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Devotion for Monday, May 23, 2022

“But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away” (James 1:9-10).

Too many in this world act as though they have earned what they have. But St. Paul asks: “what do you have that you did not receive?”  The one born in a third world country is not getting what they deserve any more than someone born in a rich country is being rewarded.  That thinking belongs to the Hindus who say that we are reincarnated according to deeds in a past life.  It is not of the Lord.  The Lord has created us and placed us where He has placed us according to His will.

Lord, help me understand that I am influenced by this world and how it thinks.  Let me listen to the pure word You give me so that I may know that only in You is there hope and a future.  Lead me, Lord, into Your truth as I look forward in hope, no matter my circumstances, to Your goodness in eternity.  Lead me, Lord, according to Your will into the right way of thinking about all circumstances.

Thank You Lord Jesus for giving me all the grace I need.  Lead me according to Your will so that I do not look to where you have placed me, except, perhaps, in the waters of my own baptism.  Lead me in the right way Lord so that I would now and always be guided by You and not my ideas of how to think about things.  Give me humility in the knowledge that You are making of me a child of the Father.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, May 22, 2022

“For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:7).

There are many in this world who are double-minded.  Who are they?  The ones who have the world and the faith on equal footing in their minds.  Such a thing is not possible, but they act as if it were.  To have your mind on the things of the world is to have doubts in your mind.  To have your mind on the things of God is to be right minded.  You cannot expect the Lord to bless You while doubting Him.

Do not let me continue being unstable, Lord, but ask You in my right mind for wisdom.  Let me know that I cannot require anything of You, but only ask.  Guide me, Lord, so that I would see where I have been wrong-minded and simply accept Your grace to become righteous.  Lead me, O Lord, in the right direction in order that I may receive the good gifts You would have me accept for Your sake.

Lord Jesus, You walked among us in great humility.  Lead me Lord to see that in You alone is all hope.  Help me to turn to You in honesty and with forthright anticipation of Your goodness, mercy, and wisdom being given me by grace.  Where I have the wrong frame of mind, change it.  Where I have not sought wisdom, set me on the right course.  In all things, lead me in Your way to everlasting life.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, May 21, 2022

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

This is no claim-it power statement.  God gives wisdom to those who ask.  Now ask.  Ask and believe that you will receive.  There is a caveat though.  You need to do your part.  It is not a matter of some conical cap coming down over your head and then wisdom is dispensed.  It is about being intentional in your walk and applying the things of the Lord to your life.  Do not be tossed about by this world; but live in the will of the Father.

Lord, I am buffeted by the winds of this age.  Blowhards are everywhere and I’m not sure what to believe.  Guide me, Lord, in the way You would have me go.  Help me to look to You, the Creator of all good, and accept things as they really are.  Lead me, O Lord, in the way of wisdom so that I may grow to be more like Christ and live as You created me to live.  Give me wisdom, Lord, I pray, in order that I may understand.

Holy Spirit, Who are sometimes called wisdom.  Working through Your word, You come into my mind and heart and help me see through the fog of this age.  Guide me in the grace and mercy which is mine through Christ so that I may pursue wisdom.  Open my eyes and ears to scripture so that I may connect the dots and piece things together.  Grant me a spirit that rejoices in truth as You lead me into all truth and understanding.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, May 20, 2022

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

We know that the goal  of sanctification is to be finished and whole; complete.  We know that there is a journey between here and there.  What is it you lack?  Ask the Lord.  Look, that is the whole point of salvation.  The Lord has come near you so that you may be saved.  So come to Him and let Him save You.  Don’t stand at a distance and be unapproachable.  Come near Him and be saved by Him.  Ask and you will receive.

Jesus told us that we do not receive because we do not ask.  We are encouraged here once again that, if we do not understand, simply come to the Lord and He will give understanding.  How else do you explain uneducated men writing some of the most profound literature of all time?  Not just the writers of Scripture, but even those like Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress)?  The Lord freely gives wisdom to those who ask.

Lord Jesus, I know that I have not received when I have asked because I have asked with wrong motive.  Help me to have a pure heart and to ask with purity and humility that I may receive wisdom and understand the truth of the faith You have given me.  Guide me, Lord Jesus, in the way of truth and grant that in wisdom I may endure unto the completion You give through grace.  Lead the way this day, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, May 19, 2022

“And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).

Do you notice that it does not say get the law right and don’t sin?  It says endure and through endurance you will set aside sin.  And what is perfect and complete?  It literally means finished and whole.  There is a hole in you and who will fill it?  Will it be you?  No, despite all you can do the hole will still be there.  Will it be the Lord?  Yes. By His grace you will be finished and whole.  With the Lord, you have all you need.

Lord, You know where I am anxious and missing necessary things.  You know those parts of me that need to be worked upon.  You know me better than I know myself.  I have always been known, but You alone have fully known me.  Lead me, O Lord, so that I may be made whole as You finish me in this age, preparing me for the age to come.  Lead me through what You are doing in order that I may be completed in You.

Lord Jesus, You have come so that I may have life and have it abundantly.  You have come to take away my sin that I may walk in the newness of life.  Through all that may come my way, grant that I may look to You, who alone is able to guide me perfectly, to endure what comes in this life.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to walk humbly with You and follow You where You lead.  May I learn to endure to the perfect result of Your salvation.

Devotion for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).

How is it that so many people believe that if one is Christian all will go well in this world?  This belief came from a time where many were in deep depravation, hoping for better in this life, but it has altered into thinking that if I ask God, I will receive manna.  We will have trials.  We will suffer.  That is what sin does: it brings suffering.  We live in a world filled with suffering.

The Lord did not promise that we would be exempt from suffering in this world.  Just the opposite.  As He suffered, we shall suffer.  The promise is redemption and eternal life with Him.  You will encounter trials.  Know that these will help grow in you what the Lord knows you need.  Do not believe the lie that it is otherwise but live in the truth the Lord has already spoken that you may have true and abiding life.

Lord and Master, You have come to lead the way.  Guide me, dear Lord, in the way of life so that I may now and always abide in You.  Help me understand that with You and in You alone is the hope of relief from suffering.  Guide me according to Your goodness to see that there is and will be suffering.  If you so bless me, I will grow old and die.  Keep me in Your promises, O Lord, and hold me close to You.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, May 17, 2022

“James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are  dispersed abroad: Greetings” (James 1:1).

Sometimes we worry about who does and who does not pay enough attention to whatever we may understand as a “servant of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18).  James is a slave (that is the actual Greek word) of Jesus.  It may chafe us, but we were created to serve.  We will serve our selves, an idea, or the Lord.  James is writing to the dispersed Jews around the Roman Empire.  Paul’s writings were primarily to Gentiles who became Christian.  The Lord built a team of bond-servants to reach all who would receive the Gospel.

“Greetings,” He says.  We are to greet one another as brothers and sisters and in the love of Christ know that our Lord is at work, building up the saints.  You and I who call ourselves Christian have a Master.  Not a boss.  Not just a leader, but a Master.  It is He who must lead because what we know is not enough to live the life into which He calls us.  Come then into the life He offers and see Him as your Lord and Master.

Lord and Master Jesus, I too often assume what You said later in John when You called the disciples friend.  That was only after they had been with you for  three years.  Lord, You are the Master.  Lead me as You will, when You will, and where You will.  Guide me according to Your goodness to see that in You alone is all my hope.  Bring me closer to You, Lord Jesus, so that I may learn from You and follow You always.  Amen.    

Devotion for Monday, May 16, 2022

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philemon 1:25)

We used to respond to this, “And also with your spirit.”  Re-instill in your mind that You are saved by grace and that grace is Christ Himself.  Know that He abides in you and you should abide in Him when Christ is with your spirit through faith.  You were born flesh and blood and the Lord makes your spirit alive.  In the mystery of the faith, the Lord is making of you more than you can imagine.

Yes, Lord, come with your Spirit and dwell in me!  The Lord is the author and finisher of our faith and unless He acts, nothing can or will be done.  Receive the grace of Christ that you may be made alive in Him.  Apart from Him you can do nothing, but in Him you can do all things.  Come then and be truly alive (for He is the life) and receive the grace of Christ in a living faith.  Know by grace through faith  that He is always ready to forgive your sins when you repent and confess them.

Lord Jesus, You won from the cross all that is need for my redemption, but that is the beginning.  Help me abide with You now and walk in this grace You have given me.  Enliven my spirit that I would be alive in You.  Guide me according to Your goodness that I would now and always abide humbly in the truth You have revealed once for all to all the saints.  By Your grace, count me among their number.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, May 15, 2022

“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 23-24).

Is this Mark who wrote the Gospel?  Is this Luke who wrote the Gospel?  The church has always been very connected.  You are a part of a fellowship that has been strong throughout history.  The communion of saints is a very real thing.  You have been grafted in by the grace of Christ.  Do you consider yourself a part of this continuity and family?  You should, for you are.  Send greetings to one another.

Lord, I think of my local fellowship as the church.  And sometimes I do not think of these things at all.  Help me realize that You are knitting together Your church.  You have brought together people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  Lead me, Lord, in the way You know I need to go and guide me according to Your word to be an encouragement to others, knowing that we are eternally connected through faith in You.

Lord Jesus, You died for the church, Your bride, in order that we may be eternally connected.  Guide me, knowing that I am a part of the eternal fellowship which You have created through the grace and mercy You have given from the cross.  Lead me, Lord, now and always to live in the love You are teaching me so that I may now and always be guided by Your goodness.  Be with me, Lord, this and every day.  Amen.