreaker, no matter how you look at it. So live your life in such a way that acknowledges that one day you will be judged. But the law that judges also gives freedom, although you can’t expect to be shown mercy if you refuse to show mercy. But hear this: mercy always wins against judgment! Thank God!

 Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t make any sense to say you have faith and act in a way that denies that faith. Mere talk never gets you very far, and a commitment to Jesus only in words will not save you. It would be like seeing a brother or sister without any clothes out in the cold and begging for food, and saying, “Shalom, friend, you should get inside where it’s warm and eat something,” but doing nothing about his needs—leaving him cold and alone on the street. What good would your words alone do? The same is true with faith. Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it’s as good as dead.

Blessings and have a beautiful weekend ❤

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What is your assignment for today?

“The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” Isaiah 50:4

When you pray, do you expect to hear from the Lord? Do you believe that He speaks, or that He still speaks today?

He most certainly does! And as followers of Christ, we are called not only to be disciples, or learners, but also ambassadors and bright lights, offering hope to the hopeless and leading people to Jesus- the One who loves them and can set them free. What an awesome and joyful privilege!

Before you become overwhelmed, frightened, discouraged or anxious let me just assure that the Lord knows what He is doing and He knows who He wants to reach through you. There are hurting, lost people all around us but that doesn’t mean they are all ready to receive His help. Many people don’t want His help, at least not yet…which is where prayer comes in. Keep praying for people, for difficult situations, for seemingly impossible circumstances. Trust that God hears you. If He wants you to do something further, He will let you know.

Back to the assignment part…

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He preached to multitudes of people but He would also seek out the one person who desperately needed His help. Jesus always sought the will of God.

One of my favorite examples is found in Mark 4:36 – Mark 5:20. Jesus had been preaching to the crowds but as evening came He told His disciples, “Let’s go to the other side” (of the Sea of Galilee). There is a companion lesson with the storm and Jesus calming the sea but I will save that for a later post. Bottom line is that Jesus and His disciples disembarked in the Gadarenes region and were met by a demon possessed man. He was in terrible bondage, so much so that he howled, cut himself with rocks and ran around naked like an animal. Human attempts to restrain the poor man no longer worked. The man ran to Jesus and fell at his feet, where upon the demons inside him began to speak. They recognized Jesus. They know who He is and what authority He wields. Jesus commanded the demons to leave the man, the demons entered a herd of pigs and promptly caused the herd to stampede down to the sea and drown.

The good news was that the tormented man was restored and found fully clothed, sitting next to Jesus. Jesus had rescued and delivered a person who had no other means of getting free. I would guess that most people had given up on him…but not God. Possibly not the man’s family, either, which you will see later.

Anyway, there were also some herdsmen who witnessed what happened. They ran and informed the townspeople. The people came out to see what all the commotion was about, then recognize the formerly demon-possessed man and notice how he has changed. They become frightened and beg Jesus to leave their area. That’s another story also, but suffice to say, Jesus doesn’t stay where He is not wanted, which is why we don’t have to “make” people accept Jesus. He told us how we are to respond when His message is rejected- just don’t do it with a haughty attitude or in anger.

So, back to the passage: As Jesus is leaving, the man begs him (Jesus) to allow him to travel with them, but Jesus says no. Rather, He instructs the man to return home to his own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for him and how much mercy he has been shown.

Awesome! This man was restored to his family & community- a living example of the mercy and power of Christ! Perhaps someone, his mother or father, sister, brother or friend had been crying out to God on that man’s behalf, pleading with God to have mercy, to heal him and set him free…and at the right time, God sent Jesus.

Someone, somewhere is crying out to God for someone you know; someone in your realm of influence. Perhaps the person is crying out himself, pleading with God to have mercy—or crying out to the air because they are not sure if God is real, and if so, does He care….does He see…

You are their answer. You know Jesus. You know what He has done in your life. You have seen and heard what He has done for others. You can lead them to Christ. You can offer words of hope, truth and encouragement. You can be His hands that comfort and heal, feed and clothe. You can speak the truth that sets people free.

Be a willing vessel today. Allow the Lord to lead you to people who need and want His help. Something in your testimony, in your experience with God, will be a blessing to someone else today.

God bless you all!