A man was found dead next to a dumpster. As they looked in his pockets for his identification, they discovered several checks. When totaled, they were worth more than a thousand dollars. But, they did him no good. He never cashed them to receive their value.
As we read God’s Word, we find promise after promise – all having value to the believer when “cashed in.” But as with the checks of the dead man, they must be “turned into cash” to have any value. We must go to God and claim His promises to meet our needs.
James said that God “does not resent your asking. But when you ask Him, be sure you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea?”
There are times when it is easier to believe in God than it is to believe in the fact that he deeply cares for each of us and our every need. Surely, if He is bound by His Word – and He is - we can go to Him “in faith believing.” We must always remember that nothing is so small that it escapes His concern, or that any problem is so large that He cannot solve it.
We limit God by the limitations we place on Him. The problems we have with our faith are our problems – not God’s. “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you,” said Jesus.Prayer:Give us a faith, Father, that is larger than our problems and a trust that matches Your power. Help us to grow in Your faith and not remain in our doubts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: James 1:1-8 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player is quoted as having said, “I’ve lost more than 300 games. There were twenty-six games when I was given the ball in the last seconds to make the basket that would have won the game. But it didn’t happen – I missed the shot and we lost. I have failed over and over. And that’s why I succeed.”
Strange quote from someone who elevated basketball to a higher level through his skills. We rarely think of such an achiever in any sport as someone who turned failure into success. High-achievers seem to come fully developed and highly skilled.
However, experience is always part of failure. And if we chose, we can use the experience to gain insight and from insight we can gain knowledge and from the knowledge we can gain wisdom and learn to turn failure into success.
The Christian has a wonderful resource to help in this process: the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us and is present, ready and willing to give us the wisdom we need to become successful in life.
There is one condition, however. If we want wisdom, we must go to God in humility and ask for it and then use it for His glory. God will give us whatever we need if we willingly use His gifts for His glory and not our own self-interests or self-advancement.
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to know that when we fail we need to “fall forward” into Your waiting arms, knowing that Your desire is to work with us to help us succeed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
During one of his fights Gene Tunney broke both of his hands. Some thought that he would never fight again because of the severe damage. However, he did not give up boxing and years later said that “breaking my hands was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Realizing that he would never be able to hit his opponents hard enough to win a world championship by knocking them out, he chose to become a scientific fighter. So, he decided that he would become a boxer and not a slugger. As a result of that decision he became a champion.
Often the obstacles we face in life are God’s way of actually giving us an opportunity to grow and develop and learn faith and trust. Many times we come face to face with unforeseen and overwhelming problems we never thought we would have to face. They may be simple or significant, large or small, few or many. But each and every one of them come to us as a gift from God and are a sign of His grace and overflowing love to offer us an opportunity to grow into His likeness.
What may seem as something that would destroy us may be God’s way of presenting a new opportunity to us to prove the promises in His Word. With His power and strength, with His wisdom and knowledge, with His guidance and protection we can overcome all things.
Prayer: Increase our faith, Father, and enable us to see beyond what is to what can be. Open our eyes and minds that we may willingly see You at work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
He rose from slavery to become one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century. He discovered hundreds of uses for various crops, including 300 products from peanuts, 100 products for the sweet potato, 75 for pecans and introduced crop rotation for plant nutrition and many products for cosmetics.
Quite a legacy for one man.
As the son of a slave he understood one problem that the farmers of the South faced: How to expand the number of crops they could grow. He first thought about peanuts – but realized that there was no market for them. He soon recognized his need for God’s help.
So, he prayed: “Mr. Creator, why did You make the peanut?”
One day he said, “God gave me a handful of peanuts and went with me to the laboratory and together we got down to work.” That was the beginning of a career that was founded on a simple prayer, a man who honored God and brought great things to the world.
“If you need wisdom,” James wrote, “if you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him and He will gladly tell you!”
The word wisdom means practical, insightful discernment. It begins with recognizing the power of God, respecting His power and depending upon Him to show us what we can do with the gifts He has given us.
Prayer:How blest we are, Heavenly Father, that we do not have to waste time and worry about what to do with our lives. May we look to You for Your guidance every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Little Martha was in a hurry to run out the door so she would not be late for school. In her haste she tripped and fell, hitting her head on the floor. Immediately, a bump appeared and frightened her. As the tears ran down her cheeks she climbed into her mother’s arms to be comforted.
Her Mom, holding her tightly, placed a cold pad on the lump and said, “Let’s pray and ask Jesus to heal you so you can go to school.”
Soon the tears stopped, Martha left her mother’s lap, stood up and said, “Jesus healed me. Now I can go to school.”
That night when they knelt to pray the mother asked, “What do you want to thank Jesus for tonight.”
“My bump,” answered Martha quickly. “Because now I know He loves me because He made my bump go away.”
“Whenever trouble comes your way,” wrote James, “let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested your endurance has an opportunity to grow.” In the life of every Christian, there is always a connection between the problem and the promise, between the hardship and the hope.
James reminds us to turn our difficulties into optimism and to have a positive outlook for life. Troubles are not an end in themselves. If we are willing to work with God, He can teach us perseverance.
Prayer:May we understand and accept, Father, that “whatever comes our way” is for our good and that we can profit from every hardship as we learn to trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
A man once said to Mark Twain, “It is my deepest desire to go to the mount where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and recite them there!” Puzzled, Mark Twain asked, “Don’t you think it would be better to stay at home and try to keep them there?”
The Lord did not give us the Ten Commandments to review, but to reveal; not to look at but to live; not to admire but to acknowledge in the way we behave.
There are many who say one thing with their lips but show another thing with their lives. There are those who say the right things but live the wrong way. And there are some who speak the language of faith but give no evidence of it in their lives. The proof of our faith is not our words but our works.
Some say, “I am a Christian” but if they are watched closely there is no evidence of Christ in their lives. We are reminded by James that we are not only to be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. A good time to start doing good is now. A good place to start doing good is where you are.
Prayer:Father, help me to follow the directions for living that I find in Your Word. Do not allow me to deceive myself into thinking that I am acting on Your behalf when my behavior does not reflect what Your Word tells me to do. In Your Name. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
The new bank president decided that he would meet individually with each employee to introduce himself. He wanted them to know that he was very interested in their work and how important they were to the success of the bank.
After introducing himself to all of the employees, he asked one of them to come to his office. After she sat down, he asked, “How long have you been working here?”
Proudly she responded, “Forty years. And in all that time I’ve only made one little mistake.”
“That’s fine,” he grumbled. “But in the future, be more careful.”
We all make mistakes. And there are at least three things we can do about them:
We can promise never to make another one. That, however, is impractical since we know that promise would be impossible to keep.
We can give up and never try to do anything else again as long as we live. And we know that’s impractical because life goes on.
Or we can learn from our mistakes and profit from them as though they were our teachers. When things do not work out as intended, we can go to God in prayer and ask for His wisdom which is available upon request.
Prayer:Lord, Your Word assures us that “if we need wisdom and want to know what to do” all we need to do is ask. May we learn to seek Your counsel and insight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5-9 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you…
Someone said that the average man has sixty-nine pounds of muscle, forty-one pounds of bones but only three pounds of brain. (Now that may explain many things!)
Henry Spangler was not average. He was alert.
He worked as a janitor but had problems with dust. Whenever he swept the floor, the dust would rise, causing him to sneeze and cough. His eyes would run and it even caused him to have serious headaches. But he did not quit. He began to think about the dust – not himself. He began to search for ways to suck up dust rather than scattering it through the air. If only, he thought, there would be a way to capture the dust in a container. He asked God to help to solve his problem.
His search finally led him to the idea of a vacuum cleaner. After much thought, he shared his idea with an old friend and asked him to finance the idea and work with him. It resulted in the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner and his old friend was H. W. Hoover.
James wrote, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask...He’ll tell you.” God can solve any problem we have if we look to Him for His solution.
It’s never the size of our problem but our faith and perseverance.
Prayer:Lord, help us to look beyond ourselves when we have a problem and know that You already have the solution if we simply ask for Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5-8 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.
Gandhi, considered to be India's spiritual leader, once considered converting to Christianity. One Sunday morning he went to a Protestant church to talk to the pastor about what it meant to become a Christian. As he entered the church, an usher refused to seat him and sent him away.
“If Christians have a caste system,” he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.”
In the letter that James wrote to the Jewish Christians who lived in the Gentile community that was outside of Palestine, he strongly condemned prejudice. Graciously, but sternly, he said to them, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus if you favor some people over others?”
Unfortunately, it is easier to accept a well-dressed, impressive looking person into our homes and congregations than one who looks needy and unkempt. We would rather identify with people who look like they have “made it in life” than those who are “apparent failures.” This type of attitude is sinful. God sees all people as equal because His Son leveled the playing field when He died on the cross for “whosoever.” Whosoever is all-inclusive.
Prayer:Prevent us, Father, from having hearts that are hard, minds that are set and attitudes that favor some more than others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 2:1-13 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Sewing was very important to Mrs. Lofting. Whenever she had a moment to spare, she would go to her sewing room and take out her needle and thread and the sewing project she was working on.
But she had a problem. Whenever she was working with a piece of thick, heavy material, the needle she was pushing with her thumb would often pierce it.
One day her sympathetic husband seeing her happiness interrupted with pain became concerned. He went to his shop, found a piece of soft metal and turned it into a bell-shaped covering for her thumb. Jokingly he called it a “thumb-bell.” Soon, other seamstresses became aware of the “thumb-bell” and wanted one for their sewing. Now they are called “thimbles” and are found in nearly every home.
What we do when faced with a problem should come as a result of our dependence upon God. James wrote, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you.” This “wisdom” he is talking about not only means knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions, gain insight and get us through difficult times. This promise of God is ours to accept and act upon whenever life seems to be beyond us.
Prayer:How gracious of You, Father, to provide Your wisdom to guide us, guard us and grant us answers in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:5 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.