What a topic! Who ever said the Bible was not relevant anymore! We do tend to be judgmental over appearances (I don’t think it’s just me). I’ve heard tell of a pastor who, on his first Sunday in his new church, dressed in tattered clothes and entered the building like every other parishioner. You can imagine the anticipation in church that day was palpable as the people waited to hear the new preacher! What a surprise the congregation had when their pastor came from the shadows where he had been asked to wait and walked up to take his place behind the pulpit. He preached a compelling, wordless sermon that day.
James’ Jewish audience must have needed to hear about the dangers of prejudice. It isn’t a bad reminder for any of us. There has to be a healthy way to associate with people who are different from us. It’s easy to look at people and see them through the lens of some stereotype we’ve learned along the way. What helps me when I’m surrounded by people who look different than me (and in Mexico I am surely the minority) is to remember God loves them as much as he loves me.
Continue reading “James 2:1-13 – Prejudice”
One of the basic themes of James’ letter is that God exalts the poor and humbles the rich. Why does he do that? It’s so only the humble can boast. Think about that for a second. When we allow God to work in our lives and give God the credit for what we have accomplished, our whole mindset shifts. Who gets the glory? Certainly not us, and rightly so.
Even Paul was clear on this. He told us he was glad to boast about his weaknesses because that showed God at work when he overcame times of adversity. Our text here in James is using the example of being poor and rich. James may be recalling Psalm 49:6 which reads, “They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches.” Think about some wealthy people you know. Do they humble themselves before God and give God the credit for their abundance? Or are they more like the one described by the psalmist?
Continue reading “James 1:9-18 – Humility”
Read Proverbs 29:1-14
When you hear the word “righteous” what images go through
your mind? Do you picture someone acting “holier than Thou” lording over
everyone with hypocrisy? Or do you picture an upright, holy person, wanting to
please God in everything they say and do? We have probably observed both types
of individuals, each claiming to be righteous. To be truly righteous, we must
be holy and in tune to God’s plan for us. We are righteous when we are connected
to God and our desires are to please him and do his work in the world.
There are several verses in this passage that speak to how a righteous person acts. In verse 6, “Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.” In verse 7, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Continue reading “Proverbs 29:1-14 – Be Righteous!”
Read Proverbs 14:21-35
There are so many good messages in today’s reading. We
should fear the Lord, be understanding, do good, be godly and with it comes
great benefit. But what about the poor? Is anybody looking out for them? I am
bombarded with requests from poor souls in developing countries to help them,
send food, send money, help them escape poverty. I wish I could help every
But in reality, I’d run out of money to support myself if I
were to take on the task of helping everyone who asks me. What I can offer is
prayer. I can pray for the mission organizations that we do support with
funding. They know the best ways to help the most people. Just throwing dollars
at those who beg will only be a short-term solution and not solve the bigger
problem. My mission dollars will go a long way in the right hands. Yet my heart
still cries out for those poor souls who are seeking my help.
Continue reading “Proverbs 14:21-35 – Bless the Poor”
Read Luke 6:20-26
In this passage we are given hope and a warning, or word of caution. Nobody wants to have sorrow or misfortune, so the second part of today’s reading can be a bit frightening. The first half, however, is very uplifting.
What defines poor and what defines rich in this case? Continue reading “Luke 6:20-26 – Just Wait”