5/18/16 James Encourages The Scattered Christians

James continues in his letter dictation, “Do not place any importance on being rich or poor, because both will fade away when the last day comes.  If you are poor in worldly goods and money, take comfort and joy in knowing that you are rich in what can never be taken from you – Jesus’ love and forgiveness.  Compared with an eternity living as royalty in Heaven, what are a few years of poverty here on earth?  If you are rich in worldly goods and money, remember that the only true riches are found in knowing and loving the One who came and died to save you from paying the penalty for your sins.  Riches here on earth will not go with you into Heaven, and can be taken from you in the blink of an eye even while you are still living here.  We are all like a field of wildflowers.  While the sun is mild, we blossom, but soon the sun grows very hot and we are burned up and gone.  Just like this, those who spend their lives chasing after money and importance in the eyes of the world will waste what little time is given to them, and will be gone before they discover the true riches of Jesus.  When you are tempted to do that which you know is not good for you to do, and you resist that temptation, you are blessed, because you will be rewarded for each such instance in Heaven.  God will give you the crown of life that He has promised to all those who truly love Him.  When temptation comes, don’t say, ‘God is tempting me,’ because God does not tempt His children to do evil things, nor can He be tempted by evil.  Temptation is when Satan tries to lure you away from God by using the desires of your heart.  When those desires are realized, they lead to sin, and sin leads to death, because sin is separation from God.  All good comes from God, so if we are separated from him, we are separated from everything good, including life itself.  God gives us everything good as a gift, and His gifts are perfect.  He does not stray from His perfection, because He is perfection itself.  Don’t let Satan trick you, because he can only bring you darkness and death, whereas God is the Father of Light and the giver of life.  God gave us new life through Jesus.  We are reborn through His sacrifice for us, and now we are the first born of all those who will, after us, also receive this same life through Jesus.  Knowing this, my brothers and sisters, we must live it out.  We must be willing to listen carefully instead of jumping to conclusions in anger.  We must try to remember to hear and consider the words of others before we speak, and not turn to anger and bitterness, because anger and bitterness do not lead us onward in our path to become the men and women God created us to be.  Pray to God to cleanse your hearts, getting rid of all the wickedness in them, so that Jesus’ words can be planted there instead, making you into a new creation and allowing you to humbly receive the salvation that Jesus died to give to you.  Don’t just listen to or read the words of the scriptures or those spoken by our Messiah.  Do what those words tell you to do.  Live by them and live them out.  If you only read or hear those words, it is like looking into a mirror and then forgetting what you look like as soon as you step away from the mirror.  But if you allow those words to sink into your heart and live out what you learn, you will be blessed by all that you say and do.  If any one of you thinks he is religious, but does not control what he says, he proves himself a liar and all his religiousness is useless.  If you want to be religious in the way that God intended, you must not let yourself be tempted to join in with the evil things the rest of the world enjoys, and you must do good for others, helping those in need.

 

James 1:9-27

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