James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing when we share the Love

James 5:19-20

19 My brethren, if anyone among you strays from the truth and one turns him back,20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

I love that James says anyone,  that stood out to me!  We are all candidates to join in the redeeming process.  We are all invited into the rescue mission of His children.  We are all to be wooing the lost into the love of Christ!
“will cover a multitude of sins.”
Not a hook or a trick to “save us” not a “get out jail free card”  But a reflection of our hearts and the hearts we are leaning into.  When we are drawn to, or drawing others into the fold of Christ, we walk straighter, we think clearer, we act kinder.
So to recap James:  
First he told them of their importance in Gods family and James has urged them to stand strong.
Then he encourages the church to make their faith their own and be doers of the word and to bite their tongues.
And explains that this is important because the tongue has great potential, and to not simply to use that power for our gain, but for Christ because He is the point.  
That our only hope is to seek wisdom from above and to die to self.
That we must be humble and surrender our plans and agendas and that we must not be deceived by our own prideful hearts, we are all sinners in need of saving.
He encourages, just examine your priorities and the things you cling to for security, and if you love money and put your hope in it, watch out!
He has empathy and says, I know its not going to be easy, in fact, it might be kinda hard but I promise it will be worth it, so pray and stay in the fight for delight in the Lord.
Then finally he says, Love Gods children and share the Love of Christ with them.  
Because all Joy and Flourishing is on the line.
This is the message of James…
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James & the Path to all joy and Flourishing when we stay in the fight

James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

“Is anyone suffering? Then he must pray.”

How often have I looked questionably upon “that church Lady” who always has “some little” or “trivial” or “seemly silly” prayer request.  But we are called to pray and we are basically told to get out of the way of the mourning and the sad and the depressed and just PRAY!  Let us all, require the comfort of prayer.

This makes me think of a dear friend sharing with me her burden to morn the loss of her first little baby.  She felt judged and as if she needed to keep her agony to herself, “because of a lack of tolerance from her peers”  Who thought she should “be past her mourning”.  What a lost chance to grow deeper in friendship, when we refuse to allow others to morn and weep and be welcome in our presence as they are sad.

But rather encourage the mourning and the suffering to pray.  To name their needs and anxiously and hopefully await the Lord and His comfort.  Pray and seek the Lord.  Allow those going through the suffer to marinate in prayer and not put expectations on them, or ourselves to “Get over it”.

This is different then pouting.  It is praying.  The same is true for Joys and Celebration.  Let the Happy be Happy.  They aren’t bothering you, and its not about you.  Other emotions won’t diminish your own, they only bring fullness to life together.

and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

I don’t think this has anything to do with the link sometimes put between sin and suffering.

ie. you have cancer, you must have unconfessed sin in your life….

I think it is for those on the side lines who can be proud and judging.  Cause it is easy to see suffering, and those giving compassion to the suffer and feel left out.  Life, “Hey I’m suffering too, give me love and compassion…”  With self-centredness that can turn into “Well it serves them right, don’t you see the sawdust in their eye?  No wonder their are suffer…”

Yet this is following up on “Its not about you”  Its about Love, Humility, and living Christ out into our community.

We must offer hope and love and encouragement to our brothers and sisters.  So we can be perfected in our faith and find all Joy and Flourishing.

Prayer brings humility and healing.  Its hard to have conflict with a person you are praying for.  Wether it is for the suffering or the cheerful, everyone needs tolerance as they journey through their process.

I see a call for tolerance for those who are continually expressing their struggle or sadness.  Also for the “obnoxious bliss ” of the new bride the new mom or the new truck owner.

Share the Prayer of the Suffering and the Joyful.

We can fulfill this when, we understand others journeys to joy have nothing to do with our own path of, mountain top and valley walking.  Because some one is happy, dose not mean my life is sad.  Because someone is suffering, dose not demising my struggle.

Its about us all coming together and praying alongside each other and holding one another up to the light of love.  Learning to name our experiences good and bad and laying both at the foot of the cross with either thankfulness or petition.  Always staying faithful to see Gods love in all circumstances.  That is the Peace that grows from Love Tolerance and Prayer.  That is the journey that brings us to faithfulness and Contented knowledge that God is good all the time.

That is the message of James.

 

James and the Path to all Joy and Flourishing, wile we wait.

James 5:7-12

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

What a reminder to be anxiously kingdom minding.  Patience not for our own gain and relief but for the Glory of the coming of Christ.  James was written to the suffering and persecuted, Jewish Christians, living in the shadow of Jesus Death.  We are reminded of the suffering of the profits and the virtue of a steadfast faith.  Remember these were baby Christians and they were under great pressure. This letter was to be an encouragement, a reminder, a battle cry, to Keep the Faith.

Am I much different.  I do not worry for my spiritual freedom from powers or violence.  But the power and violence of media invading my very home leaves me isolated and out of step with the world I liven.  It is the silent, gentle persecution of the complacent, non-offending, Canadian culture that is killing the family and the faithful and the Church.

This is my battle to fight.  This is my challenge, I must to quicken with the hope of eternity.  I must see it in the eyes of every child.  If I do not put my heart and hands to the task of the Gospel and the infusing of virtues, that point to the cross,  I am but a wasted pawn in the war with life and death.  Just standing in the way not contributing to the promise of hope and everlasting Joy.

My complacency condemns the lost Children, I see them as just fine, and a hope for this worlds future.  When I fail to see the gruesome fate of those lost from the truth. I fail to see the potential suffering an eternal damnation I am inactivity a part of.

I must keep the faith and stay in the fight for spreading the Gospel.  I am to be counter cultural.  That is as simple as committing to modesty and as challenging to accept my husband as the Head of our Home.  It is to die to self and to see it as gain.  It is to stand for truth even when it offends, thought I must be committed to impartiality, as I pour out Jesus Love equally, even when I don’t agree.

pa.tience : noun – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering with out getting angry or upset.

stead.fast : adjective – resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering

suf.fer.ing : noun – the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship

The point is to remember God is still working on us all, so stay humble, stay faithful, stay in the fight for faith because the furthering of the kingdom is on the line.  We are to allow Jesus to touch every aspect of our person our mind and our soul so nothing in our lives is exempt from the changing power of the Holy Spirit.  Including the Power of Prayer for those lost in the wilderness, brushing in and out of our days.

I am to be a woman of truth and commitment and I must follow through.  My yes is my Yes and my No my No.  If I can not stand by my own word and know what is right and wrong for me to do.  Then how can I stand by Gods word and discern what is good and true?  How could anyone take my faith or the bible seriously if I’m so inconstant?  Who would have hope in Christ with wishy- washy Christians?

So be steadfast, as you commit yourself as ambassadors of Christ, so the Lords Love will be known.  Do not lose focus, do not lose hope, do not lose sight of eternity…

This is the message of James….

James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing, when we go with Gods Flow

James 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabbath. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Its a warning, in the end your sin will be the only thing counted, not your earthly treasure.  A warning against a self-centered way of living, a warning to not resist righteousness.

We see a repeat of Jesus teaching from Luke 6:24-31

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

But don’t freak out if you got a little money in the bank.  Money is like fire, its good and keeps you warm but if you are silly with it, you will get burned.  Money is also a good limpness test of where your heart is.  What are you spending your money on?  Think about it…  Our desire for money and what it buys reveals more about ourselves then both our words and our actions.

I hear this great quote and Ill share it with you because it calls to light the false teaching of the world, that money solves everything.

“Earthy goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry.  But in truth, they are what causes anxiety.  Dietrich Bonhoffer”

Bonhoeffer knew that when you get extra cash you worry about what to do with it.  “Should I put in on debt or save it?  What is best RRSP RESP Tax Free saving account?  Maybe we should purchase that thing we keep “not affording”  we will never get new couches with the budget we have, may be this is our only chance…  Fixed mortgage or open?  Bank or Credit Union?  Think of all the the fights you have with your spouse around money?  Think about all the stereo types you unintentionally place in your children minds about money, just to have an excuse as why you can’t get them this or that, but you don’t want to say no to them.  “Thats what rich people buy”  “We can’t afford that because mommy choose to stay home with you”  “Study hard so you can get a good education some day, and then you can buy whatever you like”  None of this is helpful…  Money is not the cure to our worry.

And stuff create anxiety too, you buy a new couch and suddenly your stressed out every time the kids look at it.  You buy a new truck and you lose your mind with it gets dinged by the door beside you in Walmart.  Now Im not saying just have crappy stuff so you don’t need to teach your kids respect others property.  Im saying that being a good stewart of, and placing your value and hope in, is 2 different thing.  And we have to take inventory of our hearts when we find ourselves, counting our pennies instead of generously living with Gods children.

“You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.”

Our self-centredness is in stark opposition to everything God has in mind for us.  The more we focused on our gain, our desires and our agenda.  The further we move away from Gods leading.  It is a narrow path that requires us to push others out of the way to get ahead.  In the moments we step on Gods, Children’s, toes we condemn ourselves.

So love generously, lavishly, sacrificially.  Because God first loved us and gave us everything for us, even His own Son, and we are to be generous with what He has lent to us here in this world.

That is the message of James…