Daily Devotional Thoughts This Week’s Study: James 1:1-8 Monday - From James, a bondservant of God. James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings (James 1:1). Some believe the author of James is James, the brother of Jesus.  However, we can't prove just who he is.  He could very well be Jesus' brother, he could just as reliably be another James.  He gives us no indication of just who he is and makes no other assertions about himself other than to tell us that he is "a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." That this is James, the brother of Christ, is quite likely for we find him cited as an apostolic authority in both Acts and Galatians (see Galatians 1:19; Acts 15). Just who he was is not all that important.  The fact that he was "a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ," now that is important! May we so live that others will say about us: "He was a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ."  "She was a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ." Tuesday -  Count it all joy! My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2). If you've been with us as we studied Philippians you've already seen that "joy" is something Paul believed should be in the lives of all Christians.  Here in in our Scripture today, we find James focusing on Joy.  What did he write? "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials."  Imagine that, when things go wrong and trials multiply, when friends let us down and our enemies do us harm, we are supposed to count it all joy! And here is why: "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."  Count your various trials as joy why?  Because the testing of your faith produces patience (V. 3).  And going on to James 1:4 we discover that as patience works we become perfect and complete, lacking nothing. When we understand and assimilate that, we can indeed count our trials as joy!  Joy because these trials are making us perfect and complete, LACKING NOTHING! Wednesday -  Need Wisdom?  Ask! (Part 1) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). Is there ever a time when I don't need wisdom?  Especially, however, do I need wisdom when I am suffering trials and tribulation.  Wisdom to discern if I brought this trial on myself and if so, wisdom to learn from the experience.  Wisdom to know how to proceed, wisdom to know how to extricate myself from the mess.  If this trial has nothing to do with my own stupidity or rebellion, I still need wisdom to endure and to press forward as God leads. As we've seen in past devotionals, we often find joy and trials and tribulations all tied together.  The Christian, we are told, will suffer for being a Christian.  While we should not actively seek persecution, we need to understand that it is inevitable.  And we need great measures of God's strength and wisdom to not only endure, but to thrive in the midst of trial.  Most of all we need God's help and wisdom to be His light and salt to this dark and dying world even as we suffer. Here is the good news: God's promise is sure!  "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it will be given to him."  Not it might be given to him.  "It shall be given to him" (Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible by J.N. Young, 1862, 1898).   And that, my friend, is something you can count on!  When you need wisdom, ask God, and it shall be given! Thursday -  Need Wisdom?  Ask! (Part 2) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:5-6). Here is how Young's Literal Translation puts it:  "and if any of you do lack wisdom, let him ask from God, who is giving to all liberally, and not reproaching, and it shall be given to him" (Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible by J.N. Young, 1862, 1898).  Today we focus on the middle of this verse where we find that when we ask God gives wisdom "to all liberally and without reproach."  The word translated "liberally" literally means "simply, and this accords with the following negative clause, upbraiding not. It is pure, simple giving of good, without admixture of evil or bitterness"  (Marvin Vincent, Vincent's Word Studies).   When we need and ask for wisdom, we can count on the fact that God gives it liberally, holding nothing back.  God gives us the wisdom we need without mixing it with any taint of evil bitterness.   If our trial is brought about by our own rebellion or stupidity,  God doesn't turn His back on us.  No, He still gives us all the wisdom we need and He doesn't mix it with anything but His love! Friday/Weekend -  Need Wisdom?  Ask! (Part 3) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:6-8). The one condition for receiving wisdom, other than asking, is to ask in unwavering faith.  Today's verse succinctly states: "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting."   James goes on to explain that one who doubts God is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  He even labels the doubter as a "double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."  That is a seemingly strong indictment to hand down to one who merely lacks faith.  And the word translated "doubter" does not indicate "unbelief, but express[es] the hesitation which balances between faith and unbelief, and inclines toward the latter" (Marvin R. Vincent, Vincent's Word Studies). Why would James characterize a doubter as double-minded and unstable?  I believe the answer is found as we realize the one being doubted is the Creator God Of the Universe.  We must realize that "God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).  We are each given faith.  What we do with that faith is up to us.  If we choose to doubt the all-powerful, Creator God, the one who loves us so much that He came to this earth and died in our place,  if we choose to doubt such a wonderfully loving and powerful, need- supplying God we rightfully should be called double-minded and unstable! So when we need God’s help let’s ask in faith, for our God is big enough to fulfil his promises!
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Press <Control>+D to bookmark this page Made with Xara 2010 Marvin Glass, Inc. And now back to more great Southern Gospel Music!